Management Information Systems 70-451
Interim Project Report
Monday, October 16, 2000
PittsburghModel.com ( www.andrew.cmu.edu/~jrahimi/start.html ) is a database of men, women and children who are interested in modeling assignments in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Some are professional models and others are either looking to make some extra money doing promotional work or are hoping to be discovered. Pittsburghmodel.com serves as an intermediary between agencies and aspiring models. The actual service we are selling works both ways. We are providing aspiring models with a hassle-free approach to becoming discovered while providing local modeling agencies with access to aspiring models, thus granting them more exposure. Referral fees and contract negotiations will be our major sources of revenue, and advertising on our web site will be our secondary source of revenue.
PittsburghModel.com is the only web site of its kind in the Pittsburgh Area. Although there are thousands of modeling web sites on the Internet where one can submit pictures and profiles in order to be considered for modeling, PittsburghModel.com is different. We take into account that modeling is a very personal process, thus, our services are targeted for a local market, where we can build lasting relationships with our models and agencies.
The fact that we are only working with aspiring models in the Western Pennsylvania area will make our business and services very exclusive. Models that submit their profile onto our web site will be treated as individuals, not statistics, and since we are putting forth a personal approach with our models, they will have confidence and trust in PittsburghModel.com.
Our potential customers are men, women, and children that are either professional models looking for more exposure, or aspiring models that want to give a shot at modeling. The fact that this is a hassle free environment, our primary customers will be aspiring models. On the other side of our business will be the local modeling agencies. We will work with all of the major agencies in Pittsburgh and guarantee them more exposure and access to models, in return for a referral fee and future contract negotiation fees.
Each model has at least one picture and a profile which includes all of the model’s vital information as well as other information about availability, experience and interests. Models can optionally have additional pictures in an online portfolio which can be accessed directly from their profile by potential employers and agencies.
All potential model’s information is kept confidential from the general public and is only viewed by those from affiliated organizations. Contact information is kept solely by PittsburghModel.com and is available only upon request from an agency or other participating organization. A public model gallery is available to show a sample of our models who expressed an interest to participate.
Currently, agencies hold events such as Model Search America, and put ads in the newspapers in order to attract aspiring models. Based on out research, the Internet has not been used as a primary source of marketing for modeling agencies, and that is where PittsburghModel.com comes in to fill the void. If an agency signs up with PittsburghModel.com, it will increase their exposure, as well as increase the amount of models they will see. This in turn will provide agencies with more revenue, and establish a tight knit relationship between PittsburghModel.com and local agencies.
If you’re a beginner, or even if you’ve just thought about the possibility of being a model, you may find it very difficult to get started in the business. At PittsburghModel.com, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get started in modeling.
Since all of your information and photos are online, there’s no need for expensive composites and portfolios. If you’re an experienced model, or you just have some good pictures of yourself, you can get yourself into our ’stable’ at no cost whatsoever! If you are not experienced, we can help.
We don’t take just anybody. But if we think you have potential, we will get you experience and pictures at very little or even no cost to you. We have photographers that we work with that are always looking for new faces who are interested in trading time for photos. This way, you get
experience and you build a portfolio, two things that are very important to get good modeling jobs.
We market our site to the general public as well as to these advertising and marketing managers, allowing people that never would normally see you have the opportunity to hire you. Plus, your online information and pictures are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So when they are looking for someone, your online profile will be there. You have as much chance as anyone else we represent to be seen. This means more exposure for you, and hopefully, more work.
There is no charge for putting your information in the database, and once you do, it is likely that lots of people, including corporate clients and modeling agencies, will see it. We will make it clear to aspiring models that if they don’t think that you’re gorgeous because there are many assignments which don’t require unusual beauty. In fact, most modeling jobs are ‘character’ work, which may be for print ads, commercials or other product related scenarios. There’s also promotional modeling, which may involve working at trade shows or other promotional activities. What we’re trying to say is that, sometimes there is simply a need for a certain ‘look’, and who knows, you may be just what they are looking for!
In order to keep the site professional, we only accept quality photos and people that we believe have a chance of getting work. If you don’t have quality photos, we can arrange to get some for you at very little cost, but you must submit photos in order to be considered.
In order to be successful, PittsburghModel.com must establish relationships with local modeling agencies in the form of legal contracts. Although these agencies are our customers, they are also our partners. We need to help local agencies by sending them more models, while they can help us by making sure all of the models referred by PittsburghModel.com are treated friendly and professional.
Agencies typically charge aspiring models anywhere from $800-$5,000 to go through modeling training and portfolio development once signed. PittsburghModel.com will require agencies to provide us with 20% of any modeling fees incurred by the model we refer to them.
