Archive for the ‘Getty Images’ Category

How to Lose Control of Your Photos With Getty Images

Facebook Thomas Hawk Image

Last week photographer Remi Thornton penned a post about why he quit working with Getty Images. Remi alerted photographers to a new scheme by Getty Images whereby they were “loaning” photographer images (without pay) to Cafe Press for marketing purposes. The idea is that Cafe Press could use photographers’ images without paying, unless a sale was made, then a photographer might receive a royalty.

Allowing Cafe Press free use of photographers’ images for marketing did not sit right with Remi or other photographers, Remi felt that Cafe Press should have to pay a royalty for using the image at all and not get to use the images to market Cafe Press for free.

On March 25th, I submitted my own resignation to Getty Images. Shortly thereafter on March 27th I received acknowledgement from Getty along with the following:

“As per your recent request where you expressed your desire to terminate your outstanding contract with Getty Images, this is your official notice of termination of the Agreement between yourself and Getty Images, which had a Commencement Date of 3/11/2009.”

A few days later my images disappeared from Getty’s website for sale.

One would think that upon termination with Getty Images, the pilfering of images by Cafe Press would cease, but not so. Not only are my images still up for sale with Cafe Press (being marketed in a large font as “Thomas Hawk Gifts”), Cafe Press is additionally ADVERTISING them to me to buy on Facebook (again without pay — see image above).

Even though I no longer have a relationship with Getty and have NEVER had a relationship with Cafe Press, they want to sell me a dry erase board of a dog image of mine. I can also buy a wine charm thing or a beer coaster if I want.

I’m sure in the super fine print of my contract with Getty there is some loophole that is allowing this, but frankly it’s bad enough that Getty is allowing Cafe Press to market our images without pay. To further allow our images to be marketed in Facebook ads (again, without pay) seems a bit far fetched — especially when my relationship with Getty is supposed to be terminated. And why is Cafe Press specifically targeting me on Facebook trying to sell me my own images?

I have no idea how long my images must remain for sale at Cafe Press, but this just serves as an example of how a photographer can lose control over their images with Getty.

I wonder how much money Getty was paid to allow Cafe Press to use our images for free on Facebook?

I’d ask Getty what the deal is in the Contributor forum, but alas, I’ve been permanently banned from the Contributor forum for daring to criticize Getty’s paltry 20% payout. Maybe someone who is still a member there can ask them for me and relay back what their answer is?

Think You Can Sell That Photo of Your Cat on Your Living Room Couch as Stock Photography? Think Again.

Shooter at Rest

I just got an email from Getty Images that I suspect is a mass email to all of their various contributors. In the email Getty is asking for help in identifying our photographs that might contain images of designer furniture. The email states that French courts have found in favor of the Le Corbusier rights-holders against Getty in a case where furniture was in the stock photograph.

Here is the email below with emails redacted:

“Attention all Flickr Collection on Getty Images Contributors!

You may have heard about a recent case (actually more than one case) where Getty Images and some of our photographers have had claims lodged against us in French court for images which include designer furniture, even as a minor part of the image.

This is a serious issue that involves potential liability for you as photographers.

The French courts have found in favor of the Le Corbusier rights-holders who initiated these claims. While we disagree with the decision and we are appealing it, we are very mindful that for now, it is a valid decision. It is critical that you understand that any claim like this one is extremely serious and requires action on your part in order to protect your interests, not just ours. We will continue to fight this decision, but in the meantime we must continue to actively pull content from our site that may be deemed infringing. We simply cannot identify all problematic images as quickly without your active participation. And quick action is vital.

Most importantly, if you believe that any of the images you have uploaded to us might possibly include any designer furniture, please email the Getty Images ID numbers to [email redacted] as soon as possible! The sooner we can identify and remove potentially infringing images the better we can reduce potential legal problems.

We are including links to information and FAQs that give more information on this issue and we strongly request that you read them and study the visual guides included.

You can also read the original Le Corbusier complaint here:

In English

Original in French (clearer photos)

Please note: because we are still engaged in litigation, we are very limited in what comments we can make or questions we can answer. If you do have questions please email [email redacted] especially for any specific images you believe may be a problem.

