Communicating Findings

Largest Photo Service Gives Images Away for “Free”

Largest Photo Service Gives Images Away for “Free”

Last month the world’s largest photo service announced that it would be giving away it’s photos for free. Say what?? Well, it was something like that. Get excited, but not too much.

Getty Images announced that a portion of its gigantic, high-quality collection would be available at no cost. Sounds too good to be true – and it is, just a little. Here’s the deal:

You are allowed to embed certain photos on your social media platforms, webpages, or blogs, like this:

(This, by the way, is beautiful Lake Michigan, where last week  BP spilled thousands of gallons of oil.)

It’s super easy – you click on the embed button on Getty Images’ site and it spits out an embed code that you just pop into your webpage. BOOM. Impactful pictures.

Do you see all of the attribution stuff at the bottom of the photo? I didn’t put that there, it came with the image when I embedded it – and this is a good thing since so many photos are taken without attribution.

If you are thinking that the attribution stuff would make your slide look ugly, let me stop you right there. These aren’t for use in your slides. Or your reports. (Or even your online outlets, if they are for commercial purposes.) Getty is solely focusing online. Why, might you ask? Because this is what it says in the fine print:

“Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.”

And you can’t do that in a slideshow.

So there, folks, is the cost of what appears on the surface to be free. The webpage (including the one you are looking at right now) will become a silent data collection tool. At any time, it could become an advertising vehicle as well (more so than it already is, with Getty marketing itself).

I’m not trying to argue you out of using Getty Images. Like it or not, data is already silently collected on us every time we head online.  Besides, their pictures are fierce and their search features look pretty powerful.

There are plenty of other sites when you can snag free images without these extra limitations, but none of them are quite as Getty good.

BTW, Ann Emery was the one who nudged me to write this post. You know her, right? You should.

One thought on “Largest Photo Service Gives Images Away for “Free”
  1. Ann K. Emery says:

    Thanks for translating Getty’s new photo options for us! I hadn’t investigated deeply yet and had no idea the photos were only for online use.

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