Credits or loans?

Why do you need to buy credits if you only want to buy one photo from certain stock photography websites?

It would seem much simpler just choosing the photo you need and paying for it using your Credit Card or PayPal. This is what agefotostock has done with their Low Budget Royalty Free offer, easyFotostock.

The traditional subscription model is showing its age in photography today and everyone is waiting to see if prices go up even a little bit. If the stock photography cycles are true, they say that every 15 years or so, the business model in stock photography has to change. We assume that agefotostock would know that well as their 46 years of licensing images seem to indicate. There are not that many agencies in the world that can manifest such history in the business.

easyFotostock shows simplicity in its approach to licensing images. Pay 5 or 10 or 15 Euros/Dollars and you get a 6, 26 or 50 MB files. You don´t need to buy a bunch of credits just for a single image.

When you buy credits to spend on one image, you are left with remaining credits for your next purchase if you ever want another image. Putting it another way, you’re giving a loan to the seller of the credits. That, multiplied by maybe millions of downloads and “extra” credits sold, is quite a substantial loan that consumers buying images are unwittingly giving to sellers of credits. Furthermore, it is an interest-free loan. When no images are downloaded with the extra credits, the sellers don´t need to pay anyone immediately and need only to wait with the money to see if more downloads eventually happen.

agefotostock addresses that in their offer, pay 5 Euros/US$ and you get an image, no credits, no loans. And the photographer will get his/her 50% of the licensing fee in their next report.

We are not competing against anybody with this model as we are not fighting to be number one of anything, but it seems to be working for us and, for our size as a company, it’s giving an interesting momentum for clients, photographers and us, obviously”, said Alfonso Gutierrez, CEO of agefotostock.

Asked about the model and how many images they have on storage, Lynn Poh, the Content Manager of the company said, “We have over 40 million images in the easyFotostock collection, and are receiving an average of 35 to 40 thousand images a day, in addition to regular submissions of several hundred thousand from some agencies. We are a bit overloaded by the response, to be honest.

It is hard to say if the subscription model has reached its peak and if there is still space for more players. When asked if he sees this in agefotostock’s future, Gutierrez replied, “We´re not closed to having a subscription option, but certainly not at 12 cents an image because we care for our photographers and believe that volume sales can’t justify sacrificing the individual value of creativity. In fact, in all our history, we have never been the first to introduce anything – not with paper catalogs in the remote past, nor with Royalty Free CDs, and with both products we made substantial profits, so why not with this one too? There is always space for everybody in stock photography.

This idea may very well get mileage, as not all clients would want to pay more than what’s necessary for one image they need in a hurry, leaving behind money that they might never use again. Only time will tell if this becomes a popular option to buy images cheap.