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Poll

Whats your biggest reason for following this thread?

I want to host my own images.
23 (23.2%)
I want a fallback plan for when microstock fails contributors.
8 (8.1%)
I really really like the idea of keeping 100% of my earnings.
16 (16.2%)
I am intrigued by the idea of networking independent artist sites and working together.
32 (32.3%)
I'm a microstock agency who wants to keep an eye on this development.
2 (2%)
Its just another way to promote my portfolio, like any other site.
5 (5.1%)
I like community projects. This one rocks.
13 (13.1%)

Total Members Voted: 85

Author Topic: Open Source Platform For Selling Images: Authors and PHP Developers Wanted.  (Read 60885 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2013, 16:28 »
0
Great initiative Leo!

I'd like to contribute to and be part of this project.

I've just started funneling some spare time into tweaking CMSaccount Photo Video Selling Script (http://cmsaccount.com/) to become my own stock photo site eventually. What's suggested here sounds being a lot more fun and might lead to much better results because of its community/networking aspects.

I got some programming (python) background, but php is still new to me. Don't know how much help I could provide at this end. However, I make a living performing technical translations from English to German, so localizing this theme into German is definitely something I can contribute, apart from testing, discussing ideas and so on.

I hope we get this rolling BIG


Its not as hard as many might think. With a group project like this there is always a place to contribute. I love python btw!


Leo Blanchette

« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2013, 16:29 »
0
I can't help on the technical side but I'd love to try it out and give you feedback.  I haven't bothered with my own site because I think we need a universal search, lightbox and payment system.  So buyers can get what they want from several contributors portfolios, just like they do with the microstock sites.  If that can be done, I think the sites will suddenly take us much more seriously. 

I'd also like to be able to sell RM.  I know the two communities don't get on very well but at some point everything needs to merge.

Another thought, what happens when Getty buy wordpress :)

I never touch RM. What is that? Is it just licensing?


Leo Blanchette

« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2013, 16:31 »
0
Would you be offering any video support with this script?


Hosting videos is an advanced science! I had thought of it, but you'd have to rely on an external service for previews. Other than that, hosting download of the original files and previews are just a matter of detail. What do you think? I've gotten some bites on www.lb3d.com, so it is possible.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2013, 16:37 »
0
It is quite wonderful to see this initiative, so in general terms, thank you and best of luck.

However, I must say this. Forget Wordpress, for a number of good reasons. If you're serious, you will develop a solution with your own code. I'm not going to go into sensitive detail, but I fear if you don't heed this advice, a day will come when you will recognise your mistake and a lot of effort will have been wasted.

Take what you have learnt so far with Wordpress and start with a clean slate. You've done a good thing, announced an open source codebase for independent stock sellers. The Force is with you, in a manner of speaking. It's just the tools you're using are wrong for the purpose.

Regarding cost. Criminal entitites are taking advantage of online outsourcing platforms to scrape entire websites for $30 paid to a third world programmer. If our enemies can work this cheaply ... you get my point.

Forgive me I don't know how to quote multiple responses in one post.

I've thought at length about the things you mention. My first image selling version of clipartillustration.com was just what you mention, but the pitfall is the complexity and addressing every single angle of every problem - in which case you find yourself in the situation where you have to invent an entire content management system...reinventing the wheel and with it the entire car as well. Then you end up with issues such as Ktools as people mention, which is the result of a few people taking on a project of such huge proportion.

So...wordpress was simply the way to address that matter out of the box, and focus on perfecting the selling of images, while allowing people to thoroughly manage there website at small cost with as many options as possible.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2013, 16:40 »
+1
Hi Kona,

 I think building this is super cool and part of what I hope the future holds for each of us. One question, how do you get the buyer to know you and follow you? I have had a terrible time trying to make this happen for my own agency and others as well. I would love to know this part of the puzzle. Great efforts and please keep up the work. I am no tech geek by any means if I can help in any other area of development like agency knowledge or anything of the sort you can count me in.

