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Author Topic: Selling pictures from your own site?  (Read 11073 times)

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« on: May 13, 2009, 14:17 »
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I was looking around to learn if any of existing free CMS (e.g Drupal) got add-ons for gallery with shopping cart that could be easily add to my site. Ideally images should be hosted on some storage site like Amazon S3 and cart should handle Paypal or Amazon FPS. Gallery 2 got integration with some photo printing services, maybe it could be adapted to sell images instead?


« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 15:56 »
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If you are willing to give a 12% commission on your asking price for their services, check www.clustershot.com

We use them and we're very pleased.

As an example you can see our selling page here: www.airphoto.gr/greek_aerial_photos.html

« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 16:04 »
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How does it differ from putting link to my photo from other agencies? I was thinking about something which allow me to use micro payment system like PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon FPS on my own website.

« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 16:55 »
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The differences are:

1. YOU SET THE PRICE, not to $0.25 as in microstock, but as high as you like...
2. You DON'T refer the clients that visited YOUR OWN site to a microstock agency, because all your competition is also there and you may lose them!
Instead customers that visit your site go to Clustershot, buy, and you get the 88% of that amount via Paypal.

Why bother setting up a shoping cart in your site?

Again check the link mentioned above to see the way it is implemented.


How does it differ from putting link to my photo from other agencies? I was thinking about something which allow me to use micro payment system like PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon FPS on my own website.

helix7

« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 17:52 »
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I use e-junkie to sell some stuff at my own website. It's not a CMS component, but it's pretty easy to set up if you know a little HTML. You basically just have to paste some code into a webpage and you're all set. Of course it also helps to have a nicely designed page and image previews to show what you are selling, and that you will have to do on your own. E-junkie costs me just $5 per month for the basic package.



« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 19:14 »
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OK my 2 cents,
I tried that road too and it barely worked - maybe because I'm not coder enough to handle it.
I used several CMS and they all had restrictions. Restrictions that just wouldn't allow you to get the perfect site.

When you consider the psychology side of what makes a good commerce web site you need to think of what your buyers' needs are. For instance there is specific info on the internet that explains which backgrounds (color, patterns) work well for selling images in order not to distract your buyers as well as many more rules that help getting and keeping buyers.

So, there is the technical side, the psychological side, the payment side and also the time you need to nail it all together.

One important thing would be: your own site design - correct? Now how can you combine your layout with a CMS that is powerful enough for what you need or use other services to incorporate them into your existing layout.

Then consider how powerful and user friendly the CMS are/is that you chose to use. Are they really what you need? Are they really what your buyers want/need? I'm speaking of light box features, zoom features, pricing feature, licensing feature etc.

You find yourself quickly in a situation where the CMS you need doesn't exist. At least not as of now. You will end up investing your time to customize it to your needs which means fiddeling around with HTML, PHP, SQL etc.

Long story short, the closest of what I believe is "workable" (although I never tried it out) would be a Pro account with Smugmug. They allow you to integrate their back-end into your layout. And their back-end is quite powerful. Their features are what photo buyers are looking for. The licensing is a little weak but for RF it should be quite ok.

Most importantly Smugmug's systems if FAST. You need to be fast when it comes to image buyers. You're dealing with big file size (considerably) and you have no time to waste hoping your potential buyers have the patience to wait for your CMS/PHP/SQL query to be scrambled together in a short amount of time.

Check out smugmug.com and look at the pro sites that they feature. I think it's a nice product and it's not too expensive. They offer printing services as well - but you'll see. Long list of features.

I've quit the do-it-all-yourself business. It eats your valuable time producing good content.

Hope it helps.

« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2009, 07:20 »
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As ClusterShot was mentioned I thought I would jump in.

We're in the process of planning and building a set of features that will essentially create a white label version of ClusterShot for photographers. This will allow you to have a site that doesn't scream "CLUSTERSHOT" and allow you to market it separately as your own.

We're also going to be building out a comprehensive API that will allow developers of photo gallery software to integrate with ClusterShot and use it as a photo checkout system. We've done this with our open source gallery system Pinhole: https://code.silverorange.com/wiki/Pinhole. As an example of how this could work see the "Buy this photo on ClusterShot" link on the bottom of this photo: http://gallery.ceoblues.com/photo/202916

ClusterShot has been a little misunderstood. It's main purpose is to be a platform from which you as photographers can sell your photos. We're not intentionally trying to be a microstock site. We really have little interest in that right now. We just want to make it easy for anyone, pro shooters and point-and-shooters, to be able to have their photos for sale. We'll build whatever tools help people do that and charge a reasonable rate for it. Any features that you think would help you do that please suggest and we'll seriously evaluate them.

