Thursday, December 17, 2009

Zazzle Tip – Wear A Cup

One piece I’ve held back because I thought it would someday make a great book cover, is entitled “Identity Crisis.” A digitally sliced, diced and morphed composite of about a dozen photos I’ve taken of one of my skulls, it’s one of my better attempts at surrealism.

A few days ago, Zazzle offered its photographic postage on discount for four hours, starting at midnight. Since I decided to debut “Identity Crisis” in Parallax, it seemed like a good idea to promote the book with some custom postage, so I ordered a couple of books.

About a day and a half later, I received the following excerpt in an email from “Zazzle Content Management”:

“We’re having trouble approving your ZazzleStamps design titled “identity crisis b.” In order to assist us, would you please reply to this email with honest responses to the following question(s):

1. What is the source of this image? Where did you find it?
2. Do you have permission to use this image?”

Now, I realize that there is an entire laundry-list of restrictions and exceptions regarding content, and I didn’t really worry that my stylized disintegrating skull would pose a serious threat to mental health, but I certainly did not anticipate this kind of treatment.

If Zazzle had asked nicely, I would have been delighted to certify that “Identity Crisis” is indeed my original work, and reassure the company that I own all rights to the image.

“Where did you find it?” Zazzle apparently doesn’t bother with the throat – it goes directly for the ‘nads.

I personally do not see any reason to do business with a company that-even by implication-calls me a liar and a thief.

Caveat emptor.

Point of irony: posters and T-shirts of book-cover art I’ve licensed to sell for charity are still for sale on Zazzle. You can see one of them here:


Unknown said...

seems like you are little too sensitive.. If you didn't "find" the image.. tell them and get your stamps printed.. did you ever stop to think that there is a reason for asking.. like protection of artist works? Or are you just butthurt cuz you didn't expect to be questioned. I don't see what the problem is.. Lighten up. good luck with you book. seem like you have the identity crisis. or a midlife one..

Unknown said...

oh. and why would you take offense to something you don't partake in. Unless the picture wasn't yours to begin with.. silly. you should use

John D. Stanton said...

Speaking of over-reaction, do you work for Zazzle? I can’t off the top of my head think of a better reason for you to take my comments so personally.

I made it abundantly clear that I had read and understood their boilerplate “reasons.” When I asked for a specific reason why MY work was challenged – I was emailed yet another boilerplate text of their policy. More of the imperious behavior I object to.

Those “reasons” do not grant Zazzle the right to impugn my integrity.

"...reply to this email with honest responses... Where did you find it?"

Perhaps you have a problem following syntax. ADHD? There are medications available.

When you sign up for a service like Zazzle, you have to agree to the terms. In court, this example would be a redundant question – asked and answered, move on.

To ask AGAIN and demand an “honest” response is tantamount to calling me – or any other customer – a liar. If you have a point to make, then by all means, MAKE that point. Of all of the tens of thousands of images Zazzle processes, WHY is THIS ONE SUSPECT? Why won’t Zazzle answer my simple question?

To ask me “Where did you find it?” is more than disrespectful, it is egregiously presumptive at this point. It does not even allow for the possibility that I created it.

It might be a good idea if Zazzle were to pony-up the cash to have their legal department write the boilerplate that the “Zazzle Content Management” zombies spoon-out. Some retired rodeo clown, with his foot perpetually in his mouth, trying to justify his indoor job by harassing customers, might not be leaving the purchasing public with the best impression of Zazzle. Perhaps, he’s having a midlife crisis. Perhaps, he’s just a relative who can’t keep a job elsewhere. Who knows?

I, on the other hand, do not work for Zazzle, so I do not have to shut up, take the abuse, and smile.

And, as you so cleverly pointed out, there are competitors who will be happy to take my money, and treat me with respect.

Jim said...

Under Zazzle's eyes, you are guilty until proven innocent. That's not how people should be treated.