99 ON-LINE FROM LONDON
September 17, 1997
One of the growing dilemmas for the individual stock producer and small agencies with an expertise in a very specialized area is how to develop an effective strategy for marketing images through the WEB.
Photosource - www.photosource.co.uk/photosource - in the United Kingdom may be pointing the way. This site has the work of 21 specialist stock agencies. Most of the agencies only show a small representative sample of their work on their particular page so they have little expectations that clients will purchase the particular images shown. They do expect client to call and request research on a particular subject.
Sites link to each other through the main page. There is a great deal of flexibility in format from agency to agency, but because of the convenient links it seems to work.
I have long argued that to be useful from a clients point of view there needs to be one, or a few, central sources where they can go to locate the variety of material they might need. This site seems to serve that purpose.
As the number of collections grow, there is a potential problem. Most photo buyers are not going to be able to identify the subject areas covered in a collection by just looking at the organization's name. The brief descriptions under each collection helps, but, for example, I wouldn't know from looking at the description that Lupe Cunha has a major collection of images from Brazil.
Another database that lists subject categories could be added to this site and greatly enhance its usefulness for researchers. Agencies could list specific subjects as well as categories they have available in a simple alpha list.
By clicking on a word such as "Alhambra" the user would get a list of all libraries that have such pictures, along with contact information.
Each participating agency or photographer could make their subject list as long or short as they wish depending on the amount of work they want to put into it. Such a list could be easily updated as new material comes in. The more specific an agency can be in listing the subjects in their file, the more requests they will probably receive. The trade off for the supplier is in the time required to develop the list, relative to the number of requests actually received.