This morning, before I did anything else, I went online to a couple of sites that I use for our photo studio, and cancelled my subscriptions. It was not something I really thought long and hard about, but it has been in my mind for a bit. It is not that is costs a lot of money, but it simply is becoming a subtle waste.
The reason for it is why also other people are walking away; there is just too much. I was speaking with a couple of models over the last years, and a couple of colleague photographers, and they too mentioned that the quality of these networking sites have become unreliable.
I heard the same complaints already from Craigslist, eBay and many more earlier on; too many people get online, and start wasting the market. The other thing is that with each and every new reality show, sprouts a whole new bunch of would-be gold-hunters and spoil the market. Something that has been a living for so many people for a long time, has become a tough job to keep the head above the water since, I don’t know, Storage Wars Wherever launched.
Just a number of years ago, a modelling/photography networking site could be very reliable; but right now, it is not only a waste of money simply to find models or photographers, most of them are not even professional anymore.
Why? It is a numbers game. Just like the amount of apps in an app-store; people want to see huge numbers. Apple throws around that they have more than 700,000 apps. But what does it mean? Quantity never equaled quality; it does not even have anything to do with it. Still, it is what somehow has become the standard to perceive quality: If a lot of people use it, it must be good.
Well, take Craigslist… a lot of people use it, but is it good? Anyone? It’s reach is humongous, without a doubt. But, really, is it good? I have seen many better solutions… but then… if the don’t have the reach, how can you be sure to get your message out to where you need it?
Personally, I think a paid system is a solution. I don’t know if it is the solution, but at least it is one. It doesn’t have to be a large payment, but just a slight one, to get access. Even if you ask for $1 access costs per month, the bar is increased enough to take out a lot of people who simply cloud the system.
But, from a producers perspective of such a site, money is of course an important thing. And money can be earned in a couple of ways; become very popular and get ad revenue, or get as many people to pay for your system.
So, for the producer, having more people in their system is an important thing. And this will always hover over whatever site or networking system; if there are too little, it is not good enough. If it has too many, it is spoiled. There is always this sweet spot, in which it is perfect. But that is also the moment that more people learn about it, and that is where the excess starts.
I don’t know if this is normal evolution of networking sites, and that it will result in a solid system in a couple of years, or that it is a simple life-cycle of networking. But it is simple, when there is too much quantity of anything, it becomes harder and harder to find what you are looking for.
And you know what? I am part of this problem. Because I will be now on the lookout for a new Photographer networking site that is in that sweet-spot right now. I will sign up, be happy for a bit, and by doing that, increasing that site a little bit more in number of users.
So, well, yes… blame me for the failure of another networking site 😉