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Author Topic: Help a newly independent understand what is going on!  (Read 4722 times)

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« on: August 30, 2011, 14:33 »
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As a newly independent contributor (exclusive at DT From Dec 2008 to July 2011) I am new to MSG and all of the other sites. I have been reading almost everything posted in the last month and am trying to learn. But I feel like I need someone to catch me up. I don't quite understand all the chaos with this Istock thing and the current threads are very confusing to someone who doesn't have the history. Maybe someone could answer a few questions to get me up to speed?
I would appreciate it. Please pardon my cluelessness but I bet I'm not the only one.

1) Why would anyone be exclusive with Istock? Are there incentives that are so great that you wouldn't want to maximize your exposure by selling on other sites?

2) Why is the PP program so bad? Once again wouldn't you want to increase your potential customer base?

3) I get a very good RPD from DT but still most of the sales are subs. I have also had good success in the last two weeks with SS which are all subs. How is what Istock is doing with the PP different?

4) There must have been something in the past that made Istock the obvious choice for contributors that isn't there anymore... what was it?

I am not making judgements with these questions I just want to understand.
Thank you for clearing some of this up.


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 14:53 »
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Wow.  Where to begin?

1) Why would anyone be exclusive with Istock? Are there incentives that are so great that you wouldn't want to maximize your exposure by selling on other sites?

Istock was the first, and for a long time the best-selling, microstock site.  High level (diamond) contributors all earn(ed) 40%, rather than the 20% independents used to get.  That's all changed now, but until it did, you could effectively double your Istock income by going exclusive.  Plus you got better search placement, so likely more sales.

2) Why is the PP program so bad? Once again wouldn't you want to increase your potential customer base? and 3) I get a very good RPD from DT but still most of the sales are subs. I have also had good success in the last two weeks with SS which are all subs. How is what Istock is doing with the PP different?


In the Istock PP, the maximum subscription payout you can get is .28.  On Shutterstock, it's .38.  On DT sub price fluctuates with the image level, so you can get as high as $1.26 for a sub.  Quite a significant difference.  Also, Shutterstock and DT are much fairer to their contributors.

4) There must have been something in the past that made Istock the obvious choice for contributors that isn't there anymore... what was it?

Too many things to name, really.  Istock used to have a great community, they used to be responsive to contributors, and most of all, they had such a huge volume of buyers and sales, that even with lower commissions, they were the top selling site for most serious independent contributors.  And that has all changed. 

Istock isn't really even Istock anymore.  It is just a shell of (shill?) the Getty empire, which isn't even really the Getty empire anymore, but just one of many properties acquired by corporate raiders Hellman & Friedman.

Hope that sheds some light.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 14:56 »
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As a newly independent contributor (exclusive at DT From Dec 2008 to July 2011) I am new to MSG and all of the other sites. I have been reading almost everything posted in the last month and am trying to learn. But I feel like I need someone to catch me up. I don't quite understand all the chaos with this Istock thing and the current threads are very confusing to someone who doesn't have the history. Maybe someone could answer a few questions to get me up to speed?
I would appreciate it. Please pardon my cluelessness but I bet I'm not the only one.

1) Why would anyone be exclusive with Istock? Are there incentives that are so great that you wouldn't want to maximize your exposure by selling on other sites?

2) Why is the PP program so bad? Once again wouldn't you want to increase your potential customer base?

3) I get a very good RPD from DT but still most of the sales are subs. I have also had good success in the last two weeks with SS which are all subs. How is what Istock is doing with the PP different?

4) There must have been something in the past that made Istock the obvious choice for contributors that isn't there anymore... what was it?

I am not making judgements with these questions I just want to understand.
Thank you for clearing some of this up.

First of all, I am relatively new there too, and non-exclusive.

