Zoonar have grabbed my attention not because they are (yet another) new start-up microstock site but because of the services they offer the photographer. Along with building their own image collection of both micro and macrostock priced images they also allow photographers to distribute content to several partner agencies. The content distribution service is different from that offered by the (now closed) image and video syndication service isyndica in that images are distributed for sale with partner sites without the need for contributors to be a member of those sites, payment is made directly into your zoonar account.
At the moment zoonar have only partnered with a small number of photo agencies including fotofinder and alamy. The list once included recently defunct polylooks, the current choice of distribution partners favors images priced at a macrostock price level, although zoonar offer images over three price ranges "microstock" "standard" and "premium" to buyers on their site. Photographers can sell images at either rights managed (not for microstock) or royalty free.
The site works reasonably well, There are a few rough edges especially around internationalization with the occasional German tool-tips and navigation appearing when viewing the site in English.
Although zoonar have been in business since 2006, it's only in 2010 that they completely reworked their website to attract microstock contributors.
Comparison price represents 1 image download at 3 euros. Small images start at 2 euros and are generously sized for that price point.
I've uploaded a portfolio of images to zoonar, mainly to evaluate sales from the now closed/closing polylooks. I can't help but get the feeling that zoonar is trying to be too many things at once. I really like the idea of mixed pricing on one site. We have yet to see an agency really make it work for contributors. Moodboard offer similar flexibility, they categorize images as either budget or premium priced (and a range between) for the photographer during inspection. It's difficult for a lot of microstock photographers to know the value of their work and choose correctly, either underselling work that should be sold a premium or trying to overprice work that belongs in the microstock price range.
I understand that zoonar is currently in a position to attract photographers to grow an image collection, but at 1.2 million images at time of writing it's beyond me why they feature their 'camera lexicon' buyers guide so prominently, fine as part of the photographers area, but of little interest to buyers.
Site search needs some bit improvements, a search for "cow" reveals more than 3000 images, but by page two we have pictures of a ladybird, a piece of raw steak, a grey seal, a straw hat, a cheeseboard and a giraffe, while some of these might feature the related word 'calf' or involve some kind of dairy products or cowboys it looks like either translation from original German descriptions or some tuning might be needed here. Search is a hard thing to get right for a picture agency.
Features like "my picture shop" which allows you to setup your own custom themed mini site within zoonar is a great idea for someone working in a niche or to create custom styled landing pages; at the moment the execution is just a little lacking, price negotiation again is good for certain areas of stock image sales, but certainly not for microstock - it leads to that 'jack of all trades' feeling from zoonar. I'm watching zoonars progress with interest, they have some good and innovative ideas, and it would be unfair of me to penalize the site for being complicated just because it includes a rage of features for stock photographers shooting at a range of prices outside of microstock. When well thought-out sites with polished user experience fail to grow a market share it makes me hesitant from a microstock standpoint about a site like this, until I see some sales or more distribution partners accepting budget priced images I'm leaving this review open ended.