Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beware of Fraudulent Photographer Ads posted on Craigslist and SEOing on Google

This is mainly for photographers. There appears to be a well coordinated quasi phishing expedition using a series of established photographers and bogus URLs all registered through enom and hosted on the planet. The URLs are all cityname photographer dot com. A partial list is below, there are many, many more. We have attempted to contact most of the affected photographers. By searching the following text block on google you can find the fraudulent sites (and I'm sure the one that the original text came from).


A photographer is often known for the type of subjects they take pictures of. Most obviously a family photographer is a professional photographer who takes pictures for one or more families during special family events. A family photographer will often spend a while developing a familiarity with his clients that allows him to take surprisingly candid shots of family members. Because of his rapport with his subjects he is able to capture all the cute and endearing idiosyncrasies of family members which are the fabric that holds families together.

The sites are all basically the same, stolen business names, etc., forms to fill out and phone numbers to call. We have contacted local authorities to investigate the fraud and are also contacting FBI internet crimes to investigate.

If your site is affected immediately notify your local authorities and also notify Craigslist, Google, etc through their fraud reporting departments. We have notified ThePlanet where the sites are hosted as well.

What a pain in the ass ...


1 comment:

Sean Azul said...

Hi Jim.

Here's my opinion as a photographer and Internet Marketing specialist.

These sites are being set up to sell to area photographers. The owners of the sites are using Craiglist to help get the page rank of the sites up in the google ranking and will then try to sell the domains to photographers who are on pages 3 or more of google results.

These guys probably are not aware they are stealing and will claim "fair use".

I used similar techniques to get my site to #3 for the search string "Beverly Hills Wedding photographer":

It will probably drop off now that I have changed the focus of my business to marketing, but you can see that it is still showing up.