You’re likely reading this blog post because you are an online seller who is frustrated with fellow sellers stealing the product images that you worked hard to take… and anyone who says “Taking product photos is easy” probably has pretty awful pics or it’s only their 3rd day in business. Either way, here’s some things for you to consider:
Unless your product is something customized like those fancy paintings, candles or engraved wood art on etsy, I am willing to bet you’re likely reselling someone else's product, such as a Calvin Klein dress or Victorias Secret body mist. This means a ton of other people are also selling the identical item… because it’s not “your” item… it’s Volcom’s hoody that you are listing.
With that in mind, having your images pirated should be less impactful than someone who is truly creating hand-knitted clothing for Bearded Dragon lizards:
So, if someone is stealing your RESELLER product photo:
Start by taking a deep breath because I PROMISE YOU, it isn’t the end of the world. Seriously, I promise. I’ve dealt with it for over 16 years and I’m still here. In fact, we are going stronger than ever!
Second; here’s something to truly consider; any online seller who never takes their own photos has to spend substantial time scouring the internet to try to locate a photo they can download and use. This is a recipe for failure! Chances are the LAZY person using your images is going to stop selling after 3 - 6 months. The reason for this is because they don’t want to put in effort, and every successful business owner will tell you it’s a sh*t ton of work! And if someone can’t even take and edit some photos they sure aren’t going to have the drive to keep plugging away to build their company because there’s no such thing as an “easy business” and there’s no way to “cut corners” and also build a strong foundation for a new company.
Third, you have to decide how you want to invest your TIME, because time truly IS money. I personally know sellers who INVEST a ton (I mean an absolutely TON) of time into trying to locate fellow sellers who are using their photos without permission. Quite frankly, I think this is a complete and utter waste of time unless the stolen photos are causing confusion or hurting your business. For example, if you are getting multiple emails per week from potential buyers asking if the account using your images also belongs to you, this is a legitimate problem and you do need to address it. Equally, if you see the person using your stolen image is selling the item on a regular basis, this is an issue you may want to address because those sales could belong to you. Keep in mind, as mentioned in #2, the moron taking your images likely will fold within a matter of months anyways, so is it really worth spending time to hunt them down?
Fourth, if the person using your images is pricing their item higher than yours, there’s a very likely chance that they are trying to have you dropship without you knowing it. This means they are trying to sell the item you have in stock and when it sells they will order it from you and have it shipped to their buyer using a “gift option” so the invoice isn’t present (or they will have it shipped to them then they will re-ship it to their buyer). Either way, this is an additional sale for you.
And lastly, it would take less time for you to watermark your images than to spend time tracking down photo pirates. Personally, I think watermarks look awful, but that’s just my opinion. If you don’t want an ugly watermark you can be more creative and have your company name printed, carved, welded, etc and place the physical logo / company name in each photo. Amazon has an absolute ton of Custom Logo products that you can select from to best fit whatever products you are selling.
HOWEVER, if you genuinely want to go after people who are using your images, here's a totally amazing, mega-thorough Reddit post that tells you how to report images to darn-near everywhere. This post really covers everything and will walk you through getting your images removed from pretty much any website or marketplace.
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