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Author Topic: Exciting News! We've launched FocalPool  (Read 8938 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.

« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2015, 03:52 »
+4
Hi NorArt,

it's nice to see something new in stock world and I like your idea but you can't tell there's no middle man when you take any % of sale. As Sean said, this IS making you middle man! :)

And as it's said before, clients and photographers can contact directly with almost all agencies and often do, not a problem, just using fast click "send private message to author". I do it all the time using my symbiostock site, Alamy, personal gallery and other sites... So it's not so new thing in stock world :) Or I'm missing something here?  ???

I'm worry about self marketing here. We already have free site Picfair where we can set up our pricing, photoshelter (pretty cheap), symbiostock (almost free), etc and I never heard it gave mass sales to people. I mean it's a lot of work to advertise own gallery and hit and win with thousands other photographers in "small" internet.
How do you want to help us, authors in getting sales (if it's in plans)?


Semmick Photo

« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2015, 03:52 »
+4
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.

I can give a buyer my email address in the forum and do the same. My Shutterstock profile has links to my Twitter, Facebook, Website and Email. Any buyer can contact me directly and we work on a project. That is exactly what happened and I got a 7 book-cover deal out of it. Its not a USP. Sorry.


« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2015, 04:10 »
+2
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...

Guess what I do. I decide by myself, which images i upload! Everywhere!

« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2015, 04:30 »
+3
How will the VAT to EU customers be handled? Zenfolio said it doesn't know what it's going to do. Etsy said its sellers have to collect and pay the countries (the sellers are not happy).

What about FocalPool?

« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2015, 04:48 »
-12
Heh. FecalPool.

« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2015, 05:25 »
+7
@NorArt - does FocalPool handle the administration of VAT ? This has become a big issue for independent suppliers - since anyone doing business with EU clients is now required to charge and administer VAT at the various different rates on electronic goods and services. And the customers need to be able to show the accounting.

« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2015, 12:52 »
+1
Hi NorArt,

We already have free site Picfair where we can set up our pricing, photoshelter (pretty cheap), symbiostock (almost free), etc and I never heard it gave mass sales to people.

Sorry but how is photoshelter pretty cheap ? Personally I don't consider 49,99$ a month cheap at all, even their 29,99$ with 60 GB of space and 4 gb that their cheapest 9,99 a month plan offer with only 4gb of cloud space its pretty much useless for anyone with decent size portfolio.

Next I was checking similar platform offers last few days and if I'm not wrong I saw they charge processing credit cards at the limit that you get about 85% of your digital sale and if you round the numbers it gets even way lower. The fact is you get to sell prints but another fact is that shipping of same is incredibly expensive sometimes more expensive than the print itself and all sales depend only on your own promotion.

I don't see anything bad in healthy competition and getting 80% - 90% is just that. If they get to market stuff on site and get buyers on site would be a huge plus

« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2015, 12:58 »
0
Hi Ariene,

Quote
it's nice to see something new in stock world and I like your idea but you can't tell there's no middle man when you take any % of sale. As Sean said, this IS making you middle man!

I see how no middle man can be interpreted differently so let me clarify. When we say no middle man we mean were not taking your image and becoming the licensor so we can then license it out to the client. Were providing a self service platform where each photographer is in charge of their work and makes all the decisions for her/him self. And just like all the other services/platforms out there, we take a % as a service fee to pay our own bill and keep FocalPool operational.  Keep in mind that part of the % goes straight to other services that we use as a marketplace, such as the online payment system which also charges by a % from each transaction. I hope this clarifies it more.

Quote
And as it's said before, clients and photographers can contact directly with almost all agencies and often do, not a problem, just using fast click "send private message to author". I do it all the time using my symbiostock site, Alamy, personal gallery and other sites... So it's not so new thing in stock world  Or I'm missing something here? 

I know some of the sites have forums where people can talk to each other and few offer a way to contact the seller. Frankly, I think thats just the bare minimum that all the sites should offer. We have developed FocalPool having in mind whole lot more than that. We think there is a lot of other ways that both clients and photographers can benefit from each other by offering a platform where besides just buying/selling they can also collaborate on both public and private projects, network, showcase their work, etc.

