Michael Jay Fotograf Berlin

Selling photos across agencies

New iStock/Getty ESP sales reports are the least transparent report you will ever see

“Increasing transparency” was what Getty Images announced in their second unification newsletter for iStock on November 15 of last year. Now the first report is available in their ESP system. You can download it as PDF which in my case is 28 pages; or you can export it “as a text file that can be imported into your favorite spreadsheet application”. I did this and got a spread sheet with hundreds of lines an 54 (!) columns. It doesn’t break up properly into a spread sheet because Getty is not capable of using a common format like “comma separated values” (CSV).

New iStock Sales Report as PDF

UPDATE: I have made an effort to turn those numbers into a usable format that can help you see your sales. It’s a bit nerdy but if you want to see how, there is a new blog post

I need to state that I studied business administration, worked in software development and IT management for almost two decades. It is rather unlikely you will find many people with more skills in reading and reformatting spread sheets and reports. But I see no chance in getting any usable data out of this mess. When I worked managing software suppliers I would not have paid the bill for this product.

I can’t complain about the sales amount. I found two sales for $60 and $80 respectively through the Getty Images site. But I have no idea how I make sense out of the rest. I found a lot of 3, 5 or 8 cent sales as was to be expected with the new percentage based subscription payments but also some royalties above $1. A random sample averaged slightly more than 30 cents per subscription download but I have no idea how that compares to before (when we received a flat 28 cents but an additional payment for the small subscription packs). Lots of lines with $0 sales (probably something for statistical value) in between. There is absolutely no transparency. At all.

iStock Sales Report as text file for import in spread sheet software

Some people might think I should enjoy the money I am getting from Getty. I certainly do. But the other side of it is that Getty makes in the range of $1,000-2,000 selling my images. Every month. Over time Getty has made far beyond $100,000 selling my images. You think demanding a proper sales report from a company making this amount with my products is asking too much?

I know you are used to read me bashing Getty for their abysmal technology management. But there is no indication that I’m wrong. This is really even worse than I could have imagined what we will get. I hope our friends at Stock Performer – Analytics for Stock Artists (*) are smarter (or more patient) than I am and will be able to make some sense of this. For me it is quite clear that I see no reason to revise my position of no longer uploading new content to iStock.

I wasn’t happy with the new daily earnings page at Shutterstock (*), given that it now takes me four or five clicks to see all my daily sales instead of the single page overview they had before. But it looks nicely designed and I actually get to see what I sold. Live and easy.

UPDATE: I have made an effort to turn those numbers into a usable format that can help you see your sales. It’s a bit nerdy but if you want to see how, there is a new blog post


  1. It there any away to check which of my pictures are actually making money?

  2. Total mess. I got desperate and tried todayis20.com and it reads the txt file perfectly. The website has been reading the reports from Getty for several years, but now also works with the new iStock/Getty reports. The website gives me a visual look over my sales. Thank god. The website looks a lot like Stockperfomer, but it is free. Maybe you should check it out. Seems like a life saver right now, especially for iStock exclusive who have not been able to proper analyse sales data for severals months,

  3. There are a lot of errors in the royalties calculation, we, exclusive contributors, are in the dark, and no official answers from Getty, very frustrating!