1) Exclusivity used to be a good thing. More sales, more exposure, more money, at the best microstock site that existed. But today, exclusivity has become almost worthless in my opinion. Sure, you might get more sales, more exposure and your earnings may go up, but you'll fall victim to regular pay cuts, sneaky contract changes and other tricks to make sure they'll earn money at your expense. The whole attitude of Istock has changed for the worse. As Kelly Thompson (used to be the guy in charge) put it: "...but money isn't going to be what makes you all happy." Nuff said.

One thing I do know: Istock is sinking deeper every day, judging from the poll results, unhappy contributors and dwindling sales. You don't want to put your eggs in one leaking basket.

2) I don't think the PP program is bad per say. My files get sold on partner sites, and Istock sales don't seem to fall behind. But most people don't want to sell their artwork for a meager $0,28 per download. They also feel that it cannibalizes their sales on Istock or other sites.
The problem with these recent changes, is that non-exclusives don't have a CHOICE anymore of opting-out of the PP program.

3) It's not, actually. Although I hate subs, because it feels like giving your work away for free, sites like ShutterStock actually compensate this with more sales. DT not so much in my experience. The PP sites do well too.

4) Istock used to be the #1 microstock site, with the best marketing, the most customers, the 'best' artwork. Now not so much anymore. Istocks reputation is screwed now, customers are leaving, contributors are unhappy, sales are dwindling.

« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 14:56 »
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1. money. At one time IS dominated the microstock industry and you could get a much higher % and uploads by being exclusive. Some people have done very well as exclusive and some still report higher earnings after becoming exclusive.

2. Getty bought out stockxpert which paid .30 per download and dropped it down to .25 same for pp. I think that they have raised that to .28 now. That rubbed many of us the wrong way. It seems they want to topple SS and many of us don't want to help them do so. Now they want to force us to accept their terms. Also PP sales do not contribute to RC totals. It appears that IS wants to move sales to PP where they make more and we make less.

3. At least sub sales at DT raise your image levels, and higher level sales even for subs get more $. At SS lots of sub sales will eventually get you .38 per sub sale. At PP lots of sub sales gets you lots of sub sales, but not a lot of $.

4. IS used to have lots of sales - a file could take off at IS and make many sales per day = lots of $. They have gradually lowered commissions, tightened the screws, reneged on promises, changed terms in their favor, made numerous blunders to piss off suppliers and buyers etc. They used to = 25 to 50% of most non exclusive contributors, now they are down more in the 10 to 35% range - that would still be pretty good except we are all sick of their greedy dishonest ways and they had such promise and goodwill and they destroyed that.

I guess everyone else said similar.

« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 15:15 »
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Thank you, This is what I pretty much what I thought. Just a couple more questions.

1)Why wouldn't Istock keep the best images at home and send the weaker images off to the other sites regardless of exclusivity. In theory this would benefit both Istock and the more talented contributors. Istock would have an exceptional product and the contributors wouldn't be competing in the search against a lot of poor images.

2) Is Istock still in the top 4 and a must have for a new contributor without much of a portfolio?

« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 15:35 »
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1. You'd have to ask iStock for their motivation to send everything to the cheap sites, not that you'd get a straight answer.  My guess is that they believe they can make more money for less effort by selling cheaply and in high volume at ThingStock et al.  Their profit margins are probably higher, which means less for the authors of the content.  So they win by making us lose.

2. It'll vary by when people joined, but I suspect iStock is still in the top 4 for most who have a significant presence there.  They're #2 for me behind Shutterstock.  But that's down from #1 my first three years.  A year ago they were 19% of my stock income; this past year they dropped to 15%, and only 13% this month.  Granted, I stopped uploading when they cut royalties last September, but my recent uploads weren't selling at the point I stopped, so who knows how much I lost by stopping.

You'll have to decide if iStock is worth submitting to now.  I'd say no, because the compensation is so poor, because their treatment of suppliers is worse, and because you'll be so limited in the number of images you can upload that you won't see any kind of results for a long time, if ever.

« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 15:39 »
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2) Is Istock still in the top 4 and a must have for a new contributor without much of a portfolio?

