Monday, February 7, 2011

Travel Ink / LatitudeStock update

Update 7 February 2011

The Director of LatitudeStock has contacted me directly to try to sort out the issues I detailed in my previous blogpost. She does not have the full details yet, but it appears to have been an unfortunate oversight and my images should not have been transferred to their new site. She believes that there have been no sales of my images, and will confirm this tomorrow, as well as giving me a full account of what happened.

From our conversation I hope this can be resolved amicably and the agency can find how to avoid anything like this happening in the future.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

hiybbprqag / hiybbprqug

hiybbprqag is today's word of the day! It seems that Bing (Microsoft's search engine) is being accused of copying Google's search results and Google set up some fake pages, including one about seating at a theatre in Los Angeles with the non-existant word 'hiybbprqag' to catch them (though the BBC is now reporting that the word was 'hiybbprqug' - oops!) It appears that the same result later showed up in Bing's search results even though the only link to the page was from Google's search results....

This is an area of 'industrial espionage' and cheating which strikes a chord with me personally, as I have seen similar methods used by competitors in the stock photography industry. At the more benign end it has been other agencies blatantly copying my ideas for site developments and new services, while at the other end there has been the attempted theft of confidential data.

One photo agency was caught by a similar 'sting' (we had unique data 'seeded' which could only be accessible from a private part of our site, and that data was used to solicit new customers and photographers by this other agency). When confronted, the CEO denied all knowledge and promised to investigate when he was sent the evidence. He never got back to us. Interestingly, he left the company 2 months later.

I believe innovation and original ideas are the only way for a business to survive in the longterm and I find it shameful that there are people and businesses out there which try to get ahead by unethical, if not downright illegal means.