Apps Services

Say Nope to Foap

Written by Mark McElroy

Update (7/27/2015): This weekend, someone claiming to be a deliriously happy Foap customer posted a glowing review of foap in the comments of this post. In addition to being written like marketing copy, the post featured a point-by-point rebuttal of the article below with integrated links back to specific pages of the foap.com website. I thought the whole comment sounded a little suspicious, so I traced the associated IP address of the commenter back to its source: the town in Poland where Foap is based.

I can’t prove that a member of the foap staff, posing as a happy customer, placed that comment, but I will always believe this was the case — which gives me yet another reason to think of the company as clumsy and creepy. Say “Nope” to foap!

* * * * *

Foap.com offers iPhone photographers the opportunity to upload photos and sell them in the “foap market” for ten bucks a pop. (Five dollars go to the photographer, and five go to foap.) The site also offers assignments (“Photos needed of families at a barbecue!”), and, if you feel inclined to do so, you can shoot those photos on spec and hope that foap will pay you for your troubles.

I signed up months ago, back when foap was shiny and new. I shoot a lot of iPhone photos in exotic locations. “Why not get paid for a few?” I asked. I uploaded several dozen photos. Of these, about two-thirds were judged “foap worthy” by foap’s invisible panel of judges, and they promptly appeared in the foap market.

And that was it. Oh, I got email — lots of it — telling me that other people were rating my photos or that I needed to go rate other people’s photos in order to increase the visibility of my own. But beyond that, I didn’t hear much from foap at all … and within two months, foap went silent.

I had forgotten about foap — and uninstalled the app — when about two months ago I started receiving between ten and fifteen emails a day from the service telling me that other users were rating my photos. “Three stars!” “Four stars!” Frankly, after months of silence, it seemed odd (and even a little suspicous) that my photos were suddenly being rated by as many as fifteen strangers a day, most of whom seemed to have the sort of screen names a random screen name generator might choose (jqf0041, for example, or Pjx4582).

Eventually, getting that many emails a day from a service I was no longer interested in grew tiresome, so I went looking for a way to turn foap off. Surprise: while it’s easy to sign up, it’s not so easy to delete your account. In fact, the *only* way to delete your foap account is to send an email to info@foap.com and request an account deletion.

So I did that. I heard nothing at all from foap — but those spammy “Your photo’s been reviewed!” emails kept on coming. So I sent another request. Again, no reply — but the spammy emails increased.

Ultimately, I decided to send an account deletion email every time I got a spammy email. After about six days of doing this religiously, I finally got a response: “We’re receiving a massive amount of emails, so please consult our FAQ.”

Normally, I’d just write a rule to delete every email from foap.com … but in this case, foap still had my photos in their system, and I wanted those removed from the system. So I kept at it, sending the same email to info@foap.com again and again.

About two weeks later, I received an email telling me that my account had been deleted — but not just me! The email I received was cc:’ed to hundreds of other users. Not bcc:’ed, mind you, but simply cc:’ed, so now I was in possession of a list of email addresses of a big group of people who, like me, were wanting out of foap. I gotta say: that slip-up didn’t do much for my confidence in the company … or the company’s ability to protect customer information.

But the most problematic thing of all? I didn’t make a dollar at foap. I never sold a single photo.

And I can hear you now: “Well, maybe that’s not foap’s fault. Maybe your photos just stink!” Maybe they do. But there’s just one problem: I can’t find anyone else, anywhere else, who says they’re making money with foap. Google it yourself. You’ll find hundreds of tech sites regurgitating foap’s press releases and gushing about the opportunity foap represents. But I didn’t find a single blog post from a single actual photographer claiming to have sold a single foap photo.

Based on my own experience, here’s my advice: say “Nope” to foap.

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32 Comments

  • Thanks for taking the time to write and explain Foap. I have encountered sites like Foap, and they are so frustrating. It's too bad Foap is a Flop, because it sounds like an interesting idea if it were to be done correctly and in the hands of capable people!

