Microstock Sites - API Reference

 

Application Programming Interfaces (API's) allow programmers and services to access statistics and images from a microstock agency via a controlled interface. APIs at their most basic allow image collections to be searched and visitors to a website or application to be redirected to the agency site to purchase or view details. More advanced APIs allow reselling of images, this usually requires an API key for access. The table below you can view all the sites that offer public APIs, each API offers various different 'methods' (and parameters) although all are accessed using standardised protocols and information interchange formats. APIs are an important revenue and marketing tool for microstock sites.

Search methods allow a 3rd party site to query the collection of images at an agency and display matches to visitors. These visitors are usually then redirected to the agency site to make a purchase. Additional Details and Statistics methods are sometimes provided and offer access to image collection size (aggregate stats) image popularity information, or image category terms that are available.

Reseller / Fulfilment (download) method access is tightly controlled by each agency to lock down how and where images are sold, this kind of access is usually only granted to those who can demonstrate a track record in photograph sales and have a ready customer base waiting to buy.

Payment for images redistributed in this way is paid photographers normal agency accounts in a similar method to sales made direct at the agency. Depending on the API it's quite possible that the end buyer may have no idea that the image has been sourced from a microstock agency, this can also lead to confusion in the photographer community when images are seen for on a 3rd party site it's easy to jump to the (incorrect) conclusion that these images have used without permission. Most agencies allow contributors to opt-out of allowing their images to be resold (re-distribution), this is often described as 'partner sites'.

Read our guide about how to make the most of referral schemes

Site
123rf Reseller(?) details on application 123rf.com/partners/index.php
Bigstockphoto Yes: Reseller JSON (details: on application http://www.bigstockphoto.com/partners)
Cutcaster.com YES: Reseller (details cutcaster.com/help/api)
Depositphotos.com Reseller: (details: depositphotos.com/api-agreement.html)
Dreamstime Reseller: XML
Fotolia Reseller+Data: XML (legacy) JSON (details: fotolia.com/Services/API/Documentation)
iStockphoto Search: XML (Details: istockphoto.com/webservices/xmlrpc_doc)
PantherMedia Reseller: (details on application)
Photodune.net Search: JSON (details: marketplace.envato.com/api/documentation)
Shutterstock.com Reseller: JSON YAML Perl (details: api.shutterstock.com)
YayMicro.com Reseller: XML (details: http://yaymicro.com/api)

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