One of the biggest challenges for any website owner is how to get good images. Some sites can work without them, but generally you need something visual to break up the text. For many journalists running their own sites, images can be baffling. Do you go down the road of using large agencies such as Corbis or Getty, buying one of their expensive themed CDs? Or do you pay for each image? If you’ve got the budget, then these agencies are good options. Or you can go for the cheaper online image libraries where you pay a one-off annual fee and use as much of their collections as you like. Sure, you won’t get the latest news images, but for stock photos and general shots, they can be quite good. Two sources for this system are Clipart (www.clipart.com) and PhotoSpin (www.photospin.com). Clipart offers various subscription packages including a week for £5, three months for £32 or a year for £94 and has more than two million images. The price you would pay for one general image from Corbis is the cost of an annual subscription to Clipart. Slightly more expensive at £158 a year is PhotoSpin, which has over 40,000 images. PhotoSpin offers slightly higher quality images than Clipart and has a cheaper subscription at £94, but you only get around 20,000 images. A joint subscription to Clipart and PhotoSpin is a worthwhile investment.
Newsnow (www.newsnow.co.uk), the online news aggregator, is offering its services for free to editorial teams of more than four people. The service is tailored to meet teams’ needs and will be sent via e-mail on a regular daily basis. Newsnow offers tracking of 5,000 websites in 600 categories. With many small publishers not able to afford national and international newswires, managing director Nick Gilbert says the new service could help them get a competitive edge. The free service deal will last for a year.
As online celebrity gossip site and newsletter Popbitch (www.popbitch.com) gets a new look, watch out for new services to emerge as part of a paid-for subscription. The site, which is known for pulling no punches when it comes to celebrities and what they get up to, has proved to be a major success in terms of both breaking stories and feeding nationals and other media outlets. Unlike other celebrity news sites, which spend money on promotion, Popbitch has grown by word of mouth. Given its value to the tabloids, the Popbitch team should certainly consider a pricing model based on where the subscriber is coming from. If their e-mail address and payment is via a media outlet, they should be charged more than a general user. Leslie Bunder