It feels like I haven’t written in a month! Oh that’s because I haven’t! Anyway, what better topic to re-open the flow of blog posts than one about Facebook?? As we all know, Facebook launched its IPO last week in an attempt to raise billions more than they were already worth (according to estimates), but from the very beginning, analysts were questioning the legitimacy of Facebook’s value. I mean seriously, how can you really gauge the value of an Internet company that doesn’t have a constant stream of revenue? Well, it seems the value of Facebook is relative to the amount of users actively on the site mixed with the real-world numbers of how much traffic and advertising Facebook is capable of receiving and displaying.
Naturally you need images to help add to the design of your website and in the case of managing a blog site, you also need them to help sell your point. There are millions of images all over the Internet, but the problem is that you have to contend with copyright laws and trademark issues.
So what’s the answer to this dilemma? Basically you have three choices. One, create all the images yourself. Two, find royalty-free images to use. Or three, consider purchasing/using stock images and graphics.
What are stock images and graphics?
Stock images are usually a generic image of something that you use to sell a product or add dimension to a piece of writing. You might have seen on eBay for example an item listed and a caption underneath stating stock photo. This just means that the picture you’re looking at is not of the actual item for sale, but it is an image of the item.
Stock photos are also used for magazine, newspaper and blog articles. I picked up the image above right off of one of the sites below and added it here to create some color for this post.
There are companies out there that specialize in the distribution of images and graphics that were created by various people for the express purpose of using in specific applications. Some stock images are free, most you have to pay for. Sometimes, you must also take into consideration the format in which they are allowed to be used.
Where do I get these images?
There are plenty of places online offering stock photography and a quick web search will do the trick, but here are a few of the ones I find to have the best quality images
- Stock.Xchng – This site is considered to be the leading stock image site for FREE images, so you may want to make this your first stop before paying for photos elsewhere.
- Getty Images – If you want to search through over 24 million photos, this is the only place you can do so. You have probably seen many, many photos in magazines, web articles and more that have a photo credit to Getty Images. Well, now you can get access to these same images!
- BigStock – The thing I like about this site is that you buy credits to use for purchasing images and not every image is the same credit price. Plus, the more credits you buy up front, the more you save.
- Shutter Stock – Here’s a great royalty-free collection of images that I just recently came across, but it seems to have a lot to choose from.
My two cents
Use photos as often as needed, but don’t overdo it! You don’t want to crowd your page design with images and graphics that don’t apply to your content. Last but not least, never use copyrighted images without permission! People like me, who create original content, do not appreciate it when people simply take our creations for their own advancement. Speaking of which, you might want to check out my copyright information to see how I allow my site to be used!
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I read an article over on John Chow’s blog that lead me to an interesting bit of information from Kyle Conroy’s blog about buying Apple stock over buying Apple product. At first, I expected it to be a rant about how great the stock market is and how we should all invest in our favorite corporations, but after looking at it, it proved to be much more of a “why didn’t I think of that” type of story.
Although I loved the article, I now hate myself for not being “smarter” in my younger years. I guess I can chalk it up to just not being sure about the future, but then again when it comes to Apple, did anybody really think this company would fail? Google maybe, but Apple? Likely not.
Essentially what Kyle did was compare the selling prices of almost all of Apple’s products to the stock price on the day these products came out and then again to today’s stock price. Here are the products I own for example:
- Original iPhone – Price paid on January 9th, 2010: $499 – If I had bought Apple stock on the same day instead of the iPhone, I would now have $1,460 in my portfolio.
- iPhone 3GS – Price paid on June 8th, 2009: $199 – I would now have $375 in my portfolio.
- 2.4G MacBook (13″ unibody, late-2008) – Price paid on October 14th, 2008: $1599 – I would now have $4,161 in my portfolio.
That would have given me a grand total of $5,996 in my portfolio today! Instead, I have negative $2597. Granted, the products have served me well and I don’t regret owning (or buying) them, but the point is still made.
Could I have forgone these items to have a few extra thousand in a volatile environment such is the stock market? Probably no more than any of us could forgo our new cars and expensive clothes. However, one item that took the cake on this list is one that I could have forgone if only I had that much money at the time.
Apple PowerBook G3 250 (Original/Kanga/3500) – Price on November 10th, 1997: $5700 – If you used that money to buy stock on the same day, you’d now have $330,563 in your portfolio! On the other hand, maybe you used that PowerBook to start your business and now you make more than $300,000 a year being your own boss! You never know how the tides may turn.
Go check out the rest of the list here and see what your Apple products could have amounted to.