123rf.com has arrived a little late in the stock agency game but is becoming a popular choice as a buying and contributing stock photo agency site. 123rf is worth watching to see how it progresses. As a website, the layout is clear and information is easy to find. They are active on their social networks and seem to be marketing themselves to the international, media savvy markets. The agency is owned by one of the larger traditional stock photography companies, Inmagine and 123rf has partnered in some of their services. Their greatest asset is their rewards program for stock photo buyers where points are gained for purchases, and converted into free credits.
- Over 9.4 million images
- 15,000 images added daily
- 123rf.com has been online since 2005
- File types sold on 123rf are JPG and vector files, TIFF files and exclusive (EVO) stock photos.
- Accepts payment by PayPal, Visa, American Express and MasterCard, Cheque and Bank transfer
- Extended, editorial and multi-seat licenses available
- Searchable by: keywords, categories, licenses and buying options. Very basic search capabilities.
- Free image gallery
- Languages including: English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Czeck, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Mandarin with international contact emails in the various languages
- Their FAQ is extensive for members and contributors. The FAQ sections are designed to find answers and is easy to navigate
- 123rf.com has their corporate headquarters in Hong Kong with offices located in 10 other countries.
Credit-and Subscription Based Currency Options
The 123rf.com credit and subscription buying options are transparent and clearly defined. Their rewards program is highlighted in the purchase grid so buyers can see the rewards they are earning through their purchases.
Rewards Program: 123rf.com rewards program works similar to an air miles card. Buyers earn points at a 1:1 ratio and can earn 50 free credits with 250 points. This is the only stock photo agency that offers a rewards program.
123rf.com credit buying option:
- Credits can be purchased in predetermined packages only.
- Credits start as low as 0.68¢ with a maximum price of $1.00 per credit making it one of the cheapest stock photo agencies
- Minimum of 15 credits to start in their pre-bundled credit packages for $15.00
- Extended licenses can be purchased with credits starting at 50 Credits
- Their corporate credit program allows credit transfers with the multi seat license
- Credits are cheap starting at 0.68¢
- Extended licenses can be purchased with credit
- Multi-seat licenses can be purchased with credits
- Buyers earn buying rewards at a ratio of 1:1
- No custom packages available
- Packages start at $15.00 which is a higher investment than other microstock websites
123rf.com Subscription Services
123rf.com offers two subscription buying options: A Basic plan with five ultra-high resolution images per day and a Premium plan with 26 ultra-high resolution images per day. Prices are cheap. The basic plan starts at $89 for one month and includes 150 downloadable images at a price of .59¢ per image regardless of its size. The Premium packages starts at $230, which includes 780 images at a price of .29¢
- Minimum of 5 images per day to a maximum of 26 images per day
- One month, 3 month and annual subscriptions
- Flexibility in subscription options
- Subscription services are cheap
- Some images are exclusive for subscribers only
- Buyers can gain 123rf reward points through their subscription purchases
- Alternative licensing options require the purchase of credits for payment
- Subscription plans are few; 2 types, 3 options
- Exclusive images (EVO) cannot be purchased by subscribers
- Subscription daily downloads are based on the calendar day not a 24 hour period. It is reset at 12am
Image Searching Tools
123rf has very limited search tools for their image database. Their categories are extensive, but keyword searches are basic. There are very limited advanced searching options and no keyword prompts.
Advanced Search Form
Some things to keep in mind:
- Subscription buyers can search their exclusive image options through a subscription category search.
- Editorial searches can be conducted separately.
123rf.com has segmented the extended license into categories, Print, web and inclusive with prices reflecting the different uses. Extended licenses are purchased with credits, ranging from 50 to 100 credits.
Add-ons and Special Features
Rewards Program-This is the only microstock agency that has added a rewards buying program for their credit and subscription buyers. It is transparent, delivers significant savings and could be a deciding factor for many stock photo users. The credits can be used to purchase all 123rf.com products including EVO images, licenses and additional stock photos.
Corporate Stockphoto Intranet (CSI)-This is a special request service for corporate buyers who require multi-seat licenses and multiple logins. The program benefits include credit transfers within the corporate group, information storage on their servers so storage needs are reduced, and users can view other employees light boxes and downloads.
Mobile Version-For the stock photo buyer on the go, 123rf.com has a comprehensive mobile site for smartphones. It is a complete site, allows image searches and lightbox use. When it comes to technical flexibility and options, 123rf.com is up to date.
Social Networks-123rf.com is maximizing the benefits of social media networks with twitter being their most active. They are the leaders in using social media for stock photography agencies with thousands of followers and fans. They use the social networks for free images, promos, and up dated information and changes. @123rf Twitter and Facebook
The 123rf.com Summary
The Subscription plans and credit buying programs at 123RF offers cheap prices compared to other microstock websites. The website is not sophisticated but it is easy to navigate, transparent and full of information. With over 9.4 million images, their database is extensive and supplies members with new images daily.
They are great innovators when it comes to engaging their customers through social media networks. If you are not following them on twitter or facebook, sign up for your free membership to benefit from their free downloads and promos. They are a stock photo agency to watch as they are creeping up on the popularity chart and could become one of the microstock leaders.