More On Alamy Measures

Posted on 2/16/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

One thingsthat surprised me about the research I did for the Alamy Measures article was the small number of sales that were recorded.

I did note that Alamy said the number of sales were ones they could “reliably attribute to a search term for the time period specified. (And that) Sales data is not comprehensive because the nature of customer activity means that we cannot link all sales to search terms.”

I contacted Alan Capel, Alamy’s Head of Content, to try to get an idea of the percentage of total sales that the Alamy Measures numbers represent, and why they couldn’t provide accurate figures for all sales.?

Alan said, “We’ve never actually worked out what percent it is, and of course it may fluctuate, but as you’ve probably worked out it is a very small percentage. This is for two main reasons.
    1 - We only use data from a subset of ‘customers’ that meet a set of criteria that leads us to treat their data as reliable.

    2 -Then there is the problem of how often a customer comes in, types in one search, finds an image and buys it enabling us to attribute the sale to a particular search term. Pure e-commerce if you like. On some sites, I’d imagine this is more frequent than happens on Alamy.
“In Alamy’s situation there are:

    1. Customers who have hi res access and then confirm the sale later,
    2. Negotiations that take place after a search has found an image,
    3. Images we have to email to customers for various reasons,
    4. Customers with agreed rates for bulk purchases etc.,
    5. Sales where we’ve done the photo research and All other manner of hand held transactions where the audit trail with regards to the search is broken.
“So as you can see the sales data is a help but shouldn’t be seen as anywhere near comprehensive.”

He suggested that given the “problems” it might actually be better to not include sales and just include the clicks and views data. On the other hand one of the problems with the clicks and views data is that there are undoubtedly a number of people who are just doing general research and have no intention in buying anything. What is of interest to photographers  is actual sales.

The important thing to remember when using this tool is while it may not be a totally accurate picture of Alamy sales, it can be a useful guide to the relative demand for certain subject matter.

For future reference, it would also be helpful if Alamy could provide a count of the number of images licensed in a year for certain general subject categories so photographers might have a general idea of the relative demand for certain types of subject matter.

Copyright © 2017 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, 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:  


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