Microstock Maturity by Pixmac


Microstock Maturity by Pixmac

Howdy folks everywhere. A very happy and prosperous 2011to all our Photographer Contributors and to other friends around the globe.

As we know, it all started a decade ago. A great passion for photography blended with understanding the everyday designer’s needs. It was iStock’s team that launched the best photographer community ever.

Way back in the early days, the opportunity was quickly spotted by other agencies, resulting in a true revolution in the stock photo business. Unfortunately due to changes in technology and market forces the role of the photographer changed somewhat from being the master of microstock to almost it’s ‘slave', as many of you will remember.

Pixmac is bringing in fair rules

Some of you may notice that we at Pixmac endeavor to respond and explain. We are flexible. We change our minds. We listen and we fix what needs to be fixed. We’ve learned a lot from our competition and you guys and gals contributing to the agencies are a true inspiration to our team!

In the microstock marketplace there are some old customs that we’re going to change at Pixmac. One of those is exclusivity. Exclusivity is something like DRM in music. It doesn’t work long term. The world has changed. So starting today Pixmac removes exclusivity restrictions for its contributors.

Pixmac Banner smashing 336x280

Contributors should be partners

There are many things that microstock contributors don’t like. Obviously they don’t like low revenue split. Inspired by Robert Kneschke, Pixmac has decided to guarantee 30% revenue and at least $0.25 (it was $0.10) per sale – FOREVER. And after the first $200 made on revenue it’s raised to 40%. We’re also raising the Extended License pricing from the flat $30 to $40-$120. Starting today, we guarantee a minimum commission – forever.

Product Type
based on levels*
Earnings up to $200** Earnings over $200** Referred contributors Third party resellers up to $200** Third party resellers over $200**
30,00% 40,00% 30,00% 40,00%
Basic download 1 $0.27+ $0.36+ 40-60%
from Pixmac margin
$0.25+ $0.28+
Basic download 2 $0.55+ $0.73+ $0.42+ $0.56+
Basic download 3 $0.82+ $1.10+ $0.63+ $0.84+
Extended License 1 $11.04+ $14.72+ $8.40+ $11.20+
Extended License 2 $22.08+ $29.44+ $16.80+ $22.40+
Extended License 3 $33.12+ $44.16+ $25.20+ $33.60+
Subscription 30% ($0.25+) 40% ($0.25+) n/a n/a
*) Level 1 price of the smallest size. Level 1 = 1cr., level 2 = 2cr. & Level 3 = 3cr. Levels are based on downloads.
**) The greater of $0.25 and 30% (or 40%) of the sales price actually received by Pixmac. In some cases when the buyer receives an individual discount the actual commission can be a few cents lower.

Pixmac has been open to listening to you since day one. And we hope you’ll be asking us questions first before going to forums. We’re here for you and if we make a mistake (which we are sure we will do – we are people like you), so please let us know because we’re usually quick in fixing it.

Vita Valka, CEO of Pixmac says: “We’re trying to become a true Open Company (link below). And it’s not always easy. But if you have a fair vision and if you know what your Contributors need there’s always a way how to work it out. The problem of a few Agencies is that they just don’t care. We genuinely care about the photographers as well as about our buyers alike.”


Declaration of Fair Stock Photo Agency

We thought it would be nice to have a list of things that an Agency would respect and Contributors would like. We’ve thought about a few points (below), but we’re quite open to discussion about what’s missing or what’s not an issue.

  1. An Agency should state proper attribution (Contributor's name/nickname) next to the images on it's site and should require the attribution on its resellers' sites. The Agency should sell the images (even resized) with embedded attribution. The Agency should embed attribution metadata into large thumbnails.
  2. An Agency should state the name of each reseller and let Contributors opt-in or out for each of the resellers and from subscription offering on the Agency's or a resellers' site where appropriate. The Agency should display the reseller's name per each sale.
  3. An Agency should notify Contributors about commission changes. In that case the Contributor should be able to withdraw his/her images and stop selling through that Agency. In an ideal case the Contributor should be able to withdraw part or the entire portfolio anytime.

