iStockphoto made an announcement to contributors today, and it’s sure to make some buyers happy, some buyers angry, most, if not all, contributors angry, and pretty much everyone confused.  You can read the announcement here: http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=362716

So, What’s The Skinny On The Whole Thing?
xanax online no prescription

Well, first, let’s look at “just the facts”, or what is happening, as of, or around, September 15, 2014.

  • iStockphoto currently has 4 collections: main, signature, signature+ and Vetta.  As of 9/15, Vetta and signature+ are being folded into the Signature collection.  Main will become “Essentials”.
  • Credits are being “revalued”.  As a buyer, if you have 5 “current/old/legacy/historic” credits now, you will have 1 credit on 9/15.  “New” credits have not been priced yet.
  • Images will no longer have different costs based on size of the image.  Images will cost one price based on collection: 1 “new” credit for an Essential image, 3 “new” credits for a Signature image.  (Similar pricing applies to the other media – see the post for details)
  • Being able to pay by “cash” is going away.
What Does It Actually Mean?
tramadol online without prescription

First point, about the collections.  More than a year ago, iStockphoto took it’s overburdened collection system for images from 7 differently priced collections down to just 4.  You can read about that here: http://www.seanlockephotography.com/2013/06/26/istockphoto-angers-contributors-confuses-buyers/  Now they are pressing further and reducing the system down to just 2 collections – “stuff that is fine” and “stuff that is better”.  Say goodbye to the Vetta collection – it’s being shuffled, along with Signature+ into the regular Signature collection.

buy tramadol online without prescription

istock_092014_1

buy tramadol no prescription

The big news here is that Vetta images used to sell for 45 legacy credits (S) to 170 credits (XXXL).  After 9/15, those images will cost just 3 new credits (or 15 legacy credits) for any size.

buy tramadol no prescription

istock_092014_2

buy ambien online without prescription

Great news for the buyer, as now they are going to be able to save more than %90 of what they would have spent.  Contributors are going to hate it because they are essentially trading away 90% of the base price of the image for a small increase in royalty rate (Vetta previously paid contributors a smaller royalty than regular images – there was never a real explanation why).  Contributors lose out even more in the case of a buyer who paid cash for these premium images.

valium online without prescription

istock_092014_3

buy xanax online

Signature+ pricing went from 20 credits (S) to 60 credits (XXXL):

valium for sale

istock_092014_4

soma online pharmacy

Signature pricing went from 7 credits (S) to 30 credits (XXXL):

buy xanax online no prescription

istock_092014_5

tramadol for sale

The Main collection goes from 2 credits (S) to 8 credits (XXXL).

Size Doesn’t Matter
buy xanax online no prescription

So, for all this work that now ends up in the Signature collection, that went from 7 (legacy) credits to 170 credits, the buyer will now pay 15 (legacy) credits, flat rate.  Which is 3 “new” credits.  And the contributor will receive their royalty based on the price paid for those 15 (legacy) credits, and only 15 credits will go towards their redeemed credit total, which determines royalty rate for the year.  Same for the work in the Essentials collection.  What ran from 2 to 8 credits (legacy) will now cost just 5 credits, or 1 “new” credit.

tramadol online no prescription

Downside for the buyer, is that if they only need a small blog sized image, they are no longer able to choose the size they need.  It is now one size fits all needs.  Or, one price.  Apparently, the buyer can still download various sizes.  However, the buyer will be happy because they will be saving huge amounts of money if they need a large image for their project.

xanax online no prescription

As you can see, for the contributor, they lose about %50 of the upside in the Main collection, and an incredible %95 of the upside in Signature.   Not to mention the investment made in a camera capable of providing high resolutions based on the history of pricing Royalty Free content by size.  The reasoning for the “one price fits all”?

This is no longer the case; customers increasingly require larger file sizes for their projects as screen sizes and resolutions increase. As a result, removal of size-based pricing aligns iStock for future growth within its market segment.

You would think that if there were a need for larger file sizes, and there was value is a larger file size, one would capitalize on the demand, but apparently not here.

What isn’t affected is the RC targets, even though %95 of the earning potential goes away.  Even though ALL sales are now either worth 5 or 15 legacy credits … :

Since we will re-calculate the new credit value to the equivalent old credit value for contributor Redeemed Credits, there will be no change in redeemed credits targets or reporting.

No Cash, No More

The option to pay “cash” or without making a commitment is going away.

We are offering just one payment method – Credits:

This indicates a renewed effort to tie buyers to one image supplier for a longer period of time.  Buying a small credit pack has always been a bad deal.  Bulk purchasing brings a discount, so it’s clear they will be pushing the larger packs when they reveal pricing on 9/15.

