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Dear Jo,Jo's Photography,Jo's World,Juicy Tale,Marketing,Rare Rant,Wine

Everything on the Internet is Free, Including Customer Service

Everything on the Internet is free, including customer service for something you haven’t paid for… It’s become a funny world.

I enjoy sharing the requests I get, because they always hit me with a “What?” moment, and getting them out of me is great stress release.

This is a new one…

Dear Jo:

Hello, I am doing a study on different grape vines and its leaves. I would really appreciate your high resolution images. Also, if you have other varieties not included in the web (merlot, tempranillo, etc.) I would appreciate them also.

Thanks in advance.

I’ve got to first hand it to this person for the assumed customer service…

But here’s the thing… This person isn’t one of my wine clients.

I guess, because I spent copious hours photographing, drying, and processing the leaf images I took a few years ago, and put them onto the Internet, I’m now supposed to be flattered and simply provide them to anyone who asks?

I had one guy ask to use one of my leaf images for his wedding decorations. I tried to explain that from the Internet it’s a low resolution, and I don’t want it used that way. I did everything shy of saying, “Please value it with something for compensation, and I’ll send you a high res of that image.” I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. (Was I a monk in my past life, or what, that I can’t tell people that they could value my work?) And, I also can’t go through the process of giving away a high res image. He was insisting on just using a low res to make decorations, and it wasn’t going to matter. I didn’t want my image used that way. It’s not attractive and doesn’t reflect my talent. I sent him to I-stock Photography, and told him he has options for purchasing there, since he thought mine were for free… and they’re not.

This is intellectual property people are “asking” for. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that I work for a living. If I Emailed them and asked them for something that they can produce for free (like a lobotomy), they’d think I was nuts.

I’ve even written the following on my “Content & Use” page:

I am willing to sell high resolution images for limited use, but not for complete copyright purposes. Original copy right will always belong to me.

A while back, a writer friend on his blog wrote about how everyone wants him to review his/her wine, and give that person a critique. And… the rub… it’s assumed that he’s going to do it for free, simply because he is who he is.

Hey, people, we’re all trying to make a living out here. It would take me about an hour to get all my images to someone on a CD – High res – go to the Post Office and mail them. (I can’t  possibly Email them all, and I’m sure not going to upload them to our FTP site, so I can accommodate someone.) I know what they’re worth, and it’s not nothing, a.k.a free…

There’s a limit to my generosity, for people who might think otherwise.

Consider when you ask someone for something, just because it’s on the Web, that doesn’t mean that it’s for free. Ask what the value is. You might get what you want, and have your assumed customer service become a reality, because you’ve earned it.

 

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8 Responses to “Everything on the Internet is Free, Including Customer Service”

  1. Hi Jo, I enjoy your blog! Would you please send me a new BMW? Thanks!

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Yeah, Steve, let me get right on that!

  3. Anon says:

    Jo, I think it depends on how someone is using it. If they are using it for commercial purposes (i.e. making money off it), I agree with you 110%. But if they just like your work and are planning to give you credit… does it really hurt you to share? Seems like good karma to me.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    I get the sharing part, Anon, and I agree with you.

    Now, if I can just find the time to be more generous that I am (I spend about 60 hours a month as a volunteer for PSILY… truth), I can service the rest of the requests that come my way… Many of them I can and do help out, but it’s impossible to help them all. The key, everyone says, is knowing when to say, “No.” I try to balance that one. From people out of the blue with no relationship to anything I do, I have to find the balance.

  5. Sondra says:

    Jo, I totally understand your dismay with the assumed ‘you’ll do everything for free.’

    I particularly ‘like’ when someone asks me for photographs or to photograph their wine, that it will give me good exposure, who needs to be paid. Why is it that people think one’s passion and expertise are free for the asking?

    And at least, if there’s an ‘at least’ they are asking and not just stealing it from the web, low res though they may be.

    So thanks for your excellent customer service and continued word wisdom. And like Steve, when you have a moment would you please ship me a case of your best petite sirahs and that BMW.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Very funny, Sondra. I’ll be ordering a line of Beamers soon. Hang in there.

  7. It seems like this saying is true when it comes to internet – “The Best Things in Life are Free.”

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    That’s one way to look at it 😉

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