Best,
Jonathan

Glad you asked. It happens naturally.

Regarding follow - we talking facebook or twitter? In those cases, its not all its cracked up to be. (BTW, facebook had a recent issue where they wanted to be able to sell all imagery uploaded. Similar uproar. Don't you love these large companies?)

But in my own site buys are often another request to make something. Also the site is built in such a way that they can buy a collection (huge profit) and they come back to get those elements as they need them.

Since they are aware they are shopping from the actual artist, the screen is dropped and the relationship changes. They use contact form and customer relationship happens. A significant part of my site's profitability is in custom work.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2013, 16:45 »
0
Please let me know the barriers that have been found by similar things. Nows a good time to anticipate them.


I'd say most of the barriers are the obvious ones. People want something that is easy and running your own site requires time, energy, knowledge, skill, effort, money, etc. All those things can get complicated or expensive really quickly depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. So, I'm not sure the demand will ever be huge because there is always going to be enough work involved that will scare some contributors off. That said, the ones that do want to manage all that could be a very knowledgeable and dedicated community.


Noted! This uses its own image manager which is what your already used to - an upload and process workflow. See screenshots:

Symbiostock tabs:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesterartsillustrations/8421663318/#in/photostream/

Set your default prices:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesterartsillustrations/8421663288/#in/photostream

Upload images:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesterartsillustrations/8420566823/#in/photostream

Image uploader (An open source / well known script)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesterartsillustrations/8421663144/#in/photostream

Process the image - (SEE THIS ONE) it senses and processes each image type differently, and gives prompts if info is missing.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesterartsillustrations/8421663074/#in/photostream

Still working on it - this is the image page which can be altered accordingly. Note how you can set unique prices for unique images. So a stick figure doesn't have to be sold at the same price as a huge technical / artistic work:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesterartsillustrations/8421662918/#in/photostream

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2013, 16:48 »
0
Please let me know the barriers that have been found by similar things. Nows a good time to anticipate them.

I'd say most of the barriers are the obvious ones. People want something that is easy and running your own site requires time, energy, knowledge, skill, effort, money, etc. All those things can get complicated or expensive really quickly depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. So, I'm not sure the demand will ever be huge because there is always going to be enough work involved that will scare some contributors off. That said, the ones that do want to manage all that could be a very knowledgeable and dedicated community.

There are *some* complexities in setting up a site and wordpress, and initially the theme. But from there things are done.

I think, naturally, a big part of the community of something like this would be dedicated to helping non-web-savvy people get that initial set-up done. In fact, some people could charge for it. Others could host...one of the ways open source makes unique opportunities for everyone.

Other than that, things are rather easy. And, yes, a small learning curve with the wordpress admin area. Its a necessary evil. Just like learning how to embed iptc and use ftp. It can't be too easy!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 16:54 by KonaHawaii »

« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2013, 16:56 »
0
I am days away from buying Ktools (just waiting for the Provincial Gov to approve my corporation)  .... If there is anything I can test over the next couple weeks I would be all over it!  I wish I could help with the programming.  I have a hard enough time with Wordpress!

« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2013, 17:05 »
0
I would be interested in a site. I had a Ktools site for a year. I am not a programmer but I muddled through the php for Ktools because I had set up a couple of wordpress sites. I just don't think I am qualified to help with programming, but if some sort of template can be made where I could go to the admin area of a wordpress or similar type of site and customize, I'd be all for it and willing to pay something.

I think it's a great idea, but would love to see something happen (this has been talked about before) where contributors are linked to a common search so that the "library" would look larger, but then the buyer would be directed to the specific site for purchase.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2013, 17:14 »
0
cclapper

Its talked about quite a bit but strangely not nearly as interesting as whats happening in the life of ( - insert famous stalk photo contributor here - ) so I've never had the motivation to finish the professional version due to seeming lack of interest of the community.After this thread I am most likely going to go back to tinkering and my typical routine, if interest continues to be minimal. I get what your saying though!

