In March 2012 BetaKit covered Pixoto, a photo community that is trying to offer an alternative to popular platforms like Flickr and 500px, while also focusing on crowdsourced photo ranking. As of March 2012, the company had 40,000 members, with almost 4,000 photos uploaded daily, and today it announced it has crossed 100,000 members. It’s also debuting a new stock photo service to help bloggers, media companies and brands find community-vetted images, a feature that previously was the number one request from users.
Pixoto founder Jason Kiefer, formerly the founder of Pictage, which he sold in 2006, started the company in order to give photographers a way to rank photos and other photographers. Originally launched as a photo contest site in 2011, it now lets photographers upload their photos, and vote on other photographers’ images, which are then sorted using the ImageDuel voting algorithm. Now with the stock photo launch anyone looking to purchase stock images can view images by the top ratings, or by categories like travel, weddings, and a variety of other search filters.
“We’ve been wanting to get out stock since we launched, but we knew that we had to build out the ability to rank images, build the photographer community,” Kiefer said. “We finally got it out, the search component of it was actually a really big deal so we’re excited to have it out there.”
The company has raised $360,000 in funding from former Pictage investors, and until now the site didn’t have any paid features. Now anyone can purchase images for $19 each, five images for $49, or 25 images for $229, though all packages are 50 percent off during the initial launch period (photographers earn between 20-50 percent per photo sold).
The company also launched an image search tool for bloggers today, letting bloggers find images and embed them in their posts for free. Embedded photos display the copyright information, and link back to the photographer’s profile and the original image link on Pixoto. There are currently over a million photos available to embed, and while the catalogue for paid images is smaller, Kiefer said they will be giving members the ability to add their photos to the stock marketplace.
There are no shortage of options when it comes to stock photography, namely industry giants like iStockPhoto and Getty Images, which don’t have as cut-and-dry a pricing structure (iStockPhoto uses a credits system, and Getty Images pricing ranges based on usage). Then there are newer options like crowdsourced stock photo app Foap, which raised $500,000 and crossed 1.4 million images uploaded as of November 2012.
This move to focus on stock photography differentiates Pixoto from its competitors, but Kiefer said Pixoto will also branch out to other photo products like prints, which would put them into direct competition with 500px’s marketplace, which lets users order prints via a partnership with CanvasPop. Kiefer said they’ll also be branching out from exclusively photos, adding paintings, drawings, and graphic and web design to the community. If they can become a go-to ranking community for any piece of visual art or photograph, while also giving the creators a way to make money and brands a way to find stock photos at a cheaper price tag, they might be able to scale the platform in a big way in 2013.