Why A Photographer Should Not Advertise On Craigslist

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After reading an article written by another blogger titled If you are competing only on price you will become a commodity – Extra Credit Friday
I decided it is time to share my experiences with Craigslist touting themselves to be innovative and cutting edge with the offer of free advertising for professional photographers and anyone who has something to advertise. We  jumped on the free advertising bandwagon and skipped out on paid advertising in our local newspapers. Craigslist was offering something unheard of in the world of advertising to the consumer. What they invited basically was misfits and anyone with a computer to advertise their wares, services and solutions without any proof of validation except for a home telephone number. Over the last several months and the past year I have listed my ad with Craigslist to promote my photography services and thephotographer4you blog. This was with the hopes that I would attract clients to photograph and the opportunity to network with serious clients and professionals in the industry. What I have gotten from advertising with Craigslist has been a lot of models looking for TFs, TFCD’s, folks looking to steal my images, copyrights infringement and a digital photographer who claim to have a legitimate business out of the blue contacting me to shoot a lovely couple at an event Jesse Darien had already been booked and paid to shoot for a five day event at a moments notice. Myself along with 2 vendors and the beautiful couple who hire him from Craigslist were not aware of his swindling ways….we went about our business of capturing the memorable event and the couple enjoy their moments of matrimonial bliss. In my case, the swindling photographer gave me less than two hours to get to the event to photograph the event. This is the event that brought it home for me in regards to how one could be easily be swindled…be it vendor or client.

Is it Craigslist fault that the ads have went to the left? Not sure how to answer that but one would have to speculate….don’t they notice the erroneous ads and the fakes listings from the real ones? The ads that are listing on the website lately are questionable and one needs to raise an issue as to the legitimacy of the website portal and how they are running their business. I trusted in Craigslist at one time for advertising but I have my doubts ….I have met some nice clients on the website but as of late…the clients and vendors that are listing on the website are questionable and post advertisements that are in poor taste. This is a problem especially when the client has an expectation from an business to deliver to them a service for free with no compensation whatsoever…what world are these people living in that they would offer meager wages or none at all? Whoever came up with offering TFs, TFCD’s, and free work for individuals don’t have a clue….at some point an individual should be compensated for their services that benefits both parties involved in the exchange. The client should receive what they paid for as well..Period!

What is up when a client or an advertiser sends in a complaint to Craigslist to report some shady behavior on the website? I filed a report to their customer service department to report the shady photographer. There was no answer from Craigslist customer service department. I attempted to report a scam artist on the Craigslist website and they basically ignore me. I filed the complaint to alert them to a scam artist photographer who have been scamming folks for at least 16 years. The photographer found my name on Craigslist….Get this he scam a basketball team too!

I have been listing with Craigslist ever since I heard about the website in a newspaper article and news stories claiming it was the grassroots of advertising and it is free. My ears were buzzing at those magical words “FREE” but lately it seems some folks have taken that to the another level of free. Craigslist use to be the portal website you could advertise on until it started getting crazy reports about rapist, prostitution, fake employment ads, wannabe models looking for a free photo shoot, individuals who want you to shoot their event for free and those who offer that lame line of the photographer receiving exposure if you shoot their event. The expectation of professional digital photographers shooting weddings for unheard prices in the industry along with providing them with the digital images after the job is complete is simply ludicrous. You have some folks who expect editing and post editing special effects with the extremely low prices too! My favorite line these people quote is “you will receive exposure if you shoot my event.” That is hogwash! What kind of exposure are they talking about? The kind were you use your resources they benefit from with the photographer giving away their copyrighted images and working for free.

The latest thing to hit Craigslist is scam photographers taking brides money and the dude running out of town with the proceeds leaving the couple, venue, event and vendors high and dry. When I post a link about the culprit and sent an email notifying Craigslist…I heard nothing from them instead my posting was flagged. The ad was probably flagged by the scam artist name Jesse Darien,…you would think that Craigslist would pay attention to their customers and vendors who list with them when they use their own form to file a complaint. I ran a post with them stating.:

A photographer by the name of Darrin Jesse Small is scamming brides, grooms and vendors out of their money. Please read post on http://thephotographer4you.com/2009/12/22/beware-brides-and-grooms-photographer-rip-off-alert/ A facebook page dedicated to any and all information http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=230870713105 and http://www.ripoffreport.com/photography/darrin-jessie-small/darrin-jessie-small-please-be-ead98.htm

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Can you believe he is still posting ads on Craigslist.: Currently posting on Craigslist under Post PostingID: 1542288141 Phone number 800-920-7681

Craigslist reminds me of Monster.com when they first hit the ground running…great advertisement promising a new way for consumers and businesses to advertise.  They really need to beef it up if they plan to hang around in cyperspace and keep people interest in advertising for them. Craigslist need to look at their business plan and re-vamp their strategy because lately their reputation is taking a beating in the media. I have yet to hear back from the many employers I submitted a job application to on Monster.com  and Craigslist to this day You have individuals, companies and organizations listing their advertisement request with very low expectations and most of time they are expecting you to deliver high quality service and employment for free and meager wages. It is not just photography, a lot of industries post bogus ads….often time I wonder are the Craigslist ads listings for real? Most of the ads you respond to that are listed on the website…the person, organization or company who advertise don’t respond and it sort of makes me wonder if 75% of the ads are legitimate. That number could be higher but I will give them 25% of legitimacy. I am just saying…..enough already!

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