Picapp asks: would you be willing to pay? Parallels with Delicious?

At the end of 2010 I noted the demise of Picapp image search and photo licensing. But less than a week into 2011 and Picapp are repentent, emailing publishers once again (see below).

Their email asks if publishers would be willing to pay for the service if they brought it back, and to let them know via a survey. Why they’d not thought of surveying users prior to making their decision to close the service last year is anyone’s guess, but if you’d like to see it’s return and would be willing to pay do let them know.

The situation has parallels with Yahoo’s Delicious, which was also seemed to be threatened with closure just before Christmas via a review of Yahoo services. Users were up in arms and a Save Delicious website quickly launched. Many users jumped ship to other similar (but not quite the same) services, others stating that they’d be willing to pay for this useful bookmarking service, of which I am one.

Yahoo! realising the error of their PR and propensity for internal email leaking responded with a a statement stating that Delicious was not being shut-down but merely up for sale and waiting for a new owner to take it on who could care for it properly.

This didn’t really satisfy many folk and from a business point of view sounds a little on the crazy side, considering it’s fairly low running costs and how it should (but never has) integrate in with Yahoo’s search business. However, Delicious is still with us until the next Yahoo! email leak tells us otherwise.

What’s interesting is that both these stories of Picapp and Delicious tell us two things:

  • Don’t presume you know your customers. Whilst they might mostly be quiet and unassuming this doesn’t mean they do not appreciate a service you provide.
  • Don’t presume that people aren’t willing to pay for services they value and that are useful to them on an everyday basis.

Pinboard, a rival bookmarking service to Delicious who scooped up dis-satisfied Delicious users in December, charges a one time fee of $9.17. Pinboard explain that the fee ‘helps discourage spammers and defrays some of the costs of running the site’ and that the fee is ‘based on the formula (number of users * $0.001), so the earlier you join, the less you pay’.

Oh, and here’s the Picapp email in full for those interested:


Hello loyal picapp users,

Ever since we announced the termination of the picapp image search for blogs , we were overwhelmed by the amount of requests we got from you guys to keep the service up and running.

We always knew that the service in important , as a way for providing affordable and legal access to top content , but it was not cost effective for us to keep running in on a free\ads-based model.

Due to the much interest you guys showed in our support forums and email , we would like to give it a chance and figure out in an effective way , whether you will indeed be willing to pay for such a service.

If enough publishers will show interest , we will then see if we can indeed restructure the business model for the content licensing. Don’t just hit the “yes, I want to pay”button if you don’t mean to put your credit card right after!

So here we go , please provide an honest answer to indicate your willingness (if any) to pay;

And in any case , thank you again for being such a loyal user of the picapp image search for blogs.
The picapp team.

Take this survey

Thank you for your involvement with Picapp and your participation in the Survey.

The Picapp Team

C&binet Forum: your ideas please

The C&binet Forum is taking place this week from Monday evening through to Wednesday (26-29 October 2009). The forum aims to “debate access to finance for creative industries, new business models for online content, developing talent and securing creative rights” and is gathering business leaders from across the creative and finance industries.

The idea for C&binet came out of the 2008 UK government strategy paper Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy and also follows on from the Digital Britain Report earlier this year.

Possibly as a result of the Digital Britain Unconferences I’ve been invited to attend. And so I’m opening things up to you all for your ideas and thoughts – in true unconference fashion.


Follow the conference on twitter and the official blog:

Send in your ideas below:

  • Take a really good look at the agenda for the event – each session has details if you click on the link
  • Consider what positive contribution/idea or question you may have
  • Post your ideas/questions below together with the session it relates to – try to be as concise as possible, a few sentences or a paragraph at most

Whilst I can’t guarantee that I will put your thoughts forward I will do my best, and I will also link to this post and your ideas via twitter and to others during the conference, so that they can be seen.

This week’s recommended reads

It’s a bit late on a Friday, but these will still be fresh come Monday, here are a few things worth perusing if you have a moment:

Social Media

New media & the Air Force, page 6
New media & the Air Force, page 6
For those considering social media and Twitter policies for their staff and company, take a look at the vast collection of example guidelines collated by Laurel Papworth, an Australian online communities consultant. Of particular note, is that of the US Air Force (left).

How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey Results
“The heaviest users of Web 2.0 applications are also enjoying benefits such as increased knowledge sharing and more effective marketing. These benefits often have a measurable effect on the business.”

Meta-ROI and social media engagement for brands – I want to believe, by Anthony Mayfield
A review and thoughts on Charlene Li’s post for the Altimeter Group regarding the group’s study of how engaged major brands were with social media and the link between how deeply an organisation engages with its customers in social media and its performance.

If advertising is a firework, social media is a bonfire by John V Wiltshire (via We Are Social)


Where five US magazines are finding revenue, Advertising Age.
This article includes some nice pie charts so that you can compare and contrast the role of different revenue streams. For some digital advertising is playing a large part, for others it’s events.

As readers flee, papers ask those left to pay more, Paid Content
Analysis of the relationship between print circulation figures and price since 2001.

A liberal defence of money, by William Davies, The Liberal
An analysis of some of the new economic models being currently discussed, in particular the notion of free. Also see William’s review of Chris Anderson’s book Free in Prospect.

A course in spreading the word

UPDATE: Version II of this course can now be viewed here.

This weekend I’ve had a highly enjoyable time teaching a course in ‘viral’ marketing for Ravensbourne College of Communication and Design. The enjoyment came from teaching a fabulous group of people who’d never met before but who, by the end of Day Two, were the best of colleagues putting the final touches to their brand campaign exercise.

During the weekend we went beyond video virals and tackled how the term ‘viral’ marketing is more a strategy and way of doing marketing than a type of marketing in it’s own right; and looked across heaps of case studies and examples.

Below are the two PPTs used as a basis of the course:

DAY 1:

DAY 2: