Feeds

Third Voice slammed for defacing websites

11 June 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.