Can You Get Sued For Tracking Your Blog’s Uptime?
I would say the answer should be no. But some people think otherwise. Earlier this month, BlogFlux launched its uptime tracker, which was intended for bloggers to monitor their blog hosts’ uptime. Apparently, hosting company ISPHost.org felt that this was tantamount to an invasion of, or an attack on, their servers. They sent BlogFlux a cease and desist letter, as Ahmed cites at Tech Soapbox.
The latest one (in a long line of bizarre ones) comes from ISPhost.org. Yet another web hosting company out there (with what has to be one of the ugliest designs out there) sent us a nice little letter threatening to sue us. It was boilerplate: We are from XX, how dare you track us and attack our servers, cease or we will sue.’
I, for one, have experienced intermittent blog downtimes in the past. That was found out to have been caused by some nasty plugins on another blog that I share server space with (even if these were deactivated, the very presence of the scripts on the plugin folder was enough to attract attacks from malicious code and malicious hackers). But in this case, my blog hosting provider kindly worked with me and my fellow tenants in pinpointing the culprit. We were able to resolve the problem, but we were advised to be selective with the plugins we install.
So should hosting providers be worried about what you install on your blog? Yes, if they have reason to believe that these might cause harm to the server, or that you might be doing something illegal. But I think they should ask nicely. For instance, Ahmed correctly points out that he could very well be a client of the hosting company that sent him a C&D. And it’s just an uptime tracker, for crying out loud! BlogFlux just checks your blog 144 times a day (which should be light enough a load for any server). Sounds like the abovementioned hosting provider is afraid users might discover their services to be unreliable.
J. Angelo Racoma is a technology journalist for CMSWire and TFTS. A former editor at Splashpress Media, The Blog Herald and Performancing, he now does consultancy work through WorkSmartr.com. Follow him at racoma.net and on Twitter.
If I employ a staff member I think I have a right to know if they are working when I am out of the office. For me, the same goes for blog hosts. They are a service provided and I feel it is my right to check that the service they are providing is the one that they sold to me.
I’m pretty sure I’ve missed something here because I can’t, for the life of me, work out what isphost.org were complaining about?
Several hosting companies boast about high percentage uptime. How in the world is a customer supposed to verify they are getting exactly what they paid for? Take the hosting company’s word for it? I don’t think so. However, the other side of the story could have been that isphost.org might have seen this automated tracking as a DOS attack. Of course, their response to the tracking company indicates that was NOT the case. Lesson learned: if you were thinking about isphost.org as a possible hosting provider, forget it and keep on shopping.
It’s the only reason why they don’t like the service. More and more users would get familiarized with how their blogs and sites work under the hood which would make them re-evaluate whether they should switch hosts or not. Especially if they have been growing tired or sick of their hosts intermittent up-times.