What is new is not always good. While everyone is trying to figure out where the world of licensed photography is going to, others are taking advantage of the void by figuring out parasitical way to profit from it.
We already do know that Google has figured out how to make money, and huge sums of it, by cashing in on others creative content. By slapping ads on the creation of others, they are the ultimate business parasite. At least, with Adsense, they have offered the creators a share of the income generated. Typical of a long tail type of business, they are, however, the only ones to really profit from it.
With a company called Pixazza, they have figured out how to feed upon the photography world. If you are not aware of it, Pixazza offers website the ability to attached on any image they publish, a pop up window that invites you to purchase the same clothes as the ones wore by the celebs in the images.
Websites that participate get a commission on every sale of clothes that is generated from their site. The photographers who took the images? nothing. Pixazza actually uses the image as a selling tool yet gives nothing back to the photogrpahers, only to the publishers. In theory, and maybe in practice, a publisher could easily purchase a license for an image and make a profit from it. Interesting no. Sure, it is not much different then what is going on in magazine or more traditional ads on website. After all, it is the business model for editorial publication to make a profit from ads attached to their articles and layouts. But in this case, instead of being a generic ad, it is actually 100 % dependent on the photograph and its content.
So now, on top of publishers making money on your images, there is this new company, who have done nothing more than create a piece of code. Do photographers see their income grow too from this added value ? nope. Does Pixazza care? Certainly not.
It doesn’t seem like much right now for those not shooting celebrities, but it will very soon . They have just extended their offering to travel and sports images. And that is only the begging. Soon, any image will have this parasite on it. The near future, if all goes well ?
Well, why do you think Google invested in this company? Because it fits perfectly its business model. the parasite kind: Attach an ad to everything on the internet. The next step ? Well Google might decide to purchase Getty, make all the images available for free to everyone, as long as Pixazza is attached to them. Can you imagine the revenue they would get ? And the damage they would do to the photo industry?
However, they don’t even have to go that far. If Pixazza is succesful in implanting themselves on every website, they could make a huge fortune without ever paying a dime to photographers. Ever. Your images would become ad platform without you ever seeing a penny from it. Pretty cool, no ?
There is no reason for this to stop currently, as none of the photo agencies or photographers seem to mind. Some seem to think this is really great because it’s new and its Google powered, at least financially. Once they see their images licensed for editorial use hijacked into a commercial , it is doubtful they will still be smiling . But it will be too late.
It’s not new, it’s just evil.