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Author Topic: For people who sell their own images - invitation to join Stock Image Portal  (Read 19942 times)

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« on: January 21, 2011, 23:41 »
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To everyone selling their own images from their own websites:

The weakest point of selling your own portfolio from your website is limited choice of images. You can spend tons of money advertising but still the fact that you cover a limited number of subjects will severely limit your customer base.

To overcome this obstacle, WE ARE ORGANIZING A NON-PROFIT PORTAL SITE.
http://www.stockimageportal.com/

The idea is simple. The portal site will have links to participants' sites. The participants will be required to do just 3 things:

1.Link to the portal from their online store homepage
2.Put a link to the portal when a customer search on their site comes up with no results (we can help with the code there).
3.Pay a small monthly fee to maintain the site and advertise it (20 US dollars per link per month).

We are not looking to make money from this site. This is only to help us link to each other, have a small advertising budget and make sure customers have better shopping experience. You can join or drop off anytime you want (if you stop paying we'll just remove your link). We also reserve the right to not accept the link (for example, if you are selling just 5 images on your site we won't accept it).
We don't care what software you use or at what prices you sell your images for, as long as searching and buying on your site works.
We will keep you informed on how your money is spent.

Please PM me if you're interested in participation.

If you have questions, please post in this thread.


« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 23:45 »
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Ummm, you're just making a site of links?

« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2011, 23:47 »
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Ummm, you're just making a site of links?

No. Pls read above.

« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 23:54 »
+1
I did.

'The portal site will have links to participants' sites.'

That's not really a portal.  A portal would interact with the API of individual sites making them searchable from one place.

« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 00:15 »
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I did.

'The portal site will have links to participants' sites.'

That's not really a portal.  A portal would interact with the API of individual sites making them searchable from one place.

Not necessarily - although we may get there at some point. We call it a portal now in a sense of a "doorway" to stock photography offerings (by individuals), and it's not just a collection of links but a way to direct customers to search multiple sites, although at this point not "from one place" - they will have to go to a portal site and then visit other sites if they choose. If a search on your site didn't turn up any results, you will be directed to the portal site, where the description of the available sites will help the buyer make a choice where to do.
So, we'll start with that. Being able to search multiple sites from the portal directly would be a good feature, we'll see what we can do about it in the future.

« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 00:21 »
+1
I'm not sure a page of links is a solution to anything.

« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 00:42 »
+1
A site that showed thumbnails and (preferably) prices for each file, with a redirect to that image on the owner's site would make sense. A kind of workers' co-op. I think a lot of designers might like that, knowing that the whole price went to the creator, and I'm sure a lot of photographers would. It would provide an easy sales pitch, too.
Such a site could also act as an intermediary, selling credit bundles to companies that don't want to mess with a load of individual card transactions and passing the images to the buyer and the sales cash - less, say, a 5% administrative fee - to the photo's owner.  I see some difficulties in setting that up but I don't think it is impossible. 

« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 09:42 »
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I'm not sure a page of links is a solution to anything.
Sean, you're an istock exclusive and can't possibly sell images on your own. I am not sure why are you even getting involved in this thread. I offer something concrete and very doable  to help  - loosely at this point - organize people who started selling on their own. Instead of spending hours and hours in pointless discussions.

« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 09:44 »
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A site that showed thumbnails and (preferably) prices for each file, with a redirect to that image on the owner's site would make sense. A kind of workers' co-op. I think a lot of designers might like that, knowing that the whole price went to the creator, and I'm sure a lot of photographers would. It would provide an easy sales pitch, too.
Such a site could also act as an intermediary, selling credit bundles to companies that don't want to mess with a load of individual card transactions and passing the images to the buyer and the sales cash - less, say, a 5% administrative fee - to the photo's owner.  I see some difficulties in setting that up but I don't think it is impossible. 

That would be a feature request for the future.

« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2011, 09:53 »
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Answering some questions I received through PMs - monthly fee is to enable us to advertise the site. The operation cost of keeping the site is negligible. If we get 20 people to participate, we will have a 400 dollars monthly budget, which is very low, but still it's possible to do some advertising with it.
We can pull our resources and be better off than on our own.
Or we can keep endlessly talking:)

« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2011, 10:02 »
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A site that showed thumbnails and (preferably) prices for each file, with a redirect to that image on the owner's site would make sense. A kind of workers' co-op. I think a lot of designers might like that, knowing that the whole price went to the creator, and I'm sure a lot of photographers would. It would provide an easy sales pitch, too.
Such a site could also act as an intermediary, selling credit bundles to companies that don't want to mess with a load of individual card transactions and passing the images to the buyer and the sales cash - less, say, a 5% administrative fee - to the photo's owner.  I see some difficulties in setting that up but I don't think it is impossible. 

That would be a feature request for the future.
I think that might make me interested.  I can't get enthusiastic about paying $20 a month for a site that isn't going to be easy for buyers to find my images and buy them.  I really don't see any point in spending anything on advertising until there's something better for buyers to look at.  I would be more interested in getting together to buy Clustershot, have you considered that?

jbarber873

« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2011, 10:08 »
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Answering some questions I received through PMs - monthly fee is to enable us to advertise the site. The operation cost of keeping the site is negligible. If we get 20 people to participate, we will have a 400 dollars monthly budget, which is very low, but still it's possible to do some advertising with it.
We can pull our resources and be better off than on our own.
Or we can keep endlessly talking:)

 Endlessly talking is what we do best here.
 As for me, I think it's a great idea to try, and I will be submitting my site for consideration. Driving people to a website is the most difficult part of any stock image site, and i think you will find it a lot more expensive than you may imagine, but at least you are trying. 20 dollars a month is a cheap way to give it a try, so, I'll give it a try... :)

« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2011, 10:13 »
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Are there relatively easy ways to set up ones own site for this? I've often considered setting up a site for independent sales but could never find software that made this idea attractive.

« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2011, 10:30 »
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I'm not sure a page of links is a solution to anything.
Sean, you're an istock exclusive and can't possibly sell images on your own. I am not sure why are you even getting involved in this thread. I offer something concrete and very doable  to help  - loosely at this point - organize people who started selling on their own. Instead of spending hours and hours in pointless discussions.

Well, if interested, he could sell RM, couldn't he? Or RM is forbidden in this plan?

« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2011, 10:35 »
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I'm not sure a page of links is a solution to anything.
Sean, you're an istock exclusive and can't possibly sell images on your own. I am not sure why are you even getting involved in this thread. I offer something concrete and very doable  to help  - loosely at this point - organize people who started selling on their own. Instead of spending hours and hours in pointless discussions.

As mentioned, I could sell RM.  Also, I am interested in anything that could help the industry to move towards higher rates or to sell more pictures.

A page of links to photographers' sites, and links from there back to the link page, isn't really anything that will accomplish anything, or that a buyer would care about, or that money spent "advertising" wouldn't just be a waste for.  The other suggestions above, linking search engines, showing thumbnails, etc. are all things that would contribute to something that might be useful, but that takes more work - integrating APIs or making some sort of transferable industry standard XML format, etc.

Heck, leaf made a wiki page to add blog links to.  That's all this sounds like.

« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2011, 10:39 »
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One obvious piece that has been overlooked so far is licensing terms.  If we leave it up to each individual person, then terms would be all over the map.  I think uniting everyone under common license would be one of the first tasks.  Kind of like the GPL, in that it's a publically available set of terms that everyone can use, but in this case governing reasonable usage of images.

« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2011, 10:47 »
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Look, here's Clustershot, right?  Individual storefronts, same type of database, selling paradigm, license terms, etc. across the collection of collections (I don't know for sure how it works - I'm guessing).  Man up, form a group, buy it, and customize it to the co-op that everyone talks about, but no one is interested in doing.

eta: oh, and change the name - lol.


lisafx

« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2011, 11:07 »
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I am just getting started putting together a website.  Not yet able to join anything, but I certainly like the general idea of the co-op. Once I am set up better I will definitely consider joining up. 

Good work, Elena, in getting the ball rolling :)

« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2011, 11:14 »
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This concept is exactly the kind of response to folks being unhappy with the trend their business is taking. Such ideas -- whether this one or the next -- are what eventually changes an industry that bites the hands that feed it. The wisest veteran company will see the unrest and figure out a way to use it to their advantage. The entrepreneurs will discover the tiny flaws in the big sites defenses and find ways to wiggle in and steal a bit of the cheese.  

« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2011, 11:17 »
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So basically, this would be a distributed storage and indexing problem.  You need a method for the common metadata database located at the portal site to be updated (daily polling for changes?), and the easiest way to do that would be to have a commonly installed software package on each site that handles indexing and storage of files (on that person's website).  

You want this to be as simple as possible, photographer uploads new files to a directory on their server and the software handles the rest.  I guess you would need a local mini-page to mark which images have model releases and which do not (is there a model release flag in EXIF?).

Software would extract keywords, create a unique identifier for the file, create an XML descriptor file, create a thumbnail file, and then move the files to a storage directory structure.

Portal server would poll site once a day for new XML files, and update its local common database, and possibly import a thumbnail image (might be better to serve it from the photographer's site).

The portal server's search engine would handle all the search complexities, and have minimal storage and bandwidth requirements (distributed!), keeping costs very, very low.

For actual final sales, portal server would redirect to the software on the photographer's server, which would deal with payment (paypal?) and delivery of the full sized image file.


I like Graphic Leftover's one-size-fits-all pricing approach, makes things much simpler and requires less storage on the Photographer's servers, but wouldn't be difficult to resize the images as uploads were being processed.


This would also make it easy for anyone with a web server to participate, even if they don't have their own storefront.

lagereek

« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2011, 11:20 »
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Rome wasnt built in a day. This might just be the beginning of something, at least it shows incentive.

« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2011, 11:21 »
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I think this has potential and I'll be watching it.  With my tiny portfolio and even $20 is way too much at this point, but there's the future.  At least we hope there's a future.

« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2011, 11:22 »
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I would like to avoid this thread being turned into yet another discussion of "What is to be done?" I appreciate everyone's opinions but if you'd like to bounce around some ideas on how you think someone should do things, please start another thread. And please go ahead and buy Clustershot if you're interested in it, I am not.

We are accepting reasonable suggestions from people who already invested money and time into creating their own stores. Our site will develop well beyond it's current simple layout, give us time. We as a member of the site are directly interested in the best buyers experience possible, and we have resources to implement that.  But we need to start simple so the site is working right away (like beginning of February).

And yes, 20 dollars a month is a ridiculously low price to pay for your site being advertised, but if we have sufficient participation we can gradually build up the brand and the relevant traffic. And it will take time - it won't happen in a month. But it can be done. So, if you already have an online store with your images, we will be glad to hear from you.

« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2011, 11:33 »
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Drat, so you are saying I shouldn't spend my Saturday writing a fun client/server distributed network project, Elena?

« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2011, 11:34 »
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I am in the process of figuring out how to set up my own shop as well, though it won't have many images in it to begin with. I would probably be interested in something like this. There is room for improvements but this is a start and and i have to support the idea


 

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