I’ve made more progress since initially discovering the fun that can be had when playing with web servers and image requests. I have several nice log files of every site that is linking to my images, which images they are asking for and who’s looking at them. What I never realized was that Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines that have image searches don’t actually keep a copy of the images they are showing, they hotlink too! That means the guys that have their own servers and more money than they could ever spend are using my web hosting as an image server for their search results. Do they send me traffic? Not from those results, but if you count the business I have gained off of the text searches over the years we can probably call it even.
So anyway, back to the saga!
I’ve been playing a bit more with the image tracking and I had an idea that I want to share with you. Based on what I have discovered with image tracking and the fact that most small sites that need photos can’t afford to buy them legally (which is why they are hot linking) I’ve am setting up what I can only describe as an ‘Image Rental Service’. Basically if you need images you can rent them from people who have posted them and if you have images of your own that you would like to rent out you can list them.
It sounds stupid at first, why wouldn’t someone just take their own photos right!? Well some people are better at things than others, and it also takes a lot of time to capture the perfect image for a web site or a post. It’s much easier as a content provider to simply scroll through a collection and pick a photo than it is to write your content then grab your camera and go out into the world to hunt for the matching image(s).
So the concept is all there, now we just need to build the interface. So I have actually been doing that already. I have created two fake accounts with some photos you may or may not have seen so I could prep the display. I just need to build out the login, reporting and payment areas so I could honestly be done by this time next week given that my weekend is booked already. This is exciting!
I’m still working out the details but I’m pretty happy with my pricing structure so far. I will have to give it a test run to see if it gets some attention from photographers and web content producers, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a lawyer draft up some sort of licensing agreement to go with the image uploads too. But for now I’m just going to work on setting things up and I will keep you posted.
If you want to go ahead and poke around the new site and let me know if anything is confusing or hard to understand I would really appreciate it! There are some buttons that don’t work yet and you can’t login or sign up (probably won’t be able to do that for a few weeks while I’m testing things). Anyway, the site is PicTrack.co
I will let you know what happens next!