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Author Topic: Request for Clarification: Account Termination  (Read 1685 times)

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« on: February 24, 2024, 06:59 »
+2
Dear Forum Members,

I am compelled to share a troubling experience I recently had with Adobe Stock. After requesting payment for my extensive and diversified portfolio of vector arts tailored for the MENA region, I received an email notification (screenshot below) indicating  account termination. Despite reaching out twice thereafter, I received no response for 3 weeks.



I wish to highlight five key points:

1. Lack of Control Over Content Distribution: As a content creator, I have no control over who downloads my content or how it is acquired.
2. Concerns Over Misuse Through Free Trials: I am unaware of any method to disable downloads through free trials. This raises concerns about potential misuse of my content by unauthorized users
3. Calls for Enhanced Security Measures: Instead of resorting to account termination, Adobe could implement more robust security measures. For example, they could investigate IP addresses associated with free trial downloads and cross-reference them with account activity. Additionally, they could track contributor activities to ascertain if they are also downloading content for free.
4. Need for Evidence-Based Action: It is essential to emphasize that accusations of irregular sales activity should be substantiated with evidence. Without concrete proof, such accusations are legally dubious and unjust.
5. Comparable Success on Other Platforms: It is worth noting that I maintain portfolios on other platforms, where I have achieved comparable levels of success without encountering similar issues.

I urge Adobe representatives to provide clarity on these matters and address concerns regarding account termination and lack of response to inquiries.




« Last Edit: February 24, 2024, 07:02 by zi_fi »


« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2024, 17:28 »
+4
There have been contributors in the past - even back in the fotolia days - who manipulated the algorithm with downloads from another account or via "friends". Even fotolia moderators were banned for a longer period of time when this was discovered.

I think that the agencies react very sensitively to this.

Of course, I can't judge what happened in your case. But if you have a conspicuously high number of downloads from people who sign up for a 30-day trial subscription and then don't renew, then this is probably registered automatically.

I've never had this case myself, so I can't say too much about it.

Is it possible to view your portfolio somewhere?

« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2024, 03:40 »
+1
I completely agree that maintaining the integrity of platforms like Adobe Stock is crucial.

Regarding your concern about conspicuously high numbers of downloads from trial subscriptions, I must clarify that I have never engaged in or encouraged such practices. It is not logical nor ethical to have friends purchase my content to inflate download numbers. I have always operated within the guidelines and ethical standards set forth by Adobe Stock.

Furthermore, Adobe MUST enhance its security measures to detect and prevent fraudulent activities, such as the creation of fake email accounts to download content.

Here's my portfolio on SS: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/zjabarin?sort=newest
(I wish you like it)


« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2024, 04:02 »
0
Sorry to read this.

I wonder if people from some regions of the world have a higher problem with these fraudulent downloads because there are simply are a lot more fraudsters active in that region.

Perhaps being spurred on by some youtubers sharing "tips" how to get "free" content by abusing the trial periods.

But Adobe should look into the individual case and only terminate if they have a genuine reason to suspect that the producer is somehow involved.

I hope there is a real human involvement in termination.

Because no artist can prevent abusive downloads.

I hope they can help you. Because it seems to be that only Adobe has these massive amounts of portfolio closures on the artists side.

« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2024, 04:22 »
+3
Hey there,

It's a shame that certain regions seem to have more issues with fraudulent downloads, possibly fueled by those YouTube "tips" on exploiting trial periods for "free" content.

Adobe is a significant platform for contributors like us, and it's expanding rapidly. We definitely need it, but it's essential for them to improve communication and provide better protection for artists. They should be able to differentiate between fraudsters and loyal contributors in this age of advanced security infrastructure options.

Taking such drastic actions like termination without thorough investigation after just four days of requesting payout seems a bit too hasty, to say the least.

Here's hoping they can rectify these issues soon.

Cheers!


« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2024, 04:50 »
+3
There have been contributors in the past - even back in the fotolia days - who manipulated the algorithm with downloads from another account or via "friends". Even fotolia moderators were banned for a longer period of time when this was discovered.

