Photoshelter Critique

I make no qualms about it.  I’m saddened and a little bit upset about the dimise of Photoshelter. And after the interview posted today at PDN, I’m almost furious.

Let me just talk on a few key points.  While I don’t expect that many people to actually care, I have found this blog somewhat therapeutic and therefore, I write the following for my own clarity of thought as much as for anyone else.  Mind you, the interview was with Allen Murabayashi (CEO of Photoshelter) and Andrew Fingerman (Vice President of Marketing).

When asked about their low sales numbers, Murabayashi responded with this:

We had a system that had 25,000 photographers in it. A lot of photographers were submitting stuff like flowers, mountains, sunsets. That’s not to say those were the people you spoke to, but there was a lot of stuff that had lower commercial value. And the people who were shooting stuff that was in high demand, those were the people who were selling images.

Here’s the thing.  They touted that they were different because they had an edited collection.  They claimed they only accepted images with commercial value.  And yet they blame their lack of sales on photos of “lower commercial value”.  Then why did they accept the photos?  Come on.  Step up and take some responsibility for the closure!

Also, one of the biggest critiques of the closure was that they didn’t give the collection enough time.  Eight months is really not that long for a venture such as this.  Frankly, a two to three year test would be more fitting if they really are going to attempt to become a major market player.  When asked about the short time, the following was stated:

We had a few key assumptions that we were predicating the business on. One of them was that we could create a high volume of Internet sales, unattended sales, and keep the cost structure down.

Let me get this straight.  They expected sales to happen simply online with no assistance from them?  This is crazy.  This means that I should expect to sell images if I simply put them on my website and charge people fair market value.  Ya.  That’s how this works!  How did they expect this venture to ever take off if this was one of they “key assumptions”.

And finally, I will close with one of my favorites.

We knew that if we had ten years, and we could build up, then maybe we had a chance of growing organically. But that’s not the V.C. [venture capital] plan. And that’s not the way that the individuals here wanted to spend their time as entrepreneurs.

Okay.  So what they are saying is that they know that they could make the Photoshelter Collection work given 10 years, but they didn’t want to spend the time or source the correct investors.  Basically, they decided to take a model that needs 10 years and give it 8 months.

Needless to say, even though Photoshelter is staying open with their Archive program (a place for photographers to market their own stock photography), I am going to have no part of it.  Life’s too short to support businesses such as this.

With that, I will end my rant for the night!  Onward to upload to Alamy!

2 thoughts on “Photoshelter Critique

  1. Ya. What can you do? As disappointed as I am, I figure I might as well keep on keeping on!

    Good luck with Alamy! I’m looking forward to my first sale!

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