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Author Topic: Am I stupid ?  (Read 4430 times)

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« on: January 26, 2009, 08:10 »
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Hello everyone,
From the messages I read here about fotolia, it seems that nobody here has exclusive photos on fotolia.
I started stock photo by putting a limited selection (about 30 or so) in 5 or 6 sites, to see how it behaved. Left that simmer for more than a year. I like to think of it as a study period, although it was pure laziness not to upload for so long.
In that period, fotolia was the only site with regular sales (I was not on SS though), and seemed like a winner in my case. So I proceeded to upload exclusive images there. First, there was the immediate increase in revenue due to the more generous royalties (50% instead of 33%), and the anticipation of a quasi doubling with the bronze level, which seemed easily attainable.
Currently, my strategy is to first submit to fotolia (with exclusivity), and what gets rejected is submitted to all the other agencies. This way, I'm not upset with fotolia random rejections :-)
I've not shot photos with stock in mind yet, I'm only submitting a backlog of what I consider "sellable" photos. So my rejection ratio is high on fotolia (a bit more than 50%). So the approach is quite balanced for the moment. As I begin shooting for stock, I anticipate higher acceptance rate, and then I'll possibly have to change my approach.
I'm now at 99 sales on fotolia, meaning I'll reach bronze level quite soon. I'm a bit puzzled. On one hand, I'm happy to see my prices double there, but on the other hand seeing all of you choosing not to upload exclusive content to fotolia makes me think I'm on the wrong track.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp !!
Thanks in advance for your feedback.
Anthony.


PS : Sorry for the long post, next time I'll be faster, promised...


« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 08:17 »
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Not sure if you read the forums on fotolia a while ago but they changed the numbers for getting to each canister so you have a while to go before reaching bronze now. I personally would never go exclusive with fotolia. I actually have more images on fotolia than i do on istock yet I have 5x more sales at istock. Sales come very slow on there. But then I hear that the legendary yuri thinks its his best site of all so some ppl must like it more than others

« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 08:26 »
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Cool, the first person to answer is called Anthony, like me :-)

They changed the level only for higher levels. Bronze is still 100. They initially upped also the bar for bronze but came back to 100 after the resulting uproar :
http://fr.fotolia.com/Info/Pricing#8
(sorry, in french, but numbers are international, right ?)

Thanks for the feedback. It's strange to have so much disparity among submitters. On IS I only had 19 sales total... Granted, now the portfolios are different on IS now, due to lots of fotolia exclusives, but it was the same trend before I started.

I'm impatient to see what will be the difference on photos that I shoot specifically for stock. Maybe I'll upload a few batches without exclusivity for comparison. Although it's hard to have statistical relevance with my portfolio size...

« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 08:30 »
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Its all about being called Anthony these days  ;)
I just think that each site is different and something I noticed is that what sells more on fotolia are vectors/illustrations and not really photos. I tend to upload to all sites and if an image is rejected from all but fotolia then I will click the exclusive button for it but wouldnt ever upload to fotolia to be exclusive. I understand why ppl do go exclusive with a site due to less hassle but every site offers something different and allows you to upload more and potentially earn more too

« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 10:07 »
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... On one hand, I'm happy to see my prices double there, but on the other hand seeing all of you choosing not to upload exclusive content to fotolia makes me think I'm on the wrong track.
...

There are a few people who list images exclusively on FT while at the same time using other agencies, but they use a different method than you.

The technique is to upload images to all sites, then regularly visit FT to see what your best sellers are. You then compare the potential exclusive income of each best-selling FT image to the income it is currently generating from all sites. If FT comes out ahead you remove the image from all agencies and change it to be exclusive at FT. Although I've never done this, my gut feeling is that I might make at most an extra couple of hundred dollars per month - for me this is not worth the hassle. A problem with this method is BigStock: you can only remove an image there after it has been online for 90 days. The policy at DT is 6 months, but they allow you to remove 30% of your less-than-6-months images, so it shouldn't a problem there unless you have a very small portfolio.


« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 10:46 »
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Unless you are so lazy that uploading at 5 agencies is a nightmare for you (but you already do it for 50% of your images if I understand well), I don't see any good reason to be exclusive with fotolia or with any other agency.

I would bet you are loosing money here.


« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 11:17 »
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Sharply_done, the approach you describe is interesting, I might do it once I have enough volume that my numbers are relevent. I'm still at a stage where on several sites selling two picture one month means a 100% increase ;-)
So the comparaison wouldn't be relevent in my case... Yet...

araminta, I'm not lazy for that. The only limiting factor would be IS with the 15/w limit (at my level). I already am quite limited that way on IS.

