Sunday, August 02, 2015

Internet Trolls: Why Getty Images Will Die A Natural Death Online

The Business Model of Extortion by Getty Images 


On July 23rd 2015, I received an email from AugustImage.com telling me that I'm infringing on their copyright for using Ailica Silverstone's image without a valid license and I need to remove the image within 10 days and / or pay them $510 for the said image.

I run a website I co-founded that inspires people to eat better through a whole food plant based lifestyle

I used Alicia Silverstone's image as part of a testimonial she gave us for one of our plant-based cookbooks we published a few years ago.

I Googled her name and picked an image randomly. There are hundreds, if not thousands to choose from, non of which are watermarked.

August Image which is the same as Getty Images is claiming that we used an unauthorized image of Alicia Silverstone on our website. 

The image in question measures exactly 176 X 176 pixels with an exact replica of the size in question below.




IMAGE ONE - Front of Getty Image's Letter  (click to enlarge)



IMAGE TWO - Back of Getty Image's Letter  (click to enlarge)




August Image is really Getty Images because the listed physical address on the letterhead is exactly the same as the physical address for Getty Images. 605 5th Avenue South Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104

On July 30th, exactly 5 days after I got the email, I responded by immediately removing the image from my website and wrote Getty Images back to tell them I have complied with their notification.

They wrote back with this response: 

-------

While we appreciate the removal of the imagery from the website, the prior unauthorized use of the imagery on the website is considered copyright infringement. Since copyright infringement already occurred, payment for that unauthorized use is necessary.



Samantha Clemens

LicenseComplianceServices, AUGUST Image

P: 1.855.387.8725 E: lcs@august.com

605FifthAvenueSouth,Suite400

Seattle,WA98104


-------



Two days ago on July 31st 2015, I received the same letter as image one above via snail mail demanding payment.

A quick search on other stock photo sites revealed that the smallest image (which measures bigger than my current image) 318 x 480 px for Alicia Silverstone would cost less than $14.99 to buy. 

In fact, here's the cost from other stock photo sites;

  • On dreamstime.com a similar image and size costs 2 credits with monetary equivalent of $2.72
  • On depositphotos.com a similar image and size costs 2 credits with monetary equivalent of $1.06 
  • On bigstockphoto.com a similar image and size cost 1 credit with monetary equivalent of $3.50
  • On imagecollect.com a full sized image cost $39 

Not only is Getty Images a troll with a business model based on extortion, their inflated pricing structure seems to be based on total rubbish.

In Getty Image's claim of my copyright infringement, they are offering me a 20% discount so I owe them $408 dollars instead of the full amount of $510. Oooh, how nice and gracious of them!

A quick search on Google for "getty images extortion letter" reveals hundreds if not thousands of results of blog posts people have written about Getty Images and their slimy tactics.

In fact, a whole website called Extortion Letter Info was created in 2008 dedicated to helping people deal with this very issue.

IMAGE THREE - Same celebrity image cost from another stock photo site (click to enlarge)




























Why Online Trolls Like Getty Images Will Die a Natural Death.

1. People don't want stock images anymore because they're sterile, boring and corporate looking. 

The problem with stock images is exactly that. They look like stock images and when you're building an online brand or website, using stock images is going to make your website look about as interesting as a doorknob. Plus the fact that one can tell within 6 seconds that it's a stock image

As mentioned, I run a whole food plant based lifestyle website. Take a look at these stock images from Getty Images for that genre. There is nothing in this portfolio of images that makes me inspired to eat more plant based food (no offense to the photographers)... they're just blah.

2. There are a ton of amazing free hi-res images you can use that are are real, conveys emotion and authenticity. Here are a few off the top of my head.

3. Using extortion, intimidation and harassment as a strategy is a sure way to cap your growth.

Sure you can make millions in the short term by preying on unsuspecting "violators." This strategy will only last as long as you win the potential lawsuits or scare enough people into paying up. 

Think about this. If you were threatened into paying for an image you didn't even know you were infringing on copyright wise, the next time you need a stock image (heaven forbid), would you really go back to Getty Images and buy one from them? Just take a look at Getty Images' Yelp reviews for starters.

The law of diminishing returns will eventually set in. 

Here's a data point to prove this.




