An offering like this could turn the industry on its head. Previously, most photographers had to go through a middleman like iStockPhoto to sell their work online. In turn, they had to sacrifice control over how their images were sold, how many were available, etc.
It is this functionality that differentiates Fotomoto from its closest competitors such as ImageKind, and Kiarostami believes so much in his product that has filed patents covering the entire process, he says.
There is one salient problem with this approach. It’s unclear how you purchase multiple photos, as there is no “continue shopping” button or the like. I asked Kiarostami about this issue, and he assured me it’s on the company’s to-do list, along with the ability to add images across pages from the same site (currently you can only buy multiple images if they’re on the same page) and across different domains using the Fotomoto service.
The photographer-facing control panel will let users monitor all aspects of their business. This includes real-time status updates on all orders plotted on a timeline, sales statistics listing all orders placed though Fotomoto, and customer information and store settings. It also gives users the option of running promotions.
While the focus right now is on its clients’ sites, Kiarostami is planning for Fotomoto to become a repository for imagery similar to iStockPhoto. “Buyers would be able to buy different print products or photo licenses from there, or from the photographer’s site,” he explained. “The beauty of this model is it’s decentralized and crowd-sourced, and the database will grow automatically as people add photos to their own sites.”
Fotomoto would not disclose its funding history in detail, saying only that Draper Fisher Jurvetson and AmidZad Partners participated in a round that closed Nov. 24. The company is based in San Francisco, Calif.