21 Aug 2007 Alamy vs Microstock
I now need two hands to count the number of people who’ve encouraged me to try Alamy. I’ve been kept away by high quality requirements and a lack of Internet upload facility. Now they have that Internet upload facility and when I checked out their quality requirements, I discovered my camera meets their minimum requirements. Just. So will I join?
Alamy is NOT Microstock
- They don’t sell at micropayment prices
- They sell photos with Rights Managed licenses (in addition to Royalty Free)
But “microstock” is just a label, not a reason not to join.
What’s Cool about Alamy?
- The commission is 65%
- Offers Rights Managed or Royalty Free
- Great website – clean, functional, and clear copy
What’s Not-So-Cool about Alamy?
- Payment by check incurs US$8 fee
- Payment by EFT incurs US$11 fee
- No PayPal payments
- Payout limit is US$250
- Their blog’s RSS feed only provides the headlines, not the full article
What Else about Alamy?
- 4 test images required to qualify
- High image quality requirements
What Could I Expect?
I found a discussion about Alamy vs Microstock on the Alamy forums. From the experiences there, the sales at Alamy pay high amounts, but don’t occur very frequently. According to some Alamy contributors, some types of photos earn more in microstock than on Alamy. I wonder how quickly that discussion would have been censored in a microstock agency forum.
The Alexa traffic statistics for alamy.com, while not a flawless measure, show that Alexa traffic has been declining since early 2006.
Photographer commissions were 85% until 2002, and 75% until October 2006. Now they’re 65%. While this puts them miles in front of most microstock agencies, the trend isn’t pleasing.
Contribute to Alamy, or Not?
If I upload photos that are available in microstock, why would an Alamy buyer pay macrostock prices? Maybe, as one of the Alamy contributors said in the forum thread I linked to above said, they’re lazy.
I’ve registered with Alamy and will attempt to qualify as a contributor. If I pass the test, I’ll upload a handful of my good photos to sell royalty free and we’ll find out how many Alamy buyers are lazy. However, I’ll concentrate of contributing images that are excluded from the microstock market, such as unreleased photos of people.
Alamy have their place in the market. They appeal to photographers who want to sell their images but can’t bring themselves to sell at microstock prices. However, from the evidence I’ve found, photos at Alamy don’t earn as much as they do in the microstock market.