ClusterShot Aims To Become Another iStockPhoto Rival
Wednesday, April 22, 2009; 2:45 AM
There's another online marketplace for buying and selling stock photographs in town, and its name is ClusterShot. Don't look for it to bring any major innovations in the space, of which Getty Images-owned iStockPhoto is arguably the dominant force, but feel free to check it out if you agree that there it needs a bit more competition (also check out our earlier review of Adography, another contender).
Like Adography, the quality bar is intentionally set quite low. Basically, anyone is free to upload images, even amateurs willing to contribute crappy photos of their pets. It's free of charge, and you can choose for yourself which photos you want to put up for sale at which price point (either fixed or based on offers). The startup takes care of the rest of the process and keeps a 12% administrative fee off any transaction as a commission. Outgoing payments are handled through PayPal so users are required to have an account for registration.
ClusterShot gives users the ability to tag and edit photos that are uploaded to the system, but only lets them choose one license, which is a Royalty Free License which warrants the buyer the right to use the image in almost any way it would like. There are three ways users can add photos to their account: by uploading them through an online interface (single files or ZIP), adding an image RSS feed or by linking directly to their Flickr account thanks to the use of a commercial API key.
Currently, the web service has signed up about 1,000 users who have uploaded 100 photos each on average. The company claims that sales are starting to pick despite the fact that the service is entirely bootstrapped and little to no attention has been giving to promoting the site so far.