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Author Topic: Prices dont need to go down  (Read 7615 times)

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« on: May 22, 2009, 17:02 »
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I have always rejected subscriptions because images are sold too cheap.  I find it outrageous, regardless of how much I earn.  I know the microstock world started cheap, but it really doesn't need to be like that.  It doesn't make much difference charging US$5 or 6 or maybe even 10 for an image - if this is what a buyer needs, he will get it.  I often have clues this is true.

Recently I sold two images in SP for the same buyer, one for US$40 and another for US$2.  The first was available only in their version of an EL, the second, by my mistake, was available also at the standard license.  It is not necessarily a valid assumption, but I believe the buyer did not mind paying the US$40 and might perhaps have paid the same for the second image, and I also believe he is not going to use the second image as if it was an EL - were he going to cheat, he would not have paid high for the first image.

A second recent example came today in DT.  My level 4 image, exclusive to DT, sold for US$7.50 as XS.  It is not an awesome image (check here) and there are many good and cheaper "hot sun" illustrations, but the buyer picked mine (and maybe others).

Of course I don't expect it to be true, but it shows that images don't have to be sold amazingly cheap. 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 17:23 by madelaide »


Milinz

« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 17:15 »
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You're absolutely right...

But, as there are authors who are content with 20-30 or 50 cents per dollar sale there will be 'cheap images'...

The point is not in agencies... But, they must compete even with some agencies where you can buy EPS vector file for ONE HUNDRED times LESS money...

So, authors are main cause on how things stand now... As for example 30 cents downloads which that authors see right after their image appears in search means much more than $50 commission if that image is sold in future... There is the catch and there is main source of all problems about pricing...

So, be careful what where to upload and make strict definintion on your micro and macro quality images...
I did that and it works ;-)  One image on some site brings me more total income than some sites listed here on the right together ;-)
It is funny - and I am planning to migrate most of my future quality images to market where I can get 100 times more money for one single download... And, that downloads aren't so rare as some people may think... Portfolio size matters as everywhere...

« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2009, 17:23 »
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I have always rejected subscriptions because images are sold too cheap.  . 


How have you 'always rejected subscriptions' if you are on DT where there is no opt-out? Surely, by definition, that means your portfolio is indeed available via subscription?

If that is the case then why does it matter where it is bought? Since I started over 4 years ago my portfolio has earned me slightly more than double at SS than it has at DT. I also earn more from subscriptions per sale at SS than I do at DT. Just struggling to understand your logic.

« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 17:28 »
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I agree with Adelaide. I'm considering not opting in to the new IS subscription program because I'm afraid many people joining to that program will put pressure on SS and the others to bring their subscription prices down even further.

Going through the sites, the loss would probably be minimal when opted out of subscriptions on StockXpert and CanStockPhoto. On DT we don't have that option at all. I think SS is the only site where volume justifies subscription prices, at least for me.

The way to go is to support sites like Zymmetrical, CutCaster and FeaturePics, and even MostPhotos and to opt  out of subscriptions where we can? However,  I'm afraid this might result in sites disabling opting out altogether?

« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2009, 17:32 »
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gostwyck,

I would have left, or at least stopped uploading, if subs in DT were prevailing like in 123RF or CanStockPhoto (I don't upload to any of them anymore).  If I had a choice, as I do in StockXpert, I would opt out from subs.  In a site like DT or FT, it is a balance between the two models.  Had I been given a choice, I would have opted out in both, but I have no such choice and so far overall RPD is satisfactory enough not to quit these sites (although it hurts when I see one of my best sellers go as subs).

As I said many times before, for me this is not about how much one make from an image, but at what prices people are able to buy them - their value in the market, in a way.  Personally, instead of seeing a buyer get 10 images for US$3, I would prefer he would buy a single one for US$3, even if not mine.  Only one person would earn that money, but it would be a fair price.

KB

« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2009, 17:41 »
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In a site like DT or FT, it is a balance between the two models.  Had I been given a choice, I would have opted out in both, but I have no such choice and so far overall RPD is satisfactory enough not to quit these sites (although it hurts when I see one of my best sellers go as subs).
I admire and respect your position.

One thing to keep in mind, as I pointed out on another thread. There is a significant difference between the 2 sub models on DT & FT. DT's subs give the buyer the largest size available. FT's subs are limited to < 4MP in size. If a sub buyer needs a larger size image, they have no choice but to purchase it separately.

OTOH, DT's sub sales help an image climb the "level ladder", so it's much easier to achieve many images with higher levels.  Which will become increasingly unimportant if sub sales continue to grow.  >:(

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2009, 17:46 »
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It  makes good sense, but in a real world, it may not be as possible as we like it to be. What I mean is, for every one of you who opted out, there is probably what? 50, 100 , ??? people willing to settle for 25 cents, and able to clone your work.
As someone else said in another thread, it's not rocket science. It 's generic images,
and the micro stock sites know that.


« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2009, 02:55 »
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The only subs site I like is SS, as they have lots of buyers and pay me 38 cents.  They also sell far more EL's than istock.  At the moment I have stopped uploading to crestock, as 25 cents is too low.  I wont opt in with istock and in the future I will probably opt out of StockXpert subs.  If subs commissions don't increase, I will move away from the subs sites.  Perhaps people can copy my photos and sell them for 25 cents but I would rather flip burgers than join them.

Milinz

« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2009, 05:22 »
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The only subs site I like is SS, as they have lots of buyers and pay me 38 cents.  They also sell far more EL's than istock.  At the moment I have stopped uploading to crestock, as 25 cents is too low.  I wont opt in with istock and in the future I will probably opt out of StockXpert subs.  If subs commissions don't increase, I will move away from the subs sites.  Perhaps people can copy my photos and sell them for 25 cents but I would rather flip burgers than join them.

Good thinking!

Just one small detail:
5 minutes image or good snapshot can be sold as sub.
5 hours image or very good taken photo can be sold on expensive places.

Just add that to your consideration... Makind difference in production makes difference in micro and macro images.

« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2009, 05:48 »
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Once I was already told that the future of image sales is midstock...

If  agencies reduce the cost of pictures,if upload won't be profitable for our work etc. We should all  migrate to midstock (Zymm., Cutcaster etc...)
There are our prices and classic microstock agencies will die without photographer and new photos...

« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2009, 07:41 »
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Once I was already told that the future of image sales is midstock...

If  agencies reduce the cost of pictures,if upload won't be profitable for our work etc. We should all  migrate to midstock (Zymm., Cutcaster etc...)
There are our prices and classic microstock agencies will die without photographer and new photos...

borg, This is almost similar in question to the other topic on this forum.  But I will answer it in this context.
I don't think we need to be that harsh as to create an exodus out of the land of IStock et all ;)

There is a place for microstock, and there can be a place for higher priced images. We just need to learn to separate the expectations based on our production costs, and upload accordingly.
Some , or should I say.. many, will still submit to micro since it's the easiest to get accepted. There will not be a vacuum in this business, as for every one that leaves, there will be ten if not more, to fill that space. 

On our own personal value, it's really up to us to edit our own vision of what we want from micro stock. I already faced the reality that I should be creating two separate portfolios each time I start shooting for stock, one for my exisiting micro , and the other, for a few mid stock sites that I am quite interested in testing their capability to sell and stay viable IN SPITE of micro sliding prices heading towards the bottom of the barrel.

« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2009, 08:05 »
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I agree with Adelaide. I think buyers would buy our images anyway. Prices are so low just because of competition among agencies. When one agency decides to introduce something like subs, many other will do the same because they know they will lose buyers. I work in a company that dies right now because we simply couldn't decrease prices so much, while some other companies could. But there is something that really scares me. Microstock agencies don't have to pay for our images. We give them images for free. So, they could eventually decrease our earnings per image to something like 5 cents, or even worse. 

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2009, 08:51 »
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The only subs site I like is SS, as they have lots of buyers and pay me 38 cents.  They also sell far more EL's than istock.  At the moment I have stopped uploading to crestock, as 25 cents is too low.  I wont opt in with istock and in the future I will probably opt out of StockXpert subs.  If subs commissions don't increase, I will move away from the subs sites.  Perhaps people can copy my photos and sell them for 25 cents but I would rather flip burgers than join them.

Good thinking!

Just one small detail:
5 minutes image or good snapshot can be sold as sub.
5 hours image or very good taken photo can be sold on expensive places.

Just add that to your consideration... Makind difference in production makes difference in micro and macro images.

milinz, madelaide, etc..
when you say opt out, you only mean item 7 of Stockxpert, right? you still opt in for ext lic and partner licensing. is that correct?
as for the other sites, you really cannot opt out on subs with Dreamstime, Fotolia,,etc..

Milinz

« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2009, 09:31 »
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....
milinz, madelaide, etc..
when you say opt out, you only mean item 7 of Stockxpert, right? you still opt in for ext lic and partner licensing. is that correct?
as for the other sites, you really cannot opt out on subs with Dreamstime, Fotolia,,etc..

Look at this:

I invest say 5-10 minutes of my work to make some vector image. Then I make few variants of it and voila: One hour after I have 15-20 vector images... Or i make studio lights setup and shoot isolated on white series of this or that... That images are quite ok to be sold on any terms except to subscription or low sales sites with low commissions... I specify that are Crestock or Vectorstock who are way picky and don't deserve my or anyone elses support at all! But, there are and always will be greedy people who will end with empty pockets at the end and that is their problem...

