Free versus “Free”

(Spell check chokes, so I’ll misspell) Flicker is free. So is my side project, The difference is, I have to fork out money for the domain name, the web hosting, and then, there’s the time update and manipulate web underpinnings, not to mention the pictures themselves. However, there’s a substantial difference, too.

While Flicker has much greater reach, it’s limited, too. “Free” limits the list to 200 – guessing – most recent uploads. While bandwidth and digital storage is getting cheaper by the minute, there’s a catch, too.

Did you read all of the fine print? All of the terms of service?

I looked at it, but I get glassy-eyed after a few moments with a standard contract, the EULA. I’m sure there’s a “hold blameless” clause. I’ve got ’em, for sure.

The other question, I can recall when a friend of a friend, told me to try this new website, called “Google.” The rest is history, right? Likewise, the imminent demise of Yahoo!? Yeah, they own Flicker, last I checked. Me? I have an English degree – you do the math on that one.

The behemoths come and go, and the little guy, like me, the independent, we’re the ones who keep on ticking. There’s a question, now, I have about how to support the “free” service. I know that advertising revenue hasn’t been very much. Even with about billion page views, it’s still not a lot. For the sake of demonstration purposes, I’ll suppose that a website on stable host costs around $80 per annum. Then, unless I’m paying by the year through Register dot com, the name costs $20. That means the total bill is roughly $100 per year. About every ten months, I get a check for $10 – direct advertising revenue. While that revenue spans several websites, most of it, almost a dollar a month, is direct from the side-project alone.

Two regular half-hour readings make up the difference, after applicable taxes are paid. While the site doesn’t really generate 2 readings in a year, I enjoy what I do and it’s worth an hour of my time. It’s a worthwhile endeavor.

In part, the side-project could be titled, “How not to take pictures.” Then, too, when I’m in a mood, it’s the best therapy. A quiet walk in place that inspires awe and wonder? Urban decay and its subsequent renewal? That town – San Antonio – it’s been there longer than the States have been a country.

The rules are simple, to me, in the last five years or so, I’ve accumulated quite a tourist’s eye view of the confines of Bexar County. One picture a day, from within that line. Simple. At that rate, that’s 365 images in a single year, and it’s been going for two – outstrips the Flicker guidelines. There are other free outlets for similar services, but there’s always a catch – someone gets paid for the advertising, and the advertising must pay enough for a profit.

Me? I haven’t seen that. Then, too, not every image is enigmatic, or captivating. Or artistic. Or whatever. Some images only speak to me. For example, Liberty Food Store, a currently abandoned shell, south of downtown, and oddly evocative of (something).

I just suppose that, as a working artist, I can earn some kind of income from the efforts, be it written or other. The images for the web are not the full-blown high-res – although I do have the digital files in all their glorious color and detail.

There are currently a little over a thousand files in the image basket for the side project. Means that there’s three years’ worth, so far. And means it’s way over “free” limits.