Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Open Source Microstock Agency: How Stock Photo Agency YayMicro.com was Created Using Only Open Source Technology
Oslo (PRWEB) September 6, 2010 - With little resources, but lot’s of faith, energy and a common belief in how a microstock agency should be made, three entrepreneurs all quit their job at a leading stock agency, and started creating low price photo agency http://yaymicro.com from scratch.
They literally had nothing: No founding, no code, no stock photos. Today http://yaymicro.com features more than one million stock photos and is commonly regarded as the easiest to use microstock agency. This is a fairy tale story showing how far the open source community has come, and how you can create something out of nothing if you just believe.
Microstock photography is an offshoot of traditional stock photo agencies. Microstock companies source their images via the Internet from a wide range of photographers, and customers can buy the stock photos at a very low price compared to traditional stock photo agencies. At YayMicro.com anyone can register as a photographer, upload their pictures and, if the photos are approved by YayMicro’s reviewers, sell them to customers around the world. When an image is bought through the website, the photographer receives 50% in commission. In contrast to traditional stock agencies, licensing rights at YayMicro is super simple. YayMicro offers a Royalty Free license that gives the customer permission to use an image on anything the customer want, as many times as he wants, for as long as he wants. The only limitation is on reselling rights, which can also be bought, but at a higher price.
Since resources were scarce, and software is expensive, the people at YayMicro were pretty much forced to look at free alternatives for anything they did. Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Apple were out the window. Instead, every piece of technology was chosen from the open source community.
Here is the technology http://yaymicro.com was built on:
Operating System - CentOS
The enterprise-class linux distribution was chosen because it has proven to be one of the most reliable and stable distributions. It’s one of the most popular server distributions, meaning it is easy to find solutions and support online. YayMicro is currently running CentOS release 5.5 (Final) that was released in May this year.
CentOS was an easy choice for Yay, since the developers had experience from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The community around CentOS provides the support needed, and the functionality is just as good as RHEL. In fact, CentOS can be regarded as the free edition of the same software that makes Red Hat an enterprise solution. It is incredibly stable, efficient, and secure. It provides the same level of security as other enterprise Linux versions. All updates also coincides with a release of RH, ensuring consistent compatibility.
Database Management System - PostgresSQL
Obviously, for a microstock agency with millions of images, selecting the right DBMS is crucial. There were two clear alternatives YayMicro had to choose between; mySQL and PostgresSQL. Traditionally mySQL has been assumed to be faster, but less full-featured than PostgresSQL. However, this assumption is to a high extent based on history and old stereotypes, and for the most part outdated. PostgresSQL has become much faster recent years, while mySQL has implemented many functionalities in its last releases.
Both PostgresSQL and mySQL have their own loyal supporters, focusing on advantages in their system while talking mostly about faults and problems with the other. In the end both systems are excellent systems, and both would probably have been good choices for Yay. The choice might have come down to two factors that might or might not have been correct.
First, PostgresSQL have a rumor for scaling better with large amounts of data. This was hard to test initially, but with millions of millions of records, the database is still super responsive, even at high concurrency levels. Secondly it might have factored in that YayMicro felt PostgresSQL was the more “open” of the two open source systems, a belief that was somewhat “confirmed” in 2009 when Oracle bought mySQL.
Search Engine - Apache Solr
One of the most important aspects of a successful stock photo agency is a good search engine. If users can’t find their picture in seconds, they’ll go somewhere else. Technically, searches could be done straight to the PostgresSQL database, but even though it’s super fast, it’s nowhere near what YayMicro needed. Consider this; each image is tagged with 50 keywords, the database holds more than a million images. Each search should take into account the relevancy of search phrase, orientation of images, how many people is in the picture, country of image, explicit images and categories. It should return a ranked list of a search, giving you exactly result from 350 to 400 if that is what you ask for. Consider thousands of people searching the website for images at the same time. Apache Solr is up for it.
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http://yaymicro.com is an online stock photo marketplace where photographers around the world can sell their stock photos, and customers can buy stock photos. YayMicro offer over 1 million Royalty Free stock photos and illustrations in their image base. The low prices starts at $1.50. The low price list: http://yaymicro.com/view.action?page=prices_images_subscriptions_american
The site is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian. Japanese, German, French, Danish and Swedish are available as search languages.
YayMicro is located in Oslo, Norway. Jan Ole Kjellesvig and Linda Johannessen, both former employees Scandinavia’s largest image agency, founded YAY in 2008; Bjorn Sjogren joined the team as partner and CTO in January 2009