Thursday, 14 May 2009

Getty Images Data fail

I was sent a link to a new Getty Images social application 27 letters launched recently which promised me the ability to track trends in image usage and buzz around specific image generation across the web.

About time too I thought, Getty have rapidly been losing ground to other social image sites such as Flickr for quite a while now and appear to have been clinging to an old print led model. So this promised much and when I first opened the link it looked very promising so I clicked to register and this is when I realised they were still stuck in the old business models.

I was faced with a barrage of requests for my personal information all of which were mandatory and all of which allowed me to open an account with Getty. It was quite obvious that this information would be fed directly back in to their central model and into an existing customer segmentation model.

You have to question the objectives of launching a social application like this. To my mind it should be about developing an engaging experience for as wide a range of customers as possible across the social web. In Getty's case it should be to entice the millions of bloggers and publishers away from cheaper and often free sources of imagery to an often higher quality of image that can really enhance a creative execution.

In pursuit of that it is my opinion that you should provide as open access as you possibly can to your applications, that means asking for as little data about your customers as possible up front and then providing multiple optional overlays to customers to add additional details, profiles and preferences to enhance their experience. This provides an easy route to the content you're sharing.

Once there, it is important that you understand usage patterns and the paths that users take around the web to help build a new prospect data model related directly to usage of the social application. This does not preclude you adding this data to your existing database and possibly fitting it into an existing segmentation model, however it does require that you undertake some development work with your database to ensure that you capture new usage patterns and start to understand new customer engagement.

In short I actually like this application alot and so do a lot of the guys here in the studio, but we're all pre-existing customers. If you're going to attract new users and a new customer base you need to look at new ways of workings. Until that point it's going to be difficult to grow the customer base.

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