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Worth a thousand words ?

The PACA is about to release their stockphotofinder. Or at least a Beta version of it. For those who do not know, PACA stands for Picture Archive Council of America and regroups hundreds of RM and RF commercial stock agencies.

They have recently decided, in committee, to create a photo portal for all its members to be included and released this preview video:


If you can get passed the crooner, late-at-night, crackling, I-want-to-be-sexy voice, of the commentator, you will see how a committee can destroy a potentially good idea. Where should we start? Oh well, the idea in general.

Between Newscom, Stockphotfinder, BrightQube and many others, such portal exist already, and for a long time. So you would think this one would bring something new, something compelling. Well, actually, it doesn’t.

It actually bring you back to 1990’s : a search will return…a list of agencies that have the existing keyword in their database. Not only that, but instead of returning the relevant images, it will classify the result with the agency who has the most result with the keyword you entered on top. Meaning that its not about the quality of the image but the quantity available. Does that mean that PACA favors agencies with the most pictures? Seems like it.

If you do not like that, you are offered another list. This one classifies the results by the proportion of the keyword relevant to the total size of the archive..mmm..who thought about that one? The claim is that this list will bubble up the agency who are specialized in the pics you are looking for. Maybe, but it will also highlight those with just a lot of images too . Again, no pictures here.

If you want to see the actual results with thumbnails, you have to click on an agency link. and then another one. If you use a Safari browser, one of the least-used browser on the internet, you can even open multiple tabs, if you twist your fingers on the keyboard a little bit .

Up to now, if you are not completely disgusted by the experience, you still have major hurdles left. Let say you like an image on one of the tabs you have open. well, you are now on your own and have to go register to that agency to license it. Great, how is that helpful ?

You also have to fight your way through so many exact similar that you might never license an image ever again. Some of these agencies represent each other content and if you add Newscom, or Stockphotofinder, who are  already portals , you might see the same image 10 or 20 times on different site. And probably at different prices.  Also, for some reason, DigitalRailroad appears as result option. Either this Beta is more than a year old, or someone forgot to tell PACA they are out of business. No sign of Photoshelter, by the way.

Maybe if you find the right image, they send it to you via messenger ?

We could go on and on with more comments. For picture professionals to regroup and to come out with a product like this is shameful. It clearly shows what is terribly wrong with commercial stock distributors who seem to have no clue on how to properly service their clients. It’s a monument to PACA’s archaism and its members complete ignorance of their market.

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