MetaFilter is a hosting company now?
March 29, 2001 12:18 PM   Subscribe

MetaFilter is a hosting company now?
posted by mathowie (265 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
My comment was succinct:

As part of the Metafilter community, I don't appreciate you ripping off their site design. If you're this unoriginal in designing your site, how can I or the rest of the Internet community trust you to be competent in hosting?

I signed it darren@hire-some-web-staff.com
posted by darren at 12:22 PM on March 29, 2001


Yech. I know you guys are in it for the hosting, but please tell me you could find some way to make your own site. This is the most flagrant ripoff I've seen in quite some time. Brutal.
posted by danwalker at 12:23 PM on March 29, 2001


Wow - that's an almost perfect copy. For the amount of effort that went into matching each element to MeFi you could surely come up with some sort of original design.... couldn't you?
posted by fuzzynavel at 12:24 PM on March 29, 2001


Sent mine in as well. I think they messed with the wrong community.
posted by quirked at 12:27 PM on March 29, 2001


You've got my support, Matthew. Chalk up one "fuck-off" email from josh@starvingartist.com.
posted by starvingartist at 12:27 PM on March 29, 2001


Call in the 1337 h4x0r5.
posted by norm at 12:28 PM on March 29, 2001


...or maybe we can get monkey and robot to join forces on this one ...
posted by darren at 12:29 PM on March 29, 2001


I'm sure this will turn out to be a very bad day for those folks...
posted by sunnyd13 at 12:31 PM on March 29, 2001


and another in the "blistering" column...
posted by mimi at 12:32 PM on March 29, 2001


"Please design your own site, you thieving bastards."
posted by jpoulos at 12:32 PM on March 29, 2001


My comments have been sent in as well (I think you're right about messing with us, quirked ;) ), but, while I'm here, why, why , why must all hosting companies have those photographs of happy people as taken from above? Is it an unspoken rule of customer trust that people looking up must really know what they're talking about? Sorry.. side topic, I know, but it's one of those pet peeves.
posted by jess at 12:35 PM on March 29, 2001


Actually, I did exactly what was asked. My message stated "Fuck off and design your own site". Not that it will help much but I'll blog it too...
posted by revbrian at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2001


"This is a blatant ripoff of the metafilter.com site. For shame. Did you really think no one would notice? Now it's time for you to pull down your site and come up with some original design ideas. Be assured that I will never recommend your services to anyone. Cheaters never prosper."
posted by doublehelix at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2001


I can imagine their email box catching 'fire' about now.
posted by john at 12:37 PM on March 29, 2001


You mean I could have put it in my own words? I said just what Matt said to say. Another sheep following the herd.
posted by anapestic at 12:37 PM on March 29, 2001


I wonder if you can sue 'em for copyright infringement? That's not my specialty, but we could gin up a cease and desist order pretty quickly.
posted by CRS at 12:38 PM on March 29, 2001


Is it an unspoken rule of customer trust that people looking up must really know what they're talking about?

Yes. Plus, they're readily available from PhotoDisc and Artville.

The hosting site ripoff really makes me sick, especially given how much work Matt has put into this design.
posted by hijinx at 12:38 PM on March 29, 2001


Damn. 15 flames in 5 minutes.

Memo to self: Never, ever piss Matt off.
posted by darren at 12:38 PM on March 29, 2001


Me, 19th. Err.. 20th. 21st. ... ;-)
posted by tsitzlar at 12:40 PM on March 29, 2001


In the site's meta tags it says "redundant." Now, I imagine this is some Linux thing I don't understand, but still...

Double-entendre ahead!
posted by MarkAnd at 12:40 PM on March 29, 2001


Jess: yes, thank you! God, I hate those pictures. Haaaaaate.
posted by danwalker at 12:40 PM on March 29, 2001


Memo to self: Never, ever piss metafilter off.
posted by syn at 12:41 PM on March 29, 2001


© 2000 123CheapHosting.com

I thought it might be a MeFi user joke, but there's even a secure form.

Excerpt:

...I mean, even I have figured out how to change the colors...
posted by mblandi at 12:41 PM on March 29, 2001


cheap being the operative word here. you cheap cocksucks should really go out and get someone to design an original site for you. i don't know about cleveland but there are a lot of unemployed web designers in the san francisco bay area just dying for the opportunity.

step one: remove head from ass

step two: apologize
posted by donkeysuck at 12:42 PM on March 29, 2001


The administrative and technical contact for the 123cheaphosting.com domain is a Web designer whose portfolio is at NetWrench.net. If you don't have any luck with 123cheaphosting.com's mailbox, webdesign@netwrench.net seems like a great place to go next.
posted by rcade at 12:43 PM on March 29, 2001


they're in worthington, a village outside of columbus (city capitol).

anyway, I closed with "hoping you lose your shirts, rcb"

matt, I really do encourage you to sue them for coyright infringement. any lawyers here who can write a letter? I hope you've grabbed some screenshots.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2001


What hopeless stupidity (as I just informed them). Picked the wrong site to fuck with, indeed. Although I must confess I enjoy watching this thread grow as the smack exponentially gets laid down.
posted by Skot at 12:46 PM on March 29, 2001


You guys have balls, I'll give you that much.
Or are you just ignorant? Ripping off the design of MetaFilter (www.metafilter.com - I'm sure you're aware) is unethical and illegal. I'm truly amazed at your audacity.

Was it that some suit rigidly requested a design "Exactly like Metafilter" ? - I keep telling myself this is the case.

Respectfully,
JAU


Fucking Ohioans. All Jerks.
posted by SilentSalamander at 12:47 PM on March 29, 2001


Been reading Metafilter for quite some time now - got an account just to add to this thread. I told them they were thoroughly unethical, that even a small detail such as this one clearly illustrates the value they put on honesty and good business and that I would not be doing business with them and (of course!) would discourage my friends from doing so.

Hope this gets settled. Good luck.
posted by shirobara at 12:47 PM on March 29, 2001


So what is the record for # of comments to a single thread, matt?
posted by darren at 12:48 PM on March 29, 2001


My two cents:

Nice looking web site. Too bad I've seen the design before. It makes one wonder about a company that would steal someone's design. That's one way of doing things cheap. I wonder if you've also found a way to steal someone else's bandwidth as well.
posted by fpatrick at 12:48 PM on March 29, 2001


ugh.
fuckwits.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2001


Since everyone else is noting that they have forwarded comments to these suckasses, I will add my name to the list. My comment closed with For Shame! ( a nod to doublehelix for that...)
posted by jsapn at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2001


I personally think it's just coincidence.
posted by anildash at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2001


ok, ok, ok, call off the dogs. They've gotten back to me. I'll write a follow-up soon.
posted by mathowie at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2001


Hey, not every design company can afford to have that many monkeys at that many keyboards.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2001


They got my $.98.
posted by Hankins at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2001


34 minutes?

What took 'em so long?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:53 PM on March 29, 2001


count me in.
posted by bradth27 at 12:54 PM on March 29, 2001


Another fire started, courtesy perigee. By the way, have any of you folks realized that the useless plug-ugly puss dripping scumbucket... is probably one of Meta's readers. Possibly one of Meta's posters? The net's too big to just shop around randomly, until you happen across a design scheme.

We should have a witch hunt. Or an exorcism. Or a riot, or something.
posted by Perigee at 12:54 PM on March 29, 2001


I just wrote netwrench a nice note:

subject: nice design!
who'd you steal this one from? found you through metafilter. I'm encouraging matt to sue.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:55 PM on March 29, 2001


ok, ok, ok, call off the dogs. They've gotten back to me. I'll write a follow-up soon.

Yeah, Matt, but it took them 34 whole minutes!

