I’ve been doing digital marketing for the past 12 years, but only to promote products, businesses and causes I like. I’m a terrible marketer if I don’t believe in what I’m trying to sell.
For me, marketplaces were a dream come true. I saw marketplaces as a great way to put great products and services in front of a massive audience that’s already interested in what they’re offering, and help both sides find each other and transact directly. Marketing has evolved — communities of sellers can now do marketing together. The demand-side, guided by ratings, reviews and discovery tools, rewards the better offering with higher earnings. The future is bright.
We started Wemark in April 2015, providing marketplace sellers with a set of marketing tools to help them reach broader audiences and grow their micro businesses. Our technology was used across tens of marketplaces, helping sellers from 6 different continents create marketing campaigns and increase their sales.
But there was one thing we couldn’t ignore — marketplaces are becoming too strong.
It’s called network effects — lots of sellers attract lots of customers, and lots of customers attract lots of sellers. It’s a never ending cycle that’s kept Airbnb, Ebay, and Shutterstock the industry leaders in their spaces for so many years.
As long as the marketplace continues to grow aggressively, it’s a win-win: The marketplace usually charges low and compelling fees, and sellers are happy to join. But when marketplaces reach the point they can’t grow at the same rates anymore, they turn to their next available source of income — charging higher fees. At that point, marketplaces become the same greedy middlemen they promised to get rid of.
We know we can’t help sellers if marketplaces keep increasing their fees. We know that by helping sellers promote their individual listings on marketplaces, we’ll help those marketplaces gain more power. The same power they’ll later used to take bigger and bigger parts of the value those sellers create.
We’ve realized there’s a bigger challenge to take — creating a new type of marketplace.
We want the Marketplace 2.0 to have all the advantages of the marketplaces we already know, but also to align its interests with the ones of buyers and sellers.
The emerging Blockchain technology is the first to enable what marketplaces promised to do, but never did: create direct transactions between sellers and buyers while still rewarding the marketplace for the distribution and services it provides.
Simply put, it allows us to sign a distribution contract with sellers for every item they list— we get 15% of each transaction, they get 85%. The contract is public and cannot be changed — not by us, not by the seller, not even by Chuck Norris.
The Blockchain, a publicly owned database, will be the alternative to the middleman. Customers will pay directly to the contract– over the blockchain –and it will distribute the funds automatically. This way, for the first time, customers will pay sellers without anyone in between.
What is stock photography and what makes it relevant?
I’ve been a regular customer of stock photography for the past 13 years.
It’s a great way for photographers to turn their hard work into real revenue, by licensing their photos for commercial use to businesses all over the world.
I’ve licensed photos from Shutterstock, Getty, 500px, Istockphoto, Depositphotos, Adobe Stock, and many more. I spent days of my life scrolling down search results to find the best photo for a blogpost or newsletter. With new Image Recognition and Computer Vision technologies rising up every few weeks, the experience should be much better. It will be much better.
When researching different types of marketplaces and categories, and seeing the limited compensation they give their contributors, stock photography made me scratch my head. Photographers tirelessly hard to produce content, and are left with pennies on the dollar. Some photographers get less than 5% of the photo sale price — it’s crazy!
AI, Image Recognition and Computer Vision will change the way people search for the images they buy and use. This major disruption represents a big opportunity to innovate and attract customers with better ways to find the best photos at the best rates.
Both sides are looking for alternatives, but all the alternatives become a slightly-changed replica of the industry leaders. We believe that stock photography is where our technology can make the most impact. And faster than anywhere else.
Our vision is to make stock photography the first out of many industries that will adopt the concept of the Marketplace 2.0. Our mission is to help photographers and other content creators distribute their content directly to customers, with full transparency, control and alignment of interests.