One just needs to take a look at the music industry in the late 90s and early 2000s as a yardstick who employed the same method -- suing consumers for sharing digital music files.

That strategy was about as successful as Watergate was.

The only reason why the music industry got out of that rut was because Apple came out with iTunes. 

4. The business model of selling images is outdated 

Anyone with a smartphone can take amazing images these days. Take enough shots of the same image and you're bound to get a good one. 

I know this for a fact because I have absolutely zero training in photography except point and shoot. Even so, I've managed to create a website with hundreds of thousands of visits both from providing good content and images. 

I shot the cover image of my partner and lots of the food photos on the blog itself. Tons of them were taken with a smartphone. Not too shabby for zero training. 

To prove my point, just take a look at Go Pro's Instagram account to see what regular folk around the globe can do with a simple point and click camera that's smaller than a deck of cards.

This is exactly why I can't wait for Getty Images to go belly up and disappear completely. 

Their services in preying on others through intimidation and harassment do not serve a greater good and their business practices do nothing but bring misery. 

Perhaps Getty Images needs to look at how they can innovate their business and find ways to make money instead of resorting to extortion as a strategy. 

At the end of the day, how much you make as a business is in direct relation to how much value you bring to people's lives.

Getty Images has become a pathetic business model that no longer serves today's needs. The worst part is, they hide behind different names and companies to continue their extortions. 

Here is further proof that it's the beginning of the end for Getty Images.


"The Times, They're a Changin..."

- Bob Dylan






Friday, October 05, 2012

Lyle Livesay, Are You Looking For Me? You Finally Out Of Jail?

So here is an interesting new development...

Since I live a lot of my life online because of my work, here is what I have discovered popping up in the last few days..

My name Luanne Teoh has been popping up in a few different places around the web, namely complaints site saying that I have stolen $10,000 from a certain individual who identifies himself only as "scammer_seeker""Jeff M"and "scammer_watch"

Interestingly enough, in all these sites, the same story is told repeatedly the same way.


 Luanne Teoh Stole $10, 000 from me on a web design project she was suppose to be completing!!! Funny to me how she is the one ripping people off then writing blogs about everyone else. Here are a list of associates...:


        Luanne S Teoh Stole $10,000 from me. I paid her to do a web design and she never came through. Now I can not get in touch with her. STAY AWAY AT ALL COST!!! She is a low down Scammer, and then has the nerve to write about other people to "Warn the Public"

he goes on to list the name of companies I have worked with claiming they are my "scam associates" based on my public LinkedIn profile which anyone on the web can see.

Here are the list of places he has posted his grievances towards me so far:

Ripoffreport
Complaints Board
Complaints.com 


There are 3 flaws to this claim:

1) Any person who intends to pay someone a large sum of money 100% upfront for work yet to be done would have a binding contract signed. #1 basic rule of business.


2) If you pay 100% upfront without a contract AND without requesting any proof of work, then you're an idiot and an incompetent business person.


3) He never identifies his real name, his company name or the details on how I stole $10,000 from him. Instead, he chooses to hide behind anonymous handles and a computer screen like a typical coward does.


Ironically, I'm also not a web designer as he claims. 

So, if you're gonna call me out, please have the guts to provide your real name -- unless of course if you have something to hide. Like the fact that you are the liar and the scammer who is projecting.


First off, anyone with a computer who Googles my name Luanne Teoh will be able to find my cell phone number and email but somehow it eludes him. 

No -- I am not famous but I have an unusual name and have a lot of my work online.

So here is my cell phone number again in case Lyle Livesay or anyone is wanting to contact me for any reason 415-335-1447. -- I am on Pacific Time just so you know if you call too early or too late and I don't answer.


This brings me back to a blog I wrote 5 years ago in 2007 when I was looking to buy a Nintendo Wii and was scammed by a company called Livesay International owned by Lyle Livesay


Lyle's company in Georgia had advertised they had the Wii in stock and I ordered it. His website had all the necessary credentials of a regular eCommerce site and I ordered one. Simple as that.  

It turned out to be an elaborate scam which affected people from all across the country.

When I wrote the blog, I wanted to talk about my experience and warn others about dealing with this individual named Lyle Livesay based on what I went through. 