We can probably guess at that pricing.  Assuming that pricing, in general, is currently around $1.60 average per legacy credit, new credits should cost at least $8 apiece, but we’re just guessing at the new pricing, so let’s take a look at an example.

Today: S sized image from the Main collection is 2 “legacy” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $3.20 (2x$1.60).  Contributor at %15 royalty gets $.48 .  Contributor at %30 gets $.96.  Contributor has 2 credits added to RC totals.
After: image from the Essential collection is 1 “new” credit.  Cost to buyer: around $8.  Contributor at %15 royalty gets $1.20 .  Contributor at %30 gets $2.40.  Contributor has 5 credits added to RC totals.
Net result: Buyer unhappy, contributor happy.

Today: XXL sized image from the Main collection is 7 “legacy” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $11.20 (7x$1.60).  Contributor at %15 royalty gets $1.68 .  Contributor at %30 gets $3.36.  Contributor has 7 credits added to RC totals.
After: image from the Essential collection is 1 “new” credit.  Cost to buyer: around $8.  Contributor at %15 royalty gets $1.20 .  Contributor at %30 gets $2.40.  Contributor has 5 credits added to RC totals.
Net result: Buyer happy, contributor unhappy

Today: S sized image from the Signature collection is 7 “legacy” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $11.20 (7x$1.60).   Contributor at %30 gets $3.36.  Contributor has 7 credits added to RC totals.
After: image from the Signature collection is 3 “new” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $24.  Contributor at %30 gets $7.20.  Contributor has 15 credits added to RC totals.
Net result: Buyer unhappy, contributor happy

Today: XXL sized image from the Signature collection is 28 “legacy” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $44.80 (28x$1.60).   Contributor at %30 gets $13.44.  Contributor has 28 credits added to RC totals.
After: image from the Signature collection is 3 “new” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $24.   Contributor at %30 gets $7.20.  Contributor has 15 credits added to RC totals.
Net result: Buyer happy, contributor unhappy

Today: S sized image from the Vetta collection is 45 “legacy” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $72 (45x$1.60).   Contributor at %30 gets $21.60.  Contributor has 45 credits added to RC totals.
After: image from the Signature collection is 3 “new” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $24.  Contributor at %30 gets $7.20.  Contributor has 15 credits added to RC totals.
Net result: Buyer happy, contributor unhappy

Today: XXL sized image from the Vetta collection is 160 “legacy” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $256 (160x$1.60).   Contributor at %30 gets $76.80.  Contributor has 160 credits added to RC totals.
After: image from the Signature collection is 3 “new” credits.  Cost to buyer: around $24.   Contributor at %30 gets $7.20.  Contributor has 15 credits added to RC totals.
Net result: Buyer very, very, very happy, contributor extremely unhappy

After The Summer Slump

Be prepared for turmoil and confusion at IS in the coming weeks.  Usually the fall is the time to celebrate the end of a summer sales slump for contributors as buyers ramp up their purchasing for the holidays.  It’s not the best time to try out a new system or change things around.  This new development could throw cold water on autumn sales as buyers finally throw in the towel due to the unpredictability of it all.  We shall have to wait and see what happens.

6 Responses to iStockphoto Doing The Shuffle Again

  1. Fabio says:

    Why can’t they just change for the better?

  2. Phil says:

    The latest change has made me leave iStockPhoto for other alternatives, because mostly, I only need XS and S sizes. It just isn’t worthwhile to pay $8 or $24 for one picture that I only need 200 pixels wide. Personally, I think charging the same price for a 600 pixel wide image as a 6000 pixel wide image is crazy.

    • andy says:

      @Phil: what do you use instead?

    • Ann Williams says:

      Amen to this. I started using iStock many years ago as I could get the smallest picture for only $1 or $2. This allowed me to put pictures into many of the posts on a special-interest blog that I run (for entrepreneurs in South Africa). ie. It was just do-able with the exchange rate and minimal income from the site.
      With all the changes to iStock since Getty took over and went crazy, I am now looking on average at $45 for the same pictures!
      This is just insane.
      Have moved over to a monthly subscription to BigStock.com although their pictures are NOT as good as what iStock used to be. Things are improving though and I suspect that a number of exclusive iStock contributors have moved over to other stock houses like BigStock – which is a win for us smaller guys.

  3. Aidan says:

    Agree. I only need small images – time to find another supplier of stock images. Shame – it was a good service and worth the money. Now, on longer the case.

  4. electris says:

    Well, this is potentially the end of my business relationship with iStock. This new system would have me paying 50-100% more for 90% of the images I source, and 50% less on the rest. It just does not make any sense for the images I tend to source from them.

    I think they are hoping the bulk of their clients will take the leap to sourcing all “Signature” images since it represents the biggest leap in perceived savings/value; but it makes no sense to me, business-wise, to spend more money just because they are saying it’s a great deal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *