John Chow Scam How He Ripped Me Off For $300

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John Chow Scam: How He Ripped Me Off For $300

Most of us know John Chow and the fact that he made himself a name by developing his personal brand around the sentence “root of all evil”. Well, he didn’t steal that name and even if he doesn’t advertise it anymore it looks like he has no problem ripping off other people work without asking for permission.

If you are a regular visitor of you probably know about the “Who is” post series which features some big names in the internet industry. For those of you who don’t know the post series, these post are biographical posts and include a caricature that I get done by a professional artist.

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These caricatures have a price: around $100 each. And John Chow copied 3 of them on his website in this post, without asking for any permission or even dropping me a word by email, Facebook or Twitter. Basically he just ripped me off for $300 work I got done FOR Dukeo.

The funny thing is that, in his great generosity, he did include a link at the end of his post: “Caricatures by”. Come on John, I know you are not stupid, and you know as I do that this link doesn’t imply that these caricatures were made FOR

This reminds me of the obvious intended confusion John did put in one of his post during Affiliate Summit West about the “Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards for Best Blogger”. In that post John was saying how honored he was to be holding the award (even though he was not the one who won it). And the confusion was so obvious that at least half of the people who commented on the post thought he had won it!

I’m going to conclude this rant by saying that these caricatures were reproduced WITHOUT any permission from the owner of!

John Chow, Remove my caricatures from your website, or change the caption to this (including links):

Caricatures made by Dukeo for his “Who is” post series which features: John Chow, Zac Johnson and Jonathan Volk among others.

As I am a nice guy, I’ll even make an easy code-box for you to copy-paste:

Caricatures made by <a href="">Dukeo</a> for his "<a href="">Who is</a>" post series which features: <a href="">John Chow</a>, <a href="">Zac Johnson</a> and <a href="">Jonathan Volk</a> among others.

John, you’re not new in the game, I’m pretty sure you know the rules regarding image copyrights. Being an A-list blogger doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with other people’s work. And next time you want to use some material from my website, ask for permission beforehand!


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  1. Dino Vedo

    In before John Chow.. lol

    But in all seriousness, you made a drawing of HIS IMAGE, so I would believe that he has the right to it, or if not he has the right to be mad at you for using his image on your blog…

    I don’t think anyone is at fault here in all honesty, imagine if you paid someone a few grand to copy John Chow’s theme, doesn’t make it right since your still the first one to be stealing the trademark/image of John Chow….

    1. Steven

      Dino, I invite you to read this page: and you’ll see that caricatures are standing in a very particular area of law in the USA. I’ll quote a few parts of the text as it is quite a long read:

      The first amendment does allow us free speech, but it doesn’t mean we can tread on the rights of others in doing so. It’s in the balancing of the first amendment and ROP that many of the gray areas and difficulties arise that will only be defined as more precedents are set. Is the use of a person’s image an aspect of free speech, or is it being used for a “commercial purpose” as is clearly prohibited according to statues like California’s or Florida’s. One question the courts seem to be asking themselves is if the work is “transformative”, meaning is the work substantially changed by the artist or is is purely representational.

      By “transformative” the court meant having a significant amount of artistic expression and application so that the work was more about the art than about the subject.

      It is likely that selling a product like a T-shirt with Brad Pitt’s portrait on it is a violation of his ROP. Conversely, using a picture or caricature of Brad Pitt in a news article in a newspaper is not… the courts have long held the press, publications, fine art and media as first amendment protected vehicles of free speech. Other vehicles and manners of expression are less clear. This leads to one of the main points the courts appear to be considering in ROP vs. first amendment cases: the method or vehicle of expression.

      Books, newspapers, magazines, original art… these are court recognized vehicles of opinion and expression, and very well documented as protected arenas of free speech.

      And anyway, I am based in France so my blog abide by French law: basically, every caricature is allowed (as long as it’s not racist) and is protected by the intellectual property code.

  2. Eriii

    Interesting post, I hope by this your blog can get some more well deserved publicity. Sometimes bad press is good press in the end.
    Just like those controversial commercials. Got to love them!

    To be honest, I have been following John Chow for a long while now… I really don’t even understand how he is good at affiliate marketing.

  3. John Chow

    I have removed the caricatures. I’m sorry you feel that a link back to your blog and giving you full credit that the caricatures were made by you wasn’t enough. I was going to feature your caricatures in my webinar and again would have given you full credit for them and post your URL to the attendees but since you’re so uptight about them, I’ll show the caricatures from instead.

    1. Steven

      You can clearly see in Kate’s comment, on your post, that the full credit was not as clear as you thought.

      Giving me a word on Twitter would have been enough and I would gladly have left you use the caricatures.

      The fact that you took them and used them without even noticing me was just wrong.

      Please, just understand that for a 2 months blog, spending this kind of money to get something original done is an important investment.

