ImageBrief is a company that aims to become the marketplace where Image buyers and professional photographers can connect. The buyers post a brief with their requirements and the photographers respond with images that match. Seems simple what could possibly go wrong? Plenty of course. This kind of thing has existed before. Back when I photo edited for Outside Magazine there was a fax service that would send requests out to thousands of photographers. You can imagine what happened when I gave it a try. A crush of submissions with many so far off the mark you wondered if they just had a package ready to send out no matter what the request was just to get something under your nose. You end up with this volume problem where there are so many misses it’s not worth it to wade through and see if there’s a hit.
It’s inevitable that crowd-sourcing would be coming to image requests. Advertising has version’s where people create commercial videos: poptent.net, tongal.com and zooppa.com. Graphic design has Crowdspring.com where a writer for slate.com was pleasantly surprised by the results (here) after he offered $200 to design his newsletter logo. The experts he polled were not impressed but generally concluded that he got what he paid for.
It’s not clear of image brief wants photographers to shoot on demand or simply offer up existing images that meet their needs. I’m sure they’d be fine with either. If done properly this could be a great way for image buyers to connect with high quality stock that’s not currently in circulation. The key is restricting the membership so you’re guaranteed great results and attracting clients with high paying requests. I would have loved to make requests directly to photographers studios with specific needs and a price I’d be willing to pay. The problem is companies working online generally go for the masses, wanting to make money in volume over quality. I asked the co-founder of the company Simon Moss how he plans to address this. Here’s his response:
Rob, Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let you know how we plan to tackle this, because we believe it is the most fundamental part of what will make this platform a success. To be clear though – our goal is about quality and not quantity, which is why we have only approved about 30% of the photographers who have registered interest with us so far.
At the moment we are watching extremely carefully as new briefs are posted, and how different photographers respond over time. We notice that the first couple of days the accuracy is not quite as good as entries that arrive on day 2/3 and beyond. We are still in embryonic phase so this may change as we approve more photographers to contribute.
We will soon test some mechanisms to ensure a continual improvement of accuracy and also quality of responses so that the buyers who do have good money to spend will flock to the platform, in the confidence they will get a great outcome.
Some of these include (but not limited to):
- Providing the buyer the ability to rate both images and photographers based on quality/accuracy
- Our team ranking images based on accuracy and ‘fit’
- Introducing the option for moderation (ie; the customer can choose to have us moderate before images are displayed publicly)
- Introducing a reputation ranking system for photographers and having this impact the way responses are presented
- Creating an increase in commission for photographers who consistently submit high quality, accurate responses (at the moment it is 70% to the photographer – we could potentially have premium photographers on a higher rate).
From the initial feedback (we are already engaged with a number of advertising agencies and editorial photo editors) we are getting a great response – we just need to keep tweaking and listening carefully to both sides of the market so that we continue to create significant value on both sides.
I hope that all makes sense!
It will be interesting to see what happens. I see potential for this to satisfy both parties but these things tend to never play out how you expect. Hopefully Simon will steer it in the right direction.