Free stock photo’s and video’s being “stolen” and SOLD to you..

Lately, I have seen a huge surge in Internet Marketing products involving free stock photos and video’s, the general gist of the products being put out there are generally either one of 2 options.

  1. A collection of PLR (Private Label Rights) photo’s and video’s.
  2. A collection of searchable databases that source photo’s and video’s from FREE sites.

We’ll be looking at both of the scenario’s here for a bit longer, mostly because I don’t think the users & buyers of these tools are aware they are paying for a free service.

The first mentioned setup is a collection of PLR content, PLR content is content produced by a party that sold it with reselling rights of sorts. Basically marketers go out and buy multiple PLR packages with photo’s and video’s, they then bundle the thing and start selling the new bundle of merged PLR packages.

This first setup is mostly really old content put in a new jacket, there is nothing to shady about it and sometimes a PLR package is actually worth it’s money multiple times over. My rant today though is not so much about this first setup.

Free stock API’s

Over the last months I have encountered multiple searchable SaaS like applications that you can register a membership with. You have to pay either a one-time fee for life or subscribe to a monthly/yearly payment plan in order to get access to the platform. The marketers running these services generally capitalize on nothing else but other people’s work. You may already know that there are a bunch of websites offering free stock photo’s and video’s. Authors on those websites upload their photo’s and video’s to get more exposure for their passion or business. By uploading their work they agree to share these photo’s and video’s with an open license. meaning that all uploaded content of these sites may be used free of charge by third parties.

So boiling that all down:

  • Authors give a free license of usage to anyone who wants to use it.
  • These sites in return leave information about the author on the download pages to give authors a bit of recognition & exposure.
  • Lazy marketers use API’s to connect all these sites together and make the images/videos available within their own branded portal that you need to pay for.

What pisses me off about this whole construction is that everyone that added value in this process is being left with nothing. Authors don’t get their details shown, and the sites providing the content don’t get their deserved website traffic and ad revenue. These sleazy platforms take your money for offering a service that is available to you already at absolutely no costs, they combine a couple API’s (I can create this sort of SaaS within 3 days of coding) and then capitalize on the work of multiple other people. (I might actually do this and offer it for free somewhere in the future)

So next time you want to buy SaaS application that does this, maybe go through the original route and save yourself some cash in the process.

To point you guys in the right direction here is a list of sites commonly used for these rather shady practices

A list of free stock photo & video sites:

  1. https://unsplash.com/
  2. https://www.pexels.com/
  3. https://pixabay.com
  4. https://stocksnap.io/
  5. https://www.videvo.net/

If you use these websites make sure that these images have the right license, some specific actions might be forbidden under the license that these sites use for their content.

What are your thoughts about this?

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Dennis de Graaf

Founder of GrowdZen, ex-cto/co-founder of multiple 7-figure SaaS companies, technology & marketing enthusiast