Saturday, August 23, 2008

Business idea

I've read that RIAA and the like hire "protection agencies" to "protect" their IP on Peer-to-peer networks. Sort of like a protection racket.

Tonight I discovered, much to my embarrassment, that I've been running an open proxy for a while, and that it had been located by some service scanner and used. This explains why my tiny little server has been out of breath lately.

Looking at the access logs is a bit astonishing - maybe I'm naive. It's full of ad-URLs. So my proxy has been used to aid ad-fraud. - - [23/Aug/2008:22:25:07 +0200] "GET HTTP/1.1" 404 370 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; .NET CLR 2.0.40" - - [23/Aug/2008:22:25:08 +0200] "GET HTTP/1.0" 404 380 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko/20040614 Firefox/0.8" - - [23/Aug/2008:22:25:08 +0200] "GET HTTP/1.0" 404 378 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)"

The source IPs have been removed to protect the guilty. As you see I return 404 now. But there is obvious potential in aiding Google and the like in detecting ad-fraud. Could be a million dollar business. Good luck and remember to send me 10% finders fee ;-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Pay in your own currency"

One of the newest legitimate "scams" around is the option of "pay in your own currency" in all sorts of places where they accept credit cards. Today offered me to pay in NOK (Norwegian kroner) instead of USD. It has been a while since I shopped there (I prefer due to the shorter shipping times inside Europe) so they may have offered this a while now.

Seems nice safe to pay in your own currency does it not? I'm sure a lot of people would think so, including my mom.

As all services this comes at a price. Credit card companies use pretty good exchange rates between the store currency and your own credit card bill currency. The store will not use as good rates. So if you let the store charge you in NOK (or whatever) they're ripping you off.

In the amazon webstore it was pretty easy to see what the "native" currency was. In some webstores it's harder. For example my domain pedler is in Canada, but the prices are quoted in US dollars. Do I ask to be charged in USD or CAD? ... Since the price was quoted in USD I chose to be charged in USD as well.

So: Just say no to yet another premium service you don't need!