moodboard Launches Pay-What You-Want Site

Posted on 2/21/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Those who feel microstock businesses are ruining the industry are sure to be outraged by a new, potentially even lower-priced image offering from British newcomer moodboard. The London-based company, owned by Mike Watson of Digital Vision fame, launched moodboard unlimited, a Web site that allows customers to set their own prices for royalty-free images.

Under the tagline, "transforming stock photography," image costs begin at £0.01, plus a credit-card handling fee of £0.46. This makes moodboard unlimited the lowest-cost collection on the market and adds the feather of establishing a new pricing schema to Watson's cap.

In 2005, Getty Images paid $165 million to purchase Digital Vision. Watson launched moodboard in 2007 with the intent of challenging established U.S. stock houses, Getty included. "The industry is ready for an alternative to Getty and the establishment," he said.

moodboard is unique in its array of price points. moodboard unlimited joins collections that include microstock, premium royalty-free and rights-ready imagery. Watson contends this business model is a direct response to what the design industry wants.

In addition to pricing that bridges the gap between micro and traditional segments, moodboard is emerging as one of the first hybrid agencies that attempt to unite the best qualities of two seemingly disparate models. Like traditional agencies, moodboard offers free research and other support services on all collections, including the lowest-priced. Much as microstock businesses, the agency encourages semi-professional submissions, yet the collection is edited by professionals with years of industry experience.

"[moodboard unlimited] may seem like a crazy idea," said Watson. But there are three selling points.

First, Getty Images' lack of success with up-selling iStockphoto customers does not mean moodboard cannot give it a try. Brand continuity, a diverse pricing range and a little luck might just be the right combination of ingredients.  Second, there is the PR value of being first-to-market with a new idea. Third, it is too early to place moodboard unlimited in the same category as free. Asking the customer to pay what he or she thinks the product is worth is risky, but no one can predict yet what the market will bear.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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