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You could have made $60, but you were too greedy

We were at a local tourist attraction. Our kids went on a ride. The place took our picture and tried to sell it to us for $10.

Stupid and greedy.

If you gave us the photo, my wife and I would have emailed it to our friends and put it on our Facebook page (with your logo). We have 2,000 friends between us. They have 250,000 friends.

At least one family would have showed up and bought 4 tickets at $15 each. Probably many more would have.

You could have made at least $60 from my friends. You would have paid $1 per thousand impressions for targeted advertising to my friends (another $250).

Instead of trying to make a quick buck, make it easy for your fans to talk about you.

Imagine if they gave a free photo to the 1,000 families that visited every day…

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  1. Tony Veroeven November 30, 2009 at 8:11 am #


    Definitely an opportunity missed!

    What would have been cool is if they would have had kiosks where you could twitpic & post the pic to Facebook right there!

  2. Charles Neville November 30, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    At the heart of this is that more companies should allow their (smart, entrepreneurial) marketers to take control of the whole product experience. Then they would be able to implement programs like this, which spread their brand, instead of try and squeeze every last penny out of every visitor (which is how it seems parks are set up).

  3. matt haines December 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    I hate to sound like a luddite here, but you don’t know the theme park will make money money giving away photos than they would by selling them. If they sell 1 out of 20 photos as an impulse purchase, they might be making some serious money. 1000 riders per day, 50 people buy, that’s $500 per ride and/or per photographer…I think that’s a conservative guess, but I of course don’t know the real numbers.

    Let’s look at the process for your alternative ‘social’ solution. The customer has to remember when he or she gets home to find the image online, assuming he’s retained the link. He has to download it, and then upload it, or find a way to hot-link it. He has to have somewhere to actually do this, such as Facebook. Then where does the image go? Possibly on his profile image for awhile, but possibly not…after all it’s got that logo stuck to it. The savvy user edits off the logo if it’s attached to one side. If the logo is big enough to see in a small thumbnail, it’s also so intrusive that the customer is unlikely to choose that image has his profile image. Who wants to be the Disney stooge to his friends on Fb? So the image goes in one of his photo albums online. Where maybe five people bother to look at it.

    Social media isn’t always the best solution. Sometimes actually *selling* stuff wins out over social marketing. Selling stuff is after all the whole point (which sometimes we forget). Social marketing is still just marketing, which is supposed to lead to sales. It does not make money in and of itself.

    I personally can’t stand those amusement park photographers. But that’s because I can take my own pictures. :)

  4. mike ashworth December 3, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    this is a great point, many companies could change just slightly and create great word of mouth.

    here is one example i thought of on the fly for a co that cleans your car whilst you are shopping.

  5. Philip December 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    As a professional photographer I find this post disturbing. So I ask you for $10 for a photo wrong or right I need to make money on this particular industry. You on the other hand or willing to STEAL the picture and illegally copy a copyrighted image and mail it to over 2,000 people?? Yet you cannot assure me that one NOT one of those people might visit my business. Of course I have to give you the photo and still pay the photographer their $10 an hour. But then again it’s only a photo right?

    Of course I’m sure when I walk into your business and ask for something free you will escort me out or call the police saying I’ve shop lifted. I’m sure a dentist would love to fix my bad tooth for free because of good word of mouth, I am sure that BigO Tires would love to put free tires on my ride because I’ll give them free word of mouth! Yeah y’all are not very realistic!

  6. Andy Sernovitz December 8, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Philip –

    I think you’re mis-reading the suggestion. No one is talking about stealing photos, illegal file sharing, or disrespecting the work of professional photographers.

    I’m suggesting that the venue should give away free photos, in an easy-to-share online format. That would encourage attendees to tell their friends about it. The venue may make more money from new customers than from selling photos.

    As a the son of a professional photographer, I understand your frustration with the changes that digital has brought to the photo business.

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