This week, Getty and Flickr reached an agreement that will allow Flickr users to opt-in and allow their photos to be licensed as stock photos through Getty Images. It’s true that photo buyers have been using Flickr as a source for stock imagery for a few years now, but often times the hassle of trying to track down the photographer, negotiate usage rights and acquire high resolution versions made it more trouble than it was worth. Essentially, this deal with Getty opens the doors for anyone and everyone to start selling their images online. It also makes the process much easier for photo buyers, since all purchases are now done through Getty’s software interface. Commission rates will be 70% to Getty,
While this deal sounds like it offers great promise for Flickr users, especially to the advanced amateur crowd who has never before been able to break into the pro stock photo market, I don’t imagine that anyone will see huge returns, especially since the deal gives Getty 70% commissions on all sales.
Photographers should look at it as an opportunity for some sales where none previously occurred, which is what royalty free and microstock have offered stock shooters over the past few years. However, since the agreement grants exclusive rights to Getty on all Flickr images and similars, it’s may not the best option for pro and aspiring pro photographers who might actually have sellable work or who already have outlets for marketing their imagery.
In some ways, the deal is good for the industry, because it helps boost the idea that good imagery has worth and monetary value, even for those photos shot by amateurs. I imagine that some photographers will make a little bit of money, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to get rich, except for Getty, who is obviously banking on the concep tof turning millions of small sales into big profits, just like they have done with iStockphoto and other microstock outlets that they own.