Lori Carey Photography

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Urgent Update to My LicenseStream Review

When I initially reviewed ImageSpan's LicenseStream here on my blog I had mentioned that one of my concerns was the inability to see how images are priced when using the automated interface. However, since I had tested a few scenarios and received quotes that I felt were reasonable, I decided to implement the automation and trust that everything would be okay.

Since my review was published several people have taken the opportunity to test out LicenseStream's interface using my photos, and boy did we get a surprise! While many people reported receiving acceptable price quotes, two photographers let me know about completely outrageous quotes. My thanks to Gary Crabbe of Enlightened Images and Tina Manley for bringing this to my attention. Gary actually received a quote of $10,000 for internal corporate web use, and Tina received a quote $2,000 higher than the price her publisher was complaining about! Real-world pricing is imperative if the automated side of LicenseStream is going to work.

So first, I strongly recommend that if you are using, or contemplating using LicenseStream on your website, you use the "Contact Me" model until ImageSpan puts a fix in place. If a potential buyer received one of those quotes, not only would you lose the sale, you'd probably lose the customer (unless it was someone with whom you had already developed a relationship and who knew it was just an error).

This eliminates the feature that most independent photographers are mainly interested in; the automation. LicenseStream needs to get this addressed ASAP. Based on the feedback that I am hearing, photographers are quickly loosing interest as the word spreads about this problem.

Second, if you have already coded images on your website using the method I explained in this post, I have a very easy way for you to change it that does not require making any changes to your content in LicenseStream itself.

Remember this code we used to create the link directly to your LicenseStream interface?

The "c" that I circled in red indicates the licensing model, in this case Custom License. You may have a "b" or a "p" if you used the Category License or Quick License models. To change it to the "Contact Me" model, all you need to do is change that letter to an "r". Still a bit time consuming in that you will need to do this for each image you've linked to LicenseStream, but not nearly as bad as needing to use LicenseStream to regenerate the code or change any settings.

One more thing I wanted to mention, really prompted by Gary Crabbe's post in which he stated that he found the licensing interface clunky. I had to think about that for a while because it seemed natural to me, and then I realized it was because I have been using the PLUS license generator, and later the embedder and decoder, since they were in beta. The LicenseStream license generator IS the PLUS license generator, so it was natural for me to use.

If you are not familiar with the PLUS Coalition and the license generator and embedder, I encourage you to become so. It was announced this morning that three major publishers are adopting the PLUS standards, and they have encouraged all photographers to begin embedding PLUS-generated licenses within the year.

Nothing after the jump. I'm off to change my letters!

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