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Microstock Agencies

CanStockPhoto – sales stats for every stock image at your fingertips, better security and reliability


ProStockMaster microstock software v1.7.2 now works with CanStockPhoto via our proprietary PSM API. From now on all microstock contributors can track their microstock sales and download stats for every stock photograph or an illustration submitted to CanStockPhoto with ProStockmaster microstock tool.
All data is transferred over HTTPS, which significantly improves the communication security between the microstock photography agency and the stock photographer’s computer.

Many thanks to Duncan Enman, CEO of CanStockPhoto and his great team for making this possible.

FTP uploads to any microstock and stock photography agency by replacing Shutterstock


Did you know that if you do not work with Shutterstock microsotck agency you can use “Shutterstock FTP” credentials uploading to any FTP-enabled stock photography agency instead?

Just keep in mind that what is shown as “Shutterstock” in PSM microstock software is in fact your trusted “ABC” stock photos agency.

Doing that is simple: go to “Upload->Stock Agencies->Shutterstock” and replace Shutterstock FTP server name with the name of the FTP server for “ABC” stock photography site, adding your FTP credentials for that stock imagery agency or stock content distributor.

From now on, each time you upload to “Shutterstock” the file actually goes to “ABC-stock”.

iStockphoto requires you to delete images in your portfolio. Otherwise…


Here is the email I just have received from

Dear David ([iStock-username]),

Standards at iStockphoto are always evolving. Our team of editors has been examining the collection and have decided that your image no longer meets our current standards. We understand that no one wants to lose an image from their portfolio, but we think that the rest of your work is much better.

You have two options. You may deactivate the image now. Or you may leave it in our Dollar Bin. The Dollar Bin is a collection of images with similar legacy quality issues. Every file in the Bin is available for one credit at any size. Images remain in the bin for four weeks after their last download, at which point they are automatically deactivated. It’s a way of giving the image a last chance before finally removing it.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please address them to [email protected]

Go here if you like to deactivate your image:

Best Regards,

Let me read you what is written in this message.

David, we do not like your images anymore. We liked them sometime ago, but not any more, sorry.
iStockphoto is just too good for your images. You either remove them or you remove them. If you do not like this choice we will remove them on our own.

Now, please tell me who was the marketing genius behind this correspondence. I just want to shake his (her?) hand. I am sure that anyone who got such a message feels upset after reading it.

So, iStockphoto wants to keep their microstock collection ‘clean’, containing only brilliant images. I see. No doubt this is a good target iStock should aim to. I just wonder why this stock photography agency prefer to lose money instead of making it, sending messages like this one above to tens thousands microstock contributors. Any iStocker will be shocked reading this text exactly like I was.

How much did you guys cost to bring in a new contributor who generates some sales? Now take this cost and multiply it by the number of photographers that will leave you now – this is the cost of such a marketing communication. I will not be surprised if many microstock shooters will just stop submitting their stock photos to iStock, which appears to be too good for their artwork, preferring submitting stock images to other microstock agencies that treat their contributing stock photographers differently.
Bravo iStock! – good work, great marketing, refreshing approach to the customers relationship. Thumbs up!

I especially loved “You have two options.” quote. I see it this way:
One dark night you meet a robber. He points his gun on you and says:
You have two options. You either give me your money and then I kill you or I first kill you and then I take your money.”
Being a good iStockphoto marketing person, the robber continues: “Do not you worry, my friend. The choice is yours!”.
And being polite the robber adds what iStock completely missed: “Oh, and thank you for doing business with us!”.


In a short time after this post has been published I got a personal message from iStockphoto staff, saying that the email discussed in this post was sent out by a mistake and they apologize for the misunderstanding.

According to iStock, what should be sent out was this message:

Dear Name (username),

An image of yours has been moved to the iStockphoto Dollar Bin.

