Tracking my movements on your email promos and website.

I think my enthusiasm for email promos and links to work on photographers websites was completely cut in half the day someone emailed me and said “I see you’ve been checking out my book” I actually looked for a portfolio in my office because I didn’t recognize the photographers name, “I just wanted to see if I can show you some more work or shoot an assignment for you.”

Then I realized they had tracked me from an email promo I clicked on and suddenly I felt duped. Are all the photographers secretly tracking my movements to see when I click on a link or how much time I spend on their website. Man, that sucks.

The truth is I spend way less time on someone’s website that I really like and way too much time on websites I find horribly bad.

I’m sure it’s pretty satisfying to see how many clicks you get and how much time is spent on the website and what kinds of things get people to visit and what kinds of things get people to stay but letting me know you’re watching is downright creepy and makes me think twice before clicking and visiting.

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  1. Would you be okay with somebody saying, “I noticed you got my email promo and visited my site?” Not really commenting on what you looked at or how long you spent, but just telling you they were following up because they knew you’d looked at the site recently?

    I hate tracking and infocollation as much as the next redblooded American but it might actually be less annoying if people cut back on the followups to wait to see if you even went to whatever it was they were hawking in their email promos.

    Just askin’. I can see your point. Since I don’t do email promos or track my site unless somebody screws with it, it’s all the same to me. :)


  2. Well, its a strong marketing research tool. Its used more often than it should/or we know. The tracking is inevitable. The value to understand (both in printed and online) promo reaction and penetration is very important. Even magazines make use of this mode. But many (if not all) marketing outlets would had recommended against what the photographer did. Any aggressive marketing action based on the collected research is just bad business. :(

    Besides, email promos are lazy… to me they are basically spam. Subscribe if you like…

  3. Thanks for this interesting insight to the opinion of web marketing.
    Although, I’m curious about what is the actual annoying part of the issue?
    Is it that the photographer proclaimed to you that he was researching what you had looked at on his website, and followed up on it, or is it that he had implemented a marketing tool in the first place?
    (which is not unlike the SiteMeter link on this website).

    I agree with you about the creepy feeling if someone contacts you saying they saw where you were looking and what you were doing. That can feel sort of like an invasion of your privacy. But the ability to see how a website is working and then tweak it to get your work seen by more people (& the “right” people) is invaluable in this new age of self marketing. Especially when, as you said, there are lots of websites out there that really aren’t worth looking at yet.
    Photographers do need to realize when they are “ready” to start promoting themselves.

  4. first of all, how long did it take you to realize this happens? you have sitemeter for fuck sake.

    so take sitemeter off your site if you are so fragile, you do the same down to being able to view individual IP addresses, visit entry/exit pages, referring URL’s etc etc. not only that, you are publicly sharing each visitors info…. at least most email tracks are left private, you are sharing the same meta on your site with anyone clicking.

    you are an attention whore just like any photographer is only worse because you actually do it for vanity, that photographer was doing it simply in a hope to work with you.

    what’s your important reason?

    this is the technology you yourself play with and yet cry creep when done to you.

  5. re: itdoesntmatter.

    The difference between email tracking and something like site meter, is that hit tracking (from a website) is relatively anonymous. whereas email send-outs usually have recipient ids built into the links in the email, so the sender can track you when you click in to them. Site Meter, google analytics et all, are innocuous and do not supply personal info on viewers, other then where they’re coming from (and maybe where they’re located geographically – and even this is a dodgy).

    It just isn’t the same thing. Rob has a very valid point. it’s *creepy*

  6. Reading your blog is like reading a self-aggrandizing ‘zine, all this is really about is you.. how great you are, how great the photographers you “discover” are (please!) , how kind you are. Just for the simple fact that you are in a position of real power to decide someone’s fate is what brings people to you, not because you have anything so great or new to say. These are all just a bunch of groupies, trying to get laid to say they have had the experience…

    You lock people out when you don’t like what they say (I know because you have locked me out when I posted negative things anonymously (you probably think I am my husband, who is actually a photographer)), because you can and do track who is on your site, yet you are irritated and dare I say, surprised , that someone tracks what you do with one of their emails…. This is how it is. Photographers have to work just like anyone else and they are employing a means of technology available to help them to that end, and you have the gall to say how irritating that is…

    And then you have people asking “pretty please, how can I approach you to get you to talk to me without offending you”. It must feel pretty good.

  7. Web 2.0?

    Isn’t this just “plain ol’ web”?

  8. Open and click-through stats are built into the whole concept of the email promo. I’ve only ever done one email blast, and used the stats to conclude that it is not effective at all (it appears that fashion-specific ad agencies and magazines don’t read such emails as much as their commercial counterparts). I get better response from postcards and personal emails. I might try another blast someday, just to verify.

  9. Jonas is right: Calling it Web 2.0 makes it seem like a recent thing. People have been tracking traffic to their sites since the the first Web browser – about 1993-ish? Books abound about Web Analytics.

    The critical difference here though (i.e. with email links) is that while typical web tracking can know your IP address and therefore, as mentioned above, your likely geographic location, modern email marketing tools put unique IDs in each email sent out so that if you do click-through, they can correlate your visit to your email address.

    Not only that, if they send you an HTML email with graphics in it and your email client downloads those before asking you, the sender can tell if you’ve even *viewed* their email, forget about clicking. That’s because the URL that fetches the graphic has a unique ID for you. These are called “web beacons.” Now that’s Big Brother! Modern email clients are aware of this. For instance, Outlook doesn’t download those automatically – it alerts you and gives you the option.

    There are power user ways around this kind of thing but they’re burdensome. You need to copy the URL out of the email and try pruning off most of it to get to the “base” URL and then pasting that in your browser.

    In the end, there will always be creative ways to track you and it will be hard to avoid them. The best you can do is encourage good etiquette around it. As mentioned above, I think the person could have approached you more “delicately.”

  10. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that the general tracking feature is a bad thing. The photographer could use it to see if s/he has made their promo impressive looking enough to at least get a click in. If they send out to 50 different editors, and only 1 or 2 click in, they can use that information to improve their mailers in the future, and if 47 click in, then clearly what they’re doing is working.

    Where I share your point of view, however, is that I don’t think clicking in alone should be sufficient incitement to initiate this follow-up. It seems to be that particularly initiated editors might take the effort to click into a larger number of sites than impressive email promos they receive, and as such it would be overzealous to assume that because somebody visited your site, they’re on the verge of hiring you.

    I haven’t gotten a call from you, for example, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you’ve visited my page.

  11. I agree that the tracking is needed to see how well an email blast is working but that the follow up is a little stalkerish.
    I remember signing up for a little more info from either Adbase or Agency Access and it couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes later a salesman called with the hard sell, really left a bad taste.

    @9 MB, sounds like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed! nobody asks you to read this blog and remember a blog is usually a personal site that you share your expierences and opinions with other people.
    And about reading this and power trips ect. I read this blog because Rob is a photo editor and shares his opinions which is valuable to me, Rob is not the type of PE that would hire me based on where he has worked but that doesn’t make his knowledge any less valuable.

  12. You know, Rob, I had more respect for you when you were anonymous. Many of your recent posts are leading me to distrust you, your motivations, and really what value you’re adding to the conversation about the current state of the industry and how photographers and those who employ them work together.

    God forbid someone wants to work with you and takes every opportunity to find an opening to a conversation with you. That’s what it takes to be a photographer these days: perseverance. It’s a numbers game, after all. This business ceased being about merit long ago.

    At first I thought you truly had the best interests of photographers and your editorial brethren in mind (and by extension the industry as a whole), but I’m beginning to wonder.


  13. Ok, Ok, not to worry.
    I have also been tracking every website APE has been visiting during his personal down-time and plan on publishing this especially interesting link list in a forthcoming blockbuster blogpost. Stay tuned!

  14. We’re in business aren’t we? I agree it would be creepy if my personal email was tracked in this manner but business email is a different kettle of fish. It is a business channel. I have smart mailboxes in Mail which track the history of email with clients. You have to remember what was said sometimes. Is that creepy? These aren’t my personal friends so I can’t recall sometimes arrangements made, etc.

    And the purpose of the communication is not to zombify your brain remotely, the purpose is to get work reliably and often. That is just the consequence of your being a gatekeeper.

    There are two parts here, the tracking and the behaviour of the photographer. Perhaps the photog could have handled the contact better after finding out you viewed his website, sent a hard mailer or promo piece, whatever, but methinks you protest a little too much.

    Maybe if this is leaving a bad taste you should consider not using credit cards or bank cards. All of that information is tracked too. It is used to make decisions on new products and sometimes used to send you promotional information.

  15. Couldn’t have said it better myself…
    It’s creepy. And we DO spend more time on the worst sites. It’s entertainment during a long stressful day. And we forward the bad sites, I know you are all tracking that too. Just as we take the worst mail promos and hang them up in our coworkers offices b/c they make us laugh.
    Everyone should just take getting a reply email as a sign that a photo editor likes their work and stop tracking our every movement.

