What do Iran, Bush vs Gore campaign, and Talenthouse contests have in common?

What do Iran, Bush vs Gore campaign, and Talenthouse contests have in common? You can win a contest without winning the popular vote. Recently, Model Mayhem sent out a site wide announcement to every member. Now you might think the announcement had something to do with all the recent technical problems and what they are doing to address it but no. The announcement was a thinly veiled spam message in the form of a notice informing all members of the a recent winner and conveniently an invite to view the other contest and vote. This is the entire text of the announcement:

We just wanted to pass along some updates around a handful of Model Mayhem and Talenthouse contests:

Congrats to MM’s Guslene Amber

Congratulations to Guslene Amber for winning the recent Talenthouse contest to work with Project Runway’s Jeanie Syfu.  It’s great to see MMer’s get recognized.

Vote for wet n wild Contestants

We have over 2,000 MMers vying to be the next face of wet n wild cosmetics.  Head over to the Talenthouse site any time between March 30th and April 2nd to vote.  Here’s hoping for another MM victory.

Last Call for the Naomi Campbell Competitions

We’re in the final stretches of being able to join the two contests to work with Naomi Campbell.  The submission deadline is April  4th.  There is one contest for models and another for photographers.    We know an MM should take both of these contests so make sure you’re in the running!

MM Team

If this was posted in the forum, it would be locked as spam as was this thread. But if Model Mayhem wants to make money, it’s called a valuable message, not spam. Now I have no problems with a site advertising but let’s not treat members like they have the intelligence of 5 year olds. So looking at the winning entry, something caught my eye. I’ve seen some really great hair stylists on Model Mayhem and looking at the winning profile, well…let’s just say I was puzzled. I went to the Talenthouse website and this is what I saw regarding that particular contest. I see the winning entry got 54 votes while two of the losing entries got 12,610 votes and 8,807 votes. Now I have always known that the Talenthouse votes are pretty much meaningless as they only get the submissions into the semifinals for consideration but I bet most people who enter these contest don’t realize that. The winners are chosen by the host of the contest and they can pretty much ignore all the other votes and choose anyone they want. That’s their prerogative of course but consider the fact that some Talenthouse contest charges 99 cents for each text message vote.  That amounts to a lot of money for votes that have no bearing on the final outcome. According to the Talenthouse website, some of that money may be split with the participating artists. It’s unclear how it is split and that question to Talenthouse went unanswered as of publication.

Now I’m not going to call this a scam as some have done. They do disclose how things are done in the rules section but you have to go digging for it. I would just caution anyone thinking about entering these contest to consider that #1. It will cost your friends 99 cents per vote for some contests and #2. Those votes are meaningless in the final decision process. Keep in mind this basically a work on spec offer repackaged to look like a contest where someone has to pay to vote. The sponsor of the contest owns your intellectual property if you win. Here is how they address intellectual property rights.

Who owns what, and when?
Intellectual property is a serious issue. On Talenthosue members sometimes agree to use owned (e.g. copyrighted materials) presented by the host for use in the Invite. In these cases, the member takes no property interest in the pre-existing property. After completing and submitting an Entry, the member owns the rights to the Entry (although not the rights to the host’s pre-existing property). This is true all the way up until a member’s Entry is selected as the Invite winner. Then, and only then, does the member agree to transfer their rights to that particular Entry over to the host. They do this by executing all of the documentation necessary to transfer the property and the host becomes the sole owner. It must be reiterated, however, that the member never gains any ownership interest in the host’s property. In other words, to use a non-winning Entry which contains a host’s property commercially, the submitting member must obtain the authority of the host. Talenthouse is not responsible for a member’s misuse or infringement upon a host’s property.

I sent Talenthouse some questions and here was their response.

I have some specific questions regarding your contest. In particular this contest which has a declared winner.


1. In this particular contest, how was the winner chosen and who chose the final winner? Was it chosen solely by the host based on any available entries or chosen by the host based on semi final entries. Obviously, it was not based on popular votes.

2. Are there any other means to vote other than to text the votes at 99 cents per vote?

3. In this particular contest, how are those voting revenues split, if at all? Are they split between all entries, winning entries? What is the percentage breakdown?

