The world's largest stock photography service has recently taken off the majority of watermarks on their photos online. Getty images has millions upon millions of photos in their stock library and will now allow anyone to use eligible images from their library for business or personal use, but it comes with one stipulation that could be a deal breaker for some.
This bold move by the media giant reminds me of the famous saying "if you can't beat em', join em." The company's recent change in policy is an offensive move in response to the hoards of people online and in social media that are already stealing images from the stock agency. The businesses executive from Getty, Craig Peters, explains "Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply. The way you do that is you go to one of our customer sites and you right-click. Or you go to Google Image search or Bing Image Search and you get it there. And that's what's happening. Our content was everywhere already."
As of right now, Getty is dropping the watermark for the majority of their collection. In order to use an image however, you will need to drop a footer at the bottom of the image with proper credit and link to the appropriate licensing page.
On the one hand this is a brilliant move that could potentially bring in more revenue by potentially getting more advertising of their services. On the other hand who wants to advertise their brand, business, or services with a credit link at the bottom of the image? For example, let's say I am a low budget website or social media service that needs 10 images for my website or social media page. Do I really want to have advertisements for Getty Images all over my page? Is it worth the free stock image to now be an advertising website for a stock image agency? In addition, this type of service will give Getty Images the ability to drop in other ads in the embed links of the images to help monetize the free service. This type of embed code is called iframe code and is similar to the ads you see at the bottom of Youtube videos. Do I really want to give Getty Images the ability to control the message and ads on my website or social media site? Is this worth the trade of free images? While they haven't said that they are going to monetize this service, they most certainly could.
Is this free image worth the potential damage it could do to your brand with funky ads and advertisements for Getty Images?
P.S- If you think it's ironic that I didn't use a free Getty Image for the featured image of this post, or anywhere in the post, it is. Who knows what sort of control they would have over what is displayed in the footer.