Feeds

Third Voice slammed for defacing websites

11 June 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

It was five years ago today... For those readers who enjoy collecting "bright ideas that never caught on", here's a really, really popular innovation from long-gone, completely unlamented Third Voice:

Third Voice slammed for defacing Web sites

By Tony Smith
Published Friday 11th June 1999 16:03 GMT

US software developer Third Voice has provoked the ire of Internet users and Webmasters by releasing software that allows Web surfers to share comments about Web sites. The problem is not necessarily that the Third Voice system is invasive, but that it allows anyone to add comments - such as spam - to a Web site without the permission of the site's owner.

Third Voice is a Windows-only browser plug-in that allows users to select text on a Web page and attach a comment, in the form of a pop-up note, to it. Other Third Voice users visiting the site see one or more icons on the page which signal the presence of comments. It's unlikely that the Third Voice software actually modifies a page's code directly - it's more likely that Third Voice itself maintains a database of URLs and connected comments. That said, the effect - at least for other Third Voice users - is much the same: and it's not necessarily what the page designer intended.

That's the issue for Webmasters, and some have argued that it's a violation of copyright (a difficult point to argue since apparently no copyright material is reproduced without authorisation). One Web site has even been set up to promote that idea that Third Voice's software should be banned. The site is full of example of comments obscuring original Web sites, though this isn't what a Third Voice user would initially see on loading the site. It's also interesting that the Say No To Third Voice site is provided by an ISP that throws up a window containing unwanted advertising - so the campaigners are to a degree guilty of the very crime they accuse Third Voice of.

However, the site does at least provide a JavaScript for Webmasters keen to make some attempt to prevent Third Voice 'tampering'. Webmasters have a right to protect their property, but then users have a right to comment on those sites. Third Voice is unlikely to go away, but the real test will be how it is used. If users don't want to see the extra comments, they don't need to download the plug-in. And if, as seems likely, the service becomes dominated by spammers, many users may choose simply to throw away the plug-in.


Well, it may have looked like Third Voice was here to say, but it quickly slipped into obscurity to a fanfare of trumpets from webmasters worldwide. May it rest in peace. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.