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Hotlinking issues - protecting your copyright, images and bandwidth

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Author Topic: Hotlinking issues - protecting your copyright, images and bandwidth  (Read 117 times)

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« on: August 20, 2011, 03:48:38 am »

Hotlinking of images and flash objects is becoming an increasing problem for many webmasters and site owners, especially given the recent explosion in popularity of social networking services. website design India based companies are working together to reduce Hotlinking.
What is Hotlinking? Hotlinking, aka inline linking, is the practice of displaying a file such as an image or flash object on a page that is stored on another site. While it has legitimate uses; often people will hotlink images without the permission of the owner of the site being referenced.  Because the object is being called from the server of origin, that account is the one that wears the bandwidth expense for delivering the image for display. In the cases of unauthorized hotlinking, it's not only a copyright issue, but bandwidth theft. It becomes a particularly nasty problem for sites with many photographs and original images.
Negative effects of hotlinking: Unwanted hotlinking can have some rather undesirable effects, mainly:
Increased bandwidth usage by your site. Because the image is being called from your server, you wear the expense.
images or flash objects being displayed where you don't want them to be
Loss of *real* traffic to your own site, i.e. instead of people needing to visit your web site to view the image or flash presentation, they can view it on the hotlinker's site.
Why do people hotlink?
Most people hotlink for one or more of the following reasons:
it's easy to do
to reduce their own bandwidth and hard disk usage
to display files that their own service doesn't support
they are just plain nasty
ignorance of what they are doing is wrong
Detecting hotlinking: Your time is better spent in creating content or promoting your site. Yes, you can send copyright infringement notices, but if you have a site where hotlinking is a problem, it's somewhat a case of "whack-a-mole"; no sooner would you have finished one anti-hotlinking crusade that you'd need to start another.  There's better ways to deal with the problem; i.e., an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Addressing the hotlinking issue: Depending on the type of site you have, you may be able to turn hotlinking to your advantage quite simply. For example, if you have an image rich site that focuses on flombles; by adding a label to each image such as "FlombleSite.com", you may be able to push traffic to your site that way. For most site owners though, hotlinking is simply a pain in the butt and quite infuriating. There are a couple of relatively simple steps you can take to block images and objects from your site being shown on other sites. You can even replace the image being displayed on another site with one you specify which can alert the hotlinker that you're onto them and even push traffic your way.
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