Cameraphone Photo Agency Makes First Sale

For Scoopt, the photo agency that’s trying to sell people’s cameraphone pictures to media outlets, the wait is over: about two months after its launch, it’s finally sold its first photo. The company, which splits its fees for pictures it sells with the photographer, sold a picture to a British newspaper for a “two-figure sum”. Scoopt has 2,000 members in 64 countries now, which sounds impressive, but given the random nature of newsworthy events and user submissions, they’re going to have to boost that figure much, much higher to sell more photos. One problem facing companies looking to monetize citizen journalism is that they’re often relying on untrained people to submit information. While that’s sort of the point, it probably wouldn’t hurt to give this new class of journalists some training to improve the quality of their work. But the biggest problem may be competition — users are submitting plenty of material to news outlets for free, or even just publishing it themselves.

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