Hungarian Duo Launches New Micro: Stockfresh

Posted on 6/1/2010 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Though many think the microstock niche is already overpopulated, the recent launch of Stockfresh is notable given its provenance. The new micro business was founded by Peter Hamza and Andras Pfaff of Stock.xchng and StockXpert fame.

From 2006, Jupiterimages held a controlling 90% interest in Stock.xchng and StockXpert, both of which transferred ownership once more with Getty Images’ acquisition of Jupiterimages in February 2009. Getty Images proceeded to purchase HAAP Media—Hamza and Pfaff’s company that retained a 10% stake in the two Web sites—in December 2009 and has since shut down StockXpert, subsuming its operations into the segment-leading iStockphoto. Stock.xchng remains active as an upsell vehicle for iStock.

Hamza and Pfaff decided to use their decade of stock photography experience to launch a new business, Stockfresh. “We decided to go independent again and start something new and exciting from scratch along the values we believe in,” said the duo.

These values include what the founders describe as fair compensation and fair pricing. Stockfresh offers contributors a minimum royalty of 50% and an opportunity to earn up to 62.5% of each sale. Images sell for $1 to $20, and subscription plans begin at $99. The site launched in 8 languages and promises a high level of customer service.

It is unclear, however, if another player can make a difference in a segment that has been dominated by the same leading players for most of its life. In addition to numerous smaller start-ups, players such as Corbis and Deutsche Telecom have not managed to gain much traction against iStock, Fotolia, Dreamstime and Shutterstock. Corbis’ second take on microstock, the Veer Marketplace, is currently buying inventory in an effort to become more competitive; German-owned Polylooks remains but a bleep on the radar—at least judging by sites that keep tabs on Internet traffic.

Equally notable is that the segment’s largest players are consolidating. Getty has put an end to StockXpert, and Shutterstock has purchased and re-launched Big Stock Photo as Bigstock, instantly gaining a strong foothold in the single-image space. Can Hamza and Pfaff’s promise of simplicity and service—and, perhaps, the lower cost of doing business from Hungary—compete in this climate?

Copyright © Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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