About a year ago I found a website to submit photographs on. I thought that I would try it out to see what it was all about. So I turned in a really beautiful photo of a Sunset that was over the trees that my husband took when he was overseas. I was happy to see that about a week and a half later I received an email that it was nominated for picture of the year as a semi finalist.
The website was Picture.com that works with the International Library of Photography. They are a website that gives amateur photographers the chance to win online contests and gain exposure through publication of their photos in different books. I thought this was a fun way too earn extra money maybe.
Well, when I read the email that they sent me, it said that I was nominated for this high honor. I was kind of excited. Another week or so later I received mail from them that was a welcome package that explained to me how the whole website and company worked. I read it over and my husband said that it sounded like a farce. They even included a small version of my picture on the letter.
Then about a week or two later I received an email that said I was invited to an event that would showcase my photo and that I would receive all these awards. The catch was that I have to pay around $170 or so. What? Why should I pay to receive an award? Then they said that if I couldn’t attend they could mail me my awards for an extra charge of shipping and handling.
So I then decided to put a picture in that no one would think was beautiful just to see what I would receive on this one. It was just an average picture of a scene from the woods. It was plain old trees with weeds growing all around them. It was very unappealing and blah.
Well, go figure I received the same awards for that one that my beautiful sunset picture received! I guess I really wasn’t surprised! The emails for this photo said the same thing that my other emails said. You are very artistic; you have a great eye for beauty, etc… An eye for beauty? With an ugly forest picture of weeds?
Now a year later I am still receiving emails about my photos. The latest email I got said that I have received the 2007 Editor’s Published Photographer Ribbon Award Pin. This pin will show my “elevated status is our photographic community,” the email said. And “Since only an elite group of published photographers were selected to receive this special honor, imagine the sense of pride that you will feel when others see you wearing the 2007 Editor’s Choice Published Award Pin.”
I mean seriously, come on! The pin looked like the sticker seal off of the publishers clearing house envelopes you get in the mail for the sweepstakes to win money. Once again, even though they said I received this honor, I had to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to receive this pin.
Then as an added bonus with the pin I could order the Commemorative Bronze Medallion! Wow! It looked like a big token you would use at a video arcade. This one would show that I was an Editor’s Choice Winner. The price for this “amazing keepsake” was $49.95 plus shipping and handling. What a deal! Not!
In this same email the deals kept on going. The 2007 Editor’s Choice Commemorative Silver Watch said was offered to me because I am receiving “such high honors as a published photographer.” Yet this one cost $119.00 plus shipping and handling. I am thinking at this point who falls for this stuff and orders it! If I am such a great photographer, why am I not given these items from them?
The bottom of the email was signed Jeffrey Bryan, Managing Editor, The International Library of Photography/Picture.com. I decided to do a search on the library and to my surprise, I am being sarcastic, I found a lot of complaints.
There were many different websites that had people from all over that fell for this scam. People stated they sent in money to get their photo published in a book and months and even years later, they haven’t received a book yet. And it seemed like every single person that submitted a picture to the website, became a semi-finalist.
The Better Business Bureau has numerous complaints about the International Library of Photography also. This site has the same type of complaints the other sites I found had. People sent money in for trophies, medals, and books and never received them. They lost anywhere from $50 or more with this scam.
I didn’t send money, nor would I ever to any online company or contest I didn’t research completely. This just goes to show people that you can’t believe everything that is out there. Research things, asks questions, etc… Don’t just send you money in to places without knowing what is going on.