Scammers, Passwords and Bears, Oh My!

Summer is in full swing! Everything comes alive during the summer -- unfortunately, not all of it good. Before we all go running off carefree into the woods and sun, let's take a moment to remember what to beware of.

First, off -- Scammers.

Scammers are always lurking out there. They possess cockroach-like hardiness, and are ever-present, unfortunately. Be especially aware when someone is contacting you about purchasing your work, as this is a common way to scam artists. (We incredibly unethical to be targeting artists?! Go scam corporations instead, you jerks!)

Please see this great resource, and also see our earlier post as well. Remember to follow your instincts, and never, ever agree to send a check "for overpayment" as part of a sale.

Next up, Passwords. We all know how crazy the heat can make some people -- especially lately, with these record breaking temperatures.

Always, always keep your password under lock and key! As with all of your important accounts -- it's not generally a good idea to share your password with anyone. Also, be sure to change your password regularly. You can find our password requirements here. If you do share your password with anyone, remember that you are handing over your website, carte blanche -- and they will be able to do and change anything and everything in your account. Not a good thing if you and your formerly trusted friend part ways.

And last but not least, Bears. You never know when you'll run into one. Brush up on these tips so that you'll be prepared.

Be safe but have fun out there, OPP-ers!

Vanity Galleries

Ah, Spring. The flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping. You've been in the studio all winter, laboring away. Maybe you haven't landed as many gallery showings as you would have liked so far. You start to hear things -- things that are possibly too good to be true: "Want to show your work? Display here and your work will sell!" Sounds great, right? Please don't be deceived -- beware the Vanity Gallery!

Yup, they sound like what they are. But for those of you who don't know, a vanity gallery is an art gallery that charges the artist fees to exhibit their work. They make most of their money from the artists themselves, rather than from sales to the public.

Now, these are not the same thing as Artist-Run Initiatives (or Cooperative Galleries). Artist-Run Initiatives are collaborative efforts by artists who pool their resources to pay for exhibits and publicity.

Landing gallery showings is a multi-step process that requires patience, time, tenacity and persistence. Things may not happen as quickly as you'd like, and and the disproportion of artists to galleries have enabled this Vanity Gallery market to pop up. It has been able to sustain itself by taking advantage of this disproportion, and also perhaps by taking advantage of weary artists.

Remember that getting solo shows is very difficult to do. Always do your homework when researching a prospective showing space. Follow your gut! Utilize your network -- talk to other artists and ask questions. And if there are fees, ask and ask again about how the fee structure works, and what those fees are going to specifically.

Stay positive, and keep on creating work!

Out with the Old, and in with the New...Reorder your Nav Sections & Links!

Hi OPP-ers!

With the New Year, comes new...Copyright Dates! Please check out our post last year if you’re having trouble updating your Copyright.

Remember that the system will automatically update your Copyright to include 2013 if you add new work to your site in 2013! So get crackin’!

That’s the old news -- let’s move on to new news.

Notice anything New about your Control Panel lately?

We’ve redesigned the ‘Nav Section Labels’ and ‘Nav Section Links’ areas and merged them into one big, awesome section entitled ‘Create and Reorder Labels & Links’. That’s right, you now have the ability to control the order of your website Sections!

Let’s start with some background information. You continue to have five default sections:
  • Artwork
  • News
  • Links
  • Contact Page
  • PDF Page

You also continue to have the option of having up to six Nav Section Links. These Nav Section Links can be links to anything you’d like -- to an announcement about a new show, press about your work, to your blog, or even to an image or folder in your Artwork section.

You can view all of your website Sections and Nav Section Links in the ‘Create and Reorder Labels & Links’ area of your Control Panel.

Moving the sections around is really easy -- just drag & drop each section to the order you want them to be in, and then click Update at the bottom of the screen.

You can also take advantage of the Nav Section Links. Please note that using the Nav Section Links does not create a new section on your site. It simply allows you to link to something else -- including parts of your own site.

Let’s say you want to link directly to a folder in your Artwork section or to an image in your Artwork section, from your Home Page. Simply view your folder or image as a visitor would, and copy the URL that is displaying in your browser window when you are viewing that page.

Then, paste that URL in the ‘URL/Link’ area of your choice. You can also name the link by placing a label in the ‘Nav Link Name’ section.

The image or folder you are linking to in your Artwork section must continue to exist in your Artwork section, and cannot be removed from that area or hidden.

Till next time OPP-ers!

Ghouls of the Art World: Scammers

There are a lot of things to watch out for while conducting business over the Internet. Although everyone is a target, artists are targeted with specific types of tactics. (Lucky world, scammers are customizing their methods!) Although the prospect of a sale can be enticing and exciting, please be on the lookout.

