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Shakodo photo and assignment pricing site launched  
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | by Rob Galbraith
Billing itself as dedicated to "educating amateur and professional photographers through an interactive and open exchange of real business situations and real prices," the Shakodo website has launched.

Name Your Price: The Shakodo website

Started by Juergen Specht, a Tokyo-based pro shooter and proprietor of the D1scussion mailing list, and Ken Lee, an avid amateur photographer with a background in the financial industry, the site enables photographers to pose questions to other photographers about assignment pricing, licensing and more, the goal being to "stop the downslide of photographic service rates by having 'people in the know' educate professionals and amateurs on proper pricing."

It's meant to be an alternative to more-static pricing services by both providing pros a place to ask and answer questions as well as introduce non-pros to the notion that their pictures have value beyond a photo credit.

Membership to Shakodo is free.

More information is in the press release below.

Press Release

Shakodo Web Service Launched - Empowering Amateur and Professional Photographers by sharing Knowledge and Experience to discover the Real Value of their Photos and Services


Tokyo, Japan (December 8, 2010) - Alive Co., Ltd., a Tokyo based consulting company, launched today a new innovative web service aimed at photographers at:

http://www.shakodo.com

Shakodo is a simple to use and innovative free service, designed to give a boost to the photography business by educating amateur and professional photographers through an interactive and open exchange of real business situations and real prices. While the demand for high quality photos is higher than ever, professional photographers are not satisfied with the decline of their income.

"Professional photographers have a lot more competition out there today and technology has made it possible for talented amateur photographers to take equivalent or sometimes even better pictures than professionals. The main difference is that amateurs are not aware of the true value of their photos and often give them away for free, undercutting the market and leaving, effectively, money on the table." said Juergen Specht, a Japan-based German Photographer, partner in Alive Co., Ltd. and co-founder of Shakodo. Specht continued, "We've realized it's as much the fault of professional photographers - who like to blame these talented amateurs - by not sharing their knowledge of proper pricing."

Ken Lee, the managing director of Alive Co., Ltd. and co-founder of Shakodo shares his personal experience and frustrations: "Being an amateur photographer myself, I often get approached about use of my photos for 'photo credits'. While asking around what would be a proper price for licensing of my images, the most common answer was an unsatisfactory 'it depends'. When researching online, most photography business web sites become very vague when it actually comes to pricing"

Lee further explains, "As a consultant and coach to Fortune 500 companies, I am often in similar situations and understand that 'it depends' is mostly a place holder for 'I do not know', or, 'I don't want to share'. Nobody is immune to the lack of business knowledge in the fast moving photography business market, where new ideas, licensing models and opportunities crop up daily. Juergen and I quickly identified the need for a new and flexible solution to share business knowledge based on real life cases when they occur."

The Problem
Photography is one of those professions without any fixed prices; with almost everything being negotiated. Until recently, the photographic market was very isolated and the skill of price negotiation was one of the key success factors for professionals. With the influx of talented amateurs a market-shift began to take place. With their lack of experience and knowledge about current market rates and not understanding client's budgets and needs, these talented amateurs have settled for lower price offers. As a result, they have unintentionally undercut professionals while leaving money on the table because they are not aware of the true market value of their photos or services.

The Shakodo Solution
Shakodo has changed the conventional 'forum' standard by creating an advanced Question and Answer service, which integrates a unique Reputation and Award system. Members can earn Reputation points and Awards by asking good Questions and providing good Answers. Along with this, Shakodo also introduces a new Price Slider technology which allows members to set price ranges in different currencies with the ability to have real-time price conversions, enabling members from different countries to compare prices in their native currency. By using the free Shakodo service, photographers are able enhance their knowledge of the business of photography and are then better equipped to properly negotiate with clients.

In summary: Shakodo wants to put photographers back on the "Road to Profitable Photography".

For more information please visit the Shakodo web site:

http://www.shakodo.com

About

Juergen Specht
Juergen Specht is a Tokyo based professional photographer from Germany, a consultant to the international photo industry and a partner in Alive Co., Ltd.

Prior to joining forces with Ken Lee, he founded and successfully sold three Internet companies, started the first forum dedicated to digital photography, D1scussion, in 1999 and most recently held the role as CTO at a top Fortune 500 company to create Japan's largest photo sharing and printing site.

In 2005, he opened the eyes of many professional photographers and camera makers by spearheading the OpenRAW initiative. OpenRAW conducted the largest photographer survey about RAW usage to-date, creating a major shift in the attitude of camera makers regarding interoperability with software developers and triggered the ongoing development of a universal RAW format.

Ken Lee
Ken Lee is a Tokyo based Korean-Canadian and is the founder and Managing Director of Alive Co., Ltd.
After spending more than 15 years in the Financial industry working in IT, he founded Alive Co., Ltd. in 2009 and consulted many different types of organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, specializing in enhancing existing processes, streamlining complex operations and coaching individuals and teams in effective work techniques and out-of-the-box thinking practices.

An avid photographer himself, Ken has traveled the world and is especially attracted to places forgotten and the shadows of their past, immortalizing them in his unique photographs.

Alive Co., Ltd.
Alive is not your ordinary company.

We are a small and efficient group of individuals that provide solutions on the principles of "Working Smarter".

Our clients range from Startups to Fortune 500 companies in the photographic, financial and Internet industries. Together, we create new opportunities by breathing new life and adding creative ideas into areas that can be improved. By collaborating with our growing network of competent partner companies and individuals, we are able to provide various services that help turn these concepts and ideas "alive".


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