Oh, how I'd like to be a fly on the wall at their corporate office right now. Heads rolling willy-nilly, armpits darkening like gathering thunderclouds, carefully moussed forelocks becoming unmoored . . .
posted by Skot at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2001


Where's DoubleSiteGuy when you need him?
posted by gluechunk at 12:57 PM on March 29, 2001


rcade: Apparently, NetWrench.net did the site for Matthew Lesko, that incredibly annoying guy from the infomercial who can show you how to bilk the government of money. So now I have two reasons to hate him.
posted by jpoulos at 12:58 PM on March 29, 2001


Another address worth complaining to: info@oneworldhosting.com. Our plagiarist is violationg his terms of service with this company.

123cheaphosting.com is a Web reseller of hosting services provided by One World Hosting -- see the 123Cheaphosting about page and One World Hosting about page.
posted by rcade at 12:59 PM on March 29, 2001


I'd like to be a fly on the wall at their corporate office right now.

What corporate office? This is probably one or two bozos. It is one of those bulk hosting plans. I can qualify as a Web host under a similar pan.
posted by quirked at 1:00 PM on March 29, 2001


... plan that is. Damn, forgot to proof.
posted by quirked at 1:02 PM on March 29, 2001


I guess you can offer such cheap hosting because you are cutting corners on things like coming up with an original website design. How much cheaper is to get someone to create an exact replica of Metafilter rather than to come up with an original design, anyway? Is it worth the value if you get a reputation across the web as an unethical rip-off artists? Do you expect customers to trust you if they know that you steal from others? Do you think they won't find out? The Metafilter community, which isn't small, is going to do their best to make sure it's very well-known.

I don't think I've ever seen such a blatant, pathetic ripoff. You should change it immediately and apologize to Metafilter's designer.

posted by champignon at 1:03 PM on March 29, 2001


Fucking Ohioans. All Jerks.

Careful there, SilentSalamander. I'm from Ohio, and I was 5th in the thread to express my distaste. We're all in this together, right? Any other Ohioans?
posted by starvingartist at 1:03 PM on March 29, 2001


It's still up there.
So I wrote and told them what I thought. Much along the same lines of what's already been written here. Such blatant arseholes they are!!
posted by tomcosgrave at 1:04 PM on March 29, 2001


Matt, how did you discover this?
posted by xsquared-1 at 1:05 PM on March 29, 2001


I'm from Ohio... we aren't all jerks.. any more than most
posted by srw12 at 1:05 PM on March 29, 2001


Ah HA!!!! Loook - The Evil Ones themselves!!!
posted by Perigee at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2001


..."way to go, Oh-hi-o"

Sing it, Chrissy!
posted by darren at 1:07 PM on March 29, 2001


I must say, I'm glad our scroll bars aren't that ugly-ass yellow color. If they're going to copy, at least they should copy well. Anyways, my $0.02 have gone to both parties involved.

And during the time that took there have been an additional 30 posts to this thread and the perps have contacted Matt. Well, better late than never.
posted by OneBallJay at 1:09 PM on March 29, 2001


I grew up in ohio. that's how I knew where worthington is.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 1:09 PM on March 29, 2001


Ah HA!!!! Loook - The Evil Ones themselves!!!

Is the guy on the left Tim Allens sidekick from Home Improvement? Scary...
posted by tomcosgrave at 1:10 PM on March 29, 2001


I wrote:

4800+ members of MetaFilter.com are quite aware that you have stolen the code for your website from MetaFilter.com

Do you think we're interested in supporting your company or purchasing your services? Do you think we won't make others aware of your flagrant thievery? This is the net remember? You live and die by your reputation. Your credibility has sunk way below zero.


Gen
posted by gen at 1:11 PM on March 29, 2001


perhaps, if they're willing to take this design down, you should merely charge them for design services instead of suing them for copyright infringement.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 1:12 PM on March 29, 2001


i hope they got back to you with a Check and a promise to turn it off. I hope they made it themselves instead of paying someone else to do it.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:13 PM on March 29, 2001


Quirked, you don't have to ruin my fantasies so quickly. The next thing you know, I'll think before I write something stupid, and who wants that?
posted by Skot at 1:14 PM on March 29, 2001


I don't know how trustworthy a hosting company can be if it has the gall to completely rip off someone else's design. I hope that you have this changed soon, because I don't see anyone in the metafilter community letting you get away with this.
posted by dogmatic at 1:18 PM on March 29, 2001


Coming soon ... Welcome to Matt's Rent-a-Mob. You gotta problem? We'll handle it for ya, no prob.
posted by quirked at 1:19 PM on March 29, 2001


You mess with Matt, you mess with the whole family.
posted by hijinx at 1:19 PM on March 29, 2001


Matt, how did you discover this?

Caroline from prolific.org contacted me this morning, and I have to give her a big thanks for bringing it to my attention. Just a little while ago Scott contacted me as well, so maybe this is something new, though their reply said (and I knew, knew, knew I'd hear this exact phrase) "we hired a designer last fall and we weren't aware of your site."

There's been an apology and an offer to "buy a copy" of the look, though they said they can't take the site down asap (I've demanded that they redesign within 24 hours).
posted by mathowie at 1:20 PM on March 29, 2001


Redesign your site. Metafilter you are not. The fact that you are a FOR PROFIT company ripping off a NOT FOR PROFIT community is pretty damn low. It's hard to believe that you thought you wouldn't get caught - let alone thought it was acceptable behavior for a company. It's too bad that all the traffic you've generated today is all from people telling you how terrible a business move ripping Matt off was. Redesign. Apologize. That's all the advice I can offer.

Damn, that's low. Course, it's now amusing to see MeFi kick the shit out of them...
posted by J. R. Hughto at 1:24 PM on March 29, 2001


This gives me such a warm feeling.
posted by rodii at 1:24 PM on March 29, 2001


"Buy a copy" of the look? What is that supposed to mean?
posted by dogmatic at 1:25 PM on March 29, 2001


Presumably that they'd give Matt some money in exchange for him not suing them into the ground for copyright infringement.
posted by snarkout at 1:27 PM on March 29, 2001


[please forgive the shameless self-promotion]

screenshots have been archived at pirated-sites.com.

i will also send them my fancy-schamncy legalese letter that has been effective for me in the past if they don't respond appropriately to matt's wishes.
posted by o2b at 1:30 PM on March 29, 2001


Stick to your guns, Matt. Can't redesign in a day? Then shut it down. Any lawyers in the community willing to lend a hand?
posted by Haveed at 1:30 PM on March 29, 2001


I think you should charge them for "licensing' your design for every day they have it up. how long has that site been up?

something like (and I'm serious) $50,000 for stealing the look and feel (and graphics) and then $2,000/day starting from the day it went up. (or maybe more.) get them to sign an agreement to that, or threaten to sue them for much, much more. have them print out the email that you write and overnight it to you. no negotiation. remember that they don't have *anything* you want.

no negotiation.

if a designer did this to them, that's between them and the designer. right now, they owe you bank.

plus it gives them incentive to "find" another design asap.

let me add that I think you're being generous to give them 24 hours. no negotiation. if they don't *generously* compensate you, sue them.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 1:33 PM on March 29, 2001


o2b: thanks--I haven't been able to see the actual perpetrator. Are they truly still up? I've been trying to hit the site for a while now. Bastards.
posted by frykitty at 1:34 PM on March 29, 2001


(of course, that would be a *signed* copy of your terms.)

if they don't want to pay for each day they use the stolen design, they can take the site down altogether until they have another design.

grrr.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 1:35 PM on March 29, 2001


That odious site seems to have gone down. If it returns, fuck-off message gladly sent; ten of them.

I think you have copyright and unfair trade/misappropriation claim possibilities.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:36 PM on March 29, 2001


Good luck getting anything like that amount of money without a lawyer.

And good luck getting a lawyer without anything like that amount of money.
posted by crunchland at 1:36 PM on March 29, 2001


I can still access the whole site.

I think 24 hours is generous, but I would have probably had a much more violent reaction, myself (ie, subject them to hours of watching the bad episodes of _The Brady Bunch_.)

