30 May 2008 Fotolia Adds Subscriptions Too

The last of the top microstock agencies to implement subscriptions, Fotolia, has today announced limited details of their subscription plan. The announcement comes as no surprise, though details of the 0.23 – 0.30 credit commissions and inability to opt-out non-exclusive images have disappointed contributors.

The announcement was made via an email newsletter, though there’s no supporting notification on the website. No launch date was provided, nor were pricing details. Many contributors are also frustrated at the lack of clarity in the commission rates which provide no way of knowing whether they’ll be earning 23 or 30 cents per sale (at the current credit price of $1) or something in between.

Feedback in the Fotolia and independent forums is understandably critical, with some contributors saying they’ve already removed their portfolios. Comparisons are being made to iStockphoto’s recently implemented subscription plan which ensures contributors don’t earn less for subscription sales and was subsequently well received by contributors.

Fotolia’s announcement assures contributors that their earnings will rise from the increased volume of sales. Few contributors are convinced that Fotolia’s sales record demonstrates an ability to generate sufficient sales to overcome the drop in per-sale commission. One of Fotolia’s two Sapphire ranked contributors, Andres Rodriguez, posted in the Fotolia forum thread, “until today Fotolia was my favourite site”.

Until their subscription plan is implemented, we won’t know whether Fotolia’s analysis will prove correct and contributor earnings will rise. However, contributor response shows a unanimously pessimistic expectation.

  • Chris
    Posted at 20:48h, 30 May Reply

    I feel very disappointed too. I have been annoyed for a while now about the rejections which were sometimes badly justified (why refuse a photo they know would sell???). The excessive quality standard is not a good thing. Illustration is not always about that: Who’s going to see the tiny amount of noise at an XS size? many buyers are not that fussed as long as they get a good illustration of their subject.
    Then there has been this recent problem with the flawed searches, added to the fact that the downtime for fotolia is worse than that of other microstocks.

    Fotolia are paying rather well from the moment you pass your 100th sale, which is quite satisfying for the seller.

    But I can’t see subscription as a good thing. I am lucky that my photos are 97% exclusive, however this change I think will be detrimental to my portfolio still.

    In the meantime, I’ve already started to upload on Yaymicro which I like a lot so far (I am your referral I believe!)… I really like the fact that they also take editorial photos…

  • Bob Davies
    Posted at 23:28h, 30 May Reply

    I’m still wayyyyyy down on my fotolia portfolio below the people who will be affected seriously by this, but I can’t imagine it being very good for any regular contributors 🙁

  • Cory
    Posted at 03:12h, 31 May Reply

    This is interesting news. I’ve noticed a huge upswing in sales with Fotolia this month. Maybe they have finally got all the kinks worked out and this may be the right time to strike with a new subscription service. As an illustrator my sales are a little different from photographers, so I was excited to see my Fotolia sales increase substantially.

    I could give the pessimistic view too, but I’m sticking with the positive.

  • pdtnc
    Posted at 05:13h, 31 May Reply

    the payout level is low, but I’m going to sit back and wait…
    I am hoping that the current trend of Fotolia and Dreamstime catching up to iStock is going to continue, while shutterstock slips down in the last 2 months.

    I think things could go either way, Dreamstime for me seems to be pulling off the credits vs Subscription battle with 123RF seeming to be getting better consistently.

    Its probably good to remember for the vast majority of stock submitters that its not that long ago you were just leaving your Photographs to rot on your computer somewhere and be forgotten.
    Since starting submitting those rotting images have a new lease of life that they would not have had if it was not for all these RF sites.
    Every $ is a bonus, but every $ makes you think you are worth more… Catch 22, but maybe you learned a lot in the past few years to justify it…? *talking in circle here!*

  • R. Kneschke
    Posted at 18:18h, 31 May Reply

    >>Every $ is a bonus, but every $ makes you think you are worth more…

    Well, a lot of good stock pictures are merely produced for that purpose, not found in a drawer or so.

  • Photonomikon
    Posted at 13:24h, 02 June Reply

    Hooray for the subscription model! …not.
    I still think Shutterstock is the only place where that works. And even there… I’m not sure how long it can go and keep submitters happy.

  • Destiny
    Posted at 18:47h, 03 June Reply

    More news today – subscription sales at fotolia will not count towards contributors rank. Hardly a note of joy for most of us.

    • niagaragirl
      Posted at 14:11h, 04 June Reply

      And yet another caveat – looks like referrals bought via sub will not count either. I vented about the mess on my blog yesterday and just added the referral info. Not good.


      Here is what they say about referrals

      “Referring members may receive rewards from an unlimited number of affiliates in their account. The referring member can not be his own affiliate. Images sold with subscription don’t generate affiliation revenues.”

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