Why did you have to shut down Netdisaster?!

First of all, it's a heartache to me shutting it down (so no need calling me "asshole" or whatever – unless you really like calling me that, of course): basically, it's eBay who got the site shut down, not me. What happened is that they complained to my hosting provider that Netdisaster was phishing at eBay users. Well, they are THE eBay, you know, one of the internet giants. So my hosting provider shut down my account.

It was the second time Netdisaster got such a complaint (the first time was from Yahoo!).

Don't forget to read the song suggestion by a Netdisaster user about eBay.

So what is this 'phishing' thing?

The Internet, just like the world itself, is full of people trying to make money. Some of them try to make money in dishonest and illegal ways. Phishing is when you design a web page that looks just like some other site's web page – say, eBay's login page, for example. Then you send e-mails pretending you're eBay and asking the receiver to go to your fake eBay page and login with their secret ID (login and password).

Since you are the owner of the page (and not eBay), you will collect all user data from this form. When you have collected any eBay user's ID, you can then login to the real eBay site and steal money from the users, or whatever (I'm not an eBay user myself).

So, all internet giants being threatened with this kind of fraud, they have become really concerned about phishing and they have phishing agencies hunting down every single phishing page. When they happen to stumble upon a Netdisaster link, what they see is a Netdisaster URL (http://www.netdisaster.com/...) displaying an eBay page.

Of course, it's the very purpose of Netdisaster choosing a website and targeting it with some (virtual) "weapon".

Although Netdisaster has no way of collecting user data in this process, although Netdisaster was not built to collect any sensitive information, although there might have been a giant spray can over the target-page, the phishing agency still thinks it's a phishing page.

After the Yahoo! incident, I had worked on Netdisaster scripts so that users could not send disaster URLs anymore. That should have prevented Netdisaster from its phishing effect. So I was quite confident. But it seems I failed on this point, since eBay based its complaint on a specific URL.

So what now?

After receving so much fan mail, and support from hundreds of disappointed users (most of them kids), I decided I just couldn't call it quits. That's why I released a desktop application, that works more or less like the former online engine.

Besides, if you have your own site or blog, you might also be interested using the Netdisaster-Yourself feature. Give it a try if you wish...

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