Gapers Block Faces Hacking, as it Looks to Expand

andrew huff photo
Andrew Huff speaks to a DePaul journalism class on Sept. 12, (Photo by Mike Reilley)
Chicago’s centric blog Gapers Block has been battling an issue that many websites face– hacking.
 
Hacking has become a major problem for Andrew Huff Gapers Block founder as he has spent the last week fixing the damage that hackers have done to his website. Huff said the hackers are targeting Gapers Block’s advertisments for a chance to make a profit.
 
Even after changing every password he and his staff members could think of, Huff is having a hard time figuring out how these hackers are getting in.
 
“They (the hackers) have seriously been at it for a week,” Huff said. “We can’t seem to get a break.”
  
But hacking isn’t the only challenges Huff is tackling. 
 
With several blogs forming in Chicago and newspapers becoming computer friendly, Gapers Block is hit with several competitors. Huff mentioned that Chicagoist is one of their major competitors because of the size of their company and how easy it is for readers to manuever through their site.
 
But, after he graduated from the Ohio State in 1997, Huff has maintained several jobs to get by. He wrote for different blogs about paranormal activity, awarenesses for Kenneth Cole, and American Express credit cards.
 
He also founded his own website, called me3dia.com in 2001, which was an easy way for him to keep his family and friends in on what was going on in his life. That website went from a way for him to freelance his work to his own personal blog.
 
Gapers Block started in 2003 when Huff and DePaul University alum and web designer Naz Hamid wanted a way for Chicagoans to slow down and find out what was going on around the city. Just like the definition of a gapers block on a busy road with slow moving traffic.
   
“Our intent was to highlight events that were found on bulletin boards,” he said.
 
With the help of 14 volunteer writers, Huff and Hamid launched Gapers Block. Today, there are 80 people who volunteer to write for the website.   
 
Although he is a part-time teach at Chicago’s Loyola University, Huff has his hands full with Gapers Block. He considers it to be a full time job as he constantly uploads stories everyday.
  
They cover things from sports, book clubs, politics, but are most respected for their music and food section. Huff even said that they plan on adding a business section in the near future.
 
“Our mission is to cover stories that are not being covered else where,” he said.
 
With 90,000 unique visitors and 500,000 previews monthly, Huff said that Gapers Block went from labor of love to a successful business.
 
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