Update – 10/24/2012: For WordPress users still looking for a photo battle plugin, the ShowdownPlugin launched earlier this year. Check out my quick write up about it or see the plugin in action.

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I’ve been prodding my girlfriend for quite awhile to think of an idea for a website.  She suggested how it might be nice to have a hot or not type of website where she could display different images of the latest fashions and people could vote accordingly. When I heard that, I recommended a photo battle script because I figured it might be cool to have the clothing compete against each other to truly define what is hot fashion and what is not hot fashion. I’m not sure which idea she will choose in the end, but just the thought of this type of script prompted me to begin imagining what I could do with such a script.  This is all it took for me to begin my search and envision the next greatest photo battles website.

After firing up the Google machine and putting it to work, I realized that there are very few decent photo battle scripts out there. Nevermind decent ones, but there are very few in general so the selection is thin to say the least. Here’s some info on the few I did find.

1) The first one I found was on one of those turnkey sites. The demo looked pretty decent so I bookmarked it a few days ago. I came back today and although the site is up, the page with the photo battle script had been completely removed. I really wasn’t too crazy about this site anyways because of the whole “get rich quick” kind of website copy. Total turn off.

2) The next one I found wasn’t too bad looking either, but the website definitely looks like a one person hobby website. There’s nothing wrong with being a one person operation, but you really should keep up with the little things to give off the appearance that someone is home. When you’re copyright still says 2007 and it’s three years later, it gives off the impression that nobody is minding the site. The price was a major turn off too. How good could a script be that sells for $5.99? I can’t imagine anyone is actively working on new revisions or bug fixes when it’s selling for under six bucks.

3) The third one was actually a free download with no demo so I installed it and gave it a try. It seemed like you could only have one battle going on at once. Each time I uploaded new images, the old ones would end up on a historic results page. This one was a quick pass.

4) The fourth one I found I really liked. The demo was colorful and eye catching. There’s obvious places for ads too. This one is the front runner for me so far. When I keep going back to a site to play with the demo, I know it’s got my attention.

5) The fifth and last photo battle script I came across was also pretty decent. It was a clean looking script that appeared well balanced with lots of white space, and as you’ve probably read before on here, I love white space. It makes whatever content on the site pop.

I do have a few concerns with buying inexpensive scripts from sites that appear to be upstarts or single individual programmers. As I have experienced from the whole SoftBiz situation, I often wonder if the script is actively developed, or if it’s a stagnant bunch of code that was built to be sold and that’s it. I also wonder if the site will even be around in a year, so I certainly don’t want to concentrate on building a site around a piece of software that will be riddled with unaddressed security holes in a years time.

Sometimes the small shops are the only choices available and this seems to be one of those situations. For short money like #4 and #5 above, I think it’s worth taking a shot on the software. Now it’s just a matter of deciding on which one to choose. When I’m ready to pull the trigger and buy one, I’ll make my final decision by shooting them each a few questions I come up with about the script. The response and support from a company and/or person is usually a great indication of how it will be to deal with them in the future.

If we were going to have a battle between these two pieces of software, plusphp and rocky, which would you choose and why?

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