I'm Russell Glenister, founder and CEO of Curation Zone, a creative talent search engine, that algorithmically analyses the world’s top freelance creative talent sources, digitally curating THE BEST OPTIONS into a frictionless, RANKED searchable index.
On the 9th August we'll open our doors to our SaaS offering that will make it as easy as possible for brands and agencies to discover freelance creative talent by searching multiple source platforms in one - we currently analyse creative talent from 15 of the world's best creative source platforms.
Today we'll look at one of those platforms, Le Book
As I have stated few times before, many creative source platforms get caught between balancing the needs of a community and being a monetisable source. Making both work is difficult, ask the powers that be at Behance, Vimeo, Dribbble and many, many others.
Allowing your platform to become too community driven can make it too expensive to manage and more difficult to monetise effectively. Behance want to sell their community software (it's owned by Adobe). Vimeo, storage for your videos and add ons. Dribbble are after brand and agency money, but to earn that they have to protect their community data from those that are not paying, which ultimately means that they want to showcase creative talent to those clients that pay to see it, over those that don't.
Le Book was founded in 1982. I remember their creative source books very well, they were the industry gold standard for many years and I am sure, very profitable. Digital changed that, now Le Book’s website connects top industry professionals in the fashion, beauty, design, entertainment, advertising, and luxury worlds. With such history and respect in the creative industry you'd expect them to know a thing or two about connecting creative talent with buyers.
From what we have seen though, Le Book seem to UNJOIN data in their front end
As a non-paying creative - assuming Le Book accepts you - 3 of your credits will show on your account, for potential clients to see. Pay for a "professional" listing and creative's can post, basically, what they want in relation to their credits and portfolio. But there's a mismatch between the data Le Book have access to and how they show it.
Like Dribbble, they "punish" those that don't pay (you can't, very easily, source a freelancer on Dribbble without a paid account). Now, I am not saying that is wrong, but with a model such as this, those that pay will always get - true - access to the client's/creative's, the rest won't. There is nothing wrong with the model, as long as it works and as long as the community accept and understand it.
The real issue for me is, I don't believe Le Book's model is as good as it could be
Le Book have profiles of circa 9500 photographers that we evaluate - but according to Le Book they only have 227 fashion photographers on the platform. Of those, we believe there are 26 full profiles that are accessible. How can that be so for a fashion focused creative sourcing platform?
It's a similar story with other roles, take Art Director for example, there are just 24 listed in their sourcing section.
We discovered 10446 Art Director's credited on Le Book, they only showcase 24 of them
As you can see from the screen grab above, they also only list 1950 of the 9500 or so photographers we found credited on the platform, as accessible.
It's very clear that Le Book has well structured data and super quality creative talent, but the way they present that data seems a bit out of sync with the digital world. For example, 62% of location data is missing.
Le Book, le gravy train
Oh for the days when you could sell big fat source books. Once Le Book's reputation was set, selling space in their source books was easy, doing it online is a different proposition. Sometimes it's very difficult to transition and sometimes you need a new model all together. What works in print, mostly won't work digitally.
Of the 30+ creative source platforms we considered for analysis for our intelligent search engine, we almost neglected Le Book because of their own statistics; the numbers looked too low for us to bother with, how lucky for them (we link all our recommendations back to the source - so they'll get great exposure), the creative talent credited and us, that we did not.
* All data is correct at the time of analysis.
**For those of you slightly (or very) confused by the header, "Book 'em, Danno", it was a widely popular phrase that came from the original (1968-80) TV police series Hawaii Five-O. It was the signature expression Steve McGarrett would utter to sidekick Danny Williams, when the criminals had been apprehended."Book 'em, Danno", he would say.