The Google cached version is identical to the live one, and given that the copyright (hah!) is 2000... it's hard to tell, since the copyright on MeFi is 2000 as well.
posted by hijinx at 1:38 PM on March 29, 2001


Matt, my humble opinion - make them pay you X dollars per everyhour it's online. Or per however many hours you think would be appropriate.....and if they won't pay up - send them a solicitors letter.

And yes, I thought you might hear the "Oh, we hired a designer" excuse. Oldest one in the book. Bastards.
posted by tomcosgrave at 1:38 PM on March 29, 2001


It's definitely still up becuase I can access it every time i refresh.

I sent 'em a vulgarity-free fuck off before reading all those comments.
posted by Awol at 1:39 PM on March 29, 2001


i don't know about you guys, but i can still hit the site.

it's still there.
posted by o2b at 1:39 PM on March 29, 2001


re: my redundant post

man, this is the fastest commented thread i've ever seen!
posted by o2b at 1:40 PM on March 29, 2001


I forgot to copy my comments before I sent the e-mail but essentially I told them that is they hired someone to create the site they should sue them. If the person who stole the design works there they should be fired.

This is the most blatant case of design theft I have seen.
posted by terrapin at 1:42 PM on March 29, 2001


chalk up another email. this is just stupidity on the designers part. ripping off a community site is commercial suicide.
let them eat flame
posted by quarsan at 1:45 PM on March 29, 2001


A lawyer might take this case on contingency, seeing how it's a slamdunk. Copyright violation penalties are very large. The likely result is a quick settlement. They should be made to pay, and Matt should be compensated for his efforts.
posted by anapestic at 1:45 PM on March 29, 2001


Hey, guys, wait a sec! These folks have pretty decent rates!
posted by johnnydark at 1:46 PM on March 29, 2001


shameful... even more shameful if they contracted a "designer" to do this for them and he was so uncreative that he had to resort to lifting someone else's efforts & ideas...

it's very awful of you to steal off "your design" from an established web community like MetaFilter.

i understand that in order to make a good impression on potential customers you need to have a somewhat attractive website, but stealing somebody else's efforts is only going to make you lose respect. and i think there are very few customers (potential or existing) that would view your theft of code & ideas as respectable business practice.

if this theft wasn't in fact your doing, but that of some unscrupulous designer you hired to do the work for you, i would take some sort of legal action against them for defaming your business' good name by committing an atrocity like this.


... only adding my support. but like my mum used to tell me when i was a little girl, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". small consolation, but perhaps there's some solace in it. :)
posted by pixelbaby at 1:47 PM on March 29, 2001


rebeccablood, srw12 - I don't really think so. I'm just playing - I live in Cleveland Heights!

Matt - want me to kick their asses for you? ;)
posted by SilentSalamander at 1:49 PM on March 29, 2001


How did you find this odious site, anyway? Any idea how long it's been up and running? Who's behind it?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:49 PM on March 29, 2001


they should probably add "MetaFilter" to the list in "How did you find us?"
posted by pnevares at 1:50 PM on March 29, 2001


The thing that gets me is that, if you wanted to, you could very easily steal others' work without infringing anyone's copyright. Take a navbar from one site, a graphic from another--change a font or color or two. For just a little extra effort, they could avoid this issue altogether. (Not that I condone stealing design, or anything...I'm just saying, is all.)
posted by jpoulos at 1:52 PM on March 29, 2001


I just opened up a Help/Support Ticket asking them to remove their stolen site design. I wonder if they'll respond with the progress of my request.
posted by Hankins at 1:58 PM on March 29, 2001


Hey, cool, I needed a new place to host my site. Thanks!

Man, they must feel so stupid.
posted by Doug at 2:01 PM on March 29, 2001


Sweet God, JohnnyDark, I missed your post and made the same joke as you. I'm no better than 123CheapHosting!
posted by Doug at 2:03 PM on March 29, 2001


Just had to enter the fray, so I dropped them a most cordial note. As I thought they'd most likely read enough 4 letter words, I merely remarked on the sheer audacity they displayed in ripping off one of the most popular communities on the net. Did they actually think they'd get away with it?

Speaking of which, does anyone know how long they did get away with it? How long was the site live before it was brought to Matt's attention?
posted by aladfar at 2:10 PM on March 29, 2001


Okay, I just sent them an e-mail with the subject of "hosting." I'm reasonably certain that anything with a MeFi-related subject line they're just deleting by now...

"Okay, so now that I've gotten your attention...whyinhell did you so blatantly rip off MetaFilter.com?

It's pretty bloody disgraceful that you did this to begin with. To continue the atrocity by telling MetaFilter's owner and designer that you couldn't take the design down for 24 hours is just disgusting. You're making your money off his hard work. That's just wrong.

There's no reason why this ripoff design is still accessible. One well-placed 404 redirect would take care of the problem, and keep an entire user community from hating your guts. Don't think this will remain quiet -- we'll be sure to spread news about this far and wide."

Rowr!
posted by metrocake at 2:10 PM on March 29, 2001


i'm guessing the irony of this escapes no one? :)
posted by pixelbaby at 2:14 PM on March 29, 2001


Just out of idle curiosity, is it possible that they got knobbed by a dirty designer? (I'm not of the web design community, so I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, nor am I defending them.) But is it possible that a designer could waltz in, sign a motherhuge contract, hand over the stolen site design to the clueless bastards, collect his check, and then head to Mexico?
posted by Skot at 2:14 PM on March 29, 2001


pixelbaby: i'm wondering why that html tutorial is the same as this one and this other one.

i'm sure there's a good reason.
posted by pnevares at 2:20 PM on March 29, 2001


Site's still up. Here's my letter, which touches on being a flame but doesn't quite make it (I prefer to be more articulate than "fuck off"):

You'd think a web hosting company could design their own site. Did you honestly think nobody would notice your blatant rip-off of Metafilter.com?

No wonder you can afford to offer such cheap hosting, if you're so cheap you can't design your own site. And then, I have to wonder if you guys know what you're doing in terms of hosting if you can't get basic concepts like "copyright" right.

Matt Howie should take you to court.

posted by CrayDrygu at 2:21 PM on March 29, 2001


Unreal. I added my missive to the pile (in part): I suggest you pull an all-nighter to get a new .... original ... design online, and save what little is left of your business reputation. 24 hours seems a quite reasonable demand to me.

As much as the business is at fault, the "designer" in question ought to have the pointer finger on their mouse hand cut off, and their workstation replaced with WebTV, so they can never besmirch the profession again.
posted by PhotoDude at 2:21 PM on March 29, 2001


pnevares: wooooooow. i'm starting to feel less bad for the amount of hatemail this "company" is receiving now. as if design theft wasn't bad enough... add content plagiarizing to the mix!
posted by pixelbaby at 2:24 PM on March 29, 2001


Pixelbaby: could you explain what that is for those who don't quite get it? Is that another rip off, or something else?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:26 PM on March 29, 2001


Here's what I wrote about an hour ago. I was gonna post it here then, but got distracted by shiny objects.

Uh, by ripping metafilter's design, you've fucked with a large group of people who get angry very easily. Not only will your service not be recommended by any of them, but it will be mercilessly bashed all over the internet. I hope you'll be bankrupt within a month.

And those scroll bars suck ass.

posted by billybunny at 2:28 PM on March 29, 2001


Sirs:

It has come to my attention that you are in desperate need of a web designer. I would like to offer my services to you. I promise to provide you with a great looking and ORIGINAL site, per your specifications. I have been in the business of designing websites since 1997, and my fees are very affordable...

posted by crunchland at 2:29 PM on March 29, 2001


An excerpt from my e-mail, sent a couple minutes ago, before I'd even finished reading this thread:

What makes you think you have the right to blatantly steal the graphic design of a site as popular as Metafilter and get away with it? That's Matt Haughey's original work!

