Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crestock Acquired

Crestock has been acquired to mid-tier macro stock company Masterfile Corporation.  This could be very good news as I heard that several users have had trouble getting paid by Crestock due to a large backlog, little did they know it was because of this acquisition.  Crestock is a high grade microstock site with a very low acceptance ratio (aka high rejection amounts) and also has very little sales com paired to others out there.  Maybe this transition will put them in a better position to compete.

Effective July 1, 2010, the assets of Crestock were acquired by Masterfile Corporation, through its subsidiary, Crestock Corporation.

Masterfile is a privately-owned company. It has been in the image licensing business since 1981 and is globally recognized in the advertising, publishing and stock photography community as a premium brand. The company is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with a European headquarters in Dusseldorf, sales offices in London, Milan & Paris and agents in over 100 other countries. The company is big enough to compete with the giants, but small enough to be responsive to all its stakeholders. There are 80 employees in Toronto and 24 in Europe. The Toronto office sells directly into the USA.

Why the acquisition? It's no secret that the microstock business has revolutionized the global stock photo industry and our acquisition of Crestock is a springboard for Masterfile to join the revolution. We believe the combination of Crestock’s community with Masterfile’s commercial experience and resources will be beneficial to both clients and contributors. We can provide clients with quality stock images across all price points and licensing models, and give contributing artists an improved global marketing force for their images.

The new Crestock Corporation. Crestock will be run as a separate business unit with considerable support from Masterfile in finance, marketing and technology. Crestock's founder, Geir Are Jensen in Norway, will continue to work with the company as a senior advisor. Gudmund Aarseth, in Scotland, who has been responsible for day-to-day operations since late 2009, will also continue with the business. He will transition back to his preferred role as a website design consultant for Crestock. We plan to add a number of people to the organization in the coming year to improve service levels and bring more global microstock experience to the company. Steve Pigeon, Masterfile’s president and founder (that’s me) will oversee the transition. Of course, we will be drawing on Masterfile’s management experience and some pretty talented staff to help build a better Crestock.

What's in it for you?

Your current account and log-in information with Crestock will remain unchanged.

1. Payouts. The first order of business will be to get all unpaid royalties (a.k.a. "commissions") paid to artists who have previously requested payouts. This process will be completed within two weeks. You can rest assured that payments will be regular and timely from now on.

2. Image backlog.
Crestock currently has a considerable backlog of new images in the editing queue. We will get that cleared within two months. In the meantime, we are adding experienced image inspectors and editors to our team to handle larger volumes - so we will welcome your new image submissions and will move them through the process quickly.

3. Quick Response Time.
Over the past year, Crestock operated with reduced staff which seriously restricted their ability to respond to questions and problems. Effective immediately, you can expect a response to your e-mail inquiries within 24 hours (weekends not included).

What else can you expect to see from Crestock?

Advertising and promotion. Look for a lot more media buzz as we work with our ad agency and marketing staff to build Crestock’s sales aggressively.

More pricing models. Crestock has one of the simplest pricing models available in microstock and we intend to stick to that principle, but we will soon be offering a broader range of files sizes and price options. We will continue Crestock’s popular feature that enables clients to do transactions by credit card without forcing them to buy credits in advance. We will also be adding options for clients to purchase extended licenses and seat licenses – which translate into larger dollars per transaction to Crestock and its contributing artists.

Globalization. We will expand Crestock into a multi-language, multiple currency business in the course of the coming year, in line with the capabilities of Masterfile.

Legal improvements. We have updated the general legal terms on the website, added a membership agreement and replaced the content upload agreement and the image licensing terms and conditions granted to clients for our mutual protection. We have also added new model and property releases to the site for your convenience (and legal protection).

The new Artist Image Upload Agreement is a fairly lengthy document compared to Crestock’s old one, but it spells out exactly how we are going to work together and clearly defines your rights and ours. In my considerable experience at Masterfile, I’ve learned that good contracts make good friends. You will be required to read and accept the new agreement before you can upload any new images to Crestock but you can still request and receive a payout without approving the new agreement.

Crestock went through a rough patch over the past year and we appreciate that you hung in there with them. We think you’ll see a considerable improvement under Masterfile’s guidance, but talk is cheap: ultimately, your continued relationship with Crestock will depend solely on our ability to do a good job for you.

And that's our goal: We're going to give this company our best shot... so you can give us yours!


Steve Pigeon, President