What happened after my blog post (which was pretty unexpected) was a lot of people contacting me telling me the same experience they had with Lyle Livesay and his bogus company. Basically scammed and cheated when they tried to purchase items from him -- from video game consoles, TV, electronics to luxury cars.

The whole time, he was running a scam show (while using his now ex-wife's name to register the name of his scam company -- what a stand up guy!) 


The authorities (Cops, state of Georgia governor's office including recently, his now ex-wife) contacted me to either tell me about him or verify the details about Lyle Livesay.





Since the Nintento Wii scam in 2007, Lyle Livesay has gone on to bigger and more outrageous scams and the law finally caught up with Lyle Livesay and he ended up in the slammer earlier twice this year with the FBI investigating him.


The reason I wrote this blog is I have reason to believe that all those bogus posts about me claiming that I am a scammer is coming from Lyle Livesay himself. 


Because I called him out in a detailed blog post that has generated over 11,000 pageviews which help land him in jail.




Arrested twice so far this year in 2012 and counting.

(click on image below to enlarge). 



So Lyle, I guess you must be out of jail these days. This blog post is dedicated to you. Wishing you all the best as you continue to count your days of freedom. 

I feel bad for your kid. She must be around 5 now? - You are providing a stellar example as a dad for her =)

Well, at least she will have something interesting to share when she talks about her career criminal dad. Everyone else's dad would have boring careers compared to hers.

Lyle Stephen Livesay (pictured above) wanted by police. Public help needed to aid police in locating him.

**** UPDATE October 24, 2012****


Arrested again for the third time in a year.

Good luck to you Lyle Livesay. May you live a long life in prison.


 





Thursday, May 03, 2012

Lyle Stevens Livesay Arrested March 29, 2012

Finally, he gets caught after years of scamming.

For all those he scammed and posted comments on this blog, may this post bring you some comfort. 

Click on the images below to get to the official records of his arrest.




Arrest records of Lyle Livesay




Saturday, November 12, 2011

Emmett Peck (Chase CFA) Would You Like My House?

Recently, I wrote a blog post of my experience with Emmett Peck, a Chase Certified Financial Advisor who blamed people walking away and short-selling their homes as the cause of the US financial and economic crisis.

In this blog, I will make it clear why my situation is as such that I have been forced to sell my home even after having put close to 40k in down payment for a 350k home and making the mortgage payments for the last 3 years.

The house is over 50% underwater so here's some basic math rounded up to even numbers for simplicity purposes.

1. Mortgage balance: $300,000

2. Monthly payments including HOA, real estate taxes and mortgage insurance: $2,987

3. Home currently worth: $155,00

4. Total amount underwater: $145,000

5. To rent an equivalent home in the area: $1,200

6. Total monthly savings from short-selling/walking away: $1,784

7.Total years to break even from buying the home at $350k = 81 years 
(while paying #2 every single month for the next 81 years)

* #7 is based on a conservative 2% annual appreciation (which has yet to happen) and 5 year time frame to remain in the home.

The timeframe to #7 for break even will decrease with every percentage point of annual appreciation... which I am sure you already know this.

*For a best case scenario to happen which is a 20% annual appreciation to happen, it will still take me another 9 years to break even.

Total savings in 9 years by selling/walking away now is $192,672 by renting instead of having to pay the mortgage.

With the information above, Emmett Peck -- would you like to take over the home and continue paying all of the above? -- I would happily hand it over to you.

So Emmett Peck, tell me how is this my fault based on your expert opinion and comment during our meeting on October 27th 2011 in your office?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Emmett Peck - Certified Financial Advisor (Chase)

On October 27th 2011 I went in to have a chat with my bank, JP Morgan Chase to find out what investing options they have (if any). This was a pre-planned appointment based on a casual inquiry I had a week earlier with one of the tellers downstairs.

Went to the Chase Bank on Solano Avenue and was greeted by Emmett Peck who is the VP and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

I provided some background info and told him that I've had to go through a short sale and was looking for more information on other investment areas.

-- Bought a home 3 years ago for 350k which is now worth 150k. Pretty much worthless.

1) Emmett Peck told me that it's people like me walking away from our homes that are causing all these financial and economic problems we are facing today.
-- yes, Emmett Peck a Certified Financial Advisor stared at me point blank with total conviction that he believes this to be the truth.

