Sean Reid and ReidReviews.com|
(Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 11:46 EDT)
Sean Reid's unique subscription-based website should be on the destination list of every serious photographer on the 'net. Look for some of Sean's writing to come to Imaging Resource in the near future!
The Internet can be a tough place to make a living, or even to find support for efforts at serious dialog and analysis. When it comes to supporting a website, there are two basic models: Advertising (including affiliate revenue from comparison shopping) or subscriptions. We here at IR operate in the ad-based model, with revenue split about equally between ads and comparison-shopping click fees.
The ad/shopping model has worked well for us--or at least has kept the lights on and servers running--but it means that our editorial efforts need to focus more on the interests of the mass market than any one narrow niche. We defy that pressure somewhat, by conducting very deep testing of even consumer-level cameras, and also from time to time by indulging in deeper analysis of specific products, above and beyond what the readership for those pieces truly justify. In the background though, there's the realization that whatever we write has to generate enough shopping clicks and reader page views to pay the cost of producing it, or we'll be not long for this world. In essence, the problem with the ad/shopping model is that it places very low value on each individual viewing of an article: There's no way for people who really want a particular type of coverage to support it financially.
The alternative is a subscription-based model, where a smaller number of people can pay directly for content that they think is worthwhile to support. The problem with subscription models on the Internet though, is that it can be very hard to get enough exposure to attract enough subscribers to make a viable enterprise.
In the online photo world, one individual who's trying to make the subscription-based model work is Sean Reid, proprietor of ReidReviews.com.
Sean's work consists of "deep" reviews, analysis, and philsophical ponderings based on his more than two decades of experience as a practicing professional photographer, not to mention a couple of years mixed in as a Black & White exhibition printer. Sean not only has a valuable and unique perspective on the world of photography, but is a fluid, articulate writer who does an excellent job of conveying that perspective to a broad range of readers.
Emailing with Sean recently, it struck me that his work makes an excellent complement to the sort of testing and review work that we do here at IR: We bring to bear years of testing and technology, combined with the experience of having tested and worked with more than 500 digital cameras covering the full scope of the market, flavored by our years as serious amateur photo enthusiasts. Sean brings the perspective of years of earning a living with his craft, and of working at the highest levels of both the commercial and art-photography marketplaces. I'd like to find a way to bring at least a portion of Sean's work to the IR audience, because I think it would so nicely complement the material that we're producing.
So, two things: First, I'd like to strongly encourage the serious enthusiast photographers among IR's readers to subscribe to Sean's site. The annual fee of $26.50 is a paltry amount relative to the richness of the material he's developing there. - And if I can convince enough of you to subscribe, it'll help insure that Sean and ReidReviews.com stay around for my own enjoyment. :-)
Secondly, Sean and IR are going to enter into a bit of an experiment, by which we'll be hiring him to bring his unique perspective to the IR site, as a complement to our own test and review work. I'm really excited by the prospects for this partnership: Look for the first of Sean's articles (his review of the Canon EOS-5D) to appear in the next week or two, with others following on a schedule as yet to be determined.
In the meantime, do go and check out ReidReviews.com: I'm very confident in saying that a subscription there will prove to be a solid investment for any serious photographer, amateur or professional alike.