I got a call at work today from a person who I assume to be the owner of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. Here's how it went: Me: Thank you for calling Aptera this is Brooke Caller: You have photos on your blog that don't belong to you. Me: May I ask who is calling, and can you tell me what photos they are? I am happy to remove them. Caller: You have 12 hours.
Total shock. I was completely shocked. First, let me say that I use photos that are not mine on my blog quite often. However, I try as best I can to reference the photo, which is completely legal.
Here's the thing. Millions of bloggers do this every single day. In fact, there are thousands (and probably even millions) of bloggers who use other people's photos and don't reference the person they took the photo from. Regardless, someone taking my photos, posting them on their website, and linking back to my website is great for a couple of reasons:
- They are promoting me for free by displaying my work for all of their readers to see. On top of that, they are linking back to my website, and chances are, lots of people will visit my website because of that link. That is good for me.
- There is also something called search engine optimization (SEO) that helps websites be found by Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. If someone posts my work on their blog and links to me, that is good. Search engines like it when other websites are linking to your website (within reason) because it means you have a credible website. Linking your blog to my blog helps my website SEO. It makes me happy.
Luckily the caller's number was on my call list so I called back. The phone rang a few times, the the person on the other line picked up the call and immediately hung up. So I called again. This time I got a voicemail and left a very polite message for someone named Jane, telling her that I would need to know exactly what photos she was referencing.
About 5 minutes later I received another call from the same number.
Call #2: Me: Thank you for calling Aptera, this is Brooke. Caller: You need to remove the photos from your blog. Me: Can you please tell me what photos you are talking about? Caller: You have photos on your blog that do not belong to you and they need to be removed immediately. Me: I'm very happy to remove them, but I need to know which photos they are in order to remove them. Caller: The photos are not yours. You need to remove all photos from your blog that are not yours.
The frustration sets in. Now I'm starting to get kinda frustrated. I had no problem removing the photos, in fact, if someone was upset because I used their photos, I wanted to remove them. The small problem was that I didn't know what photos she was referencing. I was also starting to get nervous because I didn't want some sort of lawsuit slapped on me, so I asked my husband to try calling the number.
I don't know what was said during his conversation with her, but he found out that the caller was the owner of the website AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. She was really upset that I had posted her photos on my blog, so he deleted the post.
Here's the weird part. That blog post about her website (which included photos) was essentially promoting her website. In fact, a decent number of the hits I receive from Google are for the blog post, and I'm generating some pretty good traffic for her website considering the size of my blog.
So, if you came to my website looking for my blog post about Awkward Family Photos, I'm sorry. It's not longer online. The images below will have to suffice.
More weird than awkward. Awkward because I've voluntarily posted it online.
The same four plus a couple of extras.
Everyone's done it. Don't tell me I'm the only one.
P.S. If you have anyone has any idea where she found my direct work line, please let me know.