Microstock photos a lucrative venture
SEATTLE -- Kelly Cline's photographs pop up all over the place -- in grocery stores, on Web sites, even splashed on the wall of a supermarket in Serbia.
Cline, who lives in West Seattle, takes pictures of food and sells them online through iStockphoto, a division of Seattle-based Getty Images. Her shots of hand-pressed olive oils, cheeses and California strawberries are available for anyone to purchase, and the response is so strong that Cline said she expects to make about $70,000 this year.
"I've never made this much money before," said Cline, 38.
Cline is part of a wave of change hitting the stock-photography industry. The business used to consist of high-end photographs that were licensed to advertising agencies, book publishers and other companies for hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars apiece. Those photos often ended up in catalogs, brochures or magazine advertisements.
Now, Web sites such as iStockphoto sell images online for between $1 and $15, opening up stock photography to a new audience.
The result: Stock photos are showing up on Web sites and blogs, and small businesses with limited advertising budgets are suddenly interested.
The new business model is often called "microstock photography," and it could be categorized as a form of the so-called user-generated content (think YouTube) sweeping the Web.
With sophisticated digital cameras now less than $1,000, even amateur photographers can break into the business, submitting their pictures to microstock photography Web sites and collecting a small commission for each image sold.
It's not a big industry. Microstock photography contributes less than 10 percent of Getty's sales. The company won't disclose an actual figure, but in 2006 it had $807.3 million in total sales.
There are only four or five serious competitors, and Getty's iStockphoto division is by all accounts the 800-pound gorilla.
But business is growing fast, and some say they expect this to be its breakout year.
"We're just now seeing people look at the model and say, 'Hey, this is really successful,"' said Bruce Livingstone, iStockphoto's founder. "This is the year we're going to see a lot of competition."
Livingstone is widely acknowledged as the father of the microstock-photography industry. He started iStockphoto in Calgary, Alberta, in 2000 by giving his own images away online.
Soon, designers and other photographers joined and began trading images with each other.
Livingstone began charging money in 2001 to cover the costs of hosting the Web site, and iStockphoto has been profitable ever since. Now, it has about 35,000 contributing artists and 1.7 million images available.
IStockphoto sells its images on a credit system, where each credit costs $1.20 (the price drops to 96 cents when you buy in bulk).
It costs one credit to buy a small, low-resolution image that might be best for a blog. The largest images print out to about 11 inches by 16 inches and cost 15 credits.
Once you buy an image you can use it up to 500,000 times. For more than 500,000, additional permission is needed from Getty.
Photographers generally receive between 20 and 40 percent in commission from a sale. For some, that amounts to a couple of hundred dollars a month.”
Having a blog is one of the essential features of owning an online business. If you are just starting an online business, usually you are concerned about how much money it's going to cost you to run your business. Blogging is one free way that you can advertise quickly and effectively, so you don't want to go without.
Once you have set up a free blog through Blogger or Wordpress, you are on your own to create content for your blog. Creating quality content becomes very important if you want to drive traffic to your blog.
Of course the reason you want traffic is because you want to advertise your products and services that you may offer on your website. Another reason to drive traffic to your blog when starting an online business is that you want visitors, and you want repeat visitors.
If your website visitors are exposed to your offers multiple times, chances are more likely that they will come to know, trust, and respect you. It often takes more than one visit before people will consider buying from you, but it's your quality content that will catch their attention in the first place and establish that trust and respect before they buy.
A good way to get repeat visitors is to use RSS on your blog so that visitors can subscribe to your blog and see updates as they happen. Even after that, and some good quality content, it is still often a challenge when starting an online business to get traffic to your blog.
One way to solve this problem is by signing up for blog traffic exchanges that are much like regular traffic exchanges that display your links based on a credit system. For example, you can sign up for Blog Soldiers and everyone who uses the system will get a chance to read your blog when they surf for credits.
A more effective way to build up your blog traffic when starting an online business would be to get involved with blog circles - a network of other bloggers. If you are at all familiar with the new social bookmarking trend in internet marketing, then getting involved in a blog network is very similar.
