What started as casual curiosity about a Groupon deal for a photographer in the Dallas area offering boudoir photo sessions turned into a full-fledged fight when a group of photographers realized the company had stolen an image from one of them. Because of course, don’t you want to see an example of a product that you won’t actually get if you buy the deal?
Even worse, writes Stacy — after the photographers complained to Groupon about stealing an image, they replaced it with a stock photo. Which of course, is just another picture that doesn’t at all portray the photographer’s work customers would be buying into.
Stacy writes the proof is here, in the cached Groupon deal, which uses an image that is also seen on another photographer’s Facebook page for her business. They investigated further, and say the rest of the images on the photographer’s site were swiped from others — some even with the original watermark still in place.
Of course, the other photographers were angry, and emailed the woman who was using their images. She immediately took down the boudoir photos. But Groupon was another story.
Groupon told us that they were aware of the situation. In fact, a Groupon customer service rep even told us that they had verified themselves that the photos belonged to a different photographer, and even provided the URL of the photographer she stole from.
So, to be clear, Groupon knew that the photographer was involved in false advertising and copyright infringement.
They promised those of us who were calling in that they would remove the offer and stop selling it. Hours went by, and the offer was still up. We started tweeting Groupon, and they promised to look into it and remove the offer. Again, hours went by and it was still up. Finally they removed the stolen photo that they were using to promote Noell and replaced it with a stock photo:
When we called Groupon out on this via Twitter, they said it is their policy to use stock images for Groupons if the vendor doesn’t provide one – even for PHOTOGRAPHERS!!!
What’s next? Showing a picture of a Renoir for sale when really you’re just offering stick drawings drawn by your cat?