Sell photos, vectors art and video footage online

Microstock Agencies

Sell photos with LightBurner.com – new FREE online microstock content distribution service

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I am glad to invite you to try LightBurner Beta, our new free microstock content distribution and analytical service.

LightBurner customers can submit images to the following pre-integrated microstock photography agencies:

Microstock Photography Agencies Supported by LightBurner

Microstock Photography Agencies Supported by LightBurner

Also you can define unlimited Custom FTP Channels, delivering your images wherever you want to, for instance your blog’ FTP server or your backup FTP site.

I plan to have at least 20-25 pre-integrated microstocks supported in December yet. Your suggestions for more destination are warmly welcome.

LightBurner Portfolio

LightBurner Portfolio

The famous keywords suggestions + translations, first introduced in ProStockMaster in 2006 (wow, 4 years ago – who can believe it), is now a part of LightBurner too.
Other interesting features include built-in search in your portfolio, Similar Media area, cataloging by Lightboxes, Folders and Categories, notes on images and sales balance for each channel. Of course, LightBurner reads IPTC for any uploaded JPEG, so you get your files with all the metadata – searchable and cataloged, at your fingertips.

Easy Multilingual Keywording With Auto-Suggestion

Easy Multilingual Keywording With Auto-Suggestion

The service is still far from being completed, however I believe that existing functions work quite well and have a great value to any microstock contributor. More agencies and more features will come in the next weeks. Without getting into the details, you can expect nice surprises in your LightBurner account.

How to get started

  • register for a free account. In a few moments you will get a Welcome email with your credentials, including SFTP access.
  • upload your files by SFTP (FileZilla will do)
  • login and go to My Account -> My Portfolio -> Channels/Edit and select your sales channels / agencies
  • select what files go where. Multiple options available, including “Assign” X files to Y channels, “Edit” of multiple files or simple drag-n-drop a file to a channel

Actually, that’s it. The distribution is automatic, so you do not have to do a thing.

Photos Sales Statistics

Photos Sales Statistics

Your files statuses are updated accordingly: red square (undistributed) is replaced by yellow (partially distributed) and then by green (fully distributed). You will have to hit Refresh from time to time to see these statuses changes.

A few notes:

  • All the original uploaded files are removed after 3 days
  • Shutterstock delivery is over FTP, stats / balance can not be displayed due to submitters accounts blocking with a captcha
  • At the moment LightBurner supports JPEGs only, no other formats and no model releases
  • Later on ProStockMaster will work directly with your LightBurner account, thus saving you traffic, costs and time by uploading media just once
  • The last but not the least: bugs happen. Please be patient, and report them! Contact: support(at)pixamba.com, david(at)pixamba.com or via LightBurner’ online form

iStockphoto License Infringement

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Swiss right wing party Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) misused images licensed from iStockphoto in their poster.

iStock License Infringement

iStock License Infringement

Microstock models are displayed here as criminals. Here is the original article on a Swiss web site “20 minutes online” (in German)

Here is what Stock licensing agreement says on that:

…For greater certainty, the following are “Prohibited Uses” and you may not:

[..]

7. use or display any Content that features a model or person in a manner (a) that would lead a reasonable person to think that such person uses or personally endorses any business, product, service, cause, association or other endeavour; or (b) except where accompanied by a statement that indicates that the Content is being used for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted in the Content is a model, that depicts such person in a potentially sensitive subject matter, including, but not limited to mental and physical health issues, social issues, sexual or implied sexual activity or preferences, substance abuse, crime, physical or mental abuse or ailments, or any other subject matter that would be reasonably likely to be offensive or unflattering to any person reflected in the Content, unless the Content itself clearly and undisputedly reflects the model or person in such potentially sensitive subject matter in which case the Content may be used or displayed in a manner that portrays the model or person in the same context and to the same degree depicted in the Content itself;

Source: iStockphoto

I always thought that only spam Internet robots can write such a long message in one sentence with no periods. Well, may be Tolstoy could too. So the well-paid iStock lawyers are in a good company.

