Cheap Photography Business Model Fails

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Lucky Oliver shuts down operation:

“We spent the last year looking for the funds to grow LuckyOliver because, without the addition of significant capital, the return on investment for LuckyOliver and its contributors would not be satisfactory. After reviewing the options, the investment team decided that it was in the best interest of all stakeholders to shut the company down.”

John Harrington comments:

“I am not convinced that there will always be a robust microstock industry. How many redundant servers can continue to run with a significant staff to take orders and collect $1 here, and $4 there? I expect that iStockphoto will, in some shadow of it’s former self, remain. Jupiter will likely collapse under it’s own weight – and the fickle demands of shareholders who no longer see this industry as meeting the growth that they want for their own return on investment. Further, the novelty will wear off for many of the amateurs, and the demands for releases and indemnifications of Corporate America by judgement proof individuals, followed by the lawsuits that inevitably will quash this field, will just poison the well.”

Read all about it at the Photo Business Forum (here).

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. Crud, I have $4.20 in my LuckyOliver bank from images I added long ago. I better withdrawal soon.

    I always followed LuckyOliver because I was impressed with the programming (its a RubyonRails site). Sad to see it go from that standpoint–but John H is spot on about microstock and the sustainability of the business model.

  2. iStockphoto is going to be around for a loooong time to come, when you look at the revenues it is generating and the sheer number of images downloaded each quarter.

  3. Sites like have managed to deteriorate the notion that stock photography is still a lucrative business. Stock photography is still very much a great way to make a living so long as you’re not willing to slit your own throat for a dollar here and a dollar there.

  4. istockphoto is growing faster than Getty. Microstock is here for 8 years already. Top microstock contributors earn more per-image then Getty and Corbis contributors. How much evidence you people need? Time to pull your head out of the sand!

    If microstock is not sustainable then you have nothing to worry. So why keep trying to tell people its “bad” or “failure”? Hypocrites!

    Any ‘good’ stock photographer still sell photos at traditional prices. Any stock photographer who doesn’t like microstock knows that they can’t compete with amateurs. If you are stock photographer and don’t like microstock, better improve your skills before buyers choose photos of amateurs before yours!

    Microstock started because of the Internet and high-quality digital cameras. People who sell microstock are not trying to take your job, they just want to earn money from photos the same as you. Every technology changes lives. Usually some people loose their job, like people who make saddles when the car came, the people who make typewriters when the computer came, the people who make film when digital came, and the people who make crap stock photos when the Internet came. If you can’t handle the heat, GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!!

  5. “Cheap photography business model fails”

    Really? Then I await the announcement from Getty that they’re shutting down iStockphoto, their only business unit that’s actually growing.

    LuckyOliver failed to secure their next round of funding and shut down. One business failed, not the business model.