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Picapp kills GumGum

Even in a world of quirky names, content continues to rule. Picapp, the source for free legal images for blogs, has just signed up celebrity news agency Splashnews as a new provider. Here’s the deal : 2 companies, one similar idea. How to license images to the high volume community of bloggers worldwide ( 6 billion , I believe). Also, how to license images without these images ever leaving the server, thus avoiding illegal duplication. ( Orphan work anyone ?)

Historically, Picapp was the first to launch, with a revenue sharing deal that made advertising the only source of revenue. GumGum, not far behind, launches with a similar idea. However, the user here has a choice of adverting or paying a pay per view fee.

But the business model is not enough to grab attention, you need the right content. Again, two strategies : Picapp leverages its existing relationship through Picscout and draws the big guns ( i.e Getty). Gumgum, in order to outsmart them and after looking at the blogosphere, goes for entertainment. After all, the celebrity obsessed blogs are not only the most active, but also the biggest consumers of photos. What would be a celebrity site with no images, right ? They quickly signed Pacific Coast news, Splash news and Starmax. The show can begin. And it did. While Picapp runs around making deals with blog publishers and refine their offering ( ie multi size images, hidden Picguy, etc), GumGum seems to be satisfied with their offering.And it seemed to work.

But Picapp is no dumdum. They just signed Splashnews too, realizing they where the biggest money making content provider of Gumgum. Ouch ! The result will soon be felt. One has vast offering, from sports to paparazzi celeb, while the other seems stuck in the muck. Same technology and very similar business model. Who do you think will win?

At the end, it is always the same result. Technology is not an answer in itself, it is just a pipe. You can have the greatest system in the world, if you do not have the content, you die. Think Betamax or more recently, Blu Ray. Geeks are the worst managers of their own technology as they always, always make the same mistake in believing it can overcome everything.  It can’t.

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