Getty Images for FREE!? Sort of…

So, yes. Getty Images has done something pretty EPIC. You can now use their stock images for FREE. Well, sort of…

Getty Images is offering a new way to share images on blogs and social media platforms called Embedded Images. They don’t cost you anything, but like all things in life, you don’t get anything completely for free. Here’s the dish on their Terms of Use:

“Not all Getty Images Content will be available for embedded use, and availability may change without notice. Getty Images reserves the right in its sole discretion to remove Getty Images Content from the Embedded Viewer.”

You can’t have absolutely any image on the whole of Getty Images site for free. That being said, I did some quick preliminary searches and there is quite a bit of quality content available for embedding. The bad news? Those embedded images you use could potentially be pulled at any given moment. The workaround? You may want to start a spreadsheet, list, notebook, or other way to track which posts have embedded images and check in on them occasionally.

“Embedded Getty Images Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship; (b) in violation of any stated restriction; (c) in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner; or (d) outside of the context of the Embedded Viewer.”

The rules. They are pretty clear and completely reasonable if you ask me. Basically you need to treat Getty Images Embedded Images with the same rules that have always applied to free stock image use. The only thing a bit different is that embedded feature. Taking a screen cap and using the image without the embed would be a pretty major no-no.

“Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you”

And the proverbial “other shoe” just dropped. It seemed to groovy to be true, right? As a social media professional, I looooove me some juicy data, so I’m cool with that aspect. What I’m not cool with is the ads. I just hate ads. It’s my personal preference; lots of bloggers have ads on their sites and it doesn’t bother them in the least. I abhor not having complete control of the look of my site, and with someone else’s ads you never know what might pop up. For example, I only buy cruelty free cosmetics, what if an ad for a company still testing on animals popped up? I would be mortified. But, like I said that boils down to personal preference, so may not be a drawback for most.

One other drawback I see at my first attempt at using Embedded Images: No option for Featured Image. I’ll keep looking, but at first glance I don’t see anyway to embed a Featured Image in WordPress. If you figure it out, please comment and let us know!

So what do you think? Are you excited about this new broadened access to free stock images?




2 Comments on Getty Images for FREE!? Sort of…

  1. Patrick
    March 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm (5 years ago)

    So if Getty pulls an embeddable image from the program, what happens on your blog? Does an empty placeholder appear instead of the image? Or an ad for Getty or one of its clients?

    If you’re suggesting that bloggers should keep a database so that they would constantly need to go back and manually pull out images whenever Getty decides they’ve changed their mind, that would be a major dealbreaker for me right there.

    The advertising possibility further seals this coffin. I use a variety of stock image options, all of them significantly cheaper than Getty. I’d rather pay a buck or so for an image that I know I can use without worrying about these problems than use something for free that I then have to constantly supervise after the fact.

  2. Emma
    April 16, 2014 at 11:42 am (5 years ago)

    This has been confusing to me, so thanks for addressing it and giving the lo-down! It is stressful when you have to worry about whether you’re doing it right or not. I think I prefer a method with no confusion or grey area. I’ll definitely have to look into this further!


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