Lucky Oliver Shuts Down

Posted on 4/16/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Lucky Oliver, the favorite underdog of many microstock contributors, will cease operations on May 15. After the company spent a year seeking funds to take the business to the next level, company founder Bryan Zmijewski said: "The investment team decided that it was in the best interest of all stakeholders to shut the company down."

Tuesday's announcement was met with a wave of surprise and disappointment from Lucky Oliver contributors. Though full of praise for the microstock site's spirit, design and level of service, contributor comments confirmed that Lucky Oliver failed to generate sufficient revenues to compete with the more established micro-payment Web sites in today's highly competitive marketplace.

Some community members say that dwindling blog posts and infrequent commission payouts of the past few months were early indications of Lucky Oliver's demise. However, the announcement comes as a surprise to many industry observers. Though late to market, the 2-year-old company had become well-known in stock circles, due, in part, to its humorous Big Top brand and energetic, Stanford-educated leader.

Last summer, Lucky Oliver boasted 11 consecutive months of revenue growth. More recently, the company lowered its commission payout threshold and brought on Irish Web designer Sabrina Dent to write for its corporate blog: the Odditorium. Zmijewski, who coined the concept of "midstock" and was a sought-after speaker at stock-industry events, was always boisterously optimistic about the future of image licensing and his company.

Even the critics of microstock assumed the company was thriving. Seattle-based stock photographer Tim McGuire, who often expresses concerns about the supplier side of the micro-payment equation, recently said: "There's no doubt that being Lucky Oliver is profitable."

"As a leader and entrepreneur, it's tough to see something you have put so much time into not materialize into a successful business," admitted Zmijewski, offering thanks to all those who supported the venture.

Zmijewski's other company, strategy and design consultancy Zurb, has worked with startups as successful as Zazzle and Photobucket. In business since 1998, Zurb was the force behind Lucky Oliver. More certain than Zmijewski's plans for the future is this: The revolution is over. Now begins the great microstock shakeout.

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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