28 Jul 2015 Kboarding – Ambitious Initiative for a New Keywording Service

‘Kboarding’, a new keywording service for microstock contributors, will be starting a limited beta test in the upcoming months and is currently open for requests. This initiative is lead by Danil Nevsky and is the result of his experiences as a non-native English speaker keywording for English-language based agencies.

Nevsky is a full-time microstocker. He has a large Stocksy portfolio and a similar sized one at Shutterstock.

The Motivation

As a Russian speaker, Nevsky says he has a hard time trying to keyword his photos accurately in English. He often relies on Google Translate, which is very inefficient. Google Translate results are often synonyms that native English speaking buyers don’t use when searching for images. Also, his perspective on business is that a successful portfolio is one that is up-to-date and with “fashionable style,” and he finds that English language expressions and terms rise and fall in popularity as often as visual trends and styles.

In addressing these language and word choice problems and the sheer tedium of keywording, he believes he has found a niche for himself in the competitive market of microstock workflow tools. His solution lies in human resources.

The Service

Kboarding will provide image keywording by a professional English-speaking staff. Customers will submit images in full-resolution JPG format through a simple drag-and-drop feature, then the system will create a watermarked thumbnail for each image for keyworders to work with. Once the process is completed, the keyword metadata will be embedded in the original image. Final processed images will be delivered through the website within 24 hours of submission. Pricing will follow a monthly subscription model, starting at $50 a month for 100 images, with the price per image decreasing for larger subscription tiers.

For the upcoming beta test, they aim to include 500 customers, and they are currently accepting requests.

Will it Work?

At this early stage, the idea sounds quite ambitious, but Nevsky’s work demonstrates serious commitment. The project has been developed without any external funding, and currently has 3 leaders: Nevsky himself, a programmer in charge of website building, and a staff manager and trainer.

Their office will be based in Russia and all employees will be in-house. Nevsky says that they can take advantage of their location for currency conversion rates, which he thinks will allow them to set competitive prices while remaining profitable. Furthermore, their time zone puts them well ahead of the US and most of Europe, making it possible for customers from these regions to receive requested service overnight.

Kboarding’s competitors focus either on a wider variety of tools at higher rates, or in delivering basic services at low prices. According to Nevsky, this new service will distinguish itself in the market as a simple but powerful solution for photo attribution at a competitive price.

Nevsky certainly has a lot on the roadmap for Kboarding. He aims for constant training for the keywording team and intends to review the most popular and high-rated keywords and the most efficient search algorithms, not just from web analysis but also through direct contact with big buyers. The company also plans to develop a desktop version of their product in addition to the web-based service.

The beta is right around the corner, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The team still has technology to build, processes to define, staff to hire & train, and intelligence to gather. And that’s just to get Kboarding ready to start generating revenue. But Nevsky’s portfolios demonstrate he’s capable of long-term commitment and he says the team is aware of what’s involved and fully committed to launching, regardless of how much interest they receive. 

Since they will be accepting a limited number of customers at first, definitely send a request now if you’re interested in trying the service.

What would you want to see in a service like this?

  • Bob Davies
    Posted at 15:33h, 28 July Reply

    Interesting model, the price is pretty reasonable, and presumably designed to benefit from lapsed members (i.e. those not using their full 100-per-month limit, but still paying the sub for a few images a month).
    Does seem very ambitious though… “For the upcoming beta test, they aim to include 500 customers” if they want 500 in the beta, I’m not sure how much room there is to grow beyond that.
    picWorkflow’s pricing is pretty similar in our middle-tier (though my interface is pretty clunky as it’s out of date now) and I’m not sure there are even 500 photographers currently active both interested in, and most importantly capable of supporting a $50/month fee for only the keywords. I’d probably be looking at a beta-test of 50-100 members, with possible cap on the market of 750 photographers (every other keywording provider around is probably supplying to marginally more than that collectively. My research suggests the total market cap is around 1k at any one time, optimistically). Everyone else is earning less than enough to afford to outsource. A lot of people have come to this space and overestimated the potential revenue, so for a three-people crew it sounds maybe viable, not sure I’d be expecting huge figures though.
    Most importantly they’re right to focus on quality. Good keyworders are very hard to find (I know this from experience) and even harder to train (it’s such a fluffy head-space, it’s hard to even find the words to describe the work clearly).
    Glad to see others coming to the space, hopefully they’ll bring something interesting and I’ll have to kick back into top-gear to keep up 😉

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 15:38h, 28 July Reply

      Awesome insights Bob, thanks. It’s certainly true that new suppliers over-estimate the size of the market. The quantity of microstock contributors willing and able to pay for services is very small.

      So cool that you welcome the competition!

      • Bob Davies
        Posted at 18:18h, 28 July Reply

        Competition is a LOT more fun 🙂

  • Brianna
    Posted at 23:15h, 28 July Reply

    Big congrats to you Nevsky!!

  • Danil Nevsky
    Posted at 12:58h, 29 July Reply

    Bob, thank you very much for your respond. We really appreciate, that you share with us with you experience and opinion. Maybe you are right about our ambitious plans, but that usually happens at start of any project, until you’ll get your first experience on it. Consider our plans to subscribe 500 authors: Maybe you misunderstood us. We don’t plan to get 500 customers at the start, we want to get feedback from as many users we could to understand, that this project is potentially interesting.
    Anyway, I planed to organize small staff for self purpose, than I thought that I could help others with the same problem.

  • Danil Nevsky
    Posted at 13:55h, 30 July Reply

    Friends, we want to add something. We plan to launch beta version of our service a little bit earlier than we told before.
    Those members, who left their email on kboarding.com/promo, we’ll send personal invitation to a free test service. Main task of this test for registered members is to check the quality of keywords.
    Who wants to be among the first to try service for free, please leave your email here: kboarding.com/promo

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