Quote
I'm worry about self marketing here. We already have free site Picfair where we can set up our pricing, photoshelter (pretty cheap), symbiostock (almost free), etc and I never heard it gave mass sales to people. I mean it's a lot of work to advertise own gallery and hit and win with thousands other photographers in "small" internet.
How do you want to help us, authors in getting sales (if it's in plans)?

I really hope the takeaway here is not that you should use FocalPool because its free. We think there is a better way for photographers to make money besides just selling. And at the same time provide a better way for clients to find what they're looking for. One thing I dont think I mentioned before is that I have a lot of professional experience first as a photographer and than as a seller. I feel the pain points on both sides and I got involved with FocalPool because there isnt a better solution out there and I know FocalPool can definitely be one.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2015, 13:12 »
+5
The two questions that remain open are how are you going to market the platform and how do you handle EU VAT?

« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2015, 13:22 »
+6
Ok, I finally got a chance to poke at it.  As a buyer, I'm not sure what it does.  I searched from the front page on a couple terms.  One didn't return anything, but asked me something about requesting it directly from photographers.  I can already do that on imageBrief and snapWire if I want to do spec work.  When I found a search that returned something, it took me a bit to figure out what to do.  First I have to click on an image.  Then I have to click on the icon in the lower left.  Then the image page that comes up gives me no option to license.  So, I'm done wasting my time and I leave.

Ok, I'm still interested, so I click on the guy's name from the image.  I get an empty portfolio page with nothing but his image.  No idea what to do now so I leave.

« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2015, 13:36 »
+7
Please inform me when the FTP Upload is ready then I will give you a try. no FTP no upload .-)

« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2015, 13:41 »
+1
roede-orm

Quote
Guess what I do. I decide by myself, which images i upload! Everywhere!

Thats true, you do decide which images you upload everywhere, but from that point on, your decision making abilities are very limited or just non-existent. You dont have a lot of saying in how your uploaded images are handled.

On focalpool after you upload you are not sitting and waiting to see if its approve or rejected, you price/license the way you want, publish/unpublish when you want and in the case of RM you even have control over who should buy or not buy your images if you dont want to be associated with certain companies. Youre running your business the way you want and at the same time benefit from being on a centralized marketplace where you dont have to run around to find clients to come to your own site.


Me


« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2015, 14:06 »
0
Hi,
I understand your "no middle man" role but will/can you provide standard license templates for us to use? In principle it sounds good and has piqued my interest but dealing with the licensing could be very time consuming, at least if there is a standard to start negotiating from it would help? Similarly some guidance regarding pricing would be helpful. Whilst being able to set your own prices in appealing, massively over or under pricing your images will do no good to anyone.

« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2015, 14:48 »
+5
"Exciting News!". Here we go again!

2 words and they lost me.

« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2015, 14:49 »
0
Hey Sean, thanks for checking it out.

Quote
Quote
Ok, I finally got a chance to poke at it.  As a buyer, I'm not sure what it does.  I searched from the front page on a couple terms.  One didn't return anything, but asked me something about requesting it directly from photographers.  I can already do that on imageBrief and snapWire if I want to do spec work.  When I found a search that returned something, it took me a bit to figure out what to do.  First I have to click on an image.  Then I have to click on the icon in the lower left.  Then the image page that comes up gives me no option to license.  So, I'm done wasting my time and I leave.

The search 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 regular search. And, the licensing system is relatively new so photographers who uploaded before will go back and license their images.

I know that some of our individual features look somewhat similar to other sites. But we have a different approach, goal, vision and mission to what we want to accomplish with FocalPool. I noticed from your site that you use 7 different agencies to sell your work. Obviously you see a unique benefit from each one or else you would just use one. I hope people will look at FocalPool with an open mind so they can see the unique benefit that were offering to them.

