Selling the same image on Alamy and other agencies?

I’m intrigued by the question of whether Alamy buyers see an image on that site and then search for the same image on cheaper microstock sites and buy it there. If they regularly do that, then you are losing out on a higher priced Alamy license in exchange for potentially sub $1 income from the micro site. I did a detailed analysis last year which didn’t find any evidence that they do that, but I saw a couple of “zooms” on Alamy this month that could have indicated a problem.

Sunset over Avalon Harbor in California

This one was zoomed on 22 January and I recalled seeing the thumbnail via my Microstockr Pro reports. 

I usually find the exact date by searching in Best Sellers with a word that I know will be in the title and that tells me if I sold that image in the month and via which agency. I can then look at the downloads for that agency to see the specific day on which it sold. I was right – this one did sell in January, but on the 6th via 123RF for $0.59! So that is money in the bank and not the loss of an Alamy sale.

The other one that caught my eye was this one from a small village called Stanton in the English Cotswolds district. This is perhaps a natural Alamy shot – pretty specific, not very “micro” oriented at all.

Stanway House and St Peters Church in Stanton, England

This was zoomed on 28 January on Alamy. So did I get a sale of this elsewhere? Images from this village have sold for a total of $215 on the micros, and this specific one has sold 28 times (!) for a total of $20.58. Not great, but did it sell in January? Yes, once for $1.68 from Deposit Photos  – but it sold on the 24th January – 4 days before the zoom on Alamy.

So, once again, no sign of proof that an Alamy buyer has zoomed on an image and then gone off to search elsewhere to buy the same image. If any of you see a different pattern, I’m always keen to learn, but for now, I think you get more actual income by putting all your images on both Alamy and the various microstock sites.

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5 Responses

  1. Nick Fox says:

    Great research, it helped me a lot to decide how to distribute my own travel images (I am a travel photographer just like you)
    Also I must add that your blog helped me to recover my appetite for travel , shooting and submitting 🙂

  2. admin says:

    Great – glad to have given you some inspiration!

  3. Mirco Vacca says:

    I agree with the blog. Microstock images are selling all the time. Especially across multiple agencies. So there is always change that the micro sales is close to a alamy zoom from different customer. I had 2 times situations that an alamy image was zoomed… sold on micro and later sale on alamy. Another proof. Even alamy themselve mentioned that there is no connection for the majority of cases.

  4. I’m Keeping an eye on it too in my stats, but indeed, I always see the same thing as you mentioned: if I get zooms on Alamy, and they sell on Microstock agencies, the two are not related, most of the times the sales come before the zooms…

I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!