Offsite Image Hosting Rules Are Changing: What You Need to Know

We're making some changes to our rules around offsite image hosting for user avatars, forum signatures, etc. to combat malware warnings. Get all of the details here.

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Have you ever been browsing a website that you know and trust only to be stopped by a bright and flashy screen warning you that the page you just tried to open is riddled with malware and you should really just leave that site and never come back and, oh no, I hope it's not too late?

If you're using Google Chrome--which is incidentally the Web browser of choice among our users--chances are you've experienced this before. This is a security feature built into the browser and is generally a really good thing to have. Except for when it's not.

Every now and then, a user will host, say, their avatar image on a website that is known by Google to be a malware host, which is a problem for us. Even though we're not hosting this image and we're not infected by malware, any page that this user posts a comment on will be flagged as a malware carrier, and users will see something that may scare them away from the site.

This doesn't happen too often, but it has definitely been happening much more often lately--so much so that we've decided to make some changes to our offsite image hosting rules to fix this for good.

What's Changing

Update 2: We've added in Tinypic, Twitter, Flickr, and Minus to the trusted list.

Update: We've added in Steam to the trusted list. Also, the text below was changed to reflect that profile signatures will not be changed: users may continue to use external "gamer card" images and bring in images from offsite hosts for now, though we will reconsider this if we continue to be flagged as a malware carrier in the future.

Right now, you can either upload your user images (profile image, banner image, user icon, and blog header image) to GameSpot, or store them pretty much anywhere that you can link to.

Obviously it's the latter case that needs to change, which is why starting March 4, 2013, users will only be able to link off to the following trusted external image hosts for their user images:

If after March 4, 2013, you are still linking off to user images hosted by any external provider except for the ones listed above, your images will be automatically changed to photos of Robocop. Or unicorns. Or Robocop riding a unicorn. Srsly. So consider this your warning.

If all of your images are hosted on some other obscure image hosting website that we've probably never heard of before and that you swear is totally legit and not at all a malware haven, and you really don't have the time to move them around, etc., etc., post your hosting domain in the comments below--we can't make any promises, but we'll consider adding additional hosts to our trusted whitelist if there is enough demand for one.

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Discussion

162 comments
silverdoe
silverdoe

flick images usually generates as staticflickr.com, and these got flagged. Bullshit!

KustomCulture
KustomCulture

Ha! this things effed! i cant even see my picture when i post comments though on my profile and top right of the page next to sign in i can see my picture but in this comment sections or on the top right of this comments box its a G :( very sad iv changed it i made a new account with photo bucket remade and re-sized the photos and re uploaded  couldn't even upload it because it said i cant upload the same file and still no go trying to figure this horrific thing out i don't understand why you cant just upload from your computer like every where else and done </3
 and yes i have deleted my cache many times over lol :(

Ricardomz
Ricardomz

I can't even see my avatar...

gothemile
gothemile

I came here because I'm failing to post images in the comments section. Is this why or is this only concerning profile pics?

Thulinma
Thulinma

Why isn't gravatar trusted? I mean, seriously, it's a service dedicated to hosting generic avatars - not having it is... just crazy.

Hemmaroids
Hemmaroids

Question: When you say "Even though we're not hosting this image and we're not infected by malware, any page that this user posts a comment on will be flagged as a malware carrier"

Do you mean any page such user post a comment on IN THAT MALWARE WEBSITE? Or are you talking about gamespot??

iowastate
iowastate

Robocop riding a unicorn would be an awesome avatar so maybe I'll give a try....although if I can find Robocop riding Rainbow Dash or Pinkie Pie xD

Rayrota
Rayrota

Well that explains the Robocorn achievement I got.

-Vulpix-
-Vulpix-

My image is already an Alicorn so does that count:P Close enough to a unicorn.

-Vulpix-
-Vulpix-

tinypic wasn't a trusted website before? I've used it before so. now I mostly use photobucket and imageshack sometimes

WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77

My website is not a malware site. www.whiteknight77.net is hosted at 1and1.com and should not be considered a malware site. Please add it to the trusted list. 

evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

what about deviant art? that is a legit hosting site also....

