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Author Topic: I'm going for the golden choker.  (Read 7322 times)

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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2013, 10:01 »
+3
I've noticed that iStock is promising more exposure, but I can't figure out how that's going to happen.

The only extra exposure you are guaranteed is if your content is mirrored up to Getty.  Nothing more.


« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2013, 10:05 »
0
OP - like you, when I started (2006), I was with a few sites, but iStock quickly established itself for me as the better seller by far, and I went Exclusive soon after I was eligible (it took 500 DLs then).

As far as I could tell, it worked fine for me, at least until last September - since then, it's been looking increasingly touch and go, but still holding on for now, mainly thanks to my having just scraped to the next % level last year, plus good sales on GI, so far anyway.  Next year may not be so good.

But it's a tough call these days.  As mentioned though, I think it's probably easier to dump the crown early on if it doesn't work out than it is to dump being independent once you're established at other sites, so if you're going for it, best do it now rather than later.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2013, 10:35 »
+2
I turned exclusive last July and, initially, it was a great decision.  From Aug through mid-Dec I was making 5 times what I made on SS during my best months there.  However, since mid-Dec my sales have been in a freefall.  Current best match favors older files (which I don't have) and new files sink so fast that if you get a download or two you're doing well.  Views are way down as well.  In all honesty it feels like buyers have left in droves.
If I could have looked into my crystal ball last July and seen what was going to be happening after just a few months of being exclusive I wouldn't have gone that route.  With the current state of affairs at iStock having no other options is not a good feeling.  Personally, I am looking for other options while I slowly deactivate files. 
Your mileage may differ, of course.  If you do decide to give it a try my only recommendation would be to deactivate your account at SS rather than close it.  That way you can keep your files on-line there (they won't be visible to the buyers) and, with re-activation, you'll be ready to go quickly should you decide to return.

EmberMike

« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2013, 11:47 »
0
...If one wishes to exploit their non-exclusive status to the maximum, then shouldn't they submit to around 10 sites or more? I'm okay with maintaining 2-3 portfolios at different agencies, but it doesn't seem like that would be very optimal versus going exclusive. Then again, I guess it all depends on the data. Someone who has 80% of his revenues coming outside of iStock would be crazy to go exclusive...

It is indeed optimal for folks who fall into that category. I make 5% of my income from istock.

« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2013, 11:50 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 15:40 by Audi 5000 »

« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2013, 12:16 »
0
I've noticed that iStock is promising more exposure, but I can't figure out how that's going to happen.

The only extra exposure you are guaranteed is if your content is mirrored up to Getty.  Nothing more.

I see. Thank you for this. :)

OP - like you, when I started (2006), I was with a few sites, but iStock quickly established itself for me as the better seller by far, and I went Exclusive soon after I was eligible (it took 500 DLs then).

As far as I could tell, it worked fine for me, at least until last September - since then, it's been looking increasingly touch and go, but still holding on for now, mainly thanks to my having just scraped to the next % level last year, plus good sales on GI, so far anyway.  Next year may not be so good.

But it's a tough call these days.  As mentioned though, I think it's probably easier to dump the crown early on if it doesn't work out than it is to dump being independent once you're established at other sites, so if you're going for it, best do it now rather than later.

You make a very good point with your last sentence. If I plan on experimenting, better I do it now than later when I've committed to submitting to multiple agencies. It's definitely something to think about. Thank you!

I turned exclusive last July and, initially, it was a great decision.  From Aug through mid-Dec I was making 5 times what I made on SS during my best months there.  However, since mid-Dec my sales have been in a freefall.  Current best match favors older files (which I don't have) and new files sink so fast that if you get a download or two you're doing well.  Views are way down as well.  In all honesty it feels like buyers have left in droves.
If I could have looked into my crystal ball last July and seen what was going to be happening after just a few months of being exclusive I wouldn't have gone that route.  With the current state of affairs at iStock having no other options is not a good feeling.  Personally, I am looking for other options while I slowly deactivate files. 
Your mileage may differ, of course.  If you do decide to give it a try my only recommendation would be to deactivate your account at SS rather than close it.  That way you can keep your files on-line there (they won't be visible to the buyers) and, with re-activation, you'll be ready to go quickly should you decide to return.

