31 Dec 2009 This Month in Microstock – December 2009
In contrast to last month, December was full of action in the microstock market.
iStockphoto New Pricing and Exclusivity Changes
iStockphoto announced price rises for all exclusive content, an intermediate collection (called Exclusive-Plus, for now) where exclusive contributors can sell up to 20% of their portfolio at even higher prices, and changes to the quantity of sales required to reach higher canister levels. Prices for larger sizes of the main collection will be slightly reduced. All the details are in the iStockphoto discussion thread.
As usual, hot debate has ensued and the response is mixed. Many exclusive contributors are concerned sales volume will drop now that their prices are so much higher than non-exclusive content. Buyers will not be able to exclude higher priced content from the search results.
Many non-exclusive iStockphoto contributors see exclusivity as more appealing than before the changes, which is one of the explicit intentions of these announcements. Given their selling power and the search result boost given to exclusive files, iStockphoto exclusivity is indeed now a more appealing option.
Dreamstime New Pricing
Dreamstime announced new credit prices, raising the price and thus the commission for contributors. They’re also changing the quantity of downloads required for each file to reach the next pricing level, effectively raising prices and commissions even further. Contributor response has been understandably positive.
Fotolia New Pricing
Fotolia, persisting with their don’t-announce-negative-news strategy, quietly cut contributor commission rates for all but contributors on the highest level (of which there is only one). Prices for sizes above extra small will rise by 1 or 2 credits, making the net revenue per sale higher, despite the commission cuts, for sales of most sizes for most contributors. Fotolia still pays higher commission rates than many other top microstock agencies, but contributor response to the persistent cuts is consistently negative despite the agencies rapidly growing selling power.
StockXpert Now 100% Getty Owned
Getty Images purchased the remaining 10% of Haap Media, the company that owns microstock agency StockXpert. They acquired 90% as part of the Jupterimages acquisition late last year. Previous owner and StockXpert creator, Peter Hamza, is melancholic about the end of the StockXpert era but already working on his next project.
Announced on 30th, Zymmetrical, the “Fair Trade” microstock agency is closed for business. Contributors were all sent their outstanding balance as their final payout. CEO, Keith Tuomi, cited the hard situation of the stock industry and the economy in general as reasons for the venture’s failure.