Our colleagues over at StockPhotoTalk make a humorous jab at Getty/JupiterImages where they link to Oprah Winfrey's Layoff Survival Guide where there is an image of a laid-off worker, with the photo credit attributed to Jupiter Images.
Oh, the irony!
Back in October, I wrote - The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions: Getty Images Buys JupiterImages - " Make no mistake here, this is a consolidation of the deep-and-cheap portals...I see these two companies that have devastated the industry rate structures under the "let's sell 100 for $1 instead of $1 for $200", are two silly little delusional peas in a pod. All their private owners are trying to do is further solidify the market. Boo Hoo."
StockPhotoTalk quoted a Getty representative as saying "It is our intention is to bring together the best of each company's assets and people to better serve our customers. As with any acquisition, there will be areas of work duplication and overlap between the two organizations being brought together, creating redundancies. As a result, some Jupiterimages employees in the US will be leaving within the next 60 days."
So, let me get this straight:
Images there used to sell for several hundred dollars per license. Then there were people brought on with new business models and grand ideas of selling them for a fraction of that. These people sold photographers' images for that fraction of the former sales figures. These people processed incoming images knowing that all the new images were going to be sold at the lower rates. These people talked to photographers and told them they couldn't get any more for their images than a dollar or two. These people signed contracts with photographers and then tried to call a do-over on them citing a typo ( Getty Uses A Nefarious Tactic To Raise Rates and Getty Bullies Photographers After Buying Agency), these people forced, by their own collective actions of acceptance and so on, a downward spiral in stock licensing rates, and now that 400 people are losing their jobs we are supposed to feel sorry for them? What about the countless photographers who can no longer earn a living at stock thanks to these people - where are the people feeling sorry for them? "I was just doing my job" is the reponse of the Getty/Jupiter people who would defend their devastation of this industry. No, sorry, that's just not going to cut it. When you are doing your job and you know what you're doing is harming the industry and harming people who's creative talents built the industry, "I was just doing my job" is not a defensible position.
I don't feel one iota of sadness for the collective lot of them. As this mainstream video news report shows, the subject in the interview - one former employee - recounts her picnics and halloween parties with co-workers, and her snapshots of her co-workers are shown. "The wonderful camaraderie - that is what I will miss more than anything" she says. She can move on to some other business in Peoria, and "just do her job", but the growing lot of former employees at Getty/Jupiter (and make no mistake about it - that pool of people will become a lake, then a sea, then an ocean, as automation increases) can file their way to the unemployment line. Buh-Bye.
What's next? You can bet that as the now private Getty gets chopped up into little pieces, a company like Google will snap up the whole thing for what amounts to pocket change (relative to Google's billions in cash they have just sitting around) and make those images available for a penny or so, or heck, for all of Getty's wholey-owned content, the images will be free for screen resolution, and Google will make money running ads next to the photos, or licensing for a few dollars each higher resolution images, and Google will be smart enough to automatically embed tracking information to ensure you're not using the photo beyond when the license stipulates, or more than you're supposed to. Think I'm kidding? Right now, go to Google and type in "Grand Canyon" in the Google Images tab (or click here) and ABOVE the images, are three sponsored links. So too San Francisco, and countless other IMAGE searches!
Nope, not a tear shed here for the people who sat back, collected a paycheck, and convinced photographers that didn't know any better that the Getty/Jupiter pricing model was the best they could hope for. Thanks for screwing things up for the rest of us.
(Update: See screen grab below in response to comments about not seeing the ads in Google's Image Search results)
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