Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Don’t you just hate it when the phone rings with the number “WITHHELD” and a disembodied voice (which certainly hadn’t learned English at its mother’s knee) disinterestedly interrogates you about your most intimate personal details before deigning to reveal that all they wanted to talk about was the state of your massive overdraft, which is the last thing you want to discuss?

Well I do. And what makes it even more annoying is that the traffic is always only one way. You can’t call THEM and interrogate them.

Have you noticed that broadband download speed (i.e. people selling things to you) is ten times as fast as broadband upload speed (i.e. you trying to sell your images to people)?

You can’t write to Them, either. At least I can’t. I was being unjustly bullied by a bank so I wrote to them and explained the situation. Four times. My letters were ignored. So I wrote to the Big Kahuna who at least had the grace to respond, get the situation sorted and pay me a minuscule fee in compensation before being led away in handcuffs for perpetrating financial crimes immeasurable to man.

And what has this to do with fotoLibra? Well, this morning a City firm — not a behemoth, but a known name — wanted to buy an image from us.

Let’s call the buyer Rhiannon. She finds an image she likes for a project, then finds she has to register with fotoLibra in order to buy it. Offhand I can’t think of any website that allows you to buy without asking for some form of registration.

So Rhiannon dutifully fills in our simple form and submits it.

Nothing happens.

She tries to register again. Still nothing.

Eventually she rings us up. We explain that she has to click her verification email to prove that she is who she is.

“What verification email?” She never got her verification email.

She went away to find out why. And quickly came back with the reason. Rhiannon’s coders had blocked our verification email because they had never heard of So our confirmatory message — which she had requested — was arbitrarily dumped.

So we had to sell the picture to Rhiannon manually.

Only emails from FTSE 100 companies, Amazon, Microsoft, and other megalithic businesses appear to be allowed through. What we have to say is clearly not of interest. What hope is there for the smaller company?

We are being coded out of the marketplace.


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22 Responses to “Coded Out Of The Marketplace?”

  1. Julian says:

    So much for the internet being a level playing field for all businesses, huh?

  2. Justin says:

    Surely all Rhiannon had to do was to speak to her Administrator to lift the block on How difficult would that be?

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Probably not too hard. But my point is that we are blocked by default.

      • Mark Saxby says:

        Probably much harder than you’d imagine in the locked down world of corporate IT!

        • Gwyn Headley says:

          It depends on the status of the person making the request. Images are seldom purchased from board level.

          • Ian Garfield says:

            From experience, blocks are draconian from the start and only when sites are requested by users they then become accessible. I can appreciate what they are doing and many systems are automated categorising different URLs in to different categories and then blocking/allowing as required – but it most certainly isn’t one size fits all!

  3. Derek Metson says:

    The battle has always been bigt versus small. No-one is standing up for the small.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      When did they ever?

      • John Cleare says:

        Indeed – it even happens the other way round when one is trying to buy something.
        The seller’s web site is too clever by half, although doubtless my pre-teen grandson would work it out in a flash.
        Changing the subject, I was intrigued to learn that my 13 year old granddaughter is being taught Photoshop in her regular Art & Design classes at ( a very good ) London Girls School. And I was intrigued to learn in the U.S Financial Press that Getty are in big, big trouble – partly due to the deals they do….etc, etc. Ha !

        Peter has a point of course about File Transfer Services. We shouldn’t HAVE TO use them but
        in rural Wessex our Broadband is so poor that I have to use such services most of the time. I use and have found their system extremely reliable and not too much hassle – and also that most of my clients are already familiar with it and would have suggested using the system had I asked them.

        • Gwyn Headley says:

          Yes, I’ve been reading about Getty in Photo Archive News, though when a company is valued at $2.8 billion there’s an argument over just how big BIG trouble actually is.
          If we have to email large files outside the fotoLibra environment we use DropBox.

  4. Peter says:

    Must admit I have had similar problems when trying to send pictures from commissioned jobs using file transfer services eg yousendit etc. It is a real pain and wastes a lot of time.

  5. Vickie says:

    Sad but true! All we can do is keep trying!

  6. Brian Murray says:

    It seems a very lazy way of doing things, using a whitelist rather than a blacklist. It makes one wonder how much business this loses them, too. Although if they hire such idle IT people, they deserve it.

  7. Gwyn,

    An interesting blog, thanks – and to my shame I am getting increasingly rude to those withheld callers!


  8. Ross says:

    Wouldn’t she have had a “Spam” or “Junk” folder in her email where she could have found your verification email and set it to “Not Spam” ?

  9. Chris Osborne says:

    I always make a quick check on my spam folder as quite a lot of non spam ends up there.
    In addition links which I have called spam still appear in my IN Box!
    Until recently2 years ago I have received a weekly email from ( 12 +years. but its now but I use the database now.
    Tate & Lyle managed to block this site when Dr Mercola reported on SUGAR….