Accounts like these scare me. It's also very consistent with how iStock's Alexa's ratings are looking lately. On the other hand, when I look at iStock's forums I find people reporting January to be their BME -- even though these instances are significantly fewer than those who're saying they're having the worst months. It's all very puzzling. Anwyays, thanks for the advice on deactivation vs. deletion! I'll certainly keep that in mind.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 12:34 by davidgoh »

« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2013, 12:21 »
+3
Those numbers at the right are not indicative for illustrators at all! Not even close. My humble opinion is that you are approaching this entirely wrong. You need to try some of the other smaller agencies and you need to add ITPC to your jpg thumbnails. Once you do this you will realize that IS is the worse place to be if you are trying to make the most efficient use of your uploading time. You should be able to upload 20 or so images to at least 10 or more sites while watching prime time television in one night.

FYI- for me SS is number 2 in earnings, DT is number 6, FT is number 11, and IS is number 9 and I can't even get around to VectorStock because of the pricing and PITA upload.

Granted my port size varies based on upload ease, rpd, and overall earnings but I've been tracking this long enough to know that using the table on the right is as an indicator of how to proceed is a massive mistake for illustrators.

Just my two cents.

« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2013, 12:28 »
0
Those numbers at the right are not indicative for illustrators at all! Not even close. My humble opinion is that you are approaching this entirely wrong. You need to try some of the other smaller agencies and you need to add ITPC to your jpg thumbnails. Once you do this you will realize that IS is the worse place to be if you are trying to make the most efficient use of your uploading time. You should be able to upload 20 or so images to at least 10 or more sites while watching prime time television in one night.

FYI- for me SS is number 2 in earnings, DT is number 6, FT is number 11, and IS is number 9 and I can't even get around to VectorStock because of the pricing and PITA upload.

Granted my port size varies based on upload ease, rpd, and overall earnings but I've been tracking this long enough to know that using the table on the right is as an indicator of how to proceed is a massive mistake for illustrators.

Just my two cents.

I agree.

« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2013, 12:36 »
0
Files on Shutterstock can be just removed from sale without removing them from the site. So if you want to try exclusivity, you don't have to quit Shutterstock actually.

I would try for a few month and see what happen, and if thing go bad, you quit exclusivity and  reactivate your Shutterstock files...

I don't know about the others sites though...

« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2013, 16:16 »
+13
Have you been paid for writing this?

I was thinking exactly the same. There is so much propaganda in this it can`t be true....

It's comments like this that keep people from posting here. Absolutely unprofessional way to treat someone. I personnally would not give up exclusivity at iStock because from what I read here there is no way i would make nearly as much money as an independent unless I sold on my own and marketed myself. Just because it is not for you does not mean it is not for anyone else.. You have to be real good and have unique files. Istock is owned by a private equity firm. It has been for a long time. Don't expect them to coddle you, just ride the train for as long as the money comes in. No stock agency is going to coddle your butt and the contributors  that drank the Kool-aide and acted like it was a co-op were the first one to whine when they couldn't make the cut to Vetta and get the kind of money they photographers deserve, so are hanging out here patting themselves on the back and getting 2 bucks a dl. They standby here around and slam people that do the math and see that for them personally it makes more business sense to be exclusive. Rant over. And no I am not a newbie by any stretch. Having the best February ever and haven't even uploaded this year.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 16:29 by landbysea »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2013, 17:18 »
+2
On the other hand, when I look at iStock's forums I find people reporting January to be their BME -- even though these instances are significantly fewer than those who're saying they're having the worst months. It's all very puzzling.
Interpreting other people's figures is more difficult than it looks. You need to know what media they're using, how many files they have on each site, how long they've been on each site (somight have images lightboxed) etc.
To give an extreme but true example: there's a habituee of the Alamy forum who ha regularly said how much more he earns at Alamy than iStock, which would be quite surprising to me on the face of it, but he has fewer than 20 files in iS, but thousands on Alamy. No kidding.
Exactly the same when interpreting the figures on the right, and the monthly reports here. No point in looking at someone's figures who has 2000 files at one agency for four years, and 500 on a other for six months. The raw figures tell you almost nothing.

