Pixmac Expands Across Atlantic

Posted on 8/16/2010 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Two-year-old Pixmac is banking on its “rapid checkout and download” without the necessity for customers to engage in a complex registration process to help the company expand its customer base in North America.

When a customer finds an image of interest and opens the preview, the Pixmac site presents prices for small, large and full size files. These prices are in dollars and cents, not credits, making it easy to understand exactly what the image costs. All the customer needs to do is input email and payment information, and the purchase process is complete.

If the customer is buying lots of images and looking for discounts, credit-based pricing is available, but it isn’t necessary. According to Simon Raybould, the new director of sales and marketing in North America, many designers who only need a couple images, and for whom time is of the essence, will find quick checkout helpful.

The downfall for many microstock startups has been in getting enough images to satisfy buyer needs. Prague-based Pixmac has been able to solve that problem and build a collection of over 10 million images via deals with Fotolia and Dreamstime to represent their entire collections. A few of the images of these industry leaders are not included: where photographers requested that their images not be re-distributed and in cases of premium imagery—the pictures in Fotolia’s Infinite Collection are not represented by Pixmac.

However, many of the Infinite Collection suppliers, including U.K.-based Image Source and Moodboard, have supplied images to Pixmac directly. Pixmac also represents images from Corbis and Colossus and is adding Science Photo Library, Specialist Stock and Image Broker soon. Currrently, about 10% of the images on the site are priced at traditional royalty-free levels. The company also accepts images directly from photographers through iSyndica.

Pixmac allows customers to search for “similar” or “related pictures” to any image selected. However, this feature often shows a lot of very dissimilar images and misses some of the images that are actually related. The feature seems to be biased toward finding other images with a similar color and tonal range, not necessarily similar in any other way. For example, most of the similars to a photo of fingers touching a bundle of fiber optics are of people engaged in various unrelated activities, a couple of ships and some nighttime scenes—but absolutely nothing that relates to fiber optics.

First-time customers and those who only need an image occasionally will be able to check out faster at Pixmac than elsewhere, but in most cases, it will take customers longer to find the right image, due to the absence of popular search features.
Based on my experience in reviewing the site, I agree that first-time customers and those who only need an image occasionally will be able to check out faster. But in most cases, it will take them longer to find the right image, due to the absence of popular search features. Thus, it seems likely it will take customers longer to find and purchase an image using Pixmac than if they were to go to Fotolia or Dreamstime directly.


When sales are made by Pixmac photographers receive the same percentage of the gross sale as they would if the image were licensed directly from Fotolia or Dreamstime.

Pixmac pays 30% to 44%, dependent on sales volume, to those photographers who submit their images directly to Picmac. If Pixmac starts making lots of sales of the images a photographer has on Fotolia or Dearmstime, it may make sense to deal directly with Pixmac. On the other hand, if the company doesn’t make many sales, trying to deal with it directly may be more trouble to than it is worth. At the very least, when examining their Fotolia and Dreamstime sales reports, it may be worthwhile tracking sales made by resellers. Pixmac contributors are paid automatically once an account reaches $50. Only photos uploaded directly to Pixmac are available for subscriptions.

Extended licenses for the resold Fotolia and Dreamstime collections are priced the same as at the parent agency. However, when the photos are contributed directly to Pixmac, the price for extended licenses is only $30. In addition, the print run allowance before a customer needs and extended license is 500,000, while most of the other microstocks have lowered that to 250,000.

Copyright © 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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