The NY Times' Eric A. Taub has a great piece today rounding up the web-based stock photo market, entitled "When Are Photos Like Penny Stocks? When They Sell" (thanks TVA). It's well worth a read.
I'll offer a couple of thoughts as the topic relates to those of us in the printer industry.
Stock photography has been seen as an important component of the small-business-oriented Do-It-Yourself Marketing solution that HP (NYSE: HPQ) and others have been working on the last few years to boost usage of their newest color laser printers. So what's the fit of low-priced, easy-to-access stock photo services that give users easy access to photos and other graphic elements, to be used in marketing brochures and the like? The Times summary explains the fit in glowing terms:
For small-business owners or others needing images, microstock sites can be an alternative to conventional stock agencies, which base fees on the published size of an image, circulation and other factors.
Microstock sites charge far less, and, with few exceptions, buyers pay a flat fee, no matter how large the image is or where it is used.
'Maybe a $300 photo for a pamphlet distributed to 300 people is not worth $300,' said Jon Oringer, the founder of Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com), a four-year-old microstock agency.
Officially announced a year ago but in the works somewhat longer than that (think "grand opening"), istockphoto.com continues as an HP (NYSE: HPQ) in-house marketing partner, along with, among others, LogoWorks. LogoWorks was recently acquired by HP -- does it follow that iStockphoto.com may also be on HP's shopping list? Well, early last year after HP announced its partnership, iStockphoto.com was acquired by Getty. (see "Mazel Tov, iStockphoto".)
Oh, one other footnote. As an printer industry vet but also a newcomer to tech journalism/blogging, I'm glad to see this is how NY Times says it -- see quote (my bold):
Kelly Cline, a Seattle-based food photographer, has uploaded 1,363 images to iStockphoto, and her work has been bought 68,215 times. Significant payments began to arrive once she had 500 to 600 images in her portfolio, Ms. Cline said, adding, 'If you upload more, it’s like shooting arrows in the air.'
I'm feeling much more confident in my grammatical judgement!
(Note: the photo included in this blog post is one of the iStockphoto "freebies" offered by HP.)