Groupon Seems to Support False Advertising

Groupon knew this photographer was using pictures from another photog to advertise her services on their site.

(Link in sentence above, anything that follows is an embedded ad, not related to above content)

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  1. Christine

    I went to the website of the person who was advertising with Groupon using a stolen image. There are claims of ” Voted #1 on & the BBB
    as the #1 CHOICE for WEDDINGS.” So apparently not only does this person snatch other photogs photos but she pulls accolades out of her wazoo!

    • I checked it out as well. His work is mediocre at best. Maybe he’s in a rural area? :confused:

      • ithurtswhenipee

        Mediocre is far too much praise for this fuaxtog. I looked at one gallery and found many classic fauxtog images that we laugh about regularly on this site. The misrepresentation and copywrite infringement is the icing on the cake. But at least this fauxtog recognizes using their own images in an advertisement isn’t going to get them work.

      • Ok – I’m confused – I follow all of the links (in the sentence and then in the linked article) and I get to two different photographers – both in Texas…

      • Wsroadrunner

        it is a “her”, not a him. Perhaps you found the wrong site?

  2. “Groupon’s policy is to use a stock photo for the service when the client does not provide us with one, even if that client is a photographer” – There’s the problem right there!

    Every photographer worth hiring has an image that they could use for an ad. If they don’t have one then they should not be posting on Groupon, Crowd Cut, Living Social or anywhere short of Craigslist.

    And from the sound of things the “photographer” in this case isn’t much better – having images with other photographer’s watermarks showing as examples of her work.

  3. This has happened before with Groupon and will happen again.

    This is why you need to register with the Copyright Office (USA), so you can sue. Naming them as co-defendants in a $150,000 + legal fees lawsuit will get the policy changed. No register = No lawyer.

    Start filing false advertising complaints with the FTC (US). Enough fraud complaints at the federal level will get them shut down and possible prison time because they “knowingly and willfully engaged in illegal activity”. They admitted to infringement and false claims,

    • Wsroadrunner

      Actually, with the DMCA there is no copyright registration necessary and the cap on damages is $100,000 per violation.

  4. I left the photographer a comment on her facebook biz page. Since her likes included “Jesus” and “The daily Bible” I reminded her of the golden rule and that the Bible tells us not to do evil. She reported me to Facebook as a bully/using hate speech and I was locked out of my account for several hours.

    It’s said that Groupon still allowed her to run a special. It further shows how far Groupon has fallen and I’m glad I decided to stop using them last year. I hope that the fad of these coupons die soon.

    • How about “Jesus wouldn’t steal?” That should keep you out of FB for days.

    • I’ve always looked at these coupon sites as a lose – lose for the photographer to begin with. You have to literally cut your rates to nothing (or artificially inflate them before you start) to be accepted by the company.

      Then because you literally are competing against the $20 – $50 craigslist photographers – you have to sell so many of them to make anything – and by the time you would be done shooting, editing and printing – you literally make minimum wage or less for the shoots.

      Just not worth it IMHO.

  5. did anyone look at her website?? ugh

  6. Yes, Groupon uses stock photography, which is obvious. They repeatedly use the same photos. Check out the deal company’s website if you are interested in it. If they are a photographer and passing off other people’s images that is definitely wrong, but pictures psted on the web get used other places all the time. A good photographer shouldn’t need to use these coupon sites to get business.

  7. I checked out their Facebook page and they are from New Bern, NC. Well that explains a lot of it right there. I live in Jacksonville which is close by. This is a Marine base and 90% of the photography you see out here is military wives who bought a couple hundred dollar camera, started a Facebook page, and call themselves a professional photographer. It’s lowered the standards out here. I could send in work worse than this persons and they will have 13 weddings booked and 3 other fauxtographers working for them. It’s quite sad really what’s considered photography out here

    • A photographer

      Although everyone will tell you this, there are some inept wedding photographers. I’ve never shot a wedding but I DJed one once. The end of the couple’s first dance aligned perfectly with a blazing sunset. I had my Canon 1D sitting there so I took literally one shot of them bathed in golden light against a deep blue sky. That’s the picture sitting on their mantel today. The wedding photographer took a shot straight into the sunset and it was flared mess.

