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Author Topic: PicturEngine is ready!  (Read 4354 times)

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« on: September 09, 2016, 13:27 »
0
Hi Microstock Group,

PicturEngine is ready!

We built something so many said could not be done. Together, we're putting control of image distribution and commissions back into photographers hands where it rightfully belongs.

PicturEngine is released to the public with a few features disabled. To turn on all the bells and whistles, visual search, More Like This, real-time search deduping, phone and tablet front-end formatting, and more, we must first get PicturEngine to the market.

I encourage you to check out the new system at
http://www.picturengine.com/. Please note that search results will fluctuate over the next few weeks as we prepare for our public campaign and bring new data online.  We take photographers' suggestions very seriously, and we're here to ensure everything runs smoothly.  If you discover an issue, or have feedback of any kind, please let us know what you think at support@picturengine.com.  Updated FAQs are available at http://support.picturengine.com/ 

I hope you are as excited as I am about this tremendous milestone.

If you are new to PicturEngine here is a quick summary:

Advertising, Sales and Delivery platform
Showcase your work to a larger audience
Level playing field thanks to unbiased search results
Exclusive tools and analytics help get your best images online fast
Pay only a simple flat fee and keep 100% of your sales
First SIX months FREE!

Advertising Only
If you already have a sales platform, take advantage of an Advertising Only plan.
Include your images within our industry-wide search results
We point buyers to your images where you make the sales
Flat fee, zero commissions
First month FREE!

Best,
JB


« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2016, 13:33 »
0
Congrats and good luck. I'll have to take a look at it again. It's been a while, so I'm not sure I remember all the details.

« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2016, 15:08 »
0
how many buyers/ customers do you have?
There is no translation for customers not searching by english keywords?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 15:12 by hellou »

« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 18:10 »
0
...PicturEngine is released to the public with a few features disabled. To turn on all the bells and whistles, visual search, More Like This, real-time search deduping, phone and tablet front-end formatting, and more, we must first get PicturEngine to the market.

Great that this project is still going, but I don't really understand the above - what does getting PicturEngine to market actually entail and when will that happen? You mention a public campaign - when will that happen and what sort of activities will be included.

If I look at the information on the web site, I see this (color added by me):

Quote
PicturEngine is much more than a search engine. We bring content creators and buyers together to find and license the best work. Our intuitive search and discovery tools take the buyer through a journey to find the best image for their projects and concepts. Real-time data and analytics ensure that content creators are submitting work that sells and is in demand among buyers. PicturEngine features unbiased searches with never-before-seen images from new sources, as well as images from traditional agencies. With a click, buyers can license straight from the source.

That sounds as if you're filtering out some of a contributor's work - is that the case and if so, how is that done and what are the criteria?

I have no idea what platforms you support for advertising only and couldn't find a list in the FAQ.

There is nothing explaining what, if anything, PicturEngine does for the Advertising Only package other than show images in a search if someone happens upon the site.  Some details on what the monthly fee is purchasing would be helpful.

What are the criteria used to order images in search results? You don't offer a choice and there's clearly some sort of clustering of agencies based on some quick checks I did and multi-word searches have results that don't even include all the words higher up than those with all of the words, suggesting some sort of ranking other than by the search terms. Some of the results didn't appear to have any of the keywords - possibly there are still some bugs?

Given the large number of images returned, some sorts of filters (people/no people, horiz/vert/square, photo/illustration,  exclude keywords) would be helpful - are those in the works? Right now I'm not seeing much beyond a basic keyword search.

Perhaps you can fill in more details - on the site FAQ or here - so we can see if this is a good fit?

Microstock Man

  • microstockman.com

« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2016, 18:35 »
+1
The site looks quite nice, but upon doing a search its not quite as good

http://www.picturengine.com/search?query=kangaroo

in the first few rows (may vary per user) there are images that appear to be slide scans, including the black edge of the slide - not very professional or appealing. Then there is no way to actually click on an image and get a bigger view? Try loading a vertical - its quite tiny (at least on my Macbook Pro Retina 15")

Site homepage looks great, but rest of the site may need some touch-ups.