I just hit 100 sales on fotolia !! And... No bronze. Looked in the FAQ. Subscription sales count less that pay as you go. 4 sub for 1 "normal". So with 93 normal sales and 7 subs, I need 6 more sales   :(

« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2009, 11:31 »
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I am exclusive at Fotolia, and I am 1/4 into silver (a long way still) This is because I opted for higher commission at the expense of #dns, I raised my price as soon as I reached gold, to $2 for most good images and I left my earlier work at $1. I like getting at least 1.04 on the S . 50% of my downloads are at least M or larger, and a couple of ELs so those are nice downloads/sum. I have about 600+ on Fotolia, started about 2 years ago but the later images sell better (isolated background). My earlier images were mostly landscapes, nature and I was still figuring what is good stock photo. Certain images/themes do better on Fotolia.

I submit my best to Fotolia first, everything else they turn down go to three other sites that I submit actively. Now my strategy is just shoot a subject for Fotolia, then change the set up and shoot for the sites where the files will be non-exclusive.

I find that works for me, because I like the higher amount per download I earn at Fotolia, which allows me to have a payout every month or less. I don't like the 0.31-0.32/dn (and that only happened after many kicked and screamed) for non-exclusive which is the lowest in the industry. By comparison, one gets at least 0.50 at BigStock and 0.36 (occasional 0.25) at 123rf. I for one think it is crazy that when so much time/equipment/effort has gone into shooting one stock photo that buyers are able to download for pittance, so I stayed exclusive on Fotolia which allows me to turn off subscription there. For me, it is like "sorry this is what I am willing to sell it for, otherwise no deals"

This is not my main profession (one of my side projectsl) so I have the luxury to go this route. For most pros, being on as many sites as possible will probrably bring them the most bucks per photo/ROI over time that seems to be case from what I gathered. I would say experiment for a while and see what works best in terms of return/your themes.


« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2009, 11:34 »
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Thinking out loud about this further, this would be an excellent application for lookstat, which could have a built-in "Sales Maximizer" that would run analyses to determine if you'd be better off listing an image at multiple sites or have it listed exclusively on either DT or FT. I'll give the lookstat guys a 'heads up' on the idea.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 12:50 by sharply_done »

« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2009, 11:43 »
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I am registered through Fotolia.de and have about 13% images of my portfolio as Exclusive images. Most of these are either images no other agency wanted - or (as in most cases) images specificially targeting Fotolia's main market, Germany (at least that is where most of my images go from there). These images often contain some sort of German text. I raised the prices of most of these to 3Cr. by now and am selling these well. Maybe a similar strategy could work for you too?

« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 16:01 »
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You need to get on Shutterstock if you want to start making more money.  I'm not exclusive with anyone, but I hear it's not the recommended way.

« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 12:03 »
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Thinking out loud about this further, this would be an excellent application for lookstat, which could have a built-in "Sales Maximizer" that would run analyses to determine if you'd be better off listing an image at multiple sites or have it listed exclusively on either DT or FT. I'll give the lookstat guys a 'heads up' on the idea.



this is a really cool idea. we just added individual image sales history and once we add Fotolia, I think we might be able to take a stab at this. I think we could just look at avg sales for exclusives vs. not and come up with a simple equation.

I gather Fotolia and DT allow exclusivity on a per image basis?

« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 13:11 »
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The technique is to upload images to all sites, then regularly visit FT to see what your best sellers are. You then compare the potential exclusive income of each best-selling FT image to the income it is currently generating from all sites. If FT comes out ahead you remove the image from all agencies and change it to be exclusive at FT.

This is broadly what I do - I have a lot of exclusive images on Fotolia from my early days, but nowadays I upload to various sites then go back and make a photo exclusive if either
- only Fotolia accepts it, or
- it sells more on Fotolia than all the others combined

So far only 1 image has outsold enough to delete it from the other agencies, but that one makes tons more on Fotolia and it's well worth it.

« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2009, 13:30 »
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I gather Fotolia and DT allow exclusivity on a per image basis?

Yes they do.

This IS a great idea.

« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 14:43 »
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this is a really cool idea. we just added individual image sales history and once we add Fotolia, I think we might be able to take a stab at this. I think we could just look at avg sales for exclusives vs. not and come up with a simple equation.
...