Your prompt response is very much appreciated.

Dear Pat Yuen,

Thank you for your note and interest in Talenthouse. Please find my answers below:

1. We are constantly redefining our way on how to make the voting process as fair as possible based on our users feedback. The current public voting process is designed to provide an initial pre-selection and the top 20 voted submissions secure their place to be submitted to the host of the Creative Invite to choose the winning submission to work with. Nevertheless the final decision is not based on popular vote alone and in this case Jeanie Syfu was free to work with one of the top 20 contestants but was also encouraged to browse through all other submissions to find the person she feels most comfortable with and wants to provide this opportunity to. As far as I know she made a short list of the most promising candidates and actually met a few in person before making her final decision. It is not on us to pressure any decision upon her and she decided to work with Guslene as the winner of this project. I do understand that projects with only one winning candidate are always kind of delicate and we are working on providing more opportunities for the runner-ups in the future.

2. We have different voting systems and the Jeanie Syfu text message voting was free of charge (not 99 cents). We chose to work with text message voting to prevent voting fraud (fraudulent behavior is much more common/easier with most web/click voting systems).

3. With other more brand oriented projects we established a premium voting (99 cents per vote) and the money earned is then distributed among all participants based on their amount of votes (percentage), see our adidas project for example http://bit.ly/cUF9Uw

Like I said, we officially launched in October 2009 and Talenthouse was founded to provide opportunities to the creative community in the best way we can by bringing together aspiring/up-and-coming artists and creatives with established brands, artists and organizations. Any feedback on how to improve the voting/filtering process is highly appreciated.

Thanks and let me know if you have any further questions.

Best regards, Frederik

Frederik Hermann
Talenthouse Inc.

655 Castro St, Suite 2
Mountain View, CA, 94041

[email protected]
Fax: +1 (888) 661-3954


Just a final note about the Adidas eye wear contest. In the referenced press release, Talenthouse proclaims in the headline that the winner received more than a year of income. That claim is based on Tamir Baasanjav from Ulan Bator, Mongolia receiving 12% of $20,000 or $2,400. That’s not entirely correct. Based on the CIA World Factbook, the GDP for 2009 in Mongolia was $3,200. It’s still a lot of money for someone in Mongolia, not so much for someone in NY or Tokyo.

Those with questions or concerns can post them here.

What I learned at Model Mayhem

Regarding photography:

  • The photographer owns the copyright and can do whatever he/she wants with the images.
  • Web images should be 72 dpi to prevent download.
  • Shutter speed affects strobe exposure.
  • Dental floss in the butt crack means the model is no longer nude.
  • All professionals reply to all emails regardless of interest level.
  • Photographers charge deposits but don’t pay deposits.
  • Photographers require full commercial releases from TF models but models have to get special written permission to print images or use images on an agency web site.
  • Listing photography gear on the profile adds credibility. Buying an International Photography Award adds even more credibility.
  • It’s illegal to photograph a minor without both parents and a notary public present.
  • People care about how much money photography gear cost.
  • People actually care that a model flaked on a photographer.
  • People will care when I leave Model Mayhem so it’s best to start a thread announcing my departure.
  • Everyone in a TF shoot must work free even if it does not benefit them.
  • $35 kit fee is less expensive than a $35 mua fee.
  • Picture comments mean something.
  • A pervert is a photographer who touches a nude model. A true artist is the same photographer with a body painter profile.
  • A true artist cannot shoot with an escort present.

Banned from Model Mayhem

I actually just found out about my banning from Model Mayhem about six hours ago. It was not really unexpected and not such a big deal to me. I had already stopped actively participating on the site about 3 weeks ago. I know a lot of people have questions and I’ll be back to explain more later. In the meantime, go read these two posts I made three weeks ago to get some history.

This is the post that supposedly caused my banning. The explanation given to me was “Your actions to disseminate the security flaw yesterday through as viral way as possible without making any attempt to alert the moderator or management team is a clear indication that you are not interested in being a productive member of the MM community.  We feel it is time for you to seek a presence elsewhere.”