If I remember correctly, this project has been going for quite some years already, right? Would be good to know how it has worked out so far. $30 a month isn't cheap in my book for something I can't yet rely on. More info would be great.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 18:47 by Microstock Man »

« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 04:54 »
+1
What happened?  Wasn't this supposed to go live 5 years ago?  I suggest people wade through the previous threads, if you can still find them.  Some things went on that really put me off PictureEngine.  Do buyers want even more images to wade through in a search?  Might be more exciting if PictureEngine didn't work with sites that pay us very little.

alno

« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 05:18 »
+1
"We bring content creators and buyers together to find and license the best work"
"Promote your best work for one flat fee"

I guess those are two different "best works" :) How can you be good both for mediocre photographer paying his or her money for promotion and buyer willing to purchase top notch content at the same time?

Microstock Man

  • microstockman.com

« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2016, 10:27 »
+1
What happened?  Wasn't this supposed to go live 5 years ago?  I suggest people wade through the previous threads, if you can still find them.  Some things went on that really put me off PictureEngine.  Do buyers want even more images to wade through in a search?  Might be more exciting if PictureEngine didn't work with sites that pay us very little.

^ Yeah this is my main concern. If I remember correctly (sorry if I am off) for years PicturEngine has been pushing hard for people to pay up for a platform that was always "almost" ready. So my number 1 question - Those poor photogs who did sign up years back and paid good money for a site that only now is launched, what did they get for their dollars? Taken for a ride? I hope not.

« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2016, 16:45 »
0
how many buyers/ customers do you have?
We are launching PicturEngine to our current client base of image buyers this month (from my agencies cornerhousestock.com and picturesque.com) of over 30,000 confirmed image buyers that helped us shape PicturEngine with their feedback and knowledge of the industry.  We listened to their needs when creating PicturEngine, but they are just the beginning as we start marketing.

There is no translation for customers not searching by english keywords?
For now, just English.

Great that this project is still going, but I don't really understand the above - what does getting PicturEngine to market actually entail and when will that happen?
Please see above.

That sounds as if you're filtering out some of a contributor's work - is that the case and if so, how is that done and what are the criteria?
Are you referring to real-time deduping?  Here is an FAQ that explains that:
http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/478867-does-picturengine-compare-prices-

I have no idea what platforms you support for advertising only and couldn't find a list in the FAQ.
Currently we have instant availability through Photoshelter.  Other platforms will come that meet the criteria. 
See this FAQ:
http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/478304-do-i-need-to-upload-images-for-my-advertising-only-account-
To qualify for an Advertising Only account, your images MUST be properly keyworded and searchable online, you MUST have production-ready high resolution images available for instant download, and your images MUST have an online pricing calculator.  If you meet all of these criteria, we will create a feed from your sales platform and include your images within our industrywide search results.

There is nothing explaining what, if anything, PicturEngine does for the Advertising Only package other than show images in a search if someone happens upon the site.  Some details on what the monthly fee is purchasing would be helpful.
Here is an FAQ that explains that:http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/412559-how-can-i-be-included-in-the-picturengine-search-results-

What are the criteria used to order images in search results?
The short answer is each search result is unique, the more you search the better your search results become for your specific needs.  Here is a good FAQ:
http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/415477-do-i-need-to-login-to-search-

Given the large number of images returned, some sorts of filters (people/no people, horiz/vert/square, photo/illustration,  exclude keywords) would be helpful - are those in the works?
We are sorting through the whole stock photo industry, of which our organic results exceed 500 million.  If what you are looking for is not in our organic results, we also search most of the industry (all the main agencies) in near real-time to get the top results from their searches when you search.  These near real-time search results load in batches as you scroll to provide a constant mix of fresh and organic images.  This is what we mean when we say, the more you search the better your results.  Each search builds on the last, as we hone in on what the image buyer is really seeking.  We built a pretty awesome, learning search engine.  With that said, we do need filters.  Currently all Boolean search operators work within our search (AND, OR, NOT, or you can use -people -person)  Also you can place RM or RF after a term or search string to return just those license types.  In short, search filters are either already there (just need to build the GUI) or coming.  We are trying to keep it as SIMPLE as possible to get people searching and exploring.  With PicturEngine, the more you search the better your results.

