A couple of big news stories since my last update, the most noticeable one was the F5 update on istockphoto, but for contributors I think the news that prostockmaster is now available free of charge is the biggest story.
Prostockmaster was relaunched as freeware, I wrote a review of prostockmaster 2 years ago (needs updating!) while it was still a commercial product with a free option. Prostockmaster is microstock assistant application which helps in the process of keywording and uploading images to microstock agencies. The program supports uploading to 9 different agencies, IPTC keyword setting, image search and can also provide sales statistics. Full details can be found on prostockmaster.com
After months of pecking the F5 key like Homer Simpsons drinking bird, the much awaited new istock website was finally put into action on the 8th August. Within 4 hours you could wade through twelve pages of frivolous 'woots' on the istock forum in response to Kelly Thompsons "we want to hear what you think" to find a few useful comments users had made.
"It's all very nice", but I can't really say I love it or hate it, or for that matter even care that much. I think buyers will like the changes, and that's what matters. Clearly the istock fanclub is strong as ever, I don't think anyone really loves FT, DT et al, but contributors that love istock really are passionate about 'their' site.
The update has all sorts of great features designed to make the buying process easier, and place the spotlight on the images, a nice red download this photo button forms a clear call to action. At present there's bugs to be ironed out, writing this three days after the launch it seems we no longer have the surreal search pages showing only 8 results or "0 search results for <....> displaying 1-50 of 193 matches"... but I still see a fair bit of "0 search results for Entering AND keyword AND (Letter S)". The best things come to those who wait.
To celebrate the launch istock have tabled a 25% discount on credit packages for buyers using the coupon "iLOVEF5" until 15th August 2010.
Other Microstock News
Shutterstock launched shutterbuzz a portal for contributors which features guides, news and user submitted articles related to photographers, illustrators and videographers. Shutterstock also celebrated their 7th birthday with a retrospective post on their blog
Dreamstime announced some accessibility updates to their site - larger thumbnails, updated lightboxes and image page modifications were part of the improvements designed to streamline the buying workflow (press release).
Thinkstock announced that it would be selling images individually, although they are called 'image packs' you can buy a pack of 5 images for $59 dollars and use it over the space of 12 months, this type of arrangement is fairly standard across the microstock industry. Does this put them in competition with istock for customers wanting high resolution images?
picniche toolbar added a share button to automatically add your affiliate code to and shorten the url of any page on a stock agency web site you were viewing, this allows you to promote your own portfolio more easily on a microblogging or social networking service.
yaymicro announced they now have 1,000,000 images in their collection.