For a short-term look at what we're planning on building please see our blog http://www.clustershot.com/blog/archive/2009/february/stuffwere

We'll check in on these forums often and see what we can do to help.


« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 08:00 »
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Thats interesting thanks, but my biggest concern is the lack of any watermark. Ive just had an email from you to say: 'We may consider adding them in the future but for now we have no plans.


« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 08:11 »
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Thats interesting thanks, but my biggest concern is the lack of any watermark. Ive just had an email from you to say: 'We may consider adding them in the future but for now we have no plans.

Yep, a watermark is a must. Although it won't deter hardcore Photoshoppers, it will make it less favorable for people who want free images.

« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 08:32 »
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Thanks for your feedback. We've been evaluating the watermark issue since we began. The vast majority of photos that are added to ClusterShot are from Flickr or RSS feeds from other galleries. These photos are mostly punlicly available at larger resolutions than we are displaying so to watermark them seems a little silly.

The other thing that is coming into play is that we're open source and "free internet" kind of people. We try to not operate out of fear of things being stolen. We've always found watermarking to be annoying when we have to implement it or work with it as designers and we assume most other people (buyers) do too.

Do you feel that watermarking really provides that much protection? Do you think it works or is it just for photographers peace of mind?

If we get enough push back and convincing arguments we would consider building an opt-in watermarking feature.

« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 08:41 »
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I should also mention that we're looking into a feature/technology that could potentially trump watermarking for protecting your images. It would also allow you to monetize photos of yours that have been used without permission. After all, it's not that people use your images that is the issue, it's that they didn't pay for the right to use them.

« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 08:51 »
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I should also mention that we're looking into a feature/technology that could potentially trump watermarking for protecting your images. It would also allow you to monetize photos of yours that have been used without permission. After all, it's not that people use your images that is the issue, it's that they didn't pay for the right to use them.

This sounds very interesting and I would like to heart a lot more about that.

Especially about the part where you say
Quote
... It would also allow you to monetize photos of yours that have been used without permission...

How would that work?

« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 09:00 »
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Unfortunately I can't say much about it right now. What I can say is that we think finding those who have used your images without permission and making it easy for them to pay and get that permission is a route we're interested in.

« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 09:06 »
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Thanks for your feedback. We've been evaluating the watermark issue since we began. The vast majority of photos that are added to ClusterShot are from Flickr or RSS feeds from other galleries. These photos are mostly punlicly available at larger resolutions than we are displaying so to watermark them seems a little silly.

The other thing that is coming into play is that we're open source and "free internet" kind of people. We try to not operate out of fear of things being stolen. We've always found watermarking to be annoying when we have to implement it or work with it as designers and we assume most other people (buyers) do too.

Do you feel that watermarking really provides that much protection? Do you think it works or is it just for photographers peace of mind?

If we get enough push back and convincing arguments we would consider building an opt-in watermarking feature.

Honestly, I feel your service becomes redundant if a "vast majority" of your customers is from Flickr or other sources that don't use watermarking.

Is this solely based on a trust basis where the user/buyer has a choice to download the image for free on Flickr or buy it through clusterhot?

I have to go by what your numbers are telling you, and I'm happy for you if this way works for you. I just wonder why all image agencies in the world use a watermark then...  ???

As mentioned before - good Photoshoppers will remove most watermarks but the watermark serves at least two purposes.

First, of course the barrier of simply downloading the image in order to use it and secondly to identify the source of the image (for comping reasons etc.)

Now more importantly, your last post about
Quote
... It would also allow you to monetize photos of yours that have been used without permission...

This would sound like the classic Flickr case. The image is available for "free" (let's say ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) and the user chooses to get the image straight from Flickr instead of clustershot.

Now, once you track down this individual and have proof that the image was used without a proper license what happens next in order to get your license fee?

I'm so curious because I recently tracked down dozens of my images in use without a license and without a lawyer you won't get anywhere.

I doubt that most Flickr users have registered copyright which makes it really hard to find a lawyer to work on a contingency basis to begin with. And who has $1000+ to pay a lawyer for every single case of infringement?

So other than contacting the "thief" and asking them to remove/delete the image there is nothing you can do unless clustershot provides legal support in case this issue goes to court.

Usually those "thieves" act like that they "didn't know" and remove the image and you end up without a license fee AND maybe even unpaid damages because they sold printed products or stuff like that.

« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 09:10 »
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Unfortunately I can't say much about it right now. What I can say is that we think finding those who have used your images without permission and making it easy for them to pay and get that permission is a route we're interested in.

If your feature works the way you just said, you will become a multi billionaire.

You would have created what all major stock agencies have been working on for years without success. It would be the "holy grail" of image licensing!

Still, making it easy for someone to pay, doesn't mean they will pay...

I wish you all the best of luck and please do post your further progress in this forum!

« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2009, 09:16 »
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We're stubborn enough that the fact that all other stock sites watermark images doesn't necessarily mean we should :). We're not AGAINST the idea we simply are unsure of the benefit and have decided to err on the side of trust rather than suspicion. Does anyone know of any research, statistic, or even personal anecdotes that prove that watermarking is worth it?

Again, I'm sorry I can't be more specific on the topic of the new features described above. As ClusterShot is a platform for you to sell your photos (it's like ebay, we just facilitate) we would see ourselves as being in the position to offer you a set of tools that would make the identification of your images on the web (and maybe in print) and the requesting/charging for the use of it easier.  Even if we just save you hours of research and headaches we think that's worth something.

  

« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2009, 09:40 »
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...Does anyone know of any research, statistic, or even personal anecdotes that prove that watermarking is worth it?
There have been times in the past when someone has used a watermarked image or made a mess of trying to remove it.  It is definitely worth it.


« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2009, 10:16 »
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I would check out www.nextproof.com as they provide the perfect solution for selling stock images. You can set your own price and on payment, clients can download files straight away. I use Nextproof for my family portraiture business and have seen a massive increase in orders.

My next task is to get another site and put my entire stock portfolio on there. Luckily with the Pro account you get 250GB of storage so it's no problem to upload high-res files.

« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2009, 18:26 »
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Back to the original topic of this thread. We haven't released our full API yet but we've done some link integration to allow you to sell photos directly from your own site. If you have any questions about how it works just ask.

http://www.clustershot.com/help/integrating

« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2009, 18:56 »
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I was looking around to learn if any of existing free CMS (e.g Drupal) got add-ons for gallery with shopping cart that could be easily add to my site. Ideally images should be hosted on some storage site like Amazon S3 and cart should handle Paypal or Amazon FPS. Gallery 2 got integration with some photo printing services, maybe it could be adapted to sell images instead?


Yes there are lots of sites that will hold your hand, but going back to the original question:

No need to adapt anything, gallery2 includes a shopping cart plug-in that can be used as is to sell digital downloads quite easily (an update is buried in the dreadful documentation that project has) the code is well, "ikky" but its a good solution, it's got almost all your requirements, I currently run two sites using it to sell stock photo downloads, it has watermarks (anyway you could dream of them), low res previews, zip of multiple images once purchased, checkout via a number of payment options. A few things on gallery2 need some tweaking to turn them into a proper stock photo site. The search is lacking and needs some adjustment just to get basic functionality, but compared to google or a microstock site the search results are poor (as they are with all basic CMS, there is a reason why agencies invest so much in their search engines) also the templates need some changes to bring the SEO up to standard. The only thing gallery is missing is S3 integration - how many images do you have?

Drupal, not quite so easy, ubercart and some of the others would work, but it would be a real pain to set up all those products one at a time or import from a spreadsheet, I'm guessing you have a portfolio you want to sell?, u'll NEED the site to automatically read your iptc data from the images, and combining that with bulk upload, bulk image management and setting each image as a 'product' is where durpal currently lacks. probably drupal 6 could do it, and some sort of triggers/workflow setup to take each uploaded image node and create a product from it. go with gallery2 first, it has a lot of features that make bulk management of images easy

I wrote some more on this a while back:
http://microstockinsider.com/guides/photo-cms-content-management-systems

steve

« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2009, 07:00 »
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The other thing that is coming into play is that we're open source and "free internet" kind of people. We try to not operate out of fear of things being stolen.

Is your source code available somewhere?

Or are you only "open source" when it comes to other people's intellectual property?

« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2009, 21:38 »
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Geopappas,
Thank you for your comment. ClusterShot mostly runs off of silverorange's open source web stuff located at http://code.silverorange.com/.  There is, of course, a layer of code that powers ClusterShot that is not open source.  ClusterShot is roughly made up of 75% open source code that we have developed and chosen to share.

So yes, we do share our own intellectual property.

« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2009, 01:17 »
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So yes, we do share our own intellectual property.

I uploaded some 5 weeks ago but I remember having problems and error returns after a while. Not sure if they are fixed yet. I will check later again.

« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2009, 05:03 »
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Maybe I'm just a silly consumer, but I still hate the name "clustershot".

« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2009, 09:29 »
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sjlocke: It's very hard to pick a name for a company. It's even harder to find a reasonable dot com address. We like the name because:

- It's easy to say and easy to know how to spell/type.
- It's not still photography specific. If we wanted to venture into film/movies we could.
- The word "cluster" has group/social implications
- It's kind of edgy :).

We blame John Stewart's regular  "ClusterF#$% at the WhiteHouse"  feature for giving us a tainted name :).

Can you elaborate on why you don't like the name? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.



 

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