It depends pretty much on when did you start.  For me IStock barely makes to top 6. I has been always low earner since I can very little number of images comparable to other sites. Maybe when you get exclusive it's easier to get images accepted. If sales drop further it does not make sense to join them now.

jen

« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 16:07 »
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1) Why would anyone be exclusive with Istock? Are there incentives that are so great that you wouldn't want to maximize your exposure by selling on other sites?

I simply don't want to spend the time learning the nuances of / uploading to a bunch of different sites.  Lots of people will tell you it doesn't take any more time and that's fine if it works for them.
My downloads went waaaay up after becoming exclusive.  I also like the revenue from Vetta and the extra money I've been getting every month from having my Vetta files on Getty.  Plus I got a 5% raise this week for meeting my next RC milestone so that's nice too.

2) Why is the PP program so bad? Once again wouldn't you want to increase your potential customer base?

iStock will tell you that iStock and the PP sites have different customers.  However, a lot of people don't want to undercut themselves on a cheaper site.   I've been experimenting with adding older/crappier files that haven't sold on iStock.  So far they don't sell in the PP either.  

4) There must have been something in the past that made Istock the obvious choice for contributors that isn't there anymore... what was it?

A lot of stuff has changed and a lot of the competition has gotten stronger.  I don't think there was any one thing that caused this shift (but the constant price fluctuations, royalty changes last September, and the broken site redesign certainly didn't help).

Cogent Marketing

« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 16:15 »
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I checked out chromaco on DT - does not exist. I think maybe chromaco is a plant on this site fishing for information. Stop feeding him/her.

I think it's an obvious plant. Jessss don't you people think sometimes before you empty your soul?

If I am wrong chromaco the solution is simple for you. Post your real ID at DT.

Bet you don't reply.

« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 16:18 »
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I changed my name when I went non exclusive based on my accountants advice. Here is my page
http://www.dreamstime.com/Crowvb_info
I am not a plant just a new guy trying to understand. You can find me on SS and 123 as well.

traveler1116

« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 16:19 »
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I checked out chromaco on DT - does not exist. I think maybe chromaco is a plant on this site fishing for information. Stop feeding him/her.

I think it's an obvious plant. Jessss don't you people think sometimes before you empty your soul?

If I am wrong chromaco the solution is simple for you. Post your real ID at DT.

Bet you don't reply.
Most new people here are "fishing" for info, I'm not sure there is a danger in answering these questions.  But I do love a good conspiracy theory...

« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2011, 16:22 »
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I checked out chromaco on DT - does not exist. I think maybe chromaco is a plant on this site fishing for information. Stop feeding him/her.

I think it's an obvious plant. Jessss don't you people think sometimes before you empty your soul?

If I am wrong chromaco the solution is simple for you. Post your real ID at DT.

Bet you don't reply.

You lost your bet. Jessss don't you think sometimes before you make accusations?

« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2011, 16:36 »
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This is how these things get off topic.
I'm sure I'm not the only one confused at where to upload and where not to. In the last two hours there have been posts 100% for deposit photos and 100% against. Seems like Istock is destroying the entire industry and Yaymicro is going out of business... and then not.

This is why I asked for some clarification. I'm not trying to take advantage but I do want to understand and be somewhat responsible in my uploading with regards to the rest of the community. I think unless you have been here for a while making sense of all this is very difficult.

Thank you for indulging a confused new guy.

« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2011, 17:19 »
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Regarding your question about whether iStock is worth it for someone new, I think the answer is still yes, in spite of the 15% base royalty. It's true there have been some weird days or weeks this summer where really old files are selling (which obviously is bad news for new contributors) but in general, iStock's sales volume is still high enough to earn you decent money.

Get DeepMeta (Mac/Windows) to handle uploads as iStock's on-site uploading sucks.

Once you have enough images uploaded, put those that sell best into Photo+ which will help earnings quite a bit.

lisafx

« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2011, 17:23 »
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Regarding your question about whether iStock is worth it for someone new, I think the answer is still yes, in spite of the 15% base royalty. It's true there have been some weird days or weeks this summer where really old files are selling (which obviously is bad news for new contributors) but in general, iStock's sales volume is still high enough to earn you decent money.

