Thursday ended up with a 1,600% increase.
Guess what? Social networking sites and smart phones user groups etc referring the image for a background! I have found loads of hotlinks to two specific images on two of my sites named keyword1keyword2.
Keyword1 has over 1 billion results in search and over 433 million in images and I am #1 for this keyword1 and if this is the type of image one is looking for then it's perfect.
Now the annoying factor is that these referring sites including user groups such as MySpace, Coolchaser, Mac, iPhone and Blackberry are telling people how to hotlink to the image even though the mods are telling them not to hotlink but to actually download and save. I don't mind them using the image, it's my bandwidth they're stealing and sending my stats crazy.
For the moment I have disabled my AdSense ads since I assume that users are coming from those sites and just clicking right and "saving" plus I have re-named those images and removed them therefore I am now throwing up loads and loads of 404s.
I'm guessing this will take a few days to clear-up once people realise their background images have disappeared and hopefully they will take their mods advice however if it is not this then I'm really stumped...for the moment.
Anyone else with any thoughts on this?