Blipfoto, an Edinburgh-based, photo-journaling site is a unique social media experience based on a strong and supportive community of members across the world. Created by Joe Tree in 2005 the company and platform has grown and gained many plaudits for its one-photo-a-day approach, it's ethos of 'being excellent', it's technology platform and the genuinely friendly and collaborative character of its users base.
The development trajectory of the platform is now changing radically. Having experimented with a private investor start-up strategy a bold move is now underway by the Blipfoto community to buy out Blipfoto with the co-operation of its current owners. If successful this will turn Blipfoto into a community-owned company where the assets will be locked into the company for the community's benefit ( known as a Community-Interest-Company).
The future business model will be based on membership subscriptions and a mix of paid and voluntary support to maintain and develop the site.
Blipfoto is not a mass social media platform. If bought by Blipfuture it is intended that it will not be an advertising base or 'big data' manipulator. Instead, it will be owned for and by the community. This marks a radical shift from an internet in which users and their lifestyles and choices are increasingly the base metal to be refined and traded and from which companies seeks to secure profit.
Blipfoto is a unique place for photographers and aspiring photographers, for writers, poets, bloggers and those seeking a more human side to the internet who like to use a camera. In the frenzied world of image-overload it challenges members to take and display an image a day and write something about it or their day. It is a serious undertaking, onerous even. But it opens up a world of shared endeavour and insights into near and distant lives. Through its community and individual interactions it creates a rich tapestry of voices and connections based on respect and courtesy. The great majority of journals are open to public view and the site is much visited by family and friends.
Here's a quote from a Blipfoto member (wakrusa) in the US.
'I would never have believed I would have made so many friends on both sides of the pond, and beyond, simply by posting photographs, but I have.
I treasure all these friendships so much, people whom I have never met but still are warm and sympathetic. Strange that this has happened in a year when our family has experienced some rough times. '
We are aiming, through our community investment company, Blipfuture CIC, to raise £180,000 to buy the assets of Blipfoto and to put it on a secure and sustainable financial future. If you would like to join us on our journey you can find out more about Blipfuture here and about Blipfoto here.
So far we have pledged £107, 345 (@ 14.4 on 8th Jan) but time is running short.
By registering at the Blipfuture site you can access the Business Plan, Financial Documents, the company's Articles of Association and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If the buyout is successful the current licensing agreement between Blipfoto and Polaroid will come to an end.
Due to regulatory issues only investors in the EU, EEA and Switzerland can buy shares in the company. Those outside these areas can donate but not own shares. All efforts will be made to ensure that all investors and the broader membership are included in the governance and consultative structures of the new company.
If you do pledge to invest in the company no money will be taken from your account unless the minimum funding target of £180,000 is reached.
Thank you for your time.
Blipfuture CIC is regulated by the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies. Investment in the company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This personal appeal in no way constitutes investment advice.
Write a comment
Wanderers13 (Monday, 04 January 2016 18:13)
This reads as a good description of where we are.
Where to use it: I thought the comment about contacting Radio 4's programme on a Saturday 9.00am slot (can't think of the name) sounded a good idea if they are looking at people who keep a diary.
Facebook Blipfoto friends, if shared it will reach others.
SPIDERBOY (Wednesday, 06 January 2016 08:21)
Loved blip and it's ethos - but the options now for many journals to adopt the "this User is protected" mode takes it from the safe community based photography sharing site into exactly what your letter says it doesn't want to be. It is now an Internet social media site and is not open to all. I stopped blipping when this option was introduced as it just became an extention of Instagram/facebook.
Many of my blipping colleagues think this is not an issue but it is MY concern and the reason why I will not be pledging.
FergusM (Wednesday, 06 January 2016 09:52)
I was unaware of the protected journal issue. It is not something I have come across in a lot of wandering around on Blipfoto. Do you think there are many protected journals or is your objection more that there is the option to protect journals?
As for Polaroid the irony is that if the buyout is successful the licensing agreement with Polaroid - which I believe is already expired - will disappear and all mentions of Polaroid in Blipfoto pages, adverts etc will be expunged, gotten rid off, cosigned to the history bin.
Lastly, a community interest company has to do what it says on the tin. It has to protect the interests of the community - it is a legal obligation. And as the voting shareholders will be largely, if not exclusively, Blipfoto members the community will have really substantial decision making powers through votes at AGMs and General Meetings.