Grab your tea or coffee...and pull up a chair, friends. Today, I'm going to share top tips regarding using other people's images in your blogs....a big part of blogging etiquette - and a subject that has come up over in our free Facebook Group for interior designers, lifestyle bloggers, and creative professionals, www.facebook.com/groups/drive.massive.traffic.
Especially, the use of those images if affiliate links are going to be included behind them, where you are making money from an item in other people's images, aka as the hashtag > #OPI (other people's images) and... also the brand name of a favorite nail polish brand... but can we say *chip* if you are a blogger? Have you tried dipping your nails yet... for no chips for 3 weeks? But, I digressed... because you needed to know...now back to blogging etiquette!
So, first, what is good blogging etiquette with respect to using another designer's images?
1. Ask written permission from the designer, whose work you admire, if you can use one of their images.
2. Make sure YOU, as the blogger, take the responsibility to ask the designer if they own the right to give you permission to use that image. Some newer designers may not realize that they don't own that right, because they didn't know to get it spelled out in their agreement with their photographer before the photoshoot and, unless the designer has it in writing that it's okay for that image to be used by others for distribution on the world wide web, you, the blogger, leave yourself open to a lawsuit from the photographer.
It rarely happens, but it can happen!
3. Always place a live link, (know in blogging lingo as *proper attribution*) back to that designer's website or blog, so they get the SEO (Google search engine optimization) juice from your blog. It is always a nice idea to ask the designer, when you are getting their permission to use their photo, where on their site they would like your live link to point to: their blog, their home page, etc.
A live link can point to anywhere! Maybe they want it to point to their email opt in giveaway...if they have that on a separate landing page, with a separate URL for it.
Placing a live link in your post next to or below an image that says, *SOURCE* or *PINTEREST* or *XYX magazine*, is not considered proper attribution. Use Google's Reverse Image Search functionality to find the designer of any image you like.
4. Okay. Now, let's talk about affiliate product links. Unless you ask the designer in writing if it is ALSO okay to place affiliate product links on items in their image, it is not good blogging etiquette to do that.
Why? Well, would you want someone making money off of your design work, and/or photography work, without your permission? Probably not, right?
What happens when you do this, anyway? You create a lack of trust amongst your fellow bloggers within the blogging communmity and don't encourage their goodwill. And you may say to yourself, "I don't care what my fellow bloggers think...and I am willing to deal with whatever copyright issues are thrown at me."
And....okay. That's your right. This blog post is simply meant to help new bloggers know that this is not *good neighbor* blogging etiquette, and that it could lead to a lawsuit from a photographer, if the designer, whose image you used, doesn't have the permission from his or her photographer for the image to be used to generate affiliate commissions for others.
WHEN IS IT OK TO USE OTHER PEOPLE'S IMAGES FOR AFFILIATE PRODUCT LINKING?
The only time when it is okay to use images that are not yours, or free or that you have written permission to use for purposes of putting affiliate links behind them, is when those images come from a manufacturer's own site.
If the mfg. has the image on their own site, and your affiliate link links to a product from that manufacturer, you are supporting the sale of the manufacturer's own products. Manufacturers appreciate that.
For instance, below you will see the covers of 4 of the 4 page mini-magazines that we have designed for four of our Savour Partnership clients. In each of these magazines, there are affiliate links, but the images used for these links (that our clients curated and selected) came only from the manufacturers's own sites, and link back to that manufacturer, so that our clients are supporting the sale of that manufacturer's products.
In addition, all of the design work in these mini-magazines is the work of our own clients, so they are not using anyone else's images to support their ability to make passive income from their curated product selections, backed by affiliate links, that are in their mini-magazines, that live on their websites and blogs.
I hope this post helps clear up any confusion you have re: the use of other people's images, (#OPI) and if you all have any questions about other aspect of blogging etiquette, please ask them in the comments, or over in our Facebook Group, http://facebook.com/groups/drive.massive.traffic, and I will be happy to answer them for you.
One last thought...that applies to blogging, too.
And one more top tip for you! The images I used in this post came from the site, www.unsplash.com, where all the gorgeous images are yours to use, for free.
And, lastly...if you think other bloggers/designers/creatives you know, in other Facebook Groups or online communities you belong to, would find this post helpful, please consider sharing it with them!
Thank you all!
Leslie Carothers for Savour Partnership