2) Emmett Peck also said that buying a home is NOT an investment. It's to live in and is only for that purpose.

So if you are looking for some stellar advice from a condescending banker who blames the customer for the banking and economic problems (which apparently is caused by hardworking Americans who paid too much for their houses) -- this is the bank you should make a beeline for.

No wonder the US economy is up shit creek with CFPs like Emmett Peck around.

1) Emmett Peck --  your ignorance and insensitivity towards people, let alone the customers of the very hand that feeds you is astounding.

2) Emmett Peck -- You are arrogant and ignorant at the same time. The worst possible combination as a service professional and financial advisor.

3) Emmett Peck -- What goes around comes around. You will get what you give. 

The US economic and financial crisis we are in was created by companies like the bank you work for. It was not created by people like us who bought homes that cost way more than they were worth. 

The fact that you think it's created by the consumers show that:
a) You are delusional.
b) You are not very bright.
-- Neither of which shows you deserve your job as a financial advisor.

We were given advice by people like you and the result was predatory lending based on loans and packages banks like yours were selling to us. 

And congratulations!! Chase Bank is #1 on the list of worst banks -- how am I not surprised?!

To quote a dear friend of mine Oletta when I told her what you, Mr Emmett Peck said:

-- Are you f*$king kidding me?! What about that low life bastard preying on people's trust in financial institutions not to provide products intended for failure like selling subprime mortgages as standard. That person needs their A$$ Occupied with my foot."

Saturday October 29th
Oh by the way Emmett, your boss Brian Boccio called me today and is shocked by what you said to me. He apologized profusely on your behalf -- It shows you're pretty lame and incompetent really.


If you wanna be ridiculed by a snotty and pompous banker, head for Chase and see Emmett Peck, the ass wipe.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Report Livesay International's Criminal Activity

Livesay International is under investigation by Detective Taylor Bell of the Athens-Clarke County in Georgia and the State of Georgia's Governors Office Of Consumer Affairs.

Please contact the following persons and places to report your case:
1) ATHENS-CLARKE POLCE DEPARTMENT
Detective Taylor Bell
Phone: 706-613-3888 ext. 294Email: tbell@co.clarke.ga.us

He is making a criminal case out of this and he needs people to let him know what happened and when. Your call and email will make all the difference and will put these scammers behind bars.

2) STATE OF GA GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Fill out the PDF form for the state of GA Office of Consumer Affairs and mail it in and/or call 404.656.3970 or 404.651.8600

Places To Report Livesay International

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Site Suspended - For Livesay International

2 great things happend this week:

i) The State of Georgia's Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs wrote me requesting more information on Livesay International's business practices and my dealings with them. I responded with all the information they asked for - Gladly I must add!

ii) Livesay International - The scam site has been suspended!

What can I say, this has been a great week.... Happy 4th Of July!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Update on Livesay International Situation & Chargeback

Since my last posting on Livesay International, I have since received the chargeback from my credit card company.

Livesay International never refunded a single cent to me - Nor did they ever intend to. Their refund claims to me on eBay and a host of other sites are totally bogus and are a bunch of lies.

This is the real proof of my refund through the chargeback I had to file with my credit card company - A process which took a month and a half of investigation by Visa.

Be warned, don't wait for Livesay International to refund you. Start the chargeback with your credit card company immediately!



Saturday, May 12, 2007

Livesay International Scam Site - Based in Georgia

I signed up for this Blogspace about a year ago but since then I have not really found anything interesting enough to write about. However, things changed in the last month due to an online shopping experience I had trying to purchase a video game.

For those of you familiar with video games, you'd know the Nintendo Wii is hard to come by. (unless you are willing to pay higher than the MSRP of $249) High demand and limited supply brings out the most unscrupulous of businesses and most vulnerable of consumers. I was browsing Craigslist, when I came across a posting advertising the Wii for the regular price of $249 at a website http://www.livesayinternational.com/

I was kinda skeptical after browsing their website which contained broken picture links, spelling errors and a "build it yourself" Open Source shopping cart. However, when I saw that Authorize.net is the payment gateway accepting credit card transactions for them, I decided to give it a shot. I felt I could trust them because as my day job, I run two online businesses which uses Authorize.net as its payment gateways.

