Y Combinator Challenge #9 – Photo/video sharing services

For more information about the Y Combinator Challenge, check out this post first 

9. Photo/video sharing services. A lot of the most popular sites on the web are for photo sharing. But the sites classified as social networks are also largely about photo sharing. As much as people like to share words (IM and email and blogging are “word sharing” apps), they probably like to share pictures more. It’s less work and the results are usually more interesting. I think there is huge growth still to come. There may ultimately be 30 different subtypes of image/video sharing service, half of which remain to be discovered.

My Idea – RealScrapbookStuff.com

This was a tough one.  As I took my daily walk and started brainstorming various options for photo sharing services, I kept coming up with ideas.  Problem was, they were all being done.  Submit a photo via Email?  Upload files without any sign-on friction?  Mashup photos with music?  Put live annotations on videos? (congrats, btw!)  Argh!  I kept racking my brain and finally decided to bring out my secret weapon – my wife.  As she was running out the door, I asked her what problems she has with image/video websites.  She thought for a few seconds and said “I need a website to help me to with my scrapbooking”.  She headed out the door, and I had my idea for the day.

Now, I know a handful of you are already heading straight to the comments to post a bunch of links to similar photo sharing sites.  However, every scrapbooking-type site I’ve seen falls into one of the following two catagories:

  1. Use your computer to create a physical scrapbook that is mailed to you
  2. Use your computer to create an online scrapbook that is embedded in social networks, blogs, etc..

This idea is different – I’m proposing a site where hardcore scrapbookers can upload digital photos to create scrapbook pages, and use digital reproductions of real stickers, stamps, and borders to mock up their pages.  The site keeps track of all of the materials that are used in the online creation, and when the user is finished they would then have the option to purchase all of the raw materials (including the cropped, re-sized, printed photos) and have them shipped straight to your front door.

I’m not a scrap-booker myself, but based on observing my wife and her friends, here are a few problems I believe this would solve:

  • Materials like stickers and background sheets need to be purchased ahead of time, which limits the creativity and options when the person sits down and starts scrapbooking.  This solution would allow someone to put a few basic pieces together, and then if they have a brainstorm for a different sticker or background sheet to use, they wouldn’t have to make another run to the store or wait a week to get a shipment from eBay.
  • Creating an online scrapbook is relatively easy and can be done anywhere – including at work (during a lunch break, of course). 
  • As cool as printed photobooks are (we buy them all the time for gifts, for example), part of the fun of scrapbooking is the ability to get together with friends and go through the process of physically pasting the photos to the pages and having the perfect sticker to finish off a page. 
  • Printing digital pictures still kinda sucks.  We have a digital photo printer, but even that isn’t a great solution.  With this site, you’d be able to bring together two of the biggest scrapbooking pain points (printing photos and buying stickers/paper) and merge them into a single online ordering/shipping experience.

I know this idea probably won’t resonate all that well with the audience that would read a startup blog like this, but for anyone interested in building a business with a solid revenue model, here’s some food for thought.  Over the past month our household has spent approximately five dollars online through Web 2.0 sites (I bought the new Walkmen album on Amie Street for $5 – and it went to charity!) and approximately forty dollars online to buy stickers and photos for scrapbooking, and the total scrapbooking market was $2.4B back in 2004.  Kinda puts a new perspective on things, don’t it?

What do you guys think?  Also, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post – I’ll be gone but I have a special celebrity guest post all lined up.

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12 responses to “Y Combinator Challenge #9 – Photo/video sharing services

  1. I think this is a great idea. I don’t know all that much about scrspbooking. But this kind of “bling add-on” revenue model has worked well in other segments. I see no reson why it shouldn’t in online scrapbooking.

  2. Thanks Caleb. You’ve also given me a new challenge – to see how many times I can use the phrase “bling add-on” in my conversations around the office today.

  3. Are you going to actually make this? I might be interested in doing something like this if it’s just an idea you’re throwing out to the ether.

  4. Check out scrapblog.com. Amazing and beautiful technology.

  5. Peter – do it! My wife would be your first customer. :)

    As a quick note to anyone else out there, I encourage anyone and everyone to steal these ideas and build them out. No need to even mention that you found the idea here, though I’m happy to offer free advice and/or do some additional brainstorming if anyone wants – just shoot me a mail at kleneway@hotmail.com

  6. Jason – yep, I checked out scrapblog.com while I was brainstorming this idea (there’s actually a link to it buried somewhere in the post). It was definitely a very cool site, if anyone does actually build this out (hint, hint – Peter), I’d strongly consider checking out their interface for some ideas on how to do the online portion. But I feel the real differentiator here (and the real opportunity to bring in revenue) is by taking it a step farther and allow users to purchase the actual stickers, paper, stamps, hole punches, etc…

  7. Hi,

    I definitely agree this is a cool space. Check out my startup – http://www.aboutmybaby.com. It has a strong user base and we are looking to add even more features like this soon!

    If you’d like to learn more about it, feel free to check it out or drop me a note.

  8. Amazing, my wife’s a scrapbooking addict (we literally had to take a vacation just so she has new vacation pics for her upcoming scrapbook pages) and we talked about the same idea as this, a year ago but with more extensions to it.

    Maybe it’s time to really do it.

  9. Dave – the site looks great, congrats! We used a similar online scrapbooking-type site for our wedding last year, and will likely do the same once the time is right for the baby thing. Again, despite the fact that I visit and use a ton of Web 2.0 sites, the online wedding photo book site was the only one that I spent any non-trivial amount of money on.

  10. Khang – do it!! Definitely check out scrapblog.com, as they obviously are doing a lot of things right. Like I said above, feel free to shoot me a mail at kleneway@hotmail.com if you ever need someone to bounce some ideas off of.

  11. Pingback: 47 Hats - Bits and Pieces

  12. You are indeed correct on this one!!!

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