The FB groups for AS/SS (they advertise on all of them) are full of people advertising "account with xxxx credits - i'll buy your stuff for ranking" and other things going.
Its very prevalent.  And yes, so is the free trial thing.

Mainly Pakistan and India but certainly elsewhere too.

Accounts are either free ones, obtained using stolen CC credentials, stolen login credentials or obtained through someone's work.

Its getting to the stage i think agencies might genuinely need to consider a contributor block from certain areas or at the very least a much much tougher vetting, review and monitoring regime.

Some of these flagged accounts may genuinely be innocent victims - mistakes do happen and im aware of a few.  BUT the vast majority of people on FB complaining were breaking the rules, got caught and arent happy about it.


« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2024, 05:07 »
+1


Regarding your concern about conspicuously high numbers of downloads from trial subscriptions, I must clarify that I have never engaged in or encouraged such practices. It is not logical nor ethical to have friends purchase my content to inflate download numbers. I have always operated within the guidelines and ethical standards set forth by Adobe Stock.




Perhaps Mat Hayward can take a look at this if you let him know in a personal message.

« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2024, 05:08 »
+1
There have been contributors in the past - even back in the fotolia days - who manipulated the algorithm with downloads from another account or via "friends". Even fotolia moderators were banned for a longer period of time when this was discovered.

The FB groups for AS/SS (they advertise on all of them) are full of people advertising "account with xxxx credits - i'll buy your stuff for ranking" and other things going.
Its very prevalent.  And yes, so is the free trial thing.

Mainly Pakistan and India but certainly elsewhere too.

Accounts are either free ones, obtained using stolen CC credentials, stolen login credentials or obtained through someone's work.

Its getting to the stage i think agencies might genuinely need to consider a contributor block from certain areas or at the very least a much much tougher vetting, review and monitoring regime.

Some of these flagged accounts may genuinely be innocent victims - mistakes do happen and im aware of a few.  BUT the vast majority of people on FB complaining were breaking the rules, got caught and arent happy about it.

While it's true that fraud can occur in any country, it's concerning that such practices seem to be more rampant in specific areas.

The question of why Adobe allows such activities is indeed valid. One would expect a platform as reputable as Adobe to have robust security measures in place to prevent such abuses. The fact that these activities continue despite their existence raises questions about the effectiveness of their systems, particularly in terms of payment processing.

Furthermore, the accusation leveled against me in the email, suggesting that I purchased my own content using free trials, is both unfounded and alarming. The same content performs well on other platforms, indicating that there may be discrepancies in Adobe's investigation process.

Overall, there's a clear need for Adobe to implement stricter vetting, review, and monitoring procedures to curb fraudulent activities effectively. & stricter monitoring of free trial accounts is essential to prevent fraudulent activities.


« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2024, 05:16 »
+2
Anyone know if there is any way we can tell if a download is likely to have come from a free trial? How much do we get paid for a free trial download?

« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2024, 07:01 »
0
From what I understand we always get paid normally if content is bought via free trials.

Which is where the abuse part comes in, some people do make their friends sign up for free trials and buy content. Some criminal gangs might even have a large networks organised this way and make thousands of dollars before Adobe finds them.

Then they steal or create new identities and start again.

Especially in countries where 3000 dollars is worth like 30 000 elsewhere, it is extremely profitable to steal via agencies with endless fake profiles.

In addition they sell their free downloads to other users who can buy much cheaper from then than from Adobe directly.

The problem is real.

But producers should be protected from criminals. There is no way you can protect yourself from abusive downloads.

« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2024, 07:19 »
+2
That's a horrible thing happened to you.  That sucks.  Sorry.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2024, 12:39 »
0
From what I understand we always get paid normally if content is bought via free trials.

Which is where the abuse part comes in, some people do make their friends sign up for free trials and buy content. Some criminal gangs might even have a large networks organised this way and make thousands of dollars before Adobe finds them.

Then they steal or create new identities and start again.

Especially in countries where 3000 dollars is worth like 30 000 elsewhere, it is extremely profitable to steal via agencies with endless fake profiles.

