In an interview to PDN magazine, master blogger Dan Heller offers the photography world a new idea : Create an Ebay of photography. People, that is everybody and anybody, would upload images to a site where image buyers, other people, would purchase them for an settle upon price. That would allow for the overhaul market to grow from the estimated market of $2 billion to what he estimates to be $15 billion.

A couple of thoughts come to mind here. First, there are already platforms that offer this service, like Drr or Photoshelter. For a monthly fee, these sites allow anyone to upload their images to be purchased on line. One, Drr, handles the transaction for you, the other Photoshelter, lets you handle the transaction. Both take a small percentage on any succesful agreement and allow to license either RF and RM. Both, albeit still new on the market, do not seem to have exploded into an e bay size platform. At least not yet.

There is also Flickr, whose founder just decided to go on paternity leave ( good for him) after announcing at the start of 2007 that his platform would enable users to license their images . Something we have yet to see happen. In its shadow, there is the crash prone, geotagging happy Zooomr, who also announced with big fanfare, that it would revolutionarise the stock photo industry by empowering its users to price their images. It has yet to be launched. It seems its CEO is more busy photowalking around the West coast than really concerned about making it happen.

Finally, there are the Scoopt, Spymedia and other citizen journalists dumb dumb platform that are waiting to exhale.

If an Ebay of photography is a good idea, than why not create an Ebay of drawings or music. After all, anyone can draw or paint and anyone can compose music ? Or an Ebay for idea: Buy and sell any idea.

and why didn’t EBay think of that already ?

Photography is not a second hand Mario’s Brother video game and will never be. It cannot be sold like one. It still is, in my book, an artform, done by professionals for a very good reason. It needs talent. It is not because it is easy to create that it is as easy to sell. I can draw but I am not a Picasso. This reasoning has to stop as it is insulting for the thousands of pro photographers that either risk their lives to show us remote conflicts to those who can generate millions of dollars in revenue without ever slashing their prices. An E bay of photography would somewhat look like a result from Google images, a useless junkyard on uninteresting images. It would also be, like Flickr, a magnet for copyright infringement. And finally, it would not serve much purpose as most photography is extremely timely and tends to be obsolete very quickly.

I would love to see someone break its teeth on such a project so that maybe, just by living proof, the those San Fransisco based web 2.0 twitter happy pseudo entrepreneurs would move on to other spheres of quick money making scams.


I read this article twice and have yet to understand what it has to do with photography.

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