The Internet was supposed to be this wonderful playground for us all to explore and make friends... But it isn't that at all. It's full of traps and minefields that one must be ever mindful of. If you blog, you must be particularly careful as, if your blog becomes popular (and that is the point of blogging, right?) then you will become a target.
Recently, I've destroyed my daily pages views numbers. A few weeks ago, I got a particularly nasty email from a lawyer representing Getty Images (insert booing here) who claims that they want to sue me for use of their images (well, no... That's not right. They want to sue me for use of one image). This is the trap.
Why is it a trap? Well, I guess I must be confused, but if you have something that you want protected, but you don't protect it, then you are negligent if someone else comes along, picks it up and borrows it.
I certainly didn't steal it. They still have it to use as they wish.
Say you left a baseball bat on a baseball diamond and some kids came along and started using it... Then you come along and then you think you can claim that they owe you money for rental fee? Ha!
If you go to Google image search and search for some particular picture (all blogs are nicer with pictures) then you will see lots of pictures that are watermarked, "Getty images" or the like. Many aren't. In fact, after I checked, you'll see the exact same images that have the Getty Watermark and some that don't.
Being stupid (or thinking like most people would think) then if they aren't watermarked, they aren't copyright protected. WRONG! You could get sued. As I was threatened with. I think that Getty's way of doing business is quite distasteful and disturbing (I can see them asking that you delete - but aggressively and threateningly - like Yakuza - screaming at you over the phone over court? And for one image on a freaking blog!???)
Two men playing Chinese Chess. This looks exactly like a Getty Image...
But it's not. I took it. Use it all you want!
So now there are no photos on this blog at all unless I or my wife or friends took them. No Getty Images at all... My company will never use Getty again and I will make sure our designers at the media and broadcasting section never do again either...
I think Getty is sneaky and dishonest... I do know that their way of doing business is very bad business and they are getting tons of complaints from people all over Japan. I don't like it. I especially don't like their lawyer (who talks with an Osaka Yakuza accent) screaming at my wife (who has no idea what they are talking about) over the phone. Sure, it's nice that someone is out protecting the rights of artists (well, hell, they're getting paid to do so)... But the tactics are deplorable.
Getty Images in Japan is run by a bunch of a*sholes... Poor public image will ultimately result in very bad business. You'll see, Getty. (Here is the horrifying story of someone who has dealt with this in Japan. Use Google translate: http://blog.livedoor.jp/kiku0319/archives/4314460.html)
That also means that if you see an image you like on this blog, then use it as you wish. Just call it my little war with Getty. Over time, I will have thousands of images (and I hope that you will do the same if you are a blogger) that people can use freely as they wish.
Businessmen at Tokyo intersection at lunchtime (use this photo free!)
Blogs need photos. It's no big deal to take your own as I do from now on. Please use any images on this blog as you wish.
This has also caused me to go through this entire blog and delete every single photo that I didn't take (and even some that I did because I wasn't sure)... That means the cheesecake photos of the sexy Japanese girls won't be appearing anymore.
And that brings me to the next part of this missive; I've written many times that this blog is an exercise and study in how the Internet and Google search works. I've pretty much figured most of it out until Google comes out with a new algorithm for its search engine.
And that's where I've destroyed my blog page views!
They say that 70% of all Internet users are guys. They also say that 70% of all Internet surfers surf porn. Well my research bears this out!
Before the hassle with the photo Nazi's at Getty Images (insert booing here) this blog consistently rated between 7,000 ~ 9,000 page views a day, every day. Now after deleting all the photos of sexy girls, as well as a few hundred others, where do we stand?
I'm down to about 2,000 a day... (But the number has been steadily rising these last 2 weeks.)
That's OK, though. This blog is about Japan, marketing and the media.... Guys sitting at their computer and looking at hot girls and masturbating are not exactly my target audience...
I mean, I don't look at this particular blog for that, I don't expect that my readers do either.
I've also found out how to turbo and "double" my page views simply by using a different format for the blog, but I find that sneaky and dishonest too. That's why I am now back to the old format (sort of) that I used for the first 1.5 years of this blog's existence.
Sexy Japanese girls photos and others do not exist on this blog site anymore. I do not use sneaky blog templates that double or triple my page views. I've bled lots of page views (readers?) because guys don't come here to masturbate to photos anymore.
Unless, of course, you like long, hard things like subway trains in tunnels (use this photo free!)
Making a blog and using tools to drive people outside of my target audience to this site is dishonest and sneaky.
I don't want to be dishonest and sneaky. I don't want to be like Getty Images. I don't need people masturbating to the images on this site.
If my writing can't make them feel good or feel like masturbating, then maybe my writing isn't good enough for 9,000 readers a day. That's OK.
At least it's honest.
Read the follow up to this article: Why Getty Images Cannot Sue You For Damages in Japanese Court and Win; Why Japan Doesn't Allow For Damages Claims in Court