05 Jan 2008 ShutterPoint
Julie Eydman from ShutterPoint’s business development department emailed me recently to let me know that ShutterPoint had added a new license which allowed buyers to buy photos at microstock prices. So I took a detailed look at ShutterPoint and wrote this review.
Previously, ShutterPoint were not an agency. Instead, they offered photographers a facility to sell photos online. The key differences of this model are:
- Contributors pay for space
- All submissions are accepted – there’s no reviewing (subject to submission guidelines)
- Contributors set the prices
The other key difference with ShutterPoint’s original model was that photographers tended to bring their own buyers. This meant many were using ShutterPoint as a quick and easy transaction mechanism for simply selling photos online to existing clients.
The New License
ShutterPoint introduced their ‘Standard License’ to access the microstock buyer market. Photos sold with this optional license are all priced the same, at microstock levels, and adjusted according to the size of the photo purchased.
This will make it much easier for ShutterPoint to attract buyers and simultaneously create an attractive market for microstock contributors. It’s an interesting way to overcome the microstock catch-22.
Contributors can opt-out of selling at microstock prices by selecting only the Full License, which is comparable to Extended Licenses of microstock agencies. Contributors set the Full License price between $20 and $99,999. Many of ShutterPoint’s existing customer base are using this model, and ShutterPoint neither expect or wants this to change.
Shutterpoint Key Details
|Minimum Image Size||1,024 pixels either edge|
|Licenses||Full License and Standard License|
|Compensation||85% of Full License and 70% of Standard License|
|Pricing||Full License (contributor set $20 – $99,999). Standard License (Starts at $0.99)|
|Payment Methods||PayPal, MoneyBookers, Check|
|Payment Delay||Automatically triggered at a contributor set value of $50, $100 or $250|
|Referral Program||2% of photos sold and 10% of initial purchases|
|Application Process||None, just register and pay the fees|
|Upload Methods||Web form, Flash batch uploader, WindowsXP application, and ZIP file upload|
|IPTC Data support||Yes|
- Editorial license – ShutterPoint supports editorial licenses, allowing contributors to sell unreleased and newsworthy photos.
- Set your own price – Contributors can set their own price for each image that sells with the Full License. Standard License sales are all the same price, which increases for larger sizes.
- Customize Watermarks – ShutterPoint allows contributors to customize a textual watermark or upload a watermark image.
Photo Requests – Buyers can submit photo requests to which contributors may respond citing their own photos.
- Customize the front page – Members can select and order a range of different features to appear on the website’s front page when logged in.
Why This Business Model?
The existing ShutterPoint business model – charging for space and accepting anything – appeals to photographers who are not interested in selling their photos at microstock prices. They can set their own prices and send potential buyers directly to their own portfolio, using ShutterPoint as an easy and cost effective replacement for building their own website for online sales.
The addition of the Standard License with micropayment pricing makes ShutterPoint relevant to microstock contributors and buyers, expanding their market. There will still be a lot of resistance from microstock contributors who aren’t accustomed to paying for storage.
My View of the ShutterPoint Opportunity
I’ve registered at ShutterPoint to publicly test whether they can bring sufficient buyers to my portfolio for the earnings to cover the cost of membership with a profit left over. As usual, I’ll be reporting my earnings monthly.
It’s worth realizing that I’m testing the new business model introduced by the new Standard License. Another half of ShutterPoint’s customer base bring their own buyers and don’t activate the Standard License with its microstock pricing.
My initial ShutterPoint portfolio is now online, featuring my customized watermark. I’ll be reporting my earnings each month, hopeful that ShutterPoint can join my list of profitable places to sell my photos.
Check out Shutterpoint for yourself here.