Google goes too far with new image search

A couple of days ago, Google released a new version of its image search. This turned out to be a huge slap in the face of content creators like me. When clicking on a thumbnail, the original image is hotlinked and embedded into Google’s result page. This costs bandwidth and the user has less incentive to visit the webpage of the original creator.

Here is a nice comment about the topic by a webmaster called EcoCatLady in response to Google’s blog post:

Well, it is easy to use – but it’s killing my biggest web site (a photography site) which is also my main source of income. In the past few days my page views have been cut in half while my bandwidth usage has increased – thanks to Google’s hotlinking of high resolution photos.

If this continues it will force me to either make some dramatic changes to the site (ie: removing all high resolution images and forcing the user to jump through a bunch of hoops to get them) or it will put me out of business all together.

I really don’t understand why Google insists upon harassing image publishers in this way… for all other types of content Google allows the user to find the content, but sends the user to the page to read the article or watch the video. But for image publishers it simply provides an easy way for people to access our content while circumventing our websites completely. The least you could do would be to disable right clicking on the hotlinked image and get rid of the “view original image” button so people would have to come to the site to download the content. It’s only fair…

I know user experience is paramount, and I’m all about share and share alike (I’ve even released all of my photos into the public domain.) But bandwidth costs money, and publishers do have to make a living, and for most of us that means we rely on page views and ad revenue. Is this groovy search feature really worthwhile if it puts the publishers out of business and ultimately means that quality images are being removed from the web because we simply can’t afford it anymore?

Merry Christmas!

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Once again, my family has the bestest Christmas tree:

Christmas tree

Copyright infringements and you

More and more frequently, I receive e-mails from readers who want to inform me that images from our comic(s) are posted on other websites. This can be very helpful to detect copyright infringements, so I’m grateful for every notice I receive.

Note, however, that not every usage of our comics is automatically a copyright infringement. Our comics are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. In short, this free license allows the publication on non-commercial websites if proper attribution to the creators is given (more info).

But even if you believe that there’s a massive copyright infringement going on, you should never file a take-down request yourself! This is still my job if I feel that some kind of reaction is required. What you can do, apart from informing me, is to write a comment beneath the submission/blog post/… with a link to our comic website. Plenty of readers have found our comics this way.

Top comments on Gaia until Shadowdancers 071

Here is my top 10 list of the best/funniest comments from the Gaia pages until Shadowdancers 071, published on 14 December 2012.

Comment by SteelRaven on the page The Red Hall 028:

“Next, you will have to remove a couple of protection spells…”
“…Ars is getting upset!”

Comment by Dani on the page The Red Hall 037:

As a senior at University, I know all too well that ‘considering several options’ is code for “I haven’t been offered a #*$@(&$ thing”.

Comment by SteelRaven on the page The Red Hall 040:

“It’s pretty darn dangerous for you to loose control, Lili. Now thats settled, lets all get drunk!”

Comment by Thorn on the page The Red Hall 044:


Comment by Anonymous on the page The Red Hall 045:

You can’t kill me favorite character! I forbid it! D=

Comment by TraderInTown on the page Shadowdancers 013:

From now on, I’m entering rooms by throwing open the door and yelling “CATASTROPHE!”

Comment by Bucc-i on the page Shadowdancers 014:

“In the Second Age, a sorceress was sent to prison by a military court for a crime she didn’t commit. Together with four friends, she promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Gaia underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune.
If you have a problem,
if no one else can help,
and if you can find them,
maybe you can hire…
The G-Team!

Comment by Queenie Capria on the page Shadowdancers 032:

“you will now be humiliated” the same thing my dad says every time he’s about to meet a new boyfriend of mine..
But of course a polite trap announces itself.

Comment by VIS on the page Shadowdancers 061:

Yes, Ilias. She doesn’t intend to invite anyone else.

Just you.

And her.

In that shack…

Oh my.

Comment by auron on the page Shadowdancers 065:

Viviana: teach me how to drive the rainbow road
Gradus: you seem to think your invincible

Looking for guest art!

We need to build a larger buffer of finished pages, so Gaia won’t be updated during two weeks in January 2013.

To fill the gap, we’re looking for Gaia guest art!

Guest art must feature at least one character who has appeared in Gaia so far.

The artwork will be published on the Gaia homepage in place of a normal comic page. It will stay online for two or three days, so it will be seen by at least 10,000 different visitors. After that, it will be moved to the (not yet existing) “Artwork” page on our website.

You should send the finished image to

If your guest art is drawn digitally, I would prefer if you send it to me in its original size in a lossless format (for example PNG without reduced color depth). If your guest art is drawn on paper and then scanned in, you should send me a cleaned version of reasonable size in a lossless format.

I will add a copyright notice with your name and website (if you have one) at the bottom of the image. This copyright notice will be more prominent than the one we usually use. Your name and website will also be added to the description area below the image. Your website has to be rated USK-16 (suitable for teenagers) or less. This excludes any sort of pornographic and extremely violent content. The website does not have to be a webcomic site; it could also be a blog, gallery, etc. You can include a short description of your webcomic/website.