Just launched today, FocalPop is a new online marketplace that tries to harness the power of crowd-sourcing. The concept is very similar to thematic photo competitions such as Photo Friday or DPChallenge, where a keyword or theme is provided, and photographers submit suitable photographs to the competition.
The difference is that buyers looking for a particular kind of photograph are the ones submitting the keywords and themes, and are ultimately the ones that choose which photograph “wins”. The photographer behind the winning image releases the high-res version of the image to the buyer, and receives 70% of the price that the buyer placed on the competition.
Here’s a screenshot of a completed competition where the buyer paid $142 for a photograph of a “Happy Dog” (while we’re on the topic of happy dogs, check out this comic strip by Dinosaur Comics):
I think the idea is pretty interesting and executed well from what I’ve seen so far. The design of the service reminds me a little of threadless, with brightish colors and a distinctly Web 2.0 feel.