PicScout originally started off as a content copyright enforcer, hunting down unlicensed images on the web with its flagship ImageTracker program. After realizing how ubiquitous unlicensed images were, the company launched PicApp, a flash-based image provider that offers legally licensed images from large databases for free. The company makes money by including ads as part of the embedded picture viewer.
b5media will use PicApp to complement a number of other image partners. Many high quality images from licensed catalogs can go for $10 and up, which can have a significant impact on a blogging network’s bottom line. The company says that using PicApp’s free content for some of these images should reduce licensing fees substantially. b5 has over 250 bloggers, which generate upwards of 10 million unique visitors monthly.
The partnership marks a big win for PicApp, but it’s hard to imagine a Flash-based image provider becoming commonplace on the web. Flash is clunky and slow compared to normal images, but at this point the plugin is a necessity for image catalogs to control their content. GumGum is another player in this space that uses similar Flash technology.