- Authorize.net happens to be one of the best and the largest online payment platforms for e-Commerce businesses perhaps..... until now.

This reminds me of something my friend said to me a few months ago:
"As Americans, we trust well known brands to a fault" - In retrospect, I see how appropriate his words are now.

A week after my purchase with Livesay via Next Day Air shipping (at my expense), I fet suspicious and proceeded to do some research on them. I received numerous phone calls including three calls at 11 pm from Mr. Stephen Biddy to "talk it out" with me when I voiced my dissatisfaction over their service via email. My research revealed many other victims scammed by them. One of Livesay's tactics is to call you or provide a phone number to appease your fears and to show they are real people instead of just a faceless website. Livesay's reps will give you reasons and excuses but it's all cleverly designed to delay order cancellations.

--- Besides, what's the point of a phone number and talking the customer's ears off when all Livesay has to do is ship what was ordered or cancel and refund the customer's money. Especially when they claim that all orders are shipped within 3 Business Days!

The same delaying tactics are applied across the board to all their customers:No real UPS ship date ie., "your item is on the loading dock..," "we are getting more UPS trucks for pick ups," "we're experiencing site technical issues" etc... Same story repeated many times to all customers who ordered from them. My "so-called" order, was given a fake UPS Next Day Air
number which sat at their dock for over a week! This further confirmed my belief that Livesay International had no product to ship me. Ever. Tracking number they gave me: 1Z3104XR1393928681 - A number anyone can generate on http://www.ups.com/ by filling in the Ship To address and estimated product weight.

Since then, I have written many online postings to warn others out there and quite a number of those scammed have contacted me to tell the same story. One of Livesay's customer told me he was scammed by "Global Export Distributors" for a 65inch Plasma TV on Yahoo Auctions for over $1,000 by Lyle Livesay, the owner. They were operating under the name Global Export Distributors until Livesay International was founded in Feb '07 by the same kid, Lyle Livesay & girlfriend Sheena Bradshaw (the official owner listed in the business registration in Oconee County GA.) Two known scam businesses by the same person. I use the term "Kid" on him and them because no legit company would communicate as unprofessionally as they do.

--- One must clearly be devoid of morals and values due to an inability to work an honest job and resorting to a life of internet scams. A skill set that is potentially valuable if channelled correctly. Pretty pathetic really. This kid Lyle Livesay has a pregnant teenage girlfriend Sheena Bradshaw who brags about it on her myspace page (I was informed by another customer they scammed.) I feel sorry for the child with such parents as role models. - Both Lyle Livesay and Sheena Bradshaw working in collaboration to scam.
(Note 11th name from the bottom "Addison Taylor Livesay")

Livesay International's marketing methods involve luring unsuspecting victims by casual online postings on gaming message boards and community based boards for example:

"I wanted to let everyone know that instead of paying top dollar for one of these Nintendo Wii's on ebay, or waiting in everlasting lines at Best Buy. Livesay International Inc (http://www.livesayinternational.com) has them at retail price, and they do what they say!! I purchased one about a week and a half ago, and i got it on Monday. It was Brand New sealed in the box, Great Product and Service!"

They have since verbally abused me through postings on their site and via email, claimed to have refunded my credit card with not a penny credited so far since April 14th (it is now May 16th), deleted other negative postings on their message board (which they deactivated due to negative postings by other customers they scammed) and going around trying to defend themselves after my warning posts online to others (note the ZERO seller feedback they have on eBay)

Learn from the rest of us scammed by Livesay International. You are better off waiting for the Wii to be in stock again at retail or buying from reputable sites and sellers like Amazon or eBay sellers with nothing less than 100% positive feedback.

Ironically, Livesay International claims to have the Apple iPhone in stock since March when its release date is in June 2007! Steve Jobs must be a close buddy of theirs ensuring the whole world waits for the release of the iPhone except Livesay International.....Right...Haha!










Livesay International Business Registration in Georgia


Lyle Livesay and Sheena Bradshaw


 Lyle Livesay and Sheena Bradshaw


19 yr old GF of Lyle Livesay and Registered Owner of Livesay International (SCAM) Inc.


Scam Couple of Livesay International