Singapore-based Phlook Pte Ltd, founded by Ng Wee Kiat and Justine Ho, is planning to announce the public launch its online photo sharing and management site, Phlook next week. Besides sharing and showcasing photos, the website also enables users to sell them. According to Ng, Phlook aims to become the best web-based platforms, not only for everyone to share, organize and manage their photos / images but also, for amateur and professional photographers to showcase and sell their works. Development started in October 2007 and was in private beta since November 2007.
At Phlook, anyone can upload photos and there is no limit on storage (but upload for each user is capped at 100Mb per month). Its Storyboard allows users to compile different sets (or ‘chapters’) of photos into a single collection, which can be shared with other Phlook’ers. Users can set who can view and download their photos. Other Phlook’ers can rate and Favorite-It the photos. Also, on Phlook, users can find and ‘make’ friends.
Each photo is converted into shockwave file, which enables owners of for-sales images to prevent unauthorized downloads and ‘image rip.’ This shockwave’d photo can be embedded on other websites and blogs for display and comes with zoom-in / zoom-out feature.
Users can also share, post and bookmark the photo in various popular social network, blogging and bookmarking sites (such as, Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Diigo, StumbleUpon, etc.)
The Phlook Market
Rather than competing head-on with heavyweights like Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, SmugMug and Zooomr, Phlook goes beyond photo sharing and organizing, by providing a marketplace function for photo buyers and sellers to transact. Each photo social network offers various add-on services as means to monetize its user-base; Phlook offers photo transaction service. The following table outlines some of the services at Flickr, SmugMug, Zooomr and Phlook.
|Flickr||Pro account subscription, variety of photo-related services such as photo print-outs, photo-books, photo on credit card, etc.|
|SmugMug||Pro account subscription, photo prints, photo books, photo-on-mug, canvass, greeting cards, etc.|
|Zooomr||Pro account subscription|
|Phlook||Photos buying and selling|
Phlook shares revenue from photo transactions with photo owners. The owners can earn between 66% and 90% from each transaction, depending on the photo price. The minimum price is fixed at US$0.99, whereas the maximum price is dependent on the seller’s selling track records.
To become a seller, you need to activate the Phlook Earnings Account. Earnings made from photo sales are transferred to this Account and once it reached US$100, the amount will be automatically transfer to your PayPal. Early withdrawal can be made, if the Account balance is more than US$3. To buy photos, buyers can use credit card or PayPal.
Best of Both Worlds
Phlook is a hybrid of a photo social networking site (eg. Flickr) and an image bank (eg. Crestock). Social networking to build a vibrant community of photo sharers, sellers and buyers; transaction capability to develop inventory of commercial-grade images.
The ‘portability’ of for-sales images on any website / blog expand distribution reach and its an attractive value proposition for sellers. It is also important to innovate new ways to ease upload of photos (eg. desktop/mobile uploader application), in order to attract and sustain usage. In brief, the synergistic combination of share and sell functionality is powerful and it certainly makes Phlook looks good in the photo social network marketspace.