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Company: Fotolog

HQ: New York, NY

Founded: 2002

Management: None to speak of. Three guys with day jobs have run the company. They are: software consultant Adam Seifer who built the user interface, Scott Heiferman who seems to pay the bills (he sold his ad agency i-traffic and also founded and runs, and some dude named Spike who runs the back-end. However, now that the company has received funding, we expect the team will expand.

Investors: The company was bootstrapped, but in March 2005, it raised a modest $2.4 million from BV Capital.

Business Model: Fotolog does for photos what LiveJournal or Blogger have done for text blogging. The company built a platform that allows photographers to post their work, have visitors comment, and create a photo-based community. Fotolog currently has over one million users, with many millions more visiting, and nearly 39 million posted photographs.

Competitors: HeyPix (CNET), Snapfish (HP), Picasa (Google), Flickr (Yahoo)

Dirt: Despite the large marketing efforts of Ofoto, Shutterfly, and others, Fotolog is easily the most popular photo site on the Web. We detect Scott Heiferman’s hand in the low-key, anti-commercial stance of Fotolog.

His other site, Meetup is structured much more like the grassroots Craigslist, than the monetize-your-audience approach of Friendster. Given the buy-out frenzy that is occurring in the online photo space, we suspect that Fotolog has received offers, and has rejected them. Because Fotolog’s technology is fairly basic, and others could replicate it, we think Fotolog is smart to continue to please the grassroots legions that have made it a sensation, rather than to seeking to milk the audience with pop-ups and paid services.


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Tagged: Business, Communications

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