Today was interesting to say the least (well yesterday now). I came back home from work at around half one for my lunch break. I did my usual e-mail check, site/forum check. All looking good some weird activity from some people on the Oblivion forums mainly people from another Oblivion website. Didn't take much notice and went to make a cup of tea.
Came back continued browsing over the web and stumbled upon my Oblivion topsite list which I setup a week or two ago. What did I find? "Could not connect to SQL database........" and so on. So I login to the server to check the database is up and running, it was. So I continued to hunt down the problem - login details to the SQL database had been changed. So I change them back and notice that all the links are totally broken. So I go grab the backups and restore the entire directory make sure it's all working, one thing I notice is one of the sites listed had been renamed to blablablabla, with remove as a description, not having time to deal with that I do a password change on all important areas of the site and download the logs, not having time to check them out before having to go back to work. My entire lunch wasted by this nonsense, I was obviously not in the best of moods.
Anyway I got home at around half six. Check to make sure it's still up. No. "Could not connect to SQL database........". So I upload the configuration files again, all back up and working. Within ten minutes it had changed back. Bingo, at least now I'd have a narrow time frame to check in the logs what was happening.
There it was someone accessing a private install script I had hidden away. Easy to sort. What was interesting was the IP address of the user(s) doing this. They match up with a certain forum posts from earlier. A quick lookup confirms my suspicions over who it was. One of the staff on a site competing with the Oblivion Portal the site that had been renamed blablablabla on the topsites list.
Now these guys have seem to of had it in for me right from the offset. They opened their doors a few weeks ago with a short interview with Bethesda, the developers of Oblivion, which I point out on my news page getting them most of their early traffic. I also add their link up on the contents bar and the links pages. A week or so later I setup the topsites. They join up within a few days and pull up in second.
All cool? No far from it. I get an e-mail from one of their staff going on about the Oblivion Portal "cheating" in the listings some how. I wasn't really sure what he was on about, English isn't his first language, he was going on about having the topsite code on all of my pages? How's that cheating? That's what you're supposed to do. So I just sent a polite e-mail back explaining how the system worked, I get an e-mail back in the same kind of tone as the first one, hardly nice language. Accusing me of cheating doesn't get my nicest side. I just choose to ignore it.
I also notice they were getting about 8 or so people, their staff mostly (as far as I can tell) to vote 1/5 for every other site on there and 5/5 for theirs. Over and over. However I decide to ignore it.
After a few days I get another e-mail from him. This time in extremely aggressive tone. Accusing me once again of cheating because I had a surge of hits from sending out a mail drop to some of the forum members. Sites obviously can't have traffic that is above their average can they? Of course not! So I must be cheating according to him. So once again I just ignore the tone of it and send another polite e-mail back, explaining to him that I sent a mail out to several hundred people going on about some of the new features on the site. What's even weirder is he said he had been visited the topsites page all day at least once every five minutes? Don't you have anything better to do? Seriously, there's hundreds of far more important and helpful things you could be doing with your life then pressing refresh over and over.
Anyway I get an e-mail back apologising, I send one back saying not to worry about it. This was a few days ago.
All was quiet until today when the above mentioned posts happened on the forums and the accessing of private areas of the website.
An example of one of the posts:
As we all see it as admins from [snipped] it is war. You asked for it, you just don't wanted to stop, so we will see how this is going to end.
Riiiight okay... Whatever you say.
They also have the nerve to personally attack the Oblivion Portal on both their website and the official Elder Scrolls boards. Why? Do they all have screws loose or something?
I've tried to bite my tongue over this, but this just needed to be said. Oh one more thing, any comments or e-mails from any of the mentioned website's staff are subject to be publically published as I see fit.