Interview With John Griffin of Cutcaster

by on 15th July 2008

Cutcaster InterviewThis is a short interview with one of the minds behind the new stock photography startup – Cutcaster. It’s a great insight into some of the thinking behind a site such as this, as both a business concept and a well designed web application.

What exactly does Cutcaster offer, and why are you unique?

Cutcaster offers unique royalty free images, stock photos, stock footage and stock photography for advertising, publishing or web design. We have combined a Flickr-type community with a Getty-type licensing model but turned the old licensing model on its head. In my old job trading stock on Wall st. I saw what electronic markets and cutting out the middleman did to our markets and I applied those efficient market elements to what I saw as an outdated licensing model.

We are the first licensing platform to let people set their prices for a high resolution file, use a patent pending algorithm to help them find the correct market price or let buyers buy ala carte, on demand or bid on content they want so they can name their price or licensing terms directly with a seller. That seller has the option to accept, reject or re-submit a new offer back to that interested buyer. We also offer buyers a way to request custom content from the community of Cutcaster members through our ProjectRequest area. Cutcaster is an open platform and anyone can join, learn and participate in the community and marketplace.

For how long have you offered the service?

The site has been researched and developed over the last 3 years but we launched our Cutcaster beta site in April of this year. We are a very new service but have been growing extremely fast. I left my trading job on Wall st. in January of this year to focus on Cutcaster full-time as the demand and time commitment became too much to try to do with two jobs.

Which two design features of the site are you proudest of, and why?

I am proud of how easy our site is to use but I am very proud of our negotiation platform called My Marketplace, which allows buyers and sellers to seamlessly negotiate on pricing and licensing terms much like a stock exchange. Sellers can now get hard data on how to price their content and where demand lies for their work. Buyers can directly buy or bid for content which allows them to name their price or buy extended rights like exclusivity over a certain time period or geographic region. The platform is simple to understand, easy to use and the negotiations happen very quickly between buyers and sellers.

I also really like the layout of our media details page which clearly lays out the details surrounding any media file uploaded to the site and is set up to allow users to easily interact with the different features of the site like immediately buying, bidding for content, adding content to lightboxes (we call them clipfolders at Cutcaster), reporting copyright infringements, downloading comps to show clients, requesting different file sizes and the ability to virally send your work to multiple networks to get more traffic and sales. Here is an example of one of the media detail pages, http://www.cutcaster.com/viewmedia/view/100027215/Photo.

Could you give an overview of the technology used to power the site?

Cutcaster is written/coded in PHP using a web application framework called CodeIgniter. Other scripting codes used would include Javascript and AJAX. It uses the world’s most popular open source database, MySQL to store data and other information. The site utilizes Amazon’s web services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for web-scale computing and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage of files.

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