  16. @15 “it would be creepy if my personal email was tracked in this manner but business email is a different kettle of fish”


  17. Ah, but how would a photographer know what “more time” actually is? Unless I can see how much time you would spend on other photographers sites I’d have no idea what your average time on a site was.

  18. @ 9 & 11
    HA. Funny, I thought this was a personal blog. One person, his views, his work, his ideas, his writings. If you don’t like it, why are you reading it? And more importantly, why do you care?

  19. @APE:

    I think it is naive to think that this kind of information is not being disseminated by those that use Agency Access or any other service of that type. Otherwise you are throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks and the only feedback you are getting is the calls you may or may not get.

    It is coincidental that a peer group of which I am a member discussed this very topic a few nights ago. Our conclusion was that the information tracking is valuable and useful but should remain transparent when contacting potential clients.

    If you send out multiple emails over the course of a couple of months and see the same people clicking through, you are compiling a list of prospects. Calling and saying, “I see you looking at my work” could affect a potential working relationship negatively. Best to use the information to target a focused list with the killer promo piece of which you are only sending out 400 of. Then follow up on the phone to see if, and how it was received.
    That is the opportunity to get the appointment to show the book, dazzling smile, firm handshake, etc.

    Sort of like the difference between enjoying sausage and watching it being made!

    @ APE Backlash: It is yet to be seen just how altruistic Rob H. is being here and, while it may be further proof that no good deed goes unpunished, it is altogether too easy to take potshots. The golden rule applies here as well.

    People, the blog is called “A Photo Editor” not “The Photo Editor”.

  20. it seems to me we have two separate issues here:

    1. the tracking of ids from email to web, tracking the recipient’s click-throughs

    2. Using evidence as a “come on” line, when introducing yourself (as a photographer) to an editor.

    The first seems to be fine. and is definitely a very good tool for photographers. The second is just in bad taste *and creepy*. Your recipient doesn’t *need* to know that you know that they were looking at your site. Have some class about it. less is more.

  21. hahaha oh man, I’m hunched over my computer way too many hours a day, but I like to think that more of it is working on art than stalking the people looking at it.

    I guess it isn’t much different than waiting outside someone’s office to “accidentally” run into them an ask if they’ve seen your book yet. It’s not that people don’t do it, or can’t do it, it’s just that it does feel kind of creepy. I know it happens, but it’s always startling when the man looking over your shoulder clears his throat.

    Steve has a good response here. I agree that while it may not seem as honest, giving someone a call a week later and saying “Hi there, did you get a chance to look at some of my work?” and giving them a chance to gracefully nod out if they are busy (Not yet, but I’ll get right on it) or uninterested just lubricates the social wheels a bit more. Saying “I see you’re looking at my work” sort of puts the person in a position where they have to respond to the work in some way, and that’s not nice to force people to do that… If they want to give critique or a job, people either offer it or sell their time for portfolio reviews.

    It’s just like being too pushy in any relationship. Like leaving a love note and then peaking through the window to see if your interest has opened it… then opening the window and shouting I SEE YOU GOT MY NOTE DO YOU WANT TO GO ON THAT DATE

  22. oh and stop with the biting comments people. Internet etiquette should be the same as physical interaction etiquette. Don’t say things, here (or elsewhere) you wouldn’t say straight to someone’s face.

    I wouldn’t even bother to publish the more salacious comments from above. it’s Rob’s site. you don’t have to be nice, but at least be respectful.

  23. @Ed. Generally, it’s probably a good idea not to say anything on the internet that you would be uncomfortable with having published on the front page of the New York Times.

    That being said, maybe some people are more comfortable than others with having their less polite feelings known.

  24. I never click on links in email promos – unless it’s obvious that no tracking is taking place. Sending me an email with updates is one thing. Trying to find out what I looked at is quite another and, as far as I am concerned, well out of order.

  25. -this is clearly not a web 2.0 situation.
    Everyone has logs.
    They list all of the IPs that have visited your site.
    Upon viewing the log, you will be confronted with a
    series of ip addresses, with the specific images
    that the ip address is calling up.
    You can then cut and paste the ip address
    and paste it in at
    and it will (with a widely varying degree of useful information)
    tell you who the IP belongs to.
    It is hardly sinister, as every single website on earth tracks ip addresses that have visited it.

  26. Results tracking is a major component of the email marketing campaigns that are sold to photographers by companies like Agency Access (who also sell you the lists). The software shows how many people received, opened, and then followed links from your promotion.

    I agree very strongly that it is STUPID very unprofessional to call or email someone just because they looked at your website. The information gained is similar to knowing whether an art director glanced at your mailer or threw it in the garage.

    Everything on the web is tracked. To want anonymity is naive and/or paranoid. Anyone not looking at how their website is viewed, navigated and found is wasting a valuable (and totally free) resource. This information is most valuable as a statistic – percentages, trends, ‘bounce rates’- it shouldn’t be used as a tool for stalking.

  27. I actually like to call while they are looking at my site live. Usually I put on this creepy voice, and say…”are you enjoying that series?” At which point I add a sinister laugh and hang up. hooohahaahaha!

  28. i actually paid for the optional add-on at Agency Access, and when rob clicks on my email blast promo, it automatically activates his iChat, and turns on his internal video camera in the lid of his laptop.

    it’s amazing what you can see thru that tiny laptop camera, especially at about 7:30 in the morning, when he’s walking around with that free coffee cup from getty, and the family is scrambling around behind him.

    most of those stats only give you an ip address, but agency access gives you an actual email address and name. pay a little extra, and it’ll amaze you what kind of access you can get. it’s funny to watch him when he comes in from the mail box each day, and he does that funny david letterman thing, where he takes entire stacks of modern postcard promos, and chucks them, unseen, thru the fake window behind his desk.

  29. What I want to know is how does Agency Access get this info? At my first ad agency job out of school I was getting promos, emails and calls almost from day one. It’d be kinda creepy to know if Agency Access is spying on my resume through the creative job boards.

  30. Thanks Rob. While everyone above takes the time to argue the point it does not change the fact that this photographer drove you away.

  31. If you don’t like to be tracked I’d suggest deleting cookies on a regular basis. Tracking your movements around the web is a major industry worth billions. You should expect no privacy on the internet.

    On the flip side, I believe your Mac OS has the ability to block email tracking if you set the preferences properly. I use PC so I don’t have a definitive answer but I do know that many of my friends NEVER show up on my stats and I know they click through my promos.

    Does anyone here know how this is done so APE can relax?

  32. I too worried about the creep factor of following up from the email click information from Adbase.

    I called to ask Adbase and their answer was that it could be OK. They assumed that most people on their list we aware of the tracking. I still thought that it could be creepy.

    I notice that people I personally know are more likely to open the email and someone that opens the email may get called sooner than others. For now that is as far as I want to go.

    The goal of the email is to attract a client not to repel one.

  33. Well, well I see I missed getting in on the action. I was going to have this post drop on Monday but in my rush to get out the door Friday I got the date wrong and it dropped while I was away from the computer.

    Thankfully someone cleared up the difference between sitemeter and tracking a person. And to all of you “it’s just business” and “this is the way the internet works” folks, the point here is that telling someone you track their movements is bad business. Trust me, other photo editors will stop clicking when they realize they’re being watched. I was trying to be helpful here. Most have no idea this is happening.

    MB: I’m well aware that you and your husband were shit upon by photo editors and art directors as he struggled to make it in this business. It wasn’t me. STOP taking it out on me.

    I’m not quite sure why some people hate it when I give my honest opinion about things that happened to me while working at a couple mid sized magazines but I’m not going to stop so you should probably just go somewhere else if you don’t like it.