This is only for images you have on the gettyimages.com site. We cannot answer questions about images you have posted on Flickr or elsewhere.

Thank you for your help and attention to this very important matter.”

So is the New Flickr/Getty Request to License Feature a Good Deal or Bad Deal for Flickr Photographers?

So is the New Flickr/Getty "Request to License" Feature a Good Deal or Bad Deal for Flickr Photographers?

While I was out of town last week, Flickr/Getty launched the latest new twist to their stock photography arrangement, “Request to License.” Already Getty images is representing more than 100,000 flickr images on Getty for Getty’s customers to purchase. I’ve participated in this stock offering since it launched, and Getty currently represents 190 of my images (that you can see here).

The new twist is smart from Flickr/Getty’s standpoint. As many, many, many of the photos that buyers are finding online are being privately negotiated between buyer and seller, Flickr/Getty are looking to get a piece of this action. With this new “request to license” feature, Flickr/Getty is allowing you to post a link directly to Getty images on all 100% of your Flickr photos. If a potential buyer sees this link and wants to license your image, they can click the link and license the image through Getty. Getty/Flickr keep 80% of the money and you get 20% of the money.

So why am I declining to participate in this new venture? Simple. I don’t think I’ll sell 5x as many photos through Getty this way as I’d sell myself from private inquiries. I get inquiries about my photos all the time. Every week at least I get someone wanting to purchase one of my photos. These buyers have been magazines, text books, newspapers, websites, advertisers of every shape and form. I’ve been offered money for Holiday cards, billboards, television commercials, whatever. In fact the single largest source of my photography related income comes from people contacting me directly after finding my images on Google Image Search, my blog, Flickr etc.

Most of the time when people want to license one of my images it’s for a very specific photo, for a very specific reason. Last month Outdoor Magazine contacted me about using this image of the Iron Door Saloon in Groveland for $250. The photo’s not particularly great, but I suspect that they are running an issue on Groveland or something and it’s a very specific image that they wanted to buy. Now, as it stands, I simply sold them a license to the image and emailed them a simple invoice for $250. Pretty easy. Had they seen the same image of mine and chosen to license it through Getty for the same amount, I would only have gotten $50. So why would I want to get $50 instead of $250?

You might be able to argue that people will feel more comfortable negotiating directly with Getty, a known and established provider of images who has a strong reputation in clearing images. You might even be able to argue that this comfort factor would allow you to sell twice as many images through Getty as you would directly. But 5x more image sells? I seriously doubt it. Other than me advertising for Getty on over 40,000 images of mine on Flickr, what are they doing exactly to earn their 80%? Are they promoting these images in search on their website? No.

Images that I presently license to Getty are indexed in their search engine and promoted by them. Even then I think the 20% payout is too small. But to simply redirect commercial inquiries on my images from me to Getty for an 80% cut? This doesn’t make sense to me at all.

I’ve also found that people respond very differently to images when I post them online non-commercially vs. offering them for sale. Many of the images in my stream never would be able to be licensed by Getty. They are of people without model releases etc. So why advertise for Getty on images that I will never be able to sell that also might send the wrong message to a subject who is in a non-commercial photograph that I’ve taken?

I can see where this deal might seem great for Getty/Flickr. I suspect that there is a big pot of money that they both are missing out on right now in terms of privately negotiated licensing between buyers and photographers directly and they’d like to get their hands on this money. But I think it’s a bad deal for photographers and I personally won’t be participating in it. My advice to Flickr/Getty would be to bump the payout up on these images to 50/50.

Here’s a link to a discussion from Flickr members on this new offering from the Flickr Help Forum (where I’m permanently banned). It seems that most photographers representing an opinion on this new offering there are also negative about it. Oh, and Google? If you’re listening, I think there’s a great opportunity in all this for you. Eliminating the middle man is one of the things that you do best. I like the 68% payouts I get on my Adsense ads with you a lot more than the 20% payout I get from Getty.

