How it cost me over $1,000 to use a free image on Google

So, those of you who have met me know that I am pretty passionate about technology. I LOVE to help people streamline what they are already doing to make their lives easier (and more joyful). That means sometimes I get roped into fun projects like being on the board of my local professional organization. I was elected as a "member at large" because I refuse to be the technology person (even though I am LOL). 

So, in my role as a board member for this nonprofit organization, I use some cool tools for setting up trainings like Eventbrite. That often means my role includes getting the content together, images, etc. I was putting on a great training that I was quite excited about and wanted to find the perfect image. I went to (many of you have been there) and did a little searching. Within minutes I found the PERFECT picture! (I'd show it to you here but that could lead to paying more $$ so you will just have to wait! 

I downloaded it to my computer, uploaded it as a little side picture on our event page and went on with life. Within about 5 days, our chapter received a nasty email asking for over $2k! Ouch, Yikes, $%#@... this could not be happening- must be a mistake! I double-checked with the blog and they said "absolutely... free picture... you can use it..." 

In fact, the picture I was using wasn't the same as the picture we were being shaken down charged for! However, it was clearly the original that the picture I loved was based off of. Long story short- we talked them down to around $1,300 after talking to several lawyers who all said the same thing- it's worth it- it will cost you more to fight it. 

So, what is the moral of the story? Pictures are not always worth 1,000 words... sometimes they are worth a $1,000 dollars! Be sure when you are using pictures on the web to be careful of what you use- and consider purchasing pictures- especially if they are being used in a clear advertisement for a paid service or workshop. 

Check out this updated article with places to get free photos for your website or social media images.