Devil_Spooky
Devil_Spooky

I usally just update my pictures to gamespot itself

zanelli
zanelli moderator

@LarkAnderson  Have you added Xfire? I use that for a lot of screenshots on my blogs.

chicknfeet
chicknfeet moderator

Noted, though I've been using cut & paste scripts web site to store my Dan sigs (which are hosted on photobucket)


OK just read that you aren't mucking with the signatures, so we are good to go

tmaclabi
tmaclabi

please add deviant art guys! please im begging :cry:

Legend002
Legend002

I'd like a robocop riding a unicorn icon, please.

lamoucheuk
lamoucheuk

Hey Mr Anderson, I'm sorry this is out of context but it would be awesome to also improve the video player... Been really annoyed by the fact that you cannot jump to the middle of a video without downloading the beginning of it first. This is particularly annoying when you watch a video for a while and then change the quality setting.

Cloud_765
Cloud_765

Proud Imageshack user, never had this issue, but good to see some more trusted sites that you can't deny their legitimacy.

matastig
matastig

Sorry but you said "Right now, you can either upload your user images to GameSpot , or store them pretty much anywhere that you can link to" can you explain how please?

http://i50.tinypic.com/2u7c5yb.jpg

LarkAnderson
LarkAnderson moderator staff

We've updated the list of trusted websites to include a few that have been requested. Read above for the details!

dalger21
dalger21

lol.  Robocop riding unicorns..that is hilarious.  I've always used imageshack so I'm good in that regard.

kitty
kitty moderator

where is tinypic? it's linked to photobucket, so I hope it's allowed. 99% of my images are on tinypic

Thefatness16
Thefatness16

Add Minus please. Minus is by far the best image hosting site.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

All I ever use is Photobucket and Imageshack, so I'm good.

EJ902
EJ902 moderator moderator

oh man I cant wait for robocop 

Willy105
Willy105

Almost every issue of System Wars Magazine will now become the Robocop Unicorn gallery when this goes into effect. 

We stopped using Gamespot Images when Gamespot broke all the old links to the images (by moving to a different system (?), I imagine), resulting in them not loading (example: http://www.gamespot.com/forums/topic/26064586)

Can Wordpress.com images be allowed to be posted? If not, I can understand; we'll rebuild the way we make them into the new system.

KingTrax999
KingTrax999

@gothemile I'm having the same error.  No image in the comments section.  No matter what I do.

Foppe
Foppe

@ThulinmaBecause gravatar is a security risk that use unsalted MD5 hash of an email address.

DigitalDame
DigitalDame moderator moderatorstaff

@HemmaroidsBasically, if a user with a malware-hosted avatar posts on a GameSpot page and their image appears, that particular page on GameSpot will be flagged as harboring malware.

JodyR
JodyR moderator

@Rayrota We also announced this in the community news, before it came out! :D 

matastig
matastig

You guys took down the "Upload" button , any other way?

kitty
kitty moderator

@LarkAnderson  Thanks for adding tinypic :) I was worried I might have to move all of my images. 

matastig
matastig

@LarkAndersonI used Tinypic for years and it's my favorite and most trusted host,  Photobucket didn't work out well for me, Tinypic all the way.

LarkAnderson
LarkAnderson moderator staff

@Willy105 This isn't going to affect images you post in the forums right now--just profile images, banner images, user icons, and blog header images.

Rayrota
Rayrota

@JodyR @Rayrota Any reason why it still shows my old profile picture in the comment section?

LarkAnderson
LarkAnderson moderator staff

@matastig You do it through your settings, and it only works for the profile images I outlined above.

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator

@LarkAndersonwhich is the main reason I haven't bothered to suggest things like puu.sh/puush.me - they're almost exclusively for quick pictures in posts rather than avatars/banners/etc. Unfortunately, we'll still get the odd malware warning complaint due to google chrome as a result of allowing all images in the main body of posts, but it should be a great deal rarer at least.

matastig
matastig

@LarkAnderson But that's works only for our Avy's and banners. how about our regular images to post in our blogs and stuff? so we're not allowed to host images in our Gamespot anymore?