lucy24 - 3:31 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)
Oh, good. Was hoping this particular thread was still open, because I just found a "GoogleWHAT?!" in logs.
Unedited except for name of referring site, which is neither me nor google:
188.8.131.52 - - [17/Mar/2013:18:38:49 -0700] "GET /paintings/sparerats/blowups/largeratboxing.jpg HTTP/1.1" 200 4811 "http://example.de/_mm/rat-boxing" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)"
See how that works? It's the real googlebot-- from the identical IP that they've been using the last few days if not longer-- but giving a different site as referer.
This is a flat contradiction of what I just got through saying. Where "just" = four months ago.
Quick investigation in a different browser confirms that it's a hotlinking page. There's a dreary sameness to them. But thanks to a directory-specific hotlinking routine, this one didn't get my green-and-magenta NO HOTLINKS graphic. Instead they got the thumbnail version of the requested picture, weighing in at 4K instead of 33K. If the googlebot had asked in the usual way, without referer, it would have gotten the full-size version.
It would be interesting to know whether G concurrently picked up any other images associated with that page. I've met them with a referer before, but rarely for more than one or two images at a gulp. And, of course, never with someone else's site in the "referer" slot.
I don't see any recent referer-less requests for the same image. Seems like the only point of sending a referer would be to compare the with-referer version against the version they get if they ask for it "cold".
Oh, and either the offending page is brand new or they get absolutely no traffic, because their name was new to me. Heh.