Back in the Seventies and Eighties I founded and ran several Fleet Street photo agencies specialising in stock images of celebrities from pop stars to politicians. These were syndicated to the National and International press and Television. These days I am active in the Microstock world and this blog charts my journey as well as, hopefully, providing inspiration and ideas to others. Image buyers should also find this blog useful with links to my portfolios and regular updates on new uploads. Unless otherwise stated all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Comments are very welcome but will be reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

From Woohaying to No Waying (Istock in turmoil):

Well, I was about to post some stats for August when Microstock events overtook me. Istockphoto announced major commission changes (cuts) from next January. Instead of your commission rate being set by your "cannister" level (based on all time sales) it will now be based only on sales from the previous year. For small and independent contributors (like myself) commission will drop from an already poor 20% to what I believe to be an industry low of 15%. Even many of the successful exclusive contributors are anticipating a drop in earnings. Not surprisingly this has led to an outcry on the forums (link here: with the main thread now running to over 3336 (mainly hostile) postings. Several statements by IS chief Kelly Thompson to justify the move seem, if anything, to have made matters worse with many posters cancelling their exclusive status and halting new uploads. Others are calling on image buyers to boycott IS. This is where it gets interesting because IS seems to have overlooked the fact that many contributors are also buyers in their "day job". An increasing number are now posting that they and their companies will not buy images from IS again.
Istock are part of Getty images who are owned by equity group Hellman and
Friedman. This whole move looks like an attempt to up profits (possibly before a sell off, as some have speculated) and seems to have been done with complete disregard for loyal contributors. The so called Istock Community is fast looking like a thing of the past with many now posting four letter word abuse in the forums.
I should say, that none of this has much impact on me financially. I only have a small portfolio there and not many sales. But I do feel really sorry for those who rely on IS for a big part (or all) of their earnings and especially those making a full time living from stock. It remains to be seen how this all pans out in the coming weeks. Regards, David.


PhotoCritical said...

The fire seems to have died down now. I'm sure it will smoke for a while though. In my opinion its time to get on with it and work towards getting as many downloads as I can this year (out of principle as I'm not likely to hit the benchmark for the next level or royalty). Luckily for you and I its a hobby and not our rent. Best, Rob

David Fowler (newsfocus1) said...

Thanks for your comment Rob. Not sure I agree that it has died down! Still seems pretty hot to me on and on the Istock forum itself. Everyone is going to have to make their own decisions about how to proceed,I guess. Regards, David.