Embedding Getty

There’s been a lot of excitement on the web today about Getty Images allowing visitors to embed their photos across the web.

With people increasingly turning to imagery to communicate and tell their stories online, the embed capability opens up Getty Images’ award-winning imagery for seamless sharing. Through the embed tool, individuals can draw on Getty Images’ latest news, sports, celebrity, music and fashion coverage; immense digital photo archive; and rich conceptual images to illustrate their unique passions, ideas and interests. This innovation opens one of the largest, deepest and most comprehensive image collections in the world for easy sharing, thereby making the world an even more visual place.

The embeds look like this:

This isn’t a radical new feature. Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr, Instagram, and many other web media companies have made their content available to embed for years. This often results in their content going viral and being spread far and wide across the web. The difference is those companies don’t earn their primary revenue from licensing their content for others’ to publish.

Introducing the feature is a smart move on Getty’s part, but it is surprising that they waited so long to release it. Their management team must have finally accepted that the network value of viral media was worth the amount it would undercut their licensing revenue. The feature will bring more links to their site and show off their work and brand to a wider audience.

Automatically including the attribution for each photo is useful, and it opens up their library of images to publishers who would not or cannot buy a proper license. However, there are a few key features missing from their embed code—features that were probably left out on purpose or because of some backroom bickering—such as being able to edit the image size or make the image fluidly resize on a responsive web page. These limitations protect Getty’s image licensing business, making sure it is still attractive to better funded web publishers and news organizations. However, the limitations will slow the adoption of the feature, since the embedded images will show up strangely in many website templates. Perhaps these features are coming soon, but until they do there will be some goofy looking pages.