Get DeepMeta (Mac/Windows) to handle uploads as iStock's on-site uploading sucks.

Once you have enough images uploaded, put those that sell best into Photo+ which will help earnings quite a bit.


I'm afraid I have to agree.  For someone just starting out, the important sites to join are the top 4 listed at right.  Istock is still one of those.  In fact, the recent changes are far more damaging to established portfolios.  Newbies really have nothing to lose. 

« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2011, 17:23 »
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1. To:
 A. Work less
 B. Make more money

The incentives are not bad. you get 25% initial royalty instead of the initiall 15% or 16% as an independent, its fairly easy to get to 30% and quite hard (but do-able) to get to 35% royalty.  They do have a 40% rate but that is a VERY high goal post to reach.
In addition, you get better picture search placement, your pictures are more expensive so more $$$ for you, you get a chance to nominate pictures to higher-end Vetta/Agency collections which sell for a much higher price (but less % for you) and you get some of your portfolio ported to getty (Vetta/Agency get ported automaticly).
Finally you have a much higher upload quota.

2. as an exclusive it isn't that bad IMO. I exclude my best sellers from it though.

3. It isn't different. Quite the same really. as an exclusive I get .40 and soon maybe .42 .

4. I will let others answer this.

« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2011, 18:19 »
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I'm in the same boat as you.  Trying to get caught up and learn the nuances of other sites.  I've been exclusive to FT for years and have recently made the switch to upload elsewhere.  I've decided for the time being to keep IS at the bottom of my list.  I have a grand total of 4 images uploaded there.  The upload process is beyond laughable, they require their model release and no others will be allowed as far as I can tell.  The commission rates are offensive.  It is just an unpleasant experience all the way around.  When (if) I get caught up at FT, SS, and DT I may give it a shot but for me personally, I don't have the time or patience to deal with IS.

Mat

fritz

  • I love Tom and Jerry music

« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2011, 19:23 »
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I earn only from iS PP program per month as much as I earn on DT  and 200% more than FT(counting  subs,pp and regular sales... altogether)
It's on you to judge does it worth to upload to iS or not!

Uncle Pete

  • Evidence please...

« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2011, 01:23 »
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Miinor points to add to all the very good answers here.

IS now pays base level 15% for Independents. You need to make quite a few sales or have a larger portfolio to break that minimum and start getting more. So anyone starting will get 15% for a long time! I used to get an average of $1.65 a download from the IS downloads. Now it will be 28c? OUCH!

StockXpert sells through Thinkstock and pays 25c a download, not 28c. Two different programs and administrations, even if they all come from the same owner.

IS PP pays 28c through ThinkStock sales. So people who stuck it out with the StockXpert transition are getting less than IS pp sales. (often the same images!) Some images from IS do get to photos.com, no way to know how or which ones, but as far as I have seen, nothing from StockXpert goes anywhere but Thinkstock. No new images added from StockXpert, if you are there, that's it. I don't know how the Photos.com images get paid, I've seen nothing but subs from PP and they are all at 28c. Maybe someone else has more information?

No possible payment increase from IS PP sales, so it's always going to be 28 cents.

SS someone can reasonably expect to get up to 33c a download with some serious effort. I'd say 400-500 images and you'll make it in the first year. I'm still under the $500 earnings, but I'm not "serious"  ;) I don't know why someone would want to make 28c from a sucker site, that's draining our own download numbers on IS, which used to be pretty good. Or why someone would want to make commissions of 28c instead of 33c while IS sucks sales from SS.

At $3000 in licenses (which includes the occasional EL) SS starts to pay 36 cents. OK maybe not huge, but 36c vs 28c and SS has a better volume, it makes SS an all around better place to support and not drain by helping IS drain sales at a lower rate. Simple enough, we are competing with ourselves once again. This is why I don't contribute to or support the other cheap "sucker" sites that drain sales from SS!

