27 Jun 2007 SnapVillage
Update 2009-05: Corbis are closing down SnapVillage and migrating the photos and customers over to Veer Marketplace.
No other microstock website has launched with as much fanfare and publicity as SnapVillage. Many new microstock websites pop up from time to time, many going mostly unnoticed. This would have been true for SnapVillage if not for the “empowering” brand behind the website. The strategy is new, you could say “fresh”, but the brand behind is what generated all the publicity, and likely what will move them forward.
At the time of writing SnapVillage is three days old. Launched by stock photography giant Corbis, it’s the newest offering to the microstock market. Corbis were late to market with SnapVillage, behind Getty who purchased iStockphoto and Jupiter who purchased most of StockXpert. They were also the first in that crowd to build rather than buy, braving the difficult task of building the content up to critical mass.
|Minimum Image Size
|1500 x 2100 pixels
|Standard and Product Licenses, the latter lifts print run size and product re-sale restrictions
|30% or $0.30 for subscription sales
|$1, $5, $10, $25, $50 or subscription
|30 – 45 days
|HTML form, or send CD/DVD by post
|No, but “coming soon”
The SnapVillage blog is a simple WordPress installation. WordPress is a great solution for creating blogs – it powers Microstock Diaries. However, I was surprised to see such a well-funded organization use an off-the-shelf application for this purpose. Then again, Fotolia use MoveableType.
Sets. SnapVillage offers you the ability to mark a group of photos as a set. They then share the title, description and keyword information and will contain a link to each other once published.
Set your own price. Contributors are able to set the price of their images, including whether they’re available for subscription sales. Prices can be set at $1, $5, $10, $25 or $50. This enables photographers to sell their images for no less than $50, taking their 30% commission of $15 for the sale.
“Snappiness”, is a measure of the popularity of an image derived from the quantity of views, downloads, favorites and comments. It’s the Google algorithm for microstock, contributing to the order of search results.
Too early to tell. The agency is in “content collection mode” so sales are not expected to be high. I will update this review when there is more data available.
We are contributing. The brand and (I hope) budget behind this will see it become competitive. From what I have read and heard, they seem to be keen to listen to the market and adapt, which will be even more powerful for them. They have obviously done a lot of research and come up with some appealing points of differentiation. The verdict is, don’t expect the cash to start rolling in for some time yet, but I feel it’s worth contributing.
Update: Early performance indicators of SnapVillage have been poor and I’ve never proceeded with uploading my portfolio. I’m not impressed with the oversized & un-watermarked thumbnails, nor their refusal to install a FTP upload facility – which other agencies have managed to implement within weeks. More importantly, Corbis have been unable to successfully market SnapVillage to photo buyers and results from those who do have their portfolios with SnapVillage are universally poor.