Friday, December 30, 2016

Some beautiful photos...

Some beautiful photos ... and a little more...  My sister Holly sent me this link to a site called “Bright Side”.  This particular page is a collection of the “100 best photographs ever taken without photoshop”.  The photo at right is one example, and it is (like the others) indeed a gorgeous photo.  But there's a little more to the site than it appears to be...

The first thing that caught my eye was the little notice from my ad blocker, telling me that it had blocked eleven ads on this single page.  That's not a record, but it's close.  It's kind of a “tell” for a click-bait site, and this site sure looks like it might be click-bait.

So I downloaded five of the photos, selected at random, and loaded them up into my image editing software.  Every one of them had had their color profiles heavily photoshopped.  Then I ran a software tool that detects manipulated edges, and one of the photos that I downloaded was definitely created by dropping one image onto another.  So the claim of photoshopping is pure BS.  I don't actually care about that from an artistic perspective – they're beautiful photos, and that's enough.  But the claim is balderdash.

That made me wonder who owns the site.  A quick WHOIS query got me this info:
Registry Domain ID: D108500000009857264-AGRS
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Updated Date: 2016-07-29T14:08:37Z
Creation Date: 2013-10-09T02:35:19Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2025-10-09T02:35:19Z
Registrar:, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone:
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: CR197958667
Registrant Name: Marat Mukhametov
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street: Gavrilova 1
Registrant City: Kazan
Registrant State/Province: Tatarstan
Registrant Postal Code: 4200001
Registrant Country: RU
Registrant Phone: +7.8435255456
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: 
Registry Admin ID: CR197958668
Admin Name: Marat Mukhametov
Admin Organization:
Admin Street: Gavrilova 1
Admin City: Kazan
Admin State/Province: Tatarstan
Admin Postal Code: 4200001
Admin Country: RU
Admin Phone: +7.8435255456
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: 
Registry Tech ID: CR197958670
Tech Name: Marat Mukhametov
Tech Organization:
Tech Street: Gavrilova 1
Tech City: Kazan
Tech State/Province: Tatarstan
Tech Postal Code: 4200001
Tech Country: RU
Tech Phone: +7.8435255456
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax:
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email: 
Name Server: NS-515.AWSDNS-00.NET
Name Server: NS-173.AWSDNS-21.COM
Name Server: NS-1983.AWSDNS-55.CO.UK
Name Server: NS-1377.AWSDNS-44.ORG
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form:

For more information on Whois status codes, please visit
Interesting! The site is hosted in Germany, and is owned by a Russian guy (from Kazan, about 400 miles east of Moscow) who owns a bunch of other domains, including two others that are quite popular.  A quick look at them shows that they fit the click-bait pattern.  This guy appears to be another in the army of people who see a business opportunity in copying content from other sites, arranging it and marketing it, then harvesting the ad click revenue to make money.  The same sort of thing used to happen with books (and probably still does).  The Internet makes it very easy, though, and most especially for people living in countries where copyright laws are ignored (and Russia is most definitely such a place)...