The site looks quite nice, but upon doing a search its not quite as good

http://www.picturengine.com/search?query=kangaroo

in the first few rows (may vary per user) there are images that appear to be slide scans, including the black edge of the slide - not very professional or appealing. Then there is no way to actually click on an image and get a bigger view?
We display the image preview size provided from a vast number of sources.  We do try to average the thumbnail sizes and have in the works other display options.  If you want to see an image bigger, just click on the thumbnail.  We show the bigger preview provided from the source.  If you want to see it even bigger, click License Image to open a new tab and go to the site where the image can be licensed.  Most sites where the image can be licensed, just a click away, have much larger preview images.  We want to make sure images are found and licensed quickly so we try to keep the clicks to a minimum.

there are images that appear to be slide scans, including the black edge of the slide - not very professional or appealing.
I suggest clicking on the image and see the source.  I saw a couple kangaroos with black borders from Ralph Clevenger, one of the most successful stock photographers in the business.  He taught the stock photo class at Brooks Institute of Photography for years and is an amazing photographer.  You might recognize him from his famous iceberg shot that he makes money from everyday when it sells, and also when it doesnt. http://ralphclevenger.com/tag/iceberg/

$30 a month isn't cheap in my book
We are seeking serious and experienced photographers, as we are enabling them to self edit, giving them the opportunity of unlimited uploads/sales and invaluable information about the industry and searches.  Check out our substantial, full feature list for the Platform Photographer. http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2562568-photographer-platform-features-list

What happened?  Wasn't this supposed to go live 5 years ago?  I suggest people wade through the previous threads, if you can still find them.  Some things went on that really put me off PictureEngine.
We have been in Beta, working on PicturEngine for a long time, this is true.  We are VERY dedicated to helping photographers succeed.  I am a photographer and a niche agency owner.  Without a project like PicturEngine there is not much hope for our industry.  Image buyers and photographers like yourself have given us great feedback and suggestions over the years and we work tirelessly implementing these great suggestions.  Sorry if we ever put you off, as that was not our intention.  There was some early misinformation and accusations that simply were not accurate.  Our intentions have always been to help photographers, image buyers, and the overall stock photo industry.

Do buyers want even more images to wade through in a search?
When you have a search that encompasses the whole industry, why wouldnt you just go to ONE place that has it all?

How can you be good both for mediocre photographer paying his or her money for promotion and buyer willing to purchase top notch content at the same time?
Our smart search lets the buyer decide what they want to see more of, and is ever evolving.  As far as mediocre, that is subjective and will be decided upon by the buyer.  If we inject an image here and there for advertising, that is because we think the buyer may be interested in seeing it, and thats good for everyone.  Often times the buyer does not know exactly what they are looking for and need to go on an exploring mission to find the perfect image for them.

Those poor photogs who did sign up years back and paid good money for a site that only now is launched, what did they get for their dollars? Taken for a ride? I hope not.
Those awesome photographers that signed up and helped with the Beta, paid nothing but a couple cents to test our PayPal subscription system, and maybe a few dollars for storage.  They GET a FULL YEAR FREE!!!  They PAY NOTHING, until ONE YEAR AFTER our official launch date.  I KEEP my promises.  None of the Beta testers have been or will be charged until a year from now, as their feedback was invaluable in helping us shape the system into what we have today.  Thanks again to all of our Beta testers!   

« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 11:08 »
0
Do buyers want even more images to wade through in a search?
When you have a search that encompasses the whole industry, why wouldnt you just go to ONE place that has it all?
I think most buyers seem reluctant to use more than one or two sites.  That's why I never got too enthusiastic about Symbiostock, it looks like buyers don't like signing up to many sites or we would see the smaller sites doing much better.  I presume that with PictureEngine, if they found 20 photos they wanted on 20 different sites, they would have to sign up to all of them?  I just don't see how that will work.  Then there's price.  Not much point finding what they want on PictureEngine only to find its not the right price.  What about quality control?  All the sites have different standards, some buyers might be OK with images that are on the sites with almost no review standards but I'm sure many wouldn't be.

If you can sell images from all the sites with only one sign up, standardise prices and make sure all the low quality old images that really shouldn't be on some of the sites were excluded, PictureEngine might be a good idea but then you would still have to convince buyers and that doesn't seem easy.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 11:43 »
+9
Hi Justin,

Nice initiative, but 30$ a month is a VERY high rate even if you offer 100% commission.

My main concern is that you business plan does not really motivate you to find buyers for our photos (you get 0%) - it actually mainly motivates you to find new photographers, who are willing to invest the 30$ a month. All right, the first six months are free, but still... How about a payment model where you keep the first 30$ of the photographer's sale? That should also motivate you to do something about getting good sales for your contributors.

« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 12:34 »
+1
Hi Justin,

Nice initiative, but 30$ a month is a VERY high rate even if you offer 100% commission.

My main concern is that you business plan does not really motivate you to find buyers for our photos (you get 0%) - it actually mainly motivates you to find new photographers, who are willing to invest the 30$ a month. All right, the first six months are free, but still... How about a payment model where you keep the first 30$ of the photographer's sale? That should also motivate you to do something about getting good sales for your contributors.
I will never pay this high amount to sell my images. No way. Make it $1 for 500 images. If no sales (payout) i want have back my money and the option to cancel the account at any time! Maybe i will jump.

Microstock Man

  • microstockman.com

« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 13:32 »
0
Quote from: Microstock Man on September 09, 2016, 06:35:49 PM
The site looks quite nice, but upon doing a search its not quite as good

http://www.picturengine.com/search?query=kangaroo

in the first few rows (may vary per user) there are images that appear to be slide scans, including the black edge of the slide - not very professional or appealing. Then there is no way to actually click on an image and get a bigger view?
We display the image preview size provided from a vast number of sources.  We do try to average the thumbnail sizes and have in the works other display options.  If you want to see an image bigger, just click on the thumbnail.  We show the bigger preview provided from the source.  If you want to see it even bigger, click License Image to open a new tab and go to the site where the image can be licensed.  Most sites where the image can be licensed, just a click away, have much larger preview images.  We want to make sure images are found and licensed quickly so we try to keep the clicks to a minimum.

Quote from: Microstock Man on September 09, 2016, 06:35:49 PM
there are images that appear to be slide scans, including the black edge of the slide - not very professional or appealing.
I suggest clicking on the image and see the source.  I saw a couple kangaroos with black borders from Ralph Clevenger, one of the most successful stock photographers in the business.  He taught the stock photo class at Brooks Institute of Photography for years and is an amazing photographer.  You might recognize him from his famous iceberg shot that he makes money from everyday when it sells, and also when it doesnt. http://ralphclevenger.com/tag/iceberg/

Quote from: Microstock Man on September 09, 2016, 06:35:49 PM
$30 a month isn't cheap in my book
We are seeking serious and experienced photographers, as we are enabling them to self edit, giving them the opportunity of unlimited uploads/sales and invaluable information about the industry and searches.  Check out our substantial, full feature list for the Platform Photographer. http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2562568-photographer-platform-features-list


I wasn't knocking the individual photographer, regardless of how famous or not they are. I was mentioning that having these images in top of display (from more than 1 photographer by the way) isn't very appealing as a buyer. I notice that on the Getty site (where these come from) that a search for Kangaroo doesn't display these on the first page, but rather clean, crisp images instead. Perhaps this will improve over times as you get more onboard, but this is my observation of the site as it currently stands.

