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Earlier this year, I wrote an opinion on the photo-sharing platform, Clickasnap. I praised the concept, which aims to ensure photographers get paid, but was critical of some of the design and functionality. Now the CEO of the company has reached out to explain why photographers need this platform. Take a look.
Interview with Clickasnap CEO
Tom Oswald is the founder and CEO of Clickasnap. He brings with him a history in the music industry and a thirst for photography. He kindly agreed to answer my questions, as I aimed to understand exactly what Clickasnap offers and why photographers should care about it.
Phoblographer: Hey Tom! Thanks for speaking with me. So, where did the inspiration to create Clickasnap come from?
Tom Oswald: Haha that’s a convoluted story! Back in 2014, I had a record label (Red Dragon Records) and Youtube was planning on launching a new product called ‘Youtube Red’ the way this was structured would destroy the independent music industry. I thought that if there were ever a time to take on one of the internet giants, now was the time. We built a video streaming site in 10 weeks and ran it for two years, but Youtube Red was dropped, and we basically lost our USP.
As an amateur photographer, I had often thought that if we can monetise video efficiently, then why couldn’t we do it with imagery and create something truly unique? So we pivoted the video platform and Clickasnap was born!
Phoblographer: What do you feel Clickasnap offers that similar sites don’t?
Tom Oswald: Firstly, there is no similar single site to Clickasnap. It is completely unique in that feature. Clickasnap encompasses a wide range of sites that offers far more. Some examples:
Facebook like feed offers no reach restrictions. You have 1,000 followers, all of them see your posts. In fact, due to reach limitations on Facebook and Instagram 1,000 followers is equivalent to 1,000,000 followers on the aforementioned platforms (average reach on Facebook/Instagram less than 1%).
On many platforms, you can sell your content. But all of them overprice your work by up to 30% for their royalties. We charge no royalties. Our image protection systems go further than any other site. And our paid per view systems enable any photographer to see money earned from their photos. Our automated marketing systems promote your content across your social media 24/7. Our site claims absolutely no rights to your images. You have to offer them to us if you want us to use them.
Unlimited cloud storage enables photos to be safely stored and retrieved at any point, on any device, anywhere. So, as you can see, there are some really powerful reasons to use the platform. We listen to our users and develop what they want to see and use.
Phoblographer: When I featured the site in an earlier piece, I was a little critical of its design and functionality. I think it’s only fair I give you a space to respond to that.
Tom Oswald: Clickasnap has been seriously bootstrapped. Totally with you on the design, but it’s what we could afford to build. Our core ethos has been to develop the features rather than the look and feel of the platform. This enabled a core user base to learn and understand what we offer as it has evolved over the years. We started working on international site speed this time last year, and our growth started taking off in August.
Now we have the income to hire a much larger developer team, and right now we are completely redesigning and rebuilding the site. I hope to have the bulk of this out in August/September.
Phoblographer: What does Clickasnap do to ensure a photographer’s work is seen?
Tom Oswald: We invest very heavily in SEO, not to drive photographers to the platform, but to drive people looking for specific images, so people who want to view and/or buy imagery.
We have some 60 landing pages, each one catering to a specific category. The landing pages are designed to ‘catch’ those surfers and direct them to photographers who create the content they are looking (example) this is another unique feature of our platform. We are doubling our SEO spend almost monthly, so viewers are only going to get bigger.
As for on-site audiences, our front page refreshes every time it is hit, constantly exposing new content to visitors, and of course, our feed has no reach restrictions. And it has sharing options to images that are guaranteed to be seen by any uploaders followers. And, as a rapidly growing startup, we spend heavily on public relations. We offer our photographers the chance to be interviewed and present their work to be seen in newspapers and online articles etc. This is, of course, at no cost to them.
Phoblographer: You say you protect the work of photographers with the WIPT system. For those who don’t know, what exactly does that mean?
Tom Oswald: We have developed on-site technology that stops the ‘print screen’ button, stopping people from taking images off the site. We plan to expand this to other key combinations as we grow. We also protect photographers work whether the photographers use our platform or not. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, who are more than happy for you to post images you do not own so they can profit from them. We are extremely strict, and any content not uploaded by the owner is removed and the unloader banned
Phoblographer: Photographers may read, “you get paid for people just viewing your work”, and think it’s too good to be true. How does that work exactly?
Tom Oswald: It works exactly the same way as Spotify and YouTube and how their monetisation systems work. Simply put, ads are run against the images, and the revenue is shared with the creator when the images are viewed.
Some people ask, why we can’t offer Clickasnap for free and take a cut of the ads. (Should add here it costs £20 to post a track on Spotify and Youtube has very high entry requirements to now monetise video.) The truth is, this is exactly how we started, but as there is no obstacle to creating a photo (e.g. making a song requires a band, making a video and getting it monetised – both are time-consuming) we had vast amounts of spam and poor quality content, so we decided to implement a small fee of £2 to discourage the spammers.
Some people have said, why not get your own website, but at an average cost of £1,000 plus running costs, you would need to be using Clickasnap for 40 years to make the website cost effective!
Phoblographer: What success stories are you able to share from your site in terms of photographers doing well?
Phoblographer: What style of photography seems to be doing well in terms of revenue (for photographers) on Clickasnap?
Tom Oswald: Our audience is so vast, I wouldn’t really say there is anything specific, to be honest. Obviously, the better the imagery, the more likely the content is to get shared and viewed
Phoblographer: What’s the long term goal for the site?
Tom Oswald: Ultimately, we would like to replace Instagram and a variety of other sites. I mean, why upload your content somewhere where you are constantly fighting algorithms and giving any money earned to someone else? Instead, you can upload your content to Clickasnap, see a return, no algorithms to fight and figure out, no data worries as we don’t collect or store personal data and of course, the huge amount of features we offer.
To sign up for Clickasnap visit the website here.