(Disclaimer: I am the Founder of FocalPower)
I just saw a posting from Marshall Kirkpatrick saying that MySpace is acquiring Photobucket. Photobucket is one of the largest secret photosharing services on the net. I say secret, because their business model was not to advertise and to ride the wave of viral customer referrals through the MySpace users of their service (which constitutes the bulk of their customers/traffic). I didn’t know about them until just last year when they hit my radar while doing some research on photo sharing services. Recently, they have been in the press and blogs due to their announcement of how many images and videos they serve up (all of this was timed and manipulated to increase their awareness and valuation as they wanted to sell themselves). Not bad to go from unknown, to being featured in a half page add in the USA Today business section, to being bought.
So, what does this mean to the photography market? Not much. If your a Photobucket user you should be safe (at least for a while). Eventually, I wouldn’t be surprised if MySpace just rolled them into their own infrastructure as a service available only to their myspace customers. The smart thing would be to keep Photobucket open to the general public (even continue to expand it’s capabilities) and use it to tap into a new market. But I don’t expect that to happen, I doubt Fox Interactive Media has the patience to do this.
For the photography market, I still see there being an opportunity in this area. A hybrid of photographic capabilities but in an expanded and centrally controlled service to minimize the work for photographers. Allowing photographers to protect their brand, share their work, and expand their revenue. This is just part of what we are working on over at FocalPower. Stay tuned.