Would You Believe Feed-jacking Exists?

    November 30, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

No matter what kind of useful, interesting technology comes into existence, there’s always some piece of thieving criminal slime willing to steal it.

Poking around Memeorandum this evening turned up a bizarre topic: RSS feed hijacking. Colette Vogele blogged about how this happened to Erik Marcus:

I received an email from Erik Marcus, the podcaster responsible for Vegan.com and the “Erik’s Diner” podcasts. Erik informed me that his podcast’s RSS feed was “hijacked”. I was at first unclear on how this really happens, but he laid it out for me quite simply and is hoping to warn others who might have this happen to them.

So how the heck did this happen? Marcus elaborated in his email to Vogele:

RSS hijacking is different [from domain hijacking]. Most podcasters/bloggers are not technically savvy, and the technique used for hijacking their feeds doesn’t involve swiping passwords or overt illegal methods. Rather, it merely involves finding a target podcast, and creating your own unique URL for it on a website you control. You then point your URL to the RSS feed of the target podcast. Next, you do what it takes to make sure that as new podcast search engines come to market, the page each engine creates for your target podcast points to your URL instead of the podcast creator’s official URL.

Feed publishers and podcasters have to learn, unfortunately, to be more vigilant about keeping track of where their feeds appear online, and ensure they point to the correct URL and not that of a feedjacking scumbag instead.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.