I highly recommend you change your design. Be aware that you're making a terrible impression on a large cross-section of your potential customer base: Metafilter is composed largely of web designers.

posted by waxpancake at 2:30 PM on March 29, 2001


hey! and this
123 colorchooserr

is related to this!
colorlabr

only a conceptual rip-off, though.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 2:30 PM on March 29, 2001


Anyone think this is a publicity stunt, albeit a poor one? 4000+ people saw it right away, and a bunch of them put it on their blogs as well. I realize none of us would use them for hosting, but when it comes to cheap web hosting, there's no such thing as bad publicity, especially if it isn't against the quality of the hosting itself.

It just seems peculiar that even a bad or clueless designer would just lift this design so thoroughly without expecting it to get noticed. I know if I were a cheap bastard and wanted to get the attention of a highly viral community, this is how I would do it.

On the other hand, the added touches (the clip art and such) do suggest a genuine attempt at a design; design thieves seem to think nobody will notice when they do this sort of thing, and likely feel they aren't doing anything wrong... *shrug*
posted by dan_of_brainlog at 2:32 PM on March 29, 2001


Shit, every time I preview this post, there's a handful of new messages and Matt's original post has changed. My head, spinning.
posted by ceiriog at 2:34 PM on March 29, 2001


ParisParamus: could you explain what that is for those who don't quite get it? Is that another rip off, or something else?

it's the difference between stealing the visual aspects of a site (design theft) and the words or pictures on a site (content plagiarizing).

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 2:34 PM on March 29, 2001


ParisParamus: it's an html reference guide. :) seems like they could have used one of these when they decided to join this crazy web-bandwagon...
posted by pixelbaby at 2:35 PM on March 29, 2001


hi. i just wanted to be part of the largest metafilter thread ever. thanks.
posted by afx114 at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2001


I thought ParisParamus was asking why both of Pnevares' links point to the same place.
posted by anapestic at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2001


rebeccablood: doh! i misunderstood ParisParamus' question. thanks for the clarification. :)
posted by pixelbaby at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2001


Yet another nasty email sent on behalf of MeFi....
posted by skwm at 2:39 PM on March 29, 2001


i've often wondered what would happen if somebody pointed out to a web design thief the original site and said "look, someone blatantly copied your site!" would that be enough to send them silently back into the ether, where such unscrupulous beings belong, or would they act indignant and offended, as though they had been the ones to have their creativity violated and plundered?
posted by pixelbaby at 2:39 PM on March 29, 2001


A link about this just went up at k5. The war widens!
posted by dcodea at 2:41 PM on March 29, 2001


I'm still laughing, I didn't realize things like this could happen. :)
posted by swank6 at 2:42 PM on March 29, 2001


thanks. but at least here, in between items of real work, I was asking, or I assume that as a joke, someone just pasted HTML guides into a copy of a Metafilter page? In other words, these are not further rip offs(?).
posted by ParisParamus at 2:43 PM on March 29, 2001


I don't think this is longest thread - the infamous Tivo Thread went to 165 posts.
posted by kokogiak at 2:44 PM on March 29, 2001


Too bad it couldn't get slashdotted.

That'd have them offline pretty fast. :P

Hey Matt, why don't you get em to host MeFi for free and drop the charges?
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 2:46 PM on March 29, 2001


I'm shocked and offended that they don't have the spine to take the site down. This is a business that doesn't seem to mind everyone watching them break the law.

My email:

I'm very upset that you aren't taking this more seriously. If you wanted to salvage your credibility you should have taken the site down as soon as you found out it was stolen. Everyone is watching. Why are you acting like you don't care?
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2001


Hell, it looks as if everyone is getting in on this. Having got my email in early, I might as well call my grandparents and get em to go to the library and send nasty emails too.
posted by bradth27 at 2:50 PM on March 29, 2001


If ever there was a site which merited hacking...
posted by ParisParamus at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2001


I live in Columbus; I would offer to find their offices and kick their sorry asses into next week, but somehow I don't feel like physical violence is the right solution.

I emailed them:
This is the most thorough site rip-off I've ever seen, but please don't take that as a compliment. You ought to try hiring some designers to come up with something original; I can recommend a few in this area.
posted by binkin at 2:54 PM on March 29, 2001


Wow.

For this thread, 47.3 comments per hour. Must be some kind of record.
posted by dcehr at 2:57 PM on March 29, 2001


i called them 'a bunch of fucknuts', if that helps. it truly is a sickening homage.
posted by c at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2001


This just in: the site is down now.
posted by bug at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2001


it just went down!

403
Forbidden

You don't have permission to access / on this server.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2001


I just tried to access the site and got this:

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Mwuhahaha!
posted by doublehelix at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2001


ooooh triple post!
posted by doublehelix at 3:01 PM on March 29, 2001


Their Color Chooser is (why am I not surprised) actually Clear Ink's Palette Man. Of course, they probably licensed the code, and the "presets."
posted by theothermatt at 3:02 PM on March 29, 2001


I grew up in Columbus myself. By and large Ohioans are decent and honest people, and they have a couple of really great amusement parks in that state too. Any state that has King's Island and Cedar Point can't be all bad.
posted by kindall at 3:03 PM on March 29, 2001


I kept mine short and sweet:

Nice job stealing the Metafilter design.

I figure they're going to delete it without reading it anyway, so I may as well just add to the volume. :)
posted by laze at 3:04 PM on March 29, 2001


Can we get a link to the K5 story? I couldn't find it.
posted by waxpancake at 3:05 PM on March 29, 2001


theothermatt: Their Color Chooser is (why am I not surprised) actually Clear Ink's Palette Man.

exact.

shameless.

matt, keep us posted on what's going on.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:05 PM on March 29, 2001


Who wants to bet their next design won't be a little something in orange?
posted by ceiriog at 3:08 PM on March 29, 2001


Chaulk one up for Matt's Mob. It is gone.
posted by bjgeiger at 3:12 PM on March 29, 2001


Ceriog: Oh please, they obviously have some taste.
posted by holloway at 3:13 PM on March 29, 2001


this will be forever memorialized in the 123cheaphosting mythology as "the metafilter fiasco."

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:14 PM on March 29, 2001


Okay, which one of you Wiezenhymers hacked their server?
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:16 PM on March 29, 2001


I feel so far behind the times, having just seen and read through this thread! I'm so late, it now appears that the entire 123cheaphosting.com site has been taken down. None of the links (posted in this thread) to the various sections work.

Thus is the might of the wrath of MeFi!
posted by phichens at 3:16 PM on March 29, 2001


So what do we have? These people stole they're design from MetaFilter, they stole their about page from OneWorldHosting and their color chooser from Clear Ink.

I can see the minds at work right now in Ohio.

CEO: "Well, MetaFilter is on to us. What other website can we steal from?"
15-year-old Web Designer: "SlashDot? Kottke? um... CNN?"
CEO: "Do whatever you need to do and do it fast. Our seven clients will not like using a site hosting service without a web site!"
Web Designer: "Yes sir. By the way, could I get a raise to $4.25 an hour?"
CEO: "Of course not. We have to keep our overhead low."
posted by TacoConsumer at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2001


Hell hath no fury like a MeFi scorned.
posted by netbros at 3:18 PM on March 29, 2001


When I saw the designer's site and this I thought it was one of those bastard flash things whose menu elements zip around until you happen to hover your mouse over an element. Boy, was my face red.
posted by holloway at 3:18 PM on March 29, 2001


Hack? Ha Ha Ha!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:18 PM on March 29, 2001


Here's the the google cache of the page for those of you getting in late on the action.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 3:18 PM on March 29, 2001


to be the lone dissenting voice here, i don't see what the big deal is.

they lifted the design, images, etc. and yes, that's way lame.

but matt, i always thought your stance on this issue of lifting like this was "if you want to be lame and steal, go ahead, because you'll just have my old ideas, and not my ability to create new cool things". it's the community and functionality that you've poured yourself and your time into, and no so much the design, isn't it?

or maybe my brain is just mis-processing past threads (and i'm sure there are more, but i just can't find them quickly with the search) on site design theft here on mefi.

but you feel how you feel, and only you can know how you feel...
posted by mmanning at 3:21 PM on March 29, 2001


Hello, I am immediately posting again. Yet there are dozens of posts inbetween this post and my previous one. Golly.

