Interview With John Griffin of Cutcaster

by on 15th July 2008 with 5 Comments

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and cutting out the middleman did to our markets and I applied those efficient market elements to what I saw as an outdated licensing model.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,

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.

Comments & Discussion


  • Henrik

    Cutcaster is an interesting new stock agency. It is easy to navigate, and the submission and evaluation process is fast. Cutcaster is one of the only one that has a build in interaction system between buyers and contributors. Another interesting aspect is the unique option to use an algorithm to calculate the price for your individual images, or you can set also a fixed price per image. Their support is excellent! If you ever have a problem, John and his team are always fast to respond.

  • Stephen Jared

    Re: Licensing in general. If we license our music and graphics do we still retain the rights to sell our own work in other venues?

  • John Griffin

    Yes of course. That is just a nonexclusive offer which is fine by us. You can sell your content wherever you like and you always retain the copyright if you offer your content on Cutcaster. Plus if you wanted to pull it down you can do so at any time.

    Let me know if you have other questions.


  • Pingback: Microstock photography isn’t a perfect solution, but economic progress rarely is. | Taylor Davidson()

  • faustt

    Miki, there’s a marked improvement in your English. Maybe it’s because the issue has been resolved and you got your money back so you’re less stressed. Interesting nonetheless.
    miki Student Jun 9, 12, 11:48PM | #5
    Joined: Jun 3, 12
    Threads: 3
    Posts: 31

    Miki, there’s a marked improvement in your English. Maybe it’s because the issue has been resolved and you got your money back so you’re less stressed. Interesting nonetheless.

    That’s so funny, isn’t it? However the stress was not over this unfortunate money but over my actual papers and the finals. This was the bottom of the entire story. Than i realized quite quickly, being spammed by several ESL writers, that literally NONE of them is capable to deliver ANYTHING close to the proper, or what as an A student and a language freak I would consider as a proper, college paper. Their shortcomings were endless – language, knowledge of topic, knowledge of paper format – intro with decent thesis, body, conclusion. NULL.
    Then my time came to it’s end, and the service which may have delivered what i needed was out of my price range. The final writing round was ultimately on my own, unfortunately while trying to get ready for my finals. So the stress is off. And my beautiful ESL is back. lol Also I strongly believe that each of these annoying assignments brings me one step up on the English ladder ;)

    By the way, you could not be closer to the truth! I have always thought I am making it up, but it feels like two different ppl are talking through my mouth. There are times any political discourse on economy of superpowers is possible, there are others when buying a ticket at a movie theater makes me feel like a just-arrived-tourist. And as we have discussed before, the good proofreading from time to time would help tremendously. I love the beauty of the language and possibilities to play with it, so it is damn frustrating not being able to express myself clearly.
    miki Student Jun 10, 12, 12:02AM | #6
    Joined: Jun 3, 12
    Threads: 3
    Posts: 31

    I agree with MeoKhan

    me too ;)
    One thread is enough

    i keep agreeing
    us – the serious forum members

    for the moment being i am also “us” – as serious as it gets.

    no more CW threads – promise.
    MeoKhan Writer Jun 10, 12, 04:29PM | #7
    Joined: Jan 9, 11
    Threads: 5
    Posts: 1,355

    Alright then. You need to prove what you have just stated.


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