The idea in social bookmarking is to connect with others online who are also starting an online business, for example. You can publicly bookmark other's posts and everyone can access not only your posts but those you've bookmarked. By commenting on other's posts, you create a ton of new traffic to your site.
A blog network is much the same, where you read content that you are interested in under a common blog category and links are shared within the network by other bloggers. This is much like commenting on a blog and leaving your link at the end for others to access. This creates a whole new wave of traffic to your site, in addition to your other advertising efforts.
Not only can you get more traffic by joining a blog network, but if you want you can even make some money at it depending what network you join. If you do a Google search for "blog networks" you will see the different kinds you can get involved with.
Starting an online business can be intimidating, but if you use free advertising methods like blogging to build your traffic with good quality content, then you will find that other bloggers will want to link to you. Once you're in a network of blog links, you are sure to see your traffic and earnings rise!”
Hand and power tool distributor Damar International has won the SED Award for Excellence for their innovative Slide Sledge.
Managing director Brian Martin reports massive interest from the construction, engineering, plant and agricultural industries following an online PR campaign by specialist Clickintopr.com.
"The Slide Sledge transforms many dangerous two-man operations that were usually undertaken with a traditional sledge hammer, like the removal of bolts and retaining pins on construction plant, into a safer and more efficient one-man process. The team at Clickintopr helped us to cost effectively get that message out to a broad range of traditional print and online business and construction media, producing many opportunities for us to demonstrate and sell the tool," commented Brian.
Clickintopr founder Kevin Ainsworth explained, "This is the fourth project that Brian has done through our online PR service and we are delighted to see him getting industry recognition for an outstanding product. We work with companies like Damar all the time and it is fantastic to see them break through, particularly when so many businesses shy away from PR because of the cost of traditional full-service agencies."
The web is transforming the way many businesses operate. Ainsworth and his business partner Adrian Maguire, both members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, still operate a full-service traditional agency that has been in business for more than 20 years. Brian Martin explained, "Many online PR websites are just automated services. We chose to work with the online PR team at Clickintopr because they are real public relations specialists with writing skills, in depth knowledge of new and traditional media and provide everything you expect from a proper PR company."
Ainsworth concluded, "Clickintopr is ideal for the business owner who has a story to tell, knows broadly what they want to say and who they want to address. Customers provide us with an online brief and we do all the rest."
About CLICKintoPR CLICKintoPR (clickintopr.com) is backed by Ainsworth Maguire (.ainsmag.co.uk), a successful PR business established over 20 years ago by Kevin Ainsworth and Adrian Maguire - a team with more than 40 years combined public relations experience. The competitively priced service is designed to appeal to customers who want to take effective control of PR costs by using a pay-as-you go service without compromising quality.”
Social shoppers need a certain type of shopping environment and, according to a recent study by Gartner, current e-commerce sites aren't providing the right conditions.
There are two sorts of online shoppers according to Gartner, reports The @lpha Marketer. There's the social shopper and the solo shopper.
The solo shopper knows what they want and where to get it. They want simple, efficient and fast transactions for a quick "in and out" experience. The solo shopper is well served online as most businesses tend to focus on efficiency and speed.
Social shoppers crave a shopping "experience". They like to be able to form emotional connections with other shoppers and brands via blogs, forums, reviews and other shared content. As well as researching products in some depth, the social shopper is also prone to impulse buys as a result of their community interactions.
While women tend to be social shoppers, and men solo shoppers, some people can exhibit both traits depending on the type of product being purchased.
The key is to provide a balanced environment, where products can be discussed and deliberated but where the community aspect isn't detracting from the buying process, concludes the report. Websites such as Amazon.com and eBay.com attract both solo and social shoppers by providing the means for a solo shopper to make rational decisions and for social shoppers to compare, contrast and debate.”
Adobe has introduced Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (ES), a software family for enterprises which integrates the capabilities of Flex and PDF technologies together with Flash Player and Adobe Reader.