I have just seen the google cache -- it appears the site isn't down, just stoned.
posted by holloway at 3:23 PM on March 29, 2001



I think Mark might be behind this- that cryptic statement regarding his hosting bill, and his idea. j/k
posted by TuxHeDoh at 3:23 PM on March 29, 2001


they only took down the front page - clicking a page from the google cache - or presumably following a bookmark or something - leads you right back to that familiar blue design...http://123cheaphosting.com/plan.html
posted by judith at 3:24 PM on March 29, 2001


Geez, you MeFi people are all the same! (Generous and rightfully protective of Matt's hard work, that is.)

I don't know about y'all, but this was just the pants-kick reminder I needed to finally head over to Amazon and put a little change in the "Help MeFi" kitty. Join me?
posted by bradlands at 3:24 PM on March 29, 2001


I witnessed an /images directory being deleted image by image a minute ago. I was able to access content from within the directory one minute and then they began dissapearing. It looks like they're completely wiping the site clean. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
posted by MarkBakalor at 3:26 PM on March 29, 2001


I guess when I said k5, i should have said someone's k5 diary. Still, good stuff.
posted by dcodea at 3:27 PM on March 29, 2001


interesting, judith. at 3pm the top page and the html tag reference were both 403.

now the latter is up again. (wait: back down.)

looks like they're trying to pull a fast one? or trying to decide whether to do so? or reading this thread to see if they can stay ahead of us? (forget it guys, pay up, keep it down, and go into another business.)

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:29 PM on March 29, 2001


we've moved from 403s to 404s.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:31 PM on March 29, 2001


This is fantastic.
The netwrench site is getting absolutely pounded. The main content area isn't even coming up for me.

Oh, if only I could get 4800 people to leap to my defense.

(I'd probably have to do something worthwhile for that to happen, though, so I'm shit out of luck for the time being.)
posted by liquidgnome at 3:33 PM on March 29, 2001


Here's a screenshot for anyone that missed it.

but matt, i always thought your stance on this issue of lifting like this was...

Yeah, it was, with the thinking that someone would steal my personal site design, and use it on their personal site (as I have seen 90% of theft so far), but when someone's making money off your ideas, it's completely different.

But like you said, I can't really explain why that is, it's just the way I feel about this one.
posted by mathowie at 3:35 PM on March 29, 2001


and the resolution? they still owe you some money for however long that site was up. donate it to charity, I don't care, but they owe you.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:44 PM on March 29, 2001


this isn't simply about being "protective of matt's work" either...i know a lot of us make our living off of our ideas and the execution of those ideas, and they shouldn't be stolen, Period. A personal site stealing ideas sucks, a commercial site stealing is Stealing for monetary gain. Not the time for Matt to hold back punches. Not at all. Its not being greedy, or breaking some great spirit of net-brotherhood.

Matt...this thread is going to get way out of hand, you might want to just keep us updated with a note in the side-bar.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2001


anapestic: I thought ParisParamus was asking why both of Pnevares' links point to the same place.

zoinks, my bad. i meant: this one and this other one. apologies.
posted by pnevares at 3:50 PM on March 29, 2001


Re: Longest Thread Ever; considering MetaFilter is 1/50 the size of Slashdot, this is roughly equivalent to a 7,500-comment posting there. And I don't think *that's* ever happened, not even with the Scientology furor from a couple weeks back.
posted by darukaru at 3:55 PM on March 29, 2001


Damn, I was out all day and missed Metafilter devolving into a mindless, hateful mob.
posted by frenetic at 3:56 PM on March 29, 2001


Hey I think we're about to beat the TiVo thread!!
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 3:58 PM on March 29, 2001


Umm, I'm from Ohio, and to be honest, yes we are jerks.
posted by davidM at 4:00 PM on March 29, 2001


This post ties the tivo thread - just need one more... ;)
posted by kokogiak at 4:03 PM on March 29, 2001


Ladies and gentlemen: The MeFi Effect is born.
posted by owillis at 4:04 PM on March 29, 2001


one more! (damn, too slow)
posted by smeat at 4:05 PM on March 29, 2001


I guess now Matt knows how Metallica feels.
posted by crunchland at 4:05 PM on March 29, 2001


Dammit owillis, don't make stuff that color if it's not a link. You confooshed my feeble brain. ;)
posted by frykitty at 4:05 PM on March 29, 2001


Yeah. owillis... I clicked for nothing. Sheesh.

As for the actual issue at hand, I hope 123 is feeling the pain. Something tells me, though, that they were suckered by their designer. Nevertheless and notwithstanding... blah blah blah.

- v
posted by silusGROK at 4:26 PM on March 29, 2001


Don't let them weasel out Matt. Go big or go home.
posted by a3matrix at 4:37 PM on March 29, 2001


I don't know, if it is the designer's doing, cheaphosting123 should have some documentation to that effect. and the designer is the culprit here, if that is the case.

if it really is the designer's doing, perhaps matt and cheaphosting123 should bring a suit together against the designer. designers who do this are preying on the business community at the expense of other designers. it's wrong, and they shouldn't flourish at the expense of everyone else.

I'll be interested in the facts once they come out. it's important to place blame where it belongs, though.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 4:42 PM on March 29, 2001


I guess now Matt knows how Metallica feels.

Actually I was thinking there isn't a direct comparision to napster, it'd be more like Lars waking up one day and seeing a commercial for Charmin bath tissue featuring "Master of Puppets" in the background.

I can almost hear Mr. Whipple now:

"Master of Puppets I'm pulling your strings twisting your mind and smashing your dreams....now who's been squeezing the m*therf*#@kin' charmin?!"

And for the record, they haven't gotten back to me since I replied to their first email.
posted by mathowie at 4:43 PM on March 29, 2001


i didn't take the metallica analogy, since everyone that sees the mp3 sees Metallica - Master Of Puppets.mp3. there was no credit given to Matt here.
posted by pnevares at 4:46 PM on March 29, 2001


I just moved my pointer over the evil fake link to see if it turned into a little hand. And it didn't.
posted by davidgentle at 4:54 PM on March 29, 2001


mathowie:waking up one day and seeing a commercial for Charmin bath tissue featuring "Master of Puppets" in the background.

If I got three wishes, that would be one of them.
posted by jennyb at 4:58 PM on March 29, 2001


ok, so they got back to me. They've taken the site down and we won't be seeing my design on their site ever again.
posted by mathowie at 5:07 PM on March 29, 2001


*chuckle* I saw a hosting company site somewhere that copied Microsoft's site... I can't remember the URL, though.
posted by SpecialK at 5:11 PM on March 29, 2001


and the licensing fee for the time it was up will be....? :)
posted by rebeccablood at 5:11 PM on March 29, 2001


Oh yeah, I guess you're right. This is nothing like Metallica & Napster... Metallica actually lost money. Matt hasn't lost anything, really.
posted by crunchland at 5:15 PM on March 29, 2001


Demand, as a condition of $ettlement (among$t other$), that a statement of apology be sent, and a disclaimer posted on their site.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:21 PM on March 29, 2001


Ripping off MeFi's design would be a great way for any spammer or even--*GASP*--"Government Authorities" to get a fairly comprehensive list of every member's email and IP address. Wonder if anyone's tried that over at Slashdot... Hehe....
posted by fooljay at 5:22 PM on March 29, 2001


nader.
posted by rebeccablood at 5:28 PM on March 29, 2001


Oh yeah, I guess you're right. This is nothing like Metallica & Napster... Metallica actually lost money. Matt hasn't lost anything, really.