      I have no plans on getting into wedding photography however. I’d rather be proud of my one shot.

      • Very cool–and nice of you to take the time to get that perfect shot!

  8. Did you read any of the comments on the linked page?

    “While I would expect a photographer to have some images sitting around to use, you would be surprised at how many small businesses cannot provide a usable copy of their own logo for things like websites, business cards, printing etc. Many times it’s a scan of a scan of a print of something someone made for them a long time ago. Sometimes they have it and it’s a little 200×100 pixel 72dpi web image. I had one person supply me with a dark grainy photo of the wall in their office where a painter had painted their logo.

    If groupon had to hold up deals waiting for businesses to provide them with good art, they would lose a lot of money. I mean…they would lose more money than they have already lost.”

    “This is a total non-story. Anybody who wants to see the photogs work can go to his web site to see them. I see photographers all the time on groupon. I never once think that thumbnail is some kinda statement on the photographer’s work. ”

    “So they’re doing something that everyone else doesn’t. It either will work out for them or it won’t. At least it’s a point of differentiation.”

  9. Bad, just bad, and there’s no getting around it.

  10. We were shooting an awards gala thing a couple weeks ago and the DJ said “I’m also a photographer.” I said that’s great and he handed me a card with a very cool (and very stock-looking) image on it. I asked if it was his picture and he said “No, I couldn’t take one that good yet.”


    What an industry.

  11. I commented on one of her many out of focus images on her FB page… and she gave me some BS about the camera being broken or something. Then WHYYYY would you promote yourself using an obviously blurry shot?
    I can attest to the Jacksonville, NC phenomenon… I used to live there (I am a MC wife), and had my own business doing boudoir exclusively, and did quite well. What I couldn’t handle was the waves of incoming wives who started up a “business”, not legally of course or with any actual training or education to back it, but all because one of their moron friends with their 16 babies said that they took a cute picture one time…. I got tired of competing with people who only charged $50 for sub-par work, and instead decided to quit and work commercially for an organization. That cut my stress and frustration almost completely out of my life.
    It’s sad that my extremely expensive education and training is basically worthless because of people like that…. but at least I have valuable business experience, and now have been able to remove myself from the industry with absolutely no regrets… especially seeing as it gets worse and worse every day.

  12. The only way to fix the photography business and save it from these fauxtogs is to start naming names. Spread the word and educate people about what makes a good photo.

    • The problem with that logic, Don, is that you are assuming that people want to be educated – my experience is that they don’t want education, lectures, training, nothing that resembles education. The majority want the lowest acceptable level of photos at the lowest price possible.

      I’ve given up trying to educate clients on what “good” photography is. Instead, I show them my work and let them judge. If they like it and I like the clients we make it work.

  13. Wow, I’m really surprised at how much you guys are bashing groupon. It’s the fauxtog’s fault for not providing their own picture. The small family owned business I work for has benefited significantly from Groupon, it’s really quite genius. Groupon gets the money from these businesses and then sets up their page themselves, the copy and the stock photos included. I’m glad they took down the infringed images but come on, anyone who just buys based on the copy & the picture is a lousy internet shopper, especially if you are going for a professional photographer.

  14. See…we NEED SOPA!

    • SOPA is not the answer to copy infringement, SOPA is just another way for the government to babysit us and slowly take away another one of our rights. I highly recommend that you educate yourself on what the bill actual entails instead of blindly supporting it based on soundbites that it will stop copyright infringement… Because it WON’T.

      • Lee,
        I have heard the “government is taking away our rights” cry from others, but none of those people could explain to me exactly HOW they would take away our “rights”.

        We do not have the RIGHT to use copyrighted work. The websites that complained the loudest are the ones that had the most to lose. Suddenly they would have to actually monitor what was being put on their site, sites they make millions in advertising from.

        No, you probably will never stop copyright infringement, in fact it seems it is a bigger problem with the generation Y than any other generation, but taking down a website would perhaps make people think twice before they post something that doesn’t belong to them.

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