LiveCycle ES lets organizations deliver applications for processes such as account enrollment, claims processing or guided self service that are easier to interact with. It includes scalable solution components to build, manage and optimize critical customer-facing processes. Organizations can use wizard-like Form Guides and Flash-based graphics to change the way users interact with the process of providing, or receiving information online. Once data is captured, LiveCycle ES automates the processing of that data, including integration with rules engines, data stores, and Web services. LiveCycle ES also provides customers with enhanced data output capabilities such as interactive dashboards and dynamic, high-volume print solutions. LiveCycle ES also offers rights management, document certification, and digital signatures capabilities to help organizations protect sensitive information.
Adobe will make LiveCycle ES available in two editions, LiveCycle ES Business Transformation Edition and LiveCycle ES Data Capture Edition. Customers may purchase a base system to which they can add solution components, or several of the solution components in one package with a single price. The LiveCycle Business Transformation Edition includes the following solution components: Data Capture Edition, Process Management, Digital Signatures, Rights management, and Output. The LiveCycle Data Capture Edition (base) includes Forms, Data Services, Barcoded Forms, and Reader Extensions solution components. Both editions are expected to be available in July. For more information visit www.adobe.com/products/livecycle.”
Students enrolling in any online Gemological Institute of America School of Business course for the July 16 term will save $150 per course.
Each 10-week course combines traditional business theory with jewelry industry specifics and practical strategies that students can immediately use in their careers. Eight courses, ranging from Retail Management to International Law & Trade, are offered at the special price of $840, making it easy and affordable for working professionals to choose subjects that fit their career goals and budgets.
Online business students participate in an interactive classroom environment with peers from different parts of the world and different parts of the industry. They contribute to class discussions in an open forum, and learn from e-lectures, jewelry-specific case studies, textbook readings, and each other, all while applying the curriculum directly to the industry.
GIA offers its Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Jewelry Business Management diploma programs, and individual business courses both online and at its World Headquarters and Robert Mouawad Campus in Carlsbad, Calif.
The summer term starts online and on campus on July 16. For more information, or to apply to the GIA School of Business, please call 800-421-7250, ext. 4001 or visit www.gia.edu."
The internet offers a great opportunity to control the marketing of an online home business but it is important not to adopt the attitude of "set and forget" as you need to constantly monitor the promotion of your online home business affiliate links.
A huge amount of time and effort goes into the advertising and marketing of an online home business so herewith some online business marketing ideas and tips for affiliates to help you capitalize on your online promotions.
Unfortunately there are people using the internet who are dishonest and will have no hesitation in changing affiliate links. Affiliate links are easily changed so it is strongly advised that you cloak your links prior to starting any advertising in order to avoid the loss of commissions. You can do this through your hosting panel if you own your own domain or by using tinyurl.com.
It is really important to check that all the links on your website as well as your affiliate links are working as there is nothing more off putting to a potential customer to click on a dead link. If you search on Google for `link checker` or `link validator` you will find some really helpful free online tools to check the links on your website.
It is not unusual for sites to go down for some reason or another, for example they may be having server problems and if that is the case you need to be in a position to immediately pause your marketing campaigns during the period the site is offline. You certainly do not want to be paying for clicks to a dead link. If you are using pay per click advertising (PPC) you can access your account and temporarily disable the display of your advert.
The same applies to credits you may have accumulated or purchased in the traffic exchanges. For example Traffic Swarm offers a facility where you can temporarily disable the display of your link. Once the site is back online you can then simply log in to your account and enable the links again. Most classified advertising sites also give you the option to open an account which will enable you to make changes to your adverts and put them on hold if necessary.
It is also unfortunate that some programs are short lived on the internet and so it is important that you ensure that you are not promoting an affiliate program that no longer exists.
If you are considering purchasing targeted traffic then be sure you will be given access to a panel where you can check your stats and change the targeted website if necessary.
