Posts Tagged ‘OMG internet drama!’
In a change to our published schedule, rather than showing you a totally random photo every Friday some Fridays, I’m now going to use this slot to show you the new places my face has turned up on the Internet without my permission. It’ll be something to show the grandkids, I guess. Assuming Rubin has any.
I’m also going to refrain from rehashing the same old post about the CHEEK of people who use MY FACE for their own personal gain, and just allow you to imagine what I would have written if I wasn’t so lazy. Please refer to this post, this post and let’s not forget this post if you’re not sure.
This week’s Stolen Photo, then, sees me once again advertising false eyelashes on eBay:
There were actually three auctions featuring yours truly, but two of them used the same image, so I’m sure you don’t need the illustration. Oh, and when I contacted the seller she told me she’d removed the images, but it turns out she only removed one. The others are still there. Presumably she thought I wouldn’t bother to check.
Anyway, thanks to Ola for letting me know about this latest appearance. Remember, folks, there are fake Ambers all around you, so if you spot one, please let me know! Meanwhile, if anyone needs me, I’ll be spending my weekend watermarking all of my images. The fun just never starts, does it?
Oh for crying out loud…
Last night I was at my desk, busily working away, when a message popped in from my friend Lindsay. Lindsay had been browsing eBay looking at false eyelashes, and you’ll never guess who happened to be modelling the ones she found?
Or, actually, you probably will guess:
Yes, that’s me! The picture is a small one, but that’s my face you can see there, being used to sell someone’s Kimberley Wash false eyelashes: and to advertise them falsely, too, because I’m not actually wearing Kimberley Walsh false eyelashes in those photos, I’m wearing the Cheryl Cole ones.
I have to be honest – I was more amused than anything else by this one, because hey, at least the person wasn’t pretending to BE me. You know, like they normally do? I’m not going to allow people to use my face for commercial purposes, though (Well, not unless they want to pay me for it, obviously.), especially when they’re misleading people into the bargain, so I emailed the seller and asked her to remove it. She did, but said in her response to me that she’d found the photo on Google images, and that the photos there are ”for public use with no copyrite [sic] on them” so she hadn’t thought she was doing anything wrong.
I guess if people genuinely think Google images is essentially a free image bank, and that you’re allowed to use the images you find there in any way you like, we have at least one explanation of why my face keeps popping up in unexpected places. I think next time it happens, though, I might just send the person an invoice…
EDITED TO ADD:
If anyone’s particularly interested in the law relating to copyright of images on the internet, there’s a good article here which may be of interest.
Remember the time someone stole one of my photos and pretended it was a photo of them?
Yeah, it happened again:
Wow, I have a twin called Susan! Living in Stoughton, MA! And not just a twin: a totally IDENTICAL twin! Only… no, not really. It’s just another idiot, stealing my photo and pretending it’s theirs. I would be flattered by this, but seriously. Seriously. It’s like I have some kind of invisible sign on my head saying, “Oh, hai, if you’re totally duplicitous and like pretending to be someone you’re not, feel free to use MY photo!”
As with the last time this happened, I only found out about the impostor because someone emailed me saying, “By the way, did you know someone is impersonating you on the internet?” The site in question is called She Writes, and is a social network for writers. My “twin” had been chatting away to people there, asking them for help with her writing endeavors, and, from what I can gather, trying to get them to exchange email and phone numbers with “her”. All pretty innocuous, you might think, but the person who contacted me about it tells me that “Susan Veltri” is actually a man, and to be honest with you, “man posing as a woman in order to get women to speak to him, and perhaps email/phone him” is just a little creepy to me. And sad. Very, very sad.
This is a network which requires you to register before you can do ANYTHING. I couldn’t even contact whoever owns/runs this site without being a registered member, so I was forced to set up an account (it took around 24 hours to be approved, during which time “Susan” was merrily pretending to be me), after which I posted a message asking “Susan” if this is the only site s/he’s impersonating me on, or if s/he is pretending to be me anywhere else on the internet. Then I went out for the day, and funnily enough, when I got back “Susan’s” page had been deleted, although whether by “Susan” or by the site administrators, I have no idea.