Never mind, here is the relevant part of that:

accompanied by a statement that indicates that the Content is being used for illustrative purposes only

That’s all that the iStock laweyrs found to protect iStockphoto, their artists and models for such an abuse of their work!

With all due respect iStock licensing agreement is mumbling when it goes to deal with such a case.

To compare, look how clearly Fotolia agreement deals with that:

Restrictions:

[...]

(n) use the Work in a way that places any person in the photo in a bad light or depicts them in a way that they may find offensive – this includes, but is not limited to:

(1) the use of Images in pornography;

(2) tobacco ads;

(3) ads for adult entertainment clubs or similar venues, or for escort, dating or similar services;

(4) political endorsements;

Source: Fotolia

Fotolia says all the right words in the right places and their licensing agreement looks understandable, clear, and protective for the microstock artists and their models.

According to CEPIC, “Sven Ole Schubert, iStock spokesman, announced intentions to approach the organizers after having finished examinations“.

iStockphoto keeps mumbling!

Do they actually have a choice? Can iStock proceed and sue SVP because they did not mention that the microstock models are not related to the SVP’ political campaign?

I wish they could, but iStock Licensing Agreement makes me feel so uncertain on that.

And even if iStock will go to the court this time, still -

When SVP or yet another political movement will do exactly the same next time, now putting a small notice under the abused image, would it be OK for you, iStock?

Stock photos keywording

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Selling stock images? Got your own web site where you sell your photos or prints and want customers to easily find your images?
Want to sell more and faster? Great!
So here is your choice:
Get free ProStockMaster software (Mac & Win), which will find you the relevant keywords, offers on-the-fly keywords translation, and inserts the keywords directly into your JPEG files, all this free of charge. Add here free distribution of stock imagery to 9 microstock and stock photography agencies.
OR
Buy a $249 piece of software which do the keywording only.

The choice is yours. I bet that the majority of microstocks will decline your uploads if you use A2Z keywording software due to the annoying number of redundant keywords this software generates for each image. A2Z offers a special $199 price if you buy it in 2010, so please hurry.

Official press release
A2Z Keywording Launches Keyword Perfect™ 2.0 Image Tagging Studio to Ensure Photography Professionals Are Never at a Loss for Words

In Keyword Perfect, Independent Photographers Now Have an Efficient, Intuitive Tool that Generates Dozens of Accurate, Searchable Tags; Casts the Widest Possible Sales Net for Stock Houses and Image Buyers

Tivoli, NY (PRWEB) October 18, 2010

A2Z Keywording, specialists in the practice of professional image keywording, today announced the launch of Keyword Perfect™ 2.0, a highly efficient sales tool that enables photographers, stock photo agencies, archivists and other imaging professionals to tag their photo libraries using a comprehensive dictionary of searchable keywords, ensuring that their images are as accessible as possible to potential buyers. First developed as the in-house engine around A2Z Keywording’s successful keywording service, Keyword Perfect is now available to pro photographers as a means to quickly input relevant tags and, with a minimum of keystrokes, generate dozens of associated keywords that make their work more likely to be identified by stock agencies and other image buyers.

Attendees of the PhotoPlus Expo (Oct. 28-30, 2010, New York) are invited to visit the A2K Keywording booth (#177) to view demonstrations of Keyword Perfect and obtain trial versions of the software.

With an easily mastered user interface running on top of a powerful platform that includes A2Z Keywording’s proprietary keyword dictionary and thesaurus, Keyword Perfect imports digital images into its workspace and displays them in a convenient filmstrip pane. Users can then keyword each image by selecting any number of pre-defined and/or user-generated tags, representing not only the image’s physical contents, but also its less tangible elements such as time of day, photo style, concept, emotion and activity. The keyword engine then reads each assigned tag and adds a number of logically associated keywords, eliminating significant input time while ensuring that the images are thoroughly and accurately identifiable to discerning image buyers.

