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ipernity – A Cautionary Tale

May 3, 2012

ipernity is a photo display and Web 2.0 blogging platform. They’ve been going since 2004 and, to use their own words, allow you to “Share whatever you want with people who matter to you or with the whole world”.

Well, … actually it doesn’t quite work out like that. I recently had my ipernity account closed down without warning.

What had I done wrong? I’m not sure, and they don’t seem to want to tell me. I’d uploaded some nice scenic photos of the North of England, all my own work. People who saw them, and my stats, had been telling me that these were appreciated. I’d put up some short articles about aspects of travel and tourism in England – and yes, they did contain links to two of my self-hosted blogs which are ‘commercial’ to the extent that between them they just about cover their costs. There was nothing highly commercialised. The worst I can think of is that I do some of my blog posting by email and think I might accidentally have sent a couple of items twice with one of them containing an Amazon link. Do they ban for ‘duplicate content’?

So what did I do wrong? I don’t know, because they don’t tell me. They gave no warning. I discovered the situation when I tried to get onto the site to see if there was any tidying of profile or blog layout and design to be done. There had been no courteous email saying, “Dear Sir, we’re unhappy with what you’re putting on our site ….”. Nothing! Everything has simply vanished, and worse!

I had included links to my ipernity-hosted photos in several places. As far as I can tell from my bitly stats there have not been too many clicks on them since the account closure, but as I’m not sure when it was closed I’m not certain about that either. My main concern is that instead of going to a beautiful riverside scene in Northern England people clicking on those links have been faced with a big red X and “This member account is closed or suspended.” What is that other than an attack on my online reputation? Implications of spam? Or porn? I do not take it kindly.

I wrote a polite and restrained email to them but got only a standardised reply with the sense of, “You must have in some way contravened our terms of serve”. If they had been sufficiently polite as to reply meaningfully then probably, depending on the nature of their reply, I would not have written this more public post.

Fortunately I had not been using ipernity for long so I didn’t lose a major investment of time and attention, but please be warned. If you put photos up on ipernity do not use it as a primary photo store. You never know when they might all disappear. Make certain that you have everything safely backed up somewhere else.

….. and if by some miracle someone from ipernity reads this, maybe you’d like to write to me.


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