02. 18. 2007
Popgadget hosting nightmare
As many of you surely noticed, Popgadget and Babygadget experienced some severe technical difficulties over the last few weeks. Our server was crippled by an attack of unknown origin, meaning we couldn't tell if it was malicious and targeted to us, or if it was an accidental security issue at the hosting company. Essentially, a spam bomb was launched on us, in the form of a comment that was appearing on tens of thousands of MySpace profiles. The spam comment, which was spoofing MySpace user names, was offering up a free iPhone if you would enter in your contact information and pass the spam on to seven of your friends. Our server was involved because the images in the spam were being hotlinked (meaning, the bandwidth for hosting that image was being stolen from us) from Popgadget. The interesting thing here is that hotlinking of images has always been disabled on our server, but for some reason, our server access rules were re-written to specifically allow the spam company to hotlink our images onto MySpace. By the way, hotlinking is totally different from just regular linking to posts, which we welcome and encourage.
At its worst point, hundreds of thousands of requests per hour were coming through for that image (of a widescreen tv, for some reason, not the iPhone) and of course, our little server bent over in honor and committed hara-kiri. It took dozens of phone calls, and threatening emails (from us) to the hosting company and the spam company before we were able to start to crawl out of our paralytic state and start to re-build and migrate over to a new server.
Happy ending: our new server is far more powerful (costing about 10x what our old server cost, but we've found you get what you pay for) and so we are faster than ever, and will soon be introducing some great new content and have several incredible new writers so we're better than ever. Many of you have been emailing us to tell us that you are having troubles with our RSS feeds, particularly those of you who use Bloglines to read Popgadget and Babygadget. This appears to be a Bloglines-specific issue as our feeds are updating properly, complete with images in every other reader. We apologize for any disruption in your feeds, and are working with Bloglines to correct any lingering issues. If you could email Bloglines and let them know you're still having trouble with our feed, we'd be eternally grateful, because I think they're simply sick of hearing from us now
Everything should be smooth sailing now, but please continue to let us know if you have any issues in accessing our sites or our feeds. We really appreciate it. We're so glad to be back. We missed you!