scam: domain name registration / SEO service registration

As if the e-mail scams aren’t bad enough, they are now texting photographers with the same scam! But there is another scam that has been going around for years now – but it is so obvious that I doubt many people will fall for it. But just in case anyone has any doubt, or may be a touch too inattentive, this next one is also a scam – fake domain renewals / SEO service registration.

If you have a website – and this means everyone – then you have received these emails, warning you to renew your domain. There are also emails with instruction that you need to renew your search engine submission. I guess that this takes them out of the realm of outright fraud, since they will most likely add your website to Google?

It’s all purposely very vague, cloaked with mis-directing language. There’s even a warning about “failure to complete” resulting in making it difficult for clients to find you on the internet.

This important expiration notification notifies you about the expiration offer notice of your domain registration for search engine submission. The information in this expiration notification may contain confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the Domain SEO Service Registration to purchase our SEO Traffic Generator. This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above.
If you fail to complete your domain name registration search engine service by the expiration date, may result in the cancellation of this domain name notification offer notice.

This scam – domain name registration / SEO service registration – is quite laughable and very obvious, but I wanted to add it to the list of scams that are out there.


related articles

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photographers who are too lazy to be original

This is one of the most ironic things about wannabe professional photographers – while they invariably claim to be original and artistic, they flounder when it comes to writing text for their websites. Then they fall back on the old cntl-C / cntl-V trick, or in this example, be just as lazy and stay with what appears to be the generic text on a website template.

Just click on the image, and be astonished. Count the pages and then be even more astonished.

The long and the short of this is that there is no short-cut. Do your own work. Or just look foolish.

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photographers: how scammers are trying to rip you off

In a previous article on how e-mail scammers are targeting photographers, the question came up exactly how the photographer is going to lose money. What exactly is the system in place where the photographer is going to be out of pocket?

In short – the scammer books you but overpays, and then asks you to pay the difference to another vendor. So you send money to the “other vendor” (who is actually the scammer). The transaction where you got paid the money turns out to be fraudulent, and the bank removes that money from your bank account … but the money that you paid to the “other vendor” (ie, the scammer) is a real transaction and you lose that money.

You’ll encounter different versions of this, but there are numerous tell-tale signs. These have even cropped up now as scammers texting you! But it follows the same pattern, with the same tell-tale signs that it is a scam.

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Optimum Online & spam popup adverts

“We are not responsible for content on the internet” was the blunt line that I was deflected with when I spoke to tech support at Optimum Online / CableVision. My counterpoint is that I get these pop-ups only when logged on with my new Optimum WiFi account, and even when I browsed my own site.

Optimum tech support refused to acknowledge this, and refused to (initially) escalate this as a valid complaint. It took a 40+ minute heated phone call before the lady on the other side of the phone would even budge from that blunt refusal that there is a problem.


Due to this experience with Optimum Online, and really bad experiences with their tech support, I’ve decided to go with Verizon FIOS instead for my internet connection in the studio, and close my account with Optimum Online.

My experience with Optimum Online has me wondering just how badly they must be bleeding customers to their competitors.


Back to the original story:

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wedding photography – where to start building a portfolio

I do get some interesting emails and Facebook messages. The strange ones run the whole range from trippy & bizarre, all the way to obscure. One of my favorite weird emails was one that had the title, “Nikon D100″ with the body of the email simply asking, “How do you do that?”

This morning, I saw news that Facebook is once again altering things, including the way that messages are delivered. Paid messages from strangers now seem to be on the horizon. So with that, for the first time in forever, I went through the backlog of messages in the “other” folder. And I saw this message that I show here as a screen-capture.

What bemused me was the polite and respectful tone. And yes, he did ask! Unlike others who have simply used images as they please. I’ve even had my my entire website ripped off. A very ballsy move that they denied to the end. It gets even stranger when you realize my bio is the most plagiarized part of my website! I even directly mention this in the one section. Yup, apparently you can just use my bio as a template by changing a few details. So this request now is an odd combination of sincerity and naiveté. That he even asked, is then a surprise in itself.

