One of the most common misconceptions among new (and sometimes advanced) internet users is that "if you can grab something it must be free".

Sins of the Internet

One of the most common misconceptions among new (and sometimes advanced) internet users is that "if you can grab something it must be free". Add to that a touch of naiveté and a hunger for cash or fame, and you've got a formula for disaster ... or at least for some sins.

This leads directly to one of the most common and most self-destroying sins of them all - that of the Signup Junkie. Just about everyone that I know went through this phase - it's typical for most newbies. They sign up for everything. Why? Because so many companies and organizations make promises which seem to offer solutions, riches and help that it's hard to resist. The end result is, at best, lots of useless spam and at worst the loss of lots of money, time and effort.

Other sins are more subtle. For example, one day I was looking at my site statistics when I noticed something very unusual. My bandwidth usage was way too high. You see, my site had been doing about 15gb a month, which is about 500 mb/day. Suddenly my daily report showed my site was doing 2gb/day! At first I was thrilled - my site must have gotten a great ranking in the search engines or been profiled in one of the big magazines!

My joy was short lived, however, as I continued reviewing the report. I soon realized that my site was not more popular - someone had linked directly to one of my images. It was a very high traffic site so every time this page was displayed it hit my site - hammered it hard. If it kept up it became obvious that I was going to get charged for bandwidth overcharges, and it would not be a small bill.

You see, webmasters usually pay a fixed fee for their bandwidth usage up to a certain amount. In my case, it was 27gb/month. Any usage over that amount costs a small fortune, somewhere between $6 and $20 per gigabyte over the ceiling.

I was glad that I looked at my statistics because I was able to do something about it. I added a few lines to my htaccess file and more or less removed the link. If I hadn't looked at the reports, though, I may have had a bill of several hundred dollars.

This is an example of one of the most common and most difficult to understand sins of the internet. It's called bandwidth stealing, and it's just theft, plain and simple.

One very popular sin is that of copyright infringement. You know what I'm talking about - you've seen it all over the place. Those great Star Trek or Star Wars sites with lots of photos and scripts from the series? Guess what, they are infringing upon other's copyrights.

Spamming is very popular, and a great way to lose friends, make enemies and generally annoy people. It's not a wonderful way to make any money, as all but the truly naive hate spam and delete it immediately without reading. Spamming is a sin and has more or less lost it's usefulness long ago.

A more obscure but still popular sin is that of spamming the search engines. You see, search engines try really hard to present useful information to their users. However, some poor misguided souls want to manipulate the system to cause their own sites to appear higher in the results list (and thus get more hits). They do all kinds of strange things to fool the little search robots, then curse when their sites are dropped forever.

If you really want to annoy your friends, you can send emails to lots of different people using the carbon copy feature. This is a common sin among newbies who don't know any better. What's the problem? Well, including a list of email addresses exposes all of those addresses to everyone receiving the message (and anyone it's been forwarded to). This often results in quite a bit of spam, as well as lots of useless messages being sent back and forth if anyone replies to the message.

Then you find people who seem to think that banners and popups are good ideas. Don't you just hate surfing to a site which consists of dozens of mindless banners and two or more popups? And worse yet, it's not like they are advertising something useful. Most often, these silly advertisements want you to purchase something that you don't need, don't want and wouldn't give to your worst enemy on a bad day.

Oftentimes, all of these sins are the result of misunderstandings as to the purpose and usefulness of the internet. I mean, you would probably not be likely to purchase furniture from a banner stapled to a telephone pole, so why would you buy one from a banner on a web site or based upon a spam email? Most people would not run power cables to their neighbors house to get their electricity, so why would they steal bandwidth?

How do you avoid all of these sins? By learning about the internet; By understanding how to use it effectively to help meet your goals; and by acting ethically and responsibly. What does that mean? Think before doing, and don't do anything you would not like others to do to you.

It's as simple as that.

Some other articles on internet sins that you may find of interest are listed below.

Sins of the internet- Bandwidth Stealing

Sins of the internet- Banners

Sins of the internet- CopyrightInfringement

Sins of the internet- Not Using Bcc

Sins of the internet- Money Making Programs

Sins of the internet- Pop Ups

Sins of the internet- Signup Junkie

Sins of the internet- Spamming Search Engines

Sins of the internet- Webring Spammer

To see a list of article available for reprint, you can send an email to: or visit

About the author: Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.

Author: Richard Lowe