iStockphoto makes all the wrong moves

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This month there was only one subject on everyone’s lips, iStockphoto’s reduction of royalties. Non exclusive contributors were already on an incredibly low commission of just 20%, but Getty owned iStockphoto announced that their business is “unsustainable” offering this amount and that the commission for most will be reduced next year to 15%. The backlash so far has been fierce, with independent forums and iStockphoto’s own forum awash with less than pleasant comments from angry and hurt contributors. The most wounded may well be the exclusive iStock contributors who after hedging their bets on trusting one agency with their microstock images, expect only to be rewarded for their deep seated faith in the company. However, the exclusives will also be hit, with most being brought in to the 25% tier, which may prove difficult to get out of.

What started out as a free photo sharing site will almost go full circle with a couple of more commission cuts. 🙄

iStockphoto must have expected a backlash and also must also have calculated that lowering commissions was still worth doing, despite the inevitable bad publicity that this would receive. Only time will tell, if they can remain at the top of the pedestal or if this move was one step too far.

Here’s what others are saying. The following articles do not necessarily represent my own views, but I did find them entertaining. Also there is a link to a post on iSyndica closing, at the bottom.

niltomil – istock-royalty-changes-and-agency-list/ (This blog no longer exists, so the link which directed to the post has been removed. An excerpt from the post is still below)

Excerpt: Last year we proposed changes to canister levels designed to stave off, but ultimately not solve, this problem. In the end, we chose to scrap those. The royalty changes we released yesterday are not a band-aid solution, they are a permanent fix.

Translation: last year you made us change the canister level thing. We really REALLY want to take more of your money so now we created another way to do it and we’re not changing our minds this time. That’ll teach you to stand up for yourselves, peons.

Excerpt: If you have an over-supply and a constant demand you have to limit your supply adjusting it to the demand.
A microstock agency can do it in two ways:
1) carefully select only best images
2) reduce the suppliers’ commissions, allowing many contributors to leave and thus reducing the supply stream.

Excerpt: So Getty earning 85% of the earnings is sustainable, but earning 80% isn’t? This just does not wash..

Excerpt: But word was out and the mob was waiting with pitchforks sharpened. They immediately seized on his statement that the changes were not Getty-inspired to mean this was a home-grown betrayal rather than one imposed from outside. In the eyes of many Thompson was instantly elevated from fall guy forced to do Getty’s dirty work to Public Enemy No. 1.


…on a very sad note, iSyndica the online file distribution service announced that it will close on October 10. This is a service that I use on a weekly basis to send my images to several agencies with minimal effort and without me having to upload to them all. iSyndica has also been very useful to see all my earnings in one place, as well as to see what images have been uploaded where. A truly brilliant service and I will miss it! UPDATE: Recently a new similar service started, which so far I am enjoying using. Check it out, picWorkflow.

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Here’s a fitting article..

Excerpt: A tireless worker, iSyndica would spread my great cheer to many MicroStock sites without prejudice and generally with much expediency.

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