Gadget Sites: Ease Up On The Watermarks Already

Here’s a little inside baseball for you all but I wanted to get a pet peeve off my chest: all these darned watermarks on gadget imagery. It got pretty egregious this morning over at BGR where they posted some pictures of some purported iPhone 4S parts that (surprise) look very much like iPhone 4 parts. I was struck, however, by the plethora of watermarks boldly slapped onto the face of the image, one from some site in India (no URL so I don’t know what it is, thereby reducing the value of the mark) and a big honking watermark for BGR. So BGR got the images from some dude in India and they made them theirs by marking their territory, much like a cat sprays that musk stuff in your closet to ensure you can never wear your clothes again.

Watermarks were originally designed as advertisements: if your site was tiny, you’d watermark stuff in order to spread the word about your site, not to c-block others from using your images. They also helped in assessing ownership down the line when you did a Google Image Search of Steve Jobs riding a unicorn and it turned out to be watermarked by GDGT. I’m totally down with an unobtrusive image once in a while (we do it sometimes, down in the corner, at 30% opacity, mostly on images we take ourselves) but come on. Why not go totally bonkers and add one of those right-click preventers in Javascript that were so popular in the early oughts?

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled coverage. Thank you for giving an old man the floor for a moment. I’ll go back to yelling at my lawn.