Foap, whose name is a combination of the words "foto" and "app", has been designed to help companies find "natural photos with a local feeling" for their ads.
Speaking to BJP, Foap co-founder David Los says companies are tired of images of models with fake smiles. Los believes that photos taken by amateurs on a cameraphone are more appealing to companies and their market than professional photos. "Take a travel company, for instance, that is making a banner advertisement. They don't want to show a model with abs and a top body. They want to show an ad that sells to normal people," says Los.
Cameraphone images of "normal" people can be uploaded by Foap users and sold for $10, which is then split 50/50 between Foap and the user.
According to Foap's terms and conditions, a buyer can use an image for any purpose and has "the right to modify, reproduce, publish, display and sublicense the content", which would even provide buyers with the opportunity to re-sell their $10 photo for profit beyond their original usage.
However, Los tells BJP that buyers should not be able to re-sell a photo. "I would have to double-check that actually, but that's not how it should be."
But Foap users could run into another issue, especially if they haven't read the site's terms and conditions. When they sign in, users automatically agree that they hold the relevant model releases when uploading images featuring people.
Los believes app owners are aware of this before they upload their images, but he says Foap is constantly educating its users, through its blog and introductory slideshows, which users see when they first sign into the app. At the time of writing, this issue was not mentioned in the app's introductory slideshow.
As for the quality of images on the site, Los isn't worried. "I mean the quality of the camera is getting better and better. And since everybody has a camera in their pocket nowadays, normal people are becoming better aphotographers."
However, Foap's "value is not in the quality, it's in the variation and the types of photos we will get". He says that companies want unique photos, but they can't find them on stock photo websites. Los believes Foap has the capability to reach a wide range of photographers who will create unique images that will be easy to find on his website.
While he initially thought professional photographers would laugh at his app, he says they actually "really like the service" and will use it. "It's a very competitive market and it's hard to sell your photos. We're just another extra channel for professional photographers."
As to whether a $10 price tag for an image was undervaluing photography, Los claims his prices are average in comparison to other stock photo websites. But the prices will be raised in the future, he says. "Our original price is $40 per photo, and we split the revenue with the users on a 50/50 basis. However, we're launching in England with a campaign price just to kick off the market."
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