In addition they sell their free downloads to other users who can buy much cheaper from then than from Adobe directly.

The problem is real.

But producers should be protected from criminals. There is no way you can protect yourself from abusive downloads.

Why would these gangs or groups target zi_fi, or anyone else not associated, for downloads then, if they have no financial gain in doing that?

I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?

« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2024, 16:03 »
+1
From what I understand we always get paid normally if content is bought via free trials.

Which is where the abuse part comes in, some people do make their friends sign up for free trials and buy content. Some criminal gangs might even have a large networks organised this way and make thousands of dollars before Adobe finds them.

Then they steal or create new identities and start again.

Especially in countries where 3000 dollars is worth like 30 000 elsewhere, it is extremely profitable to steal via agencies with endless fake profiles.

In addition they sell their free downloads to other users who can buy much cheaper from then than from Adobe directly.

The problem is real.

But producers should be protected from criminals. There is no way you can protect yourself from abusive downloads.

I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?


The thought had already crossed my mind, Pete. That's why I asked the OP if you can see the portfolio somewhere.

It would be quite conceivable that someone could initiate something like this to get rid of a competitor with a comparable portfolio.

In the case of the OP, however, I can't judge how many portfolios with similar content exist.

« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2024, 16:09 »
+2
However, I generally believe that there are indications as to why such purchases - for example via a 30-day free trial - become conspicuous at all.

If the buyer does not search for keywords, but enters the image numbers directly and downloads the images, this is not "normal" search behavior. And if this happens several times in a row, some automated "alarm signals" will probably go off at the agencies - which is understandable.

« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2024, 19:37 »
0
From what I understand we always get paid normally if content is bought via free trials.

Which is where the abuse part comes in, some people do make their friends sign up for free trials and buy content. Some criminal gangs might even have a large networks organised this way and make thousands of dollars before Adobe finds them.

Then they steal or create new identities and start again.

Especially in countries where 3000 dollars is worth like 30 000 elsewhere, it is extremely profitable to steal via agencies with endless fake profiles.

In addition they sell their free downloads to other users who can buy much cheaper from then than from Adobe directly.

The problem is real.

But producers should be protected from criminals. There is no way you can protect yourself from abusive downloads.

Why would these gangs or groups target zi_fi, or anyone else not associated, for downloads then, if they have no financial gain in doing that?

I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?


They probably want his content. These gangs also sell batches of stolen content online.
They make money in all ways in this scam.


« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2024, 22:08 »
+3
I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?

There are discussions on some groups that a tactic can make a very good denial of service type attack if its a personal grudge.  At "best" they lose it forever, at "worst" they still lose it for weeks/months while its investigated.

Theres also the other possibility that they have content worth stealing OR picked at random to steal most of the content to reupload as their own at a later date.  They do target random accounts just as a form of content mining.

The whole thing is rapidly becoming a swamp of bad deeds and seemingly monitoring/enforcement hasnt kept pace with the exploiters.  I suspect the problem here is the result of a rapid increase in fraud attempts from specific areas and a rapid increase of new contributor accounts resulting in automated systems flagging an account and no staff available to human review in any sensible time frame (if at all).



« Last Edit: February 25, 2024, 22:11 by gnirtS »

« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2024, 03:28 »
0
From what I understand we always get paid normally if content is bought via free trials.

Which is where the abuse part comes in, some people do make their friends sign up for free trials and buy content. Some criminal gangs might even have a large networks organised this way and make thousands of dollars before Adobe finds them.

Then they steal or create new identities and start again.

Especially in countries where 3000 dollars is worth like 30 000 elsewhere, it is extremely profitable to steal via agencies with endless fake profiles.

In addition they sell their free downloads to other users who can buy much cheaper from then than from Adobe directly.

The problem is real.

But producers should be protected from criminals. There is no way you can protect yourself from abusive downloads.

Why would these gangs or groups target zi_fi, or anyone else not associated, for downloads then, if they have no financial gain in doing that?

I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?


They probably want his content. These gangs also sell batches of stolen content online.
They make money in all ways in this scam.

