The dialog and criticism of OnRequest Images continues, and I have yet to find a suitable reason why they should continue to exist. There are so so many reasons against their long term viability, and it is the dot-com-piece-of-the-pie mentality that has caused the unknowning venture capitalists to continue to invest in this business model.
ASMP, who spends a great deal of time looking out for photographer's best interests did an analysis of OnRequest, and other articles in PDN having to do with The Art Director's Club, Daryl Lang also did a nice job in PDN back in early May with this article titled Revolutions That Never Happened,Once in a while, a smashing new idea forever transforms photography. These ideas didn't. Here are six would-be breakthroughs that missed a turn on their way to setting the photo industry on fire, noted that one of the "breakthroughs" was OnRequest, saying:
Sometimes bad ideas take care of themselves. OnRequest Images never backed down from custom stock, but the idea was hard to explain and held little appeal to art buyers. OnRequest adjusted its heading and began to focus on a more lucrative business, creating branded stock libraries for big companies. Another custom stock service, iStockPhoto.com's BuyRequest, also failed to capture much interest and was quietly discontinued last year.Yet, as early as last year, some silly group of VC's had dumped $8 million into this idea, as StockPhotoTalk reports, along with many others about the folly. Photographers they approach, or whom hear about them, continue to inquire about what their deal is, so here are a few items for your consideration:
What isn’t typical of the industry is how quickly you get paid. When you work with OnRequest Images, a check will be in the mail to you no later than forty-five days after completion of a shoot.FORTY-FIVE DAYS? Doesn't your credit card company require you pay them in 30? Your phone bill?
Feel free to read the articles in their Media Room where you'll see that it's all about cost cutting...on who's back? Oh, that's right, yours - the creative that is supposed to deliver. Some other silly VC's back in April of this year continue to pump their lifebood into this dead horse, according to American Venture Magazine, "the world's leading provider of OnBrand custom imagery" is what the red lipstick they are smearing on this sow. That's like saying "John Harrington is the world's leading provider of SixSevenDCPress custom imagery, where I've trademarked the phrase SixSevenDCPress, because I happen to be 6'7", live in DC, and am a member of the press corps! (I have not trademarked that, by the way!). That's pure folly to say your the world's leading provider of a trademarked name, when you own the trademark, and thus, no one else can actually be a provider of that, else risk violating their trademark!
One of their earlier suckers is quoted in the article as saying
"We continue to be a strong supporter of OnRequest Images' groundbreaking business model,” said Debra Somberg, managing partner at Maveron, an early investor in OnRequest Images.Debra -- say something that isn't so self serving. As an early investor, you are fiduciarily compelled to say whatever you (legally) can to ensure a 10x return on your early investment. Hint - Getty got BuyRequest, a comparable version during the aquisition if iStockPhoto, so they're probably not going to buy your bacon maker. That investment is getting a little long in the tooth now, isn't it?
Do yourself a favor, and stay away from contributing to this bad business model. I am aware of few who care about photographers interests who would or have said anything nice about them, most (if not all) have, instead, advised you to steer clear!
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.