Thanks to David Mail, Lee Torrens & Roberto Marinello to help us with defining what should be mentioned in such a document. Thank you Robert Kneschke for inspiring us. We’d really like to hear and read any ideas you might have. The ‘Declaration' is a first step to an even better microstock market.” says Vita Valka.

Sales define contributors' satisfaction

We love to focus on buyers. It’s the best way to satisfy Contributors and partners like Dreamstime. We’ve decided to try to be the smartest guys and gals in marketing. We design banners while sleeping. We live with AdWords 24 hours a day. We write down ideas when we’re at the bowling alley. We love the job at Pixmac as much as you love being photographers!

We’ve grown already. Pixmac sells thousands of images a month. Pixmac is localized into several languages. And Pixmac is already inspiring others.

Pixmac is one of the few agencies doing SEO right.” – Yuri Arcurs, speech at CEPIC 2010

I LOVE your one-stop-shopping idea! It has always been a missing element of microstock agencies.” – Lee Torrens, microstockdiaries.com

I am impressed by the determination of Pixmac to treat photographers fairly. They have just set the bar to a new level.” – Tyler Olson, microstockgroup.com

I like the Pixmac team's open approach, the responsiveness, the attention to the Contributor side perspective, the focus on marketing our products – for example, have you seen how many contests they have been running in the last months?” – Roberto Marinello, mystockphoto.org

Pixmac's agreement changes capture each of the best things from other microstock agencies into a great deal for contributors.” – Bob Davies, picniche.com

Pixmac is a living proof that a newcomer can compete and succeed on a modern crowded highly competitive microstock market. Differentiation is the key. And Pixmac got it right.” – David Mail, prostockmaster.com

See? Yes we are a relative newcomer. But we have been doing things differently since beginning and it is working. Check out the Alexa (link below) or Compete (link below) for ranking of www.pixmac.com and read some forum threads where we were active. Even our blog would tell you a lot about our philosophy. We love companies like Zappos & Apple and we know that we’re in the same boat with each of you. We’re partners. United we stand.


We believe no other microstock Agency is as successful as Pixmac since those old fellas launched in 2005 or earlier. As you can see on Microstock Diaries (link below) at least 10 microstock Agencies have closed in the last two years.


Our inspiration

We see ourselves as a sort of ‘Food Court’ in the microstock arena, providing a rich smorgasbord of choices. A place where buyers can go to find all kinds of top brands and names, as well as the creative work of smaller players. Fun, fast, diverse, efficient, and easy to use.

We wish the best of luck to all the other competitors that we love such as YayMicro and BigStock with their focus on easy use. Photocase and StockFresh have a great passion for photography. Shutterstock with their highly respected business model. And Dreamstime with their focus on photographer community. Guys, please motivate and inspire us! The good old days when the user base grew instantly are gone. Pixmac has a challenging 2011 ahead – there is no doubt in that.

Let’s sum it all up

To summarize the long list of changes and improvements at Pixmac, this is a shortlist of the positives arising:

1. Commissions at least 30% / $0.25 forever
2. Raised prices based on downloads. Raised prices of EL.
3. Removed exclusivity lock-in
4. Declaration of Fair Stock Agency

Vita Valka, the CEO of Pixmac and a former designer, knows exactly what the buyer needs. He also identifies wholeheartedly with the company's Contributing Photographers. Without your creative input there's no microstock! No Pixmac!

Pixmac's dream team, situated in Prague, Czech Republic, is a flexible group of experienced professionals always willing to help you. Pixmac managers are active in 15+ countries around the world including the Americas, Europe, Asia & Africa. And there’s always a tasty cup of coffee or tea ready and a cookie at the office for any Contributor who is in our neighbourhood. If you come to Prague, please let us know!

Feel free to contact Pixmac on twitter.com/pixmac or Facebook. Or via any of the standard methods such as email at user@pixmac.com or call us at +420 296 566 268.


About Author

I write about the stock photo and microstock industry since 2006 on my several online-magazines. My goal for MyStockPhoto is to teach photographers and stock photographers how to sell more photos and earn money with their photography hobby.

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