Travel blog on one-of-a-kind travel experiences

Marina Bay Sands: Popular Photo for Attribution Thieves


Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Casino in Singapore

I took this dramatic photo of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Casino as it looked at dusk from the nearby Esplanade. The lighting at this time of day perfectly complimented the Sands Sky Park crowning this contemporary structure.

Marina Bay Sands

View of Marina Bay Sands Casino Hotel during dusk as seen from Singapore’s Esplanade

Although I was certainly hoping to attract visitors to view this photo, I did not expect the amount of times it was taken from my website without attribution.

If you care to properly license the photograph please check out the pricing options via Getty Images.

When Google indexed this image on January 7th 2011, I was thrilled to discover that it was generating some pretty decent traffic; in fact, it became the most visited post on my site. On April 11th of that year, however, another site uploaded it from Google images onto their page without giving me a proper photo attribution. This action resulted in such a devastating drop in traffic to my site that by April 15th, I was down to zero viewers!

Luckily, this did not last long. Before I was able to wrap my head around what was happening and figure out a way to get Google to put my photo back in their index, the traffic picked up again on April 16th. I forgot about this situation for the moment — relieved that my traffic was back.

Unfortunately, this happened again during the summer of 2011. And this time, the traffic didn’t pick up again after one day. So, I did some investigating. When you type in some specific search keywords on Google Image’s url (such as ‘Marina Bay Sands hotel’), my original photo shows up between pages 2 and 10 — which is not too shabby for an amateur travel blogger like myself.

The problem is that the link and worse, the credit for my photo never comes to my page anymore. It goes to those other websites that copied it! And if that is not enough, some of these websites are pretty full of spam. In the age of Google Panda Updates where a website is supposed to get rewarded for adding original high-quality content, this is very ironic!

To try and solve my dilemma, I have sent polite emails to the offending sites in an effort to get them to remove or at least properly credit my photo. I’ll keep my readers posted on my progress.

Update 18.1.2013:
Here’s a new episode of the Google traffic riddle. As of December 14th 2012 my photograph sends significantly more traffic than the previous months. It can be found prominently via Google Images and obviously links properly to my blog post.

Love it, thanks Google!


And what’s neat of course, when I track down the hotel in Google+ it shows my photograph as an icon! I assume this is personalized, i.e. you probably get an another icon?


Tracking down Marina Bay Sands on Google+ shows my photograph as an icon

Update 8.6.2013:

At the beginning I found my photograph on ‘dozens’ of other blogs and websites. In the meantime it takes Google Images eight pages to list all those copycats…


Eight pages listing my photograph…

Many of those are wallpaper photo suppliers. Some put their own watermark on my photograph. How crazy is that?

And here’s my latest take of the spectacular hotel as featured in my new blog post.

Marina Bay Sands hotel, casino, art museum, mall

Marina Bay Sands hotel, casino, art museum, mall

Update 18.4.2014
Nope, I don’t think Google is doing a good job regarding image tracking 8-(

Traffic for this page. Google keeps loosing track of the original photograph

Traffic for this page. Google keeps loosing track of the original photograph


About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.


  1. Gioconda Schärer on

    Es sieht wirklich wunderbar aus…ich kann mich vorstellen normale Leute können sich nur die öffentliche Teile zu besuchen leisten…es muss super teuer sein!!!

  2. I had a chance to visit Singapore in 2007. Don’t know if Marina Bay Sands was already operational then or maybe it was not within the range of our study tour itinerary. The capture of the sight is spectacular. Yeah, esplanade is a nice place. We had a dinner there right besides the river.

  3. Thanks!

    The Esplanade indeed offers spectacular views. The platform was packed with photographers ;-)

    @ Islandvacations: Marina Bay Sands started operations in Summer 2010. Next time around I’ll have to get closer. This time we were just changing planes really on our way from Australia to Switzerland…

  4. Oh i see. That’s why I was surprised upon seeing your photograph. With that spectacular structure, I am sure it can surely catch the attention especially for first time visitors in that tiny city state like me.

  5. If sites are copying your photographs without permission, it’s easy to get it taken down, just submit a DMCA request to the site’s hosting company. Works almost every time, and it’s free if you prepare the DMCA request yourself (easy to do).

    • Thanks!

      I will look into it since I sent them an according email and never heard back. I would already be happy if they placed a link back to my blog.

      Not much to ask for, I think…

  6. You should also offer to have the offending website taken down via dmca complaint filed with their host if they do not provide live link and credit back to your blog. The host will respond and take the site down if you follow proper rules for dmca complaint. Your blog is very nice, you should take action to protect your work.

    • Thanks for your support!

      In the meantime I found out about the IPTC graphics metadata format. I will now tag all my photographs with author name, the blog’s URL and copyright information.

      I hope this helps Google Images and Googler Matt Cutts’ spam team to identify a photograph’s actual author and give according credit.

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