I want to disclaim that this is purely my experience with Unsplash, this doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.
A year ago I was looking to start different ways to promote and create awareness of my photography business and I landed on a very interesting blog post about why Unsplash could be a great way to get your name out there. Here are a couple of reasons I found interesting and tried.
BTW, if you don’t know what Unsplash is you can check out this blog post here
Theoretically, when sharing your photos on that platform people have, let’s call it, a moral obligation to credit you for using your photo on social media, blog posts, etc. Well, that is not the case, after a year my photos got around 1.000.000 downloads, yes it is not a typo, 1.000.000, I would say less than 20% credited me for using the photos on a commercial work or at least to say thank you.
I came up with an idea that I think could benefit my name as a photographer, give me some exposure and help with my SEO. I did a reverse image search with the images people had downloaded the most and asked around 30 to 50 blog editors to get a backlink in exchange since that could help my rankings on google. One more time, just a couple of them replied and did what I asked, let’s say this time I got a 10% success.
Nonetheless, I kept my account opened and I got an unexpected email from a company called wirestock.io, they are a photography stock collector and distributor. Basically what they do is curate the content you upload, populate the keywords, name, description, and category, and submit your work to 5 – 6 stock companies like Shutterstock, adobe stock, etc. I thought at the beginning that I could not do that since my photos were on Unsplash for free but you CAN do it, so I started uploading my work, I have to say that I got my first sale after 1 month, that is great!
My surprise came when I found out that two of my photos were rejected because they were already on Shutterstock, so guess what? Somebody took the photos and uploaded them to sell under his account. Right away I emailed Shutterstock to their great customer support and they banned the guy’s account. The story doesn’t end there, the person who stole my photos emailed me after a couple of days and asked me to forgive him because he did not do it on purpose, really? A guy with 1000 items in Shutterstock doesn’t know what the policies are? Anyways, he offers me $5 in exchange to remove that claim over my photos. I didn’t know what to do, whether to cry or laugh.
My experience was somehow positive and negative since I got some great backlinks to my site that are relevant to the niches I work with and also found wirestock.io, which so far has been working out for me. Either way, I closed my account on Unsplash and I would suggest you think about doing this before jumping in and registering. If at least users were grateful and shared your work with the proper credits every time they use your photos, it would be wonderful, I would have had 22,000 mentions on social media or blog articles.
What are your thoughts on this?