ImageBrief shuts down

ImageBrief, an on-demand crowdsourcing photo licensing service, has shut down without reason – after a relatively short tenure in the cut-throat stock photography market.

The company sent an e-mail to contributors announcing its closure and to download their assets they’re deleted.

ImageBrief launched in 2011, when start-ups had only begun exploring ways to monetise photography. It claims to have provided over 70,000 photographers with millions of dollars from more than 12,500 agencies and brands.

However contributing photographers often complained about ImageBrief’s flawed business model.

ImageBrief clients would submit a brief to the platform. This ranged from a request for stock-style photos, such as ‘woman in white dress walking on beach’, through to specific and detailed jobs.

Ideally, contributing photographers would trawl their archive for a similar image. But some went out and shot the photo.

The client would pick a ‘shortlist’ of potential images, and then finally pick and license the best match for a specified price.

Photographers were awarded a 70 percent commission of sales, or 100 percent if they were a premium (subscription fee) photographer.

Judging from online reviews and first-hand experiences from contributing photographers, supply outweighed demand and there was no transparency.

An indication things weren’t going well was when ImageBrief introduced subscriptions for contributing photographers. ‘Pay a fee, and we’ll make the platform favour your work’ – a clear sign that the original revenue stream needed to be supplemented.

Many photographers never made a sale, but were ‘shortlisted’ several times which signalled the client was interested in the image. This proved to be enough to make the photographer hang around, but was ultimately false hope.

It was speculated clients often ditched a brief after curating the shortlist, and wouldn’t license any photos. Many also suspected agencies used ImageBrief to source (steal?) ideas from photographers.

The e-mail to contributors:
‘Today, we’re announcing that after six years of connecting agencies, brands and creators, we will be closing down ImageBrief’s photographer marketing services
We’re proud of the products and apps we built, but even more so, we’re grateful for the community that enabled them to grow. More than 70,000 creators earned millions of dollars collaborating with 12,500+ global agencies and brands in 169 countries.
There has never been a better time for creators to thrive. Demand for content has increased, and the tools to create world-class creative are more accessible than ever.
Our talented team of engineers, designers, developers, and curators have worked tirelessly to make ImageBrief a success in a competitive and rapidly evolving landscape, and our immediate priority is to help you transition to other services to support your business.
In the coming days, our team will be in contact with you directly with detailed information about your specific account, license history, and services. Over the next week, we recommend logging into ImageBrief to download and retain your license history and related assets. […]
We want to thank you for your participation and loyalty, and look forward to working with you in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.
Team ImageBrief ‘

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