Digital Railroad Enhances Marketplace, Integrates PLUS

Posted on 6/10/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Digital Railroad has upgraded the technology of its Marketplace, a sales platform that recently became the focus of the business. Among new features is a rights-managed pricing calculator that integrates the Picture Licensing Universal System international standards.

Last January, Digital Railroad implemented what its CEO Charles Mauzy said was a planned change in corporate strategy. Seeing higher potential for profit in its new stock-licensing business than its older image-archiving and e-commerce line, the Seattle-based company restructured to concentrate on the buyer vs. the photographer.

This process started with DRR cutting over 20 extraneous support positions and announcing its intent to further invest in sales and marketing. Though the move fed the photo-blog rumor mill for weeks, DRR retained much of its fan base, comprised of professional photographers who view it as a preferable alternative to its larger Seattle neighbor.

In February, the company launched a new print ad campaign, currently running across the U.S. and Europe. In March, ex-telecom and software-industry financial executive Thomas Grina came on board as the new DRR CFO.

Now, the Marketplace unveils functionality that eases the image-search and licensing processes. New features include a more flexible shopping cart that keeps track of unpriced images and allows in-cart quotes. Volume shoppers can further save time with a new batch-pricing tool that allows getting several image quotes with one click, on one screen. There is also a similar batch-download feature.

Perhaps most interesting to observers of industry trends is the company's early and broad adoption of PLUS tools. Though PLUS Coalition CEO Jeff Sedlik says everything is going according to plan, the PLUS system is an aggressive, technology-dependent, multi-partner project. While some PLUS technologies are publicly available in beta, most remain in development.

But much of the conceptual work has been finished, producing the PLUS Usage Matrix and PLUS Packs, the two components used by the new DRR rights-managed price calculator. Endeavoring to standardize and simplify how buyers and sellers specify licensing details, DRR also integrated PLUS standards in the price request feature of the online-archive service used by member photographers.

DRR currently hosts over 10 million images, almost one-third of which is available for licensing through the Marketplace. Photographers and agencies from 70 countries contribute to the image collection. "[This] community of photographers, agencies and buyers... is a microcosm of our increasingly global marketplace, and is the type of community that the PLUS standards are expressly designed to serve," said Sedlik.

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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