New Photo-Sharing Website Sends A Photo From A Stranger To Your Inbox


The premise for PhotoYOLO is simple. The tagline to the PhotoYOLO website reads, “One photo a day in your inbox, from a friend you just haven’t met yet,” and was inspired by The Listserve, another subscriber-based site that allows one randomly chosen contributor to write to the growing list of people who have signed up.

Kaitlyn Reed, who graduated with a photography degree last year (and has been traveling with her camera since), started the website as a project for friends. “I thought it might grow a little, but nothing like it has now,” she told Wall Street Insanity.

Each day, Reed gets roughly 50 new subscribers, and like many web ventures, social media promotion was the only source of promotion needed to put the site in a good position. “I tweeted it to a few friends, created a twitter, but nothing major. The boom really started when those friends started tweeting about it, and then it started getting written up on blogs, etc. Once it hit Jezebel and DailyMail, my subscription list skyrocketed nearly 70% in one day.”

Both outlets were generally favorable towards the site. Jezebel writer Laura Beck wrote, “Seriously — this is cool, not creepy. Well, it could be creepy, but it’s well-curated so you’re not receiving a photo of a different penis every day. Or any penises ever. Not that penises can’t be beautiful and artistic. The point is — this is about cool photography, not unclothed penises.”

And as was noted by the Daily Mail, the photos are far from creepy: “One day you could receive a photo of a cute kitten from someone in Australia, and the next day you could open your inbox to a snap of the beautiful beaches of Thailand.”

As a subscriber, I can attest to the well-curated aesthetics of PhotoYOLO. Over the course of the past few days, I’ve seen beautiful photos within a broad range of categories, and each one links to the photographer’s website of choice: A close-range photo of a slice of lemon dropping into water links back to a Flickr account filled with amazing imagery, a black and white photo of a seemingly endless spiral staircase links back to a photography blog, and a photo of river otters links back to an illustration and design blog.

Reed spends about an hour per day on the site, emailing winners and getting the newsletters ready. “I’m hoping it’s the winners that spend the most time on it, choosing just the right photo they want to share – along with a website of their choosing,” she says. “Most of the time it is the winners blog or their favorite charity.”

If PhotoYOLO’s subscription count continues to grow steady at its current rate, within a year, it would reach 48,000 people. Still, that’s a while away from today.

I’m just so flattered and taken aback by all the attention my little project has gotten, that I haven’t really had time to think about it’s future,” she said.

Whether PhotoYOLO expands to something more (after all, the photo-sharing niche of the tech world is ever-growing and ever-profitable) or maintains its current model is something to be decided. Reed says that right now, she’s focused on making the site the best it can be.