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1,100+ Google Image Requests Per Day

From MySpace & Rising For One Image

     
3:16 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My image traffic on one site doubled in September and in October has already exceeded September for one image alone and it looks on target for well in excess of 33,000 calls alone.

Nearly all the extra traffic has come from MySpace accounts, some other social networking sites too, yet I can't seem to find where they are using it or why! It's a dark colour image if you're interested.

Bandwidth consumption isn't a problem at the moment however I find it a bit of a cheek that they refer to my image instead of downloading it and serving it themselves.

Any pros or cons in denying access/changing the location/etc?

Has anyone else experienced this?

3:56 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We have seen it. Some girl on MySpace was using an image from our site as her avatar. We were getting thousands of hits a month for this one image.

So we copied and renamed the image for our site and re-worked the original image to say "HEY YOU ARE STEALING OUR CONTENT! STOP NOW OR THIS IMAGE WILL BECOME VERY VERY GRAPHIC".

That worked. She changed her avatar within a week.

4:31 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My approach is to use hotlink redirects and to serve them a commercial for my site.

Part of the fun with MySpacers is that they often use templates they find on the web and don't know how to change them. If your image or audio files have been referenced in a popular template your site can get quite a lot of free advertising this way.

Now that's what I call social networking...

4:36 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We have an image that ranks first page in a google image search for a one word term. We get a lot of traffic from it and people seem to hot link it a lot. I think I need to put my website url on it somewhere.
4:40 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Saw the same thing last week when someone had obviously hot linked one of our images from Facebook. We've done something similar to travelin cat, except it's automatic. Anytime anyone tries to hot link, the image is replaced with an alternative image showing a message about content theft. The perp obviously realised their error as the calls stopped after a day or so.

I appreciate all the IBLs I can get, but I don't like hot linking and draw the line when people chew up our bandwidth for their own benefit. :)

5:39 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I know someone who had people hotlinking to pictures on her site fairly often. She replaced the photos with a shot of buttocks (with a dialogue balloon). One real-estate guy was furious that she'd "damaged the reputation" of his site by changing the stolen image.
5:45 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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EFV,

That's hilarious. She damaged his reputation...

6:30 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Let's talk about Google Search - that is this forum's topic. How do hotlinking solutions affect Google Search?
6:34 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I get loads of traffic from images, plenty of mine are on the first results page for their names. On the popular ones, I put my domain name in the bottom right corner in black.

I get plenty of bandwidth with my account, free advertising for unused bandwidth, why not...

8:20 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Ya I have had this happen a few times.

The thing I hate the most is how the referring URLs don't resolve back to the page linking them.

The first time this happened I tried following one of the URLs back it said I needed an account so begrudgingly I set up one and hit the page again only to find that it still didn't resolve. That made me mad cause signing up for the account was something I didn't want to do.

So because I wanted to see the context in which the image was being used was in I set up an image that read "Please contact .... at ....@example.com to continue use of this image" then I did a rewrite... I actually got an email and asked the guy to add me as a friend so I could review his page.. he did and I saw the use of the image was valid, and then I opened it back up to him.

Now that was labor intensive and I have done it a couple times since with some videos I created.

I guess it comes down to how much time you have to go chasing these things down. I like to try to see the context it is being used in before I decide what to do but I have the luxury of time.

9:33 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Any pros or cons in denying access/changing the location/etc?

One thing to consider is whether the image traffic converts... and/or whether the image gets shown in Universal Search.

Images of course have different importance in different market areas... and not very many images do show up in Universal. As noted here already, in some areas, most image search is done by people looking for images to "borrow."

New eye tracking studies that have been done on Universal Search pages, though, show that images and videos that do appear on the general serps page can be a major traffic magnet... just because of the way they pull the eye... so this might be a factor worth considering. Anyone have any experience with this?

11:08 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am afraid it may also be much more serious than that. Yes I have experienced this too. Image theft is part of black hat network of tools. They are creating a link to your site without giving your site any benefit at all. By hot linking to that image they are effectively adding thousands of links to your site that will not give any benefit to google bowl your site out the index. Myspace is the old classic for this.
11:53 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Getting back to the topic of Google Search (in response to Tedster's remark), let me ask a question: Does anyone here know if inbound links to images affect rankings in Google Image Search?

(Such rankings can be a mixed blessing, obviously, but that's a whole other issue.)

5:17 am on Oct 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone here know if inbound links to images affect rankings in Google Image Search?

I've seen reports that they do - they can affect geolocation, for example. In the early days of the "sandbox" hotlinking sometimes seemed to help a site break out of being sandboxed.

I ran some experiments last year but I can't say they were conclusive. So I'm reporting second hand here - "it's just hearsay, Your Honor."