About ZIPBOX Media

The ZIPBOX Story

ZIPBOX Media was created to allow digital artists the power to run their own online business without the hassles of traditional distribution channels.

The first iteration of ZIPBOX Media was for music. Music is the most obvious digital distribution format. File sharing services like Napster initialized music file sharing, but usage rights got in the way. The distributers wanted their share. iTunes changed the way the big distributors delivered music by picking up where Napster left off and legitimizing file sharing. Apple opened its iTunes platform to independent musicians (those without a distribution deal from a major label that did not have a deal with iTunes) but only through third party providers like CD Baby. With millions of other artists and bands vying for premium space on iTunes the indie artists got lost in the mix. iTunes takes 30% of an artist’s revenue, not to mention what the third party was taking. Selling with iTunes and CD Baby is already a losing battle. Add to that the inability to ‘brand’ or add your style to iTunes’ presentation of your music and the possibility of any significant sales on iTunes are thin.

As we developed the mechanisms for adding music files to ZIPBOX Media sites, we thought to ourselves, "Why not anything digital?". Why not allow people to sell any digital file that can be downloaded from the internet. These thoughts evolved into the categories we now include in cataloging ZIPBOX store media. Music, ebooks, digital images, digital videos, ringtones and software such as mobile apps or smart spreadsheets can all be stored and sold on a ZIPBOX Media Site.

As development of ZIPBOX Media continued, the uniqueness of our feature set struck a chord with potential users. Someone pointed out how our solution had patent potential. That began the process of searching, drafting and submitting the ZIPBOX Media platform to the patent office. It’s a bit surprising that our combination of digital repository, online catalog presentation, secure shopping cart, web-base secure multi-file downloading, Web site content management, site design and backend reporting was something never done before. The end result is a turnkey solution for anybody wanting to sell anything digital.

When targeting subscribers, we thought first of musicians, photographers and other digital artists that have established businesses selling and distributing their wares online and in physical products. It occurred to us that some may start new businesses based upon the opportunity a platform like ZIPBOX Media presented them. Little to our surprise, businesses have been spawned from the inspiration ZIPBOX Media provided.

One problem we encountered while developing the ZIPBOX Media site designer was how to allow experimentation. As a graphic artist, I like to keep versions of a work during the process. Maybe I’d play with a dark background and work that whole thing out, save that version and go to a lighter background. We wanted to give storeowners the ability to save versions, even whole new looks for their sites. Saving these items on our servers created a storage issue because there are up to 5 background images in each ZIPBOX Style so we decided to allow storeowners to save their styles to their personal computer. Doing so allowed full portability of these style files but required a proprietary file format, the ZBS or ZIPBOX Style.

ZIPBOX Style files created a whole new category to the digital files we accept. As we grow, we anticipate people needing premium designs for their sites. We look to a future market for digital downloads of ZIPBOX Style stores. We also created a store of our own for selling premium styles at zipboxstyles.com

Much of what we’ve created would not have been possible without Ryan Ferry at ImageOne Technologies. He provided expert advice and hands-on help as we set up our servers and developed some of the more extensive technologies. Ryan’s availability and knowledge proved priceless.

Our Flash technologies are heavily integrated at key points of contact and without Lebraun Premo’s enthusiasm and skill, we could not have completed the launch of ZIPBOX Media. We would often go back and forth figuring ways to make flash communicate with our databases and the browser seamlessly, often traveling far down several paths before finding the most elegant and robust solution.

Several key portions of the administrator were conceived and implemented by Andrew Turner. Andrew’s willingness to learn new methods and even new languages was unwavering. From our site designer to inner/outer join SQL queries, his discipline and determination to get things right always came through for the project.

Finally, it was Joe Smith of Art Dude Graphics, and our VP of design and development who designed the ZIPBOX Media logo. "It’s a box for your digital files to sell online. And the convergence of 3-D panels make a letter ‘M’ for ‘media’"