  34. can you explain in your own words how you think sitemeter is so drastically different? i am missing your point on how it’s different in any way. if i visit your site, you know it, you share it online. should i post my email tracking reports online from you personally on my site? i have them, it would be easy, i just don’t care, i am not ashamed that you looked or i looked.

    if you actually liked or respected the photographers work that contacted you or made it awkward by telling you he knows you looked, i would wager you never would of made this post.

    mrs. B took nothing out on you due to prior experiences with you personally, rest assured i imagine she simply pointed to your continued hypocrisy here on your own site. i have heard many the same comments and i don’t know mrs. B, so accusing her of being bitter gains you what? email tracking is creepy but me tracking you isn’t, your contributor pictures suck but mine of me with a ‘duh’ expression that is totally OUT of focus is AWESOME, etc etc etc…..

    what is your point here exactly now that your are doing only this? do you really expect us to buy that if you are a PE again you will put your ass on the line for someone you created a dialogue with here over the stable you always pulled from before? so for those what 20, 50, 100, 150 assignments you assign in a year personally, which one of these 3,000 photographers that look at your site everyday should we bank on landing that 1/4 page front of the book job you’ll give them because you met them here?

    do you miss all the attention from all these photographers that simply appear to annoy you over inspire you? i’ve read your site since day one and it is far from sounding like you enjoy 90% of this business. trying to get a better understanding on your basic point, so far, it seems one day one thing is right, the next the same isn’t by your own admission, so other then confirming every stereotype of PE’s and photographer’s what’s the point if you cannot admit to it being your own vanity? what do you want joe photographer to learn? track you don’t tell you? send me stuff but don’t send me stuff, is your slideshow our only acceptable vessel of photographic sharing up to your standards?

    would you stop looking at a promo card because it was mailed with a delivery confirmation? would you not look at a portfolio if you knew the photographer knew you touched it? i don’t know a single photographer that sends a book that doesn’t have some way to know if it was even opened, that’s been happening since the first book was ever sent somewhere, you think a book arrives without leave behinds being tracked, pages cleaned to see new fingerprints, etc etc?

    i find it perplexing that no PE’s know an email is tracked, i find it perplexing that looking at pictures is a PE’s JOB, yet you’re too afraid someone may know you looked be it a card, book or email. don’t send me a card, i get too many, don’t send me an email, i don’t want to be tracked, don’t send me a portfolio, i won’t look, so photographers, what ever you do, don’t show me any pictures, i am only a PICTURE editor.

    it comes down to this, photographers want to work, they really don’t care about you, it’s the position you hold. call this site and see if the hits are the same.

    (just don’t let them know they may be tracked).

  35. @itdoesntmatter

    i’m guessing you’re not getting much work at the moment then?

  36. Back on topic……

    All’s fair in business Rob. I might even know the time you take a rest break…I might not tell you though ;)

    Of course photographers (and most others) sending *business* email track responses. It would be suicidal to their marketing efforts if they did not.

    The rats all scrabble over each other to impress the PE’s out there with bigger better faster wider promos to get attention. This of course translates into photographers spending yet more hard earned $$ to get their foot in the door for an assignment.

    Throwing money into a black hole does not a good business make.

    Tracking tools abound nowadays and are ridiculously easy to set up. Anyone not using them is shooting blind.


  37. We live in a pimp-whore world, the online surveillance is just another tool that implements and distorts that aspect of human nature and further alienates ourselves from each other and helps the paranoia. I find the whole sociology of this more interesting than the recent photography, either art (boring, non challenging) or commercial (tacky) mostly. Strategies that emerge to cope will probably be interesting as well.

  38. My creative consultants are pushing email blasts. We’ve done one so far to announce a new web site.

    The ability to know who or when an email blast is opened is a selling point for the contact management service we use.

    The first blast went out and about twenty-percent of the people opened the email. Of those, about 25% went on to actually click through to the site.

    The software/web site reporting gave me individual names and how far a person looked into the site.

    Most of the people who looked at the site were clients or potential clients that I had contacted before.

    I’ve found my best response is always when it is personal. When I write someone a note by hand, when I visit in person.

    Man, it creeps me out to know how far someone is looking into my site. I’d rather concentrate on shooting images than have my focus and energy pulled away to this sort of stuff.

    I now try to look at my email on my server and delete every single bit of spam from the server side. It is never downloaded or tracked by the sender. Takes an extra couple of minutes, but then I don’t download the spam email to my machine.

  39. I just checked my cookies on my server and discovered a set of cookies from …..

    Of course, they were from the few times I posted, but they were there. (now deleted…along with all the others)

  40. ironically, about two weeks ago, i heard a very similar story as mr. haggart’s, but i think the tracked AD was almost still looking at the photographer’s portfolio. this photographer was almost “live-tracking” his stats, and he called the AD on the phone within minutes of the report. in that case too, it completely freaked out (and alienated) the art director. in short, a client lost forever.

    i think what mr. haggart is saying is, “track me all you want; just don’t let me know it. and don’t come off like a stalker. it’s just too weird. especially if i don’t know you; especially if it’s just a mass book-drop; especially if it’s just a shotgun email blast from agency access or something similar. in short, have a little tact; don’t come off like a stalker, or like mr. desperation. again, yes, it’s just business, but at the same time, if you run your business that crudely, it won’t end up with assignments.” pure and simple. it’s just human nature.

    having said that, i DO understand some of the frustrations of the photographers writing here. there does seem to be a giant set of Catch-22s that have been posted here. i doubt mr. haggart is even aware of how his blog might appear, after these many months:

    * “don’t call an AD on the phone”, and then later, “try to show your book in person”.

    * “make sure your promos are fresh and well designed”, and then later, “they all end up in the trash bin, unviewed”.

    * “keep your email promos simple”, and then later, “email promos are rarely viewed, and if so, it’s an intern who views them”.

    * “new york is where it’s at”, and then later, “maybe not”.

  41. I took a look at my cookies after deleting them and all of the ones from aphotoeditor reappeared along with a cookie from flickr.

    I don’t use flickr. Hmmmmmm. Maybe because Rob has the Flickr portfolo up on his site, it shows up as being visited by me.

    That is kinda disturbing.

  42. Wake up everybody.

    This is 2008 – you are being tracked 24 hours a day.

    A little cookie just shows the website owner who’s been to visit.

    What’s so bad about that?

    I bet you didn’t know that *every* search term you’ve ever typed into Google is stored too..yep.

    So you best start thinking up excuses as to why “naked Britney and polecat” is tracked to your IP…. ;)

  43. First I am no gropie, but I like to read this blog. And I had no idea that tracking people like this was so easy, I think I dont want to know what more is possible.

  44. “MB: I’m well aware that you and your husband were shit upon by photo editors and art directors as he struggled to make it in this business. It wasn’t me. STOP taking it out on me”

    This is what happens when I leave town.

    I remember when I first met my wife. We were out on a date and driving through a tough area of the mission in San Francisco (before it got gentrified). I was trying to pass a cop car on the left that kept driving a few feet and then pulling over while trying to look for someone. My wife got more and more frustrated and flipped off the cop as we finally were able to pass.

    Fearing he might go all Rodney King on me I was overly polite and respectful after the cop pulled me over. I got off with a warning.

    I am not sure what the point of this story was but was reminded of it when all the blogsphere lit up with tales of my wife’s deed. In a way that still amazes and makes me jealous
    she is able to say what she thinks without fear or concern of what others think.

    Overall I find the APE to be the most informative magazine photography blog out there. I thought his posts about what happens when editors leave magazines and turning down jobs were truly eye opening. While I have find some of his choices of who he has chosen to champion (Nadav -Frank O3) to tend toward the obvious he has become a strong and clear voice in the industry. However , like all of us, he does not seem enjoy criticism and negative feedback.

    As far as feeling “sh*t upon” by photo editors and art directors” I doubt my wife has ever felt that way. Any time I have felt that has been as the result of fear or disappointment on my part. Overall I feel like I have always worked with decent people in the magazine world and it is only at ad agencies that I have felt that people were less than straight forward. But to be surprised by that is kind of like that scene at the end of Casablanca where the Vichy cop is “shocked” to learn there was gambling going on in town.

  45. I’m definitely one of those consultants who says that tracking data is important. however, I make is dead clear (and made this point repeatedly when I lectured at ASMP SB2), that the photographer needs to keep this to him/herself. As was started earlier, it is important for the photographer to know that when s/he sent out, say, 1000 email promos, that 250 got opened and 50 clicked through to the photographers website. It’s also important (helpful, at least) to know who opened and who clicked through. Calling or sending a print promo to those who clicked through are appropriate follow-ups.

    However, no matter how the photographer follows up, mail or call, it is NOT wise to say “I saw you went to my site” or similar because that is creepy stalking. Might as well say “and that blue shirt you are wearing brings out your eyes.” Shudder! It would be wise to just say, without letting on that you know the target has been to your site, “I’d love to show you my book–can I send it to you?” or the like.

    Also, rather than “stalking” the photographer can use the open/click-through data to keep track of who is being reached via the email, and if some desired targets never open or click through, the photog must adjust his/her approach to those targets (send print mailers, for example).
    -Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua

  46. I second what Leslie’s just added- there is absolutely no need to tell your possible client that you are watching them watch you. This is crazy. As an Art Buyer, I feel exactly the same as Rob- it’s creepy and it’s completely unnecessary. The issue, as other’s have said, is in the telling.

    As a blog owner, I look at my stats obsessively but I’m not sure I want to know who spends time on the blog because then I’d know who’s not looking at it. Different scenario I know, the purpose of my blog isn’t to get work. But the lesson here might be, if you use this software (and I think you’d be crazy not to) you’d better be prepared to deal appropriately with what you learn- who looks and who doesn’t. Don’t get creepy, and don’t get mad, just adjust as Leslie suggests.

