Careful with that ripped-off website template, Eugene

It really pays for politicians to check what their oft-overlooked web support staff are getting up to. Especially if they have designed one’s webpage using somebody else’s template. Because there are several problems with that.

Ethically, obviously, if one’s web design team rips off code that somebody else has created without attribution, it’s not a good look.

If, as part of that ripped off template code, one’s web design team has been so lazy that instead of copying images used for the styling, they are hotlinking to the original images on the original designer’s website, then that is bandwidth theft as well, which is also not a good look.

But you know what’s really not a good look?

When the tech-savvy original web designer realises what’s going on, and also realises that he can thus craft his own message to appear on the politician’s website simply by changing the image on his own site that the web design team has linked to. (Are y’all following this?) No hacking required, all that was done was changing an image on his own web-host. Totally legal.

So this is what John McCain’s MySpace page said for a few hours yesterday until someone noticed the new message:

“Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage…particularly marriage between passionate females.”

Full story (with screensave of how the adjusted image looked on McCain’s site) here.

crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, Politics

Tags: , , ,

8 replies

  1. I remember that one. Not quite as subtle as the effort above, but very effective.

  2. When people do that to me, I just change the image to one that says “I’m a fucking image leech. I suck.”

  3. Ha! Not really hacking at all, but excellent stuff.

  4. That will teach them to acknowledge their sources in future.

  5. Having been the victim of bandwidth theft myself, I found this hysterical, and wish I’d thought of it before I added a disallow tag to my .htaccess file…

  6. Gotta love it.
    How would I find out if someone was hotlinking an image on my site? I’d have to be in their site and then know to click on View Source, wouldn’t I?
    On the other hand, I get the impression most bloggers use a lot of plugins I ain’t got. I don’t have that thingy, for instance, that tells you what google search strings led people to your blog. Anyone care to tell me how to get that (for WordPress)? Because, you know, I have too much spare time an’ all 😉

  7. The simplest way is to use Sitemeter or similiar to keep track of visitors to your blog – you register for a free account, the website tells you which snippet of code for which blogging-platform you need to pop into your sidebar or footer (see the rainbow logo in the footer below), and then you can people-watch the netsurfers as you please.
    If you have access to the Control Panel for’s webhost service, then you should be able to look at their stats too, which gives more detail than the Sitemeter plugin, but is more complicated to read and analyse, usually.

  8. Oh, and to find out whether people are hotlinking to an image on your site, you need to look at the access logs on the webhost. You can always just send an email to tech support and ask them about whether hotlinking is disabled and whether they can enable it for you.

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