For the record though, these things are perfectly achievable and pretty easy, like the network-search idea. I don't know why it didn't happen 3 years ago.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 17:19 by KonaHawaii »

« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2013, 17:18 »
0
I can't help on the technical side but I'd love to try it out and give you feedback.  I haven't bothered with my own site because I think we need a universal search, lightbox and payment system.  So buyers can get what they want from several contributors portfolios, just like they do with the microstock sites.  If that can be done, I think the sites will suddenly take us much more seriously. 

I'd also like to be able to sell RM.  I know the two communities don't get on very well but at some point everything needs to merge.

Another thought, what happens when Getty buy wordpress :)

I never touch RM. What is that? Is it just licensing?
Yes, rights managed licensing.  The buyer pays to use the image for a specified purpose for a specified time.  They can't use it for whatever they want in perpetuity.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2013, 17:22 »
0
sharpshot, thats neat. Is that a very popular route? I hadn't heard of it till now.

But if its just licensing, that could easily be assigned when you upload the image. RF or RM?

« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2013, 17:27 »
0
Perhaps more people will get interested when istock start charging them to give their images away for free but I'm not even sure that would do it :)

« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2013, 17:34 »
0
sharpshot, thats neat. Is that a very popular route? I hadn't heard of it till now.

But if its just licensing, that could easily be assigned when you upload the image. RF or RM?
I think it used to all be RM before RF was introduced and that has killed off a lot of RM licensing but there's still millions of RM images being sold.  Getty still sell RM and I sell RM with alamy.  I'm sure lots of people that sell RM would like to be able to sell direct and keep 100% commission.  It would be great for alamy contributors, as they're non-exclusive.

« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2013, 17:53 »
0
i'm definitely interested - my background is in ASP & vbscript but i've done some php and javascript, most recently hacking  for google maps applications in games, eg http://cascoly.com/games/cw/main.asp

i just got started w WP recently, and was impressed by the number of plugins - one thing i wanted to do was present my smugmug galleries in a way that might get them indexed more readily.  here's what it took:

get RSS feed from smugmug - simple url copy
insert that rss feed url in a wp post, using the wp-smugmug plugin - simple paste

this gives the wp page http://www.buydigpix.com/wp/?p=114   [i'm not using the WP pages directly at the moment, so havent customized these pages]

instead i viewsource and copy the html with images & captions and place them in a customized page like http://cascoly.com/photo/india-people.asp

this page is submitted to google thru webmaster tools and my image sitemap [which is why i dont use the WP page directly] and also is linked from other website pages like http://cascoly.com/trav/india.asp

creating a new page from a smugmug gallery now takes about 5-15'  depending on external links

« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2013, 18:18 »
0
I could host on smugmug but matching the two sites would be a pain.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2013, 18:29 »
0
cascoly awesome! If I end up going forward I appreciate any help.

jjneff matching the two sites? Couldn't you just embed the preview from smugmug as you would youtube?

« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2013, 19:32 »
0
I guess so, would be willing to try it :-)

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2013, 20:29 »
0
Well, in summation - I've gotten a few messages and enough replies to gauge the response. Also a few qualified coders seem interested.

I'm going to take a day or two to assess whether or not this project is worth my attention. Its perfectly possible. Its not a question  of "if" or "how" but just "worth".

From personal experience I can tell you how refreshing genuine independence can be. $20 sale, $20 commission. I'd love to see everyone talking about that, rather than how their work is being devalued.

« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 15:24 by KonaHawaii »

« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2013, 22:25 »
0
Hi:
It sounds like an interesting idea. I don't know anything about coding but have had some experience selling stock from my own website (it's set up through Photoshelter which has all the back end built in to license both RM and RF as well as prints). They take 10% if it's a direct download from the site through the built-in shopping cart but there's no commission if the buyer contacts you directly and you work out the license with them. 

