lucy24 - 9:34 pm on Aug 23, 2012 (gmt 0)
I've started to deal with some image hotlinkers a different way. Like the OP, I've got a bunch of images that exist in parallel: a thumbnail version on a gallery page, and a full-size version that's either free-standing or linked from a separate page with minimal text.
The naming is absolutely consistent, so instead of the generic No Hotlinks image, they get a rewrite in the form
The thumbnail is hardly bigger in filesize than the hotlinks image-- and it's physically too small to bother scraping (126px in the longer dimension). The practical benefit is that I don't have to decide which search engines go on the Allowed Exceptions list. Users can always see the tiny picture; to get the full-size version they have to go to the page.
Postscript: It goes without saying that the first time this new rule was deployed, it landed squarely on the only picture that doesn't match the naming pattern. So I had to go back and write an additional, more specific rule