During August I wrote a post about how you can get traffic from Google Images without actually showing any images on your site.
The technique is quite simple, you just need to link to the image from your page and Google sometimes attributes the image to you. If you get lucky and your image is shown at the top of the normal search results you can get a big boost in traffic.
TechCrunch got into trouble this week when somebody accused them of copyright violation after an image they didn’t own or use was published at the top of the search results for Ashton Kutcher with a link to this story.
The problem turns out to be that if you do a search on Google (or “the Google” as Figueroa calls it), the image in question appears at the top of the results and is linked to TechCrunch. Why? Well we did some digging and it turns out that someone linked to the image in a comment to one of our posts.
Clearly TechCrunch is in the right here as they didn’t use the image on their website but it raises an interesting problem for Google. Normally Google Images is considered OK from a copyright standpoint as they link through to the source of the image. Once they start linking to people who just happened to link to the image they could find more people turning against them.