Home Corbis Offers Free Photos to Bloggers – With a Catch

Corbis Offers Free Photos to Bloggers – With a Catch

The world’s second largest stock photo firm, Corbis, will soon begin giving away free some of its high quality stock photographs to bloggers via a partnership with newly launched site PicApp. PicApp is a new startup that aims to give bloggers and small media producers legal access to previously unaffordable stock photographs for free, in exchange for displaying advertising.

The PicApp system, which is still in closed beta, works by embedding overlay or popup advertising in images that bloggers can then run on their sites free of charge. Further, bloggers can reportedly earn a slice of the revenue on those photos based on how many people click on the ads in the images. Corbis is the first major content partner revealed to be working with PicApp — the company promises that more are coming soon.

According to PicApp, “most of the visual content found online is some kind of a misuse or an infringement of copyright,” which leads to a massive loss of revenue for content creators. Small media publishers, though, need access to high end visual content, but most of it is well out of their price range (royalty free images at Corbis often run $50-100 for the lowest quality version of a single image). PicApp aims to make these images accessible to bloggers by subsidizing their cost with advertising. At right you can see a sample of a PicApp image that I yanked from their blog (roll your mouse of the bottom of the image to see where, presumably, an advertisement might appear).

“We work with a partner so that those pictures are tracked, and if they’re being used illegally, we can figure that out,” said Corbis CEO Gary Shenk at the Reuters Media Summit on Tuesday, reports Reuters. “But as long as they are downloaded through this application, you’re legit and you’re ready to go.”

Corbis has been making a major push this year to catch up to Getty Images, their chief competitor and the largest stock photography distributor. Getty is about three times as large as Corbis (in terms of revenue). Earlier this month Corbis announced that it had acquired Veer, a boutique stock image distribution web site, and last June in launched SnapVillage, a micropayment stock photos web site that competes with Getty’s very popular iStockPhoto.

Though the quality of the images offered by professional stock photo outfits like Corbis, Getty and JupiterImages is unrivaled, there are plenty of low-cost or free alternatives out there for bloggers. Because bloggers publish to the web, they don’t need the highest quality images, and good quality photos are available on the cheap from sites like iStockPhoto, SnapVillage or StockXpert. Further, many free stock photo sites offer a large number of quality images with no strings attached (we reviewed five stock photo search engines last June that can help you find them), and Flickr has a bevy of images just waiting to be used with credit. What’s more appealing to bloggers, slightly lower quality, low-cost or free images, or professional images that come saddled with rollover ads?

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