  47. @36 – Read 42
    @37 – well said

    Will everyone just wake up! If there were simple consistent methods of promotion that always worked it would be pretty easy wouldn’t it?

    And all you nay sayers above, give Rob a break. People seem to act as if his is the word of God. Take everything you read on any blog with a grain of salt – its one man’s opinion and its most likely not the reason your business isn’t performing as you think it should.

    As to the original post: calling a photo ed. and saying “I saw that you clicked on me” is just fucking stupid.

  48. A PHOTO EDITOR: While I will admit my post came off as too harsh (a problem I have had all my life, see @50) I definitely stand by the jist of it. It would have been much more effective had I toned it down a little, but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me…. As for feeling shit upon… it never occurred to me, but now you do have me wondering…… hmmm….

  49. blah…blah…blah…
    If a photo-editor/buyer/AD likes your work, they’ll call….that’s it. All my big gigs have come in the form of a surprising e-mail one morning when I least expected it.
    My fav post here is about the guy who as no website etc….and gets calls.
    It’s a very Zen way of thinking.
    Pinging/cookieing/bothering PEs is NOT going to matter.
    If they like your work they will come to YOU.
    And i bet you a beer that the one’s who the bug the hell out of people are the ones that SUCK the most.
    I don’t think Tom Munro is sitting up at night watching his (ahem) cookies.
    send out a few email/floppy cards whatever, and then just chill…
    yelling a the tea kettle will not make it boil (your Zen thought for the day)

  50. Note to self: never ever post on Sunday.

    @ TB and MB:

    “Just for the simple fact that you are in a position of real power to decide someone’s fate is what brings people to you, not because you have anything so great or new to say”

    so, you’ve been doing this for what, 20 years or more? maybe this blog is for the beginners. you and your husband’s anon comments amount to that exact statement above over and over. it reads like jealousy. There is no master plan here. I just write what I feel like writing and do what interests me. Some of it will eventually get me jobs and make me money. You seems to have a problem with this.

    We might as well get this over with. I didn’t know it was you *Thomas* leaving those anon comments so I blocked the person to see if they would email me so I could ask them why it was necessary (why is it necessary?). Archibald then emails me looking to have the block removed for a friend. Then I discovered I could search all the comments left by an ip address and your name turned up associated with the anon commenter. Can you possibly guess what other name turned up?

  51. I love this! (The broening’s vs. APE) It’s like a photo soap opera.

  52. @MB
    Zen baby, Zen….
    “Reading your blog…” stop right there…it’s HIS blog. It’s not written for YOU. Beat it if you don’t like it.
    I’m glad Rob called you out. This blog is INFIN..INIF…Awesomely helpful to young photogs like me.
    ya know, I imagine most of the posters on here to be sandal wearing gray ponytailed ASMP members….
    though I could be wrong.
    I mean if your photos suck, it’s no one’s fault but your own.

  53. Here’s the upshot. Once I knew you were tracking me I stopped clicking on photos unless I really, really liked them. That way I figured I could cut down on solicitations from photographers I wasn’t interested in working with. Now it looks like it works that way. If you compile a list of people to contact based on who clicks through I can stay off your list by not clicking through. Easy.

    I’ll clear up the contradictions anyone may have read into what I’ve been writing.

    NYC is still the place where it all goes down.

    All printed promos get looked at but then usually end up in the trash.

    Showing a book in person will get you a job faster than any other method. Getting in the door hard especially when nobody likes cold calls. There is no solution to this paradox.

    Email spam that comes from those lists is not as effective as a personal email.

    @ ITDOESNTMATTER: if sitemeter worked the way email tracking works I would be looking at your portfolio and calling you on the phone right now instead of posting a response here. That way I could see for myself why you don’t know that many photo directors barely know how to operate a computer let alone understand tracking people with emails. I suggest you hire a consultant if you want to learn a method on becoming a successful photographer. Originally when I started this thing I thought I could prove to photo editors that a blog can be a useful tool in communication with photographers and more would join me. You are helping to prove the opposite. Nice work.

  54. @ TB and MB.
    I hope I never reach a point in my life when I’m luggin around an 8×10 taking pics of empty toll booths.
    This is an awesome blog and you should keep your personal junk out of it.
    Please let this be the last word on the subject (although this is much more interesting than Perez Hilton. Today at least)

  55. Weird atmosphere in here today. Like daddy just hit mommy and we’re all just standing around, mouths wide open. Hmm.

  56. oh, and btw TB, nice job trying to mop up the diatribe your wive vomited on the floor here. you should give her a camera and let her channel that anger….

  57. re cold calling:

    You know, if you cold call, or even send an email, with the words ‘ I have a great idea for a story…’, and you really do have a great idea for a story, photo editors usually say ‘Can you drop your book in?’ just like that.
    Or sometimes they go Hmm, that’s not really our sort of thing and then steal the idea and get someone else to do it badly. But you know.

  58. “I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it.”

    So says a great Artist Voltaire

    Speaking of Art

    1 Boy do we need an office water cooler or what (something not on the Internets)

    2 All of us (Photographers,Artists,etc) have too much of our ego in our Art. This is good and bad….this would be the bad part.

    3 Let’s all just take this conversation as a party where we all drank too much and said some things…….

    4 APE is not the reason your Career is______ I don’t really agree with 1/2 of what he says but he is a person with friends family and feelings treat him as such.

    Mark Richards

  59. Jeeze people why all the rob dumping he doesn’t have to do this he’s just trying to help us.

    @42 You are right on. This is why I’ve pretty much stopped doing promos and have never been busier I never noticed any uptick in work or anything else from any of my promos I just put the occasional up date mainly to people I already work with and a very select group of people I really want to work with, it’s all word of mouth.

  60. […] your work or whether or not you may get a job out of that emailed promo. Check out APE’s post here with about 50 hilarious and not-so-hilarious comments. APE really has a great blog, with some great […]

  61. oh NO! i’ve been discovered! that’s so creepy, i feel so violated, maybe i should do a post where i complain?

    thanks for proving my point Rob, you just did the same thing that photographer did. be sneaky, be creepy, all for your own curious enjoyment after just having to find some morsel because you didn’t enjoy some aspect of all this, you had to go stalk meta and share the results… who i am was no big secret.

    of course you can track and dig and find me.

    this was my very point.

    can you possibly guess that you were set up to walk right into to having to track an IP because there was something you wanted to know? that you then shared it? that you just did what that photographer did? can you possibly guess that all of this was to be a thorn in your brain to make you find me to prove a point and that it worked?

    my only point was you do the same. no other goal. i was 100% correct, you tracked an IP and let me know, GOAL !

    no one ever did or asked anything on my behalf with my knowledge of it.

    i enjoy photography, i am proud of all the jobs i do, even the less then perfect ones because i know i did my best in that moment. if i call BS when i see it, it does not make me bitter, it just means i care. the levels of ridiculousness in the business are astounding on both sides.

    if i was hatin’, would i bother to read, to engage? an RSS feed is as easy to turn on as it is off. i proved my point, rob tracked me and let me know, awesome, that was the one and only point.

    poke his brain till it hurt, till he wanted to know, make him use the tools. this is what we have to do to end up on radars of PE’s all over the place every day. email blasts have helped my career. period. they feel good, they are priced right and they are made from a list of my own making for people i believe enjoy looking, if they don’t, they can click to be removed forever at any time, rob’s never clicked remove, i assume he will now. should i remove from the list because of this post, i have no real idea?

    yes, the only the mistake here was that guy telling you he knew, its awkward. i know rob’s looked at mine, i just never told him so.

    i barely ever comment. (you all see why, tone and points are misunderstood, careers are ruined or stunted, people hold grudges, insults and chime ins abound, then no one feels good anymore, i do my sites out of joy, why do you?).

    the sadder part is that this post and this entire conversation was a circle, no one will stop email promos to rob, someone will still say something awkward or unwanted to him and even if i feel i proved my point, does it matter? rob feelings i am sure are unchanged as are mine. so this conversation gained what and for who?

    peeps are right, it’s APE’s to get attention and make $ as he pleases. there are great posts here and ones that lack, just like your site or mine, yet we all keep reading for a reason. i thought the goal of comments was dialogue, well done, 60 comments and counting. i will try and refrain from calling BS when i see it in the future.

    everyday there is a new contest, consultant, seminar or otherwise false carrot dangled in front of photographers and their $and attention to chase after, we all fall for it, we all have that hope, most of the time not really for the photographers own good, but for that of the publisher, contest holder, blogger, whatever. just think it all through.

    is this site here to help you or him, make $ for you or him, i like to believe it’s some sort of combination of all the above, at least i hope so.

    i do have much other to do today besides this, so i am moving on.

    the man with the viewable IP, (surprise!).

  62. @ aphotoeditor
    Note to self: never ever post on Sunday.

