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