  • The real problem of foap is, there are many users, who steal others photos and steal photos from internet/websites and post them. Many of them are sold and the customer support sucks. The should bring an automated system to delete stolen photos or flagged photos.

  • I agree. This Floppy Foap is REALLY frustrating me too, especially after they ask you for a picture of your DL…..COMPLETE with addresses, etc…….wow!

  • I decided to close my account with Foap, and after reading your article I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to delete my photos. But after only one inquiry to Foap, I got this reply & it worked. My photos have been delete following the instructions they gave.
    Hope it works for you!—-

    In order to delete a photo go to Menu -> Photo status -> Published.
    Long click on a photo until it gets selected. You will then be able to click on Trash icon in the top right corner. You can select several photos and delete a bunch at the same time.

    Have a great day,

  • Foap isn’t a bad idea, it’s just poorly implement. I also don’t think it’s a scam. They make money of people purchasing photos, so they have no incentive to discourage users from contributing more photos. Unless the owner is selling these and not telling the users (of course, it’s easy enough to see if your image is out there).

    Here’s the problems with it:
    $10 is actually a lot of money for a one-time usage license for these photos. I work full-time doing internet marketing, and we use stock photo sites like Photodune and thinkstock, and we get much higher quality, professionally produced images in larger formats for as low as $1. The high price for low quality amateur pics is part of the reason sales are low.

    The second big gripe is the review system. Basically, whether your pictures get approved or not are based on star ratings by other users. You need 5 reviews with an average 2.5 rating to get approved. The reviewers are randomly assigned to users who are actively logged in. Basically, this is facilitated by requiring users to rate 5 other photos before having their photo submitted. This happens for each an every photo you submit. You can also “increase your exposure” by rating additional photos, but you can’t count these towards future submissions. Essentially the site owners save money & time from having to hire full time reviewers to see if the photos are quality enough.

    Unfortunately this means the people deciding whether your photo is worthy, and are just trying to get through as many ratings as possible so they can get their own submitted. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been there a day or a year or how many pictures they’ve sold, everyone’s rating gets equal weight. This results in a lot of haphazard voting, pictures getting unfairly rejected, and people upvoting pictures unlikely to sell.

    I noticed the highest rated pictures tended to be sunsets, flowers & landscapes. However, most of the photos actually being sold were of people, food, a few pets, and some artsy shots or cityscapes. People were rating highly the types of pictures they would like on Instagram or their friends Facebook feed, rather than taking into account the composition of the photo.

    This broken rating system is really what is holding this site back.

    • USTUUS: Yours is one of the best explanations of broken foap out there. What gets through the review process is so random and trying to get something through is incredibly time-consuming.

  • They’ve updated Foap so you don’t go through the review process, but somehow the app is even more buggy than before. I did actually sell one photo, one time. I made $5 on a photo of Poutine that some blogger was using for a story. It’s funny because it’s one of my lowest ranked photos.

    I work in digital marketing and the main issue I have with using Foap to buy photos is that $10 is kind of high, when I have a small budget and you can buy decent stock photos from. And yeah it’s unlimited use, which is awesome, but not when I need a pic or two for a newsletter.

      • You should be able to go to your sales in the app and cash out. They pay through PayPal, so you’ll need to set that up with your Foap account if you haven’t already.

  • So sad, I thought it was a good idea. Deleting my profile now. It was taking forever and a day to upload photos anyway! Thanks for saving me time!

  • Unless they changed it, the biggest scam is having to accrue $100 in payments.m before they actually pay you. So think about it – you have to sell 20 photos ($5 x 20) to get a check. If 10,000 people all post 1 photo and even if they all sell it, Foap makes an instant $50,000 (10k x $5) – actually, they collect 10k x$10 $100,000 up front. Because many people never reach 20 sales they never have to pay out. It’s a brilliant money making idea that basically relies on the masses playing the game at least once. And there will always be people willing to give it a shot.

