SOCIAL media users are banding together to save a Scottish-based photo sharing network, thought to be the one of the first attempted buy-outs of a social network.
The Edinburgh based online daily photo journal Blipfoto was at high risk of closing down, so the owners approached users to ask them to buy them out.
This result was the Blipfuture Community Interest Company (CIC) which will help users to negotiate a deal to buy the company. If successful the company will become user owned by the consumers who use it every day.
The group have to raise £180,000 to buy the site and provide enough start up capital to continue running it. The future of Blipfoto and its archive of images and journals is uncertain if the crowd funding is unsuccessful.
The company faced financial trouble when it entered liquidation, laying off 11 staff members.
The British Library has recognised the value of Blipfoto’s contribution to recording daily life by including the site in its prestigious ‘Curators 100’ as “essential reading of our life and times”.
Blipfoto allows people to chronicle their lives through one image each day. Its community stretches across seven continents in over 150 countries. It currently has more than 18 million page views a month, with 3.5 million individual days saved. Notable users include Coriona Corfield, a BBC Radio 4 continuity announcer and newsreader. It was also the inspiration behind “Scotland: The World Over”, a collaboration with Scotland.org. The film centred on the Scottish saltire flag, showing people in 32 countries around the world holding it.
The members, affectionately called “blippers”, chronicle their lives by posting a single image each day, many adding words as well, with other blippers commenting on journals. It has developed a unique worldwide community and created friendships across the world. When added together these journals create a collective human history with over five million days of human life recorded.
Ian Stevenson, Blipfuture Director, said: “When we were contacted back in October we knew immediately that we had to mount a bid. We’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes to put everything together for the crowd funding launch”. Blipfoto was created in 2004 by Joe Tree and Graham Maclachlan, originally as Joe’s personal diary. In 2006 they invited some friends to join the site, and it expanded rapidly by word of mouth attracting new members and transforming into a growing business. Along the way Blipfoto won many awards including a BAFTA and commendations from Digital Camera and Photography Week.
In January 2015 the site re-branded as Polaroid Blipfoto after negotiating a licensing agreement with the American company, but by March the same year the company went into liquidation. The site was bought by US based private investors from the liquidators in April and continues to operate for the moment.