Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getty and Flickr alliance ends

It was big news couple days ago, at least for people interested in photography. Getty Images is biggest stock agency in the world. Flickr is popular photo sharing service for amateur photographers. For many of Flickr contributors it was entry to the world of stock photography. There are at least three parties that will be affected by this event.

Getty Images sifted through enormous collection of images from photo enthusiast from all over the world. I heard some statements that they check 90 million photos. Some of them were invited to this program and they ended up with 900 thousands of sell-able photos. A lot of work to get 1% return so it is most like why they decided it cost them too much.


For Flickr is most likely very bad news. If above percentage was accurate it means they do not have very good content to start with so if rumors are true that they ended up this partnership because they want to start sell images on their own it is not going to be easy. Also the good ones Getty selected are probably not available cause usually contributors had to sign exclusive agreements. They ended up with pile of crap. I do not know what are strategic plans for Flickr but so far they got really bad record.  At first, Flickr started as photo sharing site. There were many website like this before where contributors can comments on each others photos. Flickr was just better version of them, social aspects were done very well. It had lots of followers until it was acquired by Yahoo. Then of course users expected that it would try to somehow monetize on their participation. In many ways it was what Instagram was before acquisition, largely used platform for sharing images. It was long before mobile was popular. Some people got upset and left some started Flickr clones. Anyway popularity was fading. Then Instagram and Pinterest popularity exploded and Flickr was not coolest kid on the block. For many years nothing really changed. Website went through some cosmetic changes, added additional APIs, mobile apps, etc. Facebook and Google+ could do they same, store and share photos. So what was the purpose of having Flickr account? Partnership with Getty was actually giving Flickr new purpose in life. Every contributor got chance to sell their work.

Contributors might have various experience about this partnership. For some it was the first time their work was commercially available. For others signing exclusive contract with Getty was not so attractive. If you are already selling your work you do not want put all your eggs in one basket. Anyway they got a pass to enter Getty Images club which is usually closed for strangers. So right now when partnerships ended they got their foot inside. If they try to apply on their own they might not be accepted. If we put aside question if it is desirable to be Getty contributor nowadays, Flickr contributors might become normal members of this club. So the news is mostly positive for people who were accepted through this partnership even if Flickr ship will sink.