We are pleased to announce our partnership with Zazzle.com, which will allow you to instantly turn any evolved images on Picbreeder into T-shirts, cards, postage stamps, mugs, posters, bags, buttons, mousepads, and many other products.
We value our users’ participation in Picbreeder, so we also want to give you some of the background and rationale for this partnership. It is important to note that Picbreeder currently has no financial support whatsoever and cannot pay for equipment upgrades or part-time help to keep the site running. Instead of asking for donations, we believe giving users the opportunity to receive a tangible reward is a more desirable option.
Zazzle will pay Picbreeder (via UCF) a small (i.e. low percentage) royalty on any product purchased on Zazzle through Picbreeder. Thus Picbreeder will make some money from users who convert images to products. It is important to note that our current hope is that we will make enough money to maintain the hardware for the site, so that Picbreeder can become self-supportive. That is, it would take many thousands of purchases for us to receive sufficient revenue to do anything more than maintain our hardware and pay for sporadic part-time help. Therefore, by purchasing something through Picbreeder, you are in part helping to support the site.
We also have other good reasons to partner with Zazzle: We hope to show that interactively evolved content can become commercially viable. To our knowledge, interactive evolution has never produced a product that anyone would actually buy. However, we believe that in the future, interactive evolution has the potential to be a major engine for custom merchandise. For that to happen, someone has to show that such a process is at all viable. Thus by joining with Zazzle, we are taking a step towards changing the way people create and sell products. In particular, we believe that interactive evolution can enable regular users to have a say in the design of the products they want. Someday people may evolve their own custom furniture, jewelry, or even cars.
Note that because we allow users to purchase products based on any picture on the site, users may purchase products that use images evolved by other users. While Picbreeder maintains exclusive ownership for commercial purposes of all evolved images on the site (as per our user agreement; note that non-commercial uses are permitted by anyone), we understand that it would be popular to allow users to share in revenue for pictures that they participated in evolving. However, to set up such a system would require a consistently high level of revenue to pay for the labor involved in sending out all the checks, keeping track of who is owed what, setting up bank connections, etc. In other words, we do not currently have resources to support such an operation because we have no resources to pay for it. However, if revenue levels did rise to sufficient levels to support a staff to allow such revenue sharing, we would then consider moving to that model. We know that it would excite and incentivize our users.
Realistically, we are not expecting to make significant revenue unless our user base expands something like ten-fold. Therefore, in the present, this new functionality is just a bare-bones hardware support cushion and a proof-of-concept. However, perhaps the very existence of this capability will attract new users, in which case it is difficult to predict how it might grow. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy the new capability and that it will add a positive dimension to the Picbreeder experience.
We will keep you informed on how this new capability works out and whether it seems popular with our users. If you have ideas to improve the service, or comments on the partnership, we are happy to receive your views through firstname.lastname@example.org or through our forums (http://www.picbreeder.org/phpbb2/).Sincerely,