iStockphoto has been one of the leaders of the micro-stock industry. Many people, including me, have enjoyed the community and the extra income from the photography hobby. Since Getty purchased iStockphoto a few years ago, many changes have been implemented. Perhaps most were for the better of the company and its loyal contributors if not all. However the changes they announced today sent a strong shockwave to its contributors and many are left wondering if corporate greed has completely taken over.

The most significant change is how the royalty levels are determined. It used to be based on contributor’s lifetime download totals (represented by the canister icons Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond ). The new plan, scheduled to take effect from January 2011, will set levels based on total number of credits used by customers to download a contributor’s files in 2010.

What angered many people is that the new plan will mean a royalty cut. Even though the announcement promised that “would not change most contributors’ total compensation (except for the better)”, many could not be convinced. For non-exclusive contributors, it becomes difficult to climb the royalty ladder. A non-exclusive contributor will need to get 1, 400, 000 redeemed credit to get the 20% top rate. As a result, more than 1500 posts have been generated since the announcement a little over 9 hours ago and the discussion thread is still growing longer by the minutes.

It is unrealistic to expect an official response now as Calgary, AB Canada, where iStockphoto is located, is almost in midnight. We will see how things go tomorrow.

Posted in: News on September 7th, 2010. Trackback URI
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