Quote
Ok, I'm still interested, so I click on the guy's name from the image. I get an empty portfolio page with nothing but his image.  No idea what to do now so I leave.

All the information is visible to logged in users and were still in the process of opening the rest of the site for logged off users. we'll soon have the full profile with peoples info and their portfolio visible publicly.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 14:52 by NorArt »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2015, 14:54 »
+5
But we have a different approach, goal, vision and mission to what we want to accomplish with FocalPool.
So far I havent heard anything unique to be honest.

What is your plan for marketing the platform and dealing with EU VAT?

« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2015, 15:01 »
+4
What is your plan for marketing the platform and dealing with EU VAT?

You are asking for this third time (or more) and I start to see chasing rabbit just to never catch it  ;D
I'm waiting for reply too of course.


NorArt, I hope you'll hit the success in this market and we can be part of this and celebrate great deals together but so far nothing extremly new we got. This broken market needs really NEW thing.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 15:05 by Ariene »

« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2015, 15:12 »
+7
Unless the VAT issue is addressed (or unless EU clients are specifically blocked) this is not a viable platform for anyone.

« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2015, 15:15 »
0
you guys have a great question regarding VAT.

Until this point most of our focus has been to work closely with photographers and other creative professionals to develop our platform. To be honest, we still need to do a lot of research to see what is the best approach when it comes to handling VAT. As someone who deals with this in Europe with different marketplaces, can you give me some examples of companies that handle it the correct way?

« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2015, 15:31 »
+1

Quote
Quote
how will you attract buyers in the first place?  Do you have an advertising budget?
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.

Besides using all the typical marketing channels. For example, social media, advertisements, word of mouth, industry blogs and publications, we are also working with some of the advertising and marketing companies in Los Angeles to get them on board.

« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2015, 15:33 »
+1
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 16:32 by KnowYourOnions »

« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2015, 15:36 »
+1
Thanks KnowYourOnions  :)


« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2015, 16:16 »
+1
NorArt, thanks for invitation but this is what I get after email registration:

"Sorry, but the server encountered an error while processing your request."

After that I do backspace and I'm logged in, tadamm! I don't know if it's a bug but you may want check it out ;)


Edit,
first thing that I really miss here is bulk edit in selected parts, like set up license and pricing (default for all new uploads)...
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 16:42 by Ariene »

« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2015, 16:20 »
0
Ariene, thanks for letting us know :). We're looking into it right now.

« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2015, 16:47 »
+1
Ariene,

We fixed the login issue error you encountered. Also, you're right about batch editing. We're working on it and will be available soon.

Thanks for your feedback!

« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2015, 17:22 »
+4
NorArt,

     Thanks for answering questions.  Due to previous experiences most here are pretty skeptical of new ventures until there is some proven success, but are usually willing to encourage anyone trying to make things better.  I like your concept and hope it is successful, but I think you will need to do a few things (in addition to marketing and sales) to get much interest from contributors.  To reiterate points made already:

1) Getting ftp submissions working that read IPTC data, plus batch editing will be key - I doubt many people will submit much if it is through a web form only.

2) Most of us probably submit images to be licensed RF commercial, RF editorial, or RM so an easy way of assigning standard licenses for each of those would be helpful - you could post here for the text of each of those to get lots of feedback.

3) And of course the VAT and income tax situation is very important as mentioned many times already.  You may have to hire someone to work on that as it seems to be quite complex.

    That's my two cents for now.  Good luck!

« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2015, 17:28 »
0
After some time playing I must say I like this site look a lot!

Next details in fast words, that I couldn't find and I'm sure clients will look for it too:
- let searching separate RF and RM licenses,
- it could be usefull to open file review when click mouse scroll wheel (at least mine can open new file this way on other sites ;) )
- fix the problem with small window with word "Licensed". It shows up when I edit pricing, located below 1000px, eclipse next size editing...
- please give me option to choose when I want to do payment. I know it's to early to talk about it, but worth try ;) I mean I wish to change my minimum payout limit higer than default sometimes to hold on transfer.
- option: manage your gallery, move chosen images to the top/down of your gallery (one up/down), show by date/recent added or oldest, by pricing, author's favourite, etc... or/and more advanced - set up catalogs. All visible to customers.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 05:56 by Ariene »

« Reply #52 on: February 05, 2015, 18:00 »
0
Do you covert the highest res JPEG version to TIffs, if we want to sell TIFFs.
Or, are we supposed to upload a Tiff version and you convert them to different size JPEGs?

« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2015, 18:06 »
+2
sgoodwin4813, I really appreciate your suggestions.

Quote
1) Getting ftp submissions working that read IPTC data, plus batch editing will be key - I doubt many people will submit much if it is through a web form only.

We are currently working on a FTP submission and batch editing.

Quote
2) Most of us probably submit images to be licensed RF commercial, RF editorial, or RM so an easy way of assigning standard licenses for each of those would be helpful - you could post here for the text of each of those to get lots of feedback.

We have a standard RF and RM license. And there will be a preset pricing options too if you don't want to do custom pricing.

Quote
3) And of course the VAT and income tax situation is very important as mentioned many times already.  You may have to hire someone to work on that as it seems to be quite complex.

I think youre right. Honestly, weve been so focused on the developing the platform that we haven't really had a chance to look into this matter. However, we will take your advice and hire a specialist.

Thanks

« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2015, 18:11 »
0
rimglow,

Quote
Do you covert the highest res JPEG version to TIffs, if we want to sell TIFFs.
Or, are we supposed to upload a Tiff version and you convert them to different size JPEGs?

If you want to sell Tiffs the original Tiff file must be uploaded. From that it's converted to different resolution Jpegs.

« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2015, 18:43 »
0
rimglow,

Quote
Do you covert the highest res JPEG version to TIffs, if we want to sell TIFFs.
Or, are we supposed to upload a Tiff version and you convert them to different size JPEGs?

If you want to sell Tiffs the original Tiff file must be uploaded. From that it's converted to different resolution Jpegs.

Okay, but it looks like the metadata doesn't travel with Tiff uploads. If I include a Clipping Path, with my Tiff, will it still be there for the downloads?

« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2015, 15:03 »
+2
I think focalpool main goal is to get customers make a request:
YOU REQUEST / PHOTOGRAPHERS SUBMIT / YOU CHOOSE

I am not much interested to work for "free" (submit images at request):
REQUEST / my submit / buyer choose other one`s photo
= 0 money earned and time wasted.

What do you think. Will focalpool work as microstock agency also?



« Reply #57 on: February 06, 2015, 15:07 »
0
wait...isn't this the same as ImageBrief?
http://www.imagebrief.com/

« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2015, 15:53 »
0
Quote
I think focalpool main goal is to get customers make a request:
YOU REQUEST / PHOTOGRAPHERS SUBMIT / YOU CHOOSE

Our main goal is to create a platform that gives photographers many ways to make a sell.
The request mechanism is more a way for clients to directly communicate with photographers what they're looking for if they can't find it. This is meant to compliment the existing library, not replace it.

« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2015, 16:57 »
0
I like it.  I've uploaded a few images, mostly goes smoothly but I've been getting some Upload errors with code PER.  What's PER mean?

« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2015, 17:40 »
0
Hi raresaturn,

Thanks for your feedback. We did have few unusually uploading errors which we're fixing right now. PER is just an internal code for us to know the cause of the server error and get to the bottom of it faster. 

« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2015, 18:28 »
+1
wait...isn't this the same as ImageBrief?
http://www.imagebrief.com/


It looks an awful lot like Imagebrief. Image brief for me has not generated anything. Got shortlisted a few times and that's it. This looks very much the same.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #62 on: February 07, 2015, 02:37 »
+6
There is no USP, they have no significant marketing and they dont deal with EU VAT. 3 reasons why this going no where.

« Reply #63 on: February 07, 2015, 04:29 »
0
Ron, what is USP?

