22 Apr 2007 I’ve used your Image

Royal Dutch Mathmatical Society - Quarterly Journal Q4, 2006Recently we received a sitemail from the Royal Dutch Mathematical Society who’d used one of our images on the cover of their quarterly journal. They were offering to send us a copy if we were interested. Can you believe it? People are grand!
We accepted their offer and a copy of their magazine arrived in the post a week later. It contained a copy of the journal, in Dutch of course, and a note thanking us for the image. Thanking us?? They’d paid us for the image, given us a free copy, and paid international postage to get it to us! This got me thinking:

I’ve used a few microstock images in my travels. On client websites, client designs, and blog posts. Possibly up to 100 at this point. But I’ve never let the owners know about it, and until now had no idea of the thrill. Inspired by this kind action I’ve taken on letting the owner of each image (or design) know where I’ve used their images.

So far, I’ve had a very positive response. I’ve had responses from 70% of the people I notified, which all included a personal message and/or thankyou. This is quite a small statistical sample as I’m not a big buyer but it’s sufficiently encouraging.

I have noticed microstockers requesting buyers let them know where they’ve used their images in the images’ own descriptions. I wonder if this is effective? I wonder whether higher volume sellers get a lot of notifications? I wonder how many buyers notify the image owners?

Given that microstock is a high volume business, it’s obvious that it’s impractical for buyers to always notify sellers of where they’ve used their images. I assume this is they 30% of the people I notified didn’t respond. Many of them are high volume sellers and likely receive a lot of similar notifications. Following them all up and responding would add a significant manual overhead to their business.

Perhaps some even see it as an annoyance. Similar to spam, if there’s enough quantity. There’s no denying a self-interest when I notify sellers that I’ve used one of their images in this blog. They’re directly in my target market, and I don’t image there’s many other buyers with more to gain from notifying sellers. I certainly don’t have as much to gain when I use an image for a client’s website. However, I’ll continue to notify the sellers of the images I buy and see how it goes.

I’m quite interested to hear the experiences of others’ from both sending and receiving perspectives.

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