Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Selling stock photos in the blogosphere

Is the blogosphere the next big battleground in stock photography?

Newspapers and print media are like walking wounded staggering from the cruel sucker punch the global financial crisis has dealt them. Old media companies that survive will look a lot different in whatever guise they manage to make work and there will be far fewer printing presses rolling out fresh pages. The action is online now, and this has implications for photographers who are finding traditional markets are using fewer images and/or paying less and less for the rights to publish.

Increasingly the demand for images is online and every agency from Getty on down is doing something to promote their content for web use. Where it gets particularly interesting is in the potentially massive but hard to sell to micropublishing world that the Internet has facilitated. The blogosphere is the biggest and most obvious part of this. There are a lot of blogs, I've no idea how many, lets say 3 twillion for the sake of argument, which is academic anyway as the number will have grown exponentially by some dizzying factor by the time I finish this riduculously longwinded sentence. Where were we?

Yes, how to get bloggers to buy images? Pretty tricky given the presumption of "free" amongst many web users and the availabilty of creative commons content on flickr. Alamy, to their credit, are thinking about this, but their novel use scheme wasn't too well received amongst contributors. I have a feeling they and the rest of the 'traditional' agencies better get some sort of working plan together quickly as the microstock agencies are looking to tap into this market and have the ready advantage that their pricing is already very affordable.

The microstockplugin for wordpress bloggers uses images from fotolia, which have to be purchased for use. Its a clever development which in theory may offer users a win win situation by allowing potential affiliate links back to earn them what they spend on photos for their blog. It also opens up the fotolia stock photography collection to a potentially huge new market.

Crestock has taken a different approach with freebieimages.com by attempting to tap into the potential for free advertising the blogosphere could offer. Freebieimages is also a wordpress plugin, the difference being users get to blog images from the crestock collection for free but they will be watermarked.

Both approaches seem to have potential to me, indeed I fully expect one, both or another will soon be available that offers bloggers the choice of a free watermarked image or a blog ready unbranded one for a few dollars more. Any bets which agency gets there first?

1 comment:

Amos said...


thanks for mention the Microstock Plugin for Wordpress.

All ideas for the plugin are welcome and as i can say we are working hard on a massive improvement.