It's All about the "i" -- A Decade of iStockphoto Community and Business Learnings from File Ingestion to Image Search - Sponsored Session

Aaron Springer (iStockphoto), Kelly Thompson (iStockphoto)
Sponsored, Strategy & Business Models
Location: 2016 Level:

iStockphoto changed the image industry forever by democratizing access to great imagery for everyone at affordable prices in 2000, creating the microstock industry and connecting community artists directly with buyers online.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, iStock remains the microstock global leader and is the world’s longest-running profitable social network, paying out $1.6 million weekly to artists, and making $200 million in 2009.

This nitty-gritty interactive session co-hosted by iStock’s COO Kelly Thompson, and Vice President of R & D Aaron Springer
will be equally as instructive to business owners and marketers concerned with community as it is to anyone responsible for creating or managing online search for customers.

Following the lifecycle of an image, this will be a 360-degree analysis of how iStockphoto keeps community strong, inspects and judges the salability of user-generated content, constantly improves their proprietary search engine,
and keeps millions of global customers returning.

Thompson and Springer will help attendees leverage iStock’s 10-year history with community, UGC ingestion policies and image search technologies to help their businesses succeed.

In this 50-minute session, attendees will learn:

  • Insight into balancing business and community
  • How to succeed without on-site advertising
  • Key points on developing a framework to quickly and fairly ingest, inspect, approve and give feedback to user-generated content.
  • Best Practices for making search elegant, simple and relevant for your customers—whether UGC is your business or not.
  • Sponsored by iStockphoto
Photo of Aaron Springer

Aaron Springer


Aaron Springer was iStockphoto’s first full-time employee. He started his career in high school doing pre-press in the graphic design industry. A self-taught technologist, he holds a BFA degree and considers himself a left-brain right-brain person. Aaron joined iStockphoto in 2003 and spent the first three months answering customer and contributor e-mails and phone calls because he wanted to understand what the community needed before he started evolving the site. His primary goal in his current role as vice president of research and development is to create unique and creative solutions to critical problems, doing lots of analysis and leveraging the unique strengths of iStockphoto team members along the way. His greatest challenge at iStockphoto is “synthesizing the diverse needs of many audiences, form business users to creative individuals, into a compelling product,” and his greatest satisfaction comes from “getting it right.” In his spare time, Aaron is a photographer and outdoor enthusiast.

Photo of Kelly Thompson

Kelly Thompson


Kelly Thompson serves as the chief operating officer of iStockphoto, overseeing the global strategy and operational leadership of iStockphoto’s products, services, technology and sales.

Kelly has served in several roles at iStockphoto, most recently, executive vice president. In his initial role as vice president of marketing in 2004, he propelled the company from a few thousand photographers and thousands of clients to a worldwide presence with half a million clients, making microstock a compelling new business for Getty Images to acquire. With a degree in computer science, Kelly is still a programmer at heart, despite his business acumen, and has been the driving force behind many iStock innovations, such as the patent-pending CopySpace™, which many in the industry are now trying to duplicate.

Prior to iStockphoto, he was senior brand manager at the enterprise search company Verity, Inc.

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(415) 947-6111

Kaitlin Pike
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