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About 4 weeks left until tookapic dies

tookapic.com
https://tookapic.com/tookapic-hero
tookapic.com

I did the math again today. In the bank account tookapic has money for about 4 weeks. After that - if nothing changes - I will have to pull the plug and shut down the site.

At the moment we're $1500/mo short. That's the amount I've been paying every month from my own pocket to keep this thing running. I can't afford it anymore.

You know what the worst part is? We've built an awesome thing that people love. We have a product market fit. There's a business model that finally started to work. But it all came too late, and we're simply out of money.

No, kickstarter won't work in where tookapic is based (we couldn't afford a campaign anyway). Crowdfunding is not an option, I'm afraid. It's not that simple as it looks.

The best thing that could happen right now is a sponsor/partner/advertiser with $2000/mo budget. That would buy us another month or two to find a better solution.

I will do my best to save the site and this community. I will be working until the very last day (I think we won't even make it to tookapic's third birthday, which I already started planning). But it doesn't look good, I tell you.

I'm even willing to sell, just to keep this place up for you.

If you have any suggestions or ideas, the stage is yours.

PS. Of course, once the site shuts down (if it shuts down), we'll do refunds on Hero subscriptions over time (don't think we can afford refunding all at the same time).

319 comments

Michał Sounds serious :(

Have you tried to contact any business angels? Unfortunately I do not know any, but maybe other tookapickers might suggest some?

Paweł Kadysz I did talk to few. Two of them interested. But no results so far.

Paweł Kadysz That's also not that simple as it seems to be. We hear about the big investments or projects backed by angels. But for every backed up project there are thousands that didn't get funded.

Michał Yes, I can imagine that. So yet another scenario wolud be to arrange partnership with some global stock photography agency. For example EyeEm done that with Getty. I know, it may sound close to impossible, but let's pretend like this thread is a kind of brainstorming session. What else can we do?

vera Oh my God Pawel! I'm so sad to hear that! I don't find the words... of course it's sad for all of us, but also I think of you, the great job you make, how hard it is! I can't help better, but just give you these words of the heart...

Paweł Kadysz Thank you.

Daniel Borth How many hero users tookapic need ?

Paweł Kadysz About 4 times what it has right now.

Ginger I am going to buy hero acc since tomorrow and I bet many of us gonna do this, hearing that catastrophy is coming... But... What about changing rules of payment? Maybe any option of free donations of various amount, according to every user possibilities, would work better? I have sold my web page lately for pretty nice money, so I can get to know if they are willling to buy yours page too...But obviously it gonna lost its spirit this way, and it would be such a pity... Hopefully it is possible to keep this awesome project as it is so far... Good luck, to you Paweł, and somehow to all of us.
Guys, we all love tookapic, let's rescue it all together :)

Daniel Borth Yes , lets do it !

bartosz palus Free donations is good idea. Somewhere on the website could be 'progress bar', which would show how far is to the monthly goal

Łukasz Brożek It's so sad information. I hope that we will find funds for Tookapic.

There will no better time to buy hero account and support tookapic.

Paweł Kadysz Thank you.

Paweł Kadysz One idea we had was turning tookapic into paid-only community. You get 30 days of free trial and if you like what you get - you need to get the subscription.

I'm not sure though how would that affect the community.

Rafal Some ideas come to me:
- gradation of the fee (two or three steps) - fee dependable profits (for less money paid you got some infos from the panel, then normal fee as it is and vip/super hero)
- or first month gratis, then consecutively every 2-4 months 25% raise of the fee (from 5 zl/month in first months up to 20 zl/months on last two months of the first year project)
- and You should write this info from the entry of this post in Polish and
- send this bilingual info to every tookapicker personally

Przemysław Buzdygan @Paweł if You will open up tookapic for free donations I will pay extra money(and it doesnt count for me that Im Hero already). Progress bar or something should be in visible place on website. All tookapic community should know about it (about situation and need of help) and maybe Talks are just not enough - place it on the main site! Second thing is: I dont want refund from tookapic hero. We need more Tookapic Heros....

Urszula Stachowicz I totally agree. I didn't bought my hero acount because of the extra features (they're cool, but I could leave without them), but because Tookapic is the greatest community and idea and I wanted to support it. And we can't lose it!

Paweł Kadysz I think that's one of the main problems. While, as @Ian mentioned 10% of conversion is a great result for a freemium model - the features we offer for premium users are not incentivising enough to get them to upgrade. Majority of Heroes upgraded because of the community, and not because the additional features.

There's no "killer feature" that makes upgrading no-brainer. But this only confirms that the core of tookapic is worth paying for and maybe we really should make it a paid-only community.

