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"Brought to you by" Rendezvous Ad Redirector
Spam your fellow Rendezvous users with sponsored links
[Discuss (2) | Link to this hack]

Note that you may only use this hack for the forces of Good.

In [Hack #29], we saw how simple it is to advertise arbitrary services using Rendezvous in any Posix operating system, Mac OS X, or even Windows. This makes it easy to provide easy reference links to every user on your wireless network.

Wouldn't it be nice to give those same users a public service announcement en route to their destination, to let them know who was kind enough to provide the link? You could even give them more information about yourself or the network you provide before they head out to the Internet. This is easily achieved with a simple application of Apache magic.

In the httpd.conf on your web server, create a new VirtualHost entry like this:

<VirtualHost *>
  ServerName adserver.local
  DocumentRoot /home/rob/ads/

You can, of course, call the server anything you want, and put the DocumentRoot wherever is convenient. Restart your Apache for the change to take effect. Just be sure that the ServerName ends in .local.

Now create as many html files in DocumentRoot as you like, using this as a template:

    <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="5;http://freenetworks.org" />

<h1>This Rendezvous link brought to you by: me!</h1>

Redirecting you automatically in five seconds...

The URL at the end of the Refresh line will be the users' final destination, and the number at the beginning specifies the number of seconds to wait before redirecting. The body of the HTML can contain whatever message you want the users to see before the redirect takes effect.

Finally, advertise adserver.local (or whatever you used in your VirtualHost entry) as a proxy service using one of the methods described in [Hack #28] or [Hack #29]. In the text field of the Rendezvous advertisement, specify the HTML file you just created. For example, I save the above HTML file to /home/rob/ads/freenetworks.html, and specify path=/freenetworks.html as the text field.

Now users who share my wireless network see a Rendezvous advertisement called FreeNetworks, and are presented with the previous HTML when they browse to the site. Five seconds later, they are redirected automatically to the real http://freenetworks.org/, and are left to go about their merry way. This sort of service is ideal for permanent services on public access wireless nodes, to give users an idea of who is providing Internet access.

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