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Damian Hadjiyvanov / Alamy Stock Photo

New contributor commission structure

Today we’re announcing changes to our contributor contract and to our commission rates. I want to be transparent with you about what we’re doing and why. This post aims to explain these changes and the reasons behind them – you can also find links to more information at the end of the article.

In our video updates to you at the end of last year I talked about our ambitious growth plans for the business, and how these did not require changes to our commission rates. The heart of that point still stands, and our core 40% offering remains. Our goal is to maintain that rate for the long-term future – to do that we have to deal with anomalies in other areas of our commission structure to keep it sustainable in such a competitive industry.

The changes we are making outside of that core rate will not have a significant impact on Alamy’s financial performance – they are not a short-cut to profit growth. Instead, they allow us to deal with some operational challenges, to simplify, and to support fair growth of the contributor base, which has been exponential over the last year.

The new approach

We now have 3 tiers of rates – Silver, Gold and Platinum:

Alamy Commission models, rates, fees and payment

Current models

Alamy platinum*

Alamy gold

Alamy silver

Alamy Commission

You earn

Alamy Commission

You earn

Alamy Commission

You earn

For Content sales via Alamy Websites

50%

50%

60%

40%

80%

20%

For Content sales via our Distributors after deduction of Distributor fee or commission

60%

40%

60%

40%

80%

20%

For Novel Use Content sales

60%

40%

60%

40%

80%

20%

For Content sales via an Affiliate

57.5%

42.5%

66%

34%

83%

17%

Payment frequency – We will pay you monthly, if your Cleared Funds exceed US $50

*Applicable only to Content that is Exclusive to Alamy when qualifying criteria met.

For further details on commission models and qualifying criteria please see clause 12. Paying You & Commission

Gold: All existing contributors start on Gold or above, on the core 40% commission rate. New contributors start on Gold too. If you sell more than $250 gross in 12 months with us, then you’ll stay on Gold.

Platinum: If you sell more than $25,000 gross with Alamy in a 12-month period then you’ll go straight on to the Platinum rate and earn 50% commission for images marked as exclusive to Alamy.

Silver: After 1 year selling with us – or from July 2022 for existing contributors – you’ll move to Silver and a 20% commission rate if you’ve sold less than $250 gross on Alamy in the previous 12 months. Hitting $250 gross sales immediately moves you back up to Gold.

You can find more detail on these rates in our help pages here.

We’ve moved to a tiered system so we can ensure that we remain fair to those contributors who sell well with us, and we believe a $250 threshold is low and achievable. We also want there to be an incentive for those independent contributors who sell large volumes with Alamy to remain with us, and to work with us exclusively.

What has changed?

Within these rates there are a number of changes to how we currently work…

1. The rate for images exclusively with Alamy

Firstly, there’s a change to the commission rate for images placed exclusively with Alamy. This was a separate rate of 50% for everyone – it’s now the same rate as all other direct sales on Alamy, but remains on 50% for those on the Platinum tier.

Declaring images as exclusive to Alamy is voluntary and relies on honesty. We’ve had ambitions to actively market exclusive images on our site, but we can never be sure that these images really are unique to us. Since launching our infringements programme, we’re discovering that a significant minority of contributors have not been forthcoming about other arrangements, or forgot to change their settings when they listed elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s no longer sustainable for us to pay out 50% across the board for images that may or may not be exclusively with us.

We’re still determined to be able to market an exclusive collection and to use this to secure stronger prices from customers. We’d still like you to tell us if your images are exclusively with us, but we accept that the current incentive to do this is changing. If you do decide to sell images exclusively with us, we can include them in our infringements programme to claim additional royalties for you. We will invest in building out our infringements team alongside this rate change and develop our plans to market the exclusive collection once we are confident it truly is exclusive.

2. The rate for selling through distributors

Currently you receive 50% of the commission paid to Alamy after the distributor takes their cut. This is changing to be in line with your core rate for direct sales – so you will get 40% of what we receive if you are on Gold or Platinum, or 20% if you are on Silver rates.

We operate in a complex digital space and customers now access images from many different platforms. Because of that, partnerships are becoming an increasing part of Alamy’s route to market. We’re making this change so we can continue to be able to invest in adding more partners, and in developing Alamy’s API technology, to broaden the types of partners we can work with. At the current levels of return to the business, it would not be sustainable to invest further. Changing this rate allows us to grow these channels as significant revenue sources for all of us.

It remains optional to be part of distribution sales. The current opt-out will be kept open for the next three months.

3. The rate for sales via affiliates

Alamy’s affiliate sales programme drives new customers and new traffic to our site and is increasing in scope and strength. Gold contributors will now receive 34% for these sales, instead of 40%. This is in line with the reduction in the rate received by Alamy, as we’re now working with more high-profile affiliates who take a higher percentage of the sale. Affiliate sales are a necessary and very effective way to get Alamy and your content noticed by a new customer base.

More information

We understand these changes will affect some of our contributors more than others. Here is where you can find out more information and raise questions:

We will read all the comments posted on the dedicated forum thread around these changes, so this is an effective way to raise questions and concerns. We will gather the frequently asked questions and the frequently posted comments over the next two weeks and I will reply to these in a follow-up blog post.

You can also email me directly on MD@alamy.com and I will answer everything I can.

Increasing sales

Alamy is a great business that I’m proud to lead, and we have a clear growth strategy to take it to the next level. We’re operating in a challenging and competitive market and adding many thousands of new contributors and new images to our database every week. These commission changes set us up with a sustainable platform to host and manage that content, while maintaining the core 40% rate.

Our growth plans are beginning to take shape. Your own individual results on our platform will vary, but overall sales via our website in 2021 are 45% higher than they were in the first 4 months of 2020. This increases the earning potential for all our contributors and we want to be sure our model supports sustainable growth.

Thank you for choosing Alamy, and I look forward to continuing to work with you.

Emily Shelley

MD, Alamy

Emily Shelley is a former journalist with more than 20 years’ experience buying, selling, creating and advising on content and media. She’s been the MD of Alamy since 2020 and in her spare time enjoys keeping up with the latest trends in design and the visual arts.