|The Curiosity that is LightHive.com
February 27th, 2006
Website Reviewed: *.LightHive.com
The following originally appeared in my blog. Because of that, you may have already read this.
So, as we all remember from my entry a while back, Xanga and MySpace users just love hotlinking my images. For those unfamiliar with web protocols, I discovered this by looking at my "referer" logs (the people who designed the http specification can't spell). I, of course, continued to check them after that entry. What I was surprised to see was a new site as stealing the graphic I had created just for the entry about image stealing. This made me puzzled. I mean, who would want a usage statistics image showing a large number of Finnish visitors? So, I investigated.
The site that had stolen the image was listed as "xanga[dot]lighthive[dot]com" - and I went to check it out. What I found annoyed the crap out of me. The site is a news aggregator of sorts. See, my site (like almost every blog on the internet) offers an RSS feed (hence the button on the top of the page). This is designed so that people can be told or read a site without actually going there. It really is quite handy, but is meant like most things for personal use. Most sites have a "non-profit use" clause in their RSS policies.
What LightHive.com does is take these feeds (and only these feeds) and build a site around it in an attempt to get more google ad revenue. Similar to a Spam Blog, only without actually blogging new entries itself. LightHive has sites for Xanga, Camaros, pretty much anything you can think of at *.lighthive.com. Except, there is no actual page that just lists what the hell it is (going to just lighthive.com will give you a 404 error).
I tried to find out who runs LightHive.com - but to no avail. What is surprising to me is how little I can find out about them in actuality. This is fairly uncommon, as people who do this sort of thing either screw up, or think they've covered their tracks in ways that end up giving me actually more clues. LightHive though? The LightHive guy or gal is making me work for this.
The Whois is masked, the DNS server looks like it's owned by a seperate hosting company, and I can find disconnected sites that host with it, but I can't find the central hosting site. LightHive.com was also only registered about a month ago. It's run with a piece of software called "RSsI" (not to be confused with the dozens of other things called RSSI). The only other site on the internet I can find via Google (in English) that aggregates blogs using a program with the same name is Unpartisan.com, but as Unpartisan doesn't run advertising I don't believe that they are involved in LightHive in the slightest. I've also can see a few differences in their format, so I can't tell if it's actually the same program. I will investigate further. Continuing my search, while I've found Japanese and Estonian websites that mention something called RSSI, I don't know if they're talking about the product these sites are using (as there are about a half dozen RSS based things called RSSI, making the chances that the articles are about something unrelated fairly high...).
While I'm sure I could put in the effort, I don't know how much of my time these guys are worth my wasting. To sum up though, effectively the guy is making money off of other people's backs, and that is just not cool at all.