Posts Tagged ‘Getty Images’


July 24th, 2009

I recommend anyone joining fotoLibra to read the Great Expectations blog posting to find out more about the exciting community they are joining.

Ben Shipley posted a comment which I said I’d answer in a new posting. Now David Carton has reminded me that I haven’t answered it, so here goes. First, Ben’s original comment:

It would be nice if the list view showed lightbox adds as well as views (at present the only way to get this info is to try to delete the photo).

Also, after working with other libraries, I am not sure what “views” means – did the photo show up among 1,000 others, or did someone actually bring up the full-size preview? And is that “someone” a valid customer or does it also include fellow members?

The best thing about fotolibra for my money is the way you all try to keep members informed – you seem like a very cool bunch of souls in general – but one can never get too much clarity, especially when it comes to what is selling out there.

Along same lines, I am curious where you see yourselves in the photo universe – what niches you aim for, where you saw this going when you started, where you see it headed today, where you fit into the whole amateur/professional photography experience, not just commercial stock. We get hints from Jacqui, but clarity definitely breeds patience.

Right. The first request is a simple feature enhancement. We already gather this information; the problem is figuring out to feed it to you in a neat, uncluttered, intelligible way. The data feed you currently get has nine columns; adding a tenth is going to make it uglier. We will work this out. It may involve having to drop down through layers of data.

‘Views’ (I answered this) means Thumbnails that have been clicked on to create Previews. The people who click could be either buyers or sellers; if they’re not logged in we don’t know who they are.

We always enjoy compliments. Thank you for that one.

OK, here’s the big one. In our photo universe, we’re not Getty Images, Corbis or Alamy. We’re much smaller, much more flexible, faster and much more personal. Buyers deal directly with the owners of the company, not a nominated ‘account handler’. Some people love this, others actually prefer anonymity and disengagement. When did you last speak to someone from Amazon, Adobe, Google, Microsoft or Apple? But you probably give them your money.

In Britain there are over 600 picture libraries. 440 of us are serious enough about the business to pay an annual subscription of about £500 to BAPLA. In terms of visitors to our web site, we come eighth. So we’re in the top 2%, and we only started 5 years ago. But we still need to do better.

Our major market is book publishing. It’s a market we know and feel comfortable with. We don’t reach ad agencies and design groups as we should. We sell to calendar and greetings card publishers. We don’t do much in the way of celebrities, news or sport.

We started with the intention of providing access to family albums, shoe boxes, the fading photographs in Granny’s attic. But we were swamped by the digital revolution.

HERE’S THE BOMBSHELL. We still want those pictures, so now we’ve decided to do something about it.

Alongside the existing Member, Pro Member and Platinum Member accounts, we are creating a completely new membership category.

It’s going to be called HERITAGE MEMBER. It is completely FREE, and it gives you UNLIMITED storage.

WOW!! I hear you shout. What’s the catch?

The photographs must have been taken before January 1st 1980. They must adhere to our Submission Guidelines.

And that’s it.

Membership will run in tandem with your existing fotoLibra membership. Full details will come with the formal announcement. We hope to have this in place by the beginning of September.


fotoLibra in the Telegraph

June 16th, 2009

We’ve always wanted to see fotoLibra featured in the Daily Telegraph, because we know that Telegraph readers would love the fotoLibra site.

But for 3 years it’s proved impossible — they never responded to my imprecations, never answered letters, emails or phone calls. I used to be a good publicist, but it is hard to publicise one’s own baby.

So imagine the hurt and despair I felt when Dan Smith forwarded me a link to a Telegraph story about how anybody could make money from their photographs. Exactly what I’d been banging on about for years. And here was our story — but instead of being about fotoLibra, it was about American giants Flickr and GettyImages. And they were offering a selective deal, nowhere near as good as fotoLibra’s open offer.

But because fotoLibra is British, and small, we’re not sexy copy. Unlike Digital Railroad, we never raised $15 million, and also unlike Digital Railroad we’re still in business, selling our members’ pictures and paying them.

The Telegraph relented, and the übercritical but nonetheless wonderful Bash Khan blogged about fotoLibra today:

Bash is in the Top Ten of London Tweeters, a dubious honour but an honour nevertheless. She is far from fawning in her assessment of fotoLibra. I accept it, because I know I’m the major part of the problem. I write too much, and people prefer to read less. And what I see as cutting edge design is suddenly three years old.

Chin up! We can improve. And we will. Let me know of any sites whose design you admire. And we’ll try to copy them slavishly.


In every society there is a need for openness and a need for secrecy.

Fundamentalists have planned and are planning terrorist attacks on our way of life. They plot and connive with as much secrecy as they can muster.

The prime function of government should be to protect its people, and the executive arm of that prime function is generally the police force.

British bobbies haven’t been covering themselves with glory recently. Running over a 16 year old schoolgirl at 94mph, batonning down a non-protesting passer-by (from the back) who died 5 minutes later, and yesterday Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, our top counter-terrorism officer, arrives at 10 Downing Street with The Secret Plan to catch these vile fundies tucked underneath his arm.

Not in his briefcase, note, but tucked underneath his arm. In full view of the world’s press. With their expensive cameras with hi-res lenses.

Getty Images, a picture library a little larger than fotoLibra, had a photographer or two on site. The images were on the wire and syndicated around the world in minutes. Then someone noticed you could actually read The Secret Plan to trap the fundies. It was there in plain view, tucked underneath  Assistant Commissioner Quick’s arm, a clean sheet of A4 headed “Security Service-led investigation into suspected AQ (al-Qaeda) driven attack planning within the UK”.


The Government issued a D-Notice, which bans British media from publishing sensitive material. It has no validity in Calais, Cincinatti or Cairo. Getty Images withdrew the images from their site.

But it had already been syndicated around the world, and they had no power to order its removal from other publishers. I bet servers in Pakistan were overloaded last night. The police had no option but to carry out the plan immediately, and eleven Pakistanis and one Brit (perhaps of Pakistani origin — we don’t know) were arrested yesterday.

This morning Quick quite rightly resigned. It was a monumental blunder.

I think with true British phlegm the situation can best be summed up in England’s noblest native verse form, the clerihew:

Bob Quick
Is a bit of a dick
For revealing his terrorist investigation
To photographers with worldwide syndication.