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Why the Getty/Flickr deal is a good thing

Thomas Hawk gives some great details of the deal between Getty and Flickr, which will see Getty create a new collection, pulled from Flickr. This means that Flickr photographers – or at least the better ones – will have a chance to sell their images, something that’s going to be good for them.

There’s been some criticism of the deal on FriendFeed, but I
think it’s great. I use Getty to buy images a lot, and the reason is simple: their
tools for discovering and finding images make it quicker and easier
than spending hours trawling through Flickr.

Their tagging and
categorisation is consistent, which means I get fewer false results,
which means less wasted time – and my time is expensive. So a system
which pulled images from Flickr and ensured that the tagging and
categorisation was consistent and professionally done would be
something well worth paying for.

This is something that people who don’t buy stock photographs professionally very rarely get. The quality of the images is only part of the story. Yes, there are great quality images on Flickr, and I could email the photographer and give them a rate which would be much less than going to Getty or whoever.

But unless I got lucky, I might take an entire morning to find it – which, when you look at what my time costs, isn’t worth it.

And that highlights where the value is in stock libraries, and how tools like Flickr aren’t going to be killing off the stock photography business model soon. The real value isn’t just in the images: it is in the metadata that surrounds them. And crowdsourcing, which can be used for many things, is generally poor at producing consistency in metadata.

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