6.19.2013

Our First Fraud

It's only a matter of time before someone steals your pictures, and that's just what someone did. Really, for having a 4 year old blog and not having discovered this yet I think is a pretty good track record. And luckily, I am always amazed by the kindness of your wonderful readers, and that's just who alerted us.

In the middle of April I got a message on our facebook page from a very kind visitor who told me that there was an ad from a company based in Indiana that had an internet ad up that happened to have a photo of ours in an ad


You see that second picture? That's our bathroom before and after!


Lame.

The part that was confusing was that I wasn't entirely sure who was responsible for the stolen photo. It was on A&B Handyman's link, but the photo was actually in an ad within the ad. And if I refreshed the link the Handyman.networx.com link would change. I found this out because the first link that was featured was Redbeacon and when I contacted them they were actually really helpful and let me know that I needed to contact the owner of the website. And they were speedy too - we riffled off about 6 emails back and forth in the span of about 45 minutes. 

Next, I actually made a phone call to A&B Handyman and I tried to contact AdChoices. Adchoices never contacted me back despite me attempting to reach them on 6 separate occasions (phone calls, emails, messages through their website), so fuck you Adchoices. A&B wasn't super friendly. The first phone call went well and he was apologetic, but after that communication broke down and nothing was done. I periodically emailed him and over 6+ weeks he became more and more rude and acted like it wasn't a big deal. I understand that this might have been frustrating to him, but it's also a stolen photo being advertised on his company's advertisement and so it would have been nice if he was more understanding of our work being passed off as someone else's. He also kept on claiming that it was down when it wasn't. Plus, our wonderful reader who alerted us to the problem said that they had not had a great experience with them and they actually took money as a deposit to do work, never did it, and never gave their money back. I tried not to pester A&B, I would write an email to them about every 10 days to 2 weeks, but this was starting to get ridiculous. 

Finally, I realized I had a great weapon in my back pocket: my step dad is a lawyer. A really good one. Nothing makes people get things done like getting scared by a lawyer. So I made a business call :) I sent the link to CBH and discussed who was responsible and who needed to get a "nasty lawyer letter" as he humorously put it. The link was from freeadsmaker.com, which is actually a craigslist company. CBH found their contact info and sent off an email with really great words and phrases like "demand" , "clearly stolen" and "I represent." Of course freeadsmaker denied any responsibility and said they couldn't be responsible for content other people use. Well, then who the fuck is responsible? EVERYONE was denying any responsibility, and meanwhile Chris and I just wanted a simple picture taken down. But, again, CBH came to the rescue and told them, "I respect the fact that you cannot control what content is originally used, but you can and must control the misuse of the content." Take that!

Within 24 hours freeadsmaker had contacted A&B and the link was down. CBH's email to us: "That was some fast fucking lawyering."

Success!

I felt a little bad making a big deal out of one picture, but it felt violating. I felt even more like a bitch having to get CBH involved, but I tried really nicely to contact people to get the ad down and after 6+ weeks no one was listening to me. So what are you going to do? Thank your awesome step dad (THANKS CBH!) and awesome readers (THANK YOU AWESOME READERS) for helping us and coming to our aid. 

6 comments:

Heather said...

Oh, that's so lame! I'm glad you went after them--that shit is rampant online.

meryl rose said...

I know, it's so fucking LAME how people feel it's completely okay to do that. What the hell is wrong with people?

Sharon @ Laurelhurst Craftsman said...

I know how you feel. Pictures of our house are stolen all the time. It's irritating. There's at least one furniture store that has a picture of our living room on their website.

Kate H. said...

And it's not just the pictures, it's the implication that their handyman/men did the work shown in them. A double theft.

meryl rose said...

I find it so frustrating that it's COMPANIES that do it. For some reason I feel like they should know better. Assholes.

James Smith said...

Adchoice was responsible for you photo showing up on thier craigslist ad not A&B.