Getty Images Drives It's Customers To Use iStock

Posted on 9/25/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getty Images appears to be trying to drive its customers to iStock where the customers can get images for a fraction of what they would cost on

In doing some searches today on I discovered that at the bottom of the first page of returns the customer is shown a select group (usually about 20) iStock images and encouraged to search for the same keyword on iStock.

How It Works

Here’s how it works. Go to and search for “Family.” There are 342,687 images on the Getty site with that keyword. The customer is shown the first 100 thumbnails and at the bottom of that first page the customer is given a choice. She can go on to the next page of Getty Images thumbnails, or after seeing a select group of high quality iStock thumbnails right below the Getty Images thumbnails she is encouraged to “Search for ‘Family’ on iStock.” If she clicks on the iStock link she is taken to the iStock site where there are 463,728 family images available. From then on she is searching on iStock, not Getty Images.

Thus, if a photographer has “family” images on and those images aren’t shown within the first 100 images there is at least a 50/50 chance the photographer’s images will not be seen by the customer.

Couple that with iStock’s price advantage. The smallest file size of an RF image on Getty ranges from $45 to $65 and the largest from between $429 to $699 while on iStock the customer can get the largest file size of any image in the collection for between $10 and $30.

Then add to the significantly lower price the fact that 24.5% of the RF images the customer might find on Getty are also on iStock and it won’t take customers long to figure out that they don’t need to bother searching Getty Images anymore if RF images will fulfill their needs.

Not all searches on Getty Images give the customer the iStock option. When I searched for “People,” “Women,” “Travel,” “Food” and “Health” I didn’t get the iStock option. On the other hand in addition to Family searches for “Business” (396,358 images on Getty), “Computer” (135,375 images), “Scenic” (366,587 images) and “Traffic” (24,341 images) all gave the iStock option. It is unclear why this option is offered for some searches and not others.

Copyright © 2014 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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