You have two options:
1. Deactivate the image
2. Leave it in the Dollar Bin

The Dollar Bin is a collection of images available to our clients from one to seven credits, depending on size. We feel the Dollar Bin provides another chance for the file to be downloaded… at a lower price.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please address them to [email protected]

Click here to deactivate your image:
Best Regards,

Well, first I appreciate iStockphoto ability to react extremely fast. They understood their mistake and tried to fix it.

Obviously, this is a very different message to a contributor. There is no single word about image removals!

Mark Dennis, iStock commented out what happened with their Dollar Bin initiative at last: So the gremlins got into the auto email system again, and some people got an email saying that the files will be deleted after 30 days if they’re not selling.

Well, it seems that these gremlins, goblins and trolls were quite human and very intelligent, and really enjoyed what they did to the company, these cute little pets of iStockphoto.

I would suggest iStock to take the entire gremlins family out of the iStock email system once and forever. And please deduct the damages costs from the gremlins salary, just as a “lessons learned” action. Typically, it works at its best avoiding further similar communication with the customers. 😉 Security And The Latest Physhing Attack


I guess most of you already saw this message when logged in to iStockphoto:

March 3, 2009 20:10
This afternoon a phishing attack was conducted in the forums and through sitemail. This attack created a fake login screen, prompted the user for a username & password, saved them to a malicious server, then redirected the user back to the iStockphoto main page

The iStock forums post by the same author says:

It’s an interesting statement, where the first part is correct, while the second part is very confusing. No financial information to breach, oh yeah, really?

Just a week ago Dreamstime complained in this thread that “we had cases when contributors had their accounts accessed, password changed, payment requested”. Now the iStockphoto guys are brave enough to say us they have “no financial information to breach”?

We all know that iStockphoto, like any other stock photo agency has on file your PayPal / MoneyBookers accounts. They also collect funds that have to be transferred to contributors monthly. Should not this stuff be considered as a valuable financial information stored by iStock? And if it is not enough, add here you personal profile details like your home address, phones and your picture ID. And even your images portfolio is in danger since it can be first completely downloaded and stolen and then, just for fun, completely removed from the agency by a hacker who looks for an entertainment on the hacked site.

What happened to iStock on March 3 is not funny at all. And it is a much more serious issue than just a few hours of iStock down time, even if iStockphoto prefers to present it this way. The site stores financial information and digital goods that can be stolen, so their “no financial info stored” statement is very far from the reality.

Uploading stock photos to Dreamstime microstock switched to FTP


This releases switches uploading stock photos to Dreamstime to FTP and fixes a small issue which recently stopped Canstockphoto microstock uploads. There is no change in your Canstock workflow, but for the Dreamstime microstock site you have to add your FTP credentials.
In order to do that, please login to Dreamstime web and go to
At the right part of the page you will see text similar to this:

Dreamstime FTP upload instructions

When you open Dreamstime credentials dialog in PSM v1.6.1 (“Upload->Stock Agnecies” menu in PSM, click on the checkbutton next to Dreamstime name), the follow window opens:

Dreamstime Web and FTP credentials dialog in ProStockMaster

Note that ProStockMaster already fills in for you the Dreamstime FTP server name and the correct server’ FTP port, as well as takes care of entering Passive FTP mode when connected to Dreamstime FTP server. So the only two FTP parameters that you still have to provide are your FTP user ID from the Dreamstime web (see the image above) and your FTP password.
For Dreamstime, your FTP password is identical to your web password (please verify that your personal FTP details on Dreamstime web confirm that).

All you have to do to activate your FTP uploads to Dreamstime is copying your FTP user ID from Dreamstime web page directly to ProStockMaster GUI (you can use CTRL-C/CTRL-V keyboards sequences for bullet-proof Copy/Paste) and providing PSM with your FTP password (which seems to be the same like your web password).

You will still need to provide your web credentials in the top form of PSM GUI in order to get your Dreamstime stock photos sales statistics through PSM HTTP connection.