I am very fine with StockXpert subs... They are minor in regard to single downloads and that is why I didn't opt-out from them. Also, there are some days when StockXpert brings me double or tripple more subs via JUI/Photos.com/and its own subs that other sites combined together including SS! But still at the end of month my most sub sales are on SS and my earnings are quite significant there due to ODs and ELs...
But, when you are on Crestock or Vectorstock, buyers will spend 5-10 dollars and buy your images from there  with lowest cut for you. When I realised that, I started to value agencies who accept most of my images and are not picky as some others... Also, what is the quality if Crestock rejects your image and all other sites accept it? Who is crazy in that case? They are limiting you as author to have portfolio. And they are making their base of images something like 'the best of the best' counting money and points for ther own future. You are expendable good there as author. Microstock is all about portfolio! So, I say that if they are picky, they should give 60% at least to authors as well as that  they should have sales! My expirience in Crestock and Vectorstock is not good by that parameters and that is why I oppose to them!
The factor 2 I use is complexity of vector I need to finish - or expences to get some photos done... That is measured bu hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So, I won't send such images on micros.
I don't have studio on wheels like Yuri and I can't compete with him yet. So, I leave Yuri to do what he does and I do my images on my own way. That is how things are set. So, Yuri in just one day can make hospital series, bedroom series, business series and so on... I can't! So, I won't compete with him. But, Yuri can't do some other images I can and there is my chance to earn my money. Thinking out the box is the way to make money! If you can't do anything except copying other people images then time is to go away and shoot weddings or assignments. You will not last long on microstock if you can't find your own way.

Other story is your making of images which needs time to be created. There should never be possible to work for days on one single vector image and give it on sub for 30 cents commission. Look around: there are photorealistic vectors better done than photographs. Do you think such images are sold for 30 cents? No ! that images are worth thousands of dollars - sometimes single image comes to total of all images you sell for year on all microstock and even macrostock sites combined!

« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2009, 11:43 »
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when you say opt out, you only mean item 7 of Stockxpert, right? you still opt in for ext lic and partner licensing. is that correct?
as for the other sites, you really cannot opt out on subs with Dreamstime, Fotolia,,etc..

StockXpert said a while ago that in fact they had no partner other than JI, so that option button was actually useless.  You can not opt out from subs in DT or FT.  I have stopped uploading to FT both for having a high % of subs and also a very poor relationship with us contributors (I stopped by the time of the commissions change).  I don't submit to 123RF and CanStockPhoto anymore.  Long ago I stopped uploading to CS. 

FT's subs are limited to < 4MP in size.

Not exactly.  They are limited to the L size, which is at least 4MPix but goes up to 7.8MPix, which is the cut to the XL size.  Anyway, XS to L make about 90% of my non-subs sales (on some months, 100%), so the L size covers basically all buyers needs and are possibly suffice for any subscriber.

« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2009, 12:10 »
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Prices are so low just because of competition among agencies. When one agency decides to introduce something like subs, many other will do the same because they know they will lose buyers.

You make an interesting point.  As most of us have basically the same images in every site, most buyers - correct me if I am wrong - will look for a combination of cheaper prices and some technical differential (for instance, low prices with a search tool that doesn't work won't attract buyers).  I think FT used to have a differential for being the first multilanguage, which is not the case anymore. 

Anyway, while they fight among themselves for subs buyers, at the same time they once in a while raise their credit prices.  Isn't that contradictory?  Yet, they still sell at higher prices, although I suppose a small fraction of their frequent buyers eventually move to subscription.

IS introduces a subs scheme that doesn't harm us much - it is basically a discount credit package in the end.  A buyer still pays more for a large image than for a smaller image.  I wonder if it's only me, but subs in IS is basically non-existent. 

lisafx

« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2009, 12:23 »
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I agree in theory about the prices not having to be so low.  My prices on Fotolia are doubled and sales are still good.  Add to that the the fact that istock sales continue to be steady even with their yearly price increases, and you have to conclude customers aren't all that price sensitive, at least at micro prices.

What I don't understand, and I mean no disrespect, is how people can afford to stop uploading to all these sites every time they do something lousy.    Honestly, if I closed my account or stopped uploading to every site that does something that angers me or does something I disagree with,  I wouldn't have any outlets to sell my images. 

Personally, I need at least 6 other sites to compensate for the income I would make if I was exclusive at istock.  I don't like all the eggs in one basket, and I am even more committed to independence after what Getty tried to impose on their exclusives with the prior photos.com/jui deal.  But if I was going to drop any one of the other major agencies and lose that income I would be better off exclusive at istock. 

Those of you who are able to drop sites at will, are you doing this for a living or just hobby income?  That would certainly make a difference as to how choosy one could afford to be.   Very difficult to drop sites right and left when you rely on the income to pay your mortgage and put your kid through college. 

