Friday, June 24, 2016

Would you Fund a Mobile Stock Image Agency Start Up?

Snapwire, the mobile stock image agency has secured up to US$13 million in new capital from a crowdfunding platform, As an incentive, they have started to offer a FX filter preset pack free to investors. 

So what sort of preset is this? Adobe Lightroom of course. And this is where the irony of it all starts. 

Snapwire branded itself as a mobile stock image agency, with customers logging into the web portal to buy images. I have no idea why it is starting out on Lightroom presets because that is not something I would use if I am shooting on my mobile. Do you smell something fishy in all of this?

There is also no link for people to get a free download of Adobe Lightroom. If you had the choice, of course you would not think twice about downloading the Filter presets but now I have my doubts. 

Snapwire FX is also a place for photographers to purchase these presets if they don't already have them. It cost US$55 a pop. 

I don't know about you but Adobe Lightroom presets can be downloaded from various photog forums and places of interest for free and I am not sure what a few presets like this is worth. 

To me, Snapwire is a business and as a business, you need to have solid business acumen to survive in today's cut throat world of image retailing. 

Death to the Stock Photos

Of late, we have seen quite a fair bit of consolidation. People don't get to sell much photos due to rampant copying thanks largely to search engines. The sharing economy of the digital age is also the free for all age of digital image theft. 

You got a digital photo online, chances are someone already downloaded it, extrapolated it and used it offline somewhere in the world. 

Watermarks? No problem. I have seen websites that were hiring Digital Image editors with the sole purpose of removing watermarks from pictures found on the Internet. 

So where does Snapwire stand?

As a crowd sourced platform for digital imaging, your main strategy is to disrupt the business model of professional photographers who by all accounts, charged thousands for a photo to be shot with models. 

This means, your target would be to kill off professional digital photography in some way and bring down the cost for brands and companies. 

It is no secret that corporations and businesses all pay a large sum of money to use photos online and offline. 

Snapwire's business model should instead be focusing on bringing down that cost in clever ways. As I have previously written, Snapwire had introduced local hiring of photographers for a minimum of US$150 an assignment. 

As for stock photos shot on mobile, they not alone in this shrill game. There are still others like EyeEm, Scoopshot and Foap just to name a few. Some have even developed technology to detect photos, adding keywords automatically for you to choose and making it easier for you to tag photos for buyers to find your images.

Elsewhere, traditional stock image business is morphing into one that is beyond control and they are competing to see who offers the cheapest rates. 

This means that paying customers will have the widest and cheapest choice, wiping out rights managed photos as well as professional photographers who shoot stock image. 

So would you want to fund an agency who at best is racing to the bottom like the rest of them? I think not.




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