Why Google’s New Search By Image Function Can Help Prevent Scams

Published on December 15, 2011, by

Google search by image camera icon

Click on the camera icon to open the search by image input box

Google’s Search by image function allows users to search by inputting images into the search bar,  but the main question that many people are asking is “In what situation would I use the search by image function?” Personally, I have been waiting for years for this feature. It’s not something that I need very often, but it is quite useful.

One of my favorite features of the search by image function is the ability to find and identify scam artists.

My wife and I own two Yorkshire Terriers, Bella and Bubby, and our little pups are adorable! Unfortunately, because they are so cute, scam artists use pictures of Bella deceitfully. Pet scam artists prey on the tender hearted and lonely, usually single older ladies and widows. We did all we could on our own website to help people understand the Nigerien pet scammers who were and are using our sweet Bella’s face as bait. My wife and I felt a responsibility to help people realize that Isabella is not for sale and to report the ads that use Isabella’s picture. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough stop these people.

We have always felt so powerless to fight this epidemic, because we don’t have the time to search for all yorkies for sale, on every website. It has been so hard to track down who is using our images that we gave up, until now.

(Note to Google Image & Webmaster Teams: It would be awesome if Google Webmaster Tools

Isabella, Yorkie used by scam artists in their classified ads

Isabella, Yorkie used by scam artists in their classified ads

had some sort of report for similar images found on other websites.)

Google search by image using Isabella's picture and the keyword classified

Google search by image using Isabella's picture and the keyword classified

With this one picture of Isabella, for example, I was able to find 205 webpages that use her image. Some of the web pages are from my own website, people using the picture for their own blog posts, and people saying how cute she is. But when you use the image in conjunction with the word classified to filter out all the harmless sites, we get a shocking 181 web pages full of con artists using her picture (see search results image on the left).

Thankfully many classified ad websites have a method for submitting spam and scam ads, so this search by image function has been very helpful. What are ways Google search by image has helped you out?

Bart Gibby

Bart has over 10 years experience in web marketing and SEO consulting. He has a proven track record of improving business's online presence by providing vital work geared toward a healthy ROI. He has experience working with companies such as SEO.com and Provo Labs, as well as his own consulting ventures. Bart is our main SEO guru. He is constantly researching, testing & proving changes, and auditing the performance of our SEO products in order to fulfill the needs and wants of clients. His "always be testing" attitude helps us to constantly offer a high quality and effective SEO product and keeps us on top of our game.

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