[linux-elitists] IP: NYT: (Microsoft's) High-profile anti-Unix siteruns UNIX (FreeBSD) (fwd)

Doug Winter doug@pigeonhold.com
Tue Apr 9 03:21:06 PDT 2002


Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Tue, 9 Apr 2002, Doug Winter wrote:
> > Even the NYT probably don't care if you lie to them "by hand", but
> 
> If the bulk of submissions is bogus, as is to be suspected (most people
> nowadays lie on web registration forms), and you don't care about quality
> of your data, why gathering it in the first place?  Because you want to
> harvest a few email addresses? Sounds about right.

Unique user counting is probably their primary concern - meatspace
newspapers don't even cover their costs with the issue price, so it's
not surprising they think they can make money giving away their product
online.

The real way they make cash is advertising, and to sell to advertisers
you need justifiable circulation figures.  In meatspace, all advertising
for newspapers and magazines is costed on circulation.

And the only decent way of getting reasonable circulation figures is
with unique logins and cookies.  Sure you can do a bunch of other stuff,
but none of it works as well with advertisers as "Unique Registered
Users".

And sure, they want to sweep up some email addresses, since it's nice to
be able to send your customers emails.  But if you fill their database
with crap email addresses, they'll get weeded pretty quickly next time
they email them.

> > poisoning a database with a script seems to be both ethically
> > problematic and probably illegal as well as an odd way to spend one's
> 
> Well, this shows that ethics isn't as clear-cut as people want it to be, 
> which is only natural.

Indeed.

> As to being illegal, I would like to 
> 
> 1) see a law allowing NYT to persecute foreign nationals who're just 
>    filling a registration dbase with crap

I shall assume you mean "prosecute".  If the act is illegal in the US,
and in the host country, and they have a reciprocal extradition
agreement, then I believe this could be done.  At great cost.  IANAL
however.

> 2) see me catch me doing it, and actually care enough to track me down and 
>    to sue

True enough.

> Apparently, you're unaware that people in general are ready to go at great 
> lengths to punish a behaviour in others they find objectionable. As I 
> said, the day I find out cpunx/cpunx doesn't work anymore, it will be time 
> for a little LWP scripting.

By your previous argument, they don't care much.  And if they don't
care, it seems a bit pointless.  However, I do agree that nobody will do
anything to stop you.

doug.

-- 
Herr Ober, es gibt eine Fliege in meiner Suppe.



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