How To Deal With Image Hotlinkers

    August 28, 2007

Internet bandwidth can be a scarce commodity in the midst of a product launch, so “hotlinking” or having someone post one of your images, audio or video from their website, blog or forum can reduce your total available Internet bandwidth. Here are a couple of fixes for this issue.

Solution 1: Write to them

You could locate an email address or look up their domain whois information and contact them directly to remove the link to the file on your webhost. If they’re linking to copyrighted content, you might get your legal department to send them the appropriate legal response.

This generally takes some time.

Solution 2: Remove/Delete the file

If you remove the file from your server, the file they’re linking to will show up as a broken link (generally a “404 Error – File Not Found”). This means you’ll need to put up another version of your file and link to that instead.

The disadvantage of these solutions are either:

  • Can take time and the owners might drag their feet about taking action
  • Causes inconvenience because your tech support will need to take time out to fix it

I like Solution 3 – Use the opportunity to generate traffic to your site.

Here’s one of my original posts “WhoIsAndrewWee forum launched

(Click to view larger images)

Here’s an image hotlinker:

image hotlinker

How do I know they’re hotlinking?

The address for the image points to my blog.

So to deal with the hotlinker, I can create a file with the same filename and create a link to my blog.

Take a look at:

image hotlink

And once it’s uploaded to my server, the hotlinker will still grab the file and…

image hotlinker2

You can then track your stats and see how many visitors flow over to your site.

It’s a simple and elegant solution. (and can bring decent social traffic too).