Some Purely Anectdotal and Totally Unscientific Data on Flickr Images Being Sold by Getty Images

Some Purely Anectdotal and Totally Unscientific Data on Flickr Images Being Sold by Getty Images

Over at the Getty Images Contributor Group on Flickr (it’s private and you have to be an accepted Flickr/Getty photographer in order to see it) there have been a number of threads started over the past few months where Getty/Flickr contributors have posted and shared basic information about how their sales are going through the Flickr/Getty partnership thus far. While it is probably far too early to accurately ascertain a lot of the statistics on how things are truly going, I thought I’d compile some of this information as anecdotal.

So far the Flickr/Getty deal has been running about 8 months now. Initially Getty editors scoured Flickr finding images and photographers to invite. More recently Getty has created a “Call for Artists” group where Flickr users can apply for participation directly in this program. Also Getty has broadened the submission process now allowing photographers to submit 25 images per week for Getty to consider for the Flickr collection (for a while it was 50 per week but they just cut it back to 25). Getty/Flickr photographers submit these images to the “Getty Images Artists Picks” group for consideration.

1. One of the threads in the Contributor Group asked the simple question of members how many images each member currently had on sale at Getty. So far 25 photographers have responded in that thread with an answer. The largest answer was 566 photographs. The smallest answer was 3 photographs. The average of the photographers who answered was 133.4 images each.

2. Another thread in the group asked a more complicated question, what each photographer’s Return Per Image per year was (RPI). In order to get this photographers took their total earnings, divided it by number of months images had sold and the multiplied that number by 12 to get an annual number. The idea here is that photographers might see how much each image accepted by Getty might be worth to them on an annual basis. 22 photographers answered this thread. The highest RPI came in at $119.16 per image. The lowest was $0 (by two photographers who had yet to sell images). The average was $31.03 per image.

3. The most participated in question had to do with Getty’s acceptance rate for images submitted. During the months of August, September, and October, Getty allowed Getty/Flickr photographers to submit photographs in sets to be considered by Getty editors for sale. 39 photographers responded to this question. Acceptance rates varied from 100% of images submitted accepted to a low of 5%. The average acceptance rate for images submitted to Getty through this program was 48.25%.

4. Finally, one photographer asked Flickr/Getty photographers to post the highest right’s managed (RM) sale that they’d made to date. Right’s managed images sold by Getty generally sell for higher amounts than the royalty free (RF) images that they also offer. Many photographers only have royalty free offerings up right now, so much fewer photographers responded to this question. A total of five photographers responded to this question. The most expensive RM image in the program thus far was reported to have sold for $1,439. The low number for highest sold RM photo was $741. The average high value sale was $1,057.75.

It should be noted that several Flickr/Getty photographers have posted that there seems to be a lag from the time that their images are being accepted by Getty and keyworded for accurate search on the site, so this may also be a factor to consider.

In general Getty Images pays out 20% for RF images and 30% for RM images to photographers.

At present there are 13,094 Flickr members in the Getty Contributors group. Getty had previously reported having over 60,000 images now in the Flickr/Getty collection. A current search of the entire Flickr/Getty library pulls up 74,313 images. These numbers would suggest that the average number of photos per Flickr/Getty photographer on sale is much lower than the self reported number above. This would make sense though as it’s probably mostly the most active Flickr/Getty photographers who are actively participating in the Getty Images Contributor group on Flickr. I suspect that the vast majority of photographers in the program probably have less than 10 images for sale each at present.

A blank search for all creative images for sale at Getty at present would suggest that the current Creative collection at Getty (vs. editorial) has about 2,781,826 images in it. This would mean that Flickr would likely represent about 2.6% of the entire Getty creative catalog at present. A number which I suspect will likely be increasing in the future assuming the Getty/Flickr deal stays in place as is.

You can follow information on the Getty/Flickr partnership on Twitter here. Getty’s main account on Twitter is here. Getty Images is on Friendfeed here and Facebook here.

If you’d like to nominate a Flickr photographer to be invited by Getty you can email a link to their flickrstream to flickr@gettyimages.com.

