"Hand Jive" ©2007 Tony Novak-Clifford
The photoblog world has been on fire the last couple of days over at APE after Rob posted an entry about a photographer who sent him an email promo. After clicking on the promo link, Rob claims that the photographer was able to use web tracking software to identify him and then had the audacity to immediately contact him to proclaim that he had, in fact, been tracked. APE's thoughts on the matter amount to his being creeped out that the photographer had admitted tracking him down and making direct contact as a result of that tracking.
The ensuing comments (over 100 of them as of this afternoon) pretty much run the gamut of the hand gestures posted above... everything from "screw you" to "you tell him"! One thing can be said of photographers, we are an opinionated bunch. Reading the posted comments and opinions in that thread was much akin to watching an episode of tabloid TV. We know that we shouldn't watch, but in reality, we can't tear ourselves away from that screen and in the process, lots of dirty laundry gets aired in public. It was both a sublime and an ugly experience rolled into one.
I, myself, use tracking software to determine where the traffic to my website originates and to try and get some handle on whether or not that traffic might generate future assignment work or stock sales. The tracking I use is, however, rather basic and not sophisticated enough to provide me with actual IP addresses of those that visit my website. And.... never, ever, would I initiate contact with a potential client and inform them that I had tracked them down via the use of such tracking devices. I attempt to conceal my own web surfing by turning off my browser's cookies and by immediately deleting cookies left behind when logging into protected sights that require cookies to be enabled. I do this not so much to conceal my web activities as to cut down on the SPAM and email solicitations I receive.