Re: Bad bargaining
I would rather see Creative Commons (and other similar licenses) photos at the top of results, with anything else located further down in a separate section. A lot of what amounts to spam from these companies appears in search results when you are looking for a clear photo (e.g. no watermark plastered across it) of something for non-commercial purposes (just to look at, for example). I want to see stock photos in my image search results about as much as I want to see "shopping comparison sites" in my text search results (i.e., not at all).
Oh, and as a note to journalists and blog writers, stop putting pointless stock photos at the top of your stories. It's a waste of bandwidth and it's a waste of my time and effort as it means the first thing I have to do is scroll down past an utterly pointless and irrelevant stock photo before I can start reading. If the photo is directly relevant to the story, by all means include it. A pointless picture of a model holding something irrelevant though provides no value to the reader.
If you want to really see the height of hypocrisy though, just have a look at almost all of the news stories condemning crypto currency miners for their alleged vast energy consumption. Almost all of those very same new stories will include very large format pointless stock photos which have no direct relevance to the story, but which consume vast amounts of energy in sending, transmitting, receiving, and displaying them. Pot meet kettle.