Yes, that's right, that could of course also be a reason. That would be a double whammy for the OR.

« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2024, 03:11 »
+1
However, I generally believe that there are indications as to why such purchases - for example via a 30-day free trial - become conspicuous at all.

If the buyer does not search for keywords, but enters the image numbers directly and downloads the images, this is not "normal" search behavior. And if this happens several times in a row, some automated "alarm signals" will probably go off at the agencies - which is understandable.

It's evident that there are certain behaviors that should raise red flags, such as direct downloads using image numbers without keyword searches. However, it's baffling that Adobe either lacks the tracking systems to detect such anomalies or simply chooses not to investigate thoroughly. Opting for account termination as a quick fix is not only lazy but also unjust. Contributors invest significant time and effort into building their portfolios, and they deserve better than arbitrary terminations without proper investigation. Adobe needs to step up and implement robust monitoring systems to ensure fair treatment of its contributors.





« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2024, 03:14 »
0
I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?

There are discussions on some groups that a tactic can make a very good denial of service type attack if its a personal grudge.  At "best" they lose it forever, at "worst" they still lose it for weeks/months while its investigated.

Theres also the other possibility that they have content worth stealing OR picked at random to steal most of the content to reupload as their own at a later date.  They do target random accounts just as a form of content mining.

The whole thing is rapidly becoming a swamp of bad deeds and seemingly monitoring/enforcement hasnt kept pace with the exploiters.  I suspect the problem here is the result of a rapid increase in fraud attempts from specific areas and a rapid increase of new contributor accounts resulting in automated systems flagging an account and no staff available to human review in any sensible time frame (if at all).

You've touched on a critical issue here.
While contributors may receive compensation from the platform, some users will exploit the system to obtain free content without any commitments.
The abuse of free trials undermines contributors' efforts and compromises the integrity of the marketplace. Platforms need to reassess their policies to prevent exploitation and protect contributors' interests.


« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2024, 03:23 »
0
From what I understand we always get paid normally if content is bought via free trials.

Which is where the abuse part comes in, some people do make their friends sign up for free trials and buy content. Some criminal gangs might even have a large networks organised this way and make thousands of dollars before Adobe finds them.

Then they steal or create new identities and start again.

Especially in countries where 3000 dollars is worth like 30 000 elsewhere, it is extremely profitable to steal via agencies with endless fake profiles.

In addition they sell their free downloads to other users who can buy much cheaper from then than from Adobe directly.

The problem is real.

But producers should be protected from criminals. There is no way you can protect yourself from abusive downloads.

Why would these gangs or groups target zi_fi, or anyone else not associated, for downloads then, if they have no financial gain in doing that?

I suppose there could be some kind of personal attack or revenge motive to pick someone out to harm their income?


They probably want his content. These gangs also sell batches of stolen content online.
They make money in all ways in this scam.

Downloaders may seek valuable content for their projects, potentially benefiting financially. However, regardless of their motives, Adobe's actions toward contributors have been unjust. As a victim myself, it's clear that thorough investigations before termintaing my account are lacking.

« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2024, 03:27 »
0


Regarding your concern about conspicuously high numbers of downloads from trial subscriptions, I must clarify that I have never engaged in or encouraged such practices. It is not logical nor ethical to have friends purchase my content to inflate download numbers. I have always operated within the guidelines and ethical standards set forth by Adobe Stock.




Perhaps Mat Hayward can take a look at this if you let him know in a personal message.

I reached out to Mat Hayward three days ago but haven't received a response yet. If anyone here has alternate contacts or can assist me in reaching an Adobe representative, I'd greatly appreciate it.

« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2024, 04:51 »
0

I reached out to Mat Hayward three days ago but haven't received a response yet. If anyone here has alternate contacts or can assist me in reaching an Adobe representative, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Have you tried the Discord group?

« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2024, 05:06 »
+1
Discussion of blocked accounts is not allowed in the AS Discord.

« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2024, 05:58 »
+2
However, I generally believe that there are indications as to why such purchases - for example via a 30-day free trial - become conspicuous at all.

