I have just returned from the first UGCX (User Generated Content expo and conference). What I came away with (besides a good sized pile of business cards) was in increase in my optimism about the future. I heard over and over again from everyone from Guy Kawasaki to Patricia Vargas (Senior Director of Content, Jupiter Images) that ultimately great content is what counts most. To succeed in stock photography is largely putting great content in front of buyers.
I also consistently heard that rights managed stock photography is going do well. As if to confirm that general belief, I received word during the conference that Blend Images, a stock agency of which I am a part owner (more on Blend Images in an upcoming article), had made its first direct (on its own web site) Rights Managed sale…for $9,664.00. Not a bad start! Blend also had a very good 4th quarter of Royalty Free sales.
Another common theme was that the growth in the demand for imagery is growing rapidly, and will explode once the economy picks back up. Alan Meckler shared his belief that the next ten years will find 15 billion new web sites…most of which will need multiple photos. Key question, will they be buying Micro, Macro…or getting free images?
Perhaps the coolest thing I saw was TinEye.com. TinEye enables images searches across the web. Upload one of your own images, or any image for that matter, and you can instantly search their database of 1.5 million images (indexed by their web crawling spiders) finding every place the image has been used and how it has been changed. Can you imagine the ramifications if image theft can be virtually eliminated? Wow!
I didn’t fully understand the ImageSpan presentation, but it also struck me as something that could change the landscape enabling individual photographs to compete for a part of that online pie. I’ll have to check that out a little further. I also got a better understanding of Creative Commons and think that might also be able to play a role in diminishing online theft and increasing at least the awareness and mind set that every image has value. That can only help our industry.
Anyway, it is late and I am ready for some mindless TV. More later!
Great, incisive observations about UGCX!
It's great to hear your optimism about the stock industry, and about your successes with Right's Managed images.
I agree with you about Tin Eye - totally revolutionary technology, which I believe will greatly assist photographers in keeping track of the usage of their images online.
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