Getty Images Stops Distributing JupiterImages’ Photos

Alan Meckler: Fiction From Getty Images Alan Meckler, CEO of Jupitermedia, is out with a post today regarding Getty Images (the world’s largest stock photography company) and their decision to no longer distribute photos owned by JupiterImages’ Thinkstock stock photo company. Additionally, Meckler points out that JupiterImages has had other brands dropped and more scheduled to be dropped in December.

“This is fine with me. I like competition and am more than ready to compete with Getty Images,” said Meckler.

What Meckler does seem to have a problem with on the other hand is with Getty’s explanation for withdrawing these images and points to their stated explanation on their website: “Imagery that has been withdrawn is no longer available for purchase. Withdrawing imagery is an infrequent occurrence on our site. Generally images are withdrawn due to reasons like poor image quality or at the request of an image provider. Regarding imagery to be withdrawn, it will only be available for purchase until the date found under the image. We apologize for any inconvenience it causes you.”

Meckler suggests that the real reason his brands are being dropped is because Getty is realizing that JupiterImages is becoming a formidable competitor in the stock photography business.

Per Meckler: “Note the item pasted below from the Getty Images Web site. It indicates that Getty will no longer be distributing Thinkstock imagery because the images do not meet the Getty standards of excellence or because we asked that they be removed. All of this is dishonest. The only reason Getty will no longer distribute Thinkstock is because Thinkstock is owned by JupiterImages.”

It will be interesting to see how stock photography continues to evolve over the next five years or so. There is a whole long tail of work being produced by amateurs on places like Flickr and a growing world of online photo sites, and Image Search technology from Google and Yahoo! is making it easier and easier for marketers to find quality images outside of the traditional Getty/Corbis world. Add to that people like Meckler who are gobbling up niche stock businesses and it makes for an interesting new drama to unfold shortly in the stock photography business. Getty Images of course has much to potentially lose in this multi billion dollar market.