    • I’ve sold two photos and have been paid. It took a week or so but I did get the payment. I received the payment through paypal. I think if you request a check it takes longer?

  • Well I can only agree to say NOPE to FOPE. When I joined up it was brilliant and had no problems loading photos. I in fact must of spent hours uploading hundreds from my collection. A few weeks in I can only get intocmy account like once in every average 7 days!!. They keep saying they have server problems. Well now For 2 weeks I can not access this site at all. Likewise I can not seem to find anyone who has sold a photo on FLOP….I mean FOAP…Forget this site guys ut is truely Carp..

  • Wow, interesting review. I will say foap has its issues. But I have made over $300 in cash and prizes with Foap. $200 of which was from winning a mission and selling a pic from Hyatt hotels. They even sent me a card in the mail with the gift card payment (kinda old fashioned lol). Sad you had those problems. Heck I had some issues too, but man it’s hard to get upset when a free app pays you a lot of money. I emailed them maybe three times on screw ups and they usually reply and fix the problems. Check out my profile on foap: burgundyram. I’d like to see your pics too. Not saying there bad but the most random pics sale. Heck look at mine!

  • My experience was very opposite, after spending many many many hours uploading hundreds of images and writing keywords etc for each they deleted my account saying the images were inappropriate.

    The images were a collection of movie special affects, skeletons, eyeballs, good horror special effect stuff, all my own work plus many photos from many of the hundreds from my bikini photo shoots.

    I was beginning to upload scenery images and a few other wholesome family fun ones when all my images began to be deleted?

    Up to this point every image I had uploaded on FOAP receive 4 to 5 star rating, but they deleted my account saying it was inappropriate.

    After searching for myself I have found many other accounts on their full of images being extremely derogative to women, animals, dead bodies etc PLUS many images obviously stolen. Mine which were all original, legal and willing subjects, every photo 100% taken by me yet they delete my account?? Where is the logic?

    However after reading your review and the comments my concern is if these people are so untrustworthy then do they really delete your images? Or sell them privately?

    Has anyone read all the tiny tiny fine print?

    It’s not the money, which don’t get me wrong I love money, it’s mainly the principal and if they are using this site and app to simply rip people off then I simply hope karma burns the hell out of them.

    Is there a better, option available similar to what FOAP should be?

  • FOAP has had a bumpy ride. But, they have improved the site and done away with the “peer review” system which was a huge problem. As soon as you caption and add keywords and answer the editorial/commercial use question, you are good to go. I have sold 11 images and there was a glitch in payments during one period but I pointed it out and they made it good. I tailor my submissions to FOAP to what I think fits their clientele and divide my other submissions between two other agencies. FOAP isn’t a scam but some of their practices are a little questionable. I had decided to remove a couple of images that had sold from their site and keep them on another site only. They wouldn’t let go of them because they had sold so I simply changed the caption to read, “Image no longer available. Expired”. It was deleted not long after that. It sees like a lot of work for not much money and it is but the whole stock photo industry is like that now. It has gotten so easy for anybody to upload images that the prices are at the bottom and unfortunately the overall quality has gone way down which makes buyers shy when they have to sift through a lot of garbage to find that diamond. http://ozarkstock.com

  • you say ” But I didn’t find a single blog post from a single actual photographer claiming to have sold a single foap photo.”

    Firstly, most photographers are busy to care about writing a blog, secondly, why would they increase their competition by telling others how much success they had on FOAP?

    I agree FOAP has its issues, their app is not the best but it has improved a lot since I joined it way back in 2013. Unlike others, I focused more on photo competition which they(foap) call “mission” rather than selling photos in general category. I do not mean to brag but I believe I’m the highest mission winner on FOAP and made lil over 4 grand. Those wins didn’t happen right away. After actively participating in all the ‘missions’ for about 4 months or so I had my first mission win. I didn’t have job then so I was able to devote all my time to foap missions. I haven’t had this much success or any success to begin with on any other photo selling sites other than FOAP. At the end of the day, it’s all about the quality of your work, how much time you devote to these apps and patience. You can google my name ‘duyum dulom’ to verify my statement.

