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Getty Images Under Pressure

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I’m sitting here listening to Jonathan Klein talk with a variety of bloggers. Thomas Hawk, CEO of Zooomr, and Kristopher Tate, Founder of Zooomr, a photosharing site are here too. So is Marshall from TechCrunch.

Anyway, Jonathan just came from meeting with analysts and shareholders where he announced some bad news.

This is a business that’s seeing radical changes due to folks like Thomas. Thomas is an amateur. He gives his high-res images away for free, or for a low price if you want to use them commercially. He uses the same Canon 5D that other professionals are using. And, his images are often as good or better than the ones the pros are getting.

And Thomas is HARDLY the only photographer out there who is putting pressure on the professionals. Nikon and Canon are selling hundreds of thousands of digital SLRs every year, most of which go to amateurs or semi-pros who aren’t able to get their images onto Getty right now.

One thing. Go to Getty Images’ home page. Now go to Zooomr. And Flickr.

What do you notice? I notice a couple of things.

1) There’s a photo on the home page of Zooomr and Flickr, but not on Getty.

2) There’s a search box on Flickr, but not on Getty.

It’s interesting how cold the Getty site feels. Clinical. Which shows the bias of Getty. They don’t care about making the site entertaining, they want to make it easy for a magazine editor to find a photo and buy it.

Getty is the most profitable photo site and has many of the world’s best-known images in its archives.

It’ll be interesting to see how quickly they learn from upstarts like Zooomr and Flickr.

One thing I learned is that most of the most profitable images on Getty are of celebrities.

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Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as PodTech.net’s Vice President of Media Development.

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