Shutterstock Raises Contributor Commissions

Posted on 5/15/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

New York-based subscription microstock Shutterstock has announced details of its 2008 contributor raise. Though the company has hyped the commission increase for several months, many contributors are disappointed with the numbers.

Those who have earned less than $500 in total commissions do not rate an increase and will continue to be paid $0.25 per download. Contributors who have earned over $500 receive a $0.03 raise per download, bringing the payout to $0.33 per image. Contributors who have earned over $3,000 and $10,000 receive respective 20% and 27% increases. Enhanced License sales are rewarded with the highest raise of 40%, bringing the per-image commission to $28.

Many who draw a full-time salary would be thrilled at a 10% bump; raises of 20% to 40% are highly unusual. In addition, this is the second Shutterstock increase in an industry segment not known for high photographer rewards: Last year, the company increased its payout from $0.25 to $0.30 per download.

Yet this week's announcement generated less gratitude than disappointment.

The blogosphere is abuzz with criticism for two reasons. First, Shutterstock recently raised buyer subscription costs by some 50%, and many of its contributors feel that their commission increase is disproportionate. Second, large numbers of the microstock community are hobbyists. Although this is the nature of the microstock model, many low-volume shooters will not see a substantial increase in their earnings as a result of a new structure that rewards top-tier producers. The large group of small players is objecting to Shutterstock switching from the previous flat-rate system, which did not draw distinctions based on sales.

Copyright © 2008 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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