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AOL defends itself against the Teledesic shysters

I guess America Online finally got fed up with plaster graffiti all over its Web site by video gamers using SegaSoft's Web Vengeance software.

    I guess America Online finally got fed up with plaster graffiti all over its Web site by video gamers using SegaSoft's Web Vengeance software. (Actually, Web Vengeance lets users deface a copy of Web sites, not the original.) I've reported that SegaSoft, a division of Sega, was hoping to inspire a budding Jean-Michel Basquiat or Jackson Pollock to "interpret" www.aol.com, offering a $1000 prize for the most creative work. Now, it seems AOL has installed special "defense software" that prevents truant Web avengers from hitting its site with the SegaSoft weapon.

    "While attacks on their home page are blocked by cookie sheets and bulletproof vests, it's still possible to aim and fire a fast egg to get past them--and the rest of their pages are vulnerable," Gary Griffiths, president of SegaSoft, reassured users in a statement. SegaSoft has awarded AOL itself a thousand clams for rushing so quickly to its own defense, a nice perk but not enough to make a dent in the $155 million the company lost last quarter.

    Microsoft isn't defending its site from Web Vengeance though, kids. The Redmondians, however, are retaliating against Netscape's claim that it shipped a million servers in 1996. In a document featured prominently on the Microsoft home page, the Redmondians try to debunk Netscape's figures, while praising the progress of its own Internet Information Server by citing Fortune 500 companies that are using the server.

    Could Microsoft be exaggerating the success of IIS? It turns out that only four of the more than dozen companies it mentions are actually running IIS on their public Web sites, according to Netcraft's famous server spying site. To be fair, Microsoft says that the companies could be running IIS on their intranets, into which Netcraft cannot peek. I guess we'll never know for sure.

    Bill Gates may be making in roads in the Web server market, but his ambitious Teledesic satellite project is still on the ground. Still, that hasn't stopped some Net shysters from trying to sign up unsuspecting users to help make money off the project. Someone has been spamming Usenet with a phony press release that urges people to sign up to "receive additional information about the new service or...to be involved in the worldwide marketing" of Teledesic. The shysters don't ask for money up front, but they do mention that a $29 fee is required at some point to invest. Do you want my advice? Invest elsewhere. Invest some time into emailing me your rumors now. The dividends are great.