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iStockphoto: Products & Services

If you need some stock artwork for a project, one place many corporations go is to iStockphoto.  Formed to offer media without worries about royalty fees the company was a timely innovation.  The company was formed in 2001 by Bruce Livingstone.  He decided to offer his collection of photographs online as stock photos for others to use.  As member joined the company, it began to charge for this service to support the costs of operation.  Members can also sell their own artwork to the company to add to its collection.  iStockphoto offers a number of plug-ins to make it easier on members using their material.  There are also an abundant amount of art material available, including pictures, illustrations, videos, audio tracks and design formats.  A member of the site may also design his own project by using the site.  Sometimes these designs are purchased by the company to add to their collection.

iStockphoto: Company Background

The company was formed in 2001 by Bruce Livingstone.  He took a large number of personal photographs and put them online as stock photographs.  As members joined, more and more images became available.  The company adopted a micropayment strategy that allows users to buy credits to pay for their image downloads.  In 2006, the company was sold to Getty Images, which allowed the company to become international and add videos and audio selections.  Customers can access the website in English, French, German, and Spanish.  Searches can be done in even more languages including Japanese, Russian and Cyrillic characters.

iStockphoto: Customer Feedback & Reviews

Ten reviews at show that iStockphoto is rated 4.5 out of 5.

  • I don't do much in the way of photography and I don't sell photos. I did need a new piece of artwork for my living room and found on istockphoto that I could download a really cool photo and print it out in high resolution and simply hang it on my wall. Much better than buying a print at a store!
  • I use this website to sell my photos and for anyone who either needs stock photos or wants to make some extra $$$ this is the best site out there. Don't expect to make a fortune, but you can expect to make some money proportional to the amount of work you put into it.
  • Perfect resource for art directors/designers - This is an excellent site for finding virtually any type of photographic image. I've used the site extensively for the past few years and have racked up a large number of images.

TrustPilot rates them 7.5 out of 10.  Other publications list them as a great site to use for obtaining images.  Some complaints range from different costs for similar images, expiration of credits and a lack of top flight images.  Other complain that downloads do not work, but some of these customers are trying to download materials in electronic devices that the website clearly indicates will not work.

iStockphoto: Business Credibility & Trustworthiness

iStockphoto has been covered in Wired and other electronic news magazines including Allistir and Payne, and the Boston Globe.  Similar stories are found in Canadian media with the company still headquartered in Calgary.  The company is not a member of the BBB, but they are also located in Canada.  In 2007, the firm had an income of 71.9 million US dollars.  Today, it provides about 55 percent of all the stock photographs purchased in the United States in addition to its expansion internationally.  This is a very credible company.

iStockphoto: Website Popularity & Google Ranking

Per Alexa, the site ranks 323 in the United States and 369 in the world.  This is a very high internet ranking in terms of daily use.  The average user is between the ages of 25 and 45, logs on at work, stays on about 9 minutes and slightly more females than males use the site.  Reviewing Compete, the site has a daily usage of over 450,000 and ranks third among similar companies in the United States.  The Google Page Rank tool shows that this company's website is ranked 7 out 10, a fairly high rating.

iStockphoto: Social Media Presence

The website is repesented on Facebook and Twitter.  The Facebook page has over 55,000 members and usually about 500 members active at any one time.  The Twitter account has over 46,000 followers and about 14,000 Twitter members following this page.  The site also has a forum for members and a blog to discuss new events in the media industry and on the website.  iStockphoto has a good media presence.

iStockphoto: Website Security & Safety

This company offers security by accepting payment through well known credit cards.  It does not sell any of its privacy information and guarantees that its photos will have no royalty problems.  The Google Safe Browsing tool shows no problems with using this site despite its being on multiple browsers.  The site has high visibility on the web and works to keep their customers secure.

iStockphoto: Pricing & Packages

iStockphoto charges prices ranging from $1.69 to $.24 for each of its credits.  Some items cost more than one credit, but many items do not.  Shutterstock, a leading competitor, charges from $19 to $4 for each photo chosen from their site.  Dreamstime offers packages of both subscriptions and pay as you go.  The pay as you go starts at $1.10 to .$75 per image.   The site charges subscribers about $.33 per image.  

iStockphoto generally charges less than the other competitors.  However, some of the pictures lack the higher quality options of Shutterstock.  However, unless you have a need for a very specific type of photo, iStockphoto should meet just about anyone's needs.

iStockphoto: Shipping Rates & Policies

This company does not ship its products to its customers.  The products are downloaded using the internet.  The site has no listed for a search using shipping or ship.  The company can sell its products to anyone with proper internet access.  The company does business at international locations including Australia, Japan, Europe and India.

iStockphoto: Payment Methods Accepted

This company only accepts credit cards in payment from individuals.  Customers can choose from Visa, Mastercard, Diner's Club, American Express, and JCB Cards.  Companies can apply to set up a corporate account which provides them with a few more options of payment.  Payment can be per use, by subscription or by high volume corporate accounts.  The company also extends Paypal to some customers, international money orders and personal checks from Canada or the United States for subscriptions.  Credits purchased are good for one year from the purchase date.

iStockphoto: Returns, Refunds & Exchange Policy

The company will offer refunds or extra credit for any credits that are lost or not used successfully by the customer.  In general the company does not offer refunds, so a customer should know what they are buying and how many credits to order.  Subscriptions expire after a set number of months and corporate accounts can be closed by the customer.  For unusual situations, a customer should contact the support offer at iStockphoto.

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