“After all the time, effort, and emotion that goes into creating great images, properly editing them and preparing them for the market, photographers still need to ensure that their images will be seen by potential buyers, regardless of how broad or specific a search those buyers might conduct,” said Alexander Zane, president of A2Z Keywording. “The only way to ensure maximum success is to tag each image comprehensively, but no photographer wants to spend precious hours manually keywording or fumbling with a dictionary and thesaurus. With Keyword Perfect, we took the system we used to produce accurate keyword matrices for as many as 200,000 images per year and made it available to everyone. We’re confident that the results will be a true revelation to both veteran photographers and those new to image tagging.”

As more photographers make their work available to image buyers and additional content floods the marketplace, it is absolutely vital to properly keyword images to ensure they are searchable by the most appropriate audience. To increase the accuracy of Keyword Perfect, A2Z Keywording developed a powerful set of automated checks that guide users through a structured review of their work to catch oversights or inconsistencies. This feature, comprising more than 300 individual checks, helps avoid the human errors that are common in manual keywording. And since Keyword Perfect manages keywords in a central dictionary and reviews all work in a structured process, it delivers an unsurpassed level of consistency.

“A2Z Keywording has long provided a critical service to stock houses like ours by keywording large batches of images quickly and accurately, and I admit that I’ve been somewhat envious of their capabilities in the past,” said Monika Mosch, managing director of the stock agency goZOOMA. “With Keyword Perfect, anyone who relies on high keyword quality can achieve professional results in less than half the time it would take to input manually. The software is powerful, yet easy to work with; clearly A2Z Keywording has honed this product to meet the specific requirements of both photographers and image consumers who search through large volumes of stock images.”

Pricing, Availability and System Requirements

Starting today, Keyword Perfect is available for purchase at http://www.keywordperfect.com (http://www.keywordperfect.com) at a list price of $249.00. A special introductory launch price of $199.00 is available through Dec. 31, 2010 and a free trial version is available.

– PC Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista recommends utilizing a quad-core processor. Minimum 2 GB RAM, recommended 3 GB.

–Apple Requirements: Intel Macintosh 2.5 GHz dual core CPU with 2GB minimum RAM (4GB is recommended) running Mac OS 10.5.x (Leopard).

–Minimum 15-inch monitor.

About A2Z Keywording

A2Z Keywording are specialists in the practice of professional image keywording, having created keywording databases for stock photography agencies and publishing companies for more than a decade. With the release of Keyword Perfect 2.0 in 2010, A2Z Keywording has expanded its presence in the stock photo industry by offering individual users the same comprehensive and efficient keywording engine that has driven its business for more than 15 years.

Using a proven methodology, A2Z Keywording’s service and technology transcribe virtually every detail of a given image – not just its personal subject and object, but the unique emotions, concepts and photographic styles that give the image its character and make it stand out in a crowded marketplace. Companies who have worked with A2Z Keywording include Meredith Publishing; Reader’s Digest; Images.com; Direct Stock; Hemera Inc.; American Showcase; Solus Images; Corbis; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Chelsea House Publishers.

For more information, visit http://www.a2zkeywording.com (http://www.a2zkeywording.com) and http://www.keywordperfect.com (http://www.keywordperfect.com).

###

Contact Information
ANDY MELTZER
Matter Communications for A2Z Keywording
www.a2zkeywording.com
401-351-9500

Fotolia Partners with deviantART for Microstock Offering

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Interesting news directly from DevianART press person: Fotolia and DeviantART join forces.
Angelo Sotira, CEO of deviantART describes his decision

Mr. Sotira’ main drivers:

  • A large percentage of members of deviantART use stock, make commercial stock, or make free stock available to the community; sometimes all three. deviantART needs to focus that intelligence to birth the ideal resource for this core activity for our community.
  • Special deviant collections that become a go-to environment for art directors and illustrators looking to break out from the standard stuff (exposes their work to the marketplace)
  • Better artist splits when stock gets licensed;
  • Great pricing for members, particularly when they use stock for developing talent and not for commercial projects;
  • Building more advanced search that raises the bar for accessing stock;
  • Simple-to-read licenses that really let you know what you can and can’t do;
  • And delivering soup-to-nuts resources — not just visually, but that work culturally for a worldwide membership.