Getty Images Launches “Call for Artists” on Flickr

Getty Images Launches "Call for Artists" on Flickr

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my first six months experience selling images through Getty’s Flickr Collection. While overall I’ve been pleased with my experience with Getty, one of the things that I always felt was a limitation was the fact that the Getty/Flickr program was invite only. And while literally thousands of Flickr photographers have been invited thus far (the Flickr/Getty private member only contributor group on Flickr counts over 12,000 members and Getty says that the collection now includes over 60,000 photographs) there wasn’t really a way for a photographer to try and be included in the program if they didn’t get a Flickr invite.

Until today.

Today Getty Images and Flickr announced a “Call for Artists”, which will provide the Flickr community with a forum to “pitch” their work for the collection. In the past, the Flickr community could set their account settings to reflect that they wanted to be contacted by Getty Images, but could not proactively present a portfolio of photos for consideration. If Getty has not contacted you yet and you think that you’d like to try and make some money selling through Getty, this will be a group that you will definitely be interested in.

Andy Saunders, Vice President of Creative Imagery for Getty Images, has more details on this new program over at the Getty blog here.

Basically, Getty is asking photographers who might be interested in this program to put together a portfolio of 10 photographs (no more, no less) to submit to the group pool. Getty wants you to upload them all at once and then there editors will review them and possibly invite you to be included in the program. Keep in mind, with Getty you will want to be mindful of the images you choose to submit. Don’t submit images of people where you don’t have / can’t get a model release. Don’t submit photos that show brand logos or prominent places that would require a property release (unless you can get the release). You’ll also want to make sure that the images are at least 3 megapixels in size.

Once you submit your photos it may take them a few weeks to get to you.

Congratulations to Flickr and Getty on expanding this successful program. While I don’t think any individual photographers are exactly getting rich off of the Getty deal yet, I do think that this program is a terrific way to earn extra money on your flickrstream and at least help in getting you that new lens or full frame DSLR tha t you’ve had your eye on.

If you’d like to see the images that Getty Images is currently representing of mine you can see those here.

Flickr/Getty vs. Clustershot An Update on the Stock Photography Front

Flickr/Getty vs. Clustershot An Update on the Stock Photography Front

A few months back I wrote a blog post detailing my experience selling stock photography through both Getty Images’ Flickr Collection program as well as a new program allowing you to sell your photography through ClusterShot. The title of my post “Is 20% of something better than 88% of nothing” compared my own experience with the companies and my sales through the companies as of last May. Getty pays out about 20% for royalty free images while ClusterShot pays out 88%.

Today I just received my sixth monthly statement from Getty Images and I thought it an appropriate time to revist my experience selling stock photography through both companies.

At present I’ve got 68 images offered for sale through Getty. You can see my Getty images for sale here. For my first six months in the program I’ve earned $883.35 from the sale of 22 images.

At present I’ve got 30,848 images offered for sale through ClusterShot. You can see my Clustershot images for sale here. So far I’ve earned $338.80 from the sale of 3 images.

I have to say that I’m pleased that I’ve sold any photos at all through ClusterShot. I was not sure how that was going to go as ClusterShot is a new start up vs. Getty Images as the industry leader in stock photography. There is a lot that I like about ClusterShot. Their 88% payout to photographers is *very* generous vs. Getty’s 20% payout. I like that I’m not locked into or committed to any exclusivity agreement with images from ClusterShot. I like that I can market *all* of my photos through ClusterShot and not just the ones selected by Getty editors. I also like that ClusterShot flows seamlessly through Flickr and I can just point my ClusterShot account to my Flickrstream and through the API have my images automatically pulled into ClusterShot without having to do any work on my part. ClusterShot also seems to be indexing well with Google and I’ve received both sales and queries regarding my photos through Google searches.

On the other hand I think Getty is by far the more professionally oriented stock photography agency. Getty ensures that images are cleared correctly. They require model and location releases where needed. They have the marketing clout behind the largest stock photography agency in the world.

