Hotlinked Image Switch
Be warned... that frog loves eating leechers.

On the Internet, there are a bunch of cool images. Most people are fine if they are spread and displayed, should the proper permissions and bandwidth be in play.

However, there are those (commonly called "leechers") who display images on their site directly taken from another "Hotlinked" or "Inline Linked", using the other site's bandwidth without permission for their own purposes. Of course, when the home site find this out, it's quite easy to change the image to something else. Hilarity Ensues. Usually it's just changed to a warning against using images/bandwidth without permission, but sometimes, snarky pranks or Shock Site images ensue.

Another variant is to detect people running ad blockers in their browsers and either guilt-trip users into disabling them or signing up for a subscription if the site offers one.

This is why we have the Image Uploader.


  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: The "National Organization for Marriage", an anti-gay-marriage group, hot-linked a comic from his site. The author responded by changing the image to one supporting gay marriage.
  • One guy hosted a "Grim Reaper Holding an Hourglass" image, popularly hotlinked from MySpace, but 400 hotlinks/hour was a bit too much, so he changed it to image. Hilarity Ensues.note 
  • A 2004 LiveJournal April Fools' Day prank called "Operation: Jour de Poisson" featured a user spreading an icon in apparent support of the phrase "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance... switching the image to one supporting the exact opposite stance on April 1.
  • The (hilarious) way dealt with a leecher is here.
  • The MySpace page of 2008 Presidential candidate John McCain featured an update template which didn't give the requested credit to its designer, and leeched images from his site. He responded by replacing it with a fake message from John supporting gay marriage.
  • The EVE Online WMG section of this very wiki once hotlinked an image to the new galaxy introduced in Apocrypha. Upon finding it hotlinked everywhere, the author changed it to an image begging for the Naglfar-class Dreadnought to be buffed.
  • The evil forces of Enturbulation used this tactic against against the Guardian newspaper on one occasion. Specifically, when it leeched a picture taken at a protest against the Scilons from Britchan. They responded with Goatse. The exact course of events is documented in the following video:
  • iMockery would replace the hotlinked image with an obnoxiously long gif that stretched the browser to massive proportions. The text would chide you for hotlinking.
  • Seen here is Cracked's example, where a Spanish-language website had taken their entire article, including hotlinked images.
  • When Something Awful's paywall went up during the finale of the Dangan Ronpa Let's Play, they discovered people on Tumblr were leeching images, and redirected it to an image of a girl lifting a table in rage with the tagline "STOP LEECHING YOU FUCKS"
  • Jameth, a user of Encyclopedia Dramatica, keeps an eye on his bandwidth and if enough people hotlink to an image, he'll replace it with a photo of four black men being lynched with the suitably offensive message "NO NIGGERS" printed on it, invoking the stereotype of black people stealing things. It's bad enough that it won't even be linked to here.
  •, a Polish comedy website, did this once. Another humor website hotlinked to a funny video on Joemonster's server (and even copied Joemonster's description), so the site administrator replaced the original video—with hard pornography.
  • The Oatmeal had the Huffington Post hotlink to some of his images. He first hit them with a polite letter asking them not to along with a graph showing his monthly bandwith costs. When that failed he swapped it for "a butt and a pee pee".