Flickr and Getty Images Begin Inviting Select Flickr Photographers Into Their Joint Stock Photography Business
Recently I’ve been getting reports that Flickr has begun inviting select Flickr photographers into the new joint Flickr/Getty stock photography business that Getty and Yahoo announced earlier this year in July.
I contacted both Getty and Yahoo for confirmation that invitations have been sent out and received confirmation from Kryssa Guntrum, Senior PR Manager at Yahoo, that this is indeed happening.
“The editors at Getty Images have recently sent a preliminary set of invitations to be part of the collection to a small group of Flickr members. The photos are being chosen based on Getty Images’ expertise in licensing digital content and insight into customers’ needs. As always, Flickr is committed to offering its members full control over their content and they are free to accept or decline the invitation as they so choose. We will keep you posted as more information on the invitation process and other partnership milestones are announced.”
The invitation being sent to select photographers reads like this:
“Flickr has partnered with the fabulous Getty Images to
offer an invitation-only service for Flickr members to sell
their photos for commercial use.
The Getty Images team has noticed your work on Flickr, and
is pleased to offer you an invitation to enroll with them.
They have selected XX of your photos for possible inclusion
in the program. Here are a few of them:
If you’re interested, find out how to get started at the
Flickr page below. Congratulations! And, good luck!”
I’m not sure how many photographers have been invited at this point but personally don’t feel entirely good about how this program is going so far.
Earlier this year, back in July, I blogged about this program after iStockphoto VP for Content Development, Joseph Jean Rolland Dube, made comments about how the program would work in Seattle at the Microsoft Pro Photography Summit.
Originally Dube stated that Getty would start this program with around 2,500 images. This seemed unusually small to me given the magnitude of images that Getty offers for sale. Bridgett Russell, Getty’s Senior Director of Communications, later told me that Dube had provided an erroneous number and said that the program would launch in the “coming months” with “tens of thousands” of photographs for sale.
I’m not sure how many photographs have been selected by Getty here some five months later, but I’d guess that the number is a heck of a lot closer to the 2,500 (at best) number Dube originally provided than the clarification offered by Russell of “tens of thousands.”
Personally I’ve long believed in the opportunity that stock photography represents through Flickr. There are some things that concern me about this initiative so far though.
All along I’ve worried that this Flickr/Getty deal was not a serious attempt at selling stock photography through Flickr. I’ve worried that it was more a lip service attempt by Getty to lock in a relationship with Flickr before Corbis (Getty’s largest competitor) could. Especially in light of the Microsoft offer to buy out Yahoo last summer, I wondered if Getty might try to create a contractually binding agreement with Yahoo ahead of any possible Microsoft ownership of Flickr. Although Corbis is an independent company from Microsoft, Corbis is 100% owned by Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and I wondered if a Microsoft owned Flickr might not make a deal with Corbis more likely.
Given that there has been virtually no communication about this initiative since it’s announcement by either Getty or Flickr, I’m worried that the program is not really moving along. Especially given that Flickr in their FAQ on this program states that the program would “debut later this year” (one day left, guys) and Russell told me that the service would be launched in the “coming months” with tens of thousands of photos back in July, I just don’t see “a preliminary set of invitations to be part of the collection to a small group of Flickr members,” as being very serious in nature. Especially when there has been no formal update to the Flickr FAQ on the partnership since it was announced.
What bothers me more though is the complete lack of transparency on the part of Flickr over how this program will work. More than just a bunch of random nameless faceless photographers, Flickr is a community. And an opportunity to allow Flickr users to sell their work if they want through the site is a huge deal. And yet there is no way that Flickr members can apply for consideration for this program. There is no information about the types of photos that Getty wants. There simply is no communication going on about this new service by Flickr, Yahoo or Getty. There is no reasoning given for the delays in the launch. Will, I, Thomas Hawk be able to sell stock photographs through Getty? Who knows. Will you be able to? Other than a select few photographers who received invitations on very small numbers of their photos not much else is being offered that I can tell.
Have you been approached to sell photos through Getty yet? If so feel free to post a comment and discuss your opinion of this program.