Oh no! Spammers stole my avatar! Or how I learned to speak SEO like a bot!

I’ve used the same avatar for a long time – I think it’s artistic, and representational, and more of an icon than a straight photo. I also have a more traditional portrait that I use occasionally, on some sites, but my main avatar is more fun!

A couple of times in the past I’ve discovered someone else using my avatar as their own. I understood. It’s a cool avatar! What did it matter if it wasn’t actually them? They just found an avatar they liked, and grabbed it. I never called anyone on it, but occasionally I do a search to keep track of it. And in fact I ran a search tonight, and didn’t find any real people using it this time, but I found quite a few spammers or bots that seemed to have scraped it up. Great… It’s one thing to have a real person grab and use it because they like it – it’s a completely different thing when spammers use my avatar to make spammy comments.

I’ve posted some screen grabs below. The sites ranged from a U.K. crime blog, to a political blog written in Albanian, a news site written in Lithuanian, a travel blog, and sites for a newspaper in South Africa, a life breath coach, a Houston bankruptcy lawyer, a filmmaker, a debt collection agency in the U.K., two Internet marketing sites, a lingerie store, and a site about Indonesia. It was also used to comment on a track featured on a hip hop blog – a track that generated over 7000 comments.

The one that got to me the most? A comment made on another photographer’s blog. At least they didn’t use my name, just my avatar…

Bottom line, if you ever see my avatar on a weirdly written comment, it’s probably not me…

Google Images

And if you want to run a search yourself? Go to Google, and click on Image Search – or click here.

See that little camera icon in the search field? Click on it, then click on Upload an Image, and upload your avatar. Google will then generate a list of some of the pages where that image appears. Hopefully most of the listings are for you!

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