Thursday, January 13, 2005

From Slashdot to RSS Effect?

Law professor Karl Lenz has disabled all the RSS feeds to his blog after, as he writes:
"found that a service named bloglines used 1.9 gigabytes of my bandwidth yesterday, placing it at the top of the list of visitors using the most.

That seems to happen by requesting the RSS feed for this blog every few seconds.

I am sorry to say that I am not able to deal with this kind of excessive use. I could start blocking services like that for this kind of behaviour that is quite close to a DOS attack on my server, but I would probably only run around in circles and never catch up with the threat.

Therefore, as I disabled comments before in reaction to abuse by comment spammers, I have now disabled all RSS feeds for this blog. I am sorry for everyone who used to read it that way, but I don't see any other way to keep bandwidth usage under control."
The strange thing is that as far as I can make out his blog has only 6 subscribers through Bloglines. 6 feeds consuming 1.9 gigabytes in a day? A ghost in the machine? And how many bytes is Bloglines then sucking out of Boing Boing with nearly 15,000 subscribers? Or out of Slashdot, with 8000 more? Are we going from Slashdot effect to RSS effect?

Both effects do have their similarities to DoS attacks in that they can take down a site, though are more benign in nature. Some of the side effects of "the RSS effect" were mentioned some time ago, mostly related to popular feeds. But I wonder, since Lenz has to bend under the pressure of 6 Bloglines subscribers, what will become of a blog that carries half of that, like this one? Fingers crossed nobody finds my feed...
- - -
Later: Lenz points out in the comments section that he has written on his blog:
"Update next day: The above doesn't make sense, as Rik Lambers points out here. I assume now that I have been fooled by a bug in my log analyzing software. Sorry for giving a wrong impression about bloglines."
Maybe in this case the the first impression was somewhat wrong, at least the cause for this "Bloglines overload". The question remains: to what extent is there a RSS effect? How widespread is it? And does it actually form a problem for some (more popular) sites, as outlined in the article linked to above? I wonder....


Lenz also writes:
(Update: The bandwidth reported consumed by my log analyzing software seems to have been a fata morgana. However, I will still let RSS disabled for the time being until I understand what is happening here.)
That's too bad, the RSS disablement. It doesn't make a lot of difference to me, though, since I couldn't find his feed when I first hit his blog. I've been reading it the old way and will continue to do so. It's one of the few that I know of that gives some good insights in what's going on at the European regulatory level. I wouldn't mind some more regular postings,
and that all the way from Japan.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reaction. I have posted a correction on my blog:

"Update next day: The above doesn't make sense, as Rik Lambers points out here. I assume now that I have been fooled by a bug in my log analyzing software. Sorry for giving a wrong impression about bloglines."

Karl-Friedrich Lenz

13/1/05 13:23  
Blogger Rik Lambers said...

Read your changes, and updated the posting. Hope you'll find out what caused that fata morgana!

14/1/05 15:10  

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