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Techcrunch today covered an image licensing platform called GumGum.  I think the idea of per-impression licensing is interesting enough, and it is good someone has step up with a (half) working delivery platform. While this might not suit everybody, it’s great to have the choice. What it will create is a niche area where publishers or content users with specific needs can prosper. For example, if I want to use many randomly rotating images, licensing all of them at the usual flat fee could make it prohibitly expensive, but with GumGum’s fee structure it should costs me similar to showing a single image repeatedly.

GumGum requires content user to embed images as Flash, to enable the system to track their usage. It is not hard to see implementation problems; two came to mind: 

  • Users only able to use images as published, without modification. This is hardly ever the case for me.
  • Performance — The 2 examples in the above TechCrunch articles are already not showing, probably due to the amount of traffic it is getting. As the company only starts with 125k in funding, they will need more soon to keep up level of service.

There will always be a place for conventional players like, iStockPhoto,  which I love. But I hope GumGum can create new economics of image (and other types of content) licensing, which I’m sure innovative peoples can capitalize.

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