Fotolia reduced their commission rates. Related news story. Unusually for Fotolia they handled the announcement quite well, letting everyone know with an email. Much better than the recent istock "P.R. gaff" (to put it politely) when they reduced their commission rates. Fotolia also improved their search system adding negative keywords (removal of unwanted subjects) and a recency filter to allow buyers to filter by only the most recently uploaded images. Fotolia announced the launch of Fotolia Korea bringing the total of country specific sites they operate to 14.
Pixmac changed their commission structure. Previous offer of 50% of revenue has been replaced with 30% of gross sale (sounded rather like a pay-cut with positive spin to me, somewhat obscured in a cloud of vagueness) Pixmac then went on to have a "falling out" with Fotolia and Dreamstime (forum post on microstockgroup), shortly followed by 123rf also severing their contract with pixmac as a reseller. On the plus side those with images at pixmac may see an increase in sales due their images been diluted amongst a much smaller image collection; there still seems to be plenty of images available at pixmac.com.
Picworkflow added a keywording feature, where users can bid on a price to pay for keywords to be added to their images. The keywords are crowd sourced, and the highest bid images are driven to the users who provide the best keywords. Full details on the picniche blog
Cutcaster had a makeover, wrapping the site in a much cleaner and simpler interface than previously seen. Various improvements were made including a major overhaul of the search system to improve speed and usability. Cutcaster stated in their press release “Picture buyers don’t need 10 million images, they need the right image" - I think that's a very fair point, we were all fairly happy when microstock sites had 1 or 2 million images a couple of years ago. Another well known site made a real "idogs dinner" out of their search update last month again proving getting search right is not easy. Rarely does a month go by without one of the agencies announcing some new addition or upgrade to their search engine.
Crestock added several more image sizes to their site making a total of 7 sizes priced from $1 to $25 (previously 4 sizes were available).
Clustershot announced their (?) closure - which is a great shame as I had found them a useful place to sell photos to buyers who contacted me directly asking for prices (outside of microstock). I hope someone takes them up on their offer of a buyout. Looking at a post on their blog it does however look like only a handful of photographers were using the platform properly to generate sales, a total of 386 sales earning $8468 (21 of those sales were from me). There is currently a rather fun (morbidly so) series of deathly and sadness related images on the clustershot homepage.
istock announced the arrival of Nick King, as vice president, international. Nick will spearhead the company’s international development and will focus efforts on reaching new customers and markets around the globe. istock has previously been a somewhat North-America-centric agency from a buyers point of view.
What else Caught my Eye ?
Tyler took a first look at the Results of the Microstockgroup 2011 survey.
Lookstat analysed istockphoto search results and found that exclusive photographers are favored 4 to 1.