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Author Topic: Why $1 only per photo (not more)? - The beginning of microstock industry  (Read 4425 times)

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« on: January 26, 2008, 05:05 »
I've seen this question many times (and also didn't know the answer). Here's a very interesting part of pre-published chapter of Jeff Howe's book I've just found:

[...]In 2000 Bruce Livingstone was running a small graphic design and Web hosting firm in Calgary. Bruce is an avid photographer himself, and over the years had developed an extensive network of photographers and designers. Early in the year he took 2,000 of his images and put them online. Anyone could download his photos in exchange for giving him an email. Livingstones friends decided they wanted to share their images with the public too. That June the budding community instituted a credit system: A user could download one image for every image of theirs that had been downloaded by someone else.

It was a classic example of the gift economy, the non-monetary exchange that grew up alongside the World Wide Web. Money, it has become clear, isnt the only, or even the most important incentive driving the explosive creative output that one finds on the Internet. People contribute for the simple joy of participation, or to learn something, or even for enhanced status within a community of like-minded creators. On iStock, everyone took something and gave something in turn. Everyone profited, but no one madeor spenta dime. Soon friends of friends heard about Bruces nifty idea, and started uploading their images too. Then around 2002 a wider public got wind of iStock, and the site began to hit critical mass. Soon Livingstone was paying $10,000 a month for the bandwidth to support it. He could have taken advertising to cover the cost of hosting, but felt it violated the spirit of the site. The focus was on the community, and good design. Advertising would have cluttered the site, says Livingstone.

Instead he started charging a quarter for each image, and opened the system up to the public. Traffic to the site, now christened iStockPhoto, started increasing exponentially. Livingstone raised the prices to $1 per image. I thought it might become a sideline business. It quickly became much more than that. The emergence of the Internet, digital cameras and user-friendly photo editing software combined to undermine the boom in stock photography. Suddenly anyone, it seemed, could take a half-decent picture.

You'll find all the text here:

« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2008, 07:51 »
And that's how amateurish thinking leads to the collapse of a whole economy.

Because there is a huge difference between saying "we'll swap photos between amateurs, if you give me one of yours I'll give you one of mines" & "you can buy for one dollar any picture you want and use it for whatever you want (and don't listen to these "professionals" who say the making of a photo involve investment in time an money and should be correctly paid : we are all lovers of photos, aren't we ?)"

And now, the providers of these 1$ photos are struggling to get "a little bit more"...
« Last Edit: January 26, 2008, 08:05 by ParisEye »


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