Ian Prince Exactly. The "killer features" are not the technical features, but the community and what it means to anyone who want to make photography a part of their life. I know a premium model is not what you originally planned but I think you might be happily surprised how many members who have posted over 30 or 60 photos are ok with a premium model. And like I mentioned in tookapic.com/talks/407-hero-ac... most of the members are using equipment in the hundreds of dollars, but that doesn't make necessarily them better photographers or get more out of photography. Being part of the vibrant tookapic does though :) Which makes a monthly or yearly subscription a relatively small amount in comparison and well worth it !

Lesley Where is the Hero information? This is the first I have ever heard of it. Maybe there are many who don't know?

agnieszka bladzik do tookapic earn more from hero accounts or selling photos on stock part? I wonder how we can increase photo sales, you probably also 'investing' our sales money if they are under 50$ still so ceding it to tookapic will not change much :(

Przemysław Buzdygan Situation is serious but looking into size of Tookapic community it should not be a problem to collect 200 x 7$-8$ to have 1500-1600$. To extinguish a fire on Tookapics board You need to open donations - I can guarantee my 25PLN per month extra and Im sure that we will find another 199 Tookapickers who will help...

Ginger This is also my idea, which I presented here yesterday. I am sure it would work fine.

Darek I support any idea of this service, especially additional donations. I was going to pay for a hero as a monthly subscription but would be willing to buy a yearly subscription if that would improve the situation a little.

Rafał Morawiec Bring to Us free donations and We'll do the best We'll can :)

Jakub Bobrowski And is it possible to donate "virtual money" for tookapic from sales of photos? One button to share your earned money - under Tookapic support? They are not big amounts, but "grain to grains" ...

Ian Prince Paweł, I'm sorry to hear about the financial situation. I'm sure it must terribly stressful and saddening after having put in so much hard work... and money from your savings. I'm sure I speak for the community in saying that we're extremely grateful for what you have created and financially supported for so long.

I think we/you have to assume the chances of a sponsor/partner/advertiser being found in just four weeks is very slim.

OK, these a rough figures (correct me where I'm wrong) but from what I understand there are about 100 active members with a paying subscription. The other 900 active members do not have a subscription. While 10% "conversion" rate is a good value, it's doesn't make tookapic financial viable with a total community of 1'000 active members.

I understand your goal of making that number much larger. As much as I believe tookapic has that potential to be a community into the tens or hundreds of thousands, that's not going to happen over the next four weeks,

So, desperate times need desperate measures!

So I'm going to be blunt. The only measure that's stands a decent chance of short-term survival is to make tookapic a website where subscriptions are mandatory.

For sure the community is going to be smaller, but a financially sustainable one. Right now we have the choice of a small community, or no community at all.

As with most business plans, execution is key. There are quite a few good ideas that have already been shared here. Let me humbly share a few of mine.

Regarding the subscriptions themselves:

- subscriptions are mandatory after the first 30 or 60 days or photos. Surely a members who posts that many photos is getting great value from tookapic?

- student price reductions. Hey I was a student once!

- yearly subscription at a heavy discount .Two big advantages (1) "cash-in-the-bank" and (2) new members with "skin-in-the-game" to motivate them to go to 365 as they have already paid for a year

Regarding the "roll-out" over the next four weeks, a few ideas:

- a direct mail to un-subscribed members announcing the changes (as suggested: in English and Polish!)

- a direct mail to hero members members proposing a super-hero upgrade to support tookapic in these difficult times. Clearly state how the pro-rata billing works

- some kind of gratification to those who purchase a subscription. It could just be as simple as a page that lists "<member> subscribed today, yeah!"

- as much as I dont like them a pop-up to unsubscribed members inviting them to purchase a subscription

-some kind of status page showing how the "save tookapic" movement is going

Hope these ideas help. I'm sure many others have good ones too, and I look forward to reading them,

The next four weeks are probably going to be very busy! You have my full support.

Juliett We have a feature that tells us what cameras people are using, can you add a feature to facilitate the sale of cameras ? for paid members only with tookapic charging a fee per sale. Sites selling physical objects seem to make a lot of money. This could also open up the community through people buying things.

Darek And what about ads - more ads on the home page? Would increasing the advertising profits would somehow help? I have a monthly hero license but I have not disabled ad serving options.

Satoshi T @Paweł Is there no option to get more advertising fees from sponsors in exchange for many advertisements?

Paweł Kadysz We're talking to some advertisers. But nothing has been settled yet.

jokele To save the costs for resources like storage space and bandwith, maybe it's an option to delete outdated accounts with all photos. I think, if someone doesn't pay for the account, the account must not be alive for ages, when tookapic itself is in danger.

With outdated accounts I mean accounts, where no photos were uploaded for a while.

Paweł Kadysz Obviously, free donation is a great idea, but would take us few weeks to implement. Tax laws in Poland are horribly confusing. But we could do something else...

