Why I won’t be using Getty Images for my blog posts

Turning my back on Getty ImagesStruggling to find an image for your blog post?

You know images add the ‘wow’ factor to blog posts and make shared posts look better on social media sites.

You know humans instinctively prefer imagery to pages and pages of text.

You know you can’t publish until you’ve added an image.

But after hours of searching you’re at the point where even a cut-off, blurry photo of your cat seems like the perfect choice for your lovingly crafted content.

So with that in mind you might greet the news that Getty Images have released millions of photos for non-commercial use “on a website, blog or social media platform using the embedded viewer” with over-whelming relief.

You’re saved! Plug in a few search teams, follow their easy steps to embed the photo onto your website and you can now push ‘Publish’ on another classic masterpiece.

Not so fast!

In order to use these photos you have to actually embed the image, which means rather than hosting the image on your website, you’re linking to the image as hosted by Getty Images.

Which is great, except what happens if they change their terms of use and you can no longer use that image?  You’re going to end up with a rather unappealing ‘broken image’ rather than the beautiful image you used to have.

Or what about accessibility? The HTML code Getty Images provides makes it impossible to add the ‘Alt’ tag to the image. This means readers using screen reading browsers (or with images switched off ) are going to see nothing but the credit text.

Or what about people searching Google for your keywords? You can’t add any keywords to the code provided by Getty Images, which restricts Google from using the image in a search.

Or what about resizing the image? You’re restricted to the size provided by Getty Images which might not work for your website or blog post.

And don’t even get me started on the (non) value of providing free links back to Getty Images and sending people away from your website.

Do this instead

I am most definitely not innocent – I have been guilty in the past of embedding images from other sites (like Flickr and Wiki Commons) rather than hosting them on my web server, but for all the above reasons I’m trying to change my ways.

I find sites like Creative Commons make it really easy to find amazing, unique, attention-getting images* for free, so why not use them?

And hey, if you’re really struggling to find an appropriate image how about grabbing your phone and taking a few shots yourself? Even that blurry, cut-off photo of your cat is preferable to ‘renting’ an image from someone else.

*Just please remember to properly credit all sources – I know you don’t like it when someone takes credit for your work, please don’t deny these talented people their rightful credit.

Want to discuss this further? Come and chat over at Google+. I promise I don’t bite!

[Image by Julija Vidmar (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons]

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