A new image-hosting service hopes to help photographers and artists manage and profit from their images. Created by Design Taxi and The Creative Finder, Imgembed lets users upload images and create galleries like any photo-sharing service, but promises to help creators track where their images are being used, and even monetize full-sized embeds.
It's fairly easy to upload and manage your images, and when you sign up for the service you'll be able to import any images you're already storing on Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr. Once you've uploaded or imported your photos, there are simple options that allow you to set a watermark and change permissions for sharing and embedding. If you want to monetize your photo, you can set up a CPM (cost-per-thousand views) rate, although Imgembed will take a 30 percent cut of your earnings. Free embeds are limited to 550 pixels wide, and will also display the artist's name with a link to the rest of their work. The system is similar to Picuous, a service that launched in beta a couple of years ago, but never gained traction and eventually closed down.
In practice, everything worked pretty much as it should, but Imgembed's shortcoming is in protecting the images from being downloaded. Visitors to your profile can easily find the direct .jpg link for any given image, and download and re-upload your image elsewhere. Other services like Flickr suffer from the same problem, although at least they disable right clicks to make discovering the direct link a little harder. The company says that its embedding system is "so easy to use, it wouldn't make sense to steal anymore," but it still needs to go further to protect its users' photos — taking a look at how Shutterstock does things would be a good place to start.