iStockphoto changes royalty-rates for contributors [Updated]

[Updated] The changes have now been disected and have led to a big backlash against iStockphoto in the various microstock forums, starting with iStockphotos own forum:

In a long post in theiStockphoto forum COO Kelly Thompson has outlined a number of changes to the royalties paid out to its contributors. From the initial responses it seems many are not 100% clear on the changes. There is also a condensed version on the iStockphoto website, which is still pretty long.  iStockphoto will also launch a new collection. Here are some excerpts from the announcement:

On the new collection:

We are adding a new premium content collection:The Agency Collection. It will be a premium product priced above Vetta. It will include content from external agencies as well as selected iStock contributors. We are also making changes to Vetta including how it is priced, the royalties associated and how the collection is sold within the Getty Images family.

Royalty rates in brief:

iStockphoto is changing its royalty structure and how it’s determined. Beginning in 2011 each contributor’s royalty rate will be based on the total number of credits used to download files from the previous year, as opposed to a lifetime download total.

iStock will now set royalty levels annually. The levels are set based on overall iStock credit usage from the previous year. Beginning in January 2011, all iStock contributors will qualify for their royalty level based on the total number of credits used by customers to download a contributor’s files in 2010 – these will be referred to as Redeemed Credits. There will be different royalty levels set for each file type.

For non-exclusive contributors the royalties will range from 15 to 20% for content sold on iStock.

For Exclusive contributors, we are happy to announce there will be a new top royalty level of 45%. The range will now be: 25, 30, 35, 40, 45%.

For more reactions it’s best to check out the reactions to the post in the iStockphoto forum.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses