Yes, We Know It’s Not Foolproof
April 27, 2017
The past week has been exciting for us, finally getting EXIF.co launched. Thanks to everyone who helped us get this going, and those who helped spread the word.
This being an internet thing, the feedback, both bad and good, is easy to find. There are definitely features we need to build, but it seems one of our biggest weaknesses is communication. Communication about what EXIF.co does, what it doesn’t do well, and what our goals are.
There are lots of smart people out there, that have figured out how to circumvent the watermark. A big chunk of the discussion is just people posting unprotected screenshots.
Fair enough. But, we know it’s easy to get around. We’ve been putting a little too much pressure on this feature in our marketing materials. We need to fix this message.
Our goal with the watermark is to add some friction and to protect against casual ‘theft’. We want make the act a little more deliberate, so that you know you’re doing something against the photographer’s wishes when you take that image.
The embed provides well-meaning people and publications with an option to use and share the images legally. We actually just added a share button directly in the embed to make this easier.
A bigger hope though, is that this could encourage communication with image creators to get permission to use their work.
With the embed, we’re trying to add as much security as we can, without sacrificing a normal viewer’s experience. This means there are going to be holes in the security, but our embeds are still better protected than a normal image. Maybe these holes aren’t worth the hassle for you, and that’s fine. I’ll buy that. It’s not for everyone, or all use cases. I’m just trying to clarify our intent.
The Other Stuff
Our primary goal is not securing images, but making sure image creators get credit for their work. The watermark is just one piece of that.
Many photographers have stories about their images spreading over the internet without being credited. Our embeds can help with this, by providing an easy way for someone to paste the image into their blog. Attribution automatically included.
Yes, there are lots of services out there that do this already. Our point of differentiation on this feature is that we’re trying to make it seamless on the page. We want it to act more like a normal image, and get out of the way of the page it lives on.
We also include analytics for the images. You can see what websites are embedding the image, and see which links are being clicked on in the credits.
This could help with licensing discussions between photographers and publications, making usage clearer. Regardless, it’s valuable to know how your images are being used.
Wrapping it up
In the end, EXIF.co isn’t any one of these features. It’s all of them working together, towards our mission to help bring better attribution to images on the web.
We’re still trying to figure out exactly how to describe ourselves, what features are most valuable, and exactly who our target audience is. The feedback has been super helpful, and we hope it keeps coming.