Stockxpert Photographers Rebel

Posted on 8/5/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

On July 15, Steve Kapsinov, Jupiterimages' community manager for StockXpert, announced on the contributor forum that the company planed to offer StockXpert's microstock images on Jupiter's subscription site, Photos.com. Photographers were to be paid $.30 per image downloaded from the Photos.com site.

Jupiter executives saw this as a win-win for both, but there was an immediate rebellion by Stockxpert contributors - 600 posts to the forum to date. Many are not just opting out of the Photos.com deal, they are also pulling all their images off the site.

The principle complaint was: "I totally disagree about selling my images with EL (extended license) for $.30 royalty on photos.com. Give me the option to opt-out."

There were a number of other issues that incensed photographers.

(1)   The photographer's images were to be moved to this new venue unless  photographers opted-out of having their images in any subscription offering, including Stockxpert's subscription offering. (Photographers thought they should have been given the option to opt-in if they wanted to participate, rather than being forced to opt-out if they didn't like the deal.)

(2)   The details of the offering were not clearly explained.

(3)   Their images could now be used for Extended Licenses on physical goods for resale and the photographer would still only get $.30 for such a use. (They were getting higher fees for such uses on Stockxpert.)

(4)   There will be a new pay-per-download feature for higher resolution images will be priced from $49 to $299/image. Photographers will receive 30% of any of these sales. (While this puts occasional uses into the midstock price range, the greater concern is that customers would be happy with file sizes of up to 15MB and these could be purchased on Photos.com as part of a one-month subscription of $99.95. The cheapest subscription on Stockxpert is $219.95.)

(5)   With a minimum one-month subscription price of $99.95, any customer who only needs a couple images, and for whom a 15MB file is satisfactory, is smarter to buy a subscription (photographer gets $.30) rather than a single image where the photographer gets 30% of the fee.

(6)   Many photographers were concerned about the quality of the wholly-owned imagery on Photos.com and believed the value of their higher quality Stockxpert images would be depreciated.

(7)   There will be a new brand called Photos.com Plus, but it is unclear whether this contains Stockxpert images only or includes Photos.com images. It is unclear whether all images will be on Photos.com, as well. It is also unclear whether the pricing of the two brands will be different.

(8)   Photographers also opposed the idea of allowing unlimited circulation of any print product without the customer being required to purchase an Extended License. (Most photographers seemed to think that Shutterstock's 250,000 and iStock's 500,000 limits for a standard license fee were more than generous and balked at giving large users unlimited circulation for the same low prices.)

(9)   As a result of Jupiter's rather unilateral actions, photographers fear they had lost control of how their images would be licensed.

It wasn't until August 4 that Stockxpert posted a clarification of some of the issues.

Included in this posting is an interesting itemization of all the various types of uses that are allowed for the basic subscription price.

After the "clarification," a contributor with the screen name forgiss said: "So nothing actually changed in the deal, but SXP and JI have become more heavy-handed in their approach to submitters. Sorry, but it feels like I just heard a pitch from a secondhand car salesman, obscuring the facts and highlighting the problems as "features."

For more information see Selling-Stock's initial report.



Selling-Stock's initial report        http://www.selling-stock.com/?p=2851


Copyright © 2008 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 301-251-0720, 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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