iStockphoto came out with some new advertising today, and unfortunately, most of it is misleading, and confusing to buyers.  Let’s take a quick look at some marketing claims.

Exclusive, Not Exclusive
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First off, they announce a new exclusive deal with the company led by Yuri Arcurs:

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 iStockphoto … today announced its largest exclusive content partnership ever by signing a deal with prolific top-selling stock photographer Yuri Arcurs … iStockphoto is now the only site where the Arcurs Collection of photo, video, audio and vector elements can be found.

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Unfortunately this is not true at all.  I detailed last week how some iStockphoto “exclusive” images, including this collection can be found on sites other than iStockphoto.  A quick Google Image Search today shows that the content claimed to be “Only From iStock”, is still available, not only from sites like Masterfile and Dreamstime, but en masse at the company’s own site, PeopleImages.com .  The funny thing, is that the content you can find at iStockphoto can be found even cheaper at the company site, as you can see below.  You can save over %80 by buying this exclusive image somewhere other than “the only site it can be found” ! :

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Or you can save half by getting it at Masterfile for $10 (these were all screen captured today, 7/16/2013) !

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dreamstimeMasterfile-yuri

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Enough on that.

Half the Price
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They are also claiming that half the library has been reduced in price:

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iStockphoto customers will also notice substantial cost reductions with half of the library now at half the price.

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They are backing this up with graphics like:

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And …

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halfPrice_IS

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So, why is this, at best, confusing?  Is it true that there is a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 credit pricing level now?  Yes.  Is it now called “The Main Collection”?  Yes.  However, up until a few weeks ago, that 1-7 credit pricing level was called the “Value Collection”.  So it isn’t true that this pricing level is something new at iStockphoto.  Is it true that there has been imagery added to that pricing level.  Yes – almost all content from independent contributors has been added to that collection, and that represents a good chunk of images.  Is it true that these images will be priced this way “forever”?  Not from what they have said:

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Files wont’ be “locked” for any length of time. When we feel we have gathered enough information about any file to determine that it is under-priced or over-priced we will aim to make adjustments to optimize it.

For the time being almost all non exclusive files have been placed in Main, including all files that were in Plus.

As noted previously, making the moves for the Exclusive content was a priority. Non-exclusive files will be moved as soon as we are finished the initial phase of moving Exclusive content.

So, will there be a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 pricing level “forever”?  Well, there’s been a “Value Collection” for quite a few years, so one could postulate it will exist for at least a few years more.  Will, however, the content that is in that collection stay there, to provide the buyer with a sense of stable or consistent pricing?  Sure doesn’t seem that way.  The intent is to monitor the content, and if there is opportunity to raise pricing for it, they will.  Confusing, eh?  So a buyer may tell the client they can get X image at 3 “credits”, only to find it priced at 12 “credits” when the time comes (Signature Collection).

Additionally, using the “slashed out” pricing in that first image is misleading and could be outright false.  The slashed out prices only refer to the difference between the previous main collection pricing and the current main collection pricing.  Their system is unable to tell you the actual previous pricing of the content.  For example, you can find “Only From iStock” images in the “Main Collection” whose previous pricing was not 1-4-7-10-12-15-18, but, as an “exclusive” image, was 2-5-10-15-20-27-32 (at least at some point in the semi-recent past).  Also, images from the old Value 1-7 Collection could now exist in the Main Collection with no change:

The files in the Value Collection that have generated a sale over the last year will be moved up into the Main collection. Those files that are in the Value collection presently that haven’t experienced any downloads will remain active for the time being, including on Partner sites, as we assess what to do with this content.

So, I wouldn’t associate any “slashed out” pricing with the image(s) in question, necessarily.

Conclusion

I don’t mean to keep harping on this type of thing, but it annoys me to see people purposefully misled and to see others treated unfairly (both exclusive and independent contributors).

Solution?  Try out Stocksy United, where exclusive means exclusive and the pricing is simple. 🙂 SLOCKE gets you 20% off.

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