Either through ignorance or a blatant disregard for the costs associated with the bandwidth served by FTE many users have been stealing bandwidth from the FTE server. This is done by using images stored in our User Gallery, Pictorial, Club FTE user sites and the old message board image upload feature and linking to them with external message board avatars, signatures, web sites, illustrations, etc.
This "bandwidth theft" is equivalent to having your neighbor hooking up an extension cord to an outlet in your house and powering his house. How would you feel if you had to foot the electric bill for your neighbor?
You may not think that an image takes much bandwidth but it does. Today, in the old message board upload section alone, over 2000 images averaging 11k each were served through external sources. This amounts to 660 megabytes of data per month. I haven't thoroughly analyzed our logs but estimated total bandwidth theft through the upload section, User Gallery, Pictorial and Club FTE user sites is over 8 gigabytes per month!
Today, we've implemented server controls that replaces any externally linked image with the following image:
At least this way any bandwidth theft will be replaced with an advertisement for Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Users will be given a 30 day grace period. After 30 days, any users with a large number of externally linked images will have those images removed from our server.
The server controls are not yet perfect and I intend to fine tune them over the next week or two.