So, all of this has got me thinking. This is the second time in a couple of months someone has stolen my photo and claimed it was them - that I know of. The only reason I found out about these Impostor Ambers was because someone realised what was happening and emailed me to tell me about it. Needless to say, I’m now starting to wonder how many other people are passing themselves off as me that I don’t know about. And, you know, you could argue that the two cases I DO know about weren’t that serious in the great scheme of things. One was an insecure teenager trying to impress boys on a Sonic Youth forum, the other was a man talking about crime writing on a women’s network. (OK, that actually IS a little creepy to me, but whatever.)
But what if the NEXT person using my photo is posting on, say, a forum for neo-Nazis. Or for paedophiles. Or for people who… gulp… wear Crocs for non-gardening-related purposes? THAT would be a little more serious, no? What if I’m walking around town one day and someone comes up to me and smacks me in the face because “I” have been making highly offensive statements on a forum for white supremacists or some such thing? And yeah, it’s unlikely. But that’s what I thought the FIRST time this happened. I thought, “Well, that was pretty trippy, but bound to be a one off. Because what are the chances of THAT happening again?” And yet, here we are, just a few weeks later. Of all the photos, on all the websites, in all the world, the idiots HAVE to choose mine, don’t they?
So, now I’m starting to wonder: what do I do about this?
The thing is, there’s really no way to stop people stealing your images if they really want to. You can right-click disable them, but that’s so easy to get round that it’s barely even worth doing. You can watermark them, although, as I’ve seen with the images I use on The Fashion Police, that doesn’t actually stop people stealing them. (And I sincerely hope that the people who steal images that are licenced for my use only get a nice fat bill from the image agencies who own the copyright, once they find out about the unauthorised use. And trust me, they WILL find out…). Also, putting a whopping great watermark over my own face kinda defeats the purpose of posting the image in the first place. And if it’s NOT over my face, they can just crop it out.
In the end, the only real solution to this is to stop posting photos, and delete my Flickr account/Twitter avatar etc. And, I don’t know… I could do that. But I resent it, to be honest. And not just because I have LOTs of photos I was planning to post this week. I think my blog would be a lot less personal if I was some totally anonymous chick, who could be a guy called “Susan Veltri” for all anyone knew. It’s well known that people don’t like to interact with Twitter accounts that have a generic avatar rather than a personal photo. And I’m a big believer in transparency on the Internet. I’ve always used my own name, and I’ve always used my own photos. I think that if everyone did that, the Internet would be a much nicer place.
But, of course, the Internet ISN’T a nice place. I knew that, obviously: I’m not totally stupid. But until this year, it didn’t really occur to me to worry about these things. No, seriously. I’ve never been particularly paranoid about things like posting photos, for instance. I don’t really know why. I know lots of people who are absolutely horrified by the idea of posting their photo online. Some of my real life friends have asked if I worry about it. And my response has always been, “Worry about what? That people will know what I look like? So what? When I go to the supermarket, people can see what I look like. Every time I step outside my house, people can see what I look like. What does it really matter if a handful of people who read my blog ALSO know what I look like?”
And the fact is, it doesn’t matter that the people who read my blog can see my photos. (Well, other than when they write to tell me how ugly I am, obviously.) But it DOES matter that people steal those photos and try to pass them off as their own. I find that creepy and disturbing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lying awake at night worrying about it or anything. I will be very surprised if this ever happens again. But I do wonder who the next person will be to decide to pose as me, and this latest experience has got me thinking a bit more carefully about issues of privacy etc. I’m not saying I’m going to stop posting photos or anything, but… it has given me pause for thought, put it that way.
I think my next tagline will be “The REAL Forever Amber: accept no impostors”. All those other Slim Shady’s are just imitating, after all…
Well, THAT was a whole lot of fun, wasn’t it?
