|End of an era as Veer closes and makes final payments|
New readers can be forgiven for not knowing what I'm talking about so backtracking to 2008 or so we had the launch of microstock photo agency Snap Village. SV was the first attempt at microstock from long established traditional photo agency Corbis (owned by Bill Gates -founder of Microsoft). Corbis was well known for editorial imagery and very much in a battle with Getty Images for dominance in that market.
Snapvillage (the very first online agency I signed up to) was never a great success -for them or me -and in 2009 its closure was announced with key portfolios being moved over to the Veer agency (another Corbis brand). Not surprisingly, my portfolio did not make the grade for transfer but they did allow photographers to sign up to the new Veer Marketplace (the budget part of the Veer site) and upload there. Most of my uploads got rejected -usually with snooty notes about being too journalistic or not meeting the aesthetic qualities their clients expected. It was very much an old school, traditional agency not having a clue about microstock and what sells. Worse, they never accepted editorial images -surprising given the background of Corbis (or maybe avoiding a conflict of interest?).
In 2010, Veer wanted to boost their image library so announced their Dash for Cash scheme. Essentially, for a limited period, they paid a fee for each image uploaded and accepted. I actually did quite well out of that and earned around $75 in bonus money. The problem with that was that Veer has a payout level of $100 (way too high for a slow selling site). Over the six years since I have had one Extended License paying out around $20 and a handful of minor sales -bringing me to just over $98. Close, but so far, from payout!
Acceptance actually got a lot better in the last year or so with virtually all my uploads making it into their library. The trouble is Veer was and remained a very low selling site. Over at Microstockgroup they never made it beyond the Low Earners section of the monthly polls. I did start to wonder if I would ever make this payout and considered closing my account just to get the money.
However, 2016 brought the news that the Corbis empire had been purchased by Visual China Group which would distribute Corbis images to the Chinese market and to the rest of the World through a partnership deal with Getty Images. Shortly afterwards is was announced that the Veer brand was being closed down altogether and that all contributors would be paid out (regardless of amount).
So, there we are then. The end of the second attempt by Corbis to crack the microstock market. I'm sorry for anyone at Veer who will no longer have a job and I will say that when I have needed to contact them they have never been less than friendly and helpful. The end of an era -with a direct link back to my start in microstock. Regards, David.