from a buyer's perspective

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Pressahead
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:12AM
/
/Hi, I appreciate that this is a forum for iStock photographers but as a regular buyer, I have felt for some time compelled to express my views (and of many of my colleagues and associates with whom I have discussed iStock in recent months).
 
Over the last few months there have been some significant changes to the “buying experience” at iStock which have led to people like myself and many others that I know, to stop buying here and looking to other sites for content. At the moment, this feels like a temporary move but the longer the “problems” persist at iStock, the more likely that I will probably not be buying here again in the future.
 
Firstly, I want to say that I (and my colleagues) have been a loyal buyer of iStock images for many years and have always loved the site. I have seen it grow and improve and I still believe that it is the best Royalty Free site around with fabulous images and great photographers. I would love to continue to buy images here but for the following reasons can no longer easily justify to do so:
 
Speed
 
Over the last few months, the speed of the site seems to have reduced significantly. A designer who is required to present maybe 20 to 30 image options for a client (as on a current project) and whilst wanting to present some outstanding images, this takes even on a fast site a long time searching and cataloguing. When a site becomes as slow as iStock has been (compared to competitive sites) this not only is very inconvenient but becomes a large overhead.
 
Best Match
 
This used to be one of iStock’s best features. Recently however it makes no sense at all. An Estate Agent (Real Estate) client of mine wanted a “Living Room” image recently and I thought I would venture back to iStock to have a look. On page two or three, there was a whole series of images in a row (around 20 I recall) of a cute baby, all by the same photographer. Nice images but nothing to do with Living Rooms (I suppose this may have been to do with keywords used).
 
Before, you would see a great selection over the first ten pages of best selling images, some recent images, new images too that I presume iStock editors felt should be pushed to the front and so on. Hugely helpful, efficient, practical and from a designer’s point of view, absolutely invaluable!! If I want to see lots of new images there is a filter for “file age” of course. Most of my colleagues have expressed that they are totally dissatisfied with the “new” iStock Best Match search function and say this is one of the main reasons why they now look elsewhere.
 
File Close Up (Zoom)
 
We are all perplexed that iStock should decide to permanently remove one its most useful and attractive features for buyers (certainly us). At our place, we often buy larger images with a view to cropping sections of the image to use. Critical focus is therefore very important or to see whether the “object” we are interested in is in a background “out of focus” area. The close up view function was in my opinion one of the main reasons why so many of us would look to iStock first since we have all had bad experiences of buying images elsewhere only to find that the parts of the image we want (or indeed the whole image sometimes) are not sharp enough. Someone has told me that this is only a temporary loss (two months or more is virtually permanent!). I do hope they are right and iStock bring this invaluable tool back.
 
Price
 
Over the last year or two, prices have rocketed at iStock. Whilst it is true that my clients are happy to spend what it costs to have an image they really like (and it is still a lot cheaper than the old Rights Managed only days) there is a limit. I am sure that any further price increases would push iStock out of the market compared to competitor sites. The real point here is that if one has to face moans about pricing from clients as well has having a really difficult experience in using the iStock website (as above) in the first place, I would imaging that iStock will start to lose lots of its most important and regular customers.
 
I am sorry for such a long write up compared to others in this Forum! But I just had to say something. I would love to see iStock get back to where it was before.
 
On a more sombre note, there is talk through my industry that iStock is in decline and not as good as it used to be and that competitor sites are now much better. I think this is a shame because there is clearly still excellent content at iStock as I have said before.  The point is that unless the site improves significantly with respect to the “buying experience” rumours and opinions may harden and do some serious damage to iStock.
 
IStock used to be (in my opinion) the best of the best and a pleasure to use and major part of our business. Today, I cannot say the same. I do hope that things markedly improve so that I and my colleagues and many associates in other companies that I know of can start buying here again.


Box5
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:26AM
Thank you for taking the time to post this. I hope your comments are forwarded to the executives who are in the best position to act on your suggestions. As a contributor I, also hope that things markedly improve so that you and your colleagues and associates can buy from us again very soon!
damircudic
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:27AM
Thank you very much for your input. All these problems, we contributors for months are requesting from HO to resolve, esspecialy problem with BM. I'm glad we are not wrong and we hope those will be solved soon.
daveturton
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:30AM
Hooray! An outside voice!
cmannphoto
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:33AM
Thanks for taking the time for your detail post
JoeGough
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:34AM
Great points, beautifully presented. I too would like Istock return to the 'good old days' with decent sales and minimum 20% commissions for contributors.
Willowpix
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:40AM
@OP - Excellent, logical, well-presented post! Thanks!!
lisafx
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:52AM
Excellent and thoughtful post.  Thanks very much for taking the time to make it.  I sincerly hope it is heard and acted on by those in a position to improve things here. 
cobalt
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:53AM

Thank you very much for sharing your experience. It mirrors our own and we share your disappointment with the state of the site.


