Contributor News — February 15, 2012

New Newsletter Format

Welcome to the first of our new text-only iStock Contributor newsletters. This email will become our main method of communicating with the contributor community. You will receive one every month — more often if there's more news. We will also archive each mailing on here.

iStock Headquarters — Recent Changes Recap

iStockphoto HQ underwent organizational changes in January. Ever since being acquired by Getty Images in 2006, our companies have been gradually integrating. This process was completed in January. Here are the key facts for contributors:

Company performance:
iStock is a very healthy business that continues to grow. Maintaining that growth is our #1 objective.

Content & contributors:
The Content teams of iStock and Getty Images have combined and will share more resources and information for iStockphoto contributors than ever before. We highly value exclusive artists and their content and will continue to increase support for these contributors through information sharing.

Technical issues:
We fully acknowledge there have been and continue to be many unresolved bugs that impact contributors and customers in both big and small ways. We don’t like it either and we are working to do a better job managing this work. The integration happening now between Getty Images and iStock includes our technology teams, and some of the processes being introduced will help us towards this goal. We will use this newsletter to keep you updated on the status of certain key technical issues each month (watch for the blue-highlighted paragraphs).

If you'd like more detail you can refer to the original posts as they rolled out:

Part one
Part two
Part three

Contributor Relations

Contributor Relations was one of the departments touched by these changes. It now operates as its own group, separate from Client Relations. We're happy to introduce Alyshia Abel as our new Contributor Relations lead. She has been with iStock since 2009 and will now oversee daily operations in Contributor Relations. Joy Griffith will continue to direct the Client Relations department.

As always, if you have an issue or question, you can reach Contributor Relations by email at Or submit an online ticket from our Support page here.

IP Issue: Le Corbusier Furniture

A recent decision in the French courts involving the designer Le Corbusier has implications for iStockphoto contributors. Furniture designed by Le Corbusier is "risky" content: it exposes iStockphoto and iStockphoto contributors to the threat of legal action, and as such we will be rejecting and deactivating images containing these pieces.

We have prepared a reference page showing examples of some of the Le Corbusier designs covered in this decision. All iStock contributors should review their portfolios to ensure they have no content of this kind. We will be deactivating risky content and urge contributors to be proactive and take down anything that might put themselves at risk. Please see the examples here.

Thinkstock Royalty Increase

Contributor royalties at are being increased. The per download royalty on all Image Packs will go up. The increase should take effect a month from now and we will update the contributor royalty page once the increase takes effect. In the meantime we've prepared a reference page with the new royalty rates here.

Bug Update

Retroactive Royalty Payments:
Contributors whose royalties increased in 2012 had an issue where the change did not take effect until January 4. We are identifying downloads that should have been paid at the higher rate between Jan 1 and Jan 4 at 10:16:37, 2012, and are crediting the affected accounts with the proper amounts. You will receive an e-mail notification with a breakdown of affected downloads and total when this happens.

Redeemed Credit Bug January 26-27 2012:
A few weeks ago a bug occurred that caused Redeemed Credit totals to temporarily reset to 0. During that time all contributors were paid the base royalty rate (15% for non-exclusives and 25% for exclusives). We will run a script for this bug that will pay the correct amount owing to all accounts effected. All accounts effected will receive an e-mail for this bug fix including a breakdown and total sum of funds added.

Updates for other bugs and ongoing technical issues can always be found here.

"Real" Images and Technical Standards

We recently ran an article called "Get Real" that highlighted iStock's need for natural, authentic-looking images of people. We received a lot of feedback on the article, with many people wondering about technical standards when it comes to this kind of "real" imagery.

We've prepared a post-script to the article discussing our technical standards. In general, we want this kind of authentic imagery and will be more forgiving of minor technical flaws when it comes to great shots of realistic moments. Please revisit the article for more details.

Model Release Article Update

We've updated our reference article on model releases. We haven't made any policy changes: the changes just add some clarity and make the piece as up-to-date as possible. Refresh yourself on iStock model releases here.

Exclusive+ / Photo+ Performance

We gave Exclusive contributors the chance to set a higher price point for their best photos back in 2010. We have been really happy with the results ever since. We introduced Photos+ for non-Exclusive contributors in 2011 and the results have been similarly positive.

Maximizing the use of your Plus slots is a good way for photographers to curate their own best content and get a higher return on it. Have a look at your portfolio and make use of your full allotment for Plus.

Vector Pricing Emails

As of February 8, 2012, we are asking all vector contributors with pricing inquiries to use our Contributor Relations ticketing system, rather than our old email address (vector-pricing[at]

The pricing email account has been unreliable and buggy over the years. Given the relatively low number of emails we receive to that account, it makes more sense to have Contributor Relations handle these inquiries directly.

To contact Contributor Relations with pricing inquiries, please go to the Support page and click on the 'Contributor Relations' button under 'Contributor Support'.

Emails sent to the vector-pricing address will be monitored for the next month. After that time, contributors will receive an automated reply redirecting them to the Support page with instructions on how to submit a ticket.

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