Thomas Hawk in "The Next Step For Flickr, Stock Photography":
"Recently I sold .. a photo of the Grand Lake movie theater in Oakland. I sold a one year license of the photograph to Choice Hotels. They used it in a national television commercial for this television commercial that they are running now to Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." Since I don't watch commercials (PVR and all) I've still yet to see it but the fact that they found my photograph through a Google image search rather than a stock photography house has recently made me wonder.
Why couldn't Flickr displace the world's largest photo licensing company Getty Images or Bill Gates' stock photography competitor Corbis? Have you seen some of the photography up at Flickr lately? It is stunning. Although primarily taken and posted by amateurs, the top shots on the site are every bit as brilliant as anything I've seen from the pros.
So why not bring the business of stock photography to the amateur photographer? [...] It would seem to me that this would also have the effect of driving more and more top quality photographers to Flickr as they might see it as a place to drive revenue.
Flickr could analyze the way that Corbis and Getty charge for licenses and then offer a comparable (or even cheaper) fee schedule for marketers, advertisers, etc. Flickr could put together a fee sharing arrangement that would take the place of a traditional agent and then let their search do the rest. Flickr could allow those interested in purchasing image licenses (or anyone really) the ability to search by tags and through an advanced search restrict the search to only photos that users have voluntarily submitted for consideration. With the recent enhancements to Flickr's image search with their "interestingness" thing, you can now search photos and then have them ranked and returned to you by relevancy. Try searching for some terms at Flickr and then sorting by interestingness -- the results are impressive for supposed amateurs. Here's bridge (ok, so I'm biased because a few of mine show up). Or check out sunset. Or try blue. Or even try something crazy like crazy. You get the idea. [...]
Of course, if Microsoft was smart they would create/buy a Flickr of their own and coordinate this through Gates' already established Corbis. But then again, if Microsoft was smart, they would have bought Flickr before Yahoo! scooped them up."
Thomas wrote another story "How Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Will Change the Business of Stock Photography":
What's interesting to me about selling my photo though is not the $500 that I was paid for it but the fact that in this case a national advertiser bypassed the traditional stock photography houses of Corbis and Getty and found me directly as an amateur photographer through the internet. I suspect it was Google's image search where they found the photo. [...]
I suspect the $500 that I was paid for the photo is probably less than a national advertising campaign's real value [you can be damned sure!] but it's what they offered and I was more interested in the process than I was the money. But it does bring up an interesting point and that is will the advertising community begin to move away from the stock houses of places like Corbis and Getty in favor of a large growing pool of cheaper quality work by amateurs? Especially as Google and Yahoo refine their image search technology and places like Flickr and Webshots begin to offer tagging technology that competes with professional photography meta data this may increasingly be the case.
The question is will advertising firms increasingly look away from the traditional world of stock photography in favor more cutting edge, and also perhaps cheaper, online sources?
Here at Flickr are the images of Thomas.
Compare what Thomas wrote to: "However, when I talk to picture buyers these days, they tell a completely different story - for them, the future of stock is avoiding agencies completely and going directly to photographers" in "The Future Of Stock Photography And Imagery Trends For The Future".