PicApp—an Israeli startup owned by PicScout with staff in San Francisco and Toronto—wants to provide bloggers with free high quality images while protecting photographer’s rights as well. The startup has been making some noise recently—PicApp was recently featured on TechCrunch. Coincidentally, all seems to be going well for PicApp.
However, I still had questions. David Peralty, Community Manager for PicApp, had answers:
James Mowery: So, David, what is it that you do at PicApp?
David Peralty: I am the Community Manager for PicApp. Basically, they hired someone from their target audience to be the bridge between the company and the potential user base.
I work on the forum, communicate via e-mail, and work with bloggers interested in PicApp to provide them the best experience possible. I also work within the company making sure the right people see the feedback being submitted and pushing to make sure it is all acted upon.
JM: Can you please explain to everyone what PicApp is aiming to accomplish?
DP: PicApp would like to become the number one source for bloggers looking for free, high quality stock images. They especially see themselves as an amazing source for editorial images, as well as creative images.
JM: There are many sites available that allow the uploading and sharing of images. This forces me to ask the question of what makes PicApp different from other services like iStockPhoto or Flickr?
DP: This question sort of connects to the previous question, as the differentiation is part of what PicApp is aiming to accomplish. Flickr provides bloggers with a vast number of creative images, which are useful, but dealing with proper attribution and licensing can be frustrating. Also, Flickr doesn’t have many editorial images.
If you need an image from a recent event, or of a celebrity, it can be very difficult to find what you need, when you need it. iStockPhoto has the same issue when it comes to editorial images. And did I mention that PicApp is free? Not having to purchase credits and keep track of such things is a godsend in my opinion.
JM: Previously, I have noticed some resentment by some photographers towards bloggers. Bloggers frequently use images without asking for permission or providing credit—it is illegal, after all. Does PicApp help resolve this issue, and if so, how?
DP: PicApp definitely helps deal with this issue by having Getty Images, Corbis and other great partners allow us to use their images inside of our flash embed system. We work to protect their images, and they provide us with the best image content in the world to distribute for free.
JM: In what ways would your typical blogger benefit from using PicApp?
DP: There are so many great ways bloggers can benefit from using PicApp, the first thing that comes to mind is the lack of licensing or copyright issues that PicApp has, reducing the amount of worry that bloggers will have when finding images.
The second great way that PicApp can benefit bloggers is the speed in which they can get our editorial images, as our providers are always sending us new images, allowing bloggers to get images of events in the same day. This was very apparent to bloggers who covered the Cannes Film Festival as we were providing same day images to dozens of bloggers covering the event. This made their posts more relevant and interesting.
The third, and in my opinion, the coolest way that the typical blogger can benefit from PicApp is to sign up and then subscribe to RSS feeds of their searches. Say you are a celebrity blogger talking about Britney Spears every day. You can do a search for Britney Spears and subscribe to an RSS feed in your favourite feed reader, and then whenever we have a new image of Britney Spears, you will be notified.
This could help bloggers know about an event before others, and provide them with a complimentary image quickly.
JM: Which blogging platforms are supported, and is PicApp restricted to being used on blogs only?
We are hard at work on extending our support though, so we can be as inclusive as possible. We are even working to support desktop blogging applications in a better way, and we are really excited about that.
JM: I have noticed that membership is optional on PicApp. Are there any advantages to signing up?
DP: Signing up to PicApp allows you to create lightboxes, or basically folders of images you like, as well as the ability to subscribe to the RSS feeds of your searches like I mentioned above. It will also give you special access to any events we hold, and plugins we create for various publishing software as we release it.
JM: What has been the general reaction by photographers that have had their photos displayed on blogs through PicApp?
DP: We did have an issue where images not wholly owned by the various image company were shown, and photographers were not impressed, but most are excited to see their images get wider exposure.
Since fixing the issue with the images, we now only show images wholly owned by the various providers. We would love to see photographers working with us to continue to expand the reach of their great images.
JM: How are photographs selected for inclusion within PicApp?
DP: The images that we show in PicApp are provided by our partners like Getty Images, Corbis and others. We don’t pick and choose between the images that they send us as we want to create as large of an image inventory as possible.
We are continually looking for new image partners to expand our library and want to find images to fill just about every niche online.
