Nov 23, 2012

How to avoid Artist Scams like Best Art Marketing and Tuck Tucker – Tips and Case Study


Creating and Selling Art is a tough business and as in any other business (sports, modeling, fashion) with lots of people following their dream they become easy targets for shady predators. Keep in mind that nobody really will do the job for you and especially not for free. It all boils down to us doing the leg work of promoting ourselves and our art and how badly we want to succeed. This is based on a personnel experience. I fell for a rip-off that qualifies as an artist scam when I was tired of online marketing and looking for a break. I fell for Tuck Tucker who also goes by the name Bill Tucker and his shady online business Best Art Marketing. Bill also operates under websites like The Art Marketing Agency and his latest website Visual Arts Marketing which is geared towards all artists. He targets photographers and artists in his Fine Art Photography Resource group on LinkedIn. My experience with his false advertisement promises and art scam inspired me to compile the following tips to avoid email spam, artist scam and rip off or fraud. In addition I provide you with my personal experience with Tuck Tucker and Best Art Marketing.

Tip#1: Keep your guard up at all times and never let them down. Double-check with other artists, research online, and do not trust anybody. If you suspect an artist scam most likely it is one.

Tip #2: Do your research. If it is an art scam, somebody else may have already fallen for it and written about it online. A quick Google Search for company name or person with the words artist scam or art scam will hopefully identify the scammer and scam and put an end to it.

Tip #3: Be aware of spam, phishing, or scam emails. Common warning signs in emails are misspelled words, poor grammar, or an urgent hurried buyer from overseas. When receiving an email from an unknown sources or identified as spam, phishing, or scam, the best is just to delete it. In any case do not respond because you might open your computer to be hacked.

Tip #4: Pay attention to warning signs on malicious websites. A badly designed website with bright, flashy colors or poorly drafted emails should immediately ring the alarm bells. Take matters into your own hands and start an intensive research and query the site or company you are thinking of doing business with before spending your hard-earned dollars.

Tip #5: Be cautious when a buyer wants to make their own shipping arrangements or have somebody else pick up the artwork, usually an indicator of a spam and warning sign for a rip-off, scam, or fraud.

Tip #6: Avoid overpayment and ensure the payment has cleared before shipping your art. Be skeptical if a potential buyer is offering to pay by cashier’s check or money order. Make sure not to be overpaid and never agree to return the overpayment.

Tip #7: Always ask and request references or a client list so that you can follow up with other artist and questioning them about their experience. If there isn't one you probably want to stay away. Also challenge references and credential by running a google search for artist, company or other info that was provided may provide important background information.

Tip #8: Take action when you suspect a rip off, scam, or fraud or have become a victim. File a complaint, share resources, and share your experience with fellow artists and photographers.

FBI  

Tip #9: Spread the word and tips to make other artists aware. Share this post with other artists, friends and family … hopefully it will prevent them from falling for an art rip-off scam like I did.

Tip #10: Don’t dwell on being a victim to an art scam for too long. Try turning a negative experience while selling and marketing your artwork into a positive by sharing and connecting with other artists. Build an alliance against artist rip-offs, scams, fraud and post your own experiences here.  

Case Study Based on my own Experience with Best Art Marketing and Bill Tucker: At the end of July 2012 I had my guard down and was a victim of an artist scam and rip-off that falsely promised online marketing assistance. I lost money to Bill Tucker and Best Art Marketing. Bill also goes by the name Tuck Tucker and runs the Fine Art Resource group on LinkedIn where he targets photographers and artists. He operates this group to advertise his bogus services in group posts, obtains your email address and sends out email advertisement of his false services. When I visited his old website the alarm bells already should have rung. It was poorly designed; colors and font just screamed scam. A quick Google search afterwards revealed that there were already posts complaining about his marketing service and his bad business ethics. Obviously I did not do my homework properly. However, I was tired and looking for an online marketing break and remember thinking that it would be nice to get that desired break and thinking how bad could it be. Tuck Tucker must provide something of use, even if it is only the promised Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So eventually, I paid using Paypal. Besides SEO, Bill promised promotions through Best Art Marketing and of course in the end more sales and exposure worldwide. Needless to say, that initially nada was provided as promised which classifies it as an artist scam. There was only communication when I filed a claim with Paypal but it turned out that Paypal is useless for these kinds of claims and it was lifted at one point, letting Bill of the hook. The 100% money back guarantee that Bill Tucker and Best Art Marketing offer is bogus too and he has no intention of refunding any of our hard earned dollars that we transfer. Based on the initial experience I decided to apply pressure via my social network on Twitter, Facebook and on LinkedIn. I am very thankful to my network for sharing because it must have been somewhat successful and impacted his revenue since in October 2012 I received an apology email from him and The Art Marketing Agency. He said I fell off the radar and within the email was the report that was promised and advertised originally. The report was embedded in the email but had no value to me. Its main features were a list of links to common online art galleries where we can sell our artwork, recommendations to use social networks like Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Facebook, to start writing a blog, and a list of SEO keywords that are very common for fine art photography and that I already use. The main push of his service is to get you to apply to an art online auction site in France. I never did since it cost extra money to apply. In my opinion he is counting on artists not being accepted, then dropping the ball and not bothering anymore … easy money for Tucker but worthless for any artist and photographer. At the end of his email Bill states that if I am not satisfied with the report and service a refund will be granted. Since the report has little to no value for anybody and the overall experience was horrible I asked for the refund. Needless to say the refund has not been granted yet and as of 31 October 2012 he is working out details with Paypal. In the meantime I revisited old posts in the discussion forum of Fine Art Photography Resources on LinkedIn and learned that he removed my access from the group to post comments, deleted my previous comments to warn other photography artists of the shady business practices of Tuck Tucker and Best Art Marketing and deleted negative comments from other photographers as well. It is funny to see that there are still comments from others thanking Juergen when the original post is gone.

In conclusion Best Art Marketing and Tuck Tucker or Bill Tucker badly represented the artist online manager and art marketing management business industry. I would not expect any better services from The Art Marketing Agency and his latest website Visual Arts Marketing. My clear recommendation for every artist and photographer out there is to be aware and stay away from Tuck Tucker and his false fine art marketing gimmicks and perform an extensive research on any other art marketing service you think of to sign with. Last, please spread the word here if you find an excellent art consultant that provides helpful and outstanding services to the art community and world.

Thanks, Juergen