    I chose to reply to your blog because I made good money from FOAP and I feel it’s my time to give back to FOAP

    • How do they pay you – Check, money order, PayPal, Bitcoin, etc?
      Out of all the reviews I have read, you are one of the very few who allegedly have had great success with FOAP, if it’s true, that is great. Unlike you many of us do not have the luxury of completing a daily to-do list for some phone app located in Poland.

      After reading several reviews, I have some major concerns, I realize they have changed. But have they really changed for the better? If I sell 19 photos, I shouldn’t have to wait until I sell #20 to get paid for the others. If I sell one, they need to pay me for that one.

      At this point it sounds like FOAP is making all the money and others are just feeding into the allure of striking it rich by selling their photos or others which are ripped off from the web or other photographers.

  • Foap has improved a lot. I have been using if for a few years and did not like having to rate photos of others to get your own photos approved but that has changed now. You can still rate photos and others can rate yours but it’s no longer required and it’s now easier to change notification settings to not get all of the email notifications. I have not uploaded many pictures but they made it easier to do so and it’s a much better app now.

  • I agree with the non-selling despite all the rating in Foap. What site would you suggest?
    Best wishes,
    Phoebe

    • Did you get an answer to your question? I have been looking for an honest site to try to sell my photos. Thanks Laura Joseph

    • I have sold on Foap and won a mission that gave me 300 dollars. Nice income for pics that otherwise might die on your phone… The more you upload the more you will sell, The biggest problem was the review process but they changed that, so I am happy enough… If you tend to look at the missions those are the big moneymakers. I get paid via Paypal and am happy with how they work… No complaints here…

  • I’m so glad I searched reviews and found this blog. I was about to download FOAP. I will now check, as you suggested, to see if ANYONE is making money with FOAP, which I highly doubt. I want to get into this business badly but not start off with a sour taste by being burned like that.

    • Hey peeps, just wanted to say I was using foap back in 2012 and had maybe 10,12 photos uploaded and sold 4, and cashed it out easily on paypal..
      Later on I never bought a new iphone and couldnt update the app so thats why i stoppped using it but thought thats a totally fine result for not much work and photos that would, like someone up there said, die on my iphone… so not sure theyre so bad.. i wish i could still use it with my iphone 4s but i cant :/

  • I think I learned of them on a website that helps you find ways to make some side cash. I am always doubtful when I don’t know much about a company. Though they have 32k Likes on their facebook, I noticed that they don’t allow reviews to be posted onto their site. That’s usually a red flag for me.

  • Exactly same experience as yours around here (except the trying to delete the account part). Honestly, after reading your post I even feel discouraged to even delete my account. And something is making me scared: after weeks of not hearing from them, I got an email yesterday! I hope its not all coming back!
    Its a shame, because I dont think its a scam, but rather a good idea that was badly executed…

  • Thanks for the write-up. I’ve been a member of Foap since the beginning, and I haven’t been impressed at all. I DID SELL one photo. One.
    I’m deleting my account and deleting the photos they have. It’s a shame… It seemed like a great idea.

  • I joined them a few months ago and have not sold anything. After reading this, I am going to take my photos somewhere else. I had just uploaded over 400 photos to their site and within 60 seconds three quarters of them were reviewed and denied. How can they possibly review tha many photos withing that amount of time?

  • I started using the site 2 days ago and I haven’t had any technical issues or received any spam. It seems like since this review was written they have improved the app a lot from that standpoint. My only concern was that it doesn’t seem like anyone is selling more than 1 or 2 photos, even of the recommended/suggested users… considering the amount of time you spend taking the photos, searching for the right pics, and uploading/writing captions/tags/etc it seems like a lot of work with not a lot of payoff.