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Author Topic: For Indies who pulled ports from Istock...  (Read 13602 times)

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lisafx

« on: January 05, 2012, 17:52 »
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With sales at Istock becoming scarcer, and all but disappearing for Independents, it doesn't seem worth uploading there anymore.   I can imagine that at some point it may not be worth having my port there at all, either because TS threatens SS, or because sales have dried up completely. 

I know there are a fair number of indies who pulled out of Istock altogether over the past 15 months or so since Sept. 2010.

Would any of you mind sharing if you saw a noticeable increase of sales on other sites?  Or did you just lose that IS income and not see it replaced elsewhere?  And if your income has recovered, how long did it take? 

Would also be helpful if you could mention when you pulled out of IS. 

Thanks in advance anyone willing to share this info.


wut

« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 18:00 »
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lagereek is deactivating blue&red flames, basically a lot of best sellers and said he's experiencing increased sales at other sites (and he says he knows a few top contributors who had the same experience).

I don't think it's a good idea to sell everwhere just on every little (new) site. I'm going to delete my BS and CS ports and if Deposit photos won't improve, I'm deleting everthing over there as well

lisafx

« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 18:15 »
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lagereek is deactivating blue&red flames, basically a lot of best sellers and said he's experiencing increased sales at other sites (and he says he knows a few top contributors who had the same experience).

Hope he will chime in here.  Would also love to hear from the folks who pulled out of IS entirely. 

« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 18:16 »
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I know you already know my story, Lisa, but I'll share for others' benefit. We have a whole lot of newbies here on MSG.

I pulled my images off of istock last Jan. 2011. I did lose $$ making that move, as they represented 44% of my income (in 2010). I feel certain that had I stayed, this year would have been abysmal for me. I am not a full-time photog and would never fit into the Getty mold. If your sales are diminishing, Lisa, with the size of your port, mine would have been non-existent.

I have seen a rise in my sales at SS and DT, especially since October. I think I uploaded less than 50 new images in 2011. It has not replaced my istock loss of income, but that's mostly my fault. If I ever get the motivation back, I believe I might be able to replace the loss the income. Hard to tell, though, in the past year, microstock has changed faces drastically.

By the way, for those who don't know me, I was a Gold at istock, thinking of becoming exclusive (I had already stopped uploading to other sites and was very near the end of those time constraints), when the sh$t hit the fan at istock, with the lies about grandfathering canisters and the RC system being introduced, and finally, the clawbacks. I was just shy of having 1,000 images online, and was looking forward to passing that milestone.

velocicarpo

« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 19:04 »
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I stopped uploading at istock in Nov. 2010 (if I remember correctly), then in April 2011 I picked up again (me greedy basta*rd) and stopped again to upload around October 11. Uploading again or stopping just had slight effects on sales. Generally sales are tanking there. But....

...my overall income did NOT change. I have no exact data if this has to do with buyers moving or not since I did not observe it that well or track sales so detailled, but I assume they did so. From my (unapproved and unofficial) observations I do not only see a move of buyers moving from istock to the other established ones, but also a move from the other established agencies to newcomers like depositphotos.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 19:07 »
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Are you assuming they concurrently had the same images on these other sites as they had on iStock?  If they did then an increase in sales on the other sites once pulling out of iStock would imply that buyers were following those particular photogs to wherever they went.  If they did not have those same iStock images elsewhere then an increase in sales would be due to the increased content (ex-iStock images) they are now putting on those other sites.

An interesting question....looking forward to the answers as I'm considering pulling my port.

« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 19:23 »
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I have only pulled old non-sellers so far, so I can't really say what kind of effect it's had.  I'm taking it slow, because I can't afford to shoot myself in the foot until I get more photos online elsewhere. 

« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 19:44 »
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I stopped uploading when they made the RC announcement. I deactivated just under 95% of my port at the end of Sept 2011. I left a mix of random "crapstock" and images that either seemed to be selling ok at IS and nowhere else or didn't get accepted other places. I made them all P+ too before I deactivated the rest.

