Monday, August 10, 2009

Custom Stock Refuses to Die.


And die it should. And it should stay dead.

But, apparently they are giving it one more try. A company called CustomAdArt.com is trying to revive the custom stock business -- essentially a business that lets photographers shoot on spec and receive very little compensation for their efforts.

A few years back a company called OnRequest Images tried the same thing. Thankfully they didn't last very long.

But the people at CustomAdArt.com are doing their best to give it a go. According to the site, the company's goal is to connect photographers and advertisers, to the mutual benefit of both. More like the benefit of the advertiser and no one else.

They note:

The stock photography industry is broken. Photographers shoot and upload images in hopes that they will be noticed. Advertisers then scour these sites, hoping to find a match for their ads, oftentimes having to alter headlines and copy for lack of a proper image.
Boo hoo. Poor advertisers. If they knew what they wanted and had a clear vision of what the campaign would look like, they'd easily be able to find images on any number of stock web sites.

Sure, the stock industry is broken. But this is definitely not that way to fix it. Here's the deal, for a minimum of $150 ($50 to post a request for images and a minimum of $100 to the photographer) advertisers can get an image with an exclusive license, forever. That's right, the photographer gives up the rights to the advertiser forever, for a meager $100. The advertiser has the right to use the image any way they see fit. Of course, not every advertiser is cheap and will pay more than $100. But some do cheap out.

In a recent request, an advertiser was looking for a shot of a kid doing the "cannonball" into a pool. The shot was to be used in a magazine ad. The advertiser got 12 submissions to choose from and paid $150 for the shot. There were no details on where the ad would run, what the circulation of the magazine is, at what size the photo would run, etc. I hope the photographer they chose got those details with his/her $150 check.

Let's hope this business does not catch on. It's bad enough there are microstock business out there cheapening the stock industry. We don't need this too.

(Full disclosure: As you can probably tell, I am not a fan of this kind of stock. I have images with Mira.com and Alamy.com.)