You're right crunchland, I should just shut the hell up and move on. You're exactly fucking right.
posted by mathowie at 5:32 PM on March 29, 2001


yeah. metallica lost money all right, given that its likely they have never seen 90% of the actual revenue generated by thier product. but that wasn't napster's doing - that happened when they signed everything over to the RIAA and the labels. lars is a whining, mewling hypocrite. matt's a regular guy with a cool website. there really is no comparison.
posted by quonsar at 6:04 PM on March 29, 2001


Well, they DO have similar hairstyles:)
posted by schlomo at 6:09 PM on March 29, 2001


Matt Howie should take you to court.

heh, Howie.

Since it was in the google cache, how long had it been up anyway?
posted by jdiaz at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2001


jdiaz: the current google cache looks to be from the end of january. it has probably been up for longer than that though.
posted by pnevares at 7:18 PM on March 29, 2001


Matt, I'm disappointed in you. You of all people should know the rules about self-blogging. ;)
posted by solistrato at 7:27 PM on March 29, 2001


I can't believe a reply of mine was in the first ten comments of the longest ever MeFi thread and my post was about 1337. I feel sick.
posted by norm at 7:31 PM on March 29, 2001


the netsol record indicates that the record was updated in november 2000, which I suspect is when the design firm got involved.

so it seems likely that the site has been up since at least the beginning of this year.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 7:45 PM on March 29, 2001


"Matt Howie should take you to court."

"heh, Howie. "


Whoopsie. I mean Haughey. Really I did. They're phonetically similar, see?

Bah.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:11 PM on March 29, 2001


If/when we hit 200 posts, do we all get free tacos for the day?
posted by Hankins at 8:20 PM on March 29, 2001


Geez, stay off Metafilter for one day . . .
posted by jennaratrix at 8:29 PM on March 29, 2001


The comparison made between Matt vs. 123hosting and Metallica vs. Napster isn't fair, for several reasons.

Usually, the title of an mp3 credits the artist for his creative process and hard work. Usually, bootlegged mp3s are not used to make money for a business without the knowledge of the artist. And a band who gives away music can tour and sell t-shirts, but here Matt's getting no promotion or gain of any kind (beyond the impassioned support of the comminuty).

I hope Matt and Metafliter get a plump settlement out of this. And I feel a little sorry for 123Hosting for being so foolish, especially if they were "victimized" by a renegade designer. That designer could be in this room right now.

Hmmm.....

Man, what a great thread. I love you guys.
posted by sixfoot6 at 8:40 PM on March 29, 2001


What a riot this has been--accomplished NO work at my law firm today. This thread should be preserved. I also called two people I know about writing an article on the day's events. Nominations for funniest contribution? I'll go with

"Hey, guys, wait a sec! These folks have pretty decent rates! posted by johnnydark at 1:46 PM PST on March 29"

By the way, as non-Web designer (but not like that site...) how do you get formatted text in a post?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:51 PM on March 29, 2001


ParisParamus: how do you get formatted text in a post?

<b>for bold</b>

<i>for italics</i>

remember to close your tags!

one who sometimes forgets, and boy is it embarrassing,
rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 9:17 PM on March 29, 2001


I HATE Matthew Lesko!

Sorry I was a bit late, just had to get that out :)
posted by samsara at 9:27 PM on March 29, 2001


Also the ctrl-shift-b and ctrl-shift-t shortcuts noted below the comment box. And as a resident of Columbus, I hereby volunteer to drive out to Worthington & beat these guys up..
posted by zempf at 9:28 PM on March 29, 2001


..and since I just posted the 199th comment, I might as well make this one comment 200. Go me.
posted by zempf at 9:29 PM on March 29, 2001


props to everyone who defended matt.
posted by bwg at 9:35 PM on March 29, 2001


we still need to find out if it was the hosting company or the designer or both.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 9:37 PM on March 29, 2001


we still need to find out if it was the hosting company or the designer or both.

I don't think its really our (discluding Matt, of course) job or place to look into it. Just my opinion.
posted by howa2396 at 9:50 PM on March 29, 2001


dang, rebecca, you sure are out to get their, um, blood. (sorry, I know you probably get that all the time, but I couldn't help myself)

matt, have you gotten an email from netwrench yet? I googled netwrench.net, and a name popped up: Chris Noble (his email address is his first name at netwrench.net). Of course, now that netwrench has been mentioned on MeFi, any searches by prospective clients is going to bring this thread up...
posted by lia at 10:00 PM on March 29, 2001


ROFLMAO! I find this whole thing rather amusing. You all take yourselves way too seriously! Lighten up dahlings!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 10:04 PM on March 29, 2001


Chris Noble is the person I've spoken with, and yeah, I'd love to know who the "designer" was.
posted by mathowie at 10:17 PM on March 29, 2001


At the risk of being the only voice of dissension on Everyone's Favorite MetaFilter Thread, perhaps what we've done here as a community isn't necessarily such a good thing. The hosting company (or the designer of the site...it is still unclear who is at fault here) was wrong to take Matt's design, and Matt had a right to be upset (and not just a right to be upset...a right to be really pissed off) about it, but was it necessary to bombard them with 200 angry, irrational emails? The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime (they only needed to be punched once, and we knocked them out in the first round...and then kept beating on them for 11 more rounds while they lay unconscious on the mat)...and the mob mentality exhibited here is a little alarming.

One of the reasons Slashdot is not effective anymore as a community (even with the karma/moderation stop gap measures they've employed) is the /. mob...the people that post things without thinking, flame people without really considering what they are doing, and just blindly going along with the Micro$oft sucks!/Linux rules! no matter what.

It seems a shame to define the "MetaFilter Effect" as an angry mob high on their own power sending out hundreds of unfairly vitriolic emails to someone who has injured one of our own, when there are so many more positive things that happen here. MeFi, at its best, is a place for people to meet and talk about issues important to them in an open, frank, and inviting environment, a place where people get exposed to new viewpoints and ideas, a place of sharing knowledge with each other. Wouldn't it be better if the MetaFilter Effect referred to one of those things instead?
posted by jkottke at 10:24 PM on March 29, 2001


DOGPILE ON JASON!!!!
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 10:30 PM on March 29, 2001


Amen Brother!!! You said exactly what I would've said if I wasn't too lazy to type it all out. Thank you!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 10:30 PM on March 29, 2001


jkottke, you SUCK!

Get him!
posted by luke at 10:32 PM on March 29, 2001


jkottke, you would have a point if the ripoff wasn't so total, and Metafile wasn't non-profit. This is just so extreme a situation that "Going nuclear" with words and e-mails is totally appropriate. This is a special case.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:40 PM on March 29, 2001


jason, while certainly there was a pile-on here, it's clear that the "first blow" wasn't enough to make the point. matt's email was met with "an apology and an offer to buy the look" and a flat refusal to take down the site. there's no way to know for sure, but I suspect that if it weren't for this community, he wouldn't have gotten any action at all without hiring a lawyer (which he still should do).

lia: dang, rebecca, you sure are out to get their, um, blood.

actually, lia, my concern is to find out whether the hosting company is just as much an innocent party to this as matt is. it would be really tragic if they honestly didn't know about metafilter and were duped by the designer.

but that site had stolen from a few places around the web. I don't think they should get away with it, no. that's just my sense of injustice kicking (some would say knee-jerking) in.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 11:47 PM on March 29, 2001


I agree with rcb. I don't understand the negative light you are trying to shine jk. It has very little to do with irrational mob action and more to do with a community sticking up for a member.

I consider every email a expression of community and while some may be a little more vulgar then others the heart is in the right place. The fight analogy doesn't hold. It's just a way to let them know that quite a few people are out there watching out for each other.
posted by john at 12:33 AM on March 30, 2001


Mefreeping?
posted by lagado at 12:45 AM on March 30, 2001


i can't believe people are still talking about this. as though this is such a distinctive and atypical design. how funny.
posted by marisa jo mitchell at 1:10 AM on March 30, 2001


Strangely, it appears that 123 Hosting has undergone a transformation/merger overnight.

