The interesting news with Corbis´ new microstock offering SnapVillage for photographs, illustrations and flash is that it "will allow its contributors to set their own prices, ranging from $1 to $50 an image" -- in contrast to the majority of other micropayment sites -- ready to be sold through a Standard, Product and Subscription License and that image buyers have to pay the same price, regardless of the downloaded image file size.
With Zooomr, although not a micropayment site, photographers can license their images for a licensing fee between $1 and $1,000.
The NYT runs an article on SnapVillage today quoting Gary Shenk, who said that "the company is not just acknowledging the growing importance of microstock sites, but also recognizing the threat to its higher-price images. "Cannibalization is going to happen in our industry", Mr. Shenk said. "We can either let it consume us or be part of it".
Looking at Corbis´ recent history and the management change, a little research unveils that the SnapVillage domain was created on October 10, 2006.
The site offers the search for images in six price categories ("Free", $1, $5, $10, $25 and $50), by category or "snapyness" and returned over 1,000 images for the latter, some of them very remarkable.
SnapVillage says that Snappyness is a term "we use to describe interesting images that stand out from the rest", overall "a unique rating that captures many different aspects of user interaction throughout the village, including number of downloads, number of views, number of comments, and the number of times an image has been added as a favorite". Distantly it´s similar to Flickr "most interesting" images feature.
SnapVillage offers also a subscription service with the following conditions: "$199.00. 25 downloads a day. 750 images in total" (very similar to Shutterstock´s conditions for $159). Which means you have to pay only $0,26 per image in the best case. The Advanced Search option allows to "show subscription content only". The subscription service lasts for 30 days beginning with the first download. Contributors can "choose whether or not you want to include your image as part of our subscription service during the upload process or through your portfolio page later".
Like some competitors, SnapVillage offers access to "free images" (check the Search Box possibilities). A simple search for "man" returned six free images, like this one. A quick search for "man" in the $50 price category returned no results. Searching for "man" in all categories also returned no results, probably a small bug of SnapVillage which runs in BETA.
Below is the text of the Standard License agreement* and images are set at $1, $5, $10, $25 or $50. Purchasing a Product License** will cost $50. In general, "purchasing a Standard License means once you purchase an image, you can do want you want with it. Purchasing a Product License means you have redistribution privileges, which basically means you use it to use on something you’ll sell". When searching for images on SnapVillage, an extended Product License was also availabe for an image for $125 which "buys you redistribution privileges".
Photographers can change the price of their images at any time and receive 30% of the image license fee sold on a Standard or Product License. "If you allow your image to be downloaded on subscription, you will receive 30 cents per download". You all know what you earn with the other microstock companies out there.
Although SnapVillage understandably does currently not contain millions of images and some of the first images in the database (overall around 8,500 images) look like private impressions of Corbis staff taken in Seattle, the Puget Sound area and in the surrounding woods, SnapVillage very much seems to combine the best features of microstock sites ("images can be licensed either individually or as part of a subscription") with the possibility to determine on your own the approprate price tag of your image in a certain range.
While Corbis is late in entering the micropayment market, this can obviously have its very own charming aspects because you can avoid the mistakes of your earlier competitors and bundle their various advantages into one new streamlined and thus powerful offering, and add on top of that more new features.
The other important aspect is that SnapVillage does not charge a different price depending on the downloaded file size: "No way – to save hassle and confusion we charge the same price for every size".
The best SnapVillages features in a nutshell:
- Photographers determine the price tag between between $1 and $50
- Photograpers can change the price of their images later
- Photographers can include their pictures in the Subscription license offering
- No exclusivity requirements for photographers
- For photographers no application or approval process
- Photo buyers pay the same price regardless of the downloaded image file size
- "Farm Club" aspect: photographers with the potential can sell their images later through Corbis
Respect, at first sight a very mature and well thought-out concept. Personally to me -- the press release get´s it straight -- the best feature is that I don´t need any longer to deal with "cumbersome credit packs or other complicated pricing schemes that require buyers to make upfront commitments", because "all payments are conducted via credit card". Something which I know has distracted a lot of image buyers from using microstock. But a small disadvantage follows, probably only temporarily existent: "However, only customers based in the United States can buy pictures from SnapVillage at this time".
More details in the press release.
The NYT reports also that Corbis gets more "than 85 percent of its revenue from licensing images at an average price of $250 each".
[*"Standard License: If you choose to purchase the Standard Licence for this image, you have the standard royalty-free rights to use this image, which include the right to use this image for advertising and promotional purposes. With the Standard Licence, there are certain limitations with respect to how you may use this image - for example, with a Standard Licence you may only print up to 500,000 copies of any print advertising or communications material and you may not include this image in any product available for re-sale"]
[**"Product License: If you choose to purchase the Product Licence for this image, you get all the rights that come with the Standard Licence, but many of the restrictions on the Standard Licence go away. For example, with the Product Licence, there is no limit on the print run for your advertising needs, and you may include the image as part of a product for re-sale in limited amounts"]
- Corbis to take 'microstock' plunge (CNET, June 1, 2007)
- Corbis Announces New Leadership Team: "Adam Brotman named to the Executive Team and promoted to VP, Networks, overseeing all of Corbis’ websites, including Corbis.com, Outline, Motion, and the company’s microstock offering to be announced later this quarter" (April 18, 2007)
- A Photo Trove, a Mounting Challenge: "The rise of the microstock companies has been of particular concern to Corbis. For all its new lines of business, the company still gets some 88 percent of its revenues from image licenses, yet commands only about 11 percent of that market. Getty Images dominates the market with a 40 percent share" (NYT, April 10, 2007)
- A Photo Trove, a Mounting Challenge:
- "The archival photos bring in about half of Corbis` sales"
(NYT, April 10, 2007)
- "Corbis is also betting heavily on its Creative Resources division, which includes rights services and recorded 44 percent growth in revenue last year, to $30.1 million" (NYT, April 10, 2007)
- Related: "More significant in the near term will be the rights services business Shenk led within Corbis, in which the company handles the chores of acquiring images such as songs or artwork used in advertisements and movies. That business accounted for about 20 percent of Corbis' revenue in recent years, Shenk said" (CNET, June 1, 2007)
- "The archival photos bring in about half of Corbis` sales"
- Corbis Announces 2006 Year-End Results (Feb. 15, 2007)