27 Jun 2007 SnapVillage

Update 2009-05: Corbis are closing down SnapVillage and migrating the photos and customers over to Veer Marketplace.

SnapVillage - microstock from Corbis

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.

Background

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.

Details

Web Address www.snapvillage.com
Google Pagerank 0
Google Backlinks 0
Alexa Rank
Image Stats Information unavailable
Minimum Image Size 1500 x 2100 pixels
Vectors Yes
Footage No
Licenses Standard and Product Licenses, the latter lifts print run size and product re-sale restrictions
Compensation 30% or $0.30 for subscription sales
Pricing $1, $5, $10, $25, $50 or subscription
Payment Methods PayPal
Payment Delay 30 – 45 days
Referral Program No
Application Process None
Exclusivity Not offered
Upload Methods HTML form, or send CD/DVD by post
IPTC Data No, but “coming soon”
Currencies US dollars
Languages English
Headquarters Seattle, USA

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.

Cool Features

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.

Performance

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.

Verdict

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.

11 Comments
  • laurent
    Posted at 20:13h, 27 June Reply

    I got few pics accepted and so far I will say that they are not very picky about the noise which is good. I found IS and SS are rejecting pics with noise although I processed to decrease it…
    Laurent

  • Darlumpus
    Posted at 18:40h, 28 June Reply

    Hmm, I was thinking since they were Corbis they’d be much more picky. Maybe I’ll try them out, too. Thanx.

  • Ishmael Greenbaum
    Posted at 09:14h, 29 June Reply

    Hey, thanks for posting about snapvillage on your blog. If you hadn’t done so, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser. I submitted 4 of my best photos 2 days ago and still haven’t gotten a review back. I’d like to ask the author of this blog as well as the regular contributers how long it’s taken you (assuming some of you are already contributing). I’ve found that Fotolia (V1, that is) was the quickest on review turnaround time, while all the other sites take quite some time.

  • Lee Torrens
    Posted at 09:30h, 29 June Reply

    Hi Ishmael,

    I haven’t had any photos reviewed at SnapVillage yet either. They generated a lot of publicity with their launch so they’ve been swamped with submissions. They’re hiring extra reviewers to help get the queue under control.

    Review times go up and down at all websites. Some show you the number of photos in their queue so you can get an idea of the wait times. Sometimes you can be lucky and have your photos reviewed immediately, even before you’ve finished keywording the next one! It all depends. We tend to submit and forget, focussing our attention on creating and uploading more images.

    Be sure to let us know how you go with SnapVillage!

    – Lee

  • Ishmael Greenbaum
    Posted at 20:29h, 29 June Reply

    Lee Torrens,

    Thanks for your response. I’m still waiting. Have you thought about adding a forum section to this blog? It seems that with your design as it stands right now, we can only really comment on news that you have posted. Plus I think it would nice to have all our posts in one area (not that I have that many yet, just a thought).

  • Lee Torrens
    Posted at 21:16h, 29 June Reply

    Ishmael,

    Yes, I considered creating a forum but there already exist a few excellent forums on the topic of microstock. Seek them out and sign up. Microstock Group in particular has a very vibrant and helpful community.

    – Lee

  • Paul Kazmercyk
    Posted at 15:09h, 05 July Reply

    Well, my experience with SnapVillage has so far been plagued with problems. First of all, they don’t parse the metadata tags so even the most basic info (title and description) and the most critical data (tags!) aren’t automatically populated as they are in all the other major sites, which means everything needs to be copied and pasted into individual fields for every image. I have also experienced several timeout errors with their server. I just spent time doing all the above-mentioned copying and pasting, only to get a database error which requires me to start all over. I would have thought that a big bucks company like Corbis could do a lot better than this. I realize it’s still technically “beta” but it’s not a great start from my point of view.

    • Lawrence Torres
      Posted at 11:32h, 18 April Reply

      Ditto my friend ditto !!!! Now if only I could use this blog as an ad to motivate them to fix that beta

    • Paul Kazmercyk
      Posted at 19:04h, 22 May Reply

      Hi Lee: Thanks for the great site. A real help to me being an amateur trying to learn in my spare time.

      Well, it’s been ten months (time actually does fly!) and I just wandered back to this post. About a month ago (roughly April 2008) I decided to give SnapVillage another try. The first thing I discovered after much trial and error was that it was impossible to complete the upload process at all using Mac Safari (probably v3.1.x). So, I decided to give give Firefox a whirl (currently v2.0.0.14) and that made all the difference. However, the upload process is tedious as it’s an HTTP-based system allowing only five images at a time. That in and of itself is not horrible, but I discovered that if I let the upload go, switch to an app to get some work done, then go back, there’s a great danger of the session timing out with me needing to start the process from scratch. So now I find myself continually checking switching from whatever Adobe app I’m working in back to Firefox every few minutes to be sure I don’t time out.

      I had occasion to contact SnapVillage about an issue and although it took probably two weeks, they responded and actually asked me some questions about the upload process, how I might feel about alternate upload methods, etc. (which I thought was nice of them to do). My response was that anything browser-based is tedious and ties up the browser, so FTP would be far preferable.

      Anyway, while it seems a bit a risk at this point to invest a huge amount of time uploading to an as-yet unproven site (they are still in “beta”) I’ve got about 50 images accepted with a grand total of 1 download at $0.30.

      Also on the upside–for my ego–is that they seem to accept pretty much whatever is uploaded. I haven’t determined yet if that will change and how it might ultimately reflect on the overall perception of quality on the site, but it’s nice for now to only get acceptance notices.

      I’ll post back again. Hopefully it won’t be 10 more months.

  • Paul Kazmercyk
    Posted at 15:14h, 05 July Reply

    I should also add that there doesn’t appear to be any way of seeing and/or confirming what you’ve uploaded. In other words, I can’t confirm that my images have been successfully uploaded, nor do I have any sort of queue to see what’s waiting for review. This all seems like terribly basic stuff for Corbis to have missed!

  • microstockphoto
    Posted at 12:12h, 22 November Reply

    I am tented to upload at Snapvillage since Corbis should guarantee that they don’t fail and will eventually succeed.

    But until they don’t offer FTP and ‘proper’ IPTC keywords* it’s not worth the time in my opinion.

    *there are many different styles in IPTC synthax and they only accept comma separated words, while semicolumn separated or one per line are not working

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