After ignoring them for a long time, I decided to take a look at my web server logs where I host my images. I found that I was getting a lot of hits on a 1MB, full resolution image. Most of those were blogs of a half dozen angstful teenagers using the image as the background for their blogs. That means that anyone who looks at the blog hits my server and downloads a 1MB file.


I don't mind if people link to the image, since then their visitors actually have to click the link to see the picture. But using the image (hosted on my server) for the background, or displaying the image on their site is not OK.

Rather than try to get them all to take it down, I came up with another solution: mod_rewrite.

The server is running Apache, which has a nice module called "mod_rewrite'. It allows you to automatically redirect people from one place to another pased on various parameters (such as what the site they came from was). You can do a lot with it. I currently have several major blog hosting sites blocked (, which I had never heard of before, had more offenders than anywhere else), but if I wanted I could allow specific blogs on a site while redirecting all the others.

Now these bloggers get a different image when they try to use my images on their sites. The nice thing is that because of the way this is done they may not notice it for a while. They'll probably get to my image another way. Once they've loaded the image in their browser, it'll be cached. Then (for a while) every time they view the URL of the image they will see the one that's cached, even thow everyone who doesn't have it cached will see the replacement image.

Here's an example. Click this link and wait for it to finish loading. Now click this link. If your browser cached the image, it should be the same one. Now clear the cache on your browser and refresh that blog. You should see this image.

It seems like most of them figured this out (after almost 2 weeks), but there are still a few trying to use the image.


Anyway, while I was going through the logs I found that I get a lot of traffic from Google image searches (in many different languages, apparently). The top two results for "girl" and "alone" are both mine. As is the 3rd result for "bw" and "sunset". My favorite, though is that a Google image for "balrog" turns up this post, which contains a link to this image, that I took, then photoshopped at a request of a friend.

Dylan says:

Funny that you mention this topic, because I was just this second going through my referrer logs with Kaellagh. Really weird stuff in there. And yes, there's an entire huge chunk of people getting to my site through Google images, mostly searching for balrog.

And I'm still getting Google hits for people searching for, "Inflatable Jesus Love Doll". Thanks, DataBind().

Wirehead says:

Bwaaahahahah. The gift that keeps on giving.

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