Crestock Relaunches Web Site, Competes on Image Quality

Posted on 10/17/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Bodø, Norway-based microstock underdog Crestock has unveiled the third version of its Web site.

The up-and-coming agency that bills itself as "the northernmost photo bureau" was founded by Norwegian entrepreneur and former television executive Geir Are Jensen, who remains its CEO. "We're an outsider in a market completely dominated by big North American companies, but that's a position I find both useful and challenging," comments Jensen.

Crestock sells individual-image licenses, bulk-credit packages and subscriptions. Its business model is similar to other microstock providers in all ways save one: competing on image quality. In only two years, Crestock's rejection rate has become legendary among microstock contributors. Crestock also re-edited its entire collection last April, removing a large number of images that did not meet quality or technical criteria, which have been further tightened since the agency's early days.

Though this week's Web site update included a face-lift, it was driven by usability considerations. For buyers, search has been revamped to include advanced search criteria and new options for image type, format and content, including photos of the same model. The shopping cart and the checkout process have been updated and streamlined, adding a zipped-batch download option. Lightboxes, renamed "collections," can now be emailed.

The newly added "My Account" section gives Crestock contributors access to in-depth sales statistics, including daily and monthly performance, downloads and earnings. Sales figures can be sorted by origin, such as credit-based or subscription transactions. Microstock photographers often cite Crestock as having the segment's leading image-upload process. The agency contends that the addition of comprehensive contributor reporting tools also puts it in the lead for sales-statistics systems.

In a shot across Fotolia's bow, Crestock's blog acknowledges that "the mere mention of a ‘site relaunch' might send shivers down the spine of regular microstock contributors." Crestock hopes its team, which spent several months in beta testing prior to this public launch, has successfully handled the large-scale site revamp.

At the end of 2006, Crestock reported a 70% annual average for monthly growth in the number of image downloads. In addition, Jensen says that 2007 saw a dramatic increase in traffic and revenue. "The new, more user-friendly site will...[further] strengthen sales performance and revenue," contends the CEO. Jensen's goal for the next two years is to position Crestock among the top five stock agencies in the world, including both micro-payment and traditional businesses.

Copyright © 2007 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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