Some kind of perks (in unlimited amount) that you can purchase from tookapic. Right now the only idea I had was additional stars to be able to favorite more photos. But that's not that incentivising, I think.

Any other ideas?

agnieszka bladzik some kind of icon next to the name? not exactly hero but supporter? different types and amounts - for 1 day, week etc.? or like new achievement you can buy

Jakub Bobrowski Meanwhile, the hero option bought at least for the next month ...

Hanna G łatwiej mi będzie w języku ojczystym za co z góry przepraszam - nie zgadzam się z poprzednikami, że polskie prawo podatkowe w zakresie darowizn jest skomplikowane.
Problem nie w prawie podatkowym ale w przepisach regulujących zbiórki publiczne.
Z punktu widzenia prawa podatkowego istotne jest, że Tookapic jest spółką z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością a co za tym jest tzw. osobą prawną i ma do niego zastosowanie ustawa o podatku dochodowym od osób prawnych. Zgodnie z przepisami tej ustawy opodatkowaniu podlega dochód bez względu na źródło jego powstania co w uproszczeniu oznacza, że wszelkie darowizny łączy się z pozostałymi przychodami a następnie pomniejsza o wszystkie koszty uznane podatkowo -> jeżeli wystąpi nadwyżka przychodów nad kosztami podatkowymi to tak obliczony dochód podlega opodatkowaniu. Jeżeli wystąpi nadwyżka kosztów podatkowych nad przychodami oznacza to, że spółka poniosła straty podatkowe - z tego co napisał Paweł wynika, ze Tookapic nie ma dochodu (gdyby był dochód nie byłoby problemu) lecz stratę podatkową a co za tym dochód nie wystąpi i nie wystąpi podatek do zapłaty.
Istotne w sprawie jest aby nie doszło do zbiórki publicznej lecz do prywatnych darowizn a wtedy problem jest prosty do rozwiązania. Zbiórki publiczne mogą być prowadzone wyłącznie przez podmioty wymienione w odpowiedniej ustawie, w określony ustawą sposób i na cele w tej ustawie wymienione - Tookapic 'nie załapuje' się a co za tym darowizny mogą być wpłacane 'na zasadach ogólnych'.

a jeszcze prostsza jest opłata miesięczna za korzystanie z serwisu

Magda Ko Happy to hear that some of you just bought "Hero" to support Tookapic. I agree that 30-60 days using Tookapic should be FOC and after that time you can charge 50% , after 300 days full amount. Paweł If you have still some manpower I would suggest develop more sales items like calendars, postcards, posters. It should bring extra money and maybe new customers for stock as well. Christmas is just around the corner and people might look for something special for souvenirs. Does everyone already print book with your photos? I have done it twice and this is so beautifully done. Can wait to print next one.

Ian Prince As they say "A picture is worth a thousand words" "#tookapichero (Stairs #29)"

Marcin K. next weekly theme to consider: "become hero"

vera Great!

Łukasz Brożek In 2016 I bought my hero subscription (annualy option) and because of that I cannot upgrade my account to super hero or did I miss something?

Anyway I bought my first tookapic tshirt. :P

Mikołaj Shut up and take my money! I'm a total newbie and it hasn't even been two weeks since I joined tookapic, but I already love it! Storing my poor pictures from the 365 project on my hard drive simply wouldn't be the same. Watching other beginners struggle with their project and getting better each day, as well as advanced users producing such inspiring works is just amazing. Not to mention technical aspects: beautiful design, usability and API I was planning to use.
Paweł, you are the best and I appreciate your work so much!

Kazziz Guys, instead of simple donations You can buy hero for people who don't have it, and who's work You admire.

Łukasz Brożek It's definitely a good idea. I did it. ;)

vera great idea!

Satoshi T Let's cheer him/her and Tookapic by clicking "Buy Hero" button of the Photographer you admire and not Hero yet! -Especially special young student photographer-

zlasu What mainly generates those cost? Is hosting or something else?

jazzie I can not upgrade to super hero, there is an error when I try to do so :(

Comment was deleted

Paweł Kadysz Yup, the free version of tookapic is all people need. And the core value - the community is also free. That's our main "problem".

Rafał Morawiec So resolve this problem :D

elliss Maybe we all will put tommorow a pic encouraging people to subscribe to Hero? Like @Ian today?

Ian Prince That would be great :) Just tag them #tookapichero :)

Bartłomiej Jacak It's so sad to hear that... Tookapic made me a muuuch better photographer. To be honest – thanks to it I've started my adventure with a photography. The problem is that I don't earn money yet, but I'll do whatever I can to support it. Cheer up @Paweł, it's not the end. You've built a great site with a great community and we will do everything to support you!