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Old 06-09-2009, 04:51 AM
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bibiweb bibiweb is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,756

IB have posted their reply in the "Annoucements" part of the Forum:
Here's the link.

I have also received confirmation by email from Adam (who originally created this site) that this was really an error and that, to his knowledge, IB currently has no plans regarding the sales of our photos.

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Old 06-11-2009, 04:06 AM
Dpbours Dpbours is offline
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Default Re: GOOD NEWS

All other threads on the subject have been deleted.

This type of moderator censorship is not really giving a good signal to TE users....
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:12 AM
danielswalsh danielswalsh is offline
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Default Re: GOOD NEWS

Hi Dennis;

I believe the threads re: IB selling our images were removed because they all referred to the misunderstanding which Brent has already referred to on the other thread.

- Dan
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:21 AM
danielswalsh danielswalsh is offline
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Default Re: GOOD NEWS

As Brent said in the other thread.....

Where is the transparency?

Moderators locking the following threads:

Re: owners/administrators
Resale rights
Written Petition to IB Inc and to NASDAQ:INET

The prosperity of this amazing community is exactly based on their talent and beliefs. I have know some members who left years back and thinking a new change would be a fresh start that’s why I joined.

I don't think I could trust IB as well…"We may modify these Terms and Conditions from time to time and such modification shall be effective upon posting on the Site. You agree to be bound to any changes to these Terms and Conditions when you use the Site after any such modification is posted. Is it important that you review these Terms and conditions regularly to ensure you are updated as to any changes made. These Terms and Conditions constitute the entire agreement regarding your use of the Site and the services it offers and supercede any such prior terms. "

Here is the letter to our fellow TE Members: Posted and blocked

TOS Update:

TE Members.

A recent inadvertent mistake published a previous version of the terms of service at We are currently investigating the cause of the mistake to ensure we will avoid a recurrence in the future. We have replaced the TOS correct version and apologize for any misunderstanding this caused.

I believe many in the community are concerned about the changes to TOS and the possible reasons behind them. In an effort to ease any lingering fears I will attempt to clarify IB’s overall intention for TrekEarth and the content that is published on it.

We neither have the right to nor intention to sell any photos provided by the community to any other site regardless of whether IB owns and operates it. We merely publish what the community provides on TE.

If at anytime we increase the features available the members of TE, each will be in a clear opt-in framework. Please be assured your photos are only used as they can seen publicly on the site.

We are very committed to upholding the rights of ownership a photographer maintains with their work. Between the moderation team and the staff here at IB we spend many hours reviewing photos to identify any possible infringement issues.

I hope that moving forward every member at TE will feel completely comfortable entrusting us with their amazing photos.

Brent Conver
Site Director
Internet Brands
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:22 AM
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bibiweb bibiweb is offline
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Default Re: GOOD NEWS

Sure Dan, Brent has already posted an explanation a few days ago. However, more concerns have been expressed since then by the members and several questions were asked, requesting some clarification on certain points of the TOU.

And now the only answer we are getting is having those threads closed... and silence from the admins.

I don't believe this is a good communication policy from IB and it doesn't make me feel comfortable for the future. I haven't yet deleted my gallery, but I'm not posting any more images for the time being either.

Just my two cents...
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:07 PM
bconver bconver is offline
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Default Re: GOOD NEWS

Bibi -

I am sorry to hear that.

In regards to the TOS I can only restate what I have written in the past. IB cannot per the TOS sell community photos and we acknowledge (in fact prefer) that all copyrights are held by the originating photographer. The terms of service implicitly allows IB to only publish photos on TE without further consent from the photographer.

We are looking at a mechanism that will notify the community in the event there is an update to the TOS. I am not sure what that will include but the very least of which will be a post in the Announcements forum publicly notifying the community of any management approved change to the TOS.

In terms of locked or moved threads, the purpose of the forum is to discuss photography and help other members improve their skills. Moving forward the moderation team will be guided to keep the forums on topic. In an effort to follow those guidelines I will be unable to respond to every post regrading the TOS. My contact information is publicly availability and questions regrading the TOS should be directed to me rather that our moderation team or the community as a whole.

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Old 06-11-2009, 02:38 PM
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bibiweb bibiweb is offline
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Default Re: GOOD NEWS

Hi Brent,

I'm most flattered that you take the time to reply to me personally on this forum. Unfortunately I believe that your intervention is occurring a bit too late and will not suffice to change my (and other members') opinion of IB's communication policy over the last few weeks.

Let me just take time to summarize what has been happening on TE since April:

- April 20th: Adams posts a message on the forum announcing a new version of TE and asking for beta testers. Many members enthusiastically add their name to the list and a few days later we are informed on how to access the new version. I know that many members took the time to have a look and a lot of feedback was sent back, either through the TE forum or directly via email to Adam.

- May 19th: a message from Justine Cogan informed us that the new TE was going live on the next day. This came rather as a surprise to me as I hadn't noticed any corrections on the beta version, but I trusted that IB had everything under control.

- May 20th: The new TE site went live in a most disastrous way: bug ridden, lacking basic functionalities of the old site (most of which had been pointed out during the beta testing)... it wasn't even possible to post a "vertical" photo during the first hours! Not to mention the unbearable response times that just discouraged everybody from trying to use the new interface.

- May 21st: Tons of messages swarmed the forum from unhappy users… but it seemed that nobody from IB was there to give an answer. So I decided to send an email to Adam asking him to handle what seemed, to me, the most urgent issues… and he did. Since this seemed to be working (and there still was no sign of IB on the forum to reassure people), I continued to compile all the problems reported by members and send them to Adam who corrected them… and this lasted for about 10 days.

