IMGembed Hits Kickstarter to Expand Royalty-free Image Service

Intellectual property rights and compensation for content creators are still important, in an age of appropriation and sharing. Most people would probably be happy to do the right thing, whether it's a case of a modest payment or simply attribution. Last March market leader Getty Images finally faced up to the reality of the current online climate for image use and abandoned its earlier approach, which was to come down hard on those it caught using its images without permission online. The firm's solution, as we reported at the time, was to make much of its collection available at no cost for use on websites, via an embeddable iframe.

While interesting enough, Getty Images wasn't the first firm to have this idea. In fact, it was the poorly-named IMGembed that seems to have come up with the concept, by making available images from a variety of sources that can either be embedded at no cost, with attribution, or displayed using an impression-based pricing system, not unlike that employed by webfont service vendors. More concretely, images displayed with an attribution are free up to 10,000 impressions, which would make them attractive to those with modest blogs. Images used without an attribution incur a CPM rate set by the owners of the image.

IMGembed's growth has apparently stalled, since it has now turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for what it vaguely says will "fund product development and marketing efforts." And what would those be, precisely? Who knows. Instead we're handed such platitudes as, "At IMGembed, we believe that original content should be used or shared in a friendly environment that delivers benefits to both image owners and users. Your pledge can help to make that a reality." While helping is all fine and dandy, the "rewards" for contributing to this worthy cause are rather thin, consisting as they do of "limited edition" prints from the IMGembed collection. Which could help explain why the campaign has only raised $327 of its ambitious $100,000 goal to date.

The IMGembed service seems to us a valuable one and we wish it every success. But it's not clear that Kickstarter will help it achieve its objectives.