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Author Topic: iStock is Talking About Culling Images  (Read 7719 times)

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« on: June 05, 2006, 18:42 »
There is talk about removing images that haven't sold for some period of time (say 1 year or 1.5 years). This 'spring cleaning' seems like it was done last year.

But there is also talk of removing images that sell, but wouldn't cut the new approval process.

What do you guys think?

Here is the full thread (it is quite long):


« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2006, 22:36 »
I have no closed position about the old images that sell but do not comply with current standards.  I see pros and cons.  Size, for instance, is not a huge reason to delete them, in my opinion - if people are buying them, it's because the size fits (most of my sales, in fact - and unfortunately! - come from small sizes).

But I was annoyed to know that they remove images that haven't sold after just one year.  As I posted in this thread there, I have Easter images that were approved too late and they might have a chance next year - but they may delete them before that.  The same goes about other seasonal images - Christmas, Valentine's, etc.  And even if you have, let's say, four images of the same subject and two of them were downloaded during one year, it doesn't mean that the other two are bad or unmarketable.  I read one person there saying that he/she, when buying, prefers images that haven't been downloaded (as long as they were good of course) because they were more "unique" in a sense.


« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2006, 03:15 »
i agree that a year could possibly be too short, but culling old images doesn't really bother me.  I see a reason why a site might want to have current, good quality images when in the past they have either accepted mass images to get their numbers up, or have images that just don't sell.  Perhaps 2 years is a better option.

« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2006, 03:44 »
I can see exclusive people getting annoyed if their photos are taken off (even though still selling) as they cant sell them anywhere else.

I think the issue is of quality.  I dont know how a computer will be able to sort that out though.  just because it is only 1mb doesn't mean it isn't high quality.

If it is an issue of size that is different again.

« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2006, 16:27 »

You're assuming that older images have no quality.  Some have , some haven't.  I sometimes do searches there and find some old but very good images.

It's important to make clear that they are talking about two situations:
- images older than 1 year and never sold are deleted (current policy)
- images older than 1 year that had been downloaded in the past but not last year and that do not meet current quality standards (in debate)


I understand exclusive photographers response.  However, if we're talking about "files that may no longer fit our current standards" (quote from iStock thread), then this should apply to all.  They mean these images would not be accepted if submitted today, and I understand that standards are the same for exclusive and non exclusive photographers, so they would not be able to sell them there or anywhere just like any other rejected image.


« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2006, 16:40 »
I understand exclusive photographers response. However, if we're talking about "files that may no longer fit our current standards" (quote from iStock thread), then this should apply to all. They mean these images would not be accepted if submitted today, and I understand that standards are the same for exclusive and non exclusive photographers, so they would not be able to sell them there or anywhere just like any other rejected image.
  Not true.  Istock is one of the strictest.  What is not accepted at iStock may sell many times at shutterstock - however, exclusives have made there bed so they need to lie in it.

 If it isn't upto iStock quality, it should be removed, even if it has sold in the past (maybe expecially so as it may give a false impression to quality).  I still dont know how a computer can determine quality other than "size" so I think this is where the issue lies - small images will be deleted even if of high quality.

« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2006, 21:00 »
I was thinking of spring cleaning my portfolio and if iStock are prepared to do this for me then great. I often upload 50 - 100 shots from one model shoot and it is apparent that some will appeal to designers and others won't. It's very difficult to tell this before uploading so I upload them all. Always surprises me which are most popular. But the ones that don't sell should be removed after a minimum of 12 months I think. I don't think it will affect my sales at all.

« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2006, 23:09 »
Not true.  Istock is one of the strictest. 

Yes, but as exclusive photographers, they wouldn't be able to sell them if iStock didn't accept them.  So if old photos that do not meet current standards are to be deleted, it doesn't matter if they are from exclusive photographers or not, as it doesn't matter when they are new submissions (although I've seen images approved from well-selling photographers that quite frankly they would not have approved from me - such as unleveled horizons and untuned colors).

I don't know how they plan to do this screening in old images. It would be a huge task to ask inspectors to see them. Size would be an easy thing to do automatically, though it wouldn't be a fair criteria.

I suggested that, instead of deleting these images, they would appear in the end of a search.  So if a buyer gets to them and pick them, it's because they were unable to find anything better or more suitable in the more recent images.  I think it would be a fair way to treat these old images.


« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2006, 05:06 »
Culling doesn't seem like such a bad idea depending on exactly how it's done. If they only want bigger photos, I'm fine with that. If they, in the beginning, accepted lesser photos to build a larger photo base then I'm fine with culling that too. If it's just to get rid of old photos then I'm not really fine with that. I photograph a lot of seasonal material and the majority of it could be used now or years from now. Some images have a relatively short lifespan. Photos with people don't last very long; hairstyles and clothing fall out of style as well as what ethnic group/mix is "cool" changes. These sorts of things usually take quite awhile for them to become retro or hip if they ever do. Objects and locations on the other hand usually last a good long time. I mean a banana is a banana and probably will be forever so even if it doesn't sell this year it might next year and in the grand scheme of things the cost of storing that banana image has to be next to nothing.

« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2006, 22:02 »
What I understood after some clarifications in the thread is that they plan to delete only older images without downloads in the past year and that suffer from quality issues - size wasn't cleary stated, but may be one.  They're talking about images with technical problems - composition, colors, noise, etc. - that were accepted when the site was less restrictive.


« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2006, 10:00 »
Well, iStock has spoken.

Starting this Friday, they will be creating a dollar bin for photos that are not up to current standards.  They will be evaluating old photos that fall into the following categories and moving some of them into the dollar bin:

-No downloads in over one year
-A Community rating of lower than 3
-Severe compression
-Severely poor lighting / composition

You can read the whole thread here:


« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2006, 03:15 »
well i think that is a more than fair solution.

For those wondering what the dollar bin is (and don't want to read the istock thread :) )

it is a 'bin' where all the 'poor' images go.  They will be placed there and be available for 1 credit for all sizes.. so they might hopefully attract some attention.  If they don't get any action in the dollar bin over a 1 month period, they will be deactivated totally.  I suppose if a person didn't want their image to go into the dollar bin, they could just delete the image once it was moved there.

And to clear up any confusion, there is no automatic computer machine editing and culling images. Each image will be decided upon by a human (i do however expect there is a machine to pick out which images to sudjest for culling )

« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2006, 04:38 »
Sounds like a good solution to the problem of poor quality images showing up in the search... 

With any luck most of my stuff will be safe as it's all less than 12 months old, and most of it is OK quality..  We'll see.

I'll post a chocolate fish to the person on this forum who gets the first dollar bin image. :-).

« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2006, 13:05 »
well i may just be in the running, so maybe I'll win :)

« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2006, 16:04 »
I've checked a few of the images that were moved there, they don't look good really...  Some are even VERY bad! 



  • Rust in Peace
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2006, 13:55 »
Here's the dollar bin. These pics could certianly be removed.



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