    This could have been worse if it was a Monday post.

    For all that’s been said, this IS Rob’s thing, and he’s telling it like it is, warts and all. There’s a lot in this business that doesn’t make sense to everone and every moment. So maybe don’t go nuts when it doesn’t fit into your view of his end of the biz or not. Take the info and use it or disregard it.

  63. Of the people bashing Rob, how many of you actually sent Rob a promo in the mail or by email when he was working at Men’s Journal or Outside, prior to him starting this blog? Remember, he’s A photo editor, not THE photo editor. If you don’t like his methods or opinions, there are 1000+ other editors to delight/annoy on the Adbase/Agency Access lists.

  64. Well that the internet for you. No reason to think you have anonymity on any site you go to. It doesn’t matter the site, probably someone is watching. In fact, for sure someone is watching. Its a marketing/research tool and it will only increase.

  65. Wow. I should check in more often. It feels like I missed the big event. First time I’ve seen real anger here. A sure sign of success, no doubt. It happened at The Well too. Once something gets over a certain threshold of participants the level of civil discourse starts to vary, mostly downwards. Must be in our nature, I guess.

    I for one think this blog is much fun, smart, full of thoughtful info for new and not-so-new photographers, and clearly not part of some nefarious master plan for world domination (and, no, I am not trying to get on APE’s good side – I don’t think I’ve ever even opened a Men’s Journal, to be honest.)

    As for tracking, I do not track, I will not attempt to track, and, if called upon to track, I will not track in the future. What is the benefit to know who’s visiting your site? Half the hits are from bots, students and other photographers anyway. If someone who hires photographers sees and likes your site he or she will call. If not, not. Sheeeeesh.

  66. Wow….. you hit a serious bone of contention here..
    I agree with Leslie and Heather, it should be kept for your yourself. I am an art buyer in the US, I know you track my visits and I am okay with that. What I don’t always enjoy is the 20 phone calls after I visit the site (because we get at least 20 emails a day), kinda reminds me of telemarketers calling while I’m trying to eat dinner. I love that you’re enthusiastic about showing me your work and you should be! but use the trackers to your advantage and adjust.. if I visited your site send another email promo a month down the road that would be a similar style to a client’s with a note about some recent work you’ve done.

    Just one small comment to those who have posted here… you need to be weary of what you are posting on these blogs. APE is read by a ton of different people all over – creatives, art buyers, photographers, producers, etc. Please be careful when using your real name (esp. as a photographer) and leaving comments. I know you are passionate about what you do and I love that but don’t leave a bad taste about yourself for others reading this…

  67. I’m blown away someone has the stones to cold call just seconds after seeing an AD or editor has looked at their e-promo. I guess some people have zero clue how much that would freak someone out.

    I use the click-through info to follow-up with a hard promo that says something along the lines of “hope to work with you soon.” I might also turn the list over to my rep to try and set up meetings the next time I’m in town but that’s it. I certainly wait longer than a few days though.

    Like everything it comes down to common sense. Some people have it and others don’t.

  68. This is mind blowing to the point that it’s starting to remind me of the lonelygirl15 extravaganza hoax. So OTT. My guess: it’s got to be either…1.) Brilliant soap operatic hoax production or 2.) Waaay too much booze/crack on a Sunday.

    If I’m wrong and this drama is for real…ease up on the flames regardless of whether you’re in agreement with Rob’s opinions…very valuable opinons I might add. How about an enlightening exchange of ideas as an alternative? No need to agree with one another, just engage in an insightful debate.

  69. Rob is ONE photo editor amongst many. No one is forcing us to read this blog, and we should take from it what we may. I prefer that he gives us his gut reaction (even if we, GASP, don’t always agree).

    @46: You beat me too it, Lesiie, and others of the same sentiment: Rob only became disenchanted when the photographer made the call and revealed his stalkery.

    I think it’s a great idea to determine how many people are opening your emailers and going to your website. That’s what marketers in every other industry do. And it ultimately allows us to understand how to annoy our prospects the least. The last thing we want to do is scare off clients and piss away our time and money.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned: some art buyers won’t look at an emailer at all, but they will look at a printed mailer instead, and perhaps file it away by the photographer’s specialty/location. I certainly have some art buyers who ask me to mail a printed promo, rather than sending a link.

  70. Thank you all for writing.

    You have been tracked.

    I will call you tomorrow to discuss it.

    Have a great day.

  71. reminder to self – don’t fall victim to one of the classic blunders:

    – getting involved in a land war in Asia

    – going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line

    – getting involved in an online public argument

  72. I’m confused. I don’t really think that’s Thomas or his wife writing that. If it is you Thomas you now have a 4th identity on my blog. Congratulations, that along with the innocent emails you and your wife send me place this experience up there with the Chip Simons interview… only I wasn’t even writing about you.

    Anyway you’ve proven your point it’s over. Everyone can now take me down a couple notches for my shit talkin. There’s plenty of other great blogs to read. Go find one.

  73. Now I’m confused, what’s over? You don’t mean the big IT’S OVER! The Alex Soth kind.

  74. @53 – I think Mom just kicked Dad out of the house. Such drama.

  75. “This reality is even more alarming considering that, with a sense of entitlement comes a lack of connection (Surdyk & Diddams, 2001). This disconnectedness leads to enormous social, economic, and personal suffering inflicted by a few people whose antisocial attitudes and behavior result, less from social forces than, from an inherent sense of entitlement and an incapacity for emotional connection to the rest of humanity. For these individuals, social rules have no constraining force, and the idea of a common good is merely a puzzling and inconvenient abstraction (Hare, 1995). A paradox emerges in that their sense of entitlement gives them the perceived moral high ground (O’Neill, 2000) at the same time that they experience a declining sense of personal responsibility, leading to immoral consumption (Strauss, 2000).”
    Just what are people entitlteled to here?

  76. Done with this post, done with this topic. Moving on to the next conversation trying to avoid getting more personal attacks while still just posting whatever I feel like. Oh, and now my former editors read the blog. I am so fkd.

  77. “The idea of a common good is merely a puzzling and inconvenient abstraction”
    understatement of the century

  78. haha, oh man, anon comments are almost always 9/10ths bile. At least this is of the rant variety and not the repeated swears and racist slurs in all caps variety.

  79. Well thats a relief. Have you thought about a subscription blog?
    Not where you pay a fee but where you can screen participants
    similar to “Dear Leader” blog.

  80. By unplugging one’s internet router (powering down and disconnecting) and then plugging it back in, a new IP address is created for the said router. fyi…

  81. total tool this photo editor guy is. paid peanuts , huge ego, and obviously loves the chance to tell artists how there doing it right or wrong with the dangling carrot of a practically free editorial shoot for horrible publications. how did I even end up on this blog? surfin on soldiers. rock on my fellow artistes!

  82. just testing to see if by putting ‘A Photo Editor’ in the name field allows one to impersonate the admin.

  83. yes, it does.

    I mean no harm by doing this, just makes me wonder who is writing what.

  84. Is Archibald on cr**k?

  85. Jezz,

    Give Rob a break.

    He writes from the heart, usually unvarnished and like all of us changes his mind on the day, week, month and year.

    He’s right about being stalked, cause it’s just bloody creepy to see whose looking at your site. I check my stats to see how many hits but would NEVER want to know who was actually looking and clicking through becuase that doesn’t mean a thing and if it did I don’t have time to care.

    People that like your work will get in touch with you and people that like your work enough to hire you will be glad to meet.

    It’s really that simple.

    Still, this is the only blog I know on the web that not only gives out a lot of real inside information, but even enlisted us to apply for a free promotion, so if tomorrow Rob charges $50 a head to continue reading his articles It would still be worth it, as long as he doesn’t buckle under pressure and start writing every article like it’s a press release for PDN.


  86. what’s next – a fist fight? a rumble? should it be west coast vs east or just frisco vs nyc. I feel like I just watched Rob and the Broenings mud-wrestle. Just one question: How do photo editors and art directors shit upon a photographer?

  87. Dear Rob,

    I do think it shows a sign of weakness when rather than engage in debate you began you casually suggest dissenters find another place to vent their frustration. You invite such vitriol with your asinine comments on the business of finding work. I reiterate something I said in an earlier posting and that is you are privileged to have security in employment. I’ve been working for 20 years and I still fear that I will never be asked to do another job again, sad but true. However I ameliorate this with two strategies, the first is I do as much ‘personal’ work as family life will allow and secondly I create strategies for finding ‘bread & butter’ assignments, and one of those might be finding out who has recently visited my website. I should point out that I don’t pursue any visitor to my website, I attempt to stay as far from a ‘puter screen as possible, photography has become all to ‘puter centric when what I really like is to keep things a simple as possible….to be out on crisp mornings, listening to the birds, camera on tri-pod, waiting…Anyway I digress. I thought both MB and TB posts were perfectly reasonable comments in response to your statement though I will concede that ‘Shouty’ emails are not the approach I would take. Each unto their own. The irony of all this is that I Googled Thomas’s website and really loved the images and if I were a phot-editor I’d give him an assignment without hesitation. Please remember that if you can ‘hand it out’ you ought to be able to ‘receive it’, graciously. And if you want ‘creepy’ I give you Guantanamo Bay and Extraordinary Rendition, why don’t you do a story on that?