Look, though! We’re getting a sun obscured by a little bit of cloud tomorrow!
Do you know, that’s the first time I have EVER seen that particular icon, and I’ve had my iPhone for about two months now? It’s good that it turned up this weekend, though, because we’re going to a barbecue tomorrow, and “sun obscured by a little cloud” will be much better than the “rain of biblical proportions” we’ve been having lately.
NO idea what’s happening on Tuesday, though. It looks to me like the sun will be melting that day. OMG, WHAT’S HAPPENING ON TUESDAY? And how does the iPhone KNOW?
I also just wanted to say that comments on this site are now being moderated. Sorry about that – it’s not something I’d have chosen to do, but as much as I am able to laugh at the trolls (and at myself, which is what my last entry was really about) I AM getting a bit tired of the personal attacks. Needless to say, the vast majority of you are absolutely lovely (and I really, really appreciate your support on The Post That Dare Not Speak It’s Name. Actually, let’s call that post “Voldemort”. Can we do that?), so I hope you’ll not be put off commenting. One more thing for the trolls: when I say “comments are being moderated” I just want to add “and they’re not being moderated by ME”. So not only will your hate mail not be published here, I won’t even see it.
Still: sun! And a whopping 18 degrees! It’s as good as it gets, folks…
Yes, it’s true, folks, I have won something!
Well, OK, actually it’s my blog, The Fashion Police, which has won something, but seeing as I’ve never won anything else in my life before (Disclosure: I once won bacon and eggs in a school raffle. I was 12 at the time.) I’m feeling pretty pleased.
The Fashion Police was the winner in the fashion category of the Glam Network Awards 2009. It’s an award that’s voted for by blog readers, and, as I say, it’s the first thing the site has ever won, so I was super-excited when I checked my email yesterday and discovered we’d won. Especially given that, moments earlier, I’d received a comment from someone letting me know I’m a “jackass” because I don’t like these:
Yes, it’s true, I don’t like them. And I know it’s a controversial thing to say, but I? Totally wouldn’t wear those. If this be the test of jackassery, then I stand fairly accused. Isn’t it inspiring, though, to know that even the kind of jackass who wouldn’t drape cigarette butts from her ears (!) can go on to be successful, and, indeed, to live a normal life? I think so. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to know who IS a jackass in life, and who ISN’T one, you now have this handy test: the jackasses are the ones who DON’T have used cigarettes hanging from them. Got it? Good.
(Just to be clear, I’m being facetious above. I actually don’t give a rats jackasses ass about these kind of comments – I just think they’re funny.)
So anyway, yes, The Fashion Police! I don’t know if anyone here reads it, but if you do, and you voted for it, a huge thank you: that little button is better than bacon and eggs any day*.
(*Bacon and eggs ARE pretty tasty, though. Hmmm, I’m hungry.)
There’s a full moon tonight. If recent circumstances hadn’t made this fact painfully obvious to me already, I’d have realised as soon as I received this email, earlier today:
From: An Idiot
Sent: 11 March 2009 14:01
To: Amber, Verbal Punching Bag of the Internet
i’ve reviewed books for the new york times, discussed the art of writing on npr’s fresh air with terry gross, and many other high points in my career as a freelance writer, and so i came to your site seeking enlightenment if not some freelance gigs, and what did i see, first thing?
do you have an interesting object?
tell us it’s story
you need me. you need an editor. you really do.
I’ve removed two words which may or may not have been the author’s name from this literary feast (it was hard to tell due to the basic lack of writing skills) to protect the guilty but the rest is exactly as I received it, including font and funky yellow highlighter.
I think it becomes even more amusing when you realise it was written in response to this post at WritingWorld. Just in case you can’t be bothered reading it, it’s a post about its/it’s confusion, and I used an advert by a major publishing house as an example of how even the biggest companies sometimes get it wrong. It was the advert text that my correspondent is quoting here, and obviously, I’m not the best person to judge my own writing, but I thought it was pretty obvious that the incorrect “it’s” was an example, and wasn’t written by me (although I’m happy to admit that I get it wrong too, sometimes, even although I’m perfectly well aware of the correct use of the apostrophe). Apparently not, though.
