When it comes to any industry there are always a few that will try and exploit the market by all means possible to make a quick $$$. In new industries like with UAVs/drones, this can be even more pronounced as scammers look to profit from the general lack of knowledge.
We recently had an experience with this where a new “drone” company directly stole content from this very blog, word for word, to promote a competitive service of their own. When confronted they accused us of copying them! The fact that our content had been written over a year prior to theirs seemed lost in the logic of a flimflam artist. (If we owned a time machine I think we could make better use of it than stealing someone’s written word on drones, but I digress) Further review of their website found images taken from other UAV firms as well, so at least we are not alone, and perhaps should be flattered to have been included in their “market research”??
This is not the first case of this nor will it be the last. Many drone businesses have seen their work being copied and used without credit over the last number of years, some even being listed for resale. Again, ethics and morals are lost on some, unfortunately. Even those listing what appear to be high standing credentials and years of related experience can sometimes be less than honest, scammers exist at all levels, just remember Bernie Madoff.
We’ve also experienced losing jobs and clients to other “professional” SFOC holding UAV operators that were willing to work outside the regulations, offering clients services that legally cannot be done, which makes it hard to compete on a level playing field. We and most others, however, choose to work with the system, although not perfect, is what we have, and putting the client and public at risk for a few dollars is not worth it long term for anyone.
The simple reality is there is a small percentage in any sector that have a moral compass that needs calibration. Eventually, they either fall in line or move on to exploit another industry once exposed, but for a short time can do great damage to an industry and leave a bad taste in the mouths of customers.
End of the day the customer needs to do their homework when selecting a provider in any industry, and possibly more so in the UAV arena, where many companies are new and it is hard to spot the professionals from the quick buck crowd. Perform due diligence, ask questions, check with others in the market, reach out to past customers if possible, see what they have posted and shared on social media to help develop a profile of what they are and how they work. While the vast majority of providers are honest hard working people, there are the few lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting prey.
The UAV industry is an exciting and fast-moving one, much like the gold rush of the old west, and with it come the snake oil salesmen and carpet baggers looking for their next victim. Try not to be that person, on either side of the transaction.