Istockphoto announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement with Getty Images and is now part of the Getty Images family. According to the reports Getty paid 50 Million $ to acquire IstockPhoto. I have mentioned IstockPhoto before in my Cheap Stock Photography post, but here is a small presentation. IstockPhoto was the pioneer in microstock photography, they have launched almost six years ago and created a community of contributing photographers, that, allowed them to sell stock photos in very affordable prices (0.5$ at first). Since then they have grown and they now have a library of almost 625.000 royalty free photos and illustrations. Getty Images on the other hand, is the leader in professional stock photography and the dream of many professional stock photographers. They accept only a handful of contributing photographers each year and only accept the best of the best.
What I find interesting is that most professional stock photographers that contribute to Getty, Corbis, Alamy and all the other traditional stock photography agencies, used to flame and are still flaming the contributors of the microstock agencies like IstockPhoto. Their main point was that microstock photography devalues photography and threatens their livelihood. Here is an example of that at the PDN forums. I really wonder how are hey going to react to this.
Here is a part of the announcement:
Recently, in a rainy, sleepy suburb in Seattle, I met someone that shared my passion for iStockphoto and my drive to see it succeed. Over a greasy breakfast, he talked excitedly about how our community has created a new market, a culture of participation serving a vast audience. Our talk developed into a wide-ranging collaborative discussion about industry trends, size, consolidation and personal values. We dished a fair amount of gossip, too. After three hours passed in a blink, it was clear how naturally and sincerely our relationship was forming. We continued our dialogue as I detailed our community philosophy for site and feature enrichment, development of artist portfolios, international expansion, localized content and continuous improvement of our technology and methods. “This community is the most important development in the picture business this decade”, he declared. Yes, Jonathan Klein understood us. He “gets it.”
In Getty Images, we have found our perfect partner. On February 9, in the early hours of the morning, iStockphoto agreed to join the Getty Images family, functioning independently with the benefits of Getty Images, yet, very importantly for them and us, autonomy. They will nurture and encourage our pioneering spirit so that our entrepreneurial culture will continue to thrive.
You can read the whole announcement here
By the way, although currently I don’t have an active portfolio at IstockPhoto, I have been accepted as a contributing photographer. I guess that means that I can now proudly say that I am a Getty contributing photographer