Friday, 11 May 2012

Fraudulent Websites stealing artists work.

I became aware of these fraudulent sites a week or two ago. This is much worse than one or two image being stolen and used without permission, this is mass image theft for use in an industrial scale fraud.

Buyers searching for your art are likely to find it being offered at lower prices via these fraudulent Chinese sites because they are being given equal prominence to legitimate online retailers by Google.  
I would encourage every artist at the very least to sign the petition below and raise the profile of this issue with the powers that be.. the bigger the stink the more chance there is of getting this sorted.
A big difference between this and other scams is that the sites are being replicated massively (see the list below) and are gaining google rankings. They are not only stealing artists work they are then using our work to fraudulently to obtain payments without delivering anything. In addition they are also prominently displaying trusted logo’s which make them appear legit. Verisign, Paypal, Amazon, FAA etc. 
So far attempts to remove them from their servers have been unsuccessful. Hopefully by the time you check the links below they will be gone. If you want to do more to get Google to delist these sites, full details of what to do  can be found at the FAA forums in the “Is this a legit affiliate” thread.
Please check and see if your work has been stolen.. mine and many others have.
Unlikely as it may seem a google search of scam sites reveals that people are being ripped off by these sites. Enough people believe if it is listed prominently on Google it must be a legitimate online retailer... 
The major problem here is that if these fraudsters can get away with pretending to be an affiliate of Amazon and using trusted logo’s like Verisign, Paypal etc and have Google search rankings then people will be ripped off. (Google, Amazon and the server hosts so far appear complacent and disinterested). Many of these fraudulent sites are also making income from Google ads.. this again makes them appear legit. The failure of Google etc to act on this issue threatens the very credibility of online trading. As you can see these sites are replicating massively.
It won’t be long before victims start saying “and the artist did nothing about it”.
People are being ripped off for hundreds of dollars by these sites. Google “Scams NanYang ESC International Trade Co Ltd” which is a China based company associated with this.
Please feel free to link to this and copy and paste this and spread the word.
This is a list of all “China Wholesale Sites” we know of so far
The first link is always the mainpage. The second link is always the print & posters category where you can look up and insert your own works
…and the ones which end with xml are the google-sitemaps of the requested sites

Andy Mercer's website

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