Years ago when I first started really getting into photography, I got an interesting envelope in the mail. It was interesting because it had one of my photos printed right on the front.
When I read the material inside, I was surprised to find that my photo had been entered in a contest! I had never submitted anything, but I went to the website, and sure enough, there it was.
I read about the prize money and having my photo published in a book with all the other semi-finalists. But being the skeptic that I am regarding unsolicited online contacts, I did a Google search and soon found out that the whole thing was a scam.
They prey on people’s need for admiration. Your picture could be the biggest piece of crap out there but if you took it, and someone else says it’s good, you’ll start to believe it. Especially if they want to give you prize money and publish it.
Picture.com gets their money by duping people into buying the book containing their photo. Many people buy more than one. And they don’t stop there… They have affiliated sites for poetry contests too. I seem to remember the book being over $30.00. And there are reports of many people paying for their books and never receiving them.
Don’t be fooled, these people have been around for a long time and apparently doing quite well scamming people. Still.
edited July, 2007
I’m very happy to see people finding this blog when checking these bastards out. I’m not saying your photos are crap, they could be very good. I’m saying that they count on your own pride in your photo.
I, too, wonder how it’s possible that these people are still around. I want to do more investigating and see if I can bring their tactics to the attention of sites like Consumerist.com, that have a wide readership. It’s people like us who can minimize the damage these scam artist can do by informing people. Feel free to link back here from your own homepage so we can tell as many people as possible.
Thanks, and keep shooting pictures!
edited/added December, 2007
If you’re finding this post too late, you do still have recourse. This is a link to the Better Business Bureau’s page on Picture.com and Poetry.com. If you’ve already given them your money, you can file a complaint. Also if the charge has not gone through on your credit card, call your company and tell them you don’t want these bastards to have your money.
Spurred by my anger at the email Hex was kind enough to copy and paste below, I’ve just emailed firstname.lastname@example.org to alert them to picture.com, this blog, and your comments. If I ever get contacted back, please include in your comment whether you would or would not mind being contacted to re-tell your story.
If nothing comes from this, I’ll dig a bit deeper and see what else I can come up with.
Thanks again for all your comments!