Let’s see what else was added in v1.6.1.
This version sports 25 more languages in keywords translations, so together with previously introduced 23 most popular languages PSM is now capable of translating your keywords from 48 different languages.

In addition to the West European and North American languages set, we support now most East European languages (e.g. Hungarian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian) , accomplished by a nice selection of Asian languages like Turkish, Thai and Uzbek. We keep our target in mind: photographers should be able to describe their creations using their own words in their native language. We at ProStockMaster try to help them with this target, taking care of all the rest of the dirty and time consuming images keywording work.

Note, that ProStockMaster inserts your keywords directly into the IPTC segment of your image, thus never touching your pixels. Unfortunately, not all the applications available on the market today behave in the same way.

For instance, if you use such a high-quality and high-performance tool like Adobe Photoshop to edit image’ metadata each time opening your JPEG stock image, modifying keywords and closing the file back you can end up with a stock photograph of significantly lower quality than your original. Each time you use Photoshop to edit anything in your stock photos in JPG format, Photoshop decompress JPG to be represented as bitmap RGB data. When you are done with your modifications and save a JPEG file Photoshop re-compresses the data again and saves it as JPG file. Since JPEG is a lossy compression your stock photos actually lose pixels!

Thus, such a simple and intuitive Photoshop “Open a JPEG -> add-metadata-with-File_Info -> Save JPEG & Close” flow of operations becomes unsafe in terms of the image quality. Doing such modifications frequently on a certain file you can easily end up with visual artifacts and other image quality degradation results. If you want to stick with modifying your images metadata with Photoshop you better switch to the safe RAW-based workflow where no de/re-compression applies.

Alternatively, you can use ProStockMaster microstock software, which combines the convenience of multilingual translations, keywords suggestions and multi-agencies uploads for your stock photos. All that without touching a single pixel in your valued artwork.

Where Are My Uploads On PantherMedia Microstock Site?


Some customers asked me where to find their files once they are uploaded to PantherMedia web site.
You have to go to “My Panther->My Images->Images (FTP/PSM)” menu located on top of your home page when logged in to PantherMedia web site.

PantherMedia Stock Images Upload Menu

Note that you will see there just one stock image out of all the stock photos that you have uploaded to PantherMedia stock photography agency with ProStockMaster microstock software. Once you submit this stock photo or a stock illustration, the web site will show you the next image from your PSM-PantherMedia upload folder.

Also note that PantherMedia submission process suggests you to insert up to 8 “Main keywords” into your stock photograph. First, I suggest you use at its most, i.e. insert exactly 8 keywords into all your stock photos if you can. Of course, keep the stock photography keywords relevant and descriptive 🙂
Obviously, doing that increases the chances for your stock images to be found by the microstock buying customers, i.e. the chances for a stock photo to be sold.

Next, make your work easier and get better stock imagery sales by the proper use of our microstock software functionality. PSM “Manage Metadata” window allows you to put the keywords in the order of their importance / relevancy directly into IPTC metadata for your stock photo. Use up and down arrows buttons to re-order your keywords in the order of their relevance, putting the most important keywords at the top of the list.Some sites do pay attention on the order of IPTC keywords, expecting that the most important keywords describing a stock photograph will be first in the IPTC section.

Manage IPTC Metadata Window

Manage IPTC Metadata Window

Thus, when you will have to put “Main keywords” in the PantherMedia submission form you can just copy and paste 8 first keywords from the list of IPTC keywords you added to your image with ProStockMaster. And once you put your keywords in the order of their importance with PSM some other agencies will be able to use this information too, thus giving even more exposure to your pictures.

Alamy stock photography agency login


If you can login to Alamy web, but for some reason you can not login with the same user name and password into your Alamy account through ProStockMaster application, take a look at the length of your password.

