I'm LinkedIn and Google-Plussed.

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Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

Picture-rich, ad-rich websites

© Norman Sperling, March 13, 2011

Setting up this blog not only lets me give my take on various issues, it lets me air a 30-year accumulation of writings that should still be read. Search engines find them for readers who are interested in their topics. Otherwise, they'll turn up only rarely when someone digs through the old magazines they originally appeared in. Sure enough, the "hit-counter" shows that my old essays already have hundreds of hits, and while some of those are from the spiders that crawl the web to construct the search engines, I'm confident that quite a lot are from real humans who read and consider my writings.

In addition to writing those essays, I've spent decades taking pictures, largely of Science-related scenes. A few of my photos have artistic merit, many have scientific value, and a lot could help teachers teach. For now, however, my pictures sit in their binders, dark and silent, helping nobody.

Not just me! My friend Carl photographs sundials and sky phenomena. My friend John photographs celestial objects. My artist-friend Guy draws and paints beautiful and useful perspectives. My late friend Lu took hundreds of the best sunset pictures I know - where are they now? My late friend Carter photographed tens of thousands of great astronomical scenes, a trove too big for his heirs to organize yet. Thousands and thousands of people have such troves of useful pictures sitting unused.

Here's what we should do:

Set up self-supporting websites full of these alluring contents, advertise on them, and sell certain usages using the "freemium" principle. Post smallish, low-resolution versions, perhaps also using Flickr.com. Include educational blurbs wherever convenient. This is an educational and scientific public service consistent with our attitudes.

Make the following free
* viewing them on the web
* usage by students for academic papers and presentations
* usage by teachers for teaching and presentations
* non-commercial usage by members of clubs in those topics

Premium Value
Market high-resolution images for a fee:
* through the website
* and to the world's 100 top authors on those topics
* and to the topic's 100 top media (magazine, web, and book publishers).
Set the fee low enough to attract orders (the pictures don't do anybody any good if nobody uses them), and high enough to earn useful income. Readers and viewers who like the pictures may want to buy the photographer's other publications.

Sell 5-10 of the most attractive images as Zazzle/CafePress-type posters, mugs, T-shirts, whatever. For a setup fee, these services take imagery you supply, and sell it on hundreds of items - they make and ship the items when they are ordered, and send you your cut of the income. Ordering these print-on-demand mugs and shirts works the same as print-on-demand books.

Make the website alluring, so the gorgeous imagery will bring lots of viewers ... who might buy stuff. Don't be shy about advertising:
* Sell your own products
* invite ads from ad-servers like Ad-Sense
* ads from allies
* drop-ship and consignment stuff
* If you start such an enterprise, reward me for suggesting this formula by including a free ad for this blog and/or www.jir.com ... or by lending me a slide scanner.

A good slide- or negative-scanner costs a few hundred dollars. All the imagery that you select needs to be turned into low-resolution pictures. You need a quick way to produce high-resolution pictures when someone orders those. A webcrafter must make and run the website. The site has to be hosted. If you advertise your own goods, you have to be able to process sales quickly and correctly.

The income from the ads, plus increased sales of your products and high-resolution imagery, should pay for the website and deliver a small profit. That's more than most of us are earning from our pictures right now.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

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