Launching today, fizwoz is an online marketplace for UGC photos and video of newsworthy events. After you download a free app for your smart phone, if you find yourself at the scene of a crash, crumbling or other breaking news, and your first inclination is to take footage rather than help out, you capture a picture or a video and upload it directly to fizwoz. Once there, you can slap a price tag on it and put the content up for auction where media outlets vie and ideally buy your image or clip (with fizwoz taking a cut).
It should be noted that fizwoz only works with video from smart phones — specifically the iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile 6.0 right now. This is, in part, to ensure that users are uploading content they have the rights to. The app itself verifies that content was indeed shot with the phone’s camera.
“Media companies are encouraging people to send photos and videos,” fizwoz founder and CEO, Andy Sheldon told us in an interview, “You get — at best — bragging rights.” The way Sheldon sees it, if big news outlets are going to make money off of your work, why shouldn’t you?
There is an element of truth to Sheldon’s point of view. Media companies are making money by crowd-sourcing reporting duties — CNN said it received a ton of iReport submissions during the Iranian election protests earlier this year. But news outlets also don’t seem to have a hard time finding people willing to sell their content without the help of a dedicated online marketplace.
Additionally, putting a clip up for auction delays the news from actually reaching people. In the Internet age when people expect their news now, throwing up a roadblock like an online auction seems like a waste of everyone’s time. To be fair, users can set up a “Buy it now” option to sidestep the bidding process. But just taking the time to register and post might lose you money and bragging rights if someone else also captured the same event and went straight to a news outlet.
I’m probably being too narrow with my focus. There are lots of less tragic opportunities for people out there to cash in on — videos of celebs picking their nose or wearing unfortunate bikinis will likely fetch a fair penny. Or perhaps you have a really newsworthy cat.
Based in San Francisco, fizwoz was founded in January 2009, and is privately funded. The company has five employees.