Keeping an eye on your stats can be lucrative, it seems. It's something I try to do, coached principally by Alice, who is always keen to ensure that blog visitors haven't arrived as a result of unsavoury searches. I take her point, and I do try to check, periodically, which is how I recently stumbled across something.
One of my photos had been getting a lot of hits - when I investigated, it turned out to be a particularly seasonal one, which topped the Google Image Search results for a specific keyword. I was feeling happy - after all, don't people pay good money to make it to the front of the google queue? But a few images on, was a photo that looked suspiciously like mine, only cropped slightly tighter.
Now photo 'borrowing' is, in my opinion, a fact of blog life. Sometimes, people ask and I am always happy to say yes and hugely flattered that they want to use one of my pictures. Sometimes they don't ask, but link back to me which isn't too bad. Once, I did find that someone had swiped my photo and put their watermark on it, which did prompt a rather irritable comment from me, but they had the good grace to apologize and set matters straight. The fact of the matter is, by and large these people are individuals like me - they are just carving out their own little nests in blogland and they mean no harm. They aren't profiting by using my photos, they just like them and I am pleased they do.
But the photo I found was different. Because it had been swiped by a very well known and eminently respectable national magazine. They had used it to illustrate an editorial piece, which had nothing to do with me or my blog and carried no reference to them. The thing that got me was that plastered all over their website were terms and conditions for licensing their photographs. But it seems respect for copyright was only a one way street.
So I contacted them. And I have to say, they were very apologetic and suggested I send them an invoice. And that, is how I came to sell my first photograph.
But I am really curious about your attitudes to image 'borrowing'. Does it bother you? Do you do anything to guard against it? Are you rushing off this moment to check your stats?