Man, what is it with silly pictures of monkeys and numpties who like to hot-link images?
I have just spent the last 2 hours sorting through my inbound links to this site trying to cross-reference genuine incoming inks against stupid hot-links.
Bizarrely, the image that every numskull seems to want to hot-link to is this – a montage of some funny monkey portraits (link to my original post).
Good old .htaccess to the rescue is all I can say. Basically I have used RewriteEngine/RewriteCond as describe here: How do I stop hotlinking and bandwidth theft? Which seems to work perfectly.
If you think you are being hot-linked, check your top inbound links first and check for your images on the site linking to you. If the site is a blog or forum, you may need to check previous pages/posts. If you suspect somebody is using your images on their site, then customising your .htaccess is probably the best solution for blocking them.
Note: I don’t use an alternative image, but the temptation to redirect to a rude alternative is very tempting at times – but that would then lower me to the thieving hot-linkers standards, and to be honest, I am above all that!