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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