« Reply #64 on: February 07, 2015, 04:34 »
0
I think focalpool main goal is to get customers make a request:
YOU REQUEST / PHOTOGRAPHERS SUBMIT / YOU CHOOSE

I am not much interested to work for "free" (submit images at request):
REQUEST / my submit / buyer choose other one`s photo
= 0 money earned and time wasted.

What do you think. Will focalpool work as microstock agency also?

"0 money earned and time wasted."
This is 100% truth.
And for pure truth, Maximillian received minus from just another MSG truth hater.
I wish that in this situation, I could give more than only one agree (plus).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 04:39 by enstoker »

« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2015, 04:41 »
+3
Ron, what is USP?

A unique selling point.  ie., why would a buyer go there to look for images. 

For example, Canva's USP is their built in design tool and easy access to images for that tool.

« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2015, 13:26 »
0
USP for Sellers:
FocalPool is a self-service platform where you sell your photos in the marketplace while maintaining complete control over pricing, licensing, management.

USP for Buyers:
Search the FocalPool marketplace to buy the photos youre looking for. If it doesnt exist, request it directly from photographers.


« Reply #67 on: February 07, 2015, 13:51 »
+5
You should hire Jo Ann Snover for consulting. she knows her stuff and keeps it real. then come back and present when she signs off on it.

currently, it is a half-baked idea

« Reply #68 on: February 07, 2015, 14:06 »
0
You should hire Jo Ann Snover for consulting. she knows her stuff and keeps it real. then come back and present when she signs off on it.

currently, it is a half-baked idea
I think the idea is cool.
At the same time, the business model is also my problem.
The "USP" sounds nice and promising.
But the "USP" must be 100% prepared by the seller.

Right there is my problem.

Let's say the customer wants a photo of a white dove on a roof of the castle X.

A: I see in my portfolio pictures of doves and B: The castle is around the corner ..
this is a perfect thing.

But the everyday case is more like this:
We are looking for a senior couple on a park bench, next to them a financial building (bank) be displayed.

1. Photo "older people on park bench" search in my own database - found (2 minutes)
2. Photo "Property / Building Bank" search in my own database - found (2 minutes)
3. Edit the photo and insert the building into the people image
(eternal time required for design) (45 minutes)
4. 122 photographers and designers have done the same. (122 x 49 minutes)
5. Bought is No. 111.
6. 121 have earned 0.00 euros.

« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 14:08 by Maximilian »

« Reply #69 on: February 07, 2015, 14:42 »
+1
4. 122 photographers and designers have done the same. (122 x 49 minutes)
...
6. 121 have earned 0.00 euros.

If I were this one and earned 500$ I definitely would try! ;)

121 another photographers is not a lot, when we competite on micros with milions images everyday...

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #70 on: February 07, 2015, 14:45 »
+1
121 another photographers is not a lot, when we competite on micros with milions images everyday...
OTOH, the 121 could have wasted time on making a specific image which might never be wanted again.

« Reply #71 on: February 07, 2015, 14:50 »
+3
Quote
USP" must be 100% prepared by the seller.

I respectfully disagree that we have to choose sides between buyers or the sellers. I think weve come up with a platform that both can benefit from.

Here are couple of things weve done to reduce the time wasted by photographers trying to fulfill someone's photo request.

First, on FocalPool you can see how many people are interested in a specific request even before anything is submitted. Before you spend time to search your database, you can decide if the request is too crowded and whether or not its worth your time.

Second, the reputation system I mentioned before also applies to the buyers/requesters. If someone consistently makes a request and either does not follow up or is too needy or somehow abuses the system. It will reflect on their reputation therefore as a photographer youll know whore you working with.

Thanks for suggesting to talk to Jo Ann Snover regarding FocalPool. I will try to contact her.

« Reply #72 on: February 07, 2015, 14:55 »
0
I know a lot about this sytem.
This system is very interesting for customers.
Low prices.

In graphic design, there are 99designs.com
Odesk.com Personnel sector or freelancer.com

In all of these a bunch seller suggest to a client.
Without exception.