A few things to watch out for are:

  • Out of the ordinary shipping requests
  • Mentioning the use of shipping companies or agents
  • Offering to send more money than the amount due and then asking you to somehow send back the difference (scammers prefer Western Union, because it is untraceable once the wire transfer is picked up)
  • Emails with several misspellings, grammatical and formatting issues
  • Never mentioning specifically which pieces of yours they are interested in
  • An overeagerness to make things easy for you
  • The buyer being in a extreme hurry to close the deal or not wanting to give you enough time to make sure the funds have cleared
  • Just because the buyer is willing to pay by credit card doesn't mean it isn't a scam or the funds are yours for good! Scammers use stolen credit card information, which will result in a chargeback once the real person discovers their information has been stolen

    A great way to vet a purchase inquiry to ensure it is a serious one is to ask the interested party a series of questions. While responding to the inquiry to thank them for their interest, ask specific questions, such as:

    • What do they think of the work they are asking about?
    • What is their interest in collecting artwork such as yours? (Contemporary, Environmental...customize to your field of expertise)
    • And if it might seem legitimate but you are still a bit unsure, begin a fresh email to the potential buyer, apologize for 'losing' their other email and ask them again which pieces they were interested in

    Reluctance on the buyer's part to answer any of the above should raise some red flags for you.

      You can also use an online tool to trace the IP address of the email address the email is from. If it is from a location that is very different from where the buyer is saying they are from, this could be an indication that it is a scam.

      Money orders can also be couterfeited, and remember that domestic U.S. Postal Service money orders cannot exceed $1,000.00 (one thousand dollars) in value. If you have any doubts, you can always call the U.S. Post Office Money Order Verification System at 1-866-459-7822 to verify the authenticity of any U.S. Postal money order.

      Check out this list of tips and commonly used scammer names. The FBI also has a lot of general fraud information as well. And, if you come across any scams yourself, please help get the word out!

      Staying Connected to Your Viewers

      Mailing Lists are a great way to stay connected to your viewers, and are easily incorporated into your OPP site.

      There are a lot of great email list services that can help you craft your email newsletters. You can use any mailing list service that can provide you with a URL for your list. Two commonly used companies are Constant Contact and MailChimp.

      Once you have your Constant Contact mailing list set up, you need your list link. Here are instructions on how to find it:

      With MailChimp, you'll first need to create a mailing list. Once it is created just go to Forms, then Share it, and there you will see your Subscribe Form URL.

      There are a few ways you can add your mailing list to your OPP site. You can utilize our Nav Section Links and place the URL as a link in your Navigation Section. Or, you can place it in your Artist Statement on your home page.

      You can also place the URL anywhere Special Formatting is supported, such as on your Contact Page:

      And there you have ityou've now made it easy for your viewers to keep up with your work.

      Happy Emailing Everyone!

      Video Tutorials

      Feeling a bit more aural & visual than textual these days?

      No problem, we’ve got you covered!

      Along with our extensive, searchable help section, Pixelpedia, and our email customer support, we offer video tutorials as well.

      These tutorials make our easy-to-use service even easier! For OPP newcomers, check out our getting started tutorial.

      Want to know how to embed vimeo clips?

      Or reorder the folders on your website?

      Or perhaps you'd like to explore your artwork alignment choices?

      We have more than 50 video tutorials to help you get on your way to being the master of your own website.

      So pop some popcorn, sit back, and press play. :)

      2012 : New Year, New Copyright Dates

      You may be wondering why it seems like the folks at OPP didn't notice that it's a New Year. (Change our Copyright Dates, please!)

      The reason OPP does not change your copyright dates is because the copyright dates on your site should reflect the dates upon which the material was created.

      Therefore, you should use the earliest date in which you created material for the site, as well as the latest date. If you have not posted any work from 2012 as of yet, your copyright dates will not update automatically.

      If you'd like to change your copyright dates regardless of when you created the material on your site, you are definitely free to do so.

      Please see our Pixelpedia Section for detailed instructions on how to change your Copyright Holder Text.

      Of course, another way to get your copyright dates to change automatically would be to post new work -- so get back into that studio, and create away.

      Copyright Infringement : What to do, and how the DMCA plays into it.

      Posting an image online these days is easier than ever. While this makes visibility for your work great, (yay!), there are always concerns about misuse or theft (copyright infringement -- eek!). Much of the content on the internet is hosted by the networks of third parties, as most folks do not run their own servers. This means that the potentially infringing activities of individuals can be stored and transmitted through these third party, online service providers (OSPs), most likely without the OSP's knowledge.

      Because of this, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor for these OSPs. Section 512 of the DMCA protects OSPs from liability for information posted or transmitted by subscribers if the OSP quickly removes or disables access to material identified in a copyright holder's complaint.

      In order to qualify for safe harbor protection, the OSP hosting the content must:

      • have no knowledge of, or financial benefit from, infringing activity on its network
      • have a copyright policy and provide proper notification of that policy to its subscribers
      • list an agent to deal with copyright complaints

      Note however that the OSP is not required to notify you before your allegedly infringing material is removed. If the material on your site does not infringe the intellectual property rights of a copyright owner and has been improperly removed from the internet, you can file a counter-notice with the OSP, who must transmit it to the person who made the complaint. If the copyright owner does not notify the OSP within 14 business days that it has filed a claim against you in court, your materials can be restored to the Internet.

