Pond5 Review

30 Jan 2013 Pond5 Review

Arguably the dominant agency in microstock video, Pond5 started accepting direct submissions of photos last year.   Most microstock agencies launch with photos and illustrations and eventually add video once they’re well established, but Pond5 proves possible – perhaps even smarter – to go the other way.

Their established base of video-buying customers also buy photos, so unlike most new opportunities for microstock photographers, Pond5 can deliver instant results.

And who can go past 50% royalty rates?!

Pond5 Background

Pond5 is based in NYC, launched in 2006, and is headed up by CEO Tom Bennett (LinkedIn), and Dana Tower (LinkedIn) who is ex-VP of Marketing at Getty Motion and ex-Director of Market Development at Corbis Motion. (“Motion” is a broader, more accurate term used at traditional agencies for what we in microstock call video or footage)

Pond5 didn’t add photos until 2011.   At that time they established a partnership with 123RF to instantly get their collection to a respectable size – around 7 million photos at the time. They’ve since opened for direct submissions of photos, and switched partners from 123RF to YAYmicro, Pixmac and FeaturePics. The Pond5 FAQs tell you how to have Pond5 remove duplicates if you already have content with those agencies when you upload directly to Pond5.

While it’s often disputed by competitor agencies, Pond5 is the leader in microstock video licensing in the eyes of most non-exclusive video microstockers.   As a result of both their selling power and their set-your-own-price policy, they have attracted the largest collection of stock video footage, or “motion”, of any microstock agency.

Pond5 Details

Web address www.pond5.com
Google Pagerank 6
Alexa Rank 15,741
Image Stats 8,136,000 photos, 1,347,000 videos
Minimum Size 2 megapixels (no, that’s not a typo!) for photos
Vectors Not yet
Video Footage Yes
Licenses Standard Royalty Free, but no formal Extended Licenses (see below)
Royalties 50% (that’s not a typo either!)
Pricing Set your own price, minimum $1 photos or $10 video. No subscriptions
Payment Methods PayPal, MoneyBookers (Skrill) and check
Payout threshold $25, automatically paid on the 15th of each month
Referral Program 5% of sales and purchases for 1 year
Application Process None, just start submitting
Exclusivity Not offered
Upload Methods FTP, web or post a hard drive
IPTC Data Yes
Delete photos? Yes, immediately and individually
Currencies US Dollars only
Languages English only
Headquarters New York City, USA
Founders Tom Bennett (LinkedIn, Facebook) and Marcus Engene (LinkedIn, Facebook)
Social Profiles Facebook, Twitter

What’s Different about Pond5?

In addition to being video specialists, Pond5 also has audio (which, of the top microstock agencies, is only available at iStock), After Effects templates, and 3D projects. This makes it the most complete single-site microstock agency in terms of file formats (Envato being the non-single-site exception).

The set-your-own-price policy has worked well to attract videographers who want the convenience of microstock distribution without the low prices.   They’ve retained that policy with photos, including the option to have the reviewer suggest a price for you.

Extended Licenses are absent at Pond5, which is perhaps the only negative aspect from the contributor perspective. There’s no specified reproduction limit, product resale rights are not formally available, and the standard license includes 10 seats. These do not compare well.


License issues aside – and let’s face it, for most of us, they are – Pond5 looks very attractive for microstock photographers.

If you haven’t uploaded to Pond5 because you don’t shoot video and only have stills, now is the time to submit!

Pond5 know what they’re doing in microstock and have an established buyer base.

By setting your own prices and earning the super-high 50% royalty rate, you’ll earn much more from a direct sale than through any of their partner programs.

They’ve also made it easy to submit.   Simply post a hard drive with a release spreadsheet, or FTP your files in the usual manner.   And importantly, submission is straight forward at Pond5 with release management and bulk matching tools.

The only thing standing between you and regular royalty payouts from Pond5 is the simple step of sending your files.

You can register with Pond5 here.

  • R. Kneschke
    Posted at 08:40h, 30 January Reply

    I don’t really miss “Extended Licences” from my (Contributor) perspective. When I do have the choice, I opt out of them anyway at other agencies, because with my people portfolio there are too many risks involving uses my models maybe would not be happy with.

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 09:13h, 30 January Reply

      Risks from Extended Licenses?? We’re not talking about Sensitive Use here, just more license rights.

  • Lee R.
    Posted at 23:23h, 14 June Reply

    Thanks for this article – I just found out about pond5. I’ve been on Revostock for the last couple of years, had some minor success there. How would you say pond5 and Revo compare?

Post A Comment