Veer is the microstock marketplace from Stock Photography giant Corbis. Their site is sleek, modern, community-focussed and offers a simple submission process with reliable and consistent reviews. Veer content is well managed and clearly a lot of the experience from traditional stock photo marketing and client-management is finding it’s way into the site.
Answering questions on technology in stock photography and the future of the industry is Veer’s Senior Director of Creative Content Aaron Booth:
As Senior Director of Creative Content, Aaron Booth leads Veer’s user-generated content and community strategy. In this role, he directs image and font product management, Veer’s contributor-relations team, content curators and contributor website development. Aaron is based in Calgary, Canada.
Prior to joining Corbis in 2008, Aaron was Director of Products at Veer, overseeing the third-party image strategy and supplier relationships, image editing and Veer’s Hispanic brand, Somos. Aaron was a founding member and content manager of Viewit.ca, a successful e-commerce property advertising platform in Toronto, and is also an independent singer-songwriter and music producer.
Veer’s goal is to empower creativity by making it easy for customers to find what they need online – images, fonts, merchandise – while enjoying the interaction with Veer’s inspiring design and creative community. The desire to build close ties with customers is just as important to Veer, and this is expressed through peer-to-peer creative branding, reliable content, simple user experience and interactive creative community. We are constantly listening to customer feedback and streamlining Veer to ensure the last thing on a customer’s mind is “how do I do this” and rather, “Veer makes it easier to be creative.”
One of the most important and often overlooked technical challenges of managing an online content library is the quality and accuracy of metadata and search results. Search results need to be accurate, relevant and consistent. A website can have the best content in the world, but if the user can’t find what they need, they will quickly go elsewhere. Setting up servers and databases is relatively easy compared to cataloguing and managing millions of units of quality metadata, especially in a crowd-sourcing model.
Veer aims to offer relevant content to the specific needs of its localized markets. But as Veer is primarily a commercial content provider, rather than editorial, our unique localized needs are mostly regarding ethnicity of models, which is captured in submitted contributor metadata. Geolocation technology is a powerful tool, especially for editorial use when access to specific locations and events is required in real time, but geolocation does not currently play a large role in Veer’s business process.
Veer’s approach to contributors is the same as its customers – empower creativity for a broad base of users in an online environment. We do this through peer-to-peer marketing communications to our contributors and an easy-to-use contributor website based on our community platform that makes uploading content and analyzing sales easy. We pay competitive royalty rates and conduct extensive marketing to help increase the reach of the work of our contributors.
Non-commercial copyright license organizations such as Creative Commons, who facilitate legal sharing of creative content for non-commercial uses, have a positive effect as it encourages users to abide by rights offered by copyright holders. The risk to monetization is not due to the proliferation of content, rather, it’s due to lack of awareness (or respect) of copyright and usage rights, especially in cases where the license requires payment.
The free non-commercial licenses offered by Creative Commons and similar organizations help to create understanding of the value of copyright and usage terms for non-professionals, which is a long-term benefit to all copyright holders. Veer takes extra care in presenting our content license terms in simple language to ensure our customers know what they can and can’t do with our content.
Veer has always offered mostly non-exclusive content – the same images found on competitor sites or search engines. Yet Veer has been very successful and has made a name for itself as a destination for creatives.
There is as much to be said for the website design and user/search experience, the customer service, product packaging, as well as the brand personality and marketing of an e-commerce destination as there is for the content itself. So while the major search engines may get better at aggregating images and perhaps even selling them at some point, Veer will continue to differentiate itself from the crowd through a better website/search experience, customer service and seeking an emotional connection with its customers.
We see the growing popularity and sophistication of mobile devices as a huge opportunity for content and media companies alike. The more screens, apps and channels to deliver and monetize visual content – in our view – the better for our business. I’m not sure what “the print market” means anymore as media companies now publish to multiple platforms (some including print) but certainly, the familiarity of standard magazine layout on tablets will have its appeal in the near term. That said, tablets will drive innovation in web publishing as it evolves into a much more rich, immersive and interactive experience.
The journey continues. The tablet is the game changer of the moment. As I said, it will inspire new ways of delivering and consuming media. This increased demand for content is good news for creative content producers in the years ahead, and for Veer. There will continue to be advances in search, in the web, tablet and mobile user experience for customers as well as product packaging for online and mobile use.