PhotoShelter has grown tremendously in the past year, but one lingering issue for us has been a better way of handling Rights-Managed inquiries for photographers. If you’ve ever used the system that the big guys have, then you’ll know how easy it is to go through a pricing “calculator” and generate a price for a specific usage, enter your billing information and download an image.
The lack of human intervention to process the sale means that there is less “friction,” and thus the sale is more likely to occur.
But these automated pricing calculators with integrated sales and delivery systems have been the domain of large stock houses because the cost to develop and maintain them is high. This has two effects: 1) If photographers and agencies try to sell on their own, they have to always intervene before a sale can be made, and 2) if photographers go with a stock house, they never set the price for their own image. They have to accept the price and terms of the stock house.
When we talked to photographers about how they priced their images, we heard one thing over and over again: fotoQuote. Hearing this reaffirmed what we knew already. Namely, fotoquote’s pricing survey information was the industry standard. I’ve used it myself several times this year when magazines and book publishers have contacted me for stock sales. But because fotoQuote was a standalone program, it was still discontiguous from the sales process.
When we integrate fotoQuote and PhotoShelter, we’ll be able to provide the individual photographer with a way to price and deliver Rights-Managed imagery automatically (We’ll also have a negotiate feature). I really believe that this is the final link that will allow photographers to really run their businesses like the multi-hundred million dollar stock agencies. Like our other licensing types, there will be no additional charge to use this service outside of our normal fee structure.
We normally don’t pre-announce features, but such is the way that the PR Machine works around trade shows like PhotoPlus Expo. And we certainly thought that this announcement was noteworthy. You’ll be able to use PhotoShelter with fotoQuote in January 2007.