A Mad Philosopher Banner Ad?!

Hey, check out this screen shot, paying close attention to the banner ad:

[Madphilosopher.ca Banner Ad]

I was browsing Slashdot one day, and I looked up at the banner ad and to my utter shock I saw the top of my own website! That sure threw me for a loop. What kind of practical joke was this? I mean, what was my website doing as a banner ad on Slashdot? I certainly didn’t order one.

It took me about 30 seconds to figure out what was going on. Basically, this surprise was an artifact of a strategy for eliminating banner ads, combined with the coincidence that my proxy server and web server were on the same machine. You see, I (or rather Bruce) had set the /etc/hosts file on my server to redirect requests for certain ad sites to point to, the local machine. So when the Slashdot page requested an ad from one of these sites, my desktop computer, via the proxy, looked for the ad on the machine that was hosting my website. Well, the top page for that web server just happens to be the Mad Philosopher website. And so that’s what got drawn.

I’m still surprised that this would occur. I didn’t know that the ad boxes could handle an entire HTML page. I just figured they would be image files or something. But, it happened.

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