Fotolia's Dollar Photo Club

Posted on 3/25/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Fotolia has decided that in order to attract more customers to their microstock offering it needs to lower prices for professional users. They have created a members-only Dollar Photo Club and are promoting it to readers of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA).

Members have access to 25 million of Fotolia’s 27,710,847 images (its not clear whether Fotolia’s Infinite Collection is included in the offer). Members can download 10 high-resolution images or vectors for $10 per month, or for $99 they can download 99 images per year.

The right to continue using images selected NEVER expires, even if the customer cancels the membership. Members are also allowed to use images downloaded in unlimited print runs without paying additional fees. If the applicant requests a $10 membership there is up to a 48-hour wait for membership approval, but approval is immediate for the one-year membership.

It is unclear what “high resolution” means. XL image files in Fotolia’s standard collection can cost 10, 20 or 30 credits depending on the image. Dropping the price to $1.00 for such large files is a dramatic price reduction.

It is also worth noting that if you go to Fotolia’s site and purchase 10 credits the price is $14 ($1.40 per credit), not $10. You can get that price down to $0.97 per credit if you purchase 2,900. Fotolia also has a subscription offering where the customer can get 10 XXL image files for $40 or 10 M files for $25. A big difference from $10.

There is no indication that this Dollar Photo Club promotion is only available to new users. One would think that every existing Fotolia user would immediately apply for Dollar Photo Club membership. The promotion says, “GDUSA members like you can get preferred admission to Dollar Photo Club; just choose ‘GDUSA’ when asked which stock agencies you currently use, but hurry, places are strictly limited!” In other words, “Give us a little money now. We won’t worry about what it will do to our business down the road.”

If Fotolia decides to limit membership to new customers, it will be interesting as to how they explain that to existing loyal customers who might also expect a comparable discount.

It is hard to understand the logic behind this promotion. Had it been aimed at social media users who can’t justify paying very much for the images they want that would have made some sense. But this promotion is targeted specifically at high end users.

It is also interesting that Fotolia’s biggest competitor, Shutterstock, is finding ways to grow revenue and number of downloads by finding more customers willing to pay $10 to $15 per image download rather than lowering its prices.

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:  


  • Peter Dazeley Posted Mar 28, 2014
    In my opinion there are going to be no winners, in this desperate race, to sell the best images at the cheapest possible price.

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