|added Sat August 19 2006 at 3:22 PM
|I have a couple friends at work that just started their own company. They are going to be selling web space and web design to photographers. Basically, their business model (as I see it) relies on photographers that want to try selling their work online, but don't want (or know how) to go through the effort of setting up their own website. I admire their effort and have helped them by chipping in "consulting" (a.k.a. ranting about my opinions on web design) for free. A number of times, they've tried to convince me that I should be their first customer, since I am a budding photographer myself.
What my friends failed to recognize at first is the same thing that many software companies fail to realize. Basically, it amounts to trying to sell scripts to programmers. Even if the script saves me enough time to be worth the price from a strict analysis of hourly wage potential vs time spent, if I can develop the script myself I get the added bonus of accomplishment.
Everything you see on my site (with the exception of the recently played music list and the Ashdown for Senate image on the sidebar) was created by me. I don't pretend to be the best web designer around, but if there is any feature that you like on my site, you can rest assured that I implemented it myself. There are many, many free prepackaged blogging tools that could probably be tweaked to do just as good of a job, if not better. However, if I use one of those tools then I lose my claim and I lose the opportunity to make discoveries of my own.
Eventually, I'll get around to creating my own photo site. I'm sure that my friends will be open for business long before I'm ready to release my site, because they have a financial incentive to complete the job. If I were to sign up with them, I bet I'd probably even eventually recoup the cost by actually selling a couple pictures. However, if I do it through them, then it won't be my site and I lose half the reason for putting it up to begin with.