Foap: A Marketplace Connecting Photographers and Businesses

Either companies are realizing the value of paying for user-generated content, or users are realizing the value of the content they create.



People have been using the Internet to make money for decades. Some methods of revenue generation started as ways to supplement income and have since turned into full-time gigs. A Swedish photography-based social network called Foap is the latest revenue-sharing website to enter the market and it hopes to help users sell stock images.

The way Foap works is relatively simple: Users take pictures on their smartphones, upload them to Foap, and then companies can purchase the images for $10. The money is split 50/50 between the photographer and Foap.

According to a video report by ABC, more than half of Foap users are earning money, and some users are making thousands a year. The service has shown enough promise to receive investment capital.

An official release from Foap reads:

Lead investors include CNN Worldwide President, Jeff Zucker; CEO and Co-Founder of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk; Upshot Chairman and Protagonist LLC Partner, Jordan Rednor; and CEO of Delivery Hero, Niklas Ostberg, among others. Vaynerchuk, Rednor, Zucker and Ostberg join the company’s advisory board, effective immediately. This latest investment brings Foap’s total funding to roughly $5 million, as the Swedish startup is in the process of raising its Series A round.

Foap is another in a series of revenue-sharing services that have popped up. Most hinge on the idea that with enough engagement on their posts, users can share advertising revenue. YouTube has been doing this for years, and many are able to make a living from it. Foap is slightly different in that contributors are paid when their photos are sold.

Other services offer the exposure necessary to generate money, even when there are no native tools to facilitate the process. Daniel Arnold, a New York-based photographer, tried selling prints on Instagram and raised $15,000 in just one day, which makes you wonder just how successful an Instagram ‘buy’ button could be.

The only hole in Foap’s business model is that the stock image market could be considered saturated. Earlier this year, Getty made millions of images free, though admittedly those images may only be used for non-commercial purposes. Foap also allows companies to send users out on ‘missions’ to get specific photos, and those missions can be much more lucrative than just offering stock images.

This year we’ve seen an increase in services that explicitly say users retain rights to their content, and we’ve seen initiatives that allow users to pay creators directly. Either companies are realizing the value of paying for user-generated content, or users are realizing the value of the content they create. Either way we could be seeing a move toward a more comprehensive Internet economy.

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