Sure there are going to be places that you are promoting your online home business and affiliate links that you will not be able to change immediately, but at least for any paid advertising it is advisable to only use services whereby you have access to your account in order to be able to control when your adverts run.
Also be sure to read emails that you receive from the affiliate programs that you are marketing as they may include important information regarding changes to their links or advertising materials such as banners and landing pages. It is advisable to upload any banners you are using to your own hosting account so that in the event of the affiliate program discontinuing a banner your link will not be affected.
One of the very important things I have learnt while growing my own online home business is that you need to be in control of as much as possible on the internet and you can achieve this to a certain extent by owning your own domain. You then have more control of your online home business marketing and will be able to promote all your affiliate links on one website and be in a position to instantly access your hosting panel to change, cloak and redirect affiliate links.
Perfect Wealth Formula is one the hottest online business opportutnities. It has started a new type of online business opportunity. All members get the Power House Marketing and videos. One of the best marketing tools needs to succeed in today's online business.
What makes this opportunity so different is first the pay structure. Unlike most online business opportunities you get paid instantly. Instead having to pass up your sales to your sponsor like other top 1 ups and 2 ups. You get paid instantly $400 - $1000 commissions. You also get a $100 - $200 bonus override on all referred members. And that 2nd level is unlimited. Perfect Wealth Formula comes with the Power House Marketing. Jason Pearson who is the creator of
Perfect Wealth Formula shows you step by step how to market any product. The videos show you how to do use pay per click, articles and much more. The videos are easy to watch and straight forward. Jason Pearson holds nothing back and tells all.
Now a day's most business opportunities you start are not complete. Either you get paid to little for your efforts or not at all. Or you have no product or support. With this you get the complete business opportunity. You are show what to do how to do it and when do it.
With the Perfet Wealth Formula you cannot go wrong. You get everything you need to start an online successful business. You get even more support when you join the top team at Perfect Wealth Formula. For more info on the top team go to: http://www.promoneysystem.com”
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People are always surprised to find out just how distributed Alfresco is as an organization. Aside from a small hive in London, it's hard to find more than two Alfrescans in the same city. The same is largely true of MySQL and a number of new open source companies (MuleSource comes to mind).
At Alfresco in the US, we have people in Austin, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and New York City. Even where we have people in the same cities (there are now four of us in Salt Lake City), we don't have offices and only see each other at conferences or other gathering points. Given this, how do we keep in touch? Sometimes I feel like we're missing out on the "watercooler discussions," but more often than not I think we gain by dropping the waste that can come with an office.
Here are the basic principles of how we work:
If you're not online, you don't exist. This means that we talk all day, every day over IM. We talk over the phone, too, but our watercooler discussions happen over IM. Therefore, people need to always online.
One of our members - who shall remain nameless - came to us from a big technology company. When on the phone, he'd set his IM to "Unavailable." But if we're on a conference call, that's precisely when we need to have him online. A huge amount of chatter goes back and forth during these calls.
If you can't close a deal online/over the phone, you belong at another company. In an online world, you have to follow SugarCRM's sales model: "Go big, lose early." There is no time to fritter away months with on-site visits - that's the proprietary model where buyers pay for the privilege to stare at a salesperson in their lobby. In an open source world, the software has to (mostly) sell itself. We hire people who are good over email and good over the phone.
Email should not remain unread/unanswered for more than a day. We have to rely on everyone else in the org to respond to email quickly and comprehensively. We don't have the luxury of walking over to someone's cubicle to pose a question. Every email must be answered, every day.
Emails must be directed to the people from whom a response is needed. Because so much of our business happens over email, it's easy to skim through email and miss deliverables and what-not that have been assigned to you. Therefore, we try to call out (often in the subject line) who needs to pay particular attention to an email.
Software should be supportable online. This means that documentation needs to be solid (self-support), and processes need to be in place to use web conferencing/etc. to "remote" into an organization's server to fix problems. I also think something like Meebo Rooms or some way to online chat with customers is important (though we're not yet doing this).