That aside, I find it both shocking and amusing in equal measures that someone would send an email like THIS to ask me to employ them. Because, oh yeah, I’m going to totally want to take on a member of staff who wrote to me to slag off my website and try to make out that I’m an idiot who can’t spell! Doesn’t everyone want employees like that?
More importantly, though, if I WAS looking for a freelance editor (which I’m not, by the way), I’m thinking I’d probably go for one who wasn’t such a stranger to capital letters and punctuation, you know? One who, perhaps, knew that “ayieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” is not a word, and that “help” only has the one “p”.
Sadly, these kind of emails have become the norm for me recently, and to be totally honest, it’s kinda killing the Internet for me. If it’s not people writing to hurl abuse at me, or treat me as their own personal Google, it’s people commenting here to tell me they don’t like my face and that I should change it, or leaving nasty comments at The Fashion Police because a post from two years ago is now – surprise,surprise! – out of date, and the dress in question is no longer available. (Quite how this is my fault is beyond me, but apparently it is. I’m slowly starting to realise that almost EVERYTHING is my fault. Everything.) And if THAT isn’t enough, people are still confusing me with Rihanna, and writing to me AS IF I AM HER.
(Note: I am not Rihanna. NOT. RIHANNA.)
I’m feeling a little better today. Only a little, but hey, at least I wasn’t up all night waiting for the sweet release of death, so that’s something.
In a break from our regularly scheduled “Woe is me!” programme, then, I present an email I received this morning from one “Cathelina Waldron”, who I can only assume has stumbled across one of my posts on the subject of 80′s fashion over at The Fashion Police.
“First off i want to say that CLEARLY you dont know nothing about fashion if you state that 80s fashion is a crime of fashion, and also you stated that there was very little about 80s fashion to love. I just want to say that you are wrong, you just have to love everything about the 80s fashion. In case you havent already noticed the 80s fashion has laid out the foundation for the fashions that we have today. In fact 80s fashion is still in fashion. You must feel really dumb for posting that. Considering it makes you look like you dont know anything about what you are talking about. if you need examples i will gladly give them to you to present to you how wrong you are about 80s fashion, and how it is infact, still in fashion today! “
(Spelling and grammar as in the original. Imagine the text of this email in bright pink to get the full effect.)
So. Obviously I had no idea I was supposed to run all of my opinions past this woman, who clearly has the authority to tell me that I “have” to love certain things. This has seriously concerned me: I wonder if there are other things out there that I “have” to love, but don’t, because Cathelina hasn’t written to me yet to tell me what my opinion should be on them? Maybe I should ask her to give me a list of all the things I “have” to love? Hmm.
All sarcasm aside, though, can you even IMAGINE getting THAT annoyed about someone’s opinions on shell-suits and puffball skirts that you feel the need to email them an ugly rant? Seriously, I have no idea what Cathelina’s problem is, but I really hope she’s getting help for her obvious issues…
I also hope the wind blows really hard and messes up her hair.
A couple of years ago, some cataclysmic event or other happened to my computer (clearly it was so cataclysmic all memory of it has been wiped from my mind, because I’m dammed if I can remember what it was) and I was forced to re-enter all of my Outlook contacts by hand.
Not long after this, I found out my mum was no longer receiving email from me. At all. Everyone else was receiving my messages just fine, and she was getting emails from everyone else but me (it was actually a pretty sweet deal for her, to be honest), so clearly we had a mystery on our hands.
And clearly I couldn’t be bothered investigating this mystery too deeply, or, indeed, at all, because rather than try to find out WHY this was happening, I chose to do absolutely nothing about it, and blithely continued firing off emails to my mother’s email address. This is why my childhood dream of being Nancy Drew when I grew up was never realised, obviously.