As for image size, once I click the thumbnail and I get some basic info presented, I can't click the image and see it bigger which I feel is a natural thing to do as a buyer. I don't want to click "License image" just to see it bigger, as I am not ready to license it.

And the $30 a month is significant. FineArtAmerica charges $30 a YEAR, and some have balked at that. I don't think its a modal that I can get excited about, but I wish you all the best with it.

« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2016, 10:27 »
+2
at least its cheaper than the 480 dollar they initially asked and still its a doomed half baked project for many reasons. this will never work unless all images are available from the same source at the same price
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 10:51 by Microstockphoto »

« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2016, 14:17 »
+1
I think most buyers seem reluctant to use more than one or two sites.  That's why I never got too enthusiastic about Symbiostock, it looks like buyers don't like signing up to many sites or we would see the smaller sites doing much better.  I presume that with PictureEngine, if they found 20 photos they wanted on 20 different sites, they would have to sign up to all of them?  I just don't see how that will work.  Then there's price.  Not much point finding what they want on PictureEngine only to find its not the right price.  What about quality control?  All the sites have different standards, some buyers might be OK with images that are on the sites with almost no review standards but I'm sure many wouldn't be.

If you can sell images from all the sites with only one sign up, standardise prices and make sure all the low quality old images that really shouldn't be on some of the sites were excluded, PictureEngine might be a good idea but then you would still have to convince buyers and that doesn't seem easy.
We are talking about multiple subjects here, so I will try not to make this too long.
First, PicturEngine is a search engine.  Our focus is providing a better image search than what is currently available.  We want to help image buyers find the perfect image for them.  With the stock photography industry so saturated with images, finding ONE image to represent a buyers unique business or product is challenging.  The more users search on PicturEngine, showing us what they like, the more relevant images float to the top and irrelevant images sink to the bottom.  I am not going into the mechanics details here, although we employ a lot more than keywords, using our ranking algorithms to weigh individual images visually.

Think about Google, and all of the content indexed, yet they make it all searchable.  They try to make the best most relevant content come to the top.  People searching tell them what is relevant and what is not, by their actions.  Like all search engines (Google, Bing, etc), there is an organic and paid search (paid advertisements- Adwords, Bing Ads).  Unlike these search engines (that have been found to enable or help users to find and steal great images, PicturEngine refers the buyer to the SOURCE where the image can be licensed.  We dont show the images too big and we ONLY search licensable content.  It is our job to give ALL those looking to license an image a great place to search and find the perfect image for them.
 
"I think most buyers seem reluctant to use more than one or two sites.
PicturEngine is a search engine as stated above.  We offer a Platform" and an Advertising Only plan, both to help photographers get their images seen by a larger audience.  With that said, the PicturEngine Platform is nothing like Symbiostock.  We dont build photographers an individual website because buyers wont come to an individual website unless you have a massive amount of AMAZING content, updated regularly, and actively advertise to be seen by buyers.  As an agency owner with just under a million images between my two niche agencies, it is really hard to get buyers to regularly come to an individual site.  I spent tens of thousands of dollars every year on advertising to get buyers to come take a look, and we had great niches, amazing images of released houses and Caribbean travel, just not enough to get them coming back every time they needed a fresh image.  This is WHY I built PicturEngine, to help individual photographers and small agencies affordably stay in this business and make money creating and licensing stock imagery.  Please do check out all of the features our platform provides.   http://support.picturengine.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2562568-photographer-platform-features-list

