Thursday, October 9

Helping Bloggers: PicApp

McCain And Palin Hold Campaign Rally In Pennsylvania
Given one of the most common challenges for bloggers is fresh photography, PicApp seems to be the right online service at the right time. It allows bloggers to access some striking stock and editorial photos from places like Getty and Corbis at no cost.

The search engine is fast (with your choice of creative or editorial searches), the terms fair, and you need never worry about copyright violations again. One setback for some bloggers might be the inability to alter the photos (check the comments for additional problems), but PicApp otherwise allows for sizing. Members can choose from three sizes and set alignment.

“We wanted to help bloggers by giving them the ability to legally use some of the best stock photography out there," Etay Geller, CEO PicApp, told me at BlogWorldExpo. “The companies whose photos we use were interested because it discourages copyright violations and provides advertising revenue [at no cost to the blogger].”

In other words, it might be a win-win.

I used a PicApp photo to illustrate. Since Sarah Palin continues to be a hot topic in the news, a simple search on PicApp pulled several dozen recent photos of Palin, some of which have been used by editorial teams at the local and national newspapers. Then, I added the javascript into the post. Done. (And then, not so done. See the comments.)

Additional Photography Options For Bloggers

Original Photography. While original photography is always best, most of us don't have every shot under the sun nor the time to go out and get it.
Professional Stock Photography. Some of us, especially anyone working in advertising, tend to amass a private library of files and discs over the course of several years. Storage is sometimes an issue, but it works.
Member Generated Sites. Sites like iStockphoto have done a great job at making stock photography accessible for frequent use. There is a cost, but it's nominal compared to owning the disc.
Flickr. Since usage terms are clearly identified, thanks to a partnership with Creative Commons, finding photos on Flickr is easy. Just keep in mind, some folks might not own the rights to what they upload.
Google. It's possible, but a little more time-consuming, to find photos in the public domain on Google and other search engines. Just remember that unless fair use applies, those photos need to be clearly identified in the public domain.
Fair Use. Section 107 of copyright law contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. (For example, fair use may allow you to screenshot our Web site and critique it. But you cannot reproduce elements of it and use it for unrelated purposes.) You can learn more about Fair Use here.



Rich on 10/9/08, 7:09 PM said...

Sadly, there seems to be plenty of hiccups.

• The image load time is substantial, probably due to the dynamic nature of the script. Simple, with a link, would have been better.

• The second PicApp ad, if it even loads, reduces the load time even more.

• If the second PicApp does not load, it looks as if there is an odd spatial issue.

• The script impacted the line spacing, reducing it, even more substantially than posting from Flickr (probably related to the text wrap scripting).

Those seem to be the most significant, but they really outweigh the benefit. Ho Hum.


Rich on 10/15/08, 2:56 PM said...


For a few days it seemed to start working. And then, today, it locked our blog from loading correctly.

Enough so that I had to change the number of posts shown from five to four just to remove it from the front page.

There is nothing more disheartening than believing in the service only to have it shut you down. I wish PicApp the best of luck in improving their concept.


Rich on 10/17/08, 7:36 AM said...


When things go wrong, we point them out. When they go right, we point them out too.

At least for this post, PicApp has changed its configuration and the photo loads remarkably well.

The photo now links back to the main page, where the advertisement and caption reside.

So, if I seemed harsh about the issues above, it is only with the knowledge that they have a needed service and can have a real winner by fixing this stuff in beta.



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