In some rather surprising move, the Getty owned Photos.com stock site is closing its doors as of March 10, 2014. Essentially all accounts will be transferred to Thinkstock.com – another Getty owned stock agency.
What is behind the move? They don’t really say. Perhaps it didn’t add up to have two virtually identical agencies running in parallel, and costs could be cut by getting rid of one. Or perhaps they see Thinkstock as their best bet in competing with the current market leader, Shutterstock. Or just maybe they have new, grand plans for the domain name, which surely has some search weight. Who knows. Mostly buyers are the ones that will be affected by this move so here is the limited information that they have released…
Photos.com Closing Down – What Does it Mean for Buyers?
Here is the FAQ that covers most questions from a buyers perspective that is posted on Photos.com:
Where can I go to buy this content after you shut the sites down? (What is happening to the content)?
Virtually all of the content that is available on Photos.co.uk is available on Thinkstock. Thinkstock offers over 14 million images including photos, illustrations and vectors, with thousands of new images added each week. You will have access to all of these images with your migrated account.
What will happen with my lightbox and past purchases?
If you have had an active Photos.com subscription or image pack over the past 12 months, your lightboxes and past purchases will be transferred to Thinkstock.com.
Can I keep using the content I have already downloaded?
Yes, you may continue to use the content you’ve already downloaded within the terms of your existing licence agreement.
I have a Photos.com subscription. How will this impact me?
The balance of your Photos.co.uk subscription will be transferred to Thinkstock. For example, if you have 3 months remaining on your Photos.co.uk subscription when the site is closed, then you will receive a Thinkstock subscription with 3 months.
I have a Photos.co.uk image pack. How will this impact me?
The balance of your image pack downloads will be transferred to Thinkstock. For example, if you have 10 images remaining in a Photos.com images pack, you will receive a Thinkstock Image Pack with 10 downloads.
I already have a Thinkstock account, what do I do?
If your existing Thinkstock account uses the same username as your Photos.com account, then the two accounts will be merged. If your Thinkstock and Photos.com accounts use different usernames, then moving forward you will have two separate Thinkstock accounts.
What will happen on 10 March 2014.
On this date Photos.com as we know it today will cease to exist. Your Photos.co.uk account, including the balance of your subscription, remaining image pack downloads, purchase history and lightboxes, will be available on Thinkstock.
Do I have to do anything in order for my account to be migrated?
No. Your account will be migrated automatically. Starting 10 March 2014, you will be able to sign in to Thinkstock with your existing Photos.com credentials.
Rather than migrate to Thinkstock, can I get my money back?
No, we are not offering refunds during this migration. Your new Thinkstock subscription will give you access to most of the content currently available on Photos.co.uk plus millions more images – including vectors. We think that you’ll really like Thinkstock.
Photos.com Closing – Is Thinkstock The Right Place To Buy Instead?
Well, that is up to you. Obviously that’s where Getty would like you to move to, but there are hundreds of other options out there to consider as well. Here are my top 5 alternatives to Thinkstock.com if you are thinking of trying some different agencies:
- Shutterstock – Shutterstock boasts one of the largest collections of high-quality microstock photos and vectors in the world. If there is a particular image you need you’ll find it at here no matter what.
- Stockfresh – Stockfresh is clean and sleek, with no clutter. Their content, which includes photos and vector art, is closely reviewed and image quality is high. Packages and pricing are clear and understandable. All in all, it really does feel like a fresh new era in the increasingly confusing microstock world. They are also fair trade.
- 123RF – A well established agency with a huge collection of photos, vectors, logo’s, audio and video footage.
- Pond5 – Hugely successful with stock video footage clips, now they are into photo sales & vectors as well. This is a fair trade style agency, so you know the contributors are getting a fair deal when you buy.
- DepositPhotos – Depositphotos have risen from small beginnings to now adding around 200,000 images per week! That’s a lot of fresh content. If you really do need large volume subscriptions then Depositphotos will probably suit you well.
In addition to these 5 traditional stock agencies, there is a relatively new option for photo and vector buyers, one that fully supports the artist rather than an agency. It’s called Symbiostock, and is a massive network of independent artists selling their work direct. You can check out my personal Symbiostock site at THP Stock Photos.
UPDATE: In addition to Photos.com, some other Getty owned agencies are also closing up shop in March. These include Jupiter Images and Punchstock. They however are transferring their customers to Getty Images, not to Thinkstock.