The New Jersey-based agency Comstock Images was acquired by the publishing group Jupitermedia for $20.85 million in cash. With the addition of Comstock Image - which markets rights-managed, royalty-free and flat-rate images to business clients that include advertising agencies, graphic design firms, publishers and Web designers - Jupitermedia is becoming one of the largest organizations worldwide in the business of selling stock images by single download or online subscription.
Comstock Images has been in the stock imagery business since 1976 and possesses one of the largest archives of wholly owned commercial stock images in the world.
Photos.com is already a part of the Jupiter Images division of the Jupitermedia Corporation. Photos.com offers a collection of more than 100,000 photos with two price models for image buyers: either you pay a one time fee and download up to 250 photos per day or the classical pay-per-download option ($149.95/image).
Jupitermedia also announced that it has obtained a credit facility with HSBC Bank USA for up to $12 million and is arranging for an additional $11 million credit facility with HSBC Bank USA, for total available borrowings of up to $23 million to help finance this and - here we go - other potential acquisitions. Comstock annual gross revenue is said to be in the range of $8-12 million.
BTW: far more interesting for us is the Image Search Technology of Comstock. It offers search by traditional keyword entry, by subject category and uniquely by "Ask Angela!" which was introduced in March 2000 as a visual-based photo search engine for the "post-keyword stage of online image search." Unlike most traditional keyword search features where the only way to refine and expand your search result is by typing in another keyword, Ask Angela enables the user to work with the visual relationship between images. The user is presented with a set of "related" images that are more tightly associated with the "launch" image as opposed to the loose keyword-approximation that one started out with. Each time a complex analytical algorithm begins to "learn" which images are related to the first "launch" images, whether they're depicting a similar subject or simply creating a similar "mood".