Commercial companies exploiting photographers through blog posts
The Organisers of the Competition would remind all photographers who entered the Competition to be wary of any commercial business offering the opportunity to showcase your work in a blog post. The Competition generates a huge level of media interests and a wave of publicity which some companies have seen as an opportunity to exploit photographers for their own ends. Photographers should be aware that by allowing your work to be published in a private comany’s blog, your images and content may be used covertly in money making schemes for that company. To date, we have uncovered blogs by jewellery companies, printing shops and holiday/workshop tour companies that have used hidden links that rack up commission for the company.
Because many photographers are keen to have their work published as widely as possible, they are viewed by some marketeers as easy targets to obtain free content for their websites, which they can use to boost their Google rankings and sell their products. Blog posts are a common method to practice this, and you should always question why any company is asking you to write a blog post.
It works as follows;
You receive an email congratulating you on your amazing images in the Competition and are invited to write a blog post showcasing your images on their website. In return, you are promised links back to your social media page or your website, and may even be told to expect significant exposure for your work. Whilst this may seem flattering and appealing at first, you should question the motives behind the email as in the majority of cases the company has no interest in your work, other than to promote themselves. It is highly likely that you will receive no exposure for your work and in some cases you may be helping sell another photographer’s work or even sell their workshops.
For example, we have seen print shop websites where photographers have written blog posts, but within the text and images, links were going to other photographers prints. We have also seen holiday/tour company websites where several photographers were showcased in blogs, but links went to selling another photographers workshops. If someone bought a print or a workshop, you will never know and you will never see a penny of the money that was spent. We’ve also seen some blog posts that embed hidden links which when clicked on, rack up commissions for that website. Again, you will never see a penny of the money the company earns from your work.
So what can you do to protect your work from being exploited?
1. Look through their website and follow links to see what and who they sell. If they sell prints or workshops for another photographer, then we recommend walking away. Even if it links to someone famous, it is highly likely that the company has a working agreement or commission agreement with that photographer. Your work will still be used to promote that photographer and you will see no compensation.
2. Hover over links and images and observe at the tooltip window that pops up. There are sometimes scripts that either redirect your clicks to 3rd party affiliate websites or have pop under websites. These rack up commissions for every click you never see any of the money.
3. If it sounds too good to be true, and you’re in doubt, send us an email through our contact page and we’ll be happy to check them out.