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Author Topic: Exciting News! We've launched FocalPool  (Read 8957 times)

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« on: February 04, 2015, 20:23 »
+8
Weve spent the last year creating FocalPool.com. Its a brand new stock marketplace and collaborative platform that does things differently than the current photo agencies.

It does three things that would benefit photographers.

First, photographers have complete control over their work. They self-represent their own content by remain the copyright holder and the licensor. Each photographer decides which images to upload, how to license/price, and when to publish or un-publish.

Second, There is no middleman/agency. This platform was built from ground up to allow direct sales and interaction between photographers and clients. Photographers will have complete insight about how discoverable their photos are, and what is in demand. Moreover, there is an open communication and networking between clients and photographers.

Third, photographers will take home 80%-90% from their sales because our business model is different from current agency business models. There are no contracts or subscriptions.

As I said before, Im involved with FocalPool so ask me any questions that you might have.

Thanks


« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 20:37 »
+10
"Third, photographers will take home 80%-90% from their sales because our business model is different from current agency business models."

That makes you a middleman.

« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 20:41 »
+17
"Exciting News!". Here we go again!

« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 20:53 »
+4
I thought the site looked good and this is a potentially interesting concept.  If I understand it, the idea (might be) that since we are getting a higher percentage we actually could undercut the usual agencies and still make more per sale, plus market both RF and RM through the same site, and price rarer work higher.  Since there are no reviewers your costs are lower, which is how you can take a smaller percentage.  It sounds like a good idea.

The problems, of course, are that with self selection the site could be flooded with low-quality images making it less attractive to buyers (a la FAA), and the main issue is how will you attract buyers in the first place?  Do you have an advertising budget?  A search that can prioritize the best images will be essential for buyers to sort through the dross.

I assume this is just starting up so you have no image database or sales?  A bit more on how you plan to attract buyers and where you are in the process of getting started would be appreciated.  Thanks.

« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 21:02 »
+3
Hey Sean, I can see why you might think that, but that's not the case for FocalPool. What I mean by no middleman is we don't get involved in making decisions on your behalf such as deciding licensing or pricing. FocalPool takes 10%-20% to maintain and keep the platform operational.

« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 21:23 »
0
I assume this is just starting up so you have no image database or sales?

This video is a year old, so they're not totally new.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLxyiVyjiV0

« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 21:31 »
+1
Thanks for checking out FocalPool sgoodwin4813

Quote
The problems, of course, are that with self selection the site could be flooded with low-quality images making it less attractive to buyers (a la FAA), and the main issue is how will you attract buyers in the first place?  Do you have an advertising budget?  A search that can prioritize the best images will be essential for buyers to sort through the dross.

We anticipate this problem, and so we're developing a reputation system that will rank images based on many factors, including photographers' past performance. To attract buyers, we're giving them something other agencies can't: a direct connection to photographers. This allows buyers to collaborate directly with photographers and helps them find images they're looking for faster.

Ava Glass, we opened up the site couple days ago. We've been working with a small group of photographers from around the world behind closed doors, for the past year, to make sure we're building something that photographers can really benefit from. The video shows an earlier prototype, the site has improved tremendously since.

« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 21:39 »
0


Ava Glass, we opened up the site couple days ago. We've been working with a small group of photographers from around the world behind closed doors, for the past year, to make sure we're building something that photographers can really benefit from. The video shows an earlier prototype, the site has improved tremendously since.


Oh, OK. How is it different?

« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2015, 21:50 »
0
Ava Glass

The media management, the licensing system, the infrastructure and security, most of the UI, many other features and lots and lots of bug fixes. Too many to list all. We'll update the video to reflect the changes.

« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2015, 21:57 »
+1
Ava Glass, check out our learn more page for photographers to get a better idea of the main features.

« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2015, 23:49 »
+7
 Spent only 5 min to take a look at the site and watched the video but at first look I got the feeling I like the concept
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 23:59 by Lizard »

« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 00:47 »
+1
Like the page,idea and lay out. But when i want to subscribe i have to wait for an invite.

« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2015, 01:01 »
0
An interesting new concept to link up the clients and photographers. As a contributor, can we keep a collection of images for sale on FocalPool, just like what we now have on microstock sites?

« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2015, 01:21 »
+2
The way I understand it is: Because there is "no middleman/agency" there will also be no advertising. You will have to attract the buyers yourself...

« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2015, 01:47 »
+6
I did a few searches, but I don't see prices on anything.

You can click on a contributor's name, but that just goes to a page with no information and no portfolio.

If there are search results, you get a minuscule window with mini thumbnails and have to click a link to see them all. When you do see the results, clicking on the thumbnail just puts up a hover preview - you have to click on the three dots to see more information

Everything seems like too many steps to get the simplest things

Then there's the notion of requesting things. iStock tried this ages ago (Buy Request) and shelved it because it just didn't work well. There are a number of sites with "briefs" where contributors compete to get the sale (or a lot of times no sale). I don't see how this model works at microstock prices. iStock's request forum worked really well for a while - designers and contributors hung out there and could interact. They nuked all of that; not sure how you get the hoped for interaction going on a new site - photographers don't join without buyers and buyers won't bother without contributors...

There seem to be so many things left unsaid - about when you take 10% vs 20%; are there any standard licenses you offer or does each contributor invent their own; do you have FTP upload and do you read IPTC data; What's this limit of 10G of storage with a note about e-mailing if you want more? - "You'll start off with 10GB. There are plenty of other ways to increase your storage for free. If you need mass storage email us. "; do you do any marketing at all or is it all up to contributors; do you exercise any control at all over model/property releases, copyright issues (vectors that are traces of another person's photograph, for example)?






« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2015, 02:07 »
0
Lizard, Were glad you like the FocalPool concept.

« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2015, 02:08 »
0
ITsMe
Quote
But when i want to subscribe i have to wait for an invite.

Right now its by invitation only because we want to make sure we give enough time to respond to each feedback and questions from our new members. Just email back to the confirmation email and Ill make sure you get your invite link within the next few hours.


« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2015, 02:08 »
0
cg3dphoto

Quote
As a contributor, can we keep a collection of images for sale on FocalPool, just like what we now have on microstock sites?

Thats exactly what FocalPool offers. Besides being able to collaborate directly with clients its also a marketplace (similar to microstock sites) where you sell your collection to clients. The only difference is you represent yourself as a photographer.

« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2015, 02:09 »
0
amabu

Quote
Because there is "no middleman/agency" there will also be no advertising. You will have to attract the buyers yourself

We dont have the advertising budget of Shuterstock or istock. However our goal is to get the buyers to FocalPool by offering something that giant agencies cant: collaborative tools to work directly with photographers to find the right images for their projects. Also, you dont have to attract every buyer yourself, since your photos are easily discoverable through the media marketplace.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2015, 02:41 »
+1

To attract buyers, we're giving them something other agencies can't: a direct connection to photographers. This allows buyers to collaborate directly with photographers and helps them find images they're looking for faster.



Envato, iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Canstockphoto, Symbiostock, Fine Art America, Zazzle etc etc all have a forum where buyers and photographers can talk to each other. There was another new agency announced here, run by Jack, who had the same USP, which it really isnt. It makes me wonder how thorough your research was before launching your platform.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2015, 03:08 »
+6
I assume this is just starting up so you have no image database or sales?

This video is a year old, so they're not totally new.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLxyiVyjiV0

I had to laugh watching the video.

There is a buyer saying she cant find anything she needs on the stock agencies and the next scene we see a photo of a duck, an autumn leaf and a bowl of pasta. Those are ultimate stock clichs. If I were to advertise FocalPoint as something different from stock agencies, I definitely wouldn't use stock clichs to promote my platform.

« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2015, 03:17 »
+2
Hi Jo Ann Snover,

Quote
I did a few searches, but I don't see prices on anything.

We just launched and the licensing/pricing tool is relatively new so many photographers haven't had a chance to price their older uploads yet. But all the new media is being priced/licensed.

Quote
If there are search results, you get a minuscule window with mini thumbnails and have to click a link to see them all. When you do see the results, clicking on the thumbnail just puts up a hover preview - you have to click on the three dots to see more information

Everything seems like too many steps to get the simplest things

Were still refining everything and I understand how one can think its too many steps by searching from our homepage. However, this is a new concept that we came up with working closely with image buyers to make sure this will be beneficial to them since theyre the ones doing all the searching. Its a lot of trial and error to see what works and what doesnt. If it doesnt work we always have the option of going back to a typical search.

Quote
Then there's the notion of requesting things. iStock tried this ages ago (Buy Request) and shelved it because it just didn't work well. There are a number of sites with "briefs" where contributors compete to get the sale (or a lot of times no sale). I don't see how this model works at microstock prices. iStock's request forum worked really well for a while - designers and contributors hung out there and could interact. They nuked all of that; not sure how you get the hoped for interaction going on a new site
 photographers don't join without buyers and buyers won't bother without contributors

I know that iStock tried this before and it didnt work for them. Unfortunately, I personally didnt get a chance to use their service. However, the fact that were not the licensors of all the content gives us more flexibility to keep all the interactions as direct as possible. Our business model is different enough to approach this from a different angle. Whether or not it works we have to try to find out.

Quote
There seem to be so many things left unsaid - about when you take 10% vs 20%; are there any standard licenses you offer or does each contributor invent their own; do you have FTP upload and do you read IPTC data; What's this limit of 10G of storage with a note about e-mailing if you want more? - "You'll start off with 10GB. There are plenty of other ways to increase your storage for free. If you need mass storage email us. "; do you do any marketing at all or is it all up to contributors; do you exercise any control at all over model/property releases, copyright issues (vectors that are traces of another person's photograph, for example)?

-Right now photographers can license their work with standard RF and RM.
-No FTP upload yet but were working on it. However you can do multiple uploads from the site.
-We do read IPTC, EXIF data
-There is a Limit to 10GB because we want to avoid and amateur photographers flooding the marketplace with every single photo they snapped. We increase storage for photographers who actually have stuff they can sell.
-Photographers are in charge of keeping track of their model/property releases. However if there is any foul play they can be flagged and banned from the site. We are also registered with DMCA so if  someone is using an image thats copyrighted by another person we can take it down, suspend account and kick them out of the site.
Were walking a fine line here. We cant give total control to photographers over their work and at the same time take control in our hands. But well do everything we can to make sure problem makers are not part of the community.

« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2015, 03:36 »
0
What about transparent PNGs? Are they accepted? Would they be displayed reasonably well on the site?

« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2015, 03:40 »
-1
Semmick Photo

Quote
Envato, iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Canstockphoto, Symbiostock, Fine Art America, Zazzle etc etc all have a forum where buyers and photographers can talk to each other.

On FocalPool direct connection to photographers is a lot more than just providing a forum where buyers and photographer can chat with each other. As I mentioned above, not being the licensor of the content sold in the marketplace gives us a lot more freedom to allow buyers and sellers to directly interact with each other.

« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2015, 03:49 »
0
Ava Glass

Quote
What about transparent PNGs? Are they accepted? Would they be displayed reasonably well on the site?

It is supported but we have to do some more tests with it to make sure it displays well as good as possible.


 

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