Also, at what level are those who are reporting BMEs? If I had 5 sales last month and 10 this month, and have tripled my port from 10 to 30, that's not saying very much. Conversely, at least a couple of people who are reporting ever worsening months have hardly uploaded in two years.

FWIW, my BME was Nov 2008, then Oct 2008, then Nov 2009. But that has little relevance to other people.

Tror

« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2013, 17:21 »
-2
Have you been paid for writing this?

I was thinking exactly the same. There is so much propaganda in this it can`t be true....

It's comments like this that keep people from posting here. Absolutely unprofessional way to treat someone. I personnally would not give up exclusivity at iStock because from what I read here there is no way i would make nearly as much money as an independent unless I sold on my own and marketed myself. Just because it is not for you does not mean it is not for anyone else.. You have to be real good and have unique files. Istock is owned by a private equity firm. It has been for a long time. Don't expect them to coddle you, just ride the train for as long as the money comes in. No stock agency is going to coddle your butt and the contributors  that drank the Kool-aide and acted like it was a co-op were the first one to whine when they couldn't make the cut to Vetta and get the kind of money they photographers deserve, so are hanging out here patting themselves on the back and getting 2 bucks a dl. They standby here around and slam people that do the math and see that for them personally it makes more business sense to be exclusive. Rant over. And no I am not a newbie by any stretch. Having the best February ever and haven't even uploaded this year.

Maybe you are right. I do not know. But yet my post made only reflects my opinion. The post by the OP was far too surreal for me to be made by just someones personal opinion. However, you sound very frustrated in your post and I think the point of view of: "nobody is friendly and just ride the business until its dead" sounds very sad, so I apologize if my opinion is adding up to this ;-)

« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2013, 18:19 »
0
Have you been paid for writing this?

I was thinking exactly the same. There is so much propaganda in this it can`t be true....

It's comments like this that keep people from posting here. Absolutely unprofessional way to treat someone. I personnally would not give up exclusivity at iStock because from what I read here there is no way i would make nearly as much money as an independent unless I sold on my own and marketed myself. Just because it is not for you does not mean it is not for anyone else.. You have to be real good and have unique files. Istock is owned by a private equity firm. It has been for a long time. Don't expect them to coddle you, just ride the train for as long as the money comes in. No stock agency is going to coddle your butt and the contributors  that drank the Kool-aide and acted like it was a co-op were the first one to whine when they couldn't make the cut to Vetta and get the kind of money they photographers deserve, so are hanging out here patting themselves on the back and getting 2 bucks a dl. They standby here around and slam people that do the math and see that for them personally it makes more business sense to be exclusive. Rant over. And no I am not a newbie by any stretch. Having the best February ever and haven't even uploaded this year.

Maybe you are right. I do not know. But yet my post made only reflects my opinion. The post by the OP was far too surreal for me to be made by just someones personal opinion. However, you sound very frustrated in your post and I think the point of view of: "nobody is friendly and just ride the business until its dead" sounds very sad, so I apologize if my opinion is adding up to this ;-)
Well if you have an opinion then give it. Don't make some unfounded slander against the OP. Like offer experiences or knowledge. And if you are going to use quotation marks learn what they are for. Stick to copying and pasting when you quote instead of making up your own words. Sorry I sound a little cynical but it is no secret that private equity firms could care less about suppliers. So you don't expect much. It's business and you take some risks with whatever company you are with. The OP has looked at his sales and made some conclusions that thousands of others have made. I don't see anything surreal about that. Experiences may vary. Exclusivity at iStock is still a good choice for many and is certainly not a choker. Selling for 2 bucks when I am getting 20 makes no sense for me.

« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2013, 23:27 »
0
Those numbers at the right are not indicative for illustrators at all! Not even close. My humble opinion is that you are approaching this entirely wrong. You need to try some of the other smaller agencies and you need to add ITPC to your jpg thumbnails. Once you do this you will realize that IS is the worse place to be if you are trying to make the most efficient use of your uploading time. You should be able to upload 20 or so images to at least 10 or more sites while watching prime time television in one night.

FYI- for me SS is number 2 in earnings, DT is number 6, FT is number 11, and IS is number 9 and I can't even get around to VectorStock because of the pricing and PITA upload.

Granted my port size varies based on upload ease, rpd, and overall earnings but I've been tracking this long enough to know that using the table on the right is as an indicator of how to proceed is a massive mistake for illustrators.

Just my two cents.


Hey there! Thanks for the comment and your supplied data! I'm not using the poll results as the basis for my wanting to go exclusive - rather, it's mostly the reasons I've supplied in the original post. As much as Vectorstock is a pain, it's actually pretty good for sales. :D I'm making an average 7-10$ per day there with just 25 files. It appears to be swarming with buyers due to the low prices. If you've got a portfolio that are in the thousands, you should give it a shot.

Thank you for that point on using ITPC. I've yet to give it a shot since only 1 out of the 4 sites I currently submit to supports it (SS). It'll be useful if I do go the route to submitting to multiple sites.

Files on Shutterstock can be just removed from sale without removing them from the site. So if you want to try exclusivity, you don't have to quit Shutterstock actually.

I would try for a few month and see what happen, and if thing go bad, you quit exclusivity and  reactivate your Shutterstock files...

I don't know about the others sites though...


Thank you for this. It certainly doesn't hurt to give it a shot. As a previous poster mentioned, better I experiment now as a newbie rather than when I'm an established independent.

On the other hand, when I look at iStock's forums I find people reporting January to be their BME -- even though these instances are significantly fewer than those who're saying they're having the worst months. It's all very puzzling.

Interpreting other people's figures is more difficult than it looks. You need to know what media they're using, how many files they have on each site, how long they've been on each site (somight have images lightboxed) etc.
To give an extreme but true example: there's a habituee of the Alamy forum who ha regularly said how much more he earns at Alamy than iStock, which would be quite surprising to me on the face of it, but he has fewer than 20 files in iS, but thousands on Alamy. No kidding.
Exactly the same when interpreting the figures on the right, and the monthly reports here. No point in looking at someone's figures who has 2000 files at one agency for four years, and 500 on a other for six months. The raw figures tell you almost nothing.

Also, at what level are those who are reporting BMEs? If I had 5 sales last month and 10 this month, and have tripled my port from 10 to 30, that's not saying very much. Conversely, at least a couple of people who are reporting ever worsening months have hardly uploaded in two years.

FWIW, my BME was Nov 2008, then Oct 2008, then Nov 2009. But that has little relevance to other people.


I didn't go too much in-depth into researching those reporting their sales, but what I do notice is that they were mostly exclusives (this is on the iStock forums). A few of them would provide additional data such as when they last uploaded, but it's also very puzzling - some would cite a growth of +500 in their portfolio over the year but report a decrease in royalties. Here's one of the threads i've been alooking at - http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=351109&page=1 . Given how varied the data is, I try to take things with a pinch of salt and look at my own trends instead. :)

Have you been paid for writing this?


I was thinking exactly the same. There is so much propaganda in this it can`t be true....


It's comments like this that keep people from posting here. Absolutely unprofessional way to treat someone. I personnally would not give up exclusivity at iStock because from what I read here there is no way i would make nearly as much money as an independent unless I sold on my own and marketed myself. Just because it is not for you does not mean it is not for anyone else.. You have to be real good and have unique files. Istock is owned by a private equity firm. It has been for a long time. Don't expect them to coddle you, just ride the train for as long as the money comes in. No stock agency is going to coddle your butt and the contributors  that drank the Kool-aide and acted like it was a co-op were the first one to whine when they couldn't make the cut to Vetta and get the kind of money they photographers deserve, so are hanging out here patting themselves on the back and getting 2 bucks a dl. They standby here around and slam people that do the math and see that for them personally it makes more business sense to be exclusive. Rant over. And no I am not a newbie by any stretch. Having the best February ever and haven't even uploaded this year.


