If you are like most brokers, you have received at least one threatening letter from Getty Images for using one of their images. Good news is that Getty is now allowing people to use their images for FREE! I guess all of that lawyering worked out. Or, perhaps they realized that chasing everyone for using their images was more costly than it was worth. I do not know of anyone who did anything other than ignoring the notices.
In any case, Getty has changed their business model. They now allow anyone to embed their photos, but you need to do it the Getty way – that means that there is a watermark on the image and you are marketing their photo services. Like many businesses, they have learned that internet traffic is a great way to generate revenue.
Another interesting strategy for Getty Images is a service they call Getty Video. They have an enormous library of video that makes great content for your blog or community landing pages. Again, they get all of the SEO credit, but you win by publishing extraordinary content that engages consumers on your website.
Many broker websites experience about 6 to 12 minutes on site per visit. Search engines like Google and others track this information and you get search engine optimization for the longer people stay on your site. It is their way of not only measuring your site’s traffic but moreover the engagement level you offer to consumers when they visit your site. Adding a video to a text page may double or triple the time on site. That’s a good thing.
Remember, as a real estate broker you are also a publisher. You either need to think like a publisher or partner with a web services firm that will do it for you. We find that there is always a difficult challenge to hire a content manager for your staff or outsource. The gate to that decision typically hinges on the size of brokerage. Expect to pay a minimum of $36k for a decent content coordinator. If you have 10 offices or more, each office should be able to burden the $300 per month. If you have fewer offices, you may be better off hiring a service. Most service providers start at $1500 per month.
In summary, if you are publishing content to your site yourself – take another look at the content of Getty Images. Its good stuff and now its free. If you need to outsource to a vendor, check out this list on RETechnology.com.
From what I can tell in reading comments about the program, they may be OK with using photos to illustrate an “editorial” blog post on an otherwise commercial site, but you probably couldn’t use them as art on the front page of your website. As is always the case with copyright, the devil is in the details.