These are just a few of the principles that guide our online business. Nothing revolutionary here, but it's different enough that each new recruit we bring in takes some time to acclimate to the Alfresco business environment.
And despite what I said above, keep in mind that there are absolutely instances (many, in fact) where customers require a person sitting in their office, looking over their IT environment, etc. Could such things be done online? Yes, but old habits die hard....
I'd be interested to hear how your business functions online, too.”
The Foundation for the eHealth Initiative, Washington, has published an online tool kit for developers of health information exchanges, or HIEs, that is the culmination of four years of federally supported work on healthcare information technology and data sharing.
The foundation's new Value and Sustainability Model takes aim at what exchange organizers commonly say is their toughest problem: developing a business plan that will carry the organization through to sustainability after its startup funding-typically government grants-runs out.
Janet Marchibroda, chief executive officer of the Foundation for the eHealth Initiative, said in a news release that developing a sustainable business model "is one of the greatest HIE challenges." Marchibroda said the new Value and Sustainability Model "offers a solution that is based squarely on the lessons of those who have gone before, customized to each community's needs. It is a true breakthrough that comes at a critical time."
Many of those lessons were provided by the real-life financial experiences of three regional health information organizations: the Indiana Health Information Exchange in Indianapolis, HealthBridge in Cincinnati, and Taconic Health Information Network and Community in Fishkill, N.Y.
The model takes the HIE planner through five steps:
Assess stakeholder needs.
Define alternative pathways to success. Evaluate those pathways and quantify the business case returns for each stakeholder. Plan the best pathways with sound pro forma income statements. Execute the plans with a provision for periodic monitoring. According to a spokesman at the Health Resources and Services Administration at HHS, the foundation has received slightly more than $6.8 million in HRSA grants to promote health information exchange.
The model provides exchange developers with online tools to assess a community's readiness to develop an HIE and the attendant risks. It also helps planners develop a business case and pro forma financial statements. Finally, the tool kit includes a template for use by exchange planners in the development of an overall business plan for the HIE.
The Value and Sustainability Model is available without charge, although registration is required to access and download many of its components. It is part of a broader online guide for developing HIEs called the Connecting Communities Toolkit.
According to survey work done by the foundation and its related not-for-profit organization, the eHealth Initiative, funding is the greatest challenge for all HIE efforts, with 91% of survey respondents citing that securing upfront funding was either a "very difficult" or "moderately difficult" challenge, while nearly half (48%) of respondents from advanced exchanges reported needing federal government grants for ongoing operations.
In addition to widespread money problems, HIEs, according to the survey, also have other organizational worries, including a basic problem, the lack of agreement between participants to share their data. Other issues reported were disagreements on data-sharing standards, on how to identify patients across providers and on how to handle privacy and security issues.
According to a Connecting Communities Toolkit module on "Policies for Information Sharing," the issue of simply who to let into the data-sharing exchange "brings up major questions." For example, it says, "in the broader scheme of things, the clinical data held and processed electronically for claims purposes by health plans and their agents (e.g., pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs) could be very useful in clinical situations where the original data is unavailable electronically."
But, "If the HIE project allows health plans to share such data, are they also allowed to search for other clinical data on their beneficiaries, and for what purposes? In addition to the practical issue about whether other clinical data sources will agree to be part of the system under such circumstances, particular privacy and security issues arise. How are patients notified of the potential disclosure of their information to their payers? How will patients be given control over such disclosures or must they opt out of the whole system? How does one define and control the purpose for which information is being sought? How are the roles of authorized users defined and controlled, and to what information can they have access under what circumstances?"
Finally, the Connecting Communities Toolkit notes that "the cultural context of the HIE effort can make a difference."
"In some regions," it says, "an HIE can declare a policy that all clinical information will be available for sharing, with appropriate controls and constraints, and that patients may not opt out (they must go elsewhere for their healthcare if they don't want to participate). In other regions, the local culture would require more patient control and ability to opt out of participation in the data-sharing system so the implementation would have to accommodate that ability. How do you get community consensus on a particular approach?”