Lobster Is A Marketplace For Licensing Affordable User-Generated Content

For marketers, digital agencies, and web publishers, finding media they can use as part of their digital campaigns or on their websites can be a pain. Today if they want to use imagery from around the web, they need to either find content that is freely available as part of a creative commons license or license it from various professional media clearinghouses.

Lobster provides an alternative — it offers a marketplace that features affordable licensing terms for photos and videos uploaded by users to their own social network pages. And it provides a way for semi-professional photographers and videographers to make their content available for licensing and make a little bit of money on the side.

Lobster hopes to take advantage of the wide array of content users are already freely posting on apps like Instagram or on sites like Flickr… and to help them make a little bit of money on it. And all they have to do is add the #ilobsterit hashtag, which will opt them into making a particular piece of content available for sale.

“Some people believe that social content is free, but it’s not: It’s owned by real people that deserve to be rewarded for their creativity,” Lobster CEO Olga Egorsheva said.

On the buyer side, customers can search by topic, tag or location to find media that is relevant for them. They are then able to purchase media, which can be downloaded immediately. They will also be emailed a copy of their license, which allows them to use the photo or video in their own sites and campaigns.

Lobster sets the price based on the type of media and the network that it has been uploaded to. For now, Instagram photos cost $0.99 and those poster on Flickr are $1.99. The company is looking to charge $2.99 for videos or images of trending topics or locations, particularly as they relate to news that is breaking. Lobster takes 25 percent of the sale, passing the rest of the money along to users via PayPal.

For now, Lobster is working to get users on board with submitting their media, reaching out to amateur and semi-professional photographers on Instagram and Flickr and letting them know when there are topics or campaigns that digital or news agencies would like content from.

For instance by contacting music photographers ahead of music festivals, they can ensure that some of the photos taken will be added to their marketplace and can be used by customers. By letting them know there are events that will be of interest, the company hopes to have them submit photos via hashtag that they were going to take anyway.

Question and Answer

Q: What do you do when you include a person?

A: In lobster we regulate it by asking contributor to use a hashtag model release – only for editorial use unless it’s used commercially

Q: How do you differentiate with computers?

A: We talk partnerships with them, but the difference is they only use content from their users. We allow anyone to offer their content from Instagram, Flickr, or other networks.

Q: How are you introducing the concept of Lobster to photographers?

A: We are speaking to communities of users. We are also commenting to power users that can attract their followers. We’re also using SEO services.

Q: Why did you pick a marketplace instead of a different business model?

A: The business model is more scalable.

Q: How do you talk about partnerships?

A: With social media platforms, we speak to many of them to get feedback from users in that it revives and engages them.

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