By: Mark Fitzgerald

Merlin-Net Archives Delivers Prints, Images

by Mark Fitzgerald

With its new venture Merlin-Net, the archiving and imaging company
T/One Inc. is sponsoring a huge garage sale for newspaper photographs.

The Merlin-Net cooperative allows newspapers to sell not only their
own archived photos but also those of other papers around the country.
Local newspaper Web sites offer the photos through a Merlin-Net portal
that retains the newspaper brand. ‘Customers don’t know this part of,
say, The Boston Globe’s site,’ Merlin-Net Vice President
Craig Rottenberg said. ‘We’re not trying to brand anything.’

Merlin-Net takes the orders and delivers the prints – or, in some
cases, digital images – to customers. It claims one-day turnaround
on order fulfillment. The newspaper that brings in a customer gets a
cut of the sale, whether the photo comes from its own archive or
another paper’s. There is no cost to join the cooperative.

T/One executives say the idea for an e-commerce cooperative came to
them when they looked at the installed base for their flagship Merlin

‘When we realized that our network of Merlin systems holds about 7
million objects in North America,’ the company explains on its Web
site, ‘a thought occurred to us: Wouldn’t it be neat to make all
those images available to everybody?’

Since setting up the co-op, Merlin-Net has negotiated for authorized
resale of official National Football League photographs. In fact, as
of last week, seven of the portal’s 10 most popular photos were
football images. The best seller, though, was a striking shot of the
last full moon of the 1900s, seen shining behind a Massachusetts

Merlin-Net aspires to more than e-commerce, T/One Marketing Director
Peter B. Leabo said. ‘We’re trying to make it a community site as
well. We’ve given users from newspaper sites opportunities to vote on
favorite images, to share photography tips, and really get involved.’


Mark Fitzgerald ( is editor at
large at Editor & Publisher magazine.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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