31 Aug 2009 This Month in Microstock – August 2009

August was a slow news month in microstock. Business as usual for most.

Getty Images web and mobile licenseGetty Images had the biggest microstock news in August.   They made their most bold move towards competing for buyers “similar” to microstock buyers to date. Introducing a new Web & Mobile license, all photos from Getty Images are now available from $5 for the small 170 pixel version. Even Rights Managed images are available for $15, though with the usage restrictions that come with such licenses.

Two years ago when Getty Images introduced a $49 web-only license, the traditional stock photography market reacted with uproar. Even though these new web and mobile licenses are cheaper and less restrictive, the industry response has been muted. These two years have seen a massive shift in the context of stock photo pricing, including a recognition of the typical microstock buyer as a market worthy of supplying.

Interestingly, a ‘key benefit’ on the Web & Mobile page reinforces the superiority of Getty Images photos over their own iStockphoto and other microstock agencies:

All our images come with indemnification “ unlike most microstock “ so you don’t have to worry about copyright ownership of our images.

Cutcaster launched a tongue-in-cheek dig at iStockphoto’s recent launch of the first microstock collection, Vetta. The new Cutcaster collection was titled ‘Betta than Vetta’, a play on both a famous ‘betta than chedda’ marketing campaign and the iStockphoto’s Vetta brand. It was renamed to just ‘Betta’ after a couple of days.

Fotolia announced that their new free photo website, PhotoXpress, overtook SXC in image quantity.

Dreamstime‘s Facebook application which launched last month was cleared for official announcement this month. Shutterstock are also seeing enough results from social media to invest further. They launched Shuttertweet, a facility for contributors to connect their Twitter accounts to Shutterstock. The service tweets the quantity of images accepted and sold for the day to contributors’ Twitter followers with a link back to their portfolio. Like the Dreamstime Facebook application, Shuttertweet incentivizes use of the system by including affiliate codes in the links.

New microstock utility iSyndica also expanded their service with support for vector files and third-party login as detailed in my recent review.

Yuri Arcurs released a new microstock contributor tool in the form of an income projection calculator. Based on data of historical sales trends for different days and months, it calculates the anticipated monthly earnings at various microstock agencies based how much has been earned so far in the month.

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