I’m must say, I am very impressed with the strategic moves made by Getty Images – to really raise the bar and monopolise the industry of online royalty free stock photos.
As someone who develops websites on a regular basis – I get my images from several online stock photo sources. These were my three main sources.
- stock.xchng for free images (quality of images not as excellent)
- StockXpert (where you can get a low resolution photo for USD$1. i.e. 1 credit)
- iStockPhoto (used to be priced like StockExpert – but has risen their credits prices, so unless you get 2000 credits at a go or use their monthly subscriptions, you can’t find credits less than USD$1)
Well, sometime in early 2006, Getty Images bought over iStockPhoto for 50 million USD, and then in 2009, it acquired JupiterImages, which owned stock.xchng and StockXpert
These acquisitions practically made Getty Images the monopoly for microstock photos, since the only other major competitor Corbis has been selling their photos at prices at well over what most web developers will be willing to pay for (e.g. USD110 for a royalty free sunrise photo!)
Well, today I received a notification from StockXpert, saying they are ceasing operations, and all remaining credits can be ported over to iStockPhoto.
We are sorry to announce that beginning today, StockXpert will no longer sell new credits or accept new members. On February 11, 2010, searching and downloading at StockXpert will cease. This will be the end of image sales at StockXpert.
All SXP members have the opportunity to transfer their remaining credits to iStockphoto. iStock offers the highest quality affordable microstock imagery in the industry. Come and see for yourself. SXP credits will be honored 1 for 1 at iStockphoto.
Its an awesome move. Bad news for web designers though – meaning that we probably won’t be able to get awesome USD$1 images anymore.
Yikes. Its time to be a photographer.