Just Say ‘No’ to Max Pixel


Introduction, or “what is this fool talkin‘bout?”:

Many of you, when looking for a free-license graphic/image, use Google image search set to Labeled for reuse.

While this by no means guarantees an image is public domain or has a CC license (I’m looking at you Pinterest), it does provide a great place to start.

I’m not looking to go into what the best method for searching is. There are fancier ways of going about it, but I tend to more or less caveman my way through the dull details when I’d rather be concentrating on writing. Instead, the above information is meant as a starting place for the subject of this piece: The Shit Pie known as Max Pixel.

The Villain:

In short, please do not use images from Max Pixel, please don’t even click on a link from them. I’ve been guilty of using images from there, in the past, but only while ignorant.

So, why not use them? Well, they prey on other reputable sites (e.g. pexel.com, pixabay.com, etc.) who actually provide a fantastic service. They not only raid those sites for images, but also steal their page layouts to the point that you can actually get to pages, on Maxpixel, that still reference Pixabay!

Not only that, but if you happen to try clicking the download link on a MP image and you don’t have proper pop-up/malware/vpn protection, it does the typical nasty shit that disreputable sites do.

I’ll take the hit so you don’t have to:

  1. A search result:

2. Downloading the image (for the record, you can right click the image and save it, open in new tab, etc. but you only get the one, smaller, resolution).

Click the (exactly the same as pixabay.com) Download button, and we get:

It gets better… that little countdown thing reaches zero and then changes to skip ad. Clicking on that pops up a shiny new window/tab:

Then when you try to close that, you get:

Okay, so what’s going on in the original tab?:

and if you finally make it to Mordor and ascend Mount Doom, you get this:

It must be noted that sometimes it actually does finally go to the picture you were trying to download.

In that case, congratulations, you just gave your vote to the bad guy.

The Good Guys:

Okay, so what if that was the perfect image for our story? Well, keep in mind, if it’s on Max Pixel then it’s a pretty safe bet it was raided from a better site.

Do the following and gain good karma, vote for the good guys, and proceed without Max Pixel’s nasty taint on you. It’s easy:

Open another window (not a tab, though you can do that if you feel like going several extra steps) and go to:

Now, drag the picture you found on Max Pixel to the Google Images window and drop it.

You will now (hopefully) get a handy-dandy list showing where the pictures are also found at. Just look under Pages that include matching images for a link to a reliable source (e.g. pixabay, pexels, flickr, etc.):

If you do not find an appropriate link under Pages that include matching images, then go to Plan ‘B’, find other sizes of this image, and select All Sizes.

It’s a bit more work, but here is something similar to what you can expect:

You will need to hover whatever little pointer thing your browser uses over the images to get them to show where they come from. Do this until you find one that links to a reputable free image site.

In case I wasn’t clear, “CC0” is the Creative Commons license for a totally free use it, abuse it, whatever, no credit

Can you feel the universe smiling? Breathe in all that good karma. Today you have taken bread from the mouth of a skeevy bastard and given it to the righteous.

Strut a bit, it’s cool. You earned it.

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