Colourbox – Complete Review

Colourbox is a danish agency not well known by microstock authors, however, it is on the market since 2003, initially as a simple royalty-free images distributor. Over the years it has grown slowly, expanding its portfolio to vector and footage, and also adding the sale of editorial licenses in 2011. The gradual expansion of the business led this agency to expand gradually from the regional market of Scandinavia towards increasingly international markets and currently it has a portfolio of over 20 million files (data from January 2017).

We are talking of a very small agency compared to the big players in the market and certainly for microstock authors it represents a rather marginal source of income, but the effort required for the submission and management of the portfolio is minimal and there are different positives elements, at least according to my personal assessment criteria of an agency, that make it still interesting for non exclusivist microstocker. Anyway, after a several years of observation period now, I can say that the sales trend of this agency, albeit at low levels, continue to grow month after month and in good correlation with the growth of the portfolio: this is an unmistakable sign of good health for the agency, with the possibility of further growth in the future.

To become contributors to Colourbox is simple: the test of admission is a mere formality and in fact you simply need to register an account on the site to begin sending your works. The submission of the files is absent, because after you sent your files via FTP without any numerical limit, they appear instantly in your portfolio without the need of any further indexing on the site and, apparently, without any revision of the files. However, in just a few days after uploading, the files are verified, though generously, by the reviewers and it is not unusual to see some files deactivated due to objective reasons or for lack of technical requirements. In cases where it is possible to address errors, files can be reactivated and made visible again in the portfolio. In other words, if you already have a portfolio of images ready and indexed because you already sent it to other agencies, to send it to Colourbox it only takes the connection time needed to upload files on their FTP server and no further – almost – activities on the website.

A further proof of the extreme simplicity of the experience with Colourbox is about managing images and videos with editorial license, where it is not necessary to mark the files as editorial, nor it is required a specific format in the description (as it happens instead for Shutterstock and iStock). During the review of the files, reviewers mark files as editorial if they believe they should be sold under such license. Therefore also in this case, no effort required to the authors.

Among the negative aspects of this agency, the very low royalty rates compared to the market: the remuneration is only 20% and the files are only sold with standard royalty-free license, while there are not extended licenses, usually far more profitable for authors. On the customer side it is possible to buy single downloads or on subscription. The lowest price for a purchase on subscription is € 1, therefore the author receives € 0.20, which is the minimum amount granted for a single license sold with Colourbox. Single purchases cost $ 12.5, so the maximum possible royalty for the authors is never more than € 2 at best.

As for the additional services,there’s a rather unuseful blog with monthly articles about digital photography, while it is not provided a referral program for contributors.

In conclusion, there’s not to expect great satisfactions from Colourbox in the short term, but the effort required to the authors is minimal, and as the portfolio grows, sales tend to grow as well on their own, so all in all the “effort” is enough rewarded.

Below is the table with the main informations about Colourbox:

Logo Colourbox Logo
Social Links/Blog FacebookTwitter, Google+PinterestBlog
Headquarters Denmark  Odense, Denmark
Portfolio 20.000.000 (updated to January 2017)
Website Traffic Rank by Logo Button 125x40
Admission Test Needed, quite easy to pass.
Image Size Minimo 1000 pixel lato corto, 2500 pixel lato lungo. Per i video minima risoluzione 1080 HD
Accepted File Types Photos, Vectors, Footage
Severity of the Reviewers Very Low
Editorial Images Accepted, and no particular description of the file is required before submission
Types of Licences Standard License, Editorial License
Price of the Images Single download: $12.50; abbonamenti a partire da $40 al mese ($4 per download) fino a $188 al mese ($1,25 per download)
Earnings for Contributors 20% di ciascuna licenza venduta
Payout Minimum Threshold € 100
Payment Mode Automatic once thresold exceeded, via PayPal/Skrill
Exclusivity Program not available
Referral Program Program not available
Uploading Mode Webform, FTP
Recognition IPTC data from file Automatic
Currency € Euro (EUR) – $ US Dollar (USD)
Supported Languages Danish, German, English
Tools Blog
Download Release Forms Model Release
Property Release

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Expert in Marketing and Communication in a major company of the Italian FMCG market, traveler by vocation, passionate photographer, contributor at all major international microstock agencies, founder of Marcor$tock, a blog focused on Microstock Market and Digital Photography.