iStockphoto Launches New Search and High-End Collection, Confirms Revenue Projections

Posted on 6/24/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In March, iStockphoto chief operating officer Kelly Thompson told Selling Stock that the company was working on a new search algorithm and a premium image collection. This Wednesday, iStock launched both. Thompson also confirmed that the Getty-owned microstock leader is on track to break another revenue record this year.

Best Match 2.0, iStock’s new proprietary search technology, is a learning tool that adopts to customer behavior. According to iStock, it brings back some of the most accurate and relevant search results in the industry—and 78% of iStock customers agree. In a recent survey, iStock buyers said the technology reduced search times by over 50%.

A unique feature of the new search is a sort slider, which controls the degree of relevance between the primary keyword and the order of search results with positions ranging from “high” to “low” (see this iStock page for details). The next version of Best Match will use language and country data to deliver more locally relevant results.

Vetta, Italian for “peak,” is the name of the new iStock premium image collection by exclusive contributors. It launched with 35,000 images and vector illustrations that are offered for $20 to $70, depending on file size. Vetta images will be indicated with a gold camera icon among search results.

With Vetta, iStock aims to capitalize on two factors: that its customers already say quality of the collection is the top reason for choosing iStock, and that there is room for higher-than-microstock pricing in the market—both at iStock and the broader stock licensing industry.

In 2007, iStock licensed 17.5 million images. At the time, Goldman Sachs projected the company would bring in $122 million in 2008. Selling Stock estimates iStock’s actual 2008 revenues to be much higher, around $162 million, based on roughly 25 million total downloads at an average of $6.50 per image. With the release of Best Match 2.0 and Vetta, Thompson confirmed that iStock is on track to bring in $200 million in revenues in 2009.

Copyright © 2009 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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