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Snapixel Goes To The Wall – A Salutary Lesson For DAM Revenue Generation Initiatives?

by Naresh Sarwan on August 2, 2012

As reported on (and sourced from TheNextWeb.comSnapixel, a microstock photo exchange has closed its doors and will power down their servers on 31st August 2012:

Snapixel originally launched in October 2009 as a hybrid between a stockphoto marketplace à la iStockphoto and a photo sharing site like Flickr. The developers also ended up dabbling in the creation of a digital magazine on photography called Snapixel Magazine. They hadn’t tweeted in over a year, apart from a link to a social photo sharing tool called PicYou. From the looks of it, Snapixel was recently auctioned off on Flippa to someone who bid $9,500 for the assets and domains. In 2011, the site had earned a mere 1,200 euros (roughly $1,500) in credit purchases.” [Read More]

I have some interest in the stock photo market, having worked for a few libraries over the years (especially in the early days of DAM).  I have to note two main points: the first is the absolute decimation of this business sector.  The stock media market seems to have entered a deflationary ‘death spiral’ and only Getty Images or Corbis seem to be making any serious money these days.  No doubt having the guy who invented Oil (as a commercial commodity at least) and/or Bill Gates as your founders probably helps out a bit too in the earlier years, but they are both fully independent entities and if you buy any stock media these days, chances are most of it comes either directly from them (or one of the numerous libraries they have acquired over the years).

I might have made a bit of a gross generalisation by using the term ‘decimation’, but I’m aware of several independent libraries that would regard 1,200 euros annual numbers as ‘not bad’ these days and whose owners have resorted to corporate photo assignments to pay the bills, or even getting part-time teaching work at local educational institutions in some cases.

The second point is the implication for anyone planning on using DAM for revenue generation, rather than as a productivity enhancing tool.  I frequently hear this mentioned by some of my consulting clients as a reason to invest in DAM.  It needs to be said that if you can’t make DAM stack up on the productivity case alone, you need some kind of unassailable advantage in terms of ownership of the intellectual property you want to sell to make this market pay a dividend that justifies the effort involved.

Those who have an interest in revenue generation with DAM are often spurred on by vendors who see the potential to close a sale by using the prospect of being able to have the system pay for itself.  There’s definitely a lot more than e-commerce and billing to worry about, however, and you should be fully aware that they might make a lot of noise about this point because that’s where their responsibility comes to an end and yours as the business owner will start (and then some – as the owners of Snapixel will no doubt testify).

I am currently writing a paper with another consultant about revenue generation for DAM that will aim to present some of it in a more realistic light.  This will be made available for download on DAM News when it is has been completed (later this month or in September).

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