- June 6th: Just when everybody was getting used to the new site and things were settling down, a member happened to come across the version of the TOU mentioning "resale rights". Of course this started several threads on the forum which lasted over the weekend as members became quite worried about the copyright of their photos.

- June 8th: You posted a message late Monday afternoon explaining that this was an error and the TOU had been changed back to what it was before. Unfortunately, with the new version of TE, we'd lost the "NEW" feature which informs us that a forum has been updated… so nobody actually noticed your message (I see that the feature is back now!). In fact I sent an email to Adam who sent me the link to the Announcements forum… and then I updated all the other threads to link to your message. So that's when people actually started to read what you'd written.

- June 9th and 10th: Despite your message, members still expressed their concerns regarding the protection of their photos. Several questions were raised regarding the fact that IB can change TOU at anytime without informing anyone. Those remarks deserved an answer from IB, but once again, we got nothing... and that's when some members decided that they preferred to remove all their photos and leave. At the end of the day, all the threads regarding this issue were simply locked by the moderators… still with no answer.

Do you feel that this is an appropriate communication policy? Don't you think that somebody from IB should have taken the time to inform members and try to reassure them? People are leaving by the dozen and deleting their photos and I understand their decision because for nearly two months it seems that nobody at IB cares about TE members.

Even you are telling me that the TE forum should only be used to discuss photography matters and nothing else. However, you should be happy that members used the forum in the last few weeks to express their concerns because if every single message had been addressed personally to you (as you seem to recommend)... I'm not sure you would have had enough time to read and answer them!

Thanks again for your intervention… and best wishes for the future of TE (or what's left of it).

Brigitte Djajasasmita (bibiweb)
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:53 PM
Merline Merline is offline
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Posts: 1,909
Default Re: GOOD NEWS ????


First, dear Bibi, I want to thank you personally for the great job you did during the last difficult weeks and now, once more, with this very clear note, to which I agree a 100%. I am convinced that without your dedication and patience, and also great IT knowledge, we would be far from having the current results.

And that such a long-standing and motivated member should feel/state as you do, is really one more sign that things have gone astray.

So, dear Brent, for me, like for some others, this comes too late anyway.

I have understanding for all the work it is to manage such a site, and the latest changes in IT (not that it is such a success) : one example being that the discussions' links at the bottom of the photographs are not back yet ! The amount of exchanges has thus dramatically lowered, it was one of the best features, clear and useful, and should have been one of the first to be re-installed...But I guess, the site is not so much about exchanges long as there are the clicks.

The lack of proper, visible, respectful "moderation" is one of the key elements.
Of course, normally, the forum should be used for "photography" discussions. But where should be discuss when so many problems occur frequently ? Should we all send individual emails to you ? Should we be silent in public, never express our thoughts at all ? Say yes to everything ? If somebody had not started a thread, how long would those TOU have stayed as it were ?

I suggest you open up a decicated forum to "Community life" or whatever you want to call it. And I suggest that TE management learns about "moderating". It can be done in a very open-minded spirit, with moderators taking into account more often and more thoroughly the ideas/suggestions/worries. Interventions in the threads should be done more often, matters discussed. "MODERATED".!
Instead of one announcement here and there, and then locking up. Even the one thread where some members were saying goodbye has been locked ! It's like you are pushing dust under the carpet (sorry for my English, I do not know the right expression).

So, thks, Brent,'s not enough.
Best regards.


It was nice; no it was great while it lasted. I am going to miss you and miss "it". But for the moment, I have had enough. Not going to make a long speech, I am not good at those things. We'll meet again, I am sure... My contact button remains open, for those who don't have my email already. Let's keep in touch! and who knows ? there might be improvements :)

Thank you for everything and wishing you the best and lots of success and happiness. See you later:), I hope!

Warm regards

Michèle Gruber (Merline)
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:22 PM
Wandering_Dan Wandering_Dan is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 451
Default Re: TOU is back

I've been out of town and missed this whole controversy over the TOU until now.

I am seriously upset about the "resale rights" clause, and with the way it appeared and then disappeared, with what strikes me as an unconvincing explanation. It gives rise to the reasonable suspicion that IB had in fact intended to claim resale rights, but let that slip too soon. The fact they still reserve the right to make any changes to the TOU, unannounced, and that members automatically are bound to accept those revisions by that unannounced act, is the sort of act an agent takes when he wants to conceal some shift in the legal terms that simultaneously puts him at an advantage and his respondents at a disadvantage.

In addition, the language still in the TOU, the right to "adaptations," is both unusual and unexplained. It opens the door to all kinds of mischief.

I have not decided to withdraw completely from TE yet; there are still too many people still here whose work and whose thoughts I respect. But I am removing all photos that have sale value to me, and will not post any new photos here, except possibly ones that are not of that level but which I think may be of interest to my TE friends. And I will look for other sites.

I'm really sorry it has come to this. I didn't much care for the new website design, but that is partly pique at a bad technical job, and hardly unique. This is different. This is an attempt to establish a commercial claim on my work with no recompense to me.

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Old 06-11-2009, 04:23 PM
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jonathan_hart jonathan_hart is offline
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Default Re:

"the purpose of the forum is to discuss photography and help other members improve their skills"

is it irrelevant ?

a general forum is to talk about general questions which concern the site and the members, and "discuss photography and help other members improve their skills" is for the forum called "photos", or TIPS-TECHNIQUE

my two cents..
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