Dotspin: Rewarding Creative Commons Photogs for Sharing Quality Pictures


There’s a brand new service in town that’s looking to help out those photographers who choose to share their images for free with the online community. Powered by Creative Commons, the new website Dotspin uses a hashtag and voting system to determine a photo’s quality and give the photographer a chance to earn credits towards rewards such as restaurant gift cards.

Here’s a quick video intro from the company:

When you tag a photo in Instagram or Twitter using the #dotspin hashtag, it is automatically watermarked with a colored dot and licensed Creative Commons attribution. Dotspin users will then begin to see it in the “Vote-O-Matic” section of the Dotspin website, pitted side-by-side against other similarly hashtagged photos.

The more votes you get, the more “dotcredits” you earn. Those, in turn, can be used to purchase rewards that are provided by the website in partnership with Amazon — although the website hopes other suppliers and brands will jump onboard once the idea takes off.


The advantages for photographers are two fold. For one, if you chose to connect your Instagram or Twitter to the Dotspin website itself, you’ll be able to see voting statistics on the photos you have shared. You’ll also be able to further specify exactly which CC license you would like applied to your pics.

The second advantage is, obviously, the opportunity to earn dotcredits and possibly use them on rewards. If you habitually license your photos CC, you aren’t expecting to get anything for them in the first place; Dotspin allows you to get feedback and possibly earn a free app download or gift card in the process.


The website was only launched in May and is still technically in Beta. For now, the challenge will be keeping enough rewards “in stock” to keep pace with the sheer number of photographers signed up with/using Dotspin. Co-founder Gastón Paladini wouldn’t say exactly how many have already signed up when he spoke with Photopreneur, but he did say that the number is “much more than we thought.”

To learn more about the service or to sign-in with a Twitter or Instagram account and check it out for yourself, head over to Dotspin by clicking here or start tagging your photos with the #dotspin hashtag. Who knows, your freely-shared photos may wind up earning you a $25 gift card to Starbucks or a free Fruit Ninja app download.

(via Photopreneur)

  • Todd Klassy

    What’s next? Stay tuned as Dotspin buys ice cream for those who pay employees less than minimum wage. And PetaPixel will be right there with them to promote it.

  • WKYA_Radio

    Here’s comes the massive assault to give (crap) value to our pics. Twenty dollars, and gift cards. Get the f-(:k outta here. If you don’t give a flying wit about your photos, then this may seem awesome. If you actually do care, then this is truly something deserving of ridicule. Let everyone use it….yup I will..after everyone buys me a camera, equipment, studio time, and pays for my tools, plus bills and health insurance.

    Until then…. get the f/;:k outta here with this nonsense.

  • Richtpt

    I was reading their Terms of Service and saw this:

    “By posting any User Content you hereby grant and will grant Dotspin and its affiliated companies a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty free, fully paid up, transferable, sublicenseable, perpetual, irrevocable license to copy, display, transmit, perform, distribute, store, modify and otherwise use your User Content in connection with the operation of the Service or the promotion, advertising or marketing thereof, in any form, medium or technology now known or later developed.”

    If I’m reading that correctly it means THEY can use my photos in any way they want – including making money – without paying me. That seems to go against the purpose of their website. They want everyone else to play by the Creative Commons license but they seem to be using this as a way to get free access to tons of photos – including some which are very good (which wouldn’t be mine). Does that mean they can sell my image to some marketing company or other clients, then I see it in an ad for some big company but I don’t get any money from it? If this is true I won’t be using them.

  • Michael Rasmussen

    Under settings you can specify no commercial use of your work in the CC license you choose. The ToS totally subverts that.

    Besides, they crop everything to the central 1:1 aspect ratio so kiss your composition goodbye.

  • ramanauskas

    If you can trade dotcredits for Bitcoins, it will be a perfect circle-jerk of hipster gullibility.

  • Tim

    This is just a way of getting more people to post photos under a creative commons license. I would never trust a website that offers me Starbucks vouchers for my photos, especially since Starbucks don’t pay their UK taxes.

  • MS_DOS_622

    if u like my photos, pay me!!

  • APai

    ^ THIS.

    how does this business even start off if they intend to circumvent the very thing they promise of : creative commons license ?

    this is a flagrant violation of CC!!