So, I bought the URL “oakie.photo” today. I’ve spent the last few months trying to decide if, and how, I’d want to monetize the 4-5 photos I’ve taken that seem to hold value for people besides me.
I signed up for a few places that were free to register as I tried to get a feel for what they had to offer. Ultimately, I decided to go with Smugmug. There were a few reasons for this: I decided I was willing to give up some creative control for the sake of convenience, and Smugmug offers this by taking care of the printing and shipping of products. The site is less confusing and it’s MY site, so I reduce the likelihood of disappearing in a sea of sameness. Yes, I’m still exposed to the greater web as a whole, reducing overall exposure, but I realized that someone perusing a site with thousands of others like me, with similar products, was just as unlikely to find and connect with my work as they were to find my works by searching google.
While the upfront layout is more expensive with Smugmug, I’m able to benefit from a half-price coupon for the first year. It’s also not just a storefront, unlike all of the other programs I looked into. Currently, I back up my photos to iCloud for $10/mo, Flickr Pro for $60/yr and Google Drive for free. The latter recently announced they were ending free photo storage so that spurred me to find a new secondary off-site backup solution. I decided I could just end my Flickr account and put those funds toward a Smugmug Portfolio account; it would reduce my annual layout from $200/yr to effectively $140, and just $40 for the first year. In return, I’d get unlimited storage and a storefront I’m in control of. Sure, it’s an additional $12/mo compared to my costs now, but I have the potential to make that up. Even if I don’t, it’s a cost that won’t affect my lifestyle in a tangible way.
Hence the new domain.
While my blog will continue to run here on JetCityNinja.com, oakie.photo will be the front for all of my galleries, not just the storefront. My backed up photos will be hidden there, while photos worth displaying will be organized into a professional looking portfolio, and those few items that have gained traction elsewhere will be made available to purchase as prints.
Why “oakie.photo”? Well, it’s simple. That’s it, it’s simple. Simple to remember and promote. Two words, one dot, and it makes for equally simple subdomains and links. I considered the ubiquitous, “Name Here Photography” for a split second and quickly canned it; just adding 6 more letters to type into an address bar disqualified it, along with being a flashing sign of having no creativity. Sure, you could argue my choice is equally uncreative, but it’s efficient and easy to remember. Lack of pluralization may compromise elegance for efficiency but who knows?
Either way, I’m spending money to find out if the photos that mean something to me will mean enough to someone else that they’re willing to part with their money.