As a photographer ClusterShot is much more appealing to me than Getty in a lot of ways. Certainly I hope that they gain significant market share going forward and that more and more image buyers considering using them. They seem very committed to providing the lion share of image profits to the actual creator of the image, you the photographer. I do also hope that new ventures like ClusterShot end up putting pressure on agencies like Getty to bring the payouts up a bit higher than where they are today.

The vast majority of my image licensing profits still come directly. People find my images on Google Image Search, or Flickr, or Zooomr, or FriendFeed or other sites and simply contact me directly about licensing them. Best of all those sales still pay out 100% to me the photographer.

Does anyone else out there have experience selling images with Getty/Flickr or ClusterShot? If so what are your experiences. If you are an image buyer what do you think of these two programs?

Getty Images Revamps Flickr Collection Front Door and Builds Facebook and Blog Widgets

Getty Images Revamps Flickr Collection Front Door and Builds Facebook and Blog Widgets

Getty Images announced today that they have created a new front door for their Flickr Collection and that they have also added a “cloud” type imagery widget for Facebook pages and blogs. The new Flickr Collection front page features balls of rotating photos as built by contributors on the site. You can use the Getty Images site to build interesting clouds of 5 – 30 rotating images from the Flickr/Getty Collection and then Getty will make a cloud of these images. When you mouse over the cloud it rotates and speeds up and you can select any image to pull up a larger version of that image and get to the page where that photo is able to be licensed.

If you want to build a cloud of just your images, you need to search by the photo number of each of your photos that Getty has assigned and can add them one by one (up to the 30 photo max). To see what this looks like and feels like you can click through to a cloud of my images here.

Today the Facebook and blog widgets allow you to link to Getty clouds of the most recent clouds on their page, but in the next roll out of this widget they are going to allow you to just link the widget specifically to a single cloud of your choice. This would seem to me to be a smart way for Getty to extend their marketing reach through blogs, facebook and social media to bring more potential buyers to their site and a smart way for photographers to show off some of the work that they have for sell through Getty on their own pages.

To get to the widgets you can go to the main Flickr Getty front door homepage here and click on Explore. In the lower left hand part of the page is a menu item called “Inspiring Downloads,” where you can get these widgets. Here is also a direct link to the widget on Facebook.

There is also a new screensaver app that you can install that will use the most recent Getty clouds to your desktop.

Is 20% of Something Better Than 88% of Nothing? Flickr, Getty Images, ClusterShot and the Future of Stock Photography

Getty to Offer Flickr Images for Sale

I thought I’d put out a post after I received my first earnings report (which I received today) from stock photography agency Getty Images. I signed up to have Getty represent 60 of my individual photographs as part of the recent deal between Getty Images and Flickr. The Flickr/Getty arrangement is by invite only and Getty initially selected about 90 of my images. I listed all of the images that they asked for that didn’t need model releases (which was 60). Most of the other images that they wanted where model releases were needed are of me or my family, so I’ll probably add those to the collection as well in the next few weeks.

So in my first month of production with Getty I sold two of the 60 images. Those two images totaled $689.97 in fees to Getty and $138.00 (my 20% cut) to me. At the same time that I’d signed up with Getty I also listed 24,917 of my photos with the upstart stock photography agency ClusterShot. ClusterShot, started by Canadian web development company silverorange which was co-founded by Pal Daniel Burka (who is also Creative Director at Digg), offers photographers an ability to list their photos there and pays them out 88% of the proceeds. Unfortunately in my first month or so with ClusterShot I didn’t sell any photos.

Which raises the question, is 20% of something better than 88% of nothing?

While I really, really, really like the ClusterShot model, and especially the fact that the majority of the sales proceeds go to the content creator, unless companies like ClusterShot are able to attract buyers to buy these photos, I’m not sure how successful they will end up being in the end. There is something to be said for Getty’s dominant role as the largest provider of stock photography in the world. Because Getty has the existing customers already signed up, at least today, it seems like they are far more likely to sell more images than ClusterShot. On the other hand, you can sell a lot fewer images at ClusterShot and still make more money because the payout there is so much higher. At present I’m trying both to see how they both work.