As expected, sales dropped a lot. However the next 2 months were BMEs at SS (lots of sales plus OD and EL sales) and both beat any previous month overall. I won't pretend that I had any buyers leave IS to get my stuff elsewhere, but I will say that it is nice to be able to somewhat ignore most of the drama at IS these days. I would love for them to get their act together and treat buyers and contributors in a reasonable fashion, but to be perfectly honest I have no reason to believe that will happen unless IS gets sold to someone else (and even then it would be unlikely). December was down somewhat, but that is usually the case for me and it was pretty much offset by good Alamy sales.

The lower IS sales get the easier it will be for indies to just give up on them completely.

« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 20:18 »
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The lower IS sales get the easier it will be for indies to just give up on them completely.

Very true!  And I'm one of those indies.  I've been slowing deactivating images, but at this point I might as well just drop IS altogether.  Used to be I had regular 20-sales days...now I have regular zero-sales days.   

« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 20:42 »
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I know you know this, but with so many things changing all the time, it's really hard to pinpoint cause and effect. So SS had a great last three months but was it greater for those who had pulled their IS port than for me who still had mine? Hard to say.

You might try to contact David Gilder who dropped exclusivity and pulled his whole port when iStock turned on its contributors last September. I don't think he frequents MSG much but his site has contact information.

If you've ever read about bacterial films (meaning a collection of bacteria on a surface, not a movie) nothing much special happens until they're there in sufficient quantity. It may be that there is no immediate effect of one or two photographers leaving iStock, especially if those anecdotes about how buyers work that we've heard here are true - that buyers choose a site and stick with it rather than shopping around for each purchase to find their chosen image at the cheapest price.

However, if a site outage, price increase or other disruption causes buyers to re-evaluate where they shop, possibly the reduced choice at iStock might be a factor in their decision to switch or change which place they shop first. Perhaps when they do and they wonder where all those great images of seniors went to, they ones they used to buy all the time but aren't there any more, your portfolio not being there any more (along with others) might be an influence.

I have thought about removing my iStock portfolio more than once, most recently at the end of December where indie sales were so awful and for a while it appeared they were ramping up the transfer to the partner sites. I was thinking that once on Thinkstock/photos.com it would take iStock forever to remove the files, so if all indie files were buried long term at iStock, leaving the only measurable sales from the partner program I wanted out.

I decided to wait until the New Year and they did improve things quite a bit; they've also stopped transferring files (mine anyway) as I'm at 14 files in the PP and holding for weeks now.

I'm back on that fence again :)

« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 20:48 »
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Interesting question. I think it's a little too early to tell for me. I got rid of them in September, so I really only have 2 months of info to go on. Also, I'm not really uploading to SS, DT and I've left FT & VS too, so that may skew my numbers. I have seen some growth though.

Last year was pretty transitional for me, so my numbers are down. Hopefully, this year will be more about growth. I'm planning on creating a ton of images, kicking butt and taking no prisoners.  ;)

lagereek

« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 03:43 »
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lagereek is deactivating blue&red flames, basically a lot of best sellers and said he's experiencing increased sales at other sites (and he says he knows a few top contributors who had the same experience).

Hope he will chime in here.  Would also love to hear from the folks who pulled out of IS entirely. 

Hi Lisa!

Yes I deactivated some 60, of my most sold and commercial files. Want to point out, I did NOT!  do it as some sort of vengeance towards IS, or something!  I did it because I found a better place for them, rather then hang around at page 50, and that goes for any agenys search. Ofcourse I have noticed an increase at some other places, I knew this woiuld happen or else I would not have deactivated them in the first place.

I do not want to spend the entire 2012, uploading to dozens of agencies, its futile and creates unnecessary competition among your own files,  OK, for generic stuff I suppose but not for my type of material.

