We've written extensively here at Photo Business News about the seriously flawed "SPEC" business model, yet, these models continue to proliferate, counting on photographers (pro and amateur alike) to line up like lemmings and mindlessly follow each other over the cliff of unsustainability. In February of 2015 we wrote "ImageBrief: A scourge on the photographic industry" yet photographers continue to ask questions in various photography forums. Advertising agencies and design firms are using predatory content resellers like Image Brief to source free ideas and content for their pitches, before they even are awarded the projects. One photographer on the STOCKPHOTO listserv reported watching 50 different briefs and none of them were awarded. According to that same poster, Image Brief is now charging photographers to make a submission for the "privilege" of consideration.
Photographers following these models are destined for failure or otherwise are ignorant to the realities of being in business. According to the MobileMarketDaily article, "...it allows photographers a chance to have exposure on a much larger scale than they may readily have access to." What is especially troubling is that the article cites Canon as one of the brands that has run a "Photo Quest", and had thousands of submissions.
Less than a year ago, Visual China Group led a $13,000,000 round of funding (source) and Visual China Group is most recently known for acquiring the assets of Corbis Images and then folding them into their other investment - Getty Images, as we reported here (Corbis Sale to Unity Glory (and Getty)). This money must be being used to buy servers and hard drives for all the hopeful photographers, as well as the overpaid sales agents - Glassdoor reports (here) that a Product Marketing Manager earns over $80,000. How is that reasonable at a company which has, according to LinkedIn "51-200" employees and Glassdoor currently has 18 job openings? It seems everybody is earning a very nice living on the backs of the starving-artist photographer.
These organizations will eventually find that the crowdsourcing/"Photo Quest"/ImageBrief model is not a viable solution, but by then the hopes and dreams of photographers will have even been further dashed, and content consumers like ad agencies and design firms will be further down the line of devaluing photography.
500px is apparently intent upon flushing the photography business down the toilet while reaping profits from their deals with large corporations seeking content and ideas for pennies on the dollar, if not free.
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