Alamy Announces Expansion

Posted on 1/24/2004 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

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January 24, 2004

Alamy Images ( ) has announced that
its 2003 revenue from licensing stock
imagery was four times that of 2002 (400% growth). In addition in April the company
will expand its business with news offices in the U.S. and India and increase its
customers service operations in the U.K.

Alamy offers customers access to hundreds of thousands of images from 150 agencies
and 1900 photographers located in all parts of the world. Alamy started offering
imagery online in February 2001 and is headquartered in the UK. Despite its European
focus, since its inception it has had a strong U.S. customer base that is currently
responsible for over 40% of its revenue. The company expects the new sales office
located in the New York area to generate a significant increase in revenue from the
U.S. market.

The U.S. operation will focus on signing up new customers. Staff working out of this
office will reach out to customers across the country, not just those in the New York
area. James West, CEO of Alamy also pointed out that, "One of the benefits we expect
to realize as a result of our salespeople meeting regularly with U.S. customers is
that we will get better feedback as to how to adjust our product offering and pricing
to better meet the needs of the U.S. market."

    (U.S. image suppliers have complained for some time that Alamy's usage fees in the
    U.S. market are often lower than they need to be. It would seem likely that prices
    might increase once management starts receiving feedback from their sales staff. On
    the other hand, if prices remain about the same Alamy should be very competitive and
    volumes may increase dramatically.)

Customer service will continue to be handled in the UK where every customer has a
specific named contact person. Alamy's current staff of 24 will be expanded to meet
the demand.

One of the major distinctives Alamy offers its customers is a very eclectic selection
of imagery with great variety and depth in both the major subject areas as well as
those subject areas where there is lesser demand. Most stock agencies, and even some
portals, have a few editors who tightly control the type and style of content
accepted. But, the hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide have many different
ideas about what makes a good image, and what makes an image right for their specific

Alamy has a different strategy. Photographers edits their own work and the 150
agencies represent at least 150 different editing philosophies. Thus, in specialized
subjects areas, Alamy often offers a greater variety and choice than on many other
sites. Customers have a better chance of finding what they need.

Many customers in the U.S. have begun to complain that they tend to see the same
things over and over again when they search Getty and Corbis. They say they want
something different. They want more depth of coverage in the specific subject areas
they happen to be researching. They complain that too much of the editing on many
sites is concept driven, and that either the images available or the keywording
doesn't deal enough with specifics. Alamy may offer them a welcome alternative.

Alamy offers not only rare and specialist imagery, but extensive coverage of the
major high demand subjects often used in advertising. Thirty percent of the imagery
on the site is Royalty Free.

From the start Alamy has emphasized technology and has managed to run its operations
more cost effectively than its competitors. The new Asia Pacific office, based at a
leading IT park in Kerala, India will be responsible for programming and technology
development as well as back-office support functions. One of the focuses will be to
improve the technology product with a new suite of contributor tools that provide
more information with greater granularity. Such tools should help suppliers better
understand customers needs, and thus be better able to target their production and
supply. Another goal is to continually improve search engine performance and make the
site more attractive and easier to use. By choosing India for this work Alamy has
once again sought the most cost effective way to accomplish the task. By keeping its
costs low Alamy is able to pay image suppliers a higher percentage of the licensing
fee than most other brands are offering.

The India office will also open in April 2004, and approximately 30 staff will be
taken on. In the future, staff will be also added to provide local offline customer
support specifically for the Asia Pacific region. The UK staff and the new US team
members will provide the management backbone for these additional engineering and
operational support staff.

James West, CEO of Alamy Images, commented, "A recent survey conducted by Alamy
showed that 61% of our customers feel that strong offline support is just as
important as online excellence. With the opening of our new offices and the
expansion of our core team in the UK, we are better poised than ever to maintain our
high standards in both of these areas of our business."

The company currently has a network of distributors worldwide and plans to extend its
distribution operations in continental Europe and Asia Pacific to meet growing

Copyright © 2004 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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