so i learned not too long ago what being a bandwidth thief meant: someone who uses someone's image's location on their site. i had no idea! i'll go ahead and confess: i am a REFORMED bandwidth thief. but no longer, ladies & gents. i've learned what to do about it, even if i'm confused about other things. i have now gone through all of my buttons and transferred them to flickr or some such site, and recoded them all.
so, for you not to be like me: host the image you like on your own site (or public storage site, i.e. flickr, photobucket, picasa, etc.) that way, you don't show your love to the person who you're trying to be nice to by linking to them or showing something of theirs to begin with, by stealing their internet highway lane. be kind. karma is a bitch.