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  1. #1
    Kentucky Wildlife
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    Photo Contest Scams

    Recently I decided to enter some photo contests that offered substantial cash prizes and am finding out that at least some of these are scams. For instance, it didn’t take me very long to be chosen as “one of the top photo laureates of 2009.”
    I entered because they offered a grand prize of $6,500. I just received an ego stroking email that explained that because I was chosen for this prestigious national honor, my image would be included in an anthology of “The Best Of 2009 Photography,” supposedly a coffee table, hard cover book that I could buy for $69, and if I bought this book, I would then be entered into the $6,500 contest.
    I don’t remember any of this stuff when I entered, and quickly figured out it was a scam. I tried to reply to this message stating that I was a professional photographer and that I don’t pay publishers to publish my work–publishers pay me, and that to use my photo was a violation of my copyright. I tried to reply to the message. It came back. I tried to reply to the link on the email. It came back. I went to their website and tried to reply there, but couldn’t. The only way you can reply to this message is to send them your credit card number. No telling what they would do with that.
    I’ve had my images stolen and used elsewhere on the internet, but this kind of thing bothers me more than anything, because it takes advantage of beginners who let the excitement of “being published” override the warning signs.
    I doubt they even publish “The Best Of 2009 Photography.” It’s just January, after all. There’s clues to a scam all over this thing, and I’m embarrassed that I didn’t see any of them up front. But I’m swallowing my pride to share this with all the good, yet unpublished photographers out there who might be cheated out of who-know-how-much money before these criminals disappear into cyberspace.
    Be very careful of internet photo contests.

  2. #2
    Fluorite Toothpaste poker's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Contest Scams

    Yeah. This seems to be a rampant Internet marketing technique. There are models posting pics of themselves trying to get voted for something although the contest never seems to end. Two of my family members entered a photo related contest that just seems to spam people for votes. These contest never seem to have an end date as well. One is for best looking kid and the other is for wedding couples.
    Canon 5D MKII & Canon 7D

  3. #3
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Contest Scams

    Same people that run poetry.com.
    Replace the photography word with poetry and the rest is almost identical.

    I got suckered into the poetry one when I was internet naive and got rave revews for my creative use of the English language and insight into the nature of life or words to that effect and soon was offered a coffee table book for 59 dollars and they wanted me to go to Miami for a public reading of my poem and for some amount of money would recieve a trophy cup. It soon seemed to me that if they were publishing my poetry, that I should be paid not the other way around.
    I can't tell you exactly what to look out for exactly but it becomes obvious.
    Keep Shooting!

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  4. #4
    Kentucky Wildlife
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    Re: Photo Contest Scams

    Yes, there are a bunch of "writing" sites like that as well. All these things prey upon people's dreams, emotions (such as for their children and their wedding and their pets) and ambitions in ways that I think are worse than outright theft.

  5. #5
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Scams of a different sort

    Another type of "scam" pulled by even legitimate contests is regarding rights to one's photos.

    I nearly entered one last year which was sponsored by a local, highly regarded public organization. The fine print stated that they would retain full and exclusive rights to all winning photos (not sure if it applied to all entered photos - but at that point, it doesn't matter). Nice eh? Give them your best stuff only to be locked out from using it yourself in the future.

    An extremely inexpensive and efficient way for an organization to get their hands on a boatload of images.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

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  6. #6
    Kentucky Wildlife
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    Re: Photo Contest Scams

    Another good point, Loupey. The standard business practices today are all some form of predation and deception. It's all making it much harder for professional writers and photographers to make a living. This thread isn't getting much participation, but I hope everyone is reading it.
    An awful lot of people are being ripped off--and don't even know it.

  7. #7
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Contest Scams

    Over the last couple of years, I have found several photo contests that I have wanted to enter, but I'm always a little scared to. Like Loupey said, the "rights grab" is what always turns me off. Even the ones that don't claim "exclusive" rights, still claim the right to use your photo anyway they want to, but still let you retain your rights. I guess you would no longer have the rights to sell exclusive rights to someone else because now the contest people also have rights to it...

    I even saw a contest that Scott Kelby was putting on, or sponsoring, that had language in the rules stating that they have the rights to do what they want. A lot of times, I think it's just the contests way of covering there butts, but it sure sounds fishy when you read them.

    I think there are some legit contests out there, you just have to make sure you read the fine print before sending off your images.
    Mike

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  8. #8
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Contest Scams

    That's interesting. However, Photobucket does the same thing. By posting your images on Photobucket, you give them full rights to use your pictures for whatever they want. This is why I now use Flickr.

    BTW, Ron. I'm pretty sure I'll be heading your way in May. My wife wants to go to a state we haven't been to yet, and KY fills the bill.
    Mike
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    Canon 30D X 2, Canon 100-400L, Thrift Fifty, Canon 18-55 IS 3rd generation lens plus 430 EX II flash and Better Beamer. :thumbsup:

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