Freelancers baffled by closure of photo site

Freelance photographers visiting are being redirected to another website following the microstock photo agency’s decision to shut its doors on December 31, 2010.

The closure of Polylooks, which was backed by Deutsche Telekom, was quietly announced in the final quarter of last year, a little more than 12 months since it set up a dedicated UK division.

Requests for comment on the cause of the announcement have so far gone unreturned, and a message posted to the site’s contributors in November merely confirmed the closure.

“We regret to inform you that Deutsche Telekom has decided to withdraw its Polylooks online photo agency”, it said. “It is planned to phase out the service from December”.

At the time, Polylooks said contributors with remaining credit would be paid back in due course, and promised that buyers’ image license terms would be valid even after December.

But the uploading of images is no longer possible, it added, before offering an apology to new and existing visitors who wanted to use the Polylooks site to make a sale.

However since then photographers, and indeed buyers, have been invited to switch their accounts, transfer their credits and “continue image buying without interruption” by Fotolia.

“From December 1st to 15th, all active clients of Polylooks can convert their accounts, including all credits, into a Fotolia account,” the New York head-quartered photo agency said.

In a notice confirming it had acquired Polylooks’ customer-base, Fotolia added that its own UK website would be the landing page for anyone visiting Polylooks after January 1st 2011.

As the switch over begins, many of Polylooks’ freelance contributors are still asking why the site folded, particularly when Deutsche Telekom’s announcements before the fourth quarter suggested that the business was growing.

Speaking to FreelanceUK, one freelance photo journalist offered: “I guess Deutsche is such a huge corporation they can just lop bits off at the whim of a bean counter without feeling any pain.”


23rd December 2010

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