In my last post I predicted that it was only a matter of time before BigStockPhoto introduces subscription packages to it’s site. Well, today the most successful subscription based microstock agency announced that it has purchased BigStockPhoto. However, before you contact me asking about how much I charge for clairvoyant sessions. I’m happy to tell you that my prediction has fallen flat on its face.

Shutterstock has acquired BigStockPhoto primarily because it does not offer subscription purchases, and that’s the way they want to keep it. Although in recent years there has been a large swing towards subscription packages, there are still a lot of buyers who prefer to buy smaller credit based purchases.

Referring to the acquisition, the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, Jon Oringer said today in BigStockPhoto’s forum, “Be prepared to see a huge marketing push”. This has got to be good news, as although BigStockPhoto has been around since 2004 and has achieved success, it is not a great earner in comparison to other players. Shutterstock plans to keep BigStockPhoto as separate entity, but we can expect to see a lot of changes and improvements to the site over the coming months, including a desperately needed “redesigned website”. I’ve always found BigStockPhoto incredibly difficult to navigate, however this could have something to do with my IQ. Jon also says “What we did with subscriptions – we plan to do with credits.” A bold statement. But you can bet your bottom dollar that he’ll do it.

The following is the full statement by Jon Oringer, which was posted on BigStockPhoto, September 23, 2009.

Dear BigStockPhoto Contributors,

This morning I have the pleasure of announcing the acquisition of BigStockPhoto by Shutterstock Images. We are excited to add a credit-based product to our line up of best-in-industry subscription options. Though we studied the possibility of building a credit site from scratch, in the end we decided that acquiring and building upon the momentum of a solid brand like Bigstockphoto is the best way to deliver this new product to our customers. As you all know, Shutterstock has pioneered many products that have been duplicated in the industry: we offered the first and by far the most successful crowdsourced subscription stock photo product, we built the first footage microstock product, and we were the first commercial stock photo site to crowdsource editorial content. We still feel strongly that subscription solutions offer the best value, but we also recognize that some customers prefer to buy content through credits. We want to work with those customers to better understand and meet their content needs. Acquiring BigStock is the first step.

More than anything, we’re excited to bring the things Shutterstock is known for – our high quality content, great site design, precision search tools, and saavy marketing – to the BigStock brand, the website, and the product line. Be prepared to see a huge marketing push, a redesigned website, and the type of sales volume that you are used to seeing at Shutterstock. This won’t happen overnight, but we expect the trajectory will be the same as Shutterstock. What we did with subscriptions – we plan to do with credits.

I hope all of you are as excited as we are that Bigstockphoto is now part of the Shutterstock family. Tim and Dawn Donahue and their team have built a great product, and we plan to make it better than ever for image buyers and sellers around the world. We hope you will continue to allow us to represent your great content on both Shutterstock and BigStockPhoto and we look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.

Jon Oringer, Founder/CEO
Shutterstock Images

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