Now, my mum and I are close. I tell her things I probably wouldn’t tell other people. So it came as something of a horrible surprise when some guy in Nova Scotia contacted me to let me know he’d been receiving email from me for quite some now, and by the way, how was that rash coming along and had I ever located the source of that funny smell in the kitchen?
My mum’s name is Norma. My mystery correspondent was called Norman. You can see what I did there, can’t you?
Of course, after that, I totally learned my lesson and I was always really careful when sending email to make sure I was sending them to the right person, and not, say, sending them to be published on a national news website. Oh no, wait, my mistake: I didn’t learn my lesson at all, did I? Which is why, when my mum used the “send to a friend” function on the Sky News website last weekend to send me a link to a story, I just hit “reply”, without realising that my reply was going, not to my mum, but to the wesbite’s comment section.
When I got a “Thank you for posting your comment on Sky News!” email a few minutes later I was, like, really confused and thought it must be some kind of mistake. And it was. But it was my mistake. D’oh.
I mean, it was an easy mistake to make. Anyone could’ve done it. Well, anyone with the brain of a gnat, obviously. And when I realised my mistake, I obviously learned my lesson for good this time, and made sure I never did the same thing ever again, didn’t I?
Er, no. Because Outlook automatically saves the email address of everyone I reply to into my address book (note to self: make it not do that any more), which now contains entries for ‘Mum’, ‘Mum – work’ and ‘Mum – Sky News’.
Guess which one I’ve been sending my emails to?
This is why, if you happen to have visited the Sky News website this week you may have noticed a long comment from me asking someone to pick me up a certain brand of face cream next time they happen to be in Tesco. You’d know it was me because, er, my full name would be on it, plus my email signature, containing links to all of my websites.
Um, sorry, Sky News! But if you could send me that face cream, that would be grand, thanks!
(Note: although I did get another “Thanks for posting a comment on our website!” email, I can’t seem to find the comment in question, so presumably someone at Sky removed it. And probably banned me, into the bargain. Which would be fair enough, under the circumstances…)
Dear Idiot Teenagers who thought it would be a good idea to post a whole bunch of stupid comments on The Fashion Police this week, calling me an “idiot” and generally advertising your lack of brain cells:
It was not a good idea.
It was an even worse idea to use your actual email addresses to do it, though.
You actual email addresses that were issued by your actual high school. Your high school whose Internet connection you happened to be using at the time you posted the comments in question. Your high school Internet connection with an IP address that traced right back to… you guessed it!… your high school!
Also not a good idea? Repeatedly posting your mobile phone number, asking me to call you on it. And yeah, sure, it could’ve been a fake number, but given that you weren’t bright enough to use a fake email address, I’m going to guess it was real. Hey, guess what? The site had almost 15,000 visitors that day! That’s a lot of phone calls from potentially dangerous random Internet strangers you could be receiving, huh? So you’ll understand why I had to notify your school and ask them to notify your parents, no? It was my duty as a responsible adult. And as an ever-so-slightly vindictive one, to be completely honest.
Also? You’re SO grounded, chilluns. And on detention for the rest of the month, hopefully. Enjoy!
Seriously, I don’t know what they’re teaching kids today. In my day we knew how to troll a website, and we knew how to do it right. None of this “using real email addresses and posting from easily-traced IPs” nonsense. Honestly. What is the world coming to when the youth of today don’t even know how to remain anonymous on the Internet? This was all fields then, you know…
There’s a full moon tonight. Can you tell? I can. I can always tell, though, and I don’t even need the little “moon” symbol in my diary. No, I can tell when there’s a full moon because of the absolute 100% batshit craziness that goes down on my blogs at around this time every month. (Note: not this one, though! The people who comment on this blog are all lovely and totally non-crazy! Please don’t shout at me!)