      If you see your work on a website, and believe that it is being used without your permission, you do have some recourse. Here are the steps we recommend:

      1. Contact the administrator of the website, and inform them that you believe your work is being used without your permission, and ask them to take it down. (Hey, a nice note can go a long way!)
      2. If that doesn't work, find out who the online service provider (OSP) of the website is. This may take some digging. Look for words like 'Powered by'.
      3. Go to the OSP's website, and see if they have any information on their site about how to report alleged copyright infringement. If they do, follow their instructions.
      4. If the OSP's website does not have any information, try using this website to see if the OSP has decided to take part in the DMCA. You can search for the agent they have listed:
      5. If the OSP does have an agent listed, you can provide the information the DMCA requires, and mail notice to the agent.
      6. Basic information the DMCA requires:
      • The name, address, and electronic signature of the complaining party [512(c)(3)(A)(i)]. 
      • The infringing materials and their Internet location [512(c)(3)(A)(ii-iii)], or if the OSP is an "information location tool" such as a search engine, the reference or link to the infringing materials [512(d)(3)]. 
      • Sufficient information to identify the copyrighted works [512(c)(3)(A)(iv)].
      • A statement by the owner that it has a good faith belief that there is no legal basis for the use of the materials complained of [512(c)(3)(A)(v)].
      • A statement of the accuracy of the notice and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on the behalf of the owner [512(c)(3)(A)(vi)].

      Note that making willy nilly claims of copyright infringment is not a good idea. You're opening yourself up to liability for damages, including costs and attorneys' fees. You must consider copyright defenses, limitations or exceptions before you send notice -- so think long and hard about this (did you sign a model release? did you say it was ok for your work to be used, or sign an agreement, and just don't remember doing so? Unfortunately, simply changing your mind doesn't necessarily provide you with any protection). These are just some of the things you should be considering. If you are not sure about these things or have questions, we suggest you contact an attorney prior to filing a notice with the OSP.

      If you'd like more information about OPP's policies, you can view them here:

      To find out more about the DMCA in general:

      To responsible posting, everyone!

      Text Ad Links : What they are, and how to get rid of them.

      Text Ad Links. What are they? Those annoying hotlinks connected to certain keywords on a website. When you click on them, they take you to an advertisement.

      Here's some info on this technique:

      In other words, it's a scam/adware, and should have no part on your website! As you're admiring your content-rich, newly redesigned, SEO-optimized OPP site, you start noticing these ugly ad links popping up over certain keywords. Before you write an angry email to support, know that OPP would never sell you out for ad revenue!

      There are a couple of reasons this could be happening, and some things you can check.
      • Look at your OPP site in a few browsers. Is this happening in only one browser, and is definitely not any special formatting you input into your artist statement? If it is happening in only one browser, it is possible that that browser has been infected with some kind of “secure your computer” or “accelerate your web experience” trojan software that installed ads into your browser.
      • Is this happening on any other website, such as, or on our main site, If so, it's something local to your computer (or ISP, Internet Service Provider), as those two sites would never have ads built into the text.

      If you are experiencing this issue in Firefox, please check out this add-on that can help you combat the issue:

      And here are some other sites, for you to reference as well:

      (As always, download files from the internet at your own risk!)

      In addition to installing helpful addons, you could also try uninstalling the infected browser, and reinstalling it -- and hopefully that will clear up any type of trojan software that may have installed the ads into your browser.

      Begone, Ad Links!

      Search Engine Optimization of your OPP Site : Part Two

      Now that you have the content of your website text-rich and in tip top shape, let's move onto other things that will help with the SEO of your site.

      Get the word out!

      A great way to help the SEO of your site is to be linked to by other sites. No, we don't mean participating in sketchy 'I'll link to yours if you link to mine' type deals. We mean good old fashioned getting your work out there -- by being interviewed, written about, participating in networking events, art residencies, and the like.

       Google Webmaster Tools

      If you do not currently have a Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) account, be sure to sign up for one. Directions on how to connect your GWT account to your OPP site can be found here:

      If you already have a GWT account, please check it regularly to see if you have any messages from Google regarding your site.

      Submit your URL to Search Engines

       If you have not yet submitted your URL to Google, you may do that using the link below:

      You can also request submission to Yahoo and Bing:

      When submitting to Bing, please note that you don't have to set anything up with Bing Webmaster Tools. Simply go down to the bottom of the page to submit your URL using their 'deprecated tool'.

          You should also submit your URL to this independent, non-profit Web monitoring project that links to Google's directory.

          Ask Google to Recrawl your Site

          Once you have made sure that the content on your site is rich, detailed and relevant, and you have taken all the steps listed in our Google Help section, you can ask Google to reconsider your site, if you think it's been awhile since they have visited your site. Directions on how to do this, and a link to the page to request reconsideration are below. No need to worry about the technical or code related stuff here, as we take care of making sure that all this is in compliance with Google's webmaster guidelines:

          Remember that all changes to your site will take some time to be reflected in Google's index.

          Happy SEO-ing!