I hope istock gets fixed soon, it is really hard to understand why all these changes had to be implemented in the most important buying season of the year.
OliverChilds
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:53AM
Great post, sad to hear, but I hope the right people are listening.
jjneff
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:53AM
READ THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN iSTOCK!!!
CHBD
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:53AM
Posted By Pressahead:
Best Match
 
This used to be one of iStock’s best features. Recently however it makes no sense at all. An Estate Agent (Real Estate) client of mine wanted a “Living Room” image recently and I thought I would venture back to iStock to have a look. On page two or three, there was a whole series of images in a row (around 20 I recall) of a cute baby, all by the same photographer. Nice images but nothing to do with Living Rooms (I suppose this may have been to do with keywords used).
 
Before, you would see a great selection over the first ten pages of best selling images, some recent images, new images too that I presume iStock editors felt should be pushed to the front and so on. Hugely helpful, efficient, practical and from a designer’s point of view, absolutely invaluable!! If I want to see lots of new images there is a filter for “file age” of course. Most of my colleagues have expressed that they are totally dissatisfied with the “new” iStock Best Match search function and say this is one of the main reasons why they now look elsewhere.
 



 


I hope you do not mind me asking but how do you expect a great results using such a keyword ? You know there are a lot of other things happening in living rooms these days and unfortunately they are not geared toward one line of business that you happened to represent, I'm sure a little more creativity on buyers part would grant better results like using a word "empty" for example.
landbysea
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:03AM
Thank you for your thoughtful post. I am just a contributor and unable to help. I hope the managers and executives at Getty and IStockphoto take notice. Better yet print it in larger font, frame it and hang it on the wall to remind them of who is the most important person to please.
Sadeugra
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:04AM
Thank you for taking the time for sharing your views here in the forum.  I am sure most of us agree with you. 
DRabPics
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:06AM

Pressahead,


All good points. Thanks for taking your valuable time to make this communication. It is appreciated by many. It's not to late to fix this once fantastic community. Let's go people!
ricardoreitmeyer
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloads
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:06AM
Very throughtful comments, no apologies necessary for the length of your feedback, it is definitely due. Thank you.
NicolasMcComber
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:08AM
Here's to hoping that 2012 was a cut year and 2013 will be an investment year. I'm sure everyone is doing all they can within their means to fix all these issues.
aluxum
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:11AM
/
/Thank you for your input which I hope is valuable to whoever has to solve some of the problems that I also think have plagued the site performance for a too long time. Said this, I also think the web speed has improved a lot the last days. The zoom according to Istock staff should return sooner than later. Best Match is weird now, let's see if they can give more accurate search results in the next BM change which happens quite frequently now. I reckon that prices have gone up in the last years it is also true that they still cheap not only compared to traditional stock, but also they are still a small fraction of the design/commercial/editorial process cost. The Value Collection and Subscription are good ways to lower those costs even further. And looking sometimes at the competitor sites, I can agree that sometimes they exceed Istock in some champs and Istock should address those. I also truly think that in the most important area of any microstock site Istock is still the king of the hill: CONTENT. The variety, depth and production values of this collection exceeds those of the competitors. As this is sometimes not enough, and your post clearly points in that direction I hope somebody listens carefully and does something to address your concerns which are also ours.
RapidEye
Member is a Black Diamond contributor and has more than 200,000 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Audio ArtistMember has had a File Of The WeekAwarded to fabulous photographers with more than 100,000 downloads
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:15AM
Great feedback. It all rings horribly true. I think there is still a window in which the pooch may be unscrewed. Let's hope.
vesperstock
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloadsMember has had a File Of The Week
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:15AM
Speed: agree 100%. Every time I try to show off istock to a new potential client or even to a colleague, the site loads so painfully slowly that we are often forced to give up. I assume the bunch of javascript processes that are running have something to do with that. Whether it is or not, the coding here really needs cleaning up.

Thank you for all the other comments too. Hope someone is taking note. The last newsletter suggests that istock takes concerns raised in the forums seriously.
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