StockXpert/ Deal Launches Under Revised Terms

Posted on 8/19/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The recently announced program to add StockXpert contributor images to the Web site is set to launch on Aug. 20. Jupiterimages, the parent of both brands, has also revised some of the parameters in response to photographer feedback.

From Jupiterimages' perspective, the program is a sound proposition. An infusion of fresh content strengthens its flagship professional image-subscription service and plays to the one remaining growth area of a company whose stock and revenues are in a state of seemingly irreversible decline.

It is also a significant development for the industry. This is the first time that images created for the micro-niche are being marketed at traditional prices, while remaining available on StockXpert at a substantially lower cost. If the program is successful, it will offer validation to the proponents of value-based pricing strategies.

StockXpert contributors, however,  were not thrilled with the program's original compulsory nature, as well as the substantially wider scope of usages rights offered to buyers. Consequently, much criticism centered on contributor commissions: StockXpert pays each contributor 30 cents per image download; however, such licenses restrict uses to basic promotional products. Buyers who need unusually large print runs or produce items of resale must purchase extended, more expensive StockXpert licenses, with both the agency and the image producer sharing the higher revenue. In contrast, the user agreement allowed all such uses without a price increase; the only higher-priced options were very large images sold on a pay-per-download basis.

Microstock photographers are an outspoken group, who generated thousands of posts in online forums and StockXpert's own Web site. Jupiterimages responded to contributor concerns by changing the terms that its community found most objectionable.

In an Aug. 15 email, StockXpert told contributors it was removing resale items and print runs in excess of 250,000 from the licensing agreements of and Jupiterimages Unlimited, also part of the arrangement. Jupiterimages also promised to integrate the ability to buy extended licenses within the coming months.

In addition, the company has relaxed its opt-out procedure, agreeing to allow contributors to enter or exit the program as they saw fit, instead of mandating participation in either both StockXpert and or neither. Now, the two inventories will be synchronized weekly, reflecting StockXpert contributors' preference changes.

Finally, Jupiterimages has promised to address image crediting. Since and many other Jupiter properties deal largely in wholly owned imagery, the company typically displayed its own brand name. Since StockXpert contributors retain ownership of their images, many have objected to the standard "property of" notice.

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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