If the buyer does not search for keywords, but enters the image numbers directly and downloads the images, this is not "normal" search behavior. And if this happens several times in a row, some automated "alarm signals" will probably go off at the agencies - which is understandable.

It's evident that there are certain behaviors that should raise red flags, such as direct downloads using image numbers without keyword searches. However, it's baffling that Adobe either lacks the tracking systems to detect such anomalies or simply chooses not to investigate thoroughly. Opting for account termination as a quick fix is not only lazy but also unjust. Contributors invest significant time and effort into building their portfolios, and they deserve better than arbitrary terminations without proper investigation. Adobe needs to step up and implement robust monitoring systems to ensure fair treatment of its contributors.

I would like add this:

It is not generally suspicious if images are not searched for, but the image numbers are entered and the image is downloaded.

We have searched for images for certain projects often enough and forwarded the image numbers to our customers so that they can buy the images. This is quite a common procedure.

In our case, however, it was always images from a wide variety of contributors. And our customers also bought the images and did not download them via free trial.

In any case, I would very much appreciate it if Mat would take a closer look at your case and give you more specific feedback.

« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2024, 06:26 »
0
Some people here are suggesting that Adobe doesn't investigate properly and shuts down accounts without sufficient evidence, but maybe the long time that it takes them to investigate accounts (and then either unblock them or terminate them) could indicate that Adobe is being very thorough. As contributors we really have no idea what level of fraud is going on.

« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2024, 06:26 »
0
However, I generally believe that there are indications as to why such purchases - for example via a 30-day free trial - become conspicuous at all.

If the buyer does not search for keywords, but enters the image numbers directly and downloads the images, this is not "normal" search behavior. And if this happens several times in a row, some automated "alarm signals" will probably go off at the agencies - which is understandable.

It's evident that there are certain behaviors that should raise red flags, such as direct downloads using image numbers without keyword searches. However, it's baffling that Adobe either lacks the tracking systems to detect such anomalies or simply chooses not to investigate thoroughly. Opting for account termination as a quick fix is not only lazy but also unjust. Contributors invest significant time and effort into building their portfolios, and they deserve better than arbitrary terminations without proper investigation. Adobe needs to step up and implement robust monitoring systems to ensure fair treatment of its contributors.

I would like add this:

It is not generally suspicious if images are not searched for, but the image numbers are entered and the image is downloaded.

We have searched for images for certain projects often enough and forwarded the image numbers to our customers so that they can buy the images. This is quite a common procedure.

In our case, however, it was always images from a wide variety of contributors. And our customers also bought the images and did not download them via free trial.

In any case, I would very much appreciate it if Mat would take a closer look at your case and give you more specific feedback.

I'm optimistic that he'll be able to do so if he's available to assist.

« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2024, 06:33 »
0
Some people here are suggesting that Adobe doesn't investigate properly and shuts down accounts without sufficient evidence, but maybe the long time that it takes them to investigate accounts (and then either unblock them or terminate them) could indicate that Adobe is being very thorough. As contributors we really have no idea what level of fraud is going on.

The presence of fraud on Adobe (and other platforms as well) doesn't imply that contributors, who have invested years in building their portfolios, are fraudulents. In my case, the risk of losing over $5,000 a year on Adobe far outweighs any potential gain from engaging in the accusation they made for me.

« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2024, 08:41 »
+1
Some people here are suggesting that Adobe doesn't investigate properly and shuts down accounts without sufficient evidence, but maybe the long time that it takes them to investigate accounts (and then either unblock them or terminate them) could indicate that Adobe is being very thorough. As contributors we really have no idea what level of fraud is going on.

Im sure the level of fraud is now astronomical and growing exponentially - faster than they can cope with.

Rather than risk innocent contributors lose weeks/months of money (potentially thousands) for a false alarm with no recourse, assuming no clear, obvious copyright issues id like to see the account still active for sales and earnings held in escrow for the duration of a review.
If the review finds them innocent they get that money and no image ranking is then lost.  If it finds against them its used by Adobe to cover whatever is needed.




 

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