This month in microstock; quite a lot happening, nothing earth shattering (which is nice!) but lots of interesting little stories:
(Co-ordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage)
Probably this months most talked about story was the CEPIC congress in Dublin (which sadly I couldn't attend). The congress brought together more than 650 delegates from almost 400 companies in the industry. Part of the congress this year was a new media conference comprised of a panel hosted by microstockdiaries's Lee Torrens. The new media conference was covered on various blogs with some good coverage from mystockphoto.org, #2.
Flickr and Getty get Closer
Flickr photographers can now optionally offer any of their images for nomination to license through Getty. Instead of getty editors selecting flickr images alone. Potential buyers can now (if a photographer has provided the option) make a request to license the image via getty. Getty then review the image and ask the photographer if they want to submit it for sale. I hope for all that work the royalty is worth it. details on the flickr blog. There are currently 100,000 images in the getty flickr collection.
Microstock Group Survey
The results of the previously posted microstockgroup 2009 survey are now in, Tyler has posted some initial analysis on his blog.
Social Art Buyer
Thinkstock ramped up their social media marketing with the launch of their social art buyer service. You can read full details on their site Thnks.tk and their twitter page. It's a great idea, in return for tweeting your image needs in public (hence helping promote thinkstock) Thinkstock image research experts will respond to your request with tailored search results (at first I though this might be a bot, but no it's real people replying to your tweets).
At the Agencies:
fotolia launched a desktop application to allow buyers to download images directly to their computer. The application is written in adobe air and runs on both PC and MAC. Like istock, fotolia also have a Microsoft Office plugin "ribbon" for buyers.
veer modified their contributor agreement, to put it briefly they have changed their payment process scrapping end of year payment (this is now inline with other agencies) added a statement to allow them to accept direct payments from buyers (i.e. buyers no longer need to buy credits) and have dropped the term 'marketplace' which was used to separate their microstock from macro images.
shutterstock announced several search upgrades. Search is far more important than most photographers think: the search improvements feature better people searching, matching numbers of people, ages and genders; better image matching to recommended similar images and realtime search containing fresh editorial content. From a contributors perspective better search may mean more customers buying from shutterstock. The alert feature would also provide a useful way to watch uploads by all contributors matching a niche you choose to monitor - unfortunately it seems to need to be logged in as a subscriber (buyer) to use that feature.
panthermedia announced that they would be offering their clients the pixamba photo management solution I wrote about last month, Interestingly they are not offering it to their customers for free. I would of imagined that for any agency it would an added value service that would "tie buyers in", then offering buyers the agencies own photos if their previously purchased collection does not contain what they need. Surely I'm not the only one thinking that if I had a subscription with a microstock agency and was thinking about changing that subscription to another provider then if I also had all my images managed with that agency too I'd be a lot less likely to want to leave?
Both Veer and Vivozoom announced that their images would be added to the PicScout IRC image indexing service allowing buyers with the ImageExchange plugin to locate available stock images anywhere online more easily.