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Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Allen, I'm a designer and illustrator, working in the field since the late 90s and self employed since 2005. I've used Shutterstock since around 2006 for a client who had an account for her one-man design firm, and later on, I joined SS on a high volume subscription. I have enjoyed the convenience of your art as a starting point for many of my design work over the years. Most of what I use is vector art I can go on to shape and tweak into other things, and almost none of the art I use looks like it did when I started. However, this has been the single most useful resource in my work over the years. Whenever another designer asks me how they can develop their skill and range, I start by referring them to Shutterstock.

Over time, I've begun to notice areas of content that have not been covered very well by Shutterstock illustrators and photographers, so I thought maybe I could contribute in those areas. (You know, like pets and flowers? Just kidding! xD) I was a contributor on iStockphoto back when they began, but it yielded very little income. Now I'm not really concerned about the income - just think it would be a fun exercise to try.

One more thing... I only have one complaint about shutterstock - it's keyword spam. When you need to produce 4 marketing campaigns in less than a week, and you're scouring stock libraries for graphic elements, some searches are littered with completely unrelated results - even after excluding 6-10 words and adding several filters. I'm tired of it, and I want to do something about it. If anyone knows of a formal channel available for reporting heavy abusers of the keyword system, I'm all ears.

You may have noticed this is a big deal to me, as my account is named after my frustration with keyword spam. I could say I've lost dozens of hours of my life to keyword spam, having searched, sorted, downloaded and used thousands of illustrations and photos on Shutterstock. Anyway, thanks for reading all this - I can be a bit wordy, especially when I want to be specific. 

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  • 3 weeks later...


I think you'll find that the majority of contributors would be in total agreement with you, however, the offenders think they gain some benefit from keyword spamming (and they probably do).  The real problem lies with Shutterstock.  They have rules against it (spamming) but SS makes no (or little) effort to enforce those rules.  There is no real way for contributors to communicate with management and even if there was, it appears that they have no desire to listen.  The Bottom Line is the only thing that drives decisions since they went "Public". 

As a buyer, you have more pull than you (or we) as a contributor have.  I would scream at the top of your BUYER lungs about this problem.  MAYBE they will listen.

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