GumGum: Photo Licensing 2.0

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GumGum is a new service that makes licensing photos for the Internet a breeze. Content owners get paid at their own set CPM (cost per thousand impressions), and in their own words: “GumGum distributes, tracks and monetizes every view a piece of online content receives.”

Like a traditional photo sharing or stock photography site, you start by searching what you are looking for. In the demo video (embedded below), a good example of a search is for Britney Spears for a story the narrator is apparently doing. Once a suitable photo has been found, it’s no harder than clicking, scanning the CPM (most photos are set to $0.20) and pressing “License Me” to buy it.

Unlike most stock photography sites, GumGum aims to keep track of its licenses, so it doesn’t provide a download like for the photo. What it does instead is give you an HTML embed code which you can put wherever you want the image to appear, and the end result is no different from the real image itself.

While it seems like an obvious and well-executed concept, I think there are a number of fundamental problems with it.. Firstly, in the day and age of Google Images, Flickr, Creative Commons, and millions and millions of plagiarised images on the Internet (where even the owner doesn’t seek dues), I don’t think there is a need for such a service for 99% of writers and content creators.

For the Joe blogger, a Google Images search is enough, and for the savvy Joe blogger, a Flickr result for an image on a Creative Commons license based on attribution does the trick. Now of course, if you are writing for the New York Times or a news organization that requires appropriate licensing, it’s a different story, but then the problem is the GumGum’s way of sharing it. Can you imagine the New York Times doing a Flash embed for an image?

In any case, if you’re as autruistic as it goes and don’t mind embedding Flash for an image, give it a try. The rest of you plagiarisers should look to Flickr and Creative Commons, and if you do end up using Google Images, host it on your own server and give the source some credit!


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