Most models never make it anywhere after this “modeling development process,” however, those that do, end up very prosperous. Part of the contract that agencies sign with us also agrees in giving us 3% of a models contract for as long as they are signed with them.
For example, if a model referred by PittsburghModel.com lands a job with DKNY for 500,000 a year, we require the model to pay us our 3% for helping them get discovered. It is completely free to join PittsburghModel.com, but if a model get rich, we will get a small percentage of their fortune.
This “partnership” that we establish with agencies goes a lot deeper than us sending them aspiring models. We expect that our participating agencies (partners), will treat our referred models with sincerity. We do not want any of our models to get discouraged. Any discouraged models result in a loss of potential revenue for both PittsburghModel.com and local agencies.
Our potential partners must also realize that all aspiring models are willing to pay a lot of money if they are told they have what it takes to become a model. Our philosophy is simple. Everyone has what it takes to become a model of some sort, thus everyone should be treated fairly, and be given the opportunity to participate in the respective agencies modeling process. In other words, we expect agencies to be lenient in the modeling recruitment process, which will in turn, bring them more revenue.
Our Business Processes
1. Payroll Process
Pittsburgh Model’s revenues are commissions based on a percentage of a successful referral between a model and an agency. Thus, the company’s partners are paid through commission based-salaries. The company consists of five partners, each receiving an equal proportion of company profits. Company commission is the referral fee of connecting aspiring models to interested agencies. A 20% cut is made from the agency’s fees (i.e. creation of a portfolio, marketing the client, etc.), which normally range from $800 to $1,200, and is given to Pittsburgh Model. An additional 5% of a model’s earnings in modeling jobs, contracts, etc. is also given to Pittsburgh Model as a successful contract fee.
One potential problem that lies within this process is that because our revenues are commission based, we must establish contracts between our clients and ourselves to ensure that we are paid for our services. Aspiring models can go straight to the agencies themselves, which though highly unsuccessful, does not require our particular service. Thus with an official contract we can ensure that our company will be paid its proper dues.
2. Client Registration Process
As anyone is free to aspire to become a model, Pittsburgh Model registers all of our aspiring clients into our free database. We receive applications and photos from potential clients, store their personal information into our database, and send their photographs to our webmaster who updates our online portfolios and galleries.
A potential problem that may occur is that we cannot possibly post all the information that we receive from our clients onto our company site, which we must maintain in a very specific manner. Our site must maintain a very professional appearance for our company image; any information, unsuitable photographs in particular, that would serve to harm the image of our site and thus our company should not be posted regardless of our free database and desire to attain all aspiring models as clients.
3. Website Update Process
This particular process is delegated to two of our five partners, who are thus also our company webmasters. They receive applications and portfolios, which are emailed from prospective clients, and post them onto the company website photo gallery. These updates, as well as additional ones i.e. changes in website appearance, addition of new models, etc., are made daily.
A potential problem that may occur in this process is that the expansion of our clientele is virtually unlimited. In the case that our clientele expands beyond the capacity of our two webmasters, potential problems could arise that would overflow our database and make this process, which is already tedious, nearly impossible.
Competition and Risks
There are many firms that provide the same services online, but there is not one that is based in Pittsburgh. Moreover, there are also businesses that are geared specifically towards minorities, such as Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans. Some examples of these online firms are: www.webtalent.com, www.ovationmen.com, www.searchformodels.com, www.hispanicmodel.net, www.asianmodel.net, and www.africanamericanmodels.net
Because PittsburghModel.com acts as an intermediary between potential models and agencies, the only substitute for our service is for models to directly contact modeling agencies, which is somewhat a very discouraging process.
Although we do not feel that we will encounter any difficulties in the near future, we are still taking into account any minor problems that we might face. The fact that we have a limited budget might hurt us at first. We are currently investing our own time and money into this project, thus, the opportunity cost is significant. Another problem that we might face is with contract negotiation. Hopefully, models and agencies will not get discouraged with the percentages that we will take.
PittsburghModel.com take into account a lot of factors when coming up with our decisions. A lot of our points that we make are based on a number of assumptions. For example, we are assuming, that anyone, if told they have what it takes to pursue a modeling career, will try to pursue it at reasonable cost. We are also assuming that both agencies and models will be willing to share profits with us in exchange for our services. If our assumptions are correct, PittsburghModel.com could be revolutionary. The fact that we will advertise this site on the streets of Pittsburgh as well as in online chat rooms and message boards will provide us with a limited cost of marketing, that will lead to a large member base. This large member base will result in more and more signed models throughout our progression.
We would also like to state that we as a group, have actually bought the www.pittsburghmodel.com domain name, and are in the process of fully developing our website before we officially publish it online.