Yes, I have noticed a big increase in these files revenues but, that might also be coincidental?  who knows?  time will tell.

Also!  my type of photography, is too hard to come by, involves lots of security, MRs and PRs and is based on many years of mutual client/photographer trust. Dont want to waste them on agencies that pushes them way down the search and give prefs to other files that shouldnt even be there in the first place.

best.

« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2012, 04:50 »
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The main reason I see not to leave istock is that they might have different owners and management in the future.  I also don't like the thought of removing images that have been almost copied and letting the copycats have money that I should have.  Having invested a lot of time uploading my portfolio and making public lightboxes, I still can't bring myself to leave.  I was on the brink last year but decided that if the majority of independents stay there, removing my portfolio isn't going to make much difference.  I did upload some new images towards the end of last year but my sales have fallen again.  I think the final straw for me would be slipping in to the next lower commission level.

If the site is sold in 2012 and the new owners are more non-exclusive friendly, I would feel stupid leaving now.  If it isn't sold this year, I will probably run out of patience.

I would love to leave, if more independents left.  Putting up with such low commissions and decreasing sales isn't any fun and sends the wrong message to the other sites.  If there was a long list of independents leaving this year, I would add my name to it.  I just don't see much point in leaving when so many others are still there and continue to upload new images.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 04:51 by sharpshot »

lagereek

« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2012, 05:42 »
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The main reason I see not to leave istock is that they might have different owners and management in the future.  I also don't like the thought of removing images that have been almost copied and letting the copycats have money that I should have.  Having invested a lot of time uploading my portfolio and making public lightboxes, I still can't bring myself to leave.  I was on the brink last year but decided that if the majority of independents stay there, removing my portfolio isn't going to make much difference.  I did upload some new images towards the end of last year but my sales have fallen again.  I think the final straw for me would be slipping in to the next lower commission level.

If the site is sold in 2012 and the new owners are more non-exclusive friendly, I would feel stupid leaving now.  If it isn't sold this year, I will probably run out of patience.

I would love to leave, if more independents left.  Putting up with such low commissions and decreasing sales isn't any fun and sends the wrong message to the other sites.  If there was a long list of independents leaving this year, I would add my name to it.  I just don't see much point in leaving when so many others are still there and continue to upload new images.

Hi Race!

"differant owners and management in the future"?  this argument does not stick anymore,  before TS, yes, but not now, since our images are slooooowly being mirrored over there. Besides, a new owner doesnt give a * about Excl/Indepts,  he wants the money, regardless.

See, this is the fallacy many are under, that owners, buyers, etc, seem to care about contributors of pictures. They dont.

« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2012, 06:00 »
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The only think that will make IS to change their politics is that say half of best selling photographers ex. or non ex. ( including Yuri, and others big indies ) will poll their ports out of there. Personally i don't think they will do that.... money is more important (regardless the sum) than commissions cuts or other nasty thinks.

The ''law'' that 20% of the contributors bring 80% of the income is applying even to IS.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 06:06 by nicku »

« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2012, 07:20 »
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I'm a diamond indie.  In the good old days I was selling 60 -70 images a day.  So far this year I have sold a total of 14 images.!!! Like jsnover I only have 15 images at the partner sites but if this continues I will seriously consider pulling my port once my images are all transferred.

« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2012, 07:31 »
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I'm a diamond indie.  In the good old days I was selling 60 -70 images a day.  So far this year I have sold a total of 14 images.!!! Like jsnover I only have 15 images at the partner sites but if this continues I will seriously consider pulling my port once my images are all transferred.

My sympathies for your situation - but I don't understand the logic here.

If you pull your port from IS then they will remove all your images from the PP too.  So why wait for them to be transferred?

« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2012, 07:40 »
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As frustrating as Istock is for independent contributors, I will probably keep my portfolio with them for the foreseeable future. As much as anything else I want to monitor what happens to them and I can only do that by keeping my port there. If sales are on the slide at Istock, as most of the available evidence suggests, then at some point I assume they'll be forced to take some realistic action to address the situation. At the moment Istock appear to acting like a deer in the headlights, rooted to the policies that have put them in the position they are and refusing to accept that there is a problem. Mind you, short of going back to their roots as a 'proper microstock agency' and returning commission levels to the original canister system, I'm not sure what they can do. Istock's inability to fix all the site bugs without creating even more in the process is particularly concerning.

Yesterday I checked the sales of the last 100 images I have uploaded to Istock and compared them with the same images at SS. The images have been on both sites about 3 months. Somewhat to my surprise the images had earned about $80 at both agencies although about half the earnings at Istock were from an EL. That was obviously before the massive change to the best match so I'll continue to monitor the sales on those images at Istock before deciding whether to upload any further work to them.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2012, 07:46 »
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I did NOT pull my port AND noticed a significant increase at all other sites (more than I lost there).
It's an interesting question, but very difficult to answer, as there may be many causes.

« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2012, 08:28 »
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Personally, I don't see why it would be of any advantage to delete images from iStock. If they are buried in the best match they won't sell, and since they can't be found they will not be any competition for the other sites. If it's placed good in Istock's best match it will sell so there's no reason to deactivate.
Also, I do not believe buyers follow specific photographers. I think they search the image(s) they need for a specific project. But I could be wrong, just my personal thoughts.

I'm officially un-exclusive (Photo) for 2 days now and started uploading to the competition, but so far haven't thought a moment about deleting images at iStockphoto. For the reasons stated here and maybe because I still have silent hopes things will be like before again, I don't know.

lagereek

« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2012, 08:46 »
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Personally, I don't see why it would be of any advantage to delete images from iStock. If they are buried in the best match they won't sell, and since they can't be found they will not be any competition for the other sites. If it's placed good in Istock's best match it will sell so there's no reason to deactivate.
Also, I do not believe buyers follow specific photographers. I think they search the image(s) they need for a specific project. But I could be wrong, just my personal thoughts.

I'm officially un-exclusive (Photo) for 2 days now and started uploading to the competition, but so far haven't thought a moment about deleting images at iStockphoto. For the reasons stated here and maybe because I still have silent hopes things will be like before again, I don't know.

True!  buyers dont follow photographers, unless they are famous, household name or something but in general buyers dont give a * who has taken the shot as long as it fits the brief. Its a fallacy.

Although, I cant see the point in having all shots mirrored at TS and for peanuts and then the same shots selling at IS, for much more.

Im personally a bit tired of all this nonsense and certainly dont intend to spend the entire 2012, like the previous 2011. If an agency cant get their stuff together, dump them.

best.

« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2012, 10:29 »
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I'm a diamond indie.  In the good old days I was selling 60 -70 images a day.  So far this year I have sold a total of 14 images.!!! Like jsnover I only have 15 images at the partner sites but if this continues I will seriously consider pulling my port once my images are all transferred.

My sympathies for your situation - but I don't understand the logic here.

If you pull your port from IS then they will remove all your images from the PP too.  So why wait for them to be transferred?
You are absolutely right but I suppose that I am living with some hope that things will change before then.   Also they don't seem to be in any hurry to move them over to the partner sites so at the moment I have nothing to lose.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 10:31 by fotografer »

« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2012, 10:33 »
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The advantage, for me at least, is peace of mind.  I can't in good conscience support a company that refuses to support its contributors.

« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2012, 10:41 »
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The advantage, for me at least, is peace of mind.  I can't in good conscience support a company that refuses to support its contributors.

+1 Well said.

« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2012, 10:45 »
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I'm a diamond indie.  In the good old days I was selling 60 -70 images a day.  So far this year I have sold a total of 14 images.!!!...

This is a weird sort of reverse bragging, but my total (another diamond indie) in 2012 is 28 images - it really is a very sad thing to measure just how down things are

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

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