Shaking The Long Tail

With $1.2 million dollars of fresh investment, a new company enters the world of photography monetization. Called Fotomoto, it allows, with a  simple javascript installation, to transform any existing photographers websites into an e-commerce site. Visitors will quickly be able to purchase your images for framing or other usages.

The great part of it is that it is free to use and install. A simple javascript and your done. Fotomoto gets a cut on your sales, if you sell an image. Simple enough.

However, the consequences are disturbing.

First, there is an option to download. For a fee obviously and for personal use.

One, some buyers might not abide by the rules

Two, some photographer might use this to price their images at micro stock prices for RF usage .

The result, even more confusion on the marketplace, where pricing is already all over the place ( towards the low end, mostly). Sure, allowing photographers to sell their work directly and easily is a great idea. However, opening the floodgates of free for all pricing, maybe not.

Since individual photographers will make a few sales from their respective sites, the big winner here will be Fotomoto who will accumulate all the sales done with this tool . Using a now well known economical practice called the long tail, they could generate millions in revenue while the photographers themselves will have to continue to do most of the work : shooting, editing, marketing.

It will be interesting to see how well this model is adopted and how it might effect companies like LicenseStream or even Photoshelter. Obviously, some investors seem to think it will succeed. This also confirms that the walls of traditional photo licensing are falling ( microstock being the first and strongest blow), leaving non-innovative  photo agencies in a dangerous position.

About the author

This business has too many Surveyors and not enough Bohemians”  Roger Therond, legendary photo man, once said to a good friend of mine, Eliane Laffont. This blog is about restoring the balance and letting the Bohemians talk.

Paul Melcher has been named one of the “50 most influential individuals in American photography” by American Photo. He is currently senior vice president of the PictureGroup. He writes the Thoughts of a Bohemian blog

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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