White Label: Who Created That Image?

Posted on 8/22/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Do photographer’s care if their name is attached to their images, or just that the images generate some revenue for them? While doing some recent searches, I discovered it can sometimes be very difficult to determine who created an image.

I searched for “woman splatter paint” on 500px, Dissolve and Blend and got the following results.

On 500px a number of the first photos are credited to Gable Denims. If you search for “Gable Denims” on 500px you find that he has 21,521 images on a wide range of subjects.

If I click on one of the woman splatter paint images and go down to related photos they seem to have very little to do with the primary photo. None of them are of the woman in the primary photo. They all have some beach in the scene, but the beach in the primary photo is just background and hardly relevant to the picture. They are all Gable Dennis pictures.

Then I went to Dissolve and searched for “photos” on that site using the “woman splatter paint” search term.

In this case I found a lot of the same images as on 500px, but now they are credited to Blend Images. When I clicked on one of the images and scrolled down to “more from this contributor” I found a lot more Blend Images. However, not all the images shown were taken by the same photographer who created the one I found in my original search. The images shown were produced by several different Blend contributors.

So I decided to do the same search on Blend.  When I clicked the same image I had found on the other sites I found it was credited to Rick Gomez. His name is not mentioned anywhere on either 500px or Dissolve.  

According to Wikipedia “A white label product is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it.”

Issues To Think About

On 500px you can usually search by the photographer’s name, but if you search for Rick Gomez you don’t get any results. Why doesn’t 500px want to acknowledge the existence of the real image producer?

As a result of being on 500px a lot of Gable Denims pictures are being found on Pinterest and Facebook. In those cases wouldn't it be nice if the photographer was at least acknowledged?

Blend is certainly providing a service to its photographers by taking their images and spreading them around to a number of different marketing outlets. But might it not be better for the photographer financially to place the images directly onto sites like 500px and Dissolve, and cut out the middleman commission?

This is particularly true if some of the sites where the images are placed generate significant revenue. At that point the photographer might be able to justify the extra time required to send the same images to multiple locations rather than just submitting them to one.

If the name of the contributor is not important, then might it be better for photographers to use a different pseudonym with each agency or distributor? That way it would be hard for customers to track a particular image back to a specific photographers or prime agency, but the photographer might be able to more easily track which distributor actually sold the image.

Today, one way or another most professionally produced images are available through multiple distribution points. If the images are Royalty Free, then why is it so important not to have the photographer’s name attached to the image (as in the case with Dissolve) or even the name of the primary agency (as in the case with 500px)?

500px may be trying to hide the fact that they are accepting images from agencies and production companies, but when one particular contributor (that no one has ever heard of) has 21,521 images on the site it seems a pretty obvious leap that all the images weren’t all created by the same person.

If the same image is being marketed at radically different price points that might be a  reason for trying to disguise that the same image is available on different sites, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in this situation.

Some distributors are worried that if customers know the photographer’s name, or that of the prime distributor for the photographer, the customer may go directly to the source. That seldom happens, and given the low prices everyone is charging it hardly seems worth the customer’s time.

Copyright © 2016 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.  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff