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Shutterstock Spam Shock

19 January 2006 - EPUK

When the email starts with “Dear friend”,you just know that you are going to be asked to offer your bank account details, address, mother’s maiden name, pin number, and blood group so that the widow of the director of the International Remittance Central Bank of Sierra-Leone, who died suddenly in 2001, can stash some “hot” funds in your account – and cut you in on a 35pc share of 50 million US dollars.

Well, here’s a new scam come to light. Coming from a contributor to the Shutterbox online photo library, a Mr Ajeep Pratap, this one starts the same, but although the scammer manages to get the opening greeting right, and the quirky grammar too, “You will get the royalty of your photos into cash each time the photo downloaded”, this time he manages to include the email addresses of everyone he’s spammed with the same message. My advice Ajeep? Keep the other addresses BCC’d next time.

Where our man really falls over is in failing to maintain the suspension of disbelief. According to his figures, he makes $17,000 per month on just 250 images held in Shutterstock. He very helpfully shows a screengrab of his Shutterstock account to prove this. Each image pays 20c every time it’s downloaded. Put it another way, each one of his 250 images gets downloaded 340 times a month. Surely after six months every publisher, graphic designer, web designer, man, woman and child in the world will have a copy of this man’s artistic output somewhere in their home or office. But he’s so generous, he wants to get you in on this amazing scheme which will surely make you rich beyond your wildest dreams within a few months.

But be warned, as with all these get rich quick schemes, Ajeet’s motives prove not to be entirely altruistic. You see Shutterstock pay not only a handsome flat fee (about 12 pence) for each image downloaded – regardless of the end use, but also a generous 3c (too small to calculate) for every image downloaded from the account of a photographer that you introduce to them. Shutterstock don’t stop there; introduce a new buyer and you get 20pc of their subscription fees!

So Poor Ajeet just couldn’t resist – he’s being paid to spam. Nice work if you can get it. Of course Shutterstock don’t condone this practice, and when EPUK started asking questions Ajeep the entrepreneur was quickly removed from Shutterstock’s river of riches. Surely if you’re only going to be paid 20c for a photo, you may as well take them up on their offer by badgering photographers and picture buyers to join Shutterstock so you can sit back and watch the money roll in without even wearing out your own shoe leather. A sort of Pyramid scheme for photographers.

When I asked Shutterstock spokeswoman Jessica Olshen about Ajeet’s figures she confirmed they were “erroneous”, adding, “no one is reaping $17,000 a month. $170 or even $1700 is more than possible – might there have been a typo somewhere?” Sorry, Jessica, no typo.

When I sent her Ajeet’s email, at which point I think Jessica may have detected my motives, she responded, “Regarding this particular “case study”: the sender knew this email was erroneous when he sent it. As you can imagine, ShutterStock cannot tolerate this kind of willful miscommunication – and certainly does not encourage SPAM in any form! This person’s account has been disabled to prevent further incidents like this.” That’s OK then, I’m sure it won’t ever happen again.

Then again, you’ve seen the figures, so in the words of Ajeet,”So why waiting just sign up for free at http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=57289 and start to make $$$ from your photos!”

Now, back to that promising email I got from Nigeria…

Want to contact the EPUK Website editor? editor@epuk.org

Comments

I recieve these emails daily. In the past I have deleted them, however, I have forwarded them onto a scam watch organisation, if you use this address: scams@fraudwatchinternational.com
Perhaps they can at least help do something about it.

Comment 1: Kevin Bishop, 19 July 2006, 09:16 PM

hi i was wondering if shutterstock was a scam thxs :)

Comment 2: john, 7 November 2007, 03:59 PM

I also facing this problem .

Comment 3: Towab Muhammad Yusuf, 22 January 2014, 07:17 AM

Hi Epuk,

nice I also face this problem. Thank you for sharing.

Comment 4: Anup Roy, 26 April 2015, 04:41 PM

Very effective post. It saves my time to fight against the issue

Comment 5: Clipping Path Service, 13 August 2015, 10:44 AM

This is an wonderful post you have shared with us . Like it .

Comment 6: Kuroudo Kataoka, 9 May 2017, 07:20 AM

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Comment 7: Monika, 30 June 2017, 07:11 AM

I am facing this problem for several years but after taking a look on your post I have really got my solutions. Thank you so much for your share with us.

Comment 8: Engr. Mishuk Hasan, 14 August 2017, 10:51 PM

Yes it’s happen some time it’s. Nice information thanks.

Comment 9: Ghost Mannequin Effect, 11 November 2017, 10:14 AM

Nice answers in return of this query with real arguments and explaining all about that.

Comment 10: Simon Davies, 16 November 2017, 05:17 AM

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