I think another area where Getty has a big advantage is in their reputation for clearing images. Especially in today’s litigious environment, image buyers are likely to feel more comfortable with Getty’s vetting of images for needed model and property releases than they might be for ClusterShot’s free for all. At ClusterShot there is no image review process where they determine if images need releases or not. And while in some cases (say an image of flower or a rose) no release may be needed, in many other cases a model release is clearly needed. Since the image buyer is ultimately the one on the hook for publishing images without correct releases, an image buyer might consider an agency like Getty as a safer place to purchase their images.

More than both Getty and ClusterShot though, the majority of my licensing income last month came from direct purchases. I sold five photos directly last month for about $2,000 total. I got to keep 100% of that. I was not marketing those images directly in any meaningful way, they were just inquiries that people sent my way after finding images of mine that they wanted to use on Flickr, Google Image Search, etc. The buyers were natural buyers of stock photography, a couple of magazines (including Popular Photography), a visitor’s convention bureau, a local newspaper and a private company for their brochure.

Now in the future things very well may change. Personally I think it’s more likely that you’d see ClusterShot (or a company like them) gain traction and market share than it is that I’d see Getty raise their payouts. In the meantime I’ll continue in the near term using both and watching and reporting on how things go.

I will say also that I’ve been pretty impressed with things from the service side of Getty Images. I had some initial glitches getting my photos on their platform, but they fixed my problem and I’ve found the Getty staff to be very helpful and responsive in the Flickr/Getty members only forum on Flickr. Late last week Getty also invited all existing Flickr/Getty members an opportunity to submit five new images to Getty in a promotion entitled “It’s Your Turn.” Apparently Getty is also in the process of inviting additional images into their collection both from new and existing Flickr/Getty contributors, although they have not invited any additional images of mine since the first 90.

I think one of the cool things also with ClusterShot is that they can use the Flickr API to pull your photos directly from Flickr for sale. This makes it far easier than uploading your shots directly to their site. They also pull over your tags and keywords in this process so that your photos are immediately optimized for search on their site. You can also set ClusterShot up so that they pull over all your new photos to their site for sale as you upload them to Flickr as well. That’s slick.

If you want to see my Getty Images presently for sale, you can see those here.

If you want to see my ClusterShot Images presently for sale, you can see those here.

Update: I emailed PR reps from Getty, Yahoo and ClusterShot regarding this article and asking for more specific sales stats. Getty said that they are not presently sharing any sales stats on this program and I got the following email response back from Dan James at ClusterShot:

Hey Thomas,
Thanks for the review. Overall we feel it’s fair and well balanced. A few of our reactions in point form:

- We take it as a huge compliment to even be compared to Getty. They are so well established. Our site is brand new.

- We want to build tools to easily facilitate and automate the sale of that $2,000 you sold privately. We’re going to be building more tools and features focused precisely in that area in the months to come. Hopefully they’ll be useful enough for you to use.

- Right now we are trying to not be perceived as a destination to come and look for stock photos. At least initially. There are many people much better at storing, searching, and sharing photos than us. We want to make the service that sells the photo and ties into all of those other great sites. We’re going to building a full API for this in the coming months. This API will also be encourage to be used by makers of self-hosted gallery solutions as well.

- Currently we have ~1,000 photographers with 160K images for sale. Virtually all of our sales (which is in the dozens, not hundreds) are from photographers who are using ClusterShot as a place to feature and promote their work to previously established offline customers.

Flickr and Getty Images Launch Their Flickr Stock Photography Collection

Flickr Getty invite

Earlier this morning Flickr and Getty Images announced the launch of their new joint stock photography offering called “The Flickr Collection.”

“We are thrilled to provide our customers with this ground-breaking collection,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and chief executive officer of Getty Images. “We are impressed with the talent from the Flickr community, and are proud to once again lead our industry in this exciting new direction. We are eager to hear what our customers think, and look forward to their input in shaping this ever-expanding collection.”