I will not support the race to the bottom and more cuts in sales and commissions. The new IS program does just that.

RT


« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2011, 02:25 »
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The upload process is beyond laughable, they require their model release and no others will be allowed as far as I can tell. 

I've never used their release, I've used the generic release from Gettyimages since the new one came out in 2008 and have never had a single problem on any site (well apart from DT early on when I kept getting rejections over a country confusion about UK/England but an email to their support sorted that out)

« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2011, 05:36 »
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My 2 cents is

1) if photography is your (serious) hobby but not primary job and you think that you can create images which could make to Vetta or Agency collections, be exclusive. You'll earn more from higher % and also Vetta money coming from Getty Site will be good. But if photography is your job and you do it 24/7 you can be independent. Myself I am in the first category and I can say that I am happy.

2) PP sucks. There is no guarantee that they can place or withdraw your images to/from on time. Furthermore with the new image search capability of Google, if I was a customer I would always searched for the photo I liked in IS. Maybe it pops up in Thinkstock. If yes I would pay less and the contributor loses money. So, I wouldn't bother PP.

jen

« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2011, 09:48 »
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I checked out chromaco on DT - does not exist. I think maybe chromaco is a plant on this site fishing for information. Stop feeding him/her.

I think it's an obvious plant. Jessss don't you people think sometimes before you empty your soul?

If I am wrong chromaco the solution is simple for you. Post your real ID at DT.

Bet you don't reply.
I like your tinfoil hat.  Can I have one?

« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2011, 15:06 »
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Yeah, well, you can joke about the tinfoil hats but look at a lot of people's signatures...on this forum and others...lots of blogging going on, where someone posts innocent questions and has others do all the work and research for them, then blogs about it, getting money from ads and search engine placement. Don't even think about telling me THAT doesn't go on. So it's no wonder some people are suspect.

And no, I'm not saying that's what's happening here, but after all the fraud and theft and identity theft and stealing of images and clawbacks of money and missing money etc., I would think the whole intended cut-down of calling someone a conspiracy theorist with a tinfoil hat might be tempered down a bit. After all, this is a time when anyone can be scammed at any time.

Quote
This is why I asked for some clarification. I'm not trying to take advantage but I do want to understand and be somewhat responsible in my uploading with regards to the rest of the community. I think unless you have been here for a while making sense of all this is very difficult.

Thank you for indulging a confused new guy.


And I think the short answer is everyone has a different experience. Your images may do well on one site, and mine would absolutely tank. There is no clarification. Most of the questions you asked have been discussed on other threads here already. You yourself have noticed contradictions between contributors as to what is a good site and what isn't. I would never upload to Deposit Photos, given their past history, but others swear by it. I would never upload to Pixmac because of their past history, but others swear by it. I'm afraid you might have to just jump in the water and get your feet wet all by yourself!  :)

chromaco, you joined DT in 2008. With all due respect, that doesn't seem new. I suppose you could have an explanation for that as well, but you might understand why some might be asking questions.

« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2011, 15:42 »
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Thank you to all for your responses. Just to be clear I was not offended by the suggestion I was a plant. Seems like that sort of thing has happened before. I also immediately cleared it up.
I've read everything here for the last month- Its not real practical to go back 3 years to try to figure out what happened in the past so I asked a few questions. I appreciate the time people gave in their responses.
I never claimed to be a rookie, just newly independent-- I just wanted to understand the rest of the community. This thing with Istock is very concerning and without some history those threads were hard to make sense of. Now I understand a bit better. I just had my first images accepted at Istock two days ago. I wanted to make sure I wasn't making a major mistake by uploading there as well.
I will take your advice and proceed in my own direction at a cautious pace. At least now I can make informed decisions.

« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2011, 05:07 »
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Furthermore with the new image search capability of Google, if I was a customer I would always searched for the photo I liked in IS. Maybe it pops up in Thinkstock. If yes I would pay less and the contributor loses money.
Isn't Thinkstock subs only? If so, it fits the mass buyers, not the eventual buyers.

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

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