      And I’m not uptight, I’m cautious regarding the way my media is used. A subject that you know pretty well: Image and Media management, as you don’t even let your Facebook friends tag you in pictures… Does it make you uptight about it?

      Feel free to use these caricatures in your blog and webinar as long as it’s 100% clear that they were made for and by Dukeo in the first place, and not for something else.

    2. Steven

      I slept over it and am now going to elaborate a little bit more regarding your comment John.

      1/ When you want to use copyrighted material, you ask for permission, period.

      2/ Basically, you got it. I feel like a link back to my blog wasn’t enough (else, why would have posted my rant?). Each of these caricatures is costing me a little bit more than shooting a 3 minute video of my friends eating in a restaurant (if you see what I mean), so giving a tiny link to my homepage in exchange of ripping $300 of work isn’t enough. BTW your backlink didn’t even come from your PR5 homepage since you moved your full posts to a sub-folder: /blog/, making it worth even less in term of link juice. And bringing me a whopping 8 visitors this was clearly not bringing me any positive exposure.

  4. Rocco

    I really dont understand why you are acting like a baby-who-doesnt-know-what-internet-was-made-for? if you’re not happy that some other guy is using your stuff just tell him so….dont make a foul of yourself. In my opinion your crying after having the feeling to be ripped off and make a fat big post about it discredit you in my opinion….
    Internet is a world to share everything everywhere and when you post some free content you must know that other people gonna pick some of your stuff….and if they have the courtesy of giving you full credit for it, i dont know where the hell the problem is….

    iam in the gaming business and i can tell you there are plenty of developpers who are making awesome flash games which cost them thousands of dollars and when they post their flash games in their websites it doesnt take 24 hours to see hundreds of websites “stealing” the game(whose creator are given full credit for) and post on their websites and guess what?? the developers arent made at all cause what they wanted in the first place was to share their stuff like everybody else in the internet world…..

    1. Steven

      I’m feeling so sorry for you Rocco. Maybe you should learn about Intellectual Property and Copyright Infringements…

      Picking copyrighted stuff from other people without their content is the best way to get sued. If you have some spare money to pay for the legal fees, be my guest! And actually giving credit when using copyrighted material is not a courtesy but it’s a legal obligation.

      BTW hiding behind a proxy and using a spare email address which is involved in internet scams is not your most clever move and clearly demonstrates your level of integrity :)

  5. Kirk Taylor

    I came to your site via John Chow. I wanted to get a caricature done similar to John’s with me and my Ferrari to use on my site.

    You told me you don’t sell the caricatures but you give them as part of selling your whois post.

    I thought you really missed your calling by focusing on SEO and not selling your caricatures by making your site about them.

    I began to suspect that the reason you didn’t sell them was because you didn’t do them. I didn’t see any disclosure on your site, not saying that there isn’t one, but still I was led to believe you did them.

    I hessitated and now, I really appreciate this post. I would have been slammed for ripping you off as well, had I paid for the whois post to get the caricature done.

    Luckily, I didn’t.

    I think John did a very honorable thing by taking your caricature’s down and even acknowledging you after the fact.

    Thanks for writting the post. It clears everything up for me.

    1. Steven

      Your comment clearly demonstrates that I was right to ask John Chow to remove my caricatures from his website. The credits were totally misleading by implying that they were made BY me. This is why you thought you could get a caricature done FOR you.

      The reason I am not selling the caricatures is simply because this is not my job! Every time I write about the caricatures (in posts or comments, or facebook or twitter), I say how happy I am with the work of my artist. I never say that I am doing them myself.

      My website is about Affiliate Marketing and Making Money Online. I am not an artist (even though this might be discussed as I am an architect). I am the guy who had the idea to make caricatures in the Internet Marketing world.

      BTW, whether I would have done them myself or paid someone to do them for me doesn’t change a thing to the fact that they are not made to be copied to another website without proper credits. You wouldn’t have been slammed for ripping me off as long as you would have known why, how and what for, these caricatures are made.

      If you want a caricature for you own website, I suggest you hire a caricaturist instead of a Make Money Online blogger… It would be like asking an architect to build a house with his own hands because you heard he did some good work designing one for someone else.

      Ask the right person for the right job. Isn’t that part of managing properly a business?

      (Sidenote: there is nothing honorable in taking down my caricature. It was either removing the caricatures, giving proper credits or receiving a C&D letter. We are talking about real cash and business here)

  6. Louise

    Very well handled steven!!! Ive got to agree with you on this one, credit where credits due!! :)

    1. Steven

      Thanks for the kind words Louise.

  7. David

    It seems some people don’t understand, copyright holders can grant or not grant reproduction permission in any manner they choose. And if you don’t ask first, don’t be surprised at the consequences.

    So, John was just plain stupid in not asking permission.

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