Photo Backlink Scams- Fake Image Copyright Claims by Blackhat SEO idiots

The Gloves are Off Scams & Flim Flams Photo Backlink Scams- Fake Image Copyright Claims by Blackhat SEO idiots

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    • #602835

      There are a large number of blackhat SEO companies out there claiming that they can help bloggers get backlinks fast. In case you’re wondering, here’s one of the extremely scammy ways that they do so.

      Photo Backlink Scams- Fake Image Copyright Claims by Blackhat SEO Idiots

      First, they’ll scan through websites with a decent domain authority ranking. Once they target the site, they’ll scan through pages on the site of images that do not contain watermarks.

      Once they locate a photo, they’ll compose an email claiming that they represent a client and that you’re using the photo illegally. They’ll try various scare tactics, such as “don’t take it down, the damage has been done”, or “my client will sue for thousands”, etc.

      Here’s a prime example of one such douchey scam email from PHOTOCREDIT.ORG :
      photocredit backlink scheme

      The image that this lying scumbag is referring to is actually a licensed photo from Shutterstock. Luckily, on our blog, we keep a spreadsheet that not only lists each and every article, it lists every single image, who took it, which program it was crafted in (Adobe, Photoshop, Canva, PicMonkey, etc), and whether it was purchased or public domain.

      This seems like it would take a lot of time to track, but in reality, it takes about 5 minutes per article and saves lots of money and heartache when unethical scammers rear their ugly head.

      Usually, if you check the ICANN record for the domain, it’s fairly new. Here’s the one they’re trying to get links to, it’s only a year old.

      photo image0backlink scheme


      Telltale Signs you’re being Scammed

      1. You know you purchased rights to the image (or you took it yourself!)
      2. The scammer fails to mention WHO owns the rights to the image- notice his very vague “I represent a client” bullshit. Yeah.. and I represent willy wonka and the fkg oompa loompa’s too.
      3. If you hire an SEO company and they won’t tell you precisely HOW they intend to build links to your site, they’re probably doing stupid shit like this.


      If you have paid a company to create backlinks for you, please be aware they could be pulling really stupid shit like this- which will ultimately destroy your reputation and business.

      These manipulative, dishonest scams/schemes are not permitted by google and they will hurt your site.

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    • #602841

      Great post! Thanks for sharing. You’re absolutely right, these type of schemes are a dime a dozen.

      Here’s one a blogger friend of ours recently received:

      Hi Megan,
      I recently found a photo of mine in one of your articles.
      MyPhoto: XXX
      Here’s the article: XXX
      Where you’ve used my photo, would you be able to provide a clickable link back (photo credit) to the domain XXX, in case users would like to know more about us?
      Many thanks,

      Her Clever Response

      Hi David
      Thank you for your email. The image in question is a public domain image owned by Stockpic, made available for free use to the public via Pexels (as you can reference in my attached screenshot).

      It was uploaded to my site in April 2017, which I note is a full year before it was uploaded to Flickr under your name on July 31 2018.

      As such I have determined that it would not be appropriate or legal for me to fulfill your request. I would be happy to put you in touch with the original author of the upload via Pexels so the two of you can hash out your individual ownership claims, and determine whether it is an appropriate use of public domain images to upload via Flickr for link building purposes.

      I note your Flickr page has quite a robust range of public domain stock images.

    • #602842

      I take screenshots of the source / license for every image I ever use, and file them for later reference, as proof of license.
      I have this for every image on my site over the past 7 years, filed into folders by year, then by month, then by article.
      It’s OCD, sure, but it takes 2 seconds to screenshot as I’m downloading it, and then file.
      I’ve relied on this 4 times in the past year, and it’s absolutely essential in my opinion being that the publisher has the burden of proof.

      1. Another common scam I receive now and then is when I get an email regarding a guest post by Website A that was on my site.
      2. It said that this was the owner of what was formerly Website A, but they now rebranded and changed their URL to Website B.
      3. Could I please change the attribution in the guest post to reflect that?
      4. Of course, Website A never changed their URL and Website B was just trying to get backlinks by claiming false ownership.

      It’s amazing what these scummy losers come up with. Imagine if they put half the effort into running a legitimate business!


      fake photo backlink scam email request


      If you get an email, letter, or blog comment claiming to be an attorney, always look the attorney’s name and contact information up on the state bar association website. Then contact them directly with the contact information you got from the state bar. You can confirm whether they sent the letter and whether they represent the client.

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The Gloves are Off Scams & Flim Flams Photo Backlink Scams- Fake Image Copyright Claims by Blackhat SEO idiots