Two common sentiments among image buyers are redundancy of content (similarity) and scarcity of it (uniqueness).
Similarity of content, from the supply side, is a direct output of oversupply but more importantly it stems from the systematic homogeneity of the microstock model. Producers mimic content that is popular, enforcing a closed loop that lacks differentiation of product while expanding its inventory and reach.
Uniqueness suffers in the marketplace, as the crushing wall of similarity makes it difficult to meaningfully aggregate for buyers; but uniqueness is challenged by an outlying concept that is more profound than mimicry: demand shift.
The rhythms of supply influences market education – a generation of buyers have been trained in visual communication based on the tight cues of similarity. What is the appetite for the pursuit of uniqueness in product, from both the buyer and supplier? Will aggregators continue to pursue the indirect filtering of their supply through crowd sourcing, with homogeneous results?
Demand shift within the marketplace will likely right itself toward the pursuit and fulfillment of uniqueness, but only if aggregators make it simple to do so and adopt focused curatorial methods.