Recently, I have received a few requests from Web sites asking permission to use my photos posted on Flickr. Of course, there is a flattering element to all this. Wow, someone thinks some of my photographs are worthy of being reproduced. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, these requests are rarely for photos I consider particularly good or interesting.
The last such email I received had a curious subject line: “Re: Your jennifer Aniston Photographs”. I don’t have any “jennifer Aniston” photographs, not any I can recall. That was clue #1 as to the possibly fishy nature of the message. Clue #2: the link provided in the email that I should click if I was interested in sharing my photos with the site’s members seemed to be an individualized link (a sequence of numbers after a generic URL) suggesting that my response was being tracked. The URL had “flickr” in it, a convenient way to confuse people and have them think that they’re simply clicking on a Flickr photo link. No, it was a link to the site being advertised by the message.
Yes folks, I think these supposedly flattering messages are all about advertisements for the sites in question. They don’t really care to use our photos, they are mostly just interested in getting the word out about their sites and services. Some of them at least put in some effort by looking up a relevant photo to suggest for inclusion. But others don’t even bother to pretend that they have any connection to you other than including you in a new type of spam scheme.
I know there are several Flickr users who read my blog. I have heard from one of you about a similar experience. Anyone else? I’m purposefully not listing the sites that have contacted me, I’m not going to play along. However, I’m curious if anyone else received a message from “Calder” with the cryptic link.