Official press release
October 13, 2010 – Los Angeles – Fotolia LLC and deviantART, Inc. announced today their plans to blend the international microstock business of Fotolia.com with deviantART’s worldwide social network of artists by launching the “deviantART Stock Project with Fotolia.” This new offering is part of deviantART’s plans to establish an integrated commercial stock offering within its network and serves Fotolia’s goal of expanding its footprint in the U.S..

DeviantART is currently home to 15 million members around the world and represents the largest online aggregation of microstock users. The Stock Project marks the first time a microstock provider is tapping the power of community for greater distribution and participation.

“DeviantART is the purest of all artist communities throughout the world. It works on democratic philosophy that complements our goals with Fotolia. We believe that the stock industry should be an open even-playing field for all artists and not set up elitist barriers to entry. We see a lot of synergies with how deviantART has democratized art and created a safe and welcoming environment,” said Oleg Tscheltzoff, founder and CEO of Fotolia. “The success of deviantART goes far beyond its impressive member base. When you take a look at the site you can see a community working together to make things happen for artists. The culture of sharing and learning is a natural magnet.”

“Our community uses microstock in high volumes. We wanted to introduce a solution with affordable purchase options, simple licensing terms and without heavy subscription costs. But it was more important to have a partner like Fotolia that understands the importance as a business of developing community as resource,” said Angelo Sotira, founder and CEO of deviantART. “We talked with all the major stock houses and Fotolia was the only partner for us. They offer an extensive collection of commercial stock assets and expertise; They consistently offer the best prices for stock and the best split for artists who want to contribute to the stock catalog; and Fotolia has a strong international presence that serves our global membership.”

The initial offering will increase the amount of stock already available on deviantART.com and provide members with commercial tools to facilitate an image-licensing program. The fully integrated product, expected next year, will provide members with seamless on-site access to microstock assets and create a unique deviantART collection from the community’s resources.

About deviantART, Inc.
DeviantART was created to entertain, inspire, and empower the artist in all of us. Founded in August 2000, deviantART is the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts with over 15 million registered members, attracting 35 million unique visitors per month and serving up 2 billion page views. As a community destination, deviantART is a platform that allows emerging and established artists to exhibit, promote, and share their works within a peer community dedicated to the arts. The site’s vibrant community environment receives more than 140,000 daily uploads of original art works ranging from traditional media, such as painting and sculpture, to digital art, pixel art, films and anime. Visit: www.deviantART.com.

About Fotolia
Over 2 million people prefer Fotolia, LLC for affordable, royalty-free images, graphics and HD videos. With the introduction of the Infinite Collection, Fotolia became the first worldwide microstock organization to offer both crowd-sourced and professional images on one site. Founded in New York City in 2004, Fotolia spans the globe with websites in 11 languages and offices in 13 countries. With over 10,000,000 images to choose from, find it on Fotolia: www.fotolia.com

iSyndica closes

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iSyndica, an online microstock distribution service, recently announced it’s closure. Despite their prices that were considered high by the microstock contributing community, iSyndica service attracted many serious microstock photographers, vector artists and videographers. With the service shutdown all the contributors’ portfolios, their associated metadata and the sales stats will be permanently lost. iSyndica is scheduled to shutdown on October 10 2010.

iSyndica is closing

IMPORTANT

If you have an iSyndica account I suggest you to download all the dump files that iSyndica offers (see iSyndica’ answers below). Probably we can help you to utilize this information with your portfolio. If such an option is of your interest drop a comment here. The more interest we see the bigger is the chance we’ll make it happens.

Would not it be great just to ‘export’ your online portfolio with all it’s metadata and the associated sales stats and use it with ProStockMaster/Pixamba software? With a little help from iSyndica team we probably could do that too.

Since the latest iSyndica’ announcement I am getting many emails from the iSyndica customers. The most frequent questions are:

- Will you guys support custom FTP?

Yes we will. This feature is currently in the development and will be a part of our next major release, which is scheduled for October 2010.

- Do you plan adding more agencies?

Yes we do, and a few of them are already in the pipeline.

- Will you support video and vectors upload?

Yes we will, from mid-November 2010.

