They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this one has a lot to say. It says microstock. It says perfect-people perfect-world lowest-common-denominator cookie-cutter pile-them-high sell-them-cheap image.
Why would a reputable company want to be associated with those words?
The problem with this image is that it has that.... 'Deja Vu' feeling to it, and for a good reason.
So, do these guys come as a package? Have they moved on from "Best of the Web" to form the Corporate Team at "123 Greetings"?
As you would expect from such a high powered team, they speak fluent German...
... and some East Asian language - you could probably find out which one if you bump into them at the:
and of course they come with a:
Now, this may all just seem a bit of a joke, just poking fun at the short-sightedness of companies using cheap microstock images to represent their... well, image, but:
About us? They didn't do a very good job of spotting this trouble on the horizon...
maybe financeme needs better financing if they don't have any headshots of their own staff and can only afford microstock images...
I think that should read 'Company Oversight'
...when it gets visibly misleading, you end up questioning the credibility of the company itself.
I don't believe these people really work at Targetti Poulsen...
...so why would I trust anything else that Targetti Poulsen have to say?
And if I am wrong and they do work there, are Targetti Poulsen aware that their 'people' moonlight at:
On a side note, 'Bad Credit Cosmetic Surgery Loans dot co dot uk' wins this month's prize for "dodgiest domain name".
My final example I think rounds off this topic in an appropriate way:
from their track record, getting these 'good people' to stay does not look promising...
Okay, so HireView Magazine used the same silly microstock image. But that photo at the top? That's them. That's the team at HireView. I am confident about that because it isn't a perfect-people perfect-world lowest-common-denominator cookie-cutter pile-them-high sell-them-cheap image that has spread across the internet like a nasty virus. It is an honest picture, and because of that, I think I can trust HireView Magazine.
Which is more than I can say for the rest of these companies.
Companies need to think more carefully about the stock images they use. I suspect many businesses are unaware that the stock photos their designer has sold them are spread a-dime-a-dozen across the web. There is a good reason that microstock's original catchphrase was "the designer's dirty little secret".
At the very least, reputable companies should look at using rights-managed rather than royalty-free images, so they will KNOW if the image is being used elsewhere and whether a competitor (or sometimes something even worse: "Cosmetic Surgery for mens, Get your Dream Shape like stars") is using the same 'team' to represent their company. Or maybe they should follow HireView Magazine's lead and actually hire a photographer to take real portraits of real people who work at their company. They may not be perfect, they may cost a bit more, but they will look genuine, and honest. And not just... cheap.
UPDATE: April 5th
To address questions regarding how all these image uses were easily found across the web, and how companies can prevent this problem with picture use on their own websites, I have written a follow-up piece about avoiding poisonous pictures.