From today all our “preview” images contain a watermark. We have done this for a number of reasons, which we hope will increase the number of visitors and make unauthorised use of our images less likely.
Google Image Search
We get a reasonable amount of visitors via Google Image Search (and other search engines’ image searches). We are pleased our images are available in this way, however people can take images directly from Google without visiting the site. The watermark will encourage people to visit the site and download a watermark-free version. This way, they have to accept our terms and conditions and get to see all our other images at the same time.
“Bots” downloading our stock
We know that automated “bots” visit the site occasionally and attempt to download all the preview images. We cannot ban this outright because it would also mean locking out legitimate image search engines. We deal with unauthorised mass downloading on a reactive basis by banning their IP addresses but it is impossible to stop it entirely. Watermarking the images will not stop mass downloading but it makes the images much less desirable and anyone viewing them will come to the site for a watermark-free version.
The watermark-free, free downloads are protected from bots by a captcha (the visitor has to type a security code to proceed).
Reduction of “right-click” saving
This might mean a slight increase in the number of free downloads reported in your account (because “right-click” downloads were not included in those figures). There may be an increase in “curiosity” downloads where visitors will be reassuring themselves that our images really are watermark-free.