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…

Spammers stole my avatar!
Someone stole my avatar
Stolen avatar
Stolen avatar
Stolen avatar
Stolen avatar
Stole my avatar
Spammers stole my avatar!
Stolen avatar
Someone stole my avatar
Stole my avatar
Stolen avatar
Spammers stole my avatar!
Someone stole my avatar

That last one is snarky!

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!