Shortly after posting a call for guest bloggers, I received an article proposal from someone I'll call Betty. I thought Betty's proposal for a topic was great, so I checked out her site.
“Hmmm…” thinks I when I saw the site. “This has a very familiar look and feel”.
“Hmmm…” I thought again as I saw Betty's list of blog categories in the first navigation bar along the right side of the page. OK, so it's not unusual for category names to be similar across same-topic sites. For instance, almost every Internet dating blog is going to have relatively generic categories named Dating Tips and Internet Dating.
However, one not-so-generic category name that Betty's blog shared with mine struck me as way beyond coincidental.
Sure enough, when I searched the wording on Google, my site showed up second in the natural listings (after a site that included the phrase within the body text of an article) and Betty's showed up in 9th place for the same term.
“Hmmm… I best investigate a little more” I concluded and wouldn't you know it… smack dab in the middle of her newsletter signup form there was a graphic image that I created.
I responded to Betty and explained that because NPT guest bloggers link out to their own sites, I couldn't possibly link out to hers what with there being STOLEN CONTENT on her site. (OK, I didn't say STOLEN CONTENT in my response to her… and although she didn't respond to my email, she has changed her site considerably since then — so, message obviously received.)
Folks, copyright infringement is a serious matter and many webmasters and companies aren't quite as forgiving when they find their work displayed without approval on other sites. You could easily get slapped with a fine or lawsuit and, if the aggrieved party is angry enough, they could easily run a campaign that damages your reputation to the extent that it's not worth promoting your site anymore.
Using someone else's work without their permission or purchasing the rights is just not worth the risk.
So, as far as graphic images go, I …
- Make my own graphics using Paint Shop Pro – available through Corel and which is considerably less expensive than PhotoShop.
- Use photo images taken with my Sony digital camera .
- Use images of products supplied by merchants (eBags example here on RosalindGardner.com).
- Buy graphics from stock agencies like iStock, BigStock, Crestock or PhotoDune on the Evato Market.
In summary, there are so many good options available for getting graphic images on the cheap, that there is no need to ever risk your online business reputation – or your chances of becoming a guest blogger for me. 🙂