OK OK, I dont actually mean for you to go. But I hope it got your interest.!?
I want to talk about websites that you can join as a retail or freelance space for photographers where by the site grows to so many users that you or I as an individual cannot be found on it easily and therefore is lost in the sheer number of people contributing.
I was recently contacted by The Pixie Group. A new site where photographers can advertise their portraiture/ wedding and other photography services etc.
The fastest & easiest way to find the perfect photographer for you!
I was contacted directly on LinkedIn by the founder wanting to add all photographers to the site so that we could get work based on our professional skills.
Fair enough I thought but then after thinking about it, I realised that this isnt the best option for anyone to get regular work and is actually a negative net result at the end of the day.
The problem I find with sites like this and others such as the retail Redbubble where you can add art and have mugs etc made or fine art america where you can get prints made etc even stock photo sites like Shutterstock is that the client base gets so big that an individual gets lost in the sheer number of people offering things on the site so the chances of anyone actually selling things or getting the commission gets smaller the more people join the site.
So in theory joining a site and the site itself being successful has the net result of me getting less business in the long term.
For example, if I advertise as a portrait photographer and today there are 10 adverts for other competent photographers but in 3 months there are 300 adverts, my chances are clearly much smaller in being discovered. As the site grows and I advertise for work, even though I may be better value, nearer to the client or have a better output at the end, the site wouldn't promote me to someone looking, you would just be a passive passenger in a list and as long as the client gets a portrait photographer, the website would get a processing fee and the 299 others who are equally or arguably better, get no work....
If the business model was revised to match clients and suggest matches based on profiles that would possibly be a better solution. The adverts I've looked at for photographers already listed and the profiles I've seen are vague and dont sell the person very well and if I were a client were looking I wouldn't be too impressed by the descriptions. But if I were the client, how long would I want to spend sifting through vague, badly written profiles until I found someone who looked like they would fit the bill? It honestly looks to me like this particular site is happy to take anyone regardless of whether they are any good or not and their profile sells them or not and the client may not get the best person for the job as a result.
So ultimately these sites are not in the interest of anyone contributing to then and only serve to make money for the service provider masking the real intention and conning the photographer that the site is for them.
Best stay well clear.