Maybe you are right. I do not know. But yet my post made only reflects my opinion. The post by the OP was far too surreal for me to be made by just someones personal opinion. However, you sound very frustrated in your post and I think the point of view of: "nobody is friendly and just ride the business until its dead" sounds very sad, so I apologize if my opinion is adding up to this ;-)

Well if you have an opinion then give it. Don't make some unfounded slander against the OP. Like offer experiences or knowledge. And if you are going to use quotation marks learn what they are for. Stick to copying and pasting when you quote instead of making up your own words. Sorry I sound a little cynical but it is no secret that private equity firms could care less about suppliers. So you don't expect much. It's business and you take some risks with whatever company you are with. The OP has looked at his sales and made some conclusions that thousands of others have made. I don't see anything surreal about that. Experiences may vary. Exclusivity at iStock is still a good choice for many and is certainly not a choker. Selling for 2 bucks when I am getting 20 makes no sense for me.


I've been trying to mostly ignore those specific comments you've brought up, but I thank you for stepping in anyways. It is good to hear that there are contributors still enjoying exclusivity - because that means that it's not all that bad, and there's still a chance to make it! Cheers. :)

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2013, 23:32 »
+1
I'd suggest not going exclusive, but instead, upload to all top tier and mid tier sites.

VectorStock is -when uploading the normal way-, well, pure horror, but using StockSubmitter, you don't have to burden yourself with 380x400 resolution previews and stuff like that. It gets resized, zipped and submitted automatically by pressing literally one button. This goes for other sites requiring zipped files as well.

Get StockSubmitter, set it up, get familiar with it and optimize your keywording and uploading workflow. This will save you lots of time in the long run, especially for sites that have slow uploading via http.
I'm currently uploading to about 17 different sites, relatively easy.

« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2013, 11:58 »
0
If you're going to look to other's stats, I think it's important to not really compare yourself to photographers, but only to vector artists. The sites seem to have a very different market share for that market.

As far as exclusivity in general, I suggest not keeping 100% of your income from 1 site on a long-term basis. Looks like you're doing that with other jobs. And I think you're right to primarily use your own stats as the basis for your decision. Good luck!

« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2013, 12:25 »
0
Is that a banjo I hear playing?

« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2013, 18:09 »
0
If you're going to look to other's stats, I think it's important to not really compare yourself to photographers, but only to vector artists. The sites seem to have a very different market share for that market.

As far as exclusivity in general, I suggest not keeping 100% of your income from 1 site on a long-term basis. Looks like you're doing that with other jobs. And I think you're right to primarily use your own stats as the basis for your decision. Good luck!

Agreed.
Try excl out for a few months. But realize that being exclusive is like digging a hole. The longer you stay, the harder it is to get out.
I have no doubt you will make more $$$ than you are currently, considering your figures, unless best match kills your top file which should be a huge concern. Good luck!

« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2013, 22:39 »
0
I'd suggest not going exclusive, but instead, upload to all top tier and mid tier sites.

VectorStock is -when uploading the normal way-, well, pure horror, but using StockSubmitter, you don't have to burden yourself with 380x400 resolution previews and stuff like that. It gets resized, zipped and submitted automatically by pressing literally one button. This goes for other sites requiring zipped files as well.

Get StockSubmitter, set it up, get familiar with it and optimize your keywording and uploading workflow. This will save you lots of time in the long run, especially for sites that have slow uploading via http.
I'm currently uploading to about 17 different sites, relatively easy.

