IMGembed’s Impression Licensing Solution

Robert Henson, IMGembed’s VP of business development, explains how their pay-per-view licensing tool impacts both the supply and demand side of online publishing. Guest post by Jain Lemos.

Permission language and fee negotiations for online image usage tracked by impressions have often been confusing and inconsistent. Last year, IMGembed set out to change that. Now buyers and publishers can search their growing bank of user-generated and premium content, grab an image’s HTML code and IMGembed will track the number of impressions for them. There is no more worrying about who is responsible for counting page views!

Image © Eugene Gao

“Image buyers can seamlessly integrate our images into their online projects,” says Henson, a veteran in the stock business and PACA’s former president and technology chair. “They don’t have to host or track the image and they have a broad and unique inventory to choose from,” he adds. IMGembed’s licensing model is based on cost-per-thousand-impressions rates known as CPM. Prices range from free to pay-per-use and all fees are set by the sellers, not IMGembed.

Image © Alexander Stadnikov

“Philosophically, the company is very much centered on win-win solutions,” claims Henson, who joined the company after finding them unique among other photo-related startups. The company’s founders (the same team behind The Creative Finder and DesignTaxi) come from the online publishing industry—not the image business—and admit their focus is on building a solution for publishers while allowing image owners full control of inventory access, credit, and pricing.

“Our platform is open to anyone and we’ve seen great participation and growth from all types of photographers,” Henson explains. Millions of images are available for licensing and that number is growing each month. Condé Nast offers some of their image catalog via IMGembed and stock agencies Blend and Danita Delimont have recently signed on. Established libraries like these can satisfy their demand for attribution and compensation for the use of their images, plus they can track their images in real time, something difficult to do—if not impossible—for impression licensing sales before.

The impression counting works through IMGembed’s technology, which delivers a unique image every time someone loads a Web page. That page loading counts as an image view. When setting pricing, sellers can choose from three options: (a) free use with unlimited views, (b) free use up to the first 10,000 views then a CPM rate kicks in, and © paid use with a CPM rate charged for all views.

CPM pricing can be as low as $2/1,000 views, with some premium images priced at $10/1,000 views. For example, if a buyer selects an image with the pricing set at free for the first 10,000 impressions, additional impressions in 1,000-impression increments will cost whatever CPM has been established by the seller. Buyers will understand this price immediately when selecting an image. At a $2.00 CPM rate, a photo with 510,000 impressions would earn $1,000 (after the first free 10,000 impressions).

Bloggers are natural customers and this is where they are seeing the image embedding practice being used the most. Henson also indicated they’ve been holding very informative discussions with major online publishers and are promoting embeds as a viable option for all content delivery platforms. Publishers are interested in receiving access to a broad inventory of images at price points they can live with or having an option to use images for free with watermarked attribution. Buyers also like knowing they are using images with permission, eliminating any infringement risks to the site where images are published.

Image © Lucia Jesenská

Henson’s experience with PACA and his deep understanding of the scope of infringement cases on and off the books when it comes to online licensing is a driving issue behind his involvement in this endeavor. “There should be a balance of interests between a creator’s rights around the exploitation of their works and a publisher’s rights to access and exploit works,” he offers.

Image © Zakharia Mesropov

It’s refreshing to see more tools and platforms appearing that promote the ethical use of licensing online images. IMGembed is offering image owners full control of their inventory, attribution and pricing. Buyers and publishers have an impression access model that is affordable, consistent and easy to implement. Touting the fair use of online images is one thing, but making that tenet a reality is furthered by enterprises such as IMGembed jumping in and getting to work.

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