Here is he original closure announcement like it looks on iSyndica web site http://www.isyndica.com at the moment of writing (Sept 28 2010):

iSyndica is closing

We wish to thank all of you for your support over the past 2 years. Unfortunately, we have, for many reasons, decided to discontinue the service, with an effective last day set to October 10, 2010.

We have compiled the list of Q&As below to help you understand our handling of the situation. Further contact will also be made on a one-to-one basis within your iSyndica account and by e-mail.

How long will the service remain available?

Service will remain available and operational until October 10, 2010 at 23:59:59 UTC. However, effective immediately, you will no longer be able to place orders for credits or storage, or change your subscription. Note that FTP uploads will no longer be allowed as the FTP server will now be used to allow you to provide you access to backup information as well as letting you dump a backup of your catalog that you may re-download to your computer.


Will I get a refund?

Yes. On October 10, 2010, your subscription and credit balance will be tabulated to provide you with a pro-rated refund. Information will be made available in your account detail pages and you will further be contacted to arrange for the refund.


Will you pay my affiliate balance?

Yes. Your affiliate credits will be paid out as part of your final refund.


Will there be any payout limit?

No. There will be no payout limit: we will honor our obligations in full and refund you all that is owed to you.


What happens to my files online?

You can download your files from your account individually, or use a custom FTP connector to export them to a server under your control. If you run out of credits for this operation, please contact us and we will arrange for an export of your files.
After October 10, 2010, all files will be deleted permanently from iSyndica.


Can I download a backup of my file catalog?

Yes. If you do not have an external FTP server available, you can use iSyndica’s FTP to syndicate any file you wish to backup there, then download them to your computer. Visit your FTP account settings to get your login information and configure a generic FTP connector on your Channel List. Then syndicate all the files you wish to download. Once syndication is complete, simply connect using your favorite FTP client and download your files.


Can I get a data dump of my metadata?

Yes. Also on your FTP account, you will find a tab-delimited dump of all your metadata, keyed from the name of the files you uploaded. The file is named Metadata.tab.txt.


Can I get a data dump of my syndication history?

Yes. Also on your FTP account, you will find a tab-delimited dump of all your item syndication, keyed from the name of the files you uploaded and target agency to which you sent the file. The file is named Syndication.tab.txt.


Can I get a data dump of my reporting data?

Yes. Also on your FTP account, you will find a tab-delimited dump of all your reporting data that you may import in Excel or any spreadsheet program. This dump will contain additional information that was not made available on your general report summary, such as image references on each agency (with link to the display page for the item), license type, etc. The file is named Reporting.tab.txt.


What about my private information?

Your information will be erased from the system before we even close our hosting account, to ensure your privacy. We will not sell your email address or anything. By all means, feel free to change your agency login information – it is a good practice to change your password ever once in a while.


What about my Amazon or Paypal subscription?

Within a few hours, all payment subscriptions will be permanently canceled. You will no longer be charged for anything. You may receive a notification e-mail from Amazon or Paypal (respectively) informing you of the cancellation.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

Please send an e-mail to our support group and we will do our best to address your inquiry.


iStockphoto changes the commissions structure

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What the classical economy says?
If you have an over-supply and a constant demand you have to limit your supply adjusting it to the demand.
A microstock agency can do it in two ways:
1) carefully select only best images
2) reduce the suppliers’ commissions, allowing many contributors to leave and thus reducing the supply stream. It also regulates the load on inspectors, so an agency can save costs employing less inspectors. Both things increase the company’s margins and the final profit, if the revenues remain at the same level.

Economically thinking this is the right thing to do when you are absolutely sure that your customers will keep buying from you.
It looks like Kelly Thompson is sure they will, whatever iStock does.

I would not be so sure though, and here is why.
The TrendsMicro creative market marketing research clearly shows that an average stock photography buyer find and license imagery from 3-4 sources simultaneously. The competition is tight and content is similar if not the same in the leading agencies. On this saturated market differentiation is the key, however the last move of iStock is far of this understanding. Kelly Thompson thinks profit, and in the short term such a move can indeed increase iStock profit.
Did he think about the long term too?

