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How not  to design an image search engine

9th August 2012

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No link, NO hot link

Images are one of the most popular resources on the World Wide Web. Search engines have long been wise to this and nearly all now provide an image search option and new, dedicated image search engines are en vogue.

If images are what you do and you decide to prevent hotlinking, you may wish to add new image search engines I discover via referring sites to the list of sites allowed to hotlink images from my site. (What is hot linking?).

This is good for them, good for the visitor, and good for you—provided they provide a clickable link to the site!

Else, they are frankly no different from any other hot linker, using my bandwidth with no recompense in the form of a link which visitors who like the image may click to view the site and more images like it, or the article to which the image is attached.

This has been the case with the last few I have checked: they display a clickable thumbnail of the image which leads to the image but with no link to the site. That is not giving a visitor a chance to visit the site on which the image resides.

Frankly, that's bad design and in my opinion a failure of the search process: sure, someone may find an image but do you not usually wish to visit the site to see if there are any more like it?

For me, it's more worthwhile letting the image search engine visitor see the no hot linking image when they click on the thumbnail which at least gives the URL of the site from which it came.

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Tags: hot linking, search engines