Sunday, 27 April 2014

Copyright Infringement Can Cost You Money

I wasn't going to blog about someone stealing our content and starting up their own website, but while investigating this thief, I came across someone far worse. Someone who can financially hurt people who aren't internet savy.

We have tracking programmes within our site that allows us to see where customers go on our website, as well as what keywords or other online site brought them to ours. It's a valuable tool that allows us to fine tune our site so customers can find products easier and gives us an idea what other products we can carry.

One evening while checking this programme, I came across a strange link.  It showed someone coming to our website from another website's shipping page. Odd I thought, why is someone's website linked to ours from that page? On closer inspection I found a website that strangely looked similar to ours. Infact, most of the pages had been copied directly from ours (including the coding) which had links to our website.

I couldn't help but be outraged. I have spent a lot of time and money on our website.  Money paying a professional to design a website unique to us. Time, many hours, weeks, months listing products, writing content and descriptions about the products. Working to get the site, and products to move higher up the google searches.  Someone came in and within a likely 5 minutes copied everything and took it as their own. It's Copyright Infringement, it's stealing! and it's illegal.

Imagine you work for a company for many years. You are assigned a special job. You spend weeks on it. It's taken up most of your time, and you've put all your blood, sweat and tears into it.  Then one day while you're out to lunch, a new employee joins the firm.  They walk past your desk and see the folder containing all your work.  They change the name on the folder to their own, and hand it to your boss and tell them it's their own.  How would you feel?   That's exactly the situation I found myself in.

Well I decided to take the legal route. Have their site taken down and if they don't comply, sue the heck out of them.

I took a phrase off their site which was on mine as well (obviously, because they had stolen it) and put it in a google search. I wanted to see where this thieving site ranked on google.  Much to my horror I found another website with the same blurb stolen from my site.  This other site, was more sinister though. Not only did they steal our content and try to pass it off as their own. But they took the products and marked them down to below wholesale prices. Why? Not because they have the product to sell. Because it's bait. They are running a scam that steals credit card information.  See the only way people can purchase from this website, is by setting up an account. And setting up an account with them requires a credit card.

Unsuspecting victims may think they are getting a great deal on t-shirts for £4.99 (we pay nearly 3 x that for wholesale) but they're actually getting their credit card information stolen.

The website shows a UK address, but the whois name shows a registered name of someone who would appear to be from an Eastern block country.

I'm working now to get this second site taken down. But I wonder how many people have already been a victim?

The point of this blog? To warn people. Be very careful. If a deal looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Know who you are purchasing from. Look for websites with a long standing history, and customer interaction and reviews.  Legitimate websites will have contact phone numbers and addresses.  Both of these websites that stole our content do not. They have contact us pages which only have a contact form. Nothing that allows the website user to contact them directly.

Be smart, and be careful. You work hard for your money and some of these scam websites can steal your money in the time it took them to set up these bogus websites.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Shirts to put a Spring in your step!

Easter, Spring, flowers & lawns being mowed! What a lovely time of the year. We have a selection of t-shirts perfect to wear out in this lovely sunshine! Whether you're looking for a 3D Big Face™ design featuring a sweet baby chick, or you're after some pretty butterflies, there's some lovely spring designs available in adult and kids sizes.

To celebrate the Easter weekend, we're Doubling Loyalty Points on all purchases from the 17th to 21st of April. Normally £0.05 per £1.00 spent, they're £0.10 per £1.00. So take advantage the points really do add up! You can save them for Christmas or special occasion, or use them on your next order!

Looking for other ways to pay less? If you've purchased a t-shirt from us previously, leave a product review and we'll send you a 5% off discount link.  Join our FREE newsletter for additional discounts!

Happy Easter from Tam's Treasures

Friday, 4 April 2014

Lisa Parker & her t-shirt range by The Mountain®

The Mountain® - Fantasy T-shirts by Lisa Parker
The Mountain® - Lisa Parker T-shirts

Only a few months now into 2014 and we have found our most popular shirt sales are by the artist Lisa Parker. There are only 4 designs at the moment, but they have become so successful The Mountain® have licensed further designs by Lisa to be brought out for their t-shirts.

Lisa was gracious enough to take some time to answer some questions for me about her artwork and what we can expect in the future.  Before the Q&A's a small introduction about Lisa taken from her own website 

"Born in Devon, UK in 1974 Lisa Parker has always had a very keen interest in art, studying Natural History Illustration at Bournemouth & Poole Institute of Art & Design. Since leaving college she has worked successfully for many years as a freelance artist and has staged many one-man and two-man shows, as well as exhibiting work in prestigious locations such as The Mall galleries in London and Madison Avenue, New York. Although traditionally a wildlife artist Lisa has for many years ventured into the realms of witchcraft and fantasy; her wildlife skills naturally lending themselves to creatures and fairies. Her love of witchcraft and wildlife come together to create beautiful and unique designs."

Your bio says you started out primarily as a wildlife artist. When did you begin combining that with your love of witchcraft and fantasy to create the artwork you've become famous for? 

That began around 14 years ago when I started working with Nemesis Now, they were interested in creating a witchcraft range and I was a wildlife artist, it's something that sort of came naturally.

How long does it take you from conception to finishing a piece?  

Usually around 6 weeks my images now have to be highly detailed so the detailing takes quite a while.

Do you have many on the go at once? Or do you prefer to work on one piece at a time?

No I tend to have several concept sketches done and I'll favour one to work on.

How do you prefer to work?  Do you do it the traditional way with pencil and pad to start? Or are you using a computer programme?

The concept sketches are all done with pencil and then the finished piece is worked on a computerised drawing board, using the same techniques as I use with water colour, layer upon layer.However I do also love working with oils but rarely have time these days as my designing keeps me very busy.

How difficult was it to get your artwork out there for people to see? 

Extremely! it is for every artist and its something that takes years and years. I have been doing this ever since leaving college around 17 years ago and only recently has my work become more known. Its a case of entering exhibitions all the time, writing letters, visiting companies and this takes years.

Your artwork has been licensed and displayed on so many mediums. What was the very first licensed product? and how excited were you to see it created?

My very first item was a greeting card and I was very excited! although straight after being excited you become concerned "what if it doesn't sell?"

What painting that you've done is your favourite? 

In oil, it was a little duck painting because I love to paint things in water. More recently though I  probably like  "the witching hour" the most although I'm highly critical of my work and don't like to look at them too much because I always see the mistakes.

Do you ever get recognised in public? 

ha ha! no never! I don't consider myself well known at all.

Have you ever seen someone wearing one of your t-shirts or with something with your artwork on it and gone up to them and said hey I'm the artist?  

I never say I'm the artist because I'm embarrassed by it. Its different selling you work on the internet than face to face. I have been sent pictures of people wearing my tshirts and that's really nice to see. I'm so flattered that people want to wear my artwork.

What kind of work can we expect from you in the near future?  

Well I'm working on another wolf one right now. I'm going to Canada soon so I'll be getting loads of reference and expanding my wildlife portfolio, although I will be doing more cats as well because many companies have asked for more.

To purchase a t-shirt by Lisa Parker visit our website where you'll find our best seller "The Witching Hour" and her other designs: "Spellkeeper", "Tallisman" and "Unicorn Night".

Go, like and follow Lisa Parker's facebook page where fans can see her latest artwork, competitions and new products featuring her artwork.