Now if they stop earning me enough to pay my bills then of course I would have no problem pulling my images.  Hope we don't get to that point... 


 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 12:28 by lisafx »


« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2009, 12:25 »
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IS introduces a subs scheme that doesn't harm us much - it is basically a discount credit package in the end.  A buyer still pays more for a large image than for a smaller image.  I wonder if it's only me, but subs in IS is basically non-existent. 
That is true for traditional IS subs, not for the new program offering images on photos.com. I believe that might put pressure on other agencies to lower the prices of their subs if a lot of IS contributors join.

lisafx

« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2009, 12:26 »
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Ooops, double posting  :-[

« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2009, 12:36 »
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good point lisafx. maybe that explains why some exclusives at IS are quiet in spite of what Getty is dishing out. Once again it goes back to the old saying, "better to stick with the devil we are familiar".
Also, in cases where someone is willing to cut off the hand that feeds them, they probably are, as you say, doing this as a hobby. You only need to look at some of the threads with commentaries made by some who are totally oblivious to something as simple as production cost, or depreciation.
On yet another thread, some get irate to be called "hobbyists". But then again, how else would you survive in microstock if you are not a "hobbyists", and not making the income that you are commanding?
Realistically, it is still a numbers game, and like it or not, it is also a tough lesson on auditing and economics. Lack of insight of these basics, you end up being on the losing end. As you pointed out elsewhere, only a small section of this field actually makes money; the rest almost never seeing a pay out.

At this moment, you also see more banting due to mass rejections. This could be  the silver lining in a dark cloud to micro stock. There is already a glut of images, and hopefully, when quality replaces quantity, maybe then we will see the money increase that all of us are hoping for. How else is a micro stock site to demand an increase other than to say that it comes with an increase in image quality.

« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2009, 12:40 »
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Those of you who are able to drop sites at will, are you doing this for a living or just hobby income?  That would certainly make a difference as to how choosy one could afford to be.   Very difficult to drop sites right and left when you rely on the income to pay your mortgage and put your kid through college. 
I think this is true. Dropping sites at will while depending on microstock income is very hard. I was trying to make this point when we were talking about contributors collective. Agencies know all this and I think it's very hard for contributors to influence changes in price structure that are not in contributors interests. What IS did was a little bit too much at once, and they went one step back while going 5 steps forward. I'm sure they will eventually make that one step and more in future.
We all keep thinking of the ways to stop them and be more influential in their decisions, but so far, I think, we have not come up with a solution.

Milinz

« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2009, 15:04 »
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@ Lisafx:

1. Crestock is not major agency at all... It may be for Yuri Arcurs or some other people but not for most of authors.

2. iStock is also not major if you are not exclusive there - I believe you felt that on your own skin. Yes, you was more persistant than me - I simply gave up from any serious uploading there when I saw my image rejected and some exclusives image accepted with absolutely the same doubtable error on isolation... So I've tried with vectors and after 6 rejects I gave up on that too... I will go with other agencies.

3. I was mad on Shutterstock reviewers many times - and I didn't pull out my portfolio from them. Sometimes they was wrong and sometimes I was wrong. At least they are reasonable and have fast response if you show them that you don't agree with reviewer... Absolutely the same is with Dreamstime or Fotolia... They really respond... Not as iStock with prepared responses and clicking on 1, 2 or 3 button as response. As far as I know the best reviewers are on StockXpert - they look for quality vectors or photos and if yours don't comply to their standards they ask what to change or say they don't need such images.

On iStock I sent one CG video. They asked additional info of how it was created (release)... So I sent them whole recipe. Then they rejected it with NO RESUBMIT due to it is different from original base image! All other video agencies accepted that CG loop without any problem.

So what to say for iStock except they are really pain for uploads... And make me very frustrated.

;-)

« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2009, 16:13 »
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I think fair rice for subs would be not less than 50% of regular sales. Correct me if I'm wrong, and tell me where some example of so low subs prices for any product in the world. Lets take any printed magazine in the world, and let's compare it's regular price for one copy, and subs price for whole year. I doubt there would be more than 40% discount for subs.

« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2009, 16:56 »
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Actually I just got an offer for subscription for National Geographic for $12 per year, which is 80% discount. These days, publishing houses are pretty desperate because newspapers and magazines are not selling that well anymore due to internet expansion. I think all these companies are willing to go for a big discount for some form of steady financing that subscriptions offer. This doesn't give us a lot of hope in microstock industry.

« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2009, 16:58 »
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Actually I just got an offer for subscription for National Geographic for $12 per year, which is 80% discount. These days, publishing houses are pretty desperate because newspapers and magazines are not selling that well anymore due to internet expansion. I think all these companies are willing to go for a big discount for some form of steady financing that subscriptions offer. This doesn't give us a lot of hope in microstock industry.

Thanks for giving an example. I have to say that's sad...


 

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