Idea: vertical search engine for stock photos

Searching for stock photography has always been a pain — visit corbis, then getty images, then veer and then… who knows what else. I’d like a single site to deliver a consolidated image search across all of these image databases.

And most stock photographs seem to be pretty well tagged, but how about letting people tag/rate photographs, collections and stock photo companies? This additional meta data could go a long way to making it easier for designers to find good stock photographs.

The site could make money through referrer fees (assuming that these sites have such a thing), though this sort of revenue model could create a conflict with the goal of providing high quality search results. Maybe the site could make money providing other services to a designer community that it would foster.

One of the other cool trends that I think will grow to dominate the stock photography business, or at least grow it to a new set of customers that don’t buy stock photography today is the trend towards amateurs and prosumers selling their work online. Why couldn’t some average photographer upload a bunch of his stuff to flickr and, in turn, have someone else pay him for those photographs? I’d buy those photographs — they’d be less expensive and there’d be a lot more to choose from.