Obviously, the main problem here is that someone would even (naively) think it is okay to misrepresent his abilities to potential clients. If you can’t shoot in a certain way, or produce a certain quality of work already, then it is fraudulent to say you can. Your potential clients deserve better!

We can’t ignore that this kind of thinking is very prevalent in the photography industry. It is a regular thing for me to see other photographers on Facebook complain that their images and text were ripped off. It is that rife! There is the Stop Stealing Photos Tumblr blog, where photographers are constantly busted for using photos that aren’t their own. The scary thing is, that site mostly just shows theft of wedding & portrait photography! It’s an avalanche that tedious DMCA take-downs can’t effectively stem.

The culprits just don’t realize that they will be caught. One way or another. Sooner or later. And there can be significant consequences when they are busted, as just one example.

What I find most ironic with all this, is that photographers like to think of themselves as creative people. Yet, there is such a vast number of wannabe photographers who happily steal and misappropriate and plagiarize. Where’s the self-respect?

I’ve even heard of photographers using the sample albums from album companies as their own work. Yup, they’ve all been shooting the same fabulous wedding in Italy.

The disconcerting element to all of this is that two photographs from someone else, could qualify one as a wedding photographer. That, sadly, is how low the bar is!

Mulling over this request, my reaction ranged from amusement, all the way to “are you f’n kidding me?”, back to the idea that this guy, like other aspiring photographers, is struggling with ideas of how to start as a wedding photographer.

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various scams via email that are targeting photographers

Photographers are more and more becoming the target for scammers and con artists. They come in all kinds of ways. Really, it’s the Wild West out there!

The most prevalent scam is where the photographer is asked if they are available for a date … and they just want to throw money at you and book you, without even finding out details.

One of the things that reveal them, is the phrasing. For example, if they say “your city”, then it is 100% guaranteed to be a scam. Other vague descriptions like that should also start the alarm bells.


how these scams work

The scamming method here is that they want to book you for a certain date, and then pay via bank guaranteed check or via credit card.

The scam comes into play in that they over-pay, and then ask for a refund of that portion of the money.  The bank guaranteed check of course is fake, or the credit card they used is stolen.  Another clue is that you often have to pay the scammer via Western Union Money Transfer. That’s often a consistent part to this type of scam.

The end result is that the photographer who is naive enough to fall for this, is out of pocket by whatever amount they “refunded” to the scammers.

You’ll encounter variations of this, but there are always specific patterns to it that will reveal you’re dealing with a con artist / criminal / scammer.

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scam – photography domains for sale

Here is an example that crops up regularly, where a domain with important keywords is offered for sale. WebnameSolution is just one of the companies that try their devious hand at this.

The best advice I can give here, is that you do your homework first and find out who actually owns the domain name! Do a whois on the domain, and use other methods to see if the domain is legitimately for sale.

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Dino Direct – image theft and blatant misrepresentation

update: March 04, 2011
I have added the PDF screengrab of the page where DinoDirect was using my images without my consent … because when I confronted them about it on their Facebook page, they removed the page, and are acting dumb about it. Trying to appear innocent. As if.

Someone let me know today, Feb 24, that they had discovered some of my images on the website of Dino Direct. Apparently it is a company that distributes all kinds of electronic goods, including video lights. Dino Direct took it upon themselves to appropriate three of my images; crop out my logo; and add their own logo. Blatant theft of my images.

But worst still, they are misrepresenting themselves with those images …

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You know you’ve arrived when …
other photographers start ripping off your images and text from your website

Someone let me know that when googling my name, there is a link that comes up with another photographer’s website.  So I checked it, and sure enough – there it is with some of my images, and a copy of the original HTML-based design of my website, One Perfect Moment, as it appeared at the time. My entire website ripped off!

Here’s the screenshot of the Google search …

I then followed the trail to this photographer’s other website.  And it is all duplicated there as well – the entire website, and some of my images.

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