I think Model Mayhem would have been better off just banning me without explanation. To ban me for expressing myself on an independent site about an issue that is open to the world just makes it look like they are trying to shift the blame for their continued screw ups. They have already admitted that the security flaw was caused by Dean Johnson, one of their own administrators. They got caught with their pants down in the middle of Times Square on NYE and they are pissed that I pointed at them and laughed while I told those around me. In the meantime, tens of thousands of people are seeing them with their pants down and they are upset I didn’t immediately run up to them and say “hey your pants are down!”

Post your questions in the comment section. I’ll be happy to answer them.  Continue reading “Banned from Model Mayhem”

Model Mayhem security flaw reveals hidden forums for all to see

In their continuing struggle with authentication bugs, Model Mayhem reached a new low about an hour ago revealing the contents of hidden forums for all to see. Not just all members mind you but the world. This latest bug allows logged out viewers to see hidden and confidential content that is not visible to logged in viewers. Since this content is publicly viewable, I have no doubt Google and Bing are hard at work indexing the content as I write this. Last October, I made this suggestion to members of one of the hidden forums  “I suggest that everyone posting in this forum assume the information is public even though it’s in a limited view area.” Well it appears not everyone heeded my advice as moderators have since started very inflammatory threads in the mod forum. Now it has come back to bite them in the ass. Here’s a screen cap of what anyone can see on Model Mayhem without logging in.

Not only that, the brig list now has a handy little tool allowing anyone to get a summary of any members briggings and the lock log now shows the moderators who locked the thread. I shudder to see what will show up next.

Adobe Lightroom 3 will include the ability to embed graphical watermarks

Image via Wikipedia

I just redesigned my website and had to recreate over 20,000 web images with my watermark. My existing workflow to do that involved exporting the images from Lightroom 2 to a file then opening those files in Photoshop to do nothing but add a watermark. The current version of Lightroom only permits text watermarks. When Lightroom 3 is released, it will have a new feature to allow embedding of graphical watermarks including transparent png files. This will be a huge time saver for those who process large quantities of web images.

Other notable features include:

  • Integration with Flickr accounts. You will be able to publish from LR3 into Flickr and comments on images will be reflected in the LR3 catalog. This feature requires a Flickr Pro account.
  • Improved performance throughout the application for faster importing and loading of images
  • Native tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras
  • Luminance noise reduction has been added to the previous color noise reduction improvements available in the first public beta for outstanding overall high ISO quality
  • Support for importing and managing video files from DSLR cameras for better overall photographic workflow control
  • Improvements to the import experience in the first beta to reflect public feedback
  • Improved watermarking functionality from the first beta to reflect public feedback

Lightroom 3 beta 2 builds on the enhancements introduced in the first Lightroom 3 beta release:

  • Brand new performance architecture, building for the future of growing image libraries
  • State-of-the-art noise reduction to help you perfect your high ISO shots
  • Watermarking tool that helps you customize and protect your images with ease
  • Portable sharable slideshows with audio—designed to give you more flexibility and impact on how you choose to share your images, you can now save and export your slideshows as videos and include audio
  • Flexible customizable print package creation so your print package layouts are all your own
  • Film grain simulation tool for enhancing your images to look as gritty as you want
  • New import handling designed to make importing streamlined and easy
  • More flexible online publishing options so you can post your images online to certain online photo sharing sites directly from inside Lightroom 3 beta (may require third-party plug-ins)*

Check here to view a video of new features.

Check here to download a copy of Lightroom 3 Beta 2

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Content Aware Fill Feature in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Will Blow Your Mind

Image via Wikipedia

It’s like magic. What use to take hours will now take seconds. The upcoming Adobe Photoshop CS5 feature creates new pixels based on the content of surrounding pixels. Obviously, Adobe hand picked images best suited for this feature so time will tell how well it will work but damn, it’s impressive nevertheless.

Apparently, it’s based on technology from Adobe researchers Eli Shechtman & Dan Goldman, working together with Prof. Adam Finkelstein from Princeton & PhD student Connelly Barnes, creating something called PatchMatch, “A Randomized Correspondence Algorithm for Structural Image Editing.”

Switch to HD mode for a better look.

Adobe Photoshop CS5: Content-Aware Fill Sneak Peek
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New from Adobe Labs, Content-Aware Fill (Photoshop CS5 ?)
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