If you implement it well enough I can see this being your primary sales point. Let's face it, it only takes 15 minutes per day at most to track sales across multiple sites. Obtaining the data isn't the hard or beneficial part, analyzing it is. If you can use this data to perform a highly-desirable task that would otherwise require several hours of work (i.e. maximizing sales), you'll have a product that everyone will want. You won't be able to take orders fast enough. As it stands now, I see little or no benefit to using lookstat - I do more than it does with little effort.

That being said, you clearly need to do more market research. You're making a product that tracks sales and you don't even know which agencies offer exclusivity? If you're serious about making lookstat a success you'd better get on the ball, Rahul.

« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2009, 14:58 »
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this is a really cool idea. we just added individual image sales history and once we add Fotolia, I think we might be able to take a stab at this. I think we could just look at avg sales for exclusives vs. not and come up with a simple equation.
...

If you implement it well enough I can see this being your primary sales point. Let's face it, it only takes 15 minutes per day at most to track sales across multiple sites. Obtaining the data isn't the hard or beneficial part, analyzing it is. If you can use this data to perform a highly-desirable task that would otherwise require several hours of work (i.e. maximizing sales), you'll have a product that everyone will want. You won't be able to take orders fast enough. As it stands now, I see little or no benefit to using lookstat - I do more than it does with little effort.

That being said, you clearly need to do more market research. You're making a product that tracks sales and you don't even know which agencies offer exclusivity? If you're serious about making lookstat a success you'd better get on the ball, Rahul.


All points well taken sir.

I do agree that the real value comes in turning data into information that actually lets you do something.

« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2009, 12:24 »
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I agree a feature like that would be useful to know which pictures to put exclusives or not... but.. I am afraid it will be only useful to people with large portfolio and high sale volume.
With my portfolio of close to 1000 and so so sales I took me few minutes to do the analysis....
Anyway I put my 1 year RPI stats on a post on my blog if you want to have a look

http://microstockexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/01/rpi-return-per-image-going-down-down.html

Cheers
L


« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2009, 13:15 »
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If you can use this data to perform a highly-desirable task that would otherwise require several hours of work (i.e. maximizing sales), you'll have a product that everyone will want.

Correct. For the moment, we only have glorified FTP uploaders and quaky databases of what you uploaded to several sites, not to mention tools that live of the (keywording) sweat of others. Lookstat has a dynamite potential and can bring something new. In another thread Rahul hinted at a functionality to track an image's performance over several sites. I figure he has to use some image recognition software for that. That would really be innovative.

Lookstat also has the potential (given enough members) to yield real sales figures in general of different agencies, without having to rely on subjective polls. As such, it would be unique, and he could sell these metrics to the site owners easily for big $.

« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2009, 13:25 »
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If you can use this data to perform a highly-desirable task that would otherwise require several hours of work (i.e. maximizing sales), you'll have a product that everyone will want.


Correct. For the moment, we only have glorified FTP uploaders and quaky databases of what you uploaded to several sites, not to mention tools that live of the (keywording) sweat of others. Lookstat has a dynamite potential and can bring something new. In another thread Rahul hinted at a functionality to track an image's performance over several sites. I figure he has to use some image recognition software for that. That would really be innovative.

Lookstat also has the potential (given enough members) to yield real sales figures in general of different agencies, without having to rely on subjective polls. As such, it would be unique, and he could sell these metrics to the site owners easily for big $.


While I'm always wishing we could move faster in bringing contributors some of the tools we have in our heads, one feature we just launched is image sales history. Here's a blog post about it - feedback as always is welcome.

http://blog.lookstat.com/2009/01/28/image-sales-history-thumbnails-are-now-clickable/

Thanks for the kind words of support.

« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2009, 07:26 »
0
... On one hand, I'm happy to see my prices double there, but on the other hand seeing all of you choosing not to upload exclusive content to fotolia makes me think I'm on the wrong track.
...

There are a few people who list images exclusively on FT while at the same time using other agencies, but they use a different method than you.

The technique is to upload images to all sites, then regularly visit FT to see what your best sellers are. You then compare the potential exclusive income of each best-selling FT image to the income it is currently generating from all sites. If FT comes out ahead you remove the image from all agencies and change it to be exclusive at FT. Although I've never done this, my gut feeling is that I might make at most an extra couple of hundred dollars per month - for me this is not worth the hassle. A problem with this method is BigStock: you can only remove an image there after it has been online for 90 days. The policy at DT is 6 months, but they allow you to remove 30% of your less-than-6-months images, so it shouldn't a problem there unless you have a very small portfolio.



thanks for this, a have a few images that sell daily or better on fotolia but are absolutley dead elsewhere (probably because they aren't that good :)) anyway they sell well there and turning them exclusive would work well

Regards
Phil


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