A couple lines of code. That’s all it takes for photographers and publishers with large inventories of images to start selling their work on their own websites, thanks to an ambitious fledgling company. You’d think that something so simple could be pulled off by many a startup, but in reality I’m having trouble finding other companies that do it the way the recently launched Fotomoto does it (i.e. the right way). Sure, there are multiple ways for photographers to sell photos on other websites, but that usually requires both them and buyers to have a separate account with the provider of the marketplace service.
Fotomoto does things differently: photographers only need to insert a few lines of codes in their website, after which the images on his or her website will automatically be indexed and automatically provided with a ‘purchase photo’ link. Sellers can tweak the settings so the ‘buy’ links appear completely integrated and branded to match their sites’ look and feel, and the back-end of the tool enables them to set the availability next to the sizes and pricing of the photos. When visitors click the link to buy photos, a Fotomoto widget pops up and enables them to instantly purchase images through PayPal (with the ability to pay by credit card coming later this month). There’s also a sharing link, which lets people send the picture to others as an e-card, with the ability to push to social networking and bookmarking services coming in a couple of weeks.
Photographers and publishers pay a commission when an actual sale takes place, so no paid monthly subscription or anything like that is required for them to start offering this service to their fans. The fee that they pay Fotomoto depends on the printing cost and the price the photo was set to in the first place – the startup asks for a 15% commission fee to cover cost and payment processing fees. Soon, Fotomoto will start offering a number of extra printing services, like postcards, t-shirts, merchandise and the likes which it hopes will drive more sales (and revenue for both them and photographers). It’s also slowly going to make its main site a place where you can discover photos from various photographers and instantly buy them from an iStockphoto-type directory.
What I dig about the service is that Fotomoto clients get to dispose over detailed statistics on which photos perform well in terms of view count, orders, etc. which helps them evaluate which direction best to take for commercial success. That’s a really good selling point for starting and established photographers alike, but also for publishers (media groups etc.) who would like to cash in on that part of their content offering that rarely gets brought up in online media monetization discussions.
Fotomoto launched about 3 weeks ago and currently has close to 27,000 photos in its database from about 125 photographers, with over 100 orders completed successfully so far. The company was started in October 2008 and raised seed funding to the tune of $300,000 from early-stage financing firm Amidzad Partners and DFJ soon after. It’s currently looking for an additional round of funding together with one of its notable board members, Andy Wood, former CEO of ShutterFly and also former CEO of PhotoWorks.