Glam Teams With GumGum To Serve Free, Legal Images

Image licensing platform GumGum has scored a deal to serve free legal images across Glam Media’s publishing network. Glam publishers will have access to photos from Splash News’ catalog of celebrity images, many of which run from $75-500 apiece under standard licensing deals. In lieu of these fees, GumGum will allow publishers to display their images with ad overlays free of charge (publishers will receive around 20% of the revenue from these ads – the rest will go to GumGum, Glam, and Splash).

The deal comes two months after GumGum annouced a major shift in the technology used to power its platform. In the past, the site would issue photographs as Flash objects, which made them easy to track and monetize with ads. But Flash-based images are slow and clunky compared to a normal image file, which made the system unappealing to publishers.

In July GumGum dropped the Flash technology in favor of a system that uses standard image formats. Now, publishers are free to crop and modify their images (which they couldn’t do with the Flash version). GumGum uses a combination of photo metadata and image recognition to identify the licensed photos, and overlays ads accordingly. If a publisher doesn’t want ads to appear on their images, they can pay a modest fee tied to the number of times an image is viewed, rather than the one-time bulk fee typically associated with image licensing.

While GumGum acknowledges that it’s probably possible to fool the image recognition system, it has shifted its business to appeal to legitimate publishers – anyone who wants to pirate an image probably wouldn’t sign up for the service in the first place.

Glam Media is an advertising/publishing network that focuses almost exclusively on content for women. With over 600 member blogs and sites across Glam’s network, GumGum stands to see its userbase grow dramatically – the company speculates that the number of images it serves could potentially double with the deal.

GumGum competitor PicApp forged a similar deal with blog network b5media earlier this year. And Glam’s biggest rival Sugar Inc allows its bloggers to use images from Getty images.