Images

Generic Pictures of Service Businesses

Most of the photo sites are charging quite a bit and the pictures are not thrilling when it comes to pictures for service businesses.  By ‘service business’, I mean any business that rely on customers calling in to request services.  So it could be a plumber, an electrician, a taxi company, a carpet cleaner, or even a tow truck company.

When helping these kinds of companies with their web presence, one of the difficulties is getting great pictures for their websites. It’s hard to follow a plumber around all day to snap candid shots.  Not a great use of my time.  So I’d like to be able to buy stock photos – but most are terrible and over used.  Especially the plumbing and carpet cleaning ones.  To test this, take a look at a plumbing site.  Find a picture of a plumber under a sink, or working on a water heater.  Copy the URL for that photo and put it into tineye.com.  TinEye will show you and give you an approximate count on how many times it has found that same photo used on the web.  Ugh.

plumbing photo abuse

So, see that in this example the photo has been found 168 times!  That’s crazy!

I want to have pictures that aren’t found 168 times on the web!  I do have a collection of photos that I share with friends to keep the use down to a minimum.  Here is an example from http://renotahoetow.com

Reno Towing Company very original picture

But how can we keep our pictures original?  I totally expect that people will steal from me – but that’s not a big worry, as long as the date stamping proves my first use and ownership.

I think that if I did find my pictures used on the web for another similar property – I’d go ahead and send them a bill.  Not sure for what amount, but I’d want compensation.

My bigger concern is that there is a whole industry that is formed around selling photos – and they’re so overused that they’re probably detrimental to the buyers.  Am I on target?  Is that something that the search engines are checking?  Since TinEye exists, I’m pretty sure Google has a similar technology in place.  I wonder if they’re adjusting search results based on this or not.