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NowPublic.com trolling for members with Flickr photo requests?

January 4, 2007

Moonrise over Lake Tahoe

I was recently contacted by Victoria at NowPublic about them using one of my Flickr photos, of moonrise over Lake Tahoe, for a story on a fault line lurking underneath Lake Tahoe.

I was very happy to ok the usage. Strangely enough, clicking the link to ok the use took me through an account creation process. This got me started thinking: Was this request to use my photo really new-user-trolling in disguise?

I realize that because of NowPublic’s model, creating a new account to ok usage probably makes good sense. But it appeared that that was the only way for me to ok usage. In other words, everytime anyone gives their ok to use a photo or video, they become a new member of the NowPublic community. Tick one more in the “user” column for the site.

This has me wondering how many other business models in the Web 2.0 world might have hidden agendas, even if NowPublic’s doesn’t. A whole new outlook on the virility of social networking…

Anyone else been asked to share a photo or other resource and had similar thoughts? Well, whatever the motive, it’s a great photo if I do say so myself… 🙂

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8 Comments
  1. Hi Bill. This is Michael Tippett, the guy that started NowPublic. Thanks for the post. The reason we ask for people to set up accounts with us is because we want to preserve their ability to control how the footage is used. Without having a process for authenticating the photo or video owner we aren’t able to do this. We think it’s the best solution but we’re always open to suggestion. Please feel free to pass on any feedback via the site or feel free to contact me at mtippet(at)nowpublic(dot)com.

    Cheers,

    Michael.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Michael. I appreciate the need to let people control how their pictures, video, etc. are used. And unfortunately I don’t have a better suggestion right now as to how to enable that without having some sort of account on NowPublic, unless you could use http://openid.net/ or something similar? Have you investigated something like that?

    I like the site in the week or so I’ve been tinkering with it since the photo request came in. Best wishes for success!

  3. Andrew permalink

    I received a similar request from nowpublic.com. I followed the link and was able to view the story which they want my photo for. Along with the “story” (5 paragraphs cut and paste from the NY Times), there is a slide show with 750 similar photos to mine. This definitely sounds like a scam. You would expect a news website to have at least the slightest semblance of ethics.

  4. I have to agree with Andrew. I just received a request to use my “cubed watermelon” photo for an article about the soaring price of Japanese watermelons. I was very interested until I read Now Public’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    Specifically, this one section of their privacy policy reads:
    “NowPublic collects personal information from you when you subscribe for services or products, and may from time to time collect additional personal information in the course of providing such products and services. NowPublic may disclose personal information…to third party service providers and to affiliated entities in order to carry out work on behalf of NowPublic”.

    I’m not too impressed about their methods though I think I’ll just signup with a lesser-used email address and alternative contact info just to be safe. I’m sure most people don’t want to be constantly harangued about NP’s “products and services”.

    For more info:
    Photo– http://www.flickr.com/photos/flickrsoon/2237246615/
    Article– http://www.nowpublic.com/strange/japans-priciest-watermelon
    My Blog– http://www.patricksoon.blogspot.com

  5. Andrew permalink

    Patrick — further evidence that Now Public is just harvesting users and personal details for spamming.

    Everyone — Please don’t under-value your work. When you give your photos away for free, you are devaluing and comoditizing all photography. I don’t make my living from photography, but even so, I think we should all be careful not to think of our hobby as having no value. …And of course, don’t make life easy for spammers! 🙂

  6. Denise permalink

    I also received one of these requests for some of my pet pictures. I was suspicious when I saw that there were several other pictures that had been posted also similar to mine & I wondered why they needed so many pictures for this one article. I also noticed a picture that had been posted, that I’ve seen circulated throughout the web in many forms & many times. I didn’t want to risk that happening to my photos. I ignored the message, after I found this site.

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