Thanks for the suggestion. I've not yet given StockSubmitter a proper try, shall do so in a bit. Could be a game changer! :)

If you're going to look to other's stats, I think it's important to not really compare yourself to photographers, but only to vector artists. The sites seem to have a very different market share for that market.

As far as exclusivity in general, I suggest not keeping 100% of your income from 1 site on a long-term basis. Looks like you're doing that with other jobs. And I think you're right to primarily use your own stats as the basis for your decision. Good luck!

Agreed.
Try excl out for a few months. But realize that being exclusive is like digging a hole. The longer you stay, the harder it is to get out.
I have no doubt you will make more $$$ than you are currently, considering your figures, unless best match kills your top file which should be a huge concern. Good luck!

Thanks for your input. Am I right to infer from your post that you regret going exclusive? :P I've seen your work around many time and always thought that you were pretty successful!

« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2013, 00:00 »
0
As much as Vectorstock is a pain, it's actually pretty good for sales. :D I'm making an average 7-10$ per day there with just 25 files. It appears to be swarming with buyers due to the low prices. If you've got a portfolio that are in the thousands, you should give it a shot.

Think about what your doing. By contributing to this site, you are training buyers that they can get decent files for dirt cheap prices. You are actually harming yourself in the long run. If enough established contributors start selling their stuff on this site, why would any buyer go anywhere else?

I've seen the overall quality improve on SS for the last few years when it comes to vectors. Pretty sure this attracted more buyers. Lets hope for all our futures sake, vectorstock prices don't become the industry standard. This is one site that really has no respect for the artist imo.

Poncke

« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2013, 15:08 »
+3
Have you been paid for writing this?

I was thinking exactly the same. There is so much propaganda in this it can`t be true....
So IS/GY get a guy to portray as a newbie with 250 dls to go exclusive and post a positive comment on MSG to fool hardened stock shooters to go exclusive or to turn the negative vibe about IS around?

LMFAO !!!! I am thinking tin foil hats.

« Reply #46 on: August 31, 2013, 09:43 »
0
As much as Vectorstock is a pain, it's actually pretty good for sales. :D I'm making an average 7-10$ per day there with just 25 files. It appears to be swarming with buyers due to the low prices. If you've got a portfolio that are in the thousands, you should give it a shot.

Think about what your doing. By contributing to this site, you are training buyers that they can get decent files for dirt cheap prices. You are actually harming yourself in the long run. If enough established contributors start selling their stuff on this site, why would any buyer go anywhere else?

I've seen the overall quality improve on SS for the last few years when it comes to vectors. Pretty sure this attracted more buyers. Lets hope for all our futures sake, vectorstock prices don't become the industry standard. This is one site that really has no respect for the artist imo.

Actually you make a little more per download than SS and that's at newbie status.

« Reply #47 on: August 31, 2013, 10:23 »
0
And if you factor in the subscription sales, well they really start looking good.

Don't get me wrong, I actually agree with you, and feel a sense of gilt having my vectors on SS and settling for $0.25 per download... I seem to get 90% subs.

« Reply #48 on: August 31, 2013, 11:00 »
0
At istock I have vectors and currently non-exclusive with vectors.

my $ per download for the last 12 vectors average  was $2.93, that includes 1 @ .65 and most @ 1.20, 3+, and 1 @ 4.95

I am exclusive with photos/raster illustrations and out of those 12 8 were rasters with an average payout per ea @ $4.60

I was one of those that was REALLY hit hard with the royalty change... Went from $900 to $300 a mo ave.

I have to tell you I sulked for almost 2years, time wasted ;)

I have learned I need to 1. Brand myself 2. Find a happy mediums that work for me.

Moderate to higher price with moderate DL volume

Or

Lower prices but with the high volume of DL to back it up. (This is why I am giving SS a go) why I left Fotolia, and why I want to leave 123rf  < I am like .80 from being able to cash out or loose $49 they won't let me pay a fee?! I'm stuck

Forgive the long windedness :)

Ron

« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2013, 11:18 »
0
At least you are a star in digging up old threads  ;)


 

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