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.