In graphic design, it is the worst. Because the customer is not satisfy with seller/ contributors  references. Customer wants to see final results. Therefore, I find my example above should be viewed very critically.

If it succeeds focalpool to minimize the risk for seller, then this could be very interesting. Above all, along with the database of our stock pictures.

« Reply #73 on: February 07, 2015, 15:25 »
+4
Maximilian

I agree that some of the other services focus only on the client and it's obvious why. At the end of the day, they have to show revenue to their investors and clients are the ones with the money.

But most clients in advertising, marketing companies don't prioritize low prices. They care about the project vision a lot more than saving couple of dollars. I worked with many of them in Los Angeles in the past decade and their main pain-point is wasting too much time searching for the images they're looking for. Believe it or not, they spend more money on the search itself than the actual cost of purchasing the image. Many straight up told me that they would happily pay 3 or 4 times the price of the image just to find it sooner.

Shelma1

« Reply #74 on: February 08, 2015, 06:51 »
+6
I've been in advertising for decades and I find this practice disgusting. Asking people to work for free on the off chance their images will be chosen is disgusting. If you need the subjects from two different images in one, buy them both and pay someone to do the retouching. Or get in touch with the photographer and offer to pay them to retouch. If you can't find what you need hire a photographer. When these people spend hours searching, they get paid for their time.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #75 on: February 08, 2015, 07:46 »
0
USP for Sellers:
FocalPool is a self-service platform where you sell your photos in the marketplace while maintaining complete control over pricing, licensing, management.

USP for Buyers:
Search the FocalPool marketplace to buy the photos youre looking for. If it doesnt exist, request it directly from photographers.

Both USP are already out there.

USP for Sellers. FAA
USP for buyers.  Image brief. Envato. Etc.

You haven't researched this at all.

« Reply #76 on: February 08, 2015, 14:46 »
+1
you guys have a great question regarding VAT.

Until this point most of our focus has been to work closely with photographers and other creative professionals to develop our platform. To be honest, we still need to do a lot of research to see what is the best approach when it comes to handling VAT. As someone who deals with this in Europe with different marketplaces, can you give me some examples of companies that handle it the correct way?

Which is difficult when the contracts come about directly between the authors and buyers.
The administrative burden for EU contributors be very high.
An example of a bad solution is Envato.




« Reply #77 on: February 09, 2015, 04:30 »
+8
I like a lot of what I see here.

EU VAT is a key issue and actually represents an opportunity for you.  Self hosting in EU countries has become unattractive owing to the need for sellers to become tax collectors. I, for one, would happily pay your percentage if you are able to take on that role. 

To do this successfully, I have to trust you to do it as I would retain liability.  Similarly, you need to be able to evidence to me that the tax has been accounted for.

Your proposal is unattractive until you sort this out.

« Reply #78 on: February 10, 2015, 06:32 »
+1
One more thing that I can't leave out, I'm confused - if it's up to photographers to set their own license term for clients (agreement or whatever we call it in english), where do we (authors) upload it and where/ when client can get it? I'm worry if it's not to much for them (clients) to read all different agreements for every image/ author...  :-\
Can you give us details and tell in few easy words how does it work there? I'm sorry if this info is on the site already, I can't find it :)

« Reply #79 on: February 10, 2015, 21:50 »
+1
Hi Ariene,

We have standard license agreements RF/RM which most photographers use to license their own images and it's recognizable to most clients. But if for some reason a photographer wants to use their unique license agreement they will be able to.

« Reply #80 on: February 11, 2015, 02:27 »
0
I must be blind as I can't find it... Please tell me where is it :) I'm talking about client license agreement and not terms for contributor :)

« Reply #81 on: February 11, 2015, 14:15 »
0
Ariene, I just realized that with our last few site updates, the links to the licensing agreements got hidden and we never noticed it. We're working to bring it back up. I'll email you the links as soon as possible.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 14:56 by NorArt »

« Reply #82 on: February 17, 2015, 22:53 »
+5
I like the conceptjust join and now waiting for that invitation email.

