I work in the web development group at my company. Its a cool group. Our product management team are good people too, and clueful about technical things. We meet with them every thursday.
It came up for the umpteenth time today that some of our clients are screen scraping one of our web products to get data that they could much more easily and reliably get in a useful form from one of our other products, but that would mean that they'd have to buy the other product. This comes up because of the complaints that we get from said clients when we make certain changes -- changes that a normal web user would either not notice or consider to be a vast improvement but would break a fairly dumb screen scraper. Of course we're not the ones in charge of deciding whether or not to yell at them for screen scraping.
Now it happens that when it came up today one of the companies mentioned as a possible culprit happened to be the same company that twe and harrock work for. It occured to me that they'd probably also be irritated if they knew this was going on because not only is it a bad practice, but they're smart enough to know that in the long run it would be better and probably even cheaper (when you factor lost time due to us changing the layout of the pages) if these people would just go ahead and buy the darn service that actually does what these people want. It would be great if I could just say 'tell your people to cut it out'. Sadly they probably don't deal with the people who use fixed income security data, and even if they did, stupid stuff like this happens because the people in charge often won't authorize the purchase of the products and services that people actually need. Sigh.
It was a nice fanatasy, for five minutes, thinking that the cool group in my company could band together with the cool group in theirs and fix this. Then reality set in and I realized just how few people listen to the cool group.