Seriously, this happens without fail every month, and mostly involves the comments section over at The Fashion Police (Which was two years old today, by the way. I almost didn’t post about that over there because after the comments I’ve been getting lately, I was pretty sure some bright spark would use it as an excuse to comment saying, “Oh, the blog’s two today? That’s two whole years of SUCK, bitch!” or something. Because really, nothing would surprise me now. Not when the moon is full, anyway.) although the other blogs attract their fair share of Crazies too.
Now, fair enough, The Fashion Police is a blog which gives and solicits opinions on clothes, so it’s always going to be a little bit controversial. In so far as clothes can actually be controversial, that is. I mean, seriously: I enjoy fashion enough to write about it for a living, but jeez, they’re just clothes, folks. That you wear. Does it really matter so much if someone doesn’t share your exact opinion on them? Well, apparently it does. On Friday? I was called a “douchebag” in my comments section, just because I said I liked a certain hat. A HAT, people. That’s so messed up it’s almost beyond comprehension to me. I mean, what must it be like to get so angry over the fact that some random stranger on the Internet likes a freakin’ HAT that you find yourself verbally amusing them? Honestly, there are people out there killing puppies and torturing kittens, and yet I’m a douchebag because I like a HAT? For real? What must these people be like when they read something really upsetting? And how has their stupidity not killed them yet?
(Weirdly, it’s always the things I like that get the most abuse. I don’t really know why. I can say I hate a certain item and that’ll be fine, but as soon as I say I like something I get people telling me I should be shot in the head and calling me a “f&*^%&g bitch”. And those are example of real comments, by the way…)
This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. All weekend I’ve been dealing with this kind of crap. And sure, the site is getting around 10,000 visitors per day, so there’s always a good chance that at least some of them are going to be assholes, but it’s the Full Moon Effect that makes it so hard to deal with, because, for the most part, everything is fine. People are nice. They’re polite. Even when they disagree with me, they do it in a reasonable, measured kind of way. All month, things coast along just fine, and then suddenly, WHAM! Full Moon Fever! Suddenly every second comment is abuse. Suddenly everyone’s an idiot. Suddenly I’m spending so much time deleting comments and wondering if I actually DO deserve to die because I said I liked a certain dress that I don’t have time to actually write. And even although I know the wave of awfulness will pass, and tomorrow things will (hopefully) be back to normal… it’s hard. It hurts. It really puts a downer on things, and makes me want to crawl back into bed until sanity is restored once more. Oh, the humanity!
I don’t think there can be many jobs in the world which involve opening yourself up to such hatred and abuse every day. Other than call centres, obviously. (I speak as the voice of experience here, by the way: I used to work in a call centre, and we could always tell when there was a full moon there, too, because that’s what people would start threatening to kill us, rather than just threatening to break our legs. Again, not making this up…) Sadly, there is no intelligence test people must pass to be able to use the Internet, which means that growing a thick skin is one of the main requirements of blogging for a living. And I’m not quite there, yet. Oh, my skin is a helluva lot thicker than it used to be – today I was able to just laugh off the email from the person who said he “wouldn’t be able to live with himself” without ranting in all lowercase for a few hundred words, and to roll my eyes at the fellow blogger who commented on Dollface (a beauty blog, let me remind you) to tell me that I shouldn’t be writing about hairstyles and should be focusing on “actual news” instead, namely dresses and celebrity anorexia rumours. (Er, yeah, because that’s totally “actual news”. And it’s not AT ALL unfair to criticize a beauty blog for not being a fashion/celebrity gossip blog, is it now? )
So my skin is getting thicker, but it’s not quite thick enough, and sometimes, when there’s a full moon, it feels very thin indeed. Which is why, just this once, I felt the need to stamp my little feet and have a bit of a rant. Sorry. I’ll stop now.
I still get to have the last laugh, though because the sites are growing all the time, and yesterday was our best day ever, which means that I get to keep on working from my spare room, and earning a living from looking at pictures of shoes on the Internet. Not bad for a complete freaking douchebag, no?