Hope this will success and make the change that the micro stock and creative market needs.

« Reply #83 on: February 18, 2015, 01:03 »
+4
+10 for NorArt who is patiently replying to all the Qs.
That's promising... go FocalPool!  :)

« Reply #84 on: April 25, 2015, 15:48 »
0
It's so quiet here lately...
Btw. How can I upload image now? I just can't find UPLOAD button anymore...

« Reply #85 on: April 25, 2015, 17:01 »
+2
I like the conceptjust join and now waiting for that invitation email.

Hope this will success and make the change that the micro stock and creative market needs.
Regarding the USP and 'no middleman issues' consider this from an article Reason magazine today,
"...a self-branded "decentralization' movement coalescing around the idea that recent breakthroughs in computer science have made it possible for individuals to exchange goods and services without the involvement of any third party.

Some of the highest profile firms in techincluding Uber, Lyft, eBay, Etsy, and Airbnbare essentially marketplace operators that facilitate trade between independent buyers and sellers. In return, they extract fees, put limits on who can participate in the market..."


It seems like a really good site which does what Etsy does could succeed, and even possibly unseat SS some day. Just because a (loser) site like FAA does something seemingly similar does not mean that a really good peer-to-peer site could not succeed big time.

I stopped doing microstock because it doesn't pay enough any more. I read MSG to keep up on the business, and I will watch FocalPool to see what it happens, and wish it good luck. 

« Reply #86 on: April 26, 2015, 10:47 »
+2
I watched the video for focalpool and found this site to be the worst kind of crowd sourcing.

The video claims they put buyers in direct contact with photographers, implying the buyer looks at a photographer's port, contacts them and hires them to shoot a specific image, but that's not really true.

Instead a buyer posts a request in which they can be very specific about what they need, a bowl of pasta in a white bowl to start, then adding an illustration to show the specific angle they want, type of pasta, background, type of file etc. This request is open to multiple photographers to submit work but the more specific the details get, the less likely a photographer already has such an image in their collection, meaning if they want to participate they would have to create the shot following the specs given, possibly incurring costs out of pocket. Fine, except that maybe 100+ other photographers are doing the same thing. Everyone uploads their images and hopes for the best. Problem is the buyer doesn't need 100 shots, they need only 1. If it's not yours, you lose. You get nothing.

Reminds me of Hunger Games, or Battle Royal. Focalpool pits photographers against each other and whoever wins gets a reward, for everyone else, well it sucks to be you. They don't care who gets paid because no matter what, they get their 20%.

Not interested.



« Reply #87 on: April 26, 2015, 10:56 »
+1
... Focalpool pits photographers against each other and whoever wins gets a reward, for everyone else, well it sucks to be you. They don't care who gets paid because no matter what, they get their 20%.

Isn't it the standard way with any other agency? Does SS or Alamy care whose image will be sold? As far as I know, they don't. They get their % and that's happy end. Just like with Focal Pool. And here as well client won't buy 100 images, he comes to any agency for the one that he's looking for. Or not? Am I wrong?

« Reply #88 on: April 26, 2015, 11:06 »
0
... Focalpool pits photographers against each other and whoever wins gets a reward, for everyone else, well it sucks to be you. They don't care who gets paid because no matter what, they get their 20%.

Isn't it the standard way with any other agency? Does SS or Alamy care whose image will be sold? As far as I know, they don't. They get their % and that's happy end. Just like with Focal Pool. And here as well client won't buy 100 images, he comes to any agency for the one that he's looking for. Or not? Am I wrong?

I imagine that buyers with subscription plans are downloading more than one image for a project. They pick some they think will work - run them past the client and ultimately end up using just one. I can't imagine that all the downloaded images SS has every day,in the end all get used in projects.

« Reply #89 on: April 26, 2015, 11:13 »
0
... Focalpool pits photographers against each other and whoever wins gets a reward, for everyone else, well it sucks to be you. They don't care who gets paid because no matter what, they get their 20%.