    Have you got hold of a copy of ‘The Nirvana Blues’ by John Nichols yet?

    Cheers Jonathan Olley

  88. I think we can conclude safely that:

    * If you’re not tracking your email blast responses, you’re stupid (Sorry APE. In another life, I was a web marketing consultant — the data you can get tracking email blasts really is very useful and free).

    * If you’re telling the photo editor that you’re tracking them, you’re stupid. (A valuable insight from APE).

  89. Gosh did this get out of order, still it gets at some realities and Id amost always have that than people shut out. Don’t think you can be tempted into such stalking with flickr.

  90. i will preface this comment with the text right off the front of the APE blog:

    “All emails are confidential. I may answer your question on the blog but will not reveal your identity.”

    in the same spirit of the quote above, i will not share APE’s email to me, but i will share my response on the blog.

    i received an email at 2:12 AM EST on 4/22/08 from APE.

    omg, dude, seriously? look at the tone of how you wrote me this morning? and you wonder why i called you out?

    of course it was me, it was no large secret. if my writing style (to those that read me) wasn’t obvious enough, there are all kinds of ways to know, i used the same phrases, punctuation and writing styles in efforts to be known, maybe i assume too much, but i got plenty of emails asking if it was me yesterday… never mind the technological ways to find me, you obviously know how to use those, you found the mailing address of an anon commenter, yet you seem really upset about the very technology that allowed you to do so. i call BS.

    all that original guy you wrote about did, was see that you visited his site, he knew who you were, you knew who he was. look what you’ve done, you tracked down an anonymous commenters home address over the internet, which is creepier? shit man, you used all that same technology to find my actual physical home address, so come knock on my door, i can buy you a beer or we can rumble….. what next, what now?

    how would you have felt if i had done all that to you while you were anon? you would of been scared about how you were perceived at your job, just like i am and other photogs i hear talk about you all the time are. i hear the same things about you at every party and every conversation i have, yet everyone is too scared about their jobs/reputation/income to say anything, no one wants to look like poor chip. i made no effort to discover who you were when you were anon, i don’t know if other people used technology to find you out or not, i didn’t know it was you till the day i read you say, ‘this is me.’ calling out an anon commenter, when you had the most well known and successful anon thing going? you don’t expect me to see the hypocrisy in this?

    you act all violated because you got an email. i still cannot tell if you don’t like tracking or the fact you get emails at all. even after all this back and forth BS, i still cannot tell. yes, i have sent you email promotion, yes, i saw you looked, did i email you, call you and tell you? no. did you ask to be removed, block my future emails or respond to me in any way at all? no. so how am i suppose to know how you feel? in the original post on this, you gave no indication of if you want to continue to receive these emails or not. how am i or any other photographer suppose to know to remove you or continue sharing? you looked at what i sent you, you downloaded/viewed a site, you saw my name on the email, you saw a picture, you had every opportunity to hit delete or remove from list if you don’t like what you see, but you looked, why would i know to remove you?

    to be upset at the tools is ridiculous, be upset at the the guy that made you uncomfortable, not the technology. sitemeter tracks an absurd amount of data on every visitor, just like an email does, so don’t call people out for sending you emails they think you may enjoy, simply because they can see if you looked or not, how they choose to use the info is up them, the same way you have the ability to use all the sitemeter meta for any deed you want, that you choose not to use it is your choice, be mad at the way the info gets used, not the info itself. if you are this upset, take sitemeter off.

    cyberstalking is scary technology to be sure, in this case the guy letting you know he saw was awkward, but much of how i perceived your reaction is how i find it the same as hating all photographers because some a-hole with a camera stalks britney.

    i regret that what started out as a humorous attempt to needle you to prove a point obviously hurt your feelings so badly and blew up into hostility in both directions. this is a business were thick skin is required, if a photographer was so hurt this easily they wouldn’t get anywhere, i still have an agency note on my wall calling my work weak, not a note from a PE, an agency letterhead critique in an interoffice memo, if i let that bother me, i’d be flipping burgers.

    my intentions were not to hurt your feelings or be disrespectful, just get my thoughts on your radar. i read every post you write, if i thought you weren’t intelligent, i wouldn’t read it everyday, the world is too interesting and there are too many wonderful things to see online to waste time on anyones site you don’t enjoy.

    if i thought it would resort to you comparing me to a chip simons level of experience because i commented on your blog, writing me off as some bitter idiot, “don’t like don’t read it” attitude i wouldn’t have bothered to attempt a dialogue here at all. i thought that was the goal of APE or maybe i went about it in too aggressive a way, i just didn’t want to see another valid comment glossed over and unaddressed.

    if you want to say whatever you want without consequence or outside ideas that may or may not jive with yours, turn off your comments, if you find all this entertaining, worthwhile conversation and/or driving up your traffic, leave them on.

    i have no idea what thomas, mrs thomas or TA are up too, while i know who they are obviously, i am on my own, conspiracy theories are however funny, incorrect.

    i like thomas, i read his blog every post, i think a lot of his work is very smart and going in directions i would love to see more of, but i have to call BS on him too for complaining about $, while driving a lexus around shooting 8×10 film at whatever $$$ cost per sheet/processing/contacting, etc. i look up to his success and he may or may not even realize he does actually have some.

    it would seem disagreeing with rob may have led to career suicide in this case and i should know better then to never comment, that’s kinda the phenomenon that is APE, the sheep are silent to this shepherd with their real feelings left to be muttered about in private emails and dark corners at parties.

    rob knows who i am and i know he knows, what’s next, do i expect rob to call all my clients and shit talk me, tell them to never hire me or otherwise bad talk me at parties in dark corners and private emails? no, i don’t suspect he will, i hope not, but who knows right? the false carrot of hope or disaster is always present, that’s the rub in this business. i suspect he would never hire me, but not intentially trash me and i can sacrifice that for this conversation. he didn’t hire me at outside, he didn’t hire me at MJ, but i never stopped trying.

    so until i hear otherwise, and back on point, i will still send him my emails, he looked, he must enjoy on some level? right?

    i also must call BS on all those photographers saying shit in private emails and dark corners at parties, this is the place, share those thoughts, or keep them to yourself.

    i just think the right to occasionally call BS on anyone is an important thing sometimes in this business, even if the generosity, intelligence and spirit on this site are otherwise alive and well.

    i just spent 2 days of my life with this, contrary to how it may seem and whatever everyone here (including rob) thinks, i like this site, i read it everyday, i want to see what comes next. i do regret being thought of as such an ass, being overly aggressive or whatever, i really was just calling BS on one small detail.

    so rob, you know where i live, come over, i want to take your portrait. yes, i will buy you a beer or rumble, it’s your call……………

  91. My mistake. I meant is Isdoesntmatter on cr**ck.

  92. is this a new reality tv show? American Idle? – as in no work so we all pass our days reading blogs…. Rob – please turn off the comments. I don’t want to watch but I can’t help but be a voyeur…

  93. Oh, I know the answer to that one…A blog is a place to make friends, chit-chat, you know a place to build community. Wait, well, maybe it’s just an unlocked door into my neighbors house…yummm, left-overs…

    Ahh, hmm, um… A fascinating question really. I don’t happen to have the answer? – But I know what it means to me, and I don’t give a fuck what mine means to you…yeah! 

    No, no, no, now, let’s try that again… My blog is a personal forum I hope you read daily – I invite you to share my musings, look at pictures of my son and flowers, hear me wax about the professional photography industry and assume based on my intonation and prose that I maybe hold grudges, slept with your roommate, or have a foot-fetish… 

    One more time, but maybe stay the course… My blog is a form of therapy – a way to keep off the couch. It’s also an alter-ego, I’m shy, you know. The time I take to formulate my opinions and posts keep me from inserting my foot in my mouth sometimes, too. It’s my therapist, my stage, my editor and my confessional…

    Eh, try again, one last time…My blog is a place I can publish myself without censorship. I can post images of what I want in real time, without an editor or AD breathing down my neck. I can release my day or journey when I feel alone, or when I feel surrounded and need silence. I can dispel misinformation, or playfully impart my own. My god, my mom and my wife, they can all glare, shake their head and disapprove –  it doesn’t matter – snicker or smile, this shit is mine. My bed, I lay in it, right. It’s a chance to be everything I am, as well as some things I am not, (yet). I set out to share. My goal, to afford all of you the information you need to make informed decisions, as friends, as colleagues, clients – as people, but only in re: to this author, this blog. Vulnerability and knowledge is power… 

    I suppose, it too can be half-real and half-show. You watch TV, right? Movies? Well, the critics that critique, they publish their words with their real names. If you comment, esp if it’s negative, step the fuck up – if you can read and form opinions, and choose to do so here, own them. That’s the part that makes this all worth it. Exposure. It’s not just about getting your name out there, but your thoughts too. Who are you? Who am I? I’m asking, all the time.  

