Unsplash - Getty Images 1

Photo Service Unsplash Is Bought by Stock Photo Agency Getty Images

“I am pleased to announce that Unsplash will be acquired by Getty Images today”, writes Mikael Cho, founder, and CEO in a blog post. The Unsplash photo service had started in 2013 as a simple Tumblr blog. Today, the photo service’s website says it downloads more than 100 million images per month.

Since its founding, Unsplash has divided the photo world: While bloggers, influencers, and co. in particular love the photo service for its large selection of free images, professional and stock photographers, in particular, have complained. While the links brought about by Unsplash would provide some traffic to their own websites, the free photo service undermines the industry’s established pricing structures.

“This is not one of those tech acquisitions where the company is bought and then shut down”, Mikael Cho writes further. But what does Getty Images’ acquisition of Unsplash mean for the photo service and its community?

Is Getty Images really about the creativity promoted by Unsplash?

Getty Images is one of the world’s largest photo agencies, whose business is largely based on licenses. So why is the U.S. stock photo agency buying the photo service if it says it’s not about taking a competitor off the market?

“We have so much admiration for Unsplash. What you do for creativity and what you’ve built is incredible”, says Craig Peters, CEO of Getty Images.

A few years ago, Getty Images made 35 million images available for free download, causing a worldwide stir. Although the offer sounded tempting, especially for bloggers and website operators, it turned out to be an attempt to increase traffic as well as the reach of its own offering. Traffic is likely to play an important role this time as well; after all, Unsplash records almost twice as many visits as gettyimages.com.

“We are excited about what is to come”, Cho continues to write in his blog post, likely expressing the thoughts of the online community. Although Unsplash will continue to be free to use and, according to the FAQs, the existing licenses will not change, it remains to be seen what Getty Images hopes to achieve by incorporating the photo service.

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