I assumed that at least iStock will try to find the way to keep their best contributors happy. I expected that the top-selling microstock contributors will get some privileges in the new commissions structure, a reasonable “VIP” approach, which would make happy at least that 10% who make 80% of the agency’ revenues.

However, look at this:

“I have read carefully, and basically what I see is that the 5% bump I was expecting sometime in the next year when I finally hit Diamond is actually going to be a 5% pay cut starting January 1st”

dgilder, commenting on Thompson’s announcement at iStock forum.

You can keep reading the original forum post by iStockphoto CEO discovering other contributors’ reactions. I also recommend this post as a good intro to the long and unclear iStock statement in the forum post.

v1.9.1 fixes iStockphoto login, introduces Java 6 native

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The new ProStockMaster v1.9.1 fixes iStockphoto login and upload of stock photos to the microstock agency, following the latest “F5″ changes on the iStock web. It is also the first version of our microstock software which was compiled with Java 6, both Mac and Windows. PSM v1.9.1 simply runs faster than older versions. If you got Windows 7 64-bit or Vista 64-bit I recommend you to download and install Java 64-bit. The latest ProStockMaster v1.9.1 will perfectly run with 64-bit Java, and you get even more performance benefits.

Note that if you upgrade to v1.9.1 from anything older than v1.9.0 you have to install the full version of ProStockMaster. Follow this instructions to do so.

Please do not panic if you see this error message when you run the new software:
Application failed: ProStockMaster.properties (Access Denied)

It’s OK, it just says that you are running Windows 7 or Vista :)
The 1-minute solution for that is described in question #3 in our FAQ

iStockphoto login and web chnages

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iStock have changed their web this week. We are aware of these changes and the ProStockMaster update is already completed. We still check various compatibility issues. The upgrade to v1.9.1 will be offered very soon. Note, that if you still run anything prior to v1.9.0 you have to upgrade to v1.9.0 first by installing the full version of ProStockMaster v1.9.0. Follow this instructions to upgrade to v1.9.0.

Damn microstock

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Chris Barton, the “Fair Trade Photographer” joins the well known anti-microstock apologist Dan Heller in blaming microstock. The article is very nice, but I guess if Chris would be the author of that group image, he proudly would show all these usage examples to his prospective customers. Anyway, welcome to the club, Chris, you are in the good company.

Back to 2007 Dan Heller was absolutely sure that microstock is a transitional business model and that the microstock agencies are hurting themselves. Explaining why the microstocks can not survive Dan says:

And all this gets back to the discussion about how they are “hurting themselves.” To understand this, we look at the factors involved with repeat buyers vs. new buyers. Lower prices may get some ratio of new buyers, but it’s the unintended effects associated with the retention of those buyers. And here’s the catch-22: if they stay, you’re selling more and more product at severely discounted prices to a customer that should be paying more. If they don’t stay, you’ve lost the entire benefit of the lower prices. So, not only do lower prices not guarantee buyer retention, or that they’ll even start there over competition, but the perilous effects of their remaining loyal is almost worse. The entire objective of “low-balling” is to rope the user in so you can upcharge them later. Otherwise, there’s no point in doing it. What most companies do is offer the big discounts at sign up, but once in, prices go back to normal. Microstock agencies don’t do this, but should. This leaves microstocks in the worst of all worlds.

Now in 2010 we can see that the microstock business did not collapse, being a growing industry even in the recession period, while most traditional stock photography agencies experience a sharp decline in sales. Surprisingly for Mr.Heller, the microstock continues to rapidly expand and keeps threatening traditional royalty free and right managed stock photography business models.

Surprisingly enough, Dan Heller was served  for some time as the Vice President of Marketing at Picscout, a company which proudly displays Dreamstime logo at the top line of their list of customers. If you can not beat them, join them.

BigStock, 123rf, Dreamstime, Fotolia improvements in v1.7.3

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This release fixes login and upload of stock photos to Bigstock and 123rf . It also fixes  Dreamstime and Fotloia microstock sales statistics. We took off Stockxpert microstock site due to their merge with iStockphoto.

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