As Dreamstime announced through their forums to contributors, Google will use images offered by Dreamstime to their Google Display Ads clients. In an initial beta phase, contributors will receive a base royalty for all images included in the project with the potential to upgrade to an Extended License sale at a later stage.
According to the original statement by Dreamstime founder and CEO Serban Enache (nick named “Achilles” in the forum), the deal starts with a beta phase, during which Google will license a large number of images for a test program. Those licenses will be paying $2 (or $2.25 for exclusive images) to the contributors. If the beta program succeeds, Google will later include images into a template for their customers – this will require an Extended License, in Dreamstime terms called “W-EL”. They did not yet announce the payment contributors would receive in that case, though Enache says:
“For the second stage we will award EL royalties (25%-60%). Overall the royalties will average approximately 50%.”
In later clarifications, Enache and other employees also made further additions, clarifying how Google and their customers will use those images. According to those details, customers will not get direct access to choose images for their ads at least during the test phase. In that phase, Google will design banners or ads for their customers. Therefore, it would be covered by the regular license, just as any designer could license a royalty free image to design an ad for their direct clients.
Dreamstime also mentions that contributors are free to exclude their images from the deal by opting out of their Alliances program. The lack of opt in/out of deals like this was the most criticized factors in similar deals made by other agencies in the past.
This program compares to Shutterstock's co-operation with Facebook started in 2013 where the advertising customers on the social network can choose one of the agency's images for simple integration into their ads. In that program, the customer gets to use the image for free (or rather: is being covered by the fees paid to Facebook) while the social network pays a simple subscription fee for all images each time a customer selects one of them. In comparison, the Dreamstime project is paying about five to eight times more as an upfront payment – only very successful images in the Shutterstock-Facebook program are likely to be paying more royalties to the contributor.
The project also compares to the deal between Google and Getty Images two years ago which paid a flat fee of $12 to contributors for the inclusion of images within Google Docs – probably a much larger audience than the Google Ads client group. The deal at that time had caused quite some stir amongst photographers, especially those from iStockphoto as it included a lot of premium images from the Vetta and Agency collection at that time.
Overall this looks like a decent deal for Dreamstime photographers. They can opt-out at any time and Google will (in the first step) just act like any other banner designer, creating banners to be used by end-customers. What do you think? Good or bad for photographers? Leave your comment below and let us know.