It seems that in the past this royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency allowed long passwords, but one day their developers decided that they do not want anything longer than 12 letters.  So, instead of asking you to replace your old long password with some shorter characters sequence, Alamy developers just decided to cut off your old long password to fit their new 12-letters standard, simple like that.

Do you think you log into Alamy web site with your old trusted “myAlamyVerySecurePassword”?
Wrong! Actually, you login there with just “myAlamyVeryS” – exactly the first 12 characters, while all the rest of the password is cut off on your login and ignored by Alamy.

That’s why if you try “myAlamyVerySecurePassword” in ProStockMaster you are unable to login into your Alamy account. Instead, you should use just the first 12 characters of your long password. Well, at least until Alamy do anything about that.

Co-operation With Microstock Agency PantherMedia


Yes, I know, I know. You want more storefronts to sell your stock photos and illustrations. The more stock photography agencies sell your royalty free images the bigger revenues you get. We learned that very well and we completely agree.
Every time we talk to our stock photographers they emphasize they would love to expand their sales network, selling more stock content through stock photo agencies and distributors..
We hear it so often that we even put this question in our FAQ

So here are you go: showtime!

Please meet PantherMedia, a microstock agency located in Munich, Germany. PantherMedia has been around since 2004, when the two founders and current owners Petter Ammel and Robert Walters established PantherMedia GmbH. Being the first stock photography agency to offer midstock images, PantherMedia went international in 2008 and is represented by international partners in more than 40 countries.

Initially my attention to PantherMedia was drawn a few months ago by a stock photography expert Andy Goetze, who runs Stockphototalk blog. Later on, working with PantherMedia on various technical and business issues I was absolutely charmed by people who run this venture.

So, while writing this post, it was very easy to me to figure out a few reasons why you will love submitting your stock images to

First, because PantherMedia can sell your work as a midstock for prices $50 and more! Take a look at their prices: for instance, if you sell a stock photograph with a merchandise license, it can go at 449.90 €!
And here comes the second reason – you keep up to 60% of that! The “up to” part of your commission depends on the license and exclusivity you choose, but if you go for it – you get your 60%, absolutely. Remember, this 60% are out of a midstock $50+ price!

The third reason why you should register with PantherMedia right away is that ProStockMaster is now tightly integrated with and you get your sales stats for any stock photo you got with PantherMedia, directly at your desktop.
With working with ProStockMaster API we completely automate collecting stock photos sales and downloads statistics on per-image base.

Still not convinced that you should sign up with PantherMedia? Come’on! And how about 33% off for ProStockMaster PRO license once you sign up there?
Typically, we do not offer discounts, even for the Christmas period. You probably noticed that we never did it in the past. However, we believe that PantherMedia and their customers is a very special case and we are happy to offer them a $5999 ProStockMaster PRO licenses, 33% off our $8999 list price. Register with PantherMedia and find out tour special offer there.

And here is the last but not the least reason why you should select PantherMedia in the list of agencies where you contribute your images.
These guys are really care about their photographers and their community. Yes, they really do. Try them out, it’s free (the fifth reason to join 🙂  )- and you will see that you enjoy your stay there.

I do not work for PantherMedia and I never ever did. I was not paid to write this post. And if you buy a PSM license through PantherMedia site for just $5999 instead of $8999, I am loosing money… 😀

Alamy changes the commissions


An email sent today by Alamy Member Services reminds us Alamy contributors that Alamy has changed their contributors contract on November 26, 2008. And guess what? – starting at January 10, 2009 there is a 5% increase in all Alamy’ part for all stock photo contributions plans. Additionally, stock photo agency Alamy reduces the Contributor’s Agreement termination period from 6 month to 45 days.

All these changes look like a sign for a very difficult time for Alamy, which is facing strong competition from the successful microstock brands. In one of my previous posts I reviewed the Alamy’s initiative to go microstock. At that time many Alamy contributors disliked that idea, mostly because they saw Alamy as a traditional royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency, and not yet another microstock.

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