How’s Your Neighborhood?

This morning I had an unpleasant experience.

I am going to be deliberately vague because I don’t want to single out the person involved.  Suffice to say that I have contacted the person privately and received a response that satisfied me.  So if you haven’t corresponded with me regarding this, I’m not talking about you.

With that being said, I have been working on building my network of indie writers and I visit a lot of indie writer’s websites.  This morning I was following links, going to a friend of a friend of a friend in that semi-random way that the internet encourages, and I ended up on the page of a writer and illustrator.  This person had a lot of content, both text and images, and some of the images were large and high-definition.

Anyway, I clicked from one link to another, and I thought I was going back to the person’s home page, when suddenly a popup window informed me that it was installing a new toolbar in my browser and setting my home page to a particular search engine and doing other stuff to my computer that I did not want done.

Well, as it happens I keep my malware/virus protection fairly up to date, and I was able to correct what had been done.  It took me some sweat, though, and frustration, and spending time running a virus scan when I’d rather be browsing the internet.  It was annoying.

Now, this person did not write the hijacker that tried to insinuate itself into my machine.  That was the web-hosting company.  However,  this person did sign up for a “free” web page without fully understanding how the company paid for its largess.

The point to this is that I think it’s important for us, as self-promoters, to be aware of what the companies that host our content are up to.  Personally, I use WordPress, Twitter, and FaceBook.  I am fairly confident about giving out links to my content.  (Yes, I realize that FaceBook is run by the elder ones and will steal your soul, but everybody does it.)

The response, by the way, that I received from the person whose site prompted this post, was illuminating.  The person used the toolbar and search engine that the site was trying to install, and didn’t realize that it was aggressive in pushing it on other people.  Now, it may be a very great site, but it’s not one that I chose to use, so I won’t be going back to domains under that company.  Which means that the author and illustrator won’t be getting my business, nor will I be linking to that site.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in On Promotion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How’s Your Neighborhood?

  1. Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere and commented:
    A great word of warning for indie authors networking and working to promote our books.

  2. ioniamartin says:

    Very informative and great advice, thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. Wow! Thanks for re-posting. Very helpful to be aware of such practices.

  4. Bastet says:

    Reblogged this on Bastet and Sekhmet and commented:
    Oh my…the hazards of Internet!

  5. Thanks for that word of warning, I use every link button provided by WordPress so people can forward any post they particularly like to their friends, etc.

    Since the purpose of my site is to promote New (to me) Authors, every reblog or forwarding of posts is a bonus for these authors.

    But I will monitor their use more carefully now.


  6. Dave Higgins says:

    Forced installation is a definitely a step to far.

    Unfortunately the prevalence of ad-blockers is polarising the website funding map, making aggressive methods more common: back in the days when ad-blockers were rare people who could not support a site entirely from selling their own product could gain funding with simple adverts; now it is an ever escalating war between getting browsers to visit a site and stopping sites from doing anything to a browser.

    As adverts on safe sites can contain odd code, ad-blockers are almost mandatory as part of a security solution so I am not sure if there is a way to stop the escalation now.

  7. ABE says:

    That sounds scary – is there any warning you can give about what NOT to click on?

    The thought that something – and in this case not an email attachment – can take over your computer, and cause you to spend lots of time repairing it, causes consternation.

    But I will be very much more careful now on what I click on other writers’ sites. Thanks for posting about the possibility, even if you are somehow precluded from giving more details. Or choose not to.

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