I haven’t had a good chance yet to try out the new service but thought I’d offer some of my thoughts on the service here. I just received an invitation from Getty Images to participate in the collection on 95 of my photos, but only yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance yet to either decide what to do or sign up for the service.

My first observation about the new service is that I’m surprised at how limited it is. Out of the billions of images available on Flickr, as of this morning’s launch it would appear that Getty is only offering 4,284 flickr images for sale. Back in July of last year I reported on the collection based on comments made at the Microsoft Pro Photo Summit by Joseph Jean Rolland Dube, iStockphoto’s VP for Content Development. iStockphoto is 100% owned by Getty Images. Dube told us at that time that the collection would initially launch with about 2,500 images. That number was later disputed by Getty’s Bridgett Russell who said that the service would be launching with “tens of thousands of images.” “You have in fact been given an incorrect number,” said Russell last year. “We intend to launch our Flickr collection in the coming months with tens of thousands of images, with thousands more added to the collection each month.”

Getty Flickr Search Engine

I contacted Russell this morning about the difference between the 4,000+ images on the site this morning vs. the tens of thousands number reported last year and got the following answer back from her:

“Today, we have more than 10,000 images accepted into the Flickr Collection. Several thousand are available on gettyimages.com today – as you noted – and within the next two weeks, all of them will be available. We are just finishing up some final processing. As a “living” collection, we’ll also be adding thousands of new images each month and Getty Images’ editors will continue to invite Flickr members to participate. “

Although the number of Flickr photographers invited into this program has not been made public at this point, the private “contributor only” group at Flickr currently shows 6,890 members. This is a group that you get invited to when you accept their agreement.

Doing a couple of quick searches, at least as of this morning, in the new Flickr collection you will find some reasonably popular search subjects somewhat sparse. For the search “San Francisco,” the new collection only brings up only 60 flickr images for sale. Another search for kitten (something Flickr of course is famous for) only brings up nine images for sale. One the positive side, it does appear that some of the Flickr images for sale have made their way to first page search results for broader image search requests across all Getty images collections. A search for the term “San Francisco” across all Getty collections shows nine Flickr photos on the first page of 67 pages available for sale. I’m pleased to see that Flickr photos seem to be getting good placement across Getty’s overall search engine.

I suspect that I will probably end up licensing at least some of the 95 photos that Getty has selected of mine to be included in this offering — if for no other reason than to try the service out and see how it goes.

The thing that I like about this offering is that Getty Images, as the world’s largest stock photography agency, has amazing reach. Although I’ve sold lots of stock photos myself, I wonder how much better of a job Getty could do selling them than I can. I also think it’s interesting that as part of the contract with Getty that they also will go after copyright infringement settlements for you on the images that they represent.

What I don’t like as much though is the payout split between the photographer and Getty images. At present the payout grid looks like this:

Rights Managed / Rights Ready Still Images and Footage: 30 percent
Royalty Free Footage: 25 percent
Royalty Free Still Images: 20 percent

I also don’t like the fact that by signing up for the service are committing to a two-year contract with Getty Images. During that two year contract Getty has the exclusive rights to market the images that you offer through them. So, for example, if you have an image that is not selling through Getty and say a magazine wants to buy it for $500 you can’t sell it to them. Of course you could always point them to Getty to buy it, but you would not be able to offer it.

Another issue with this offering is that Getty requires all images included to be registered as “all rights reserved,” even though it would seem that a Creative Commons non-commercial license ought to be sufficient. Ben Metcalfe started a lengthy thread discussion on this issue that you can read more about here. Flickr user Striatic also has a lengthy thread on problems that he has with the Getty contract here. Another interesting conversation (with 94 comments) about the Getty offerings is taking place on one of John Curley’s photos “team getty?” over here.

You can read the official Flickr FAQ on the new offering here. Getty has an FAQ for contributors here. Getty images has a blog post up on the new offering this morning here. There is a private members only group for Getty Images contributors on Flickr here.

Additional reading: USA Today: Online photo services can give shutterbug lucrative outlet. ZD Net: Getty Images, Flickr launch licensing, distribution deal. CNET: Selected Flickr images now sold through Getty.