    A blog is an ugly word for “my selfishly created URL of opinions and interests.” If you don’t like them, agree with them or care to take part in the life-spying reality show that is blog-land, then peace the fuck out. I’m disgusted to read the recent comments section on fellow bloggers site A Photo Editor. The majority of comments regarding an honest post by APE author Rob Haggart were riddled with contempt, deceit and (anonymous) judgments. I always assumed his readers understood and accepted the format and his ego, knowledge, just entitlement and frankly, thoughtfulness.  The format (for the most part), is look-at-me-look-at-me – but why wouldn’t you look at him? You already do for Christs sake, and you know why too. If you forgot, I’ll remind you – He’s not afraid. He’s not a pussy like the rest of the majority. He took a chance. He jumped. He made himself vulnerable. That scares the shit out of people. It certainly has in my experiences. 

    Blogs are created with selfishness, and yet there are countless blogs that are selfless too – discern between the two carefully before your cowardice leads you to anonymously comment with hatred, resent or jealously. High school sucked from what I remember, and, I was one of the popular ones, too. Grow up, and leave a name when you do. 

  94. Wait a minute… wait just a dang minute… you can actually track web clicks and emails??? I have SO much catching up to do.

    C’mon folks… don’t be afraid to be a little nicer to each other.

  95. Why is it when ever photo geeks think they have been wronged, turn into Lex Luthor?

  96. let it rest…..

    + I wanted to be the 100th comment.

  97. I’ll say it again…..

  98. @itdoesntmatter…. if you are a professional photographer.. and my guess is you are or trying to impersonate Thomas Broening (and if trying to impersonate giving a REALLY bad name for him).. you’ve sworn off a creative… reading your comments here means you don’t play well with others, don’t take any sort of criticism well, and certainly are very bitter.

  99. I just love this blog. If this continues I’d be happy to pay a subscription Rob

  100. This is so damn funny. I’ve been reading this post from the get go and its just damn funny.

    Funny how when a PE gives his opinions about emailers and promos that photographers get so butt hurt. Its not like Rob punched your mama in the face or something.

    We are (I hope) creating art. Then you simply be yourself 100% and show it to those that work with artists. They either are or are not going to like what we do.

    If they do they hire us, we make great photographs and make our clients jobs easier in the process.

    If they don’t hire us they don’t. If they think we are creepy they think we are creepy.

    We all need to have a little fun here and chill out. Stop making this shit heavy. We’re not saving the earth here.

    All this anger and negative attitudes right after 420 is quite disappointing.

    Stop bitching and crying, go get your camera and make the best photos of your lives.

    The only person that can stop you is you.

  101. rob has asked me if i am doing this for my entertainment in our emails, this is not entertaining nor fun in any way at all. i regret the whole thing.

    to commenters:

    i need to make one thing absolutely concrete: i never never never never impersonated thomas, not once, nor did i ever intend to.

    i dont even really understand or know where rob got that or where anyone else did either, i can only assume its writing weirdness or contextual. i said whatever i said about mrs thomas because i thought she hit a couple nails on the head, while others i think she missed completely. i said what i said about thomas’ work because i believe it.

    i am baffled why anyone thought or thinks i am thomas. i truly got into this mess 100% on my own. i would never want to f*ck up a career or reputation of another photographer and i only meant to call rob out on a few topics, not damage him in any way either. my own career i seem comfortable destroying here in front of you all for your entertainment, but not anyone else’s.

    comments like, ‘wow, you’re bitter, you don’t work much do you’ etc added what to this exactly? comment smart, comment dumb, just add a point of view, my comments were misguided, but i had a point at least.

    i swore off a creative? ok, by that rational, i should lie, cheat and compromise everything i feel i am to work for absolutely anyone at all costs? i am sure that is a true road to fortune, but i am not yet comfortable with that. while i am not as successful as i desire and that everything i am saying here will likely haunt me forever. i do actually have some self respect and moments of success, just because someone is in a position to hire me, doesn’t mean i should bend over to work for them if i don’t respect them or think they aren’t playing fair. i have made mistakes to creatives and i have had creatives do dumb (and illegal, with lawyers to prove it) things to me. if i don’t respect myself, no one will.

    i don’t play well with others, you’re right, i don’t, neither do you or you wouldn’t have commented at all. that’s the only smart thing for any of us in this anymore. or see #103. regardless of what i said or how i said it, did rob play well for addressing all this at all, the comments he engaged with back or for tracking down my home address and telling me he knows who i am after he cherished his own anon, is that playing well? everyone here thinks so, i don’t. i get it, i am alone on this. is this really that a big deal anymore, no, it’s a spat about meta and everyone acts like i ripped a picture of the pope in half on live tv.

    i’d rather have a spat with rob then continue living/working in fear of what a creative really thinks or feels all the time. despite how badly i screwed up here, as of today, i feel learned some things, even if rob thinks less of me and no one learned anything except i am a fool.

    to those that compare a stupid blog spat to chip’s experience and creating a buzz word of ‘pulling a chip’, you are not looking at the larger picture and frankly i find calling my spat with rob and the stupid things i said a ‘chip’ a little f*cked up. how many times was i called a chip, i even referred to it in pushing all those buttons. no one here can possibly relate to what chip went through, to build a successful career and see it fall apart at the same time your marriage fails, you see your kids less and are left to start over in a brutal career that often treats you as exchangeable and disposable has got to be one of the most painful and lonely things i can imagine. having it be the new buzz word and treated as a joke cannot feel good either. we all f*ck up, more then once, even creatives. while i think professionally speaking things should of been handled differently and that i needed to stop here after my rude post #4 (or never made it), i have to admit i respect chip now more then i did while he was a success. i think we can all find parts of us that relate to chip in one way or another. the truth is brutal in this business, at least some layout it out there, have more courage then i do and don’t hide it in revolving door politics of please hire me now. even creatives say ‘don’t be an a-hole, but we hire a-holes if they are right for the job’, everything is a circle.

    to those more obsessed with who i am then what i say:

    when rob started this, it wasn’t rob, he was anonymous, why does everyone forget this. did you call him a coward then, or did you understand why he did it? i don’t recall him being called a coward. if rob was still at MJ, would he still be anon, i don’t know.

    if memory serves, rob didn’t reveal himself till he was no longer a PE. is that brave or is that cowardice or is that smart business? i don’t know. i do know that in this very section of comments, rob has said he feels “fkd” because old editors now read his blog and he knows it. i can relate to that on a new level today. i stated before i didn’t think rob would intentionally trash me to my clients or elsewhere, just not hire me himself, because we had a blog spat but i really don’t know. “fkd” is not a nice feeling.

    i do know that those who knew who rob was before the unveiling kept it a pretty good secret, will i get the same because everyone thinks i am wrong, i don’t know and by no means is this even really about me as i am not the enigma rob has created for himself.

    i would hope that an anon commenter could expect to receive the same respect on a blog founded in anonymity, if not for the thoughts themselves as many do not always deserve respect (most of mine included), but for the anonymity itself. i would hope a photographer would take his job as seriously as an employee of a major publishing company, maybe i am wrong.

    this blog was started anon, yet does not accept anon, i never tracked rob down back then and said i know who you are, yet rob ended up doing that to me, so what should i say or feel? so yeah, i called BS (or hypocrisy or irony or choose a word) on rob tracking me down with meta when he felt so very violated by this meta that he made in this original post.

    someone out there knows who AVS is, would you think it wrong to email AVS and say, ‘i know who you are, i tracked you down using meta, i have your home address.’ my opinion is that wouldn’t be cool, nor to do so and then post somewhere about it. yet that’s exactly what rob did in all these comments to me, maybe a commenter doesn’t warrant what a site owner does, i dunno.

    to rob:

    was me being a jerk from the comment #4 and on a grand conspiracy of any kind? no, it was not.

    after the first one, i realized who i was would be tracked because i was obviously pissed off and likely in need of moderation. after reading my off the cuff stupid comment again. i knew i made a mistake. so i pushed harder to prove my ID could be discovered by sarcasm and points i knew would get under the skin. am i lying, no. was it stupid, yes, would i do it again, no, do i regret it, yes, was my ID discovered, it was. did rob use the very technology he called creepy to find me, yes he did. 

    i think any site that openly tracks and shares all hit counts, ip address of visitors and other info so openly on their front page is done in vanity and i would consider them attention whores as well so i should of made that clearer as in it’s not just rob, i shouldn’t have singled him out. yes, i realize for it to be free, you need to display the logo, but other then vanity i don’t see the point in having this public, it’s $7 a month to have it private, that isn’t hard, when i use to use it, $7 was enough to keep my vanity out of the picture and i think its distracting bells and whistles on an otherwise good site. i could easily put the email address of every creative i send my emails to and their track through results online, but i don’t, i see it as bragging, and i don’t see how having any of this information public matters, it’s all vanity, i see no meta of this type or sitemeters being relevant to the goal of your site in the larger picture, or at least in the publics eye. is it all important to the emailer or site holder, hell yes, is it important to share it, no.

    tracking emails and site navigation is vital, it just doesn’t need to be public, its vanity and creepy to share it, i see rob using/sharing it and crying foul at the same time, so i had issue. i called BS. that was all that really happen when you clear away the BS of the last 48h.

    so to see rob complain and be creeped out by the very technology he openly embraced, yeah, it pissed me off. i get that we won’t agree on this, but i still cannot see it any other way.

    i don’t think the comment after mine explained the differences in any justifiable way either, the info isn’t as innocuous as the commenter implied, commenting on other comments is infuriating and non stop circles (you could easily get 100+ comments). to me, much of this post was the same as rob running into a theater and crying fire, then watching and taking notes on how everyone reacts to put it out or run away, with no solution offered of by rob, continue to email him or not? i still have no idea to this very moment. 3/4 of the 100+ comments are pointless chime-ins in efforts for other anons to feel included and other pointless name drops in robs defense to boost themselves to others, not because i believe they actually care or even read the comments, most had nothing to offer at all.

    do i see a hypocrisy/irony in the way meta is used, that rob used, hell yes. do i find the tidbit comments of how it isn’t the same worthwhile to my points, not in the slightest.

    rob said its the same as counting cars driving by your house in one of our emails, yes, i agree. rob then said choosing to follow those cars home is another, yes, i agree. so rob asked why group him in with those that use the meta to do this? well, sitemeter does, even if he’s not looking at all that meta on each visitor, i can look at it through the link on rob’s site, he is allowing me to follow them home, even if he doesn’t. that was the point.

    while i don’t care in the larger picture that i am tracked or even that rob discovered my identity (to the point of my home address), what does bother me is that no one here, including rob, thinks its creepy, funny, ironic that an anon poster got discovered and tracked down by rob (who once cherished his anon) using the same tools he claimed to despise in this original post, i still have to call BS (as politely and non personal attackingly as i can) on rob being creeped out by these tools ever again.

    and that was my only point, clouded in my drama.

    i wasn’t trying to vent against the PE profession. i was trying to point out the flip flops and how some things he appears to believe are okay for him to do aren’t for photographers to do. even if he’s not a photographer, many of the site tools are the same.

    for every photo director that won’t comment, there are 100-200 photogs that don’t commenter either. it does suck, did i help the situation, hell no. oops. yet i do like when rob interviews someone, i just cannot see blog comments as the vehicle for this vision of dialogue with creatives, robs expectations are higher then mine and that i consider a good thing.

    as for me calling BS on robs contributor picture after railing photogs for theirs, in our email he addressed this one for the first time. 

    rob told me, ‘since i am not a photographer violating my own ideas about how photographers should behave to get jobs is a moot point.’ ‘i don’t have to follow my own advice and it’s not hypocrisy because i’m a photo editor.’ i am glad rob asked or brought this up, i will try to have dialogue on it without being an ass this time.

    i think this hit the nail on the head for me to read. if there is a calm non bitter sounding way to call BS on this any louder yet in a nice respectful way, i would like to. maybe the phrase ‘i call BS’ is read as more hostile then intended, i thought it was clever and almost kinda funny when in a blog spat, maybe i am wrong.

    i think this explains a lot about how photographers feel about PE’s and any other creative in a position of power over a photographer and even how PE feel about photographers. it clears things up for my little mind at least. anyone that says do as i say not as i do seems like a grumpy parent. this is my perception, by the nature of your job as PE, it is implied that your judgement and evaluation of what constitutes a ‘good’ or otherwise ‘successful’ photograph is higher then that of the average joe editor, writer, creative director and even over photographers. thus when it’s our turn to see an image you choose to represent yourself and your endeavor, we expect greatness. PE’s are in a position by the nature of the job itself to judge quality of images, that’s the job as i see it. so to throw up a crappy picture of yourself after railing photographer’s for doing so, i still have an issue with even after this explanation, setting a bar high for us and low for yourself i just cannot get, yet you’re right it doesn’t mater, but i set the bar high for you as judging quality is a major component of your job. maybe your point was humor and i missed it. this why i brought up the contributor image in the first place.

    you’re right, you will not get hired or fired over your contributor image, will we, who knows, we are already in if a contributor image is in the works anyway. as a staff PE, you are more likely to be required to have a contributor image then a freelancer on any sort of regular basis. also, most mags that do this are few and far between. 

    many of my clients simply don’t do contributor images, the few times i was asked, i supplied options, all of which i thought were beautiful or beautifully funny or absurd. yet simply sending in a glamour shot of myself, will not make a magazine decide to do a contributor image. the one good thing from your post i did learn was that if the magazine does do these, send one image of myself in on every job i ever do, i don’t recall you saying that, but that is what your post taught me. well that and make myself so beautiful or funny, they have to at least notice. i have a contributor image due out soon, i am dying to see it. did i find it funny i got asked for a contributor image not really too long after rob’s post, hell yes.

    i am as shocked at all of this as all of you and i am involved and the instigator, i think the whole thing is dumber then all of you do and i am stopping. rob called me out in our emails and was correct to do so in that every item where i had a major issue, others do it too, not just rob, so why single him out or make it too personal. rob, i never lied about anything here and while not backpedalling, i am sorry, i didn’t mean to attack you personally, i went after what i believe were valid issues i had with you on this site, i went about it poorly and did not intend to make it all so personal or bitter, lesson learned. this does mean i don’t stand by many of my points even if you agree with them or not. i only exchanged a few emails with rob, but have much respect for him for even dealing with any of this, calmly and smooth even. wow.

    look at this, 100+ comments, everyone freaking out and overwhelmingly entertained. all other blogs a buzz, damn, why has no one asked if me and rob did this on purpose for attention since the conspiracy theories are so rampant? rob, you have my address, send the check? sarcasm and fighting seem to be circus draw on this one to the point all actual thoughts are lost. the hits must spike by like a 10,000 every time i comment. wow.

  102. The conclusion is drawn, As an “annon” APE had everything under his control. Once out of the cupboard and living the real world, the ego and vanity have set in.

    Thus apart from conspiracy theories, how long will this wagon storms ahead until in becomes undone? The the S:N Ratio is already way too high now and info are not relevent any longer.

    @ itdoesntmatter: Good going, there is a whole wild world out there. Dig your heels in face the world with an attitude perfect for no on board pasengers!

    @ Mecedes B: It takes a woman of your stand to make your point. Hard work over years don’t leave to much space for vain feelings to be accommodated.

    Let us all get out of there and get a life. There are enough Cyber ptrotection for every one to wipe his feet.

  103. Holy shit…#104 is an essay longer than David Sedaris. How’s about this:

    Rob : keep posting your opinions, thoughts, views on your own blog.

    Everyone Else : Choose to read or choose to not read Rob’s opinions , thoughts, views on his blog. And if you choose to comment, don’t be a douche. If someone’s a douche to you, suck it up.

    The beauty of the internets. I love me this series of tubes!

    Rob, keep up the awesome blog man, much appreciated.


  104. I just don’t understand the basis for the attacks on Rob nor do I understand the depth of feeling about what, on the surface, is a post about e-mail tracking. Something else is going on here, perhaps people feel slighted by being excluded from the promo. Perhaps Rob never gave them any work. Only a perceived attack on the ego could produce some of the meth fueled rants that have appeared in these comments.

  105. @108 I agree – Frustration probably.

  106. People: IMHO, this is an incredible blog, with an awesome amount of great information almost impossible to get anywhere or anyhow else.

    Rob: I could never be thankful enough to you for writing this blog FOR FREE, without making a single penny out of it. Even if you were a millionaire with more money you can count, keeping this blog as useful as you do would really tell a lot about yourself and your commitment with the industry. I don’t think there’s anybody so stupid to work that hard only to feed his ego.
    All my support and a big big thank you from a photographer from Madrid, Spain currently getting ready and planning to take the big scary jump to the professional world. You, Heather, Leslie and a couple more folks are making it much easier and less frightening.

  107. Yeah, just when you think you’re alone in the woods jerking off, up rides some cowboy on a horse.

  108. […] 29, 2008 I have been thinking a lot about all of the hoopla that went on last week at APE. There is definitely something about the blog format, that invites that kind of craziness. But […]

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