Frommer’s Rights-Grabbing Contest Loses Prestigious Judge!

Rick Sammon, AKA “The Digital Dude” and consumate travel photographer, is no longer listed as a judge in Frommer’s odious travel photo contest.

Way to go, Rick!  You are indeed, the dude.

When I contacted Rick to ask him about the contest, he forgot that he had even signed on as a judge (it happens when you’ve got as much going on as Rick). Same thing happened to me when I agreed to judge the travel photo contest for USA Today with Nat Geo director of photography David Griffin.

Once David and I got wind of the rules, we pressured USA Today to change them. Because we were 2/3rds of the judges, we succeeded.

But Rick was 1/6th of a panel that otherwise consisted entirely of Frommer’s employees (in this job market, nobody’s gonna rock the boat on a fulltime day job in the editorial world by pressuring their corporate legal department to change unfair entry rules). So, being the only truly independent judge on the panel, Rick did the right thing, and walked.

Rick probably also walked from a nice honorarium for the day’s work. (Unless, of course, he’s a complete sucker liked me and agreed to judge the contest for a box lunch, mileage, and tolls because “budgets are tight these days.”)

But I think he’s too smart for that, and I’m happy to see that he’s also too conscientious to participate in a contest that so blatantly rips off both professional and amateur photographers!

This entry was posted in Career issues, Legal Issues, Travel.


  1. Jim Green March 18, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    Its very nice to see people with ethics and standards. I’m impressed with Mr. Sammon.

  2. mk March 18, 2010 at 10:53 am #


    Big thanks for continuing to fight the good fight. You, too, are the dude!

  3. Renee G March 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Thanks, Bob, for shining a light on this issue. I have always respected you and now my opinion of Rick went up too. No more Frommers for me.

    • Bob March 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks Renee! Bob

  4. Eric Bowles March 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    Thanks for the warning – I was actually considering entering the contest.

  5. heber vega March 19, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    Thank you,


  6. Michael Brochstein March 19, 2010 at 4:57 am #

    Ditto! Thanks for “shining” the light (and taking the potential risk to your income) and kudo’s to Rick!

  7. Kevin Mayo March 20, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Way to go Rick

  8. Darlene March 20, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    I was going to enter too, then I read the rules and saw that they took all rights to the images entered. I’m wary of all contests like this with big prizes as I’ve found others with similar rules. Get a whole bunch of “free” photography with unlimited usage for the cost of a couple prizes. I decided not to enter too. I think for an amateur that doesn’t plan on selling their images it could be okay but not for a pro.

  9. David McCormick April 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    Midwest Photo Exchange and Adobe have a contest with similar rules that hand the rights over for all entrants.

    • Bob April 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

      David: I might point that out to David Hobby at Strobist, as MPE is one of his big sponsors, Bob

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