Getty Images vs. Flickr
[I am CEO of Zooomr]
Reflections of a Newsosaur: You push the button, we do the rest: Alan Mutter has an interesting post out about the future of the editorial part of the stock photography business. He makes some comments on the recent passing of the Queen Mary 2 into San Francisco:
“Having joined the crowds in San Francisco who spent Super Bowl Sunday watching the Queen Mary 2 nose under the Golden Gate Bridge, I hastened home to compare the coverage at Flikr.Com with that of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Although the Chronicle had several fine photographers stationed at key vantage points to record the arrival of the largest ship ever to enter San Francsico Bay, their shots were no better – and posted no more rapidly – than those taken by the Flikr clickers.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the stock photography business there are (to oversimplify) two basic kinds. Creative and Editorial. What Alan is talking about is the Editorial part.
While there are credibility issues that need to be dealt with Alan is spot on about the potential of this market.
But the other side of the market that Alan didn’t mention in his post is the Creative side of the stock business. Here too though I think the potential is just as great.
In his post Alan used two photos of the Queen Mary 2 coming into San Francisco. His point was that the professional image in the Chronicle was no better or no worse than the Flickr image.
Let’s take this a step further though and look at Creative. This is the side of stock photography where marketers go to get images to sell things.
Below are three searches that I selected at random. Las Vegas, candle and clouds. Now click through to the search pages for these terms at Flickr and at Getty Images. Which one is better? Is it clearly better? If you were a marketer would it make a difference to you which one you pulled your images from?
Now let’s take this a step further and enter into the long tail of stock photography let’s do a search for Tujunga (a small town in the San Fernando Valley where I grew up) and Mount Tam (a local mountain in Marin here in the Bay Area).
Interesting what you get here isn’t it? You see with 400 million images in their library Flickr is the better stock agency for long tail stuff for sure. The problem just is that Flickr hasn’t figured out how to turn this on yet.
This is part of what we are working on at Zooomr. We believe that the quality of work coming from advanced amateurs out there today is every bit as good as the Pros.
And the distinction between Pro and advanced amateur ought not be images that sell for $200 upwards vs. microstock where images sell for $1. There is simply not enough meaningful difference between what the best amateurs are creating and what the Pros are creating to justify this pricing discrepancy.
There is an opportunity coming where not only will thousands of advanced amateurs be invited to the stock photography market for the first time in a meaningful way, but there also exists an opportunity for the right company to redefine the equality and monetary relationship between content producer (that’s you and me, the photographers) and content buyer (that’s them, the marketers). I believe that the lion’s share of the $2 billion stock photography market today ought to go to the photographers themselves who are creating these beautiful images.
We are building this at Zooomr right now and if you are a photographer whose images are those beautiful images that I linked to at Flickr above I’d like to invite you to Zooomr. More details will follow very soon, but we believe it’s time for a change.
Like we say at Zooomr, the best images in the world have yet to be taken.