JM: In your opinion, why do so many people enjoy seeing images within blog posts? What is the point?
DP: Images attract attention. Images can easily convey emotion, and, of course, there is that old saying that images are worth a thousand words. Images are also very necessary for certain types of blogs, as text alone can’t convey the situation that an image can easily show.
Events, sports, and celebrities are things we like to see with our own eyes, rather than just having them described to us, and I think images are a great way to show such content in an easy and accessible way.
JM: What enhancements can we expect in the future from PicApp?
DP: Like I mentioned before, we are always expanding our image sources, adding new providers, and finding images for pretty much every bloggers need. So if we don’t have the image you need today, we might have it tomorrow.
Also, we will be working on better support for desktop blogging applications like Windows Live Writer.
I can’t say too much yet, but we aren’t out of beta yet, and our next major release is due out soon.
JM: How confident are you that PicApp will succeed?
DP: I wouldn’t have left a perfectly good job as the Head of Marketing at Splashpress Media if I didn’t know that PicApp could be very successful. I think they have found an area that bloggers needed a solution for, and they only need to listen to bloggers to make a business for themselves.
I am very excited about how fast everything is moving in the company, and after my first idea was positively received and implementation began, I knew I had made the right choice joining the PicApp team.
JM: Is it really true you spend around 14 hours a day blogging?
DP: Before joining the PicApp team, my average day required me to be working on blogging for an average of twelve hours a day, with my longer day going upwards of sixteen hours.
This was in part due to the work I felt compelled to do on my own projects as well as work related projects.
When you are passionate about something, the amount of time you have to put into it each day doesn’t matter.
David Peralty was a full-time professional blogger for the past three years. He previously worked with Bloggy Network, dailypixel, and Splashpress Media before joining PicApp. A proud Canadian, he went to college for Computer Network and Technical Support. He is also a big supporter of WordPress.
David still manages to put in time towards blogging and the occasional podcast. He writes at EXtra for Every Publisher (XFEP), and XFEP is a great resource that the Performancing community should check out and subscribe to. He also has his own personal blog—DavidCubed. The WordPress Podcast missed David after he moved on from being a co-host, but he has recently appeared on WordPress Weekly. Finally, David previously wrote for our sister blog Blogging Pro.
video is the next logical step, definitely.
David – can you show examples of how #2 has worked (as opposed to just discussing it in theory)? Don’t want to be hard on you mate but with all the testing PicApp has been doing there should be some examples. If not, maybe someone should work on that and use that as an obstacle-removing point in the sales pitch?
Thanks for responding to Ahmed’s questions. I was actually getting ready to message you to let you know there were questions.
I think PicApp should expand to video as well. VideoApp! Would be cool! 😀
Hey Ahmed, thanks for the follow up questions. Hopefully these answers help.
1.) We are definitely still open to finding a way around needing flash as the technology to power this whole system, but an advertising model is the only way we could freely distribute these otherwise costly images and we use flash to help protect the images provided to us from being used without permission.
We understand that some publishers don’t enjoy the embed model or advertising supported model, but I am sure that the benefit of not having to pay huge amounts of money for stock images easily outweighs any perceived drawbacks for many bloggers.
great interview, but I think a couple of questions weren’t answered:
1) How do you deal with the issue bloggers have with embedding (and the accompanying advertising)?
2) Do these embedded images get the same search rankings (say, through google images) as regular images added to the blog? How so?
Right on, and I think he will do great things. David is such a nice guy.
Excellent interview James. I now have a better understanding as to what PicApp is all about. Giving it some real though, I see now why PicApp might become one of the major tools of use in a bloggers arsenal. If enough bloggers would opt to use PicApp versus copyrighted images and then ended up spreading the word, PicApp would become a major success. Looks like David may have made the right decision being part of something that definitely has the potential to be pretty big. I think he will do pretty well within his role of community manager.
Haha, I just took a good look at it as well. It is a pretty cool logo.
pretty interesting …lol this is completely random, but I love the little logo dude
Thanks again to James and Ryan for taking the time. The transition has been an interesting one, but I am working with a great team at PicApp. I will definitely be checking back if anyone has any questions, comments or concerns.
Thanks to David Peralty for doing the interview!
If any of you have additional questions, I am sure David will answer them here in the comments.