Marisa, I'd be willing to argue that Metafilter's design is both distinctive and atypical, but that's not the issue. If the page in question just "sort of" looked like MeFi, then I'd agree with you. But looking at this screenshot, there's just no way the designer came upon it by accident. It's direct theft.

Jason, I don't think the "MetaFilter effect" as here exhibited has much to do with a mob mentality. A lot of users grew excited about this because the ripoff was so obviously a direct copy. I'm still laughing, looking at the screenshot, imagining someone deciding that straight theft was their best option. A few of the emails sent may have been a bit vulgar, but they weren't immature or out-of control. As rebecca said, the site needed more than one stern email.

It's just nice to have a laugh at someone else's expense for a good cause. There are always plenty of threads for the sharing of viewpoints and knowledge.

The Metafilter Effect is a complex, ever-evolving process. Scientists shall study our community for eons.
posted by sixfoot6 at 2:18 AM on March 30, 2001


Re: Metafilter effect? bile effect more like

Re: JasonK, no you're wrong - bile is good... everyone needs a jew!
posted by holloway at 3:09 AM on March 30, 2001


Jason: Was it necessary to "bomb" them with 200 emails? No, of course not. Was it a good thing? I think so. While Matt had originally asked people to email them in his original post, no one was forcing anyone to do it, for one thing. But if I were an untrustworthy business and received one email about my site's design, I would only put a certain weight with it. 200? That'd really force me to reevaluate. Safety in numbers, my friend.

On the other end of things, this is clearly something that impacted the community, and the community responded. No one did any permanent damage that I can see.

The MeFi Effect you mention of? I don't think it's real. I have been participating more and more in good discussions here, and good debates. I think that others are having the same experience, and MeFi still does offer a solid forum. Sometimes you just have to look for it a bit deeper, that's all.

Anyway, I think it's fascinating overall how this thread has evolved. It really exhibits the much-ballyhooed "internet time" everyone speaks of. Marvelous.
posted by hijinx at 4:24 AM on March 30, 2001


man, that was fun. who are we getting today? heck, it's friday -- we could probably meta-mob a couple websites.
posted by bliss322 at 4:49 AM on March 30, 2001


No, the funniest posts are where people refuse to see that theft (web design) is the same as theft (napster).

Kettle to pot, "Don't call me black!"
posted by Mick at 5:40 AM on March 30, 2001


blisss322, what was that Twilight Zone episode? The Monsters of Elm Street? You know the one, where at the end the neighbors are rushing from house to house rioting because they think they're the aliens?
posted by darren at 5:51 AM on March 30, 2001


MeFi, at its best, is a place for people to meet and talk about issues important to them in an open, frank, and inviting environment, a place where people get exposed to new viewpoints and ideas, a place of sharing knowledge with each other. Wouldn't it be better if the MetaFilter Effect referred to one of those things instead?

Um...so, what should we have done instead? Set up an IRC channel and invited key members from the hosting company, and had a moderated discussion with them on the ethics of site design and copying in the 21st century?

This hosting company made a blatant copy of the design, changing text elements but keeping every graphic, design, and layout element. Then not only did they not give Matt credit, but they claimed copyright to it. Of course there was an outcry.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:01 AM on March 30, 2001


No, the funniest posts are where people refuse to see that theft (web design) is the same as theft (napster).

Really? I think what's funny is that you can't see the difference.

The difference lies in giving credit. If I'm trading Metallica songs on Napster, I'm not claiming that they're my own original compositions. This hosting company not only stole Matt's design, but claimed they owned the copyright to it.

If there was a big 'ol link on the bottom of their page that said "Thanks to Metafilter for inspiring the design" instead of a copyright notice, I'd still be annoyed at them for not asking first, but at least they're admitting they copied it.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:06 AM on March 30, 2001


The funniest posts are the ones who clearly can't differentiate between swapping electricity for personal use and swapping electricity for corporate use.

The difference is pretty simple. I'm not going to earn money by making a copy of a song. I may save money, and I may end up buying a CD as a result, but I don't get revenue.

By stealing a good design, you attract customers and earn revenue. If that weren't the case, we'd still be looking at corporate sites that use <HR> tags and default fonts, as opposed to corporate sites that use imagery and flash animations to attract customers.

Say I were to burn a CD full of MP3s I downloaded for free from a site like MP3.com and sell that CD for a profit. That would be akin to stealing a free community site's design and using it for a corporate site.

Do you see the distinction?

Stupid crunch time, making me miss all the good stuff.

And Jason, I don't think it's a bad thing, either. It's a community that's banding together to destroy an opponent through words. Sure, some of them are harsh, but it's an excellent sign that "virtual" communities aren't virtual.

Saying "mob mentality" is acurate to a degree, but a bunch of e-mails are a far cry from a group of villagers with torches and pitch forks.

I don't think it's right to complain about the supposed dying personal web - and let me point out that I can't recall any instances where you specifically have said such things Jason, but it is a reasonably common concern - and then be concerned that when defending it we make some people feel bad because they got mean e-mails.

There's strength in the personal web. This demonstrates that quite well. A small community site (compared to the number of Internet users out there we're pretty minor) can still have influence over corporate sites. It's an important demonstration, and some of the more clueless corporations out there could stand to learn that fact.
posted by cCranium at 7:16 AM on March 30, 2001


sixfoot6: 123hosting and 123cheaphosting appear to be different companies entirely. For one thing, the domains are registered to different entities. For another, well...one's really cheap. ;-)
posted by bradlands at 8:27 AM on March 30, 2001


:: gasp :: Oh my goodness, now they're stealing from Jakob Nielsen!!!
:: bwahahahaha ::

Sorry. Couldn't resist! :D (Here's Jakob Nielsen's site for the newer among us...)
posted by metrocake at 8:30 AM on March 30, 2001


[kottke]: The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime (they only needed to be punched once, and we knocked them out in the first round...and then kept beating on them for 11 more rounds while they lay unconscious on the mat)...and the mob mentality exhibited here is a little alarming.

Why am I not surprised to see you wagging your finger at the MeFi crowd? The animus you've displayed against the folks here has been readily apparent for a while on your site, and that's fine, really, this isn't a love-it-or-leave-it message, but at the same time . . . if this place bothers you so much, why endure the pain?

As for your argument above, it's certainly handy to pretend that we were inflicting actual violence. Of course, angry emails are about as far from actual violence as one can get. And apart from a few curses, nobody even came close to crossing the line (I imagine the slashdot crowd would have threatened the company with machine-driven impalings).

Matt explicitly asked us--patrons of his wonderful site--for action. We responded, I think appropriately, via web communication, not bomb threats, and it was effective. For this you want to tar us with a "mob mentality" brush? Because we took glee in the fact that, as a group voice, we were effective? Please.

I'm getting more than a little tired of your self-conciously knee-jerk contrarian stance about a place that has clearly been polluted by "too many people," as I take it. If you wanted Matt to make this a private treehouse where only the people you liked could play, that's fine, but it's not what happened.
posted by Skot at 8:56 AM on March 30, 2001


jason: my sense is that there likely were closer to 25-40 emails rather than 200 - but yes, totally agreed on the deleterious effect of the slashdot mob.

holloway: what kind of weird troll is 'everyone needs a jew!'?
posted by judith at 10:38 AM on March 30, 2001


Giving credit for a design or song may not be the payment that the owner wishes for.

The parallels are doing things with something that doesn't belong to you against the wishes of those who it does belong to.
posted by Mick at 10:48 AM on March 30, 2001


Amen, Skot!!! (228)
posted by darren at 10:51 AM on March 30, 2001


Doh! (229, 230, 231!)
posted by darren at 10:52 AM on March 30, 2001


If Jason Kottke has such a problem with Metafilter, why doesn't he pack up his bags and go?
posted by owillis at 10:57 AM on March 30, 2001


If I were Jason Kottke, I would say "Because I was here first".