"If you can sell images from all the sites with only one sign up"  If you are talking about a single sign on and license for ALL of the agencies and platforms of the industry, I dont see that happening.  But, if you want to license 20 different images, from 20 different photographers on the PicturEngine Platform, thats EASY!  We have just ONE login, ONE checkout, ONE payment, and ALL of the photographers are paid 100% of their sale instantly.  PicturEngine handles invoicing and content delivery.  If thats what you want, we built that.  Think of it as Amazon or eBay for our industry; one cart, many sellers.  As for pricing, we do give our platform photographers crowdsourced pricing suggestions, but it is up to them to price their own images.  If a buyer does not agree with the price you have set, they can always click "Make an Offer" using our automated system, then you can accept, counter offer, or decline.  Its pretty simple.  My team and I have built agencies before.  We have all the standard tools available to an agency and much more, all at your fingertips.

I suppose you could compare our PicturEngine "Advertising Only" plan to Symbiostock, where we allow a photographer with his or her own platform (that meets our base criteria) to participate and be placed as advertising in our search results.  This would be a fair comparison.

"What about quality control?"
Our focus is on a quality image search.  Just like Google, we dont discriminate, we include all.  We are searching our organic content, our advertisers, and the industrys top stock agencies in near real-time.  We let the buyers actions tell us what they want to see more.  The best image search is our goal, and is our focus, we are way beyond just keywords.  If we find that a particular photographer or agency is trying to game the system to get higher in the search results, or just has a bunch of images that are undesirable or not licensable, our search is designed to let those images sink.  So far our search thinks people coming from Microstock Group want to see kangaroos with black borders. :)

How about a payment model where you keep the first 30$ of the photographer's sale? That should also motivate you to do something about getting good sales for your contributors.
We would rather pay you 100% of the sale, keeping it simple with a flat fee.  This keeps the overhead on our end low, where we never have to worry about the tracking or reporting of which account is paid etc.  Keeping our system simple is the plan, as our focus is on image search and not accounting.  Although, we do have accounting, sales tracking, sales reports, etc in your individual account on the PicturEngine Platform.  Photographers and image buyers we interviewed said too many times they essentially circumvent or "go around" the platforms they are currently on, to avoid paying even 8% (eight percent) of the sale or the smallest processing fee just to save money.  We would rather give the incentive for our users to actually USE the system we have built, with all of the protections and rights tracking included. We automatically embed in your images' metadata your proper copyright statement, contact info, including the license details in the PLUS LDF (license data format) for you, after each sale and just prior to your image being downloaded by the image buyer.  We provide so many tools that we want photographers to use for their OWN protection.

As for image size, once I click the thumbnail and I get some basic info presented, I can't click the image and see it bigger which I feel is a natural thing to do as a buyer. I don't want to click "License image" just to see it bigger, as I am not ready to license it.
Similar to a Google search, if you want to read more than what is displayed in the 2 lines available in the search results, you click to see the full site.  We do not store the images, just the link to the images where they can be licensed.  The action of clicking to see more information, adding the image to a lightbox, or licensing an image also tells us what you are looking for when you search a specific term and makes your results better.  Our algorithms will change as we mature, our search will improve with more users telling us what they like and dont like seeing.

the $30 a month is significant. FineArtAmerica charges $30 a YEAR, and some have balked at that. I don't think its a modal that I can get excited about, but I wish you all the best with it.
I understand completely, PicturEngine is not for everyone.  I like to remind people that not everyone uses (or pays for) Google Adwords, or Bing ads, to draw traffic to their website, but these advertisements pay for the rest of us to use search engines for free.  PicturEngine works on the same principal.  Think of it as a cross between Google, Amazon, and eBay.  If you take advantage of what all the PicturEngine Platform has to offer, many photographers think it is a bargain.

« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2016, 17:37 »
+1
Not sure about the lack of bias.  When I did a few searches, I saw a lot of images from Getty in the first pages.  A lot of contributors wont use them because they only pay 20% or less.  Do we really need an image search engine that pushes Getty so much?  Why can't I find any of my Alamy photos?  Have they asked not to be in your search engine?



 

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