Microstock News

It's that time of the year again.... For the fifth year running MicrostockGroup have announced their Independent microstock survey. Last year's survey had well over 700 responses and was quoted in the Shutterstock IPO listing. The survey follows a very similar format to previous years with a little more breakdown for media type (photo, illustration, video, audio). If you have your numbers ready, the entire survey shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to answer. Tyler at microstock group tells us they have tried to keep the survey as short as possible while still gathering enough information for it to be interesting to everyone.

Complete the Survey Now

A slew of mobile phone microstock stories recently, startups and funding, but a lot of it smelt strongly of press release garbage; some amounting to little more than a new category added or an upload competition. There is clearly interest in mobile phone stock - for now I think it's an interesting niche, and my only concern is that I've underestimated it by all but ignoring it; something I plan to continue doing for the foreseeable future.

What I can say for sure about mobile phone stock:

September News Digest:

Yuri Arcurs posted "What sells in microstock anno 2012" on his blog. It makes an interesting read; although much of the advice is not exactly new, most of it is well worth re-iterating. The thread in response on microstockgroup kind of sums up my thoughts on it, in particular the sentiments along the lines of "You're dammed if you follow the advice as everyone else will do just the same, and dammed if you don't".

Picworkflow officially launched of their "in development" retouching service at the start of the month. The service allows photographers to select from a series of processing and retouching options including having each image go through a quality review where retouchers will suggest which services are required or remove services if they feel images are not of sufficient quality. More information via the picworkflow home page. (Read our previous review of the picworkflow distribution and keywording services)

picworkfow retouching options


News highlights from the past couple of months:

Agency Milestones

Shutterstock became the first agency to reach the 20 million images milestone. Fotolia look set to be the next to make it to 20 million. Depositphotos announced they had reached 8 million images adding 'new' lightbox operating features to their site.


Industry News

April was a reasonably quiet month for microstock news, but May was a lot more interesting!


IPOs, Investments and Rumours

There was a trio of microstock finance stories earlier this month starting with the Shutterstock IPO release. Regardless of your opinion on this story the prospectus document makes a really interesting read! Shutterstock plans to raise around $115 million through it's IPO.

This was followed by fiance firm KKR investing US$ 150 million in fotolia in return for a 50% stake in the company, in a "bid to consolidate the fragmented marketplace for licensing online digital images and videos".

Summary: Nothing sensational to report this month, mostly marketing related stories and milestones.

Photodune announced they had added their 1 millionth image

Crestock had a marketing push offering a special small sized subscription for 3 days only. Bigstock offered some discounts over the April fools weekend.

I'm trying hard not to make a habit of rolling two months news into one news post, I'll try to keep things monthly! A few big stories since the New Year, probably the most contentious was 123rf changing their royalty rates.


123rf New commission structure

This story starts back in December when some 123rf users received a message (I didn't find out about that till January when I logged in and there was a message on the log in page) about a new commission rates. A thread on microstock group follows the events. Originally the changes were to affect new users only, with existing accounts being grandfathered:

Well the holiday season certainly does compress time doesn't it!

Sadly it I fear that my planned in depth review of the microstockexpo has been a casualty, although a draft post is well under way, I don't think it's going to see the light of day in a reasonably timely manner. To encapsulate it in a nutshell - it was an excellent event, you can watch the videos on the website, and like any conference most of what I learned (and most of the value) was from conversations outside of the organized sessions. Again, thanks to all those who I met who shared their insights with me.


Quite a bit has happened since I last wrote, two conferences and a few changes to royalties and pricing at some agencies.

Probably the big event for me was the microstockexpo which took place last weekend in Berlin, I'd like to thank everyone I meet and all those who made it possible - you know who you are! A full report is comming soon!

Crestock have anounced a tiered commission structure, the previous offer was 20% then 30% after 100 downloads. The new pricing is 20-40% as per the table below:

crestock royalty structure

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