I am ambivalent. Mostly I wanted to have a post of my own in this super sized thread.
posted by thirteen at 11:03 AM on March 30, 2001


While I believe the "punishment" did fit "the crime" (some of the language in messages quoted here was a bit salty, but...), I'm can't find a place where Matt explicity asked us for help as Skot and others have indicated above. Granted I came about 122 comments late to the thread, but all I see is his link to the site, not a call to action. (OK, an implicit one perhaps, but certainly not explicit). Did miss a rewrite or something?
posted by bradlands at 11:06 AM on March 30, 2001


Will the last person on this thread please turn out the lights?
posted by darren at 11:07 AM on March 30, 2001


And, for what it's worth, I think Jason raises a well-made and valid question, worthy of thoughtful discussion rather than "take your toys and go home" snipes. Questioning authority, questioning community, challenging us to be better and more responsible -- others than Jason have done it from time to time here and elsewhere, and if this community is to mature further, others must continue within and without.

We have a good thing going, but don't dismiss out of hand those among us who think it could be even better.
posted by bradlands at 11:13 AM on March 30, 2001


brad: yes, you did miss a re-write. the initial note asked for the community to email 123cheeaphosting.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:15 AM on March 30, 2001


I thought it was very, very clever of Jason to bring up a new salient point just as this thread was about to die. Though I have no doubts about his sincerity, I do wonder if he isn't also aiming for 300.
posted by frykitty at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2001


I'd like to discuss the "mob" aspect of this further. what is the distinction between a mob and a group of concerned individuals voicing their outrage about a situation? did we cross the line? where is that line drawn?

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 11:22 AM on March 30, 2001


I've never felt closer to you guys <sniff>. Design firm, hosting company, ISP -- Kill them all! (Seriously though, wouldn't it be cool if there was some automatic trigger for extra-long threads: Hit >150 and the link to the thread gets put at the top of the side 'blog. Much as with The Deepleap closure announcement, (45 comments, but that was six months ago), or the Pyra layoffs (178 comments). I would say these are other instances of the MeFi effect -- collective "me too" mourning.
posted by rschram at 11:27 AM on March 30, 2001


Owillis, you didn't think the drinking game idea was funny? I did.

'Course, I'm drunk right now.
posted by amanda at 11:40 AM on March 30, 2001


Nah, it felt a little "Indie Rock Pete-ish" to me
posted by owillis at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2001


If Jason Kottke has such a problem with Metafilter, why doesn't he pack up his bags and go?

MeFi is very big in the 3Lee+ blogging community. To attack it is to bring attention to yourself.

Doh! (229, 230, 231!)

You counted individual replies?
posted by aaron at 11:43 AM on March 30, 2001



Is anyone still reading?

Let me preface my words by saying that I've never taking a psychology class...
Nevertheless, it seems to me that mob mentality is inseparable from human nature. It's how humans behave when thinking and consequences are both suspended. Mob mentality is how we act when we don't give a shit.

Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that MeFi will ever be a perfect community of free expression and equality. Like political societies, it will wax and wane, probably at the accelerated pace of 'Internet time'.

To really delve into this idea of a virtual society, let us consider to what extent do we (MeFi participants) own MeFi. Is this Matt's problem or ours? Maybe Jason Kottke has a point that in bombarding 123cheaphosting with emails, we acted out of loyalty rather than reason. That's like a soldier who signs up for the army out of loyalty to his country, rather than because the cause of the war is just.

But maybe that's human nature...
posted by ktheory at 12:16 PM on March 30, 2001


I'm tempted to just shake my head and move on, but ...

MeFi is very big in the 3Lee+ blogging community. To attack it is to bring attention to yourself.

So Jason's criticism was just guerilla marketing? A promotion? An attempt to drive more traffic to his own site?

Yeah, I guess that all makes sense.
posted by luke at 12:37 PM on March 30, 2001


Hmm, the sideblog refers to 123hosting.com (with what looks like a zwnet default startup page), but we're discussing 123cheaphosting. Beware of friendly fire.
posted by swell at 12:39 PM on March 30, 2001


oops, swell, my bad. I messed up the name.
posted by mathowie at 1:39 PM on March 30, 2001


judith: ENAJ - it means that people get excited and happy and like being part of a mob with a common hatred. Everyone needs a jew!
posted by holloway at 2:13 PM on March 30, 2001


It's not a very *good* phrase, is it?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:18 PM on March 30, 2001


no, it's not.

if we must use such terms, I propose something more community specific.

while it's tempting to use "everyone needs a 123cheaphosting" or even "everyone needs a kottke", in the interest of respect for others, I volunteer to be the poor schmuck whose name is besmirched every time someone needs someone else to pick on.

"everyone needs a rebecca"

everyone sing along.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 2:25 PM on March 30, 2001


I saw you in that leather outfit... can I get two?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:29 PM on March 30, 2001


holloway: i figured that was probably the intended meaning. but it's also fairly unpleasant in that usage. does "Jew" always have to equal "target"?
posted by judith at 3:00 PM on March 30, 2001


I like "everybody needs a Frankenstein" better. Rah! Fire bad!
posted by frykitty at 3:04 PM on March 30, 2001


judith: Apologies if I offended you. It was a stupid throw-away joke about THE JEWISH CONSPIRACY and how they dine on babies and control the world supply of Edward ScissorhandsTM action figures. I wasn't too clear on that.

(actually, no - a stupid throw-away kinda joke playing up and mocking the racist role, acting like there is a conspiracy - when we all know it's really the gays (who are actually Aliens) doing that. Lucky I have my tin-foil hat on, eh?)

I mean really - do I have to explain these things? OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!

(heh heh heh)
posted by holloway at 3:22 PM on March 30, 2001


holloway, really.

I see no need to discount judith's very measured reaction to that phrase.

I find the phrase offensive and your response moreso.

please just call us nazis if you mean that. or rebeccas. or stupid rebeccas.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:34 PM on March 30, 2001


Godwin's Law.
posted by mathowie at 4:55 PM on March 30, 2001


Wow, for a while there, I thought the comment counter was in hex and wouldn't count above FF.
posted by OneBallJay at 5:10 PM on March 30, 2001


Jkottke's response, I think, springs less from thinking that there's something wrong with MetaFilter in general, or in the people who post here in particular, but more from a general revulsion of the way the whole thing was presented.

Site designs (Jason's, for example) get ripped off all the time. Usually it's not impossible to get the thief to understand the error of his ways and to change it back. If this were a for-profit site, lawyers might have been needed to protect the integrity of the design. However, it's not a for-profit site, and the only power MetaFilter really has is in its loyal members. Was it necessary to use them at this time? Not sure, Matt knows best whether a few emails back and forth would have solved the problem, or if the group attack was necessary.

Was it necessary to people to pledge allegiance and post their letters to the company? Not really, and this is what stirred Kottke, I think. He has a point about the general tone, although I think it comes more from pride in this site than anything else, and that's really not a bad thing.
posted by chaz at 5:54 PM on March 30, 2001


Another thought: Why doesn't MeFi become a hosting company? It already has the design ready to go...

seriously though there are a lot of people here who would probably switch to MeFi hosting, as they know the people behind it and the general ethic of quality that seems to go with the site.
posted by chaz at 5:56 PM on March 30, 2001


Being offended is an intelectual weakness.
That's all i have to say right now. Thanks.
posted by davidgentle at 8:53 PM on March 30, 2001


That sounds like my recent Robert Wilson quote.
posted by john at 12:06 AM on March 31, 2001


misspelling "intellectual" is an intellectual weakness. :)
posted by lia at 4:58 AM on March 31, 2001


A: never read Robert Anton Wilson. Sorry.
B: sticking to a particular spelling of a given word because They told you to is an intellectual weakness. And I fucked up. Darn.
posted by davidgentle at 1:25 PM on March 31, 2001


<Click>
Lights are off...
posted by fooljay at 9:21 PM on April 5, 2001


Goodnight!
posted by onegoodmove at 6:27 PM on February 28, 2002


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