The problem with having your own site is trying to market yourself - so if you have a way for people to link WordPress sites together or you're talking about others adding their work to your site - that could be promising.

I'd be happy to be involved in testing and am curious about how we would link our sites together - is that your concept? Photoshelter gives you the ability to link up a blog to your site - right now I'm using blogger but have considered switching to WordPress - but without knowledge of coding, etc I was concerned it would be much harder.  So, I could keep my site but also link to one on WordPress.

(As an aside, Photoshelter has a "Virtual Agency" concept where those whose sites they host can basically join together as one "agency" while also having their own separate site. The good thing about them is that it's run by photographers but each photographer who uses it has their own site - you set up your own TOS - and they have language you can use for licensing or that you can change to suit your needs. It's not free like WordPress but it is a good setup).

Anyway, I'm eager to learn more about your concept and would be willing to be a beta tester and give it a try. I sell RM and traditional RF images as well as microstock - so I'd be happy to have a separate site to sell my micro images.

RacePhoto

« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2013, 23:54 »
0
I believe the host your own is quite different from a virtual agency, but both are interesting. I think most people would want a little of each, but not having everything on one giant database.

What about everyone runs their own site, if they choose. And anyone else can join the virtual agency, if they want, without their own site. and... people who want to drive traffic to their own site and add a selection of representative images to the virtual agency.

Problem with the virtual agency is this. Just off the top there are many people with 5000 plus images. Start doing the math. How do you index 200,000 images in real time and have a server that will handle the search? What happens when it reaches 1 million and it's chugging along. When does it rebuild? I might be wrong about the server power and ability to manage all that data, but I think it's a big roadblock.

Virtual agency, 100 file limit, everyone can use it to drive traffic and make a nice very special, top quality collection? For 100% of something, people should only put up their best images. Quality over quantity.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2013, 01:08 »
0
Wow! The topic is still going!

In response to you RacePhoto -

We're talking about an open source tool which should not have a very steep learning curve. But, for those who prefer not to go over that learning curve, I think some web designers might enjoy setting up their sites and managing them for them for a monthly fee. Do I follow you?

I use an in - motion dedicated server, and my website pays for it. But most people might consider bluehost which is significantly cheaper. In fact, if your portfolio could not pay for something like bluehost... then... :D

But I did call bluehost before and if you outgrow their limits its only a cheap upgrade. But as mentioned, some developers or interested people might wish to manage symbiostock builds for people, taking a monthly fee.


« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2013, 02:27 »
0
I have already my own site I have paid 1000,- Euros for the software, still I find an opensource solution very interesting but I could only offer pretty basic html-knowledge.

I think the future could be an opensource software that would allow an optional universal search through all sites/hosts on every site that uses this opensource software.

I think is RM out because it would complicate the things way too much. Also my RM-Agencies treat my very fair even Getty pays a reasonable commission for RM-stuff (30-40% in opposite to a flat 20% for RF) so I don't think there is any need for an individual RM-Agency at the moment.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2013, 14:43 »
0
1000 Euros? Wow!

I've had a few people telling me some "gotchas" with cheaper hosting as well, some horror stories. Looks like I have a little homework to do finding some good suggestions, in case more options are needed than bluehost.

It seems a lot of people instinctively want sites that network with their friend's images. I thought that was my idea!

Whatever the case, we'll come up with something truly truly unique.

EDIT:

Silly me - I should be putting it out there. If anyone has suggestions on 1 other suggested hosting companies or 2 a community system to help non-web-savvy people please post ideas.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 14:48 by KonaHawaii »

« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2013, 14:51 »
0
This topic comes up time and time again. I would love to see this possibility happen. I also think there should be a maximum uploaded files per contributor. I think 100 is too little but closer to 300 would be ideal. This would eliminate the need for inspections/inspectors as you would only want your best content to showcase. Otherwise, the search will come up with plenty of garbage that contributors will put into this collection.


 

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