FocalPop Uses Crowdsourcing to Find Photo of Happy Dog

My dog Dodger. Not a winning FocalPop photo, but happy nonetheless.

The reverse-auction feature means buyers control the trade-off between quality and price.

Here’s a new venture idea that’s simple and clever. Use crowdsourcing to link people who need photos with people who have cameras, then add reverse-auction pricing to ensure the quality of the photo and buyer expectations are ideally matched. You now understand FocalPop.

From their news release:

FocalPop was founded in Austin, TX by technology and marketing experts Brian Romanko and Becky Parker. Formulated during the MBA program at the McCombs School of Business, FocalPop was winner of the Texas Moot Corp Competition and took home honors at both the Oregon New Venture Competition and the Global Moot Corp competition earlier this year. FocalPop launched a beta version of the site in September and has received an enthusiastic response from the photographer community.

Their photography request site is now officially launched. From perusing the How-it-Works Page, it appears the process begins when a potential photo buyer fills out a request for a specific photo, and sets an amount they are willing to pay. This key piece of pricing information determines whether (and which) photographers choose to respond. If the price is set too low, only my cousin Marvin will respond. Set it high enough and perhaps Annie Leibovitz will ship you her portfolio. The reverse-auction pricing feature means buyers control the trade-off between quality and price, and photographers can decide whether to expend effort responding. Nice feature.

According to their release, over 2,000 visitors from 63 countries helped fulfill requests for photos during the beta period, for such images as “Lonely Guitar,” “Greasy Plate of Food,” and “Happy Dog.”

Knowing FocalPop sharpened their focus in the Moot Corp environment (I’ll bet Romanko and Parker made their 100 Phone Calls before launching), this should be a venture to watch in the months ahead.

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