Can Your IP Address Affect Your Shutterstock Sales

Posted on 1/17/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

One Shutterstock photographer who has resided in various countries at different times reports that the Shutterstock search engine seems to use the contributor’s IP address as part of the algorithm to rank images higher or lower in the search return order based on location.

For most photographers who live and work in a single location that’s no big problem. Most of their shoots are around their home location.

But for travel photographers this can be a big issue. The photographer in question had spent several years living and working in an Asian country and had built up a strong collection of Asian images that sold very well to Asian buyers. Then he relocated to South America and the sales of Asian locations dropped dramatically while his South American photos sell well.

It is understandable that new images might get preference over older images, but age shouldn’t always be the deciding factor if the older image has a track record of success.

Suppose you’re a travel photographer living in London. You fly to Hong Kong and do a week’s shoot there. Are images from Hong Kong photographers shown ahead of yours regardless of the quality of the images or age because their IP address shows they live in Hong Kong. Do new images get top billing for a very brief period of time, but then fall below those of local photographers.

One wonders if the same holds true for photographers living and working in the U.S. A photographer may live in New York, but do a major coverage for a week of so in California. While his images may be at the top of the search return for a day or so, if they don’t sell immediately will they get pushed down by older images taken by people who actually live in California, even though none of them may have ever sold?

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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