Isn't it the standard way with any other agency? Does SS or Alamy care whose image will be sold? As far as I know, they don't. They get their % and that's happy end. Just like with Focal Pool. And here as well client won't buy 100 images, he comes to any agency for the one that he's looking for. Or not? Am I wrong?

With Stock Photography, I shoot what I want, how I want. I upload and if a buyer likes it they buy it, if they don't, they don't. Sometimes I make a lot of money from what I choose to shoot, sometimes I make very little, but it's on my terms.

When a buyer has very specific directions, it's no longer stock photography. In that case they would ordinarily hire a photographer, give them their very, very specific instructions and the photographer produces the work, knowing they're going to be paid, probably even getting a deposit up front to cover expenses.

Here a buyer has very specific instruction for what they want but they forgo hiring a photographer. Instead they post their project and It becomes more like a contest, you take part on their terms but at your expense and you hope to get something from it. There's a big difference.

« Reply #90 on: April 26, 2015, 11:33 »
0
Ok, I get it, but I believe it's not every time the same? I mean, it happens that I already have the image that client wants so all I do is upload? Just like it works on Imagebrief, I don't have to make new images (the offered price is usually to small to take the photo session costs especially for this order)?

« Reply #91 on: April 26, 2015, 11:58 »
+1
Ok, I get it, but I believe it's not every time the same? I mean, it happens that I already have the image that client wants so all I do is upload? Just like it works on Imagebrief, I don't have to make new images (the offered price is usually to small to take the photo session costs especially for this order)?

Yeah exactly. If the buyer just wants a bowl of pasta and you have shots like that already then it works. Just like with imagebrief. But like I said, the more specific the request, the less likely you have exactly what they want in which case if you want to submit you have to go shoot it following the directions posted. I know people go out and shoot things specifically to suit briefs on Imagebrief even though they market themselves as a place for photographers to submit preexisting material from their catalogs. I don't do that and never will. I've only submitted to about 8 briefs in the last year. Never made a sale. In fact all of the briefs I've ever submitted to remained pending for months and never closed. Probably because the buyer didn't get exactly what they wanted.

« Reply #92 on: April 26, 2015, 15:18 »
+1
It's so quiet here lately...
Btw. How can I upload image now? I just can't find UPLOAD button anymore...

Was wondering the same but actually its even more simple now, just go to library, open media folder and drag and drop images on it. If you created any collection you just open that folder and you can upload directly to the collection folder now.

I really like the whole concept, the look and options of this site and I have already uploaded majority of my portfolio so I hope they will start their business soon. 

About that buyers request option from the video that someone mentioned, well I look at that  just as an single option that the site offers ( it really doesn't interest me much personally)  but not at all as a main force of their concept.

« Reply #93 on: April 26, 2015, 16:08 »
0
Nevermind.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 10:01 by Ariene »

« Reply #94 on: July 14, 2017, 10:03 »
0
Sad to see FocalPool closing down, and it was so nice and promising place...

Another agency which ends before their start...

« Reply #95 on: July 14, 2017, 10:09 »
0
From the website

While we have made great progress, mostly thanks to your invaluable feedback, we realized that we are getting too far away from our original mission. Therefore, we have decided to take what we have learned from FocalPool and start fresh under new branding and a laser focus mission. Once we are ready to publicly launch our new company, we'll notify all of you via email.

« Reply #96 on: July 14, 2017, 10:13 »
+1
OLD THREAD ALERT!!!


« Reply #97 on: July 14, 2017, 10:53 »
+5
OLD THREAD ALERT!!!

It's called a follow-up. It's actually quite interesting to see what happens to new start-ups after a few years.

« Reply #98 on: July 14, 2017, 10:54 »
+5
From the website

While we have made great progress, mostly thanks to your invaluable feedback, we realized that we are getting too far away from our original mission. Therefore, we have decided to take what we have learned from FocalPool and start fresh under new branding and a laser focus mission. Once we are ready to publicly launch our new company, we'll notify all of you via email.


Far away from the mission of making money...  ;)


 

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