There is currently a scam targeting photographers nationwide. It begins with a threat of false negative reviews if a business owner doesn’t pay a “reputation management fee”. Whether the business responds or not, the scammers will post many negative reviews then offer to have them removed or pushed down the search results… For a fee, of course.
My photography business, Nyberg Photography, has become a victim of this extortion scam, as have countless other photographers around the country.
It’s very important to research all reviews, whether good or bad, to ensure they are true. The key thing to remember about reviews, is that anyone can write a review for a company, even if they have never done business with that company or even live in a different country.
And not all reviews are honest reviews, some may in fact be false. When looking at reviews, check for the owners response and also look into the person giving the review. Many of these review sites are not willing to remove the negative reviews even if proven to be false.
On my website we have listed real reviews from real clients that prospective clients can contact for references. We encourage you to do the same for any photographer you are considering hiring.
My story was recently featured on two news stations in Minnesota (KARE 11 and Channel 12) and one in North Dakota (KFYR-TV). It was also covered by the Pioneer Press, Bring Me the News, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
One of our fake negative reviews comes from someone who goes by Jimmy Page. “Jimmy Page” has never been a client of my company. “Jimmy Page” claims to have “paid for hair and make up, took a day off work, bought lingerie…” for this alleged photo shoot.
“Jimmy Page” further alleges that he had issues getting prints delivered. Nyberg Photography has NEVER been in the business of delivering prints. We only deliver digital files.
With just a little bit of searching, I was able to find that “Jimmy Page” is apparently also “Mohamad Obama.”
A little more searching, and I found that “Jimmy Page” is also going by “Jennifer McMahon.”
If you check those YouTube links (they are to their ‘uploaded video library’), you will see around 30 negative reviews about photographers nationwide. Apparently Jimmy/Mohamad/Jennifer has had a very bad run of photographers who have ruined a dozen of their photo shoots and nearly 20 of their weddings.
I recommend that if you are looking for a photographer, please read reviews and research them carefully. This applies to more than just my company. Many other photographers and businesses are battling this review scam at the moment, so please take the time to carefully research reviews, positive of negative, before assuming they are true. Thanks.
P.S. PetaPixel previously wrote about this same scam back in February 2015.
About the author: Brad Nyberg is a wedding, portrait, and newborn photographer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can connect with him through his website and his blog. This article originally appeared here.