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Author Topic: Some thoughts.....  (Read 7966 times)

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« on: August 23, 2007, 19:36 »
+1
As more and more agencies get launched, many would think that the competition would start to knock iStock off it's pedestal.

In fact, the OPPOSITE might be happening.

I have seen a few comments on the iStock forums from designers who say that they have visited other agencies and are simply fed up with seeing the same images over and over again.  One designer actually said he'd cancelled his accounts with all other agencies because 'he can get all those pictures at iStock AND get the exclusive stuff as well'.

It's summer, and the wrong time of year to draw any conclusions.  But I look at the weekly decline in page views for DT and BigStock and wonder if in fact those secondary agencies are feeling the pinch from competition more than iStock or SS.

I see a market where 80% of the business goes one way and where the remaining 20% is churned around by all the newer agencies desperate to get business.

And as more agencies are launched the RISK is NOT that iStock and SS get hurt, but in fact the opposite.

In my own case I see increasing sales at IS and SS, a little progress at StockXpert but everywhere else stagnating or declining.  And as I upload more pictures my $/image declines even further.

It will be interesting to see how things develop over the next six months, which should be more buoyant times for sales.  I suspect that the gap between IS and SS and the others will get wider.

Interestingly, the one agency that might escape is FT, simply because so much of its customer base is in Europe.


« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2007, 20:36 »
0
It all depends, Like you I've had great growth at iStock over the past two months, Dreamstime not too bad either, 123RF really took off this month also, while Shutter Stock still ok, but not great. On the other hand Fotolia has flopped big time from last to this month. Also Stock Expert despite few images and being there only a week and a bit is showing nice promise.

The thing is everyone is different and microstock will continue growing as whole, new agencies included, as long as they keep on being innovative and market themselves properly...

« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2007, 22:55 »
0
Excellent discussion you started, hatman.  I think it all boils down to the matter of serious marketing.  It seems like startup site owners have the impression that just because they have a web presence or make a few speeches at special photo business events, that eventually millions of buyers will flock to them.  That doesn't appear to be working too well.   Sure, a site may have many of the same pictures as another site---just as Wal-Mart carries many of the exact same items as Target or Costco, but we live in a very big commercial world and cyberspace is also quite huge, and I would imagine there are new web designers showing up on the design scene every day.  There appears to be a lot of room still.  Plus, several sites do feature exclusive pictures if not exclusive photographers.  However, in spite of all the above, it's that special something (whatever that might be---you name it, je ne sais quoi) that keeps a steady flow of customers coming back.   Lucky Oliver's concept is superb, the imagination and execution behind them is tremendous, but apparently their marketing is not awfully extensive yet.  They do have a special appeal to many designers, just not enough yet I guess.  I and many others are beginning to see an increase in downloads there, so they are getting the word out, but it looks like it's gonna be a long road to the top for them.  Istock OTOH apparently has a tremendous marketing strategy, and yes I know it costs $$$$.  It also happens to bring in the $$$$.  For example, I imagine that a huge number of people inquire into their site during and after an Istockalypse.   I don't pretend to be an expert about what would constitute an effective marketing technique or campaign---it's probably as unique to each company as their staffs are unique, but they should try hard to find people who can lead them in the right direction.  I do believe that if a site manager/owner just hangs an "Open for Business" sign in their window, then just sits back or goes and concentrates on another job and expects the world to beat a path to their door, that just ain't gonna happen these days.  I really hope this business doesn't dwindle down to just 2 sites.      Just some more thoughts.....

nruboc

« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2007, 23:39 »
0
Could have fooled me, just this week I had my best day ever on Fotolia (+$200) and my best day ever on Stock Xpert (+$80) and best day ever on 123RF (+$15). Also, ShutterStock has been on fire, BigStock is seeing definite improvement. The only site that has remained stagnant for the last couple months is Dreamstime.

« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007, 00:30 »
0
Could have fooled me, just this week I had my best day ever on ...
Wow, some impressive numbers - way to go nruboc!

I'm curious, though - why is your IS portfolio so small? There just has to be a good reason you're not uploading there!

nruboc

« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007, 00:53 »
0
Could have fooled me, just this week I had my best day ever on ...
Wow, some impressive numbers - way to go nruboc!

I'm curious, though - why is your IS portfolio so small? There just has to be a good reason you're not uploading there!


Thanks, actually no good reason, just a personal hatred of everything IStock :) Way back when, when I was submitting there, they rejected > 50% of my work with "Not suitable for stock" rejection. With that many rejections combined with their tedious upload process and their 20% commissions, and their preferntial treatment for exclusives in the Best Match algotithm,  it was really an easy decision to stop uploading there.  My intuition is that as time goes on, things for non-Exclusives are going to get worse and worse there. Life has been so much more pleasant not having to deal with their BS.









« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2007, 04:33 »
0
[...] With that many rejections combined with their tedious upload process and their 20% commissions, and their preferntial treatment for exclusives in the Best Match algotithm,  it was really an easy decision to stop uploading there.  My intuition is that as time goes on, things for non-Exclusives are going to get worse and worse there. Life has been so much more pleasant not having to deal with their BS.

Wish to be as big as you, nruboc, so I could decide stop uploading to Istock and still earning well from microstock.

« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2007, 04:40 »
0
Wish to be as big as you, nruboc, so I could decide stop uploading to Istock and still earning well from microstock.
You can be - it just takes time and perseverance. The time will take care of itself, the rest is up to you.

« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2007, 05:38 »
0
Great job nruboc!  Wish there were many more like you in microstockland and in the general photographic community.. too many people (that's photogs & clients) are being bullied into believing there is only one resource for images fullstop. 

Let me be the first to buy you a beer!

cheers,  JC

dbvirago

« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2007, 09:39 »
0
I guess results vary for everyone. For me DT and IS have been stagnant for six months. Good but no better or worse than before. In the last 3 months, BS has beat IS twice and 123 the other month.

« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2007, 10:22 »
0
I don't hate iStock but I do have a bit of resentment, I must admit, due to new users getting preferred treatment over those of us who have been supporting the site for much longer regardless of whether we're exclusive or not. They were once the site I uploaded to first. Now I only upload a few of my images there while concentrating on other sites where my files get the same chance as anyone elses.

No one stays on top forever. That's just reality. There will be others that move up the ladder in time. My images will be at all of those that I think have future potential. Well, maybe not all of them. ;)

« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2007, 15:43 »
0
Hats off to you for leaving so much money on the table, Yuri seems to put up with the hassles though, with 12,000 downloads there this month so far.

Thanks, actually no good reason, just a personal hatred of everything IStock :) Way back when, when I was submitting there, they rejected > 50% of my work with "Not suitable for stock" rejection. With that many rejections combined with their tedious upload process and their 20% commissions, and their preferntial treatment for exclusives in the Best Match algotithm,  it was really an easy decision to stop uploading there.  My intuition is that as time goes on, things for non-Exclusives are going to get worse and worse there. Life has been so much more pleasant not having to deal with their BS.

« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2007, 13:38 »
0
I don't hate iStock but I do have a bit of resentment, I must admit, due to new users getting preferred treatment over those of us who have been supporting the site for much longer regardless of whether we're exclusive or not. They were once the site I uploaded to first. Now I only upload a few of my images there while concentrating on other sites where my files get the same chance as anyone elses.

That's exactly how I view it.  I've been with iStock for years but with varied system "adjustments" my income dropped by 80% in the last few months - and this with their commissions increase as well as adding to my portfolio.  A good number of others have also voiced the same results, some of which have massive portfolios (compared with the average contributor).  When you're used to making an average of $15.00 a day which I was, it doesn't sound like a lot, but that's almost $5,500.00 a year!  Then they make a series of "enhancements" to the site, give an increase in commissions, and here I am a few months later and a $4.00 day is now considered good.   My boyfriend also belongs to iStock and while he makes less due to a smaller portfolio (he averaged around $5.00 a day before the drop), he now rarely even makes $1.00 a day.   I don't really participate in their forums directly but read them daily, and it seems whenever people voice their concerns about it they either lock the thread or lock the person out who brings it up.  Very scary.

I've recently joined stockxpert but so far haven't been impressed with the sales there.  They seem quite picky with inspections as well.  Rejections are part of the business, but it's odd how iStock and Shutterstock (which I also joined not long ago) will accept images but stockxpert will say they're not good enough?  Sigh.  Shutterstock has low payouts but I almost immediately started selling shots, and even though my portfolio there is very small (under 100 images) I've already had a couple of enhanced license sales at $20 each!  So I think my focus will now be there, as opposed to iStock, until iStock comes to terms that all of those enhancements may not have been so hot after all, and take things back to the way they were long ago.
 

« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2007, 13:52 »
0
...  Shutterstock has low payouts but I almost immediately started selling shots, and even though my portfolio there is very small (under 100 images) I've already had a couple of enhanced license sales at $20 each!  So I think my focus will now be there, ...
Just be aware that you'll have to constantly upload to SS in order to keep your portfolio "alive" - sales will dramatically decline if you don't upload on at least a semi-regular basis.

« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2007, 14:03 »
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...  Shutterstock has low payouts but I almost immediately started selling shots, and even though my portfolio there is very small (under 100 images) I've already had a couple of enhanced license sales at $20 each!  So I think my focus will now be there, ...
Just be aware that you'll have to constantly upload to SS in order to keep your portfolio "alive" - sales will dramatically decline if you don't upload on at least a semi-regular basis.

Thanks for the tip.   I would always be uploading something there.  I mean heck, how could it be worse than what's happened at iStock??   I increased my portfolio there by 200% in the last few months and still sell less than I did before they changed.  I know another person who has over 900 images there, added 250 more, and still makes 50% less than they did a year ago.   Shutterstock surely can't be worse than that, even if you let uploads lax for a couple of weeks. 

grp_photo

« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2007, 16:08 »
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I doubt they can find all the same on istock i have over 3000 pictures more on StockXpert than on istock  ;D

« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2007, 20:22 »
0
iStock is an increasing headache. All their "enhancements" and changes only seems to make my sales go down. The most interesting part is that new images don't sell at all. The last three to four months, I've been uploading my maximum weekly allowance (the number that goes up and down on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the latest screw-up at iStock). Still, with one exception, not a single photo uploaded after 3 July has sold even once!

If I'd been a Certified Bad Photographer, and a regular guest at Judge Ross' horror cabinet, I would have understood it, but my new uploads sell well enough at other agencies, and some of the newer ones have even made it to my personal Top 10 at a couple of sites.

That, and the incredibly arrogant attitude I meet in their forums and in the way they generally treat contributors, non-exclusives in particular, make me question if it's worth the hassle and irritation. I guess I'll keep uploading, but I don't spend much energy on them anymore. They get the same as the others and whatever is first in the queue when an upload slot is available.

« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2007, 20:28 »
0
iStock is an increasing headache. All their "enhancements" and changes only seems to make my sales go down. The most interesting part is that new images don't sell at all.

That is odd, isn't it?   I've had some images that sold extremely well almost daily over the years on iStock, and then a few months ago, poof, those images died.  Right at the same time those search changes took place.  Popularity of images change and vary as time goes on and that's just normal, but it's not normal to see a whole slew of images just suddenly die in sales, and yes, that happened to me, too.  Just like you as well, I haven't had a newly accepted iStock image sell in a very long time.  On the flipside, I've had Shutterstock accept images, put them up online and they've sold within hours of being posted.   argh.

« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2007, 21:44 »
0
Just like you as well, I haven't had a newly accepted iStock image sell in a very long time.
I'm in that club, too. 56 sales for 84 images uploaded in August. Not an encouraging success rate, especially when 30 of the sales came from just three images.

On the flipside, I've had Shutterstock accept images, put them up online and they've sold within hours of being posted.   argh.
I'm not so sure you can compare IS and SS in that way - their business models are completely different. Images on SS sell faster and in greater quantity, but IS images have a much longer life span. Either that or no life at all.

« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2007, 22:24 »
0
iStock is an increasing headache. All their "enhancements" and changes only seems to make my sales go down. The most interesting part is that new images don't sell at all. The last three to four months, I've been uploading my maximum weekly allowance (the number that goes up and down on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the latest screw-up at iStock). Still, with one exception, not a single photo uploaded after 3 July has sold even once!

If I'd been a Certified Bad Photographer, and a regular guest at Judge Ross' horror cabinet, I would have understood it, but my new uploads sell well enough at other agencies, and some of the newer ones have even made it to my personal Top 10 at a couple of sites.

That, and the incredibly arrogant attitude I meet in their forums and in the way they generally treat contributors, non-exclusives in particular, make me question if it's worth the hassle and irritation. I guess I'll keep uploading, but I don't spend much energy on them anymore. They get the same as the others and whatever is first in the queue when an upload slot is available.

You sum up everything I feel about iStock at the moment but I am persevering with them of course, as the old images still bring in a substantial amount of money. However, I feel your pain regarding new images, which seem to muster very few sales, apart from the odd image which thankfully falls through the net.

However, with all the site outages recently, it sure makes sense to be non-exclusive and there is some discontent from exclusive members now the forums are up and running again.

« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2007, 23:20 »
0

However, with all the site outages recently, it sure makes sense to be non-exclusive and there is some discontent from exclusive members now the forums are up and running again.

Oh I know at least two people who have been outed from the forums there for showing their displeasure with stuff and the exclusive topic.  The forum moderator * there have had a zero tolerance of people voicing opinions that talk people out of going on the exclusive side.  I just never had the urge to do it myself, but the two others I know tried exclusive, and were not impressed with the lack of extra sales commissions from it, so both "unsigned" from it.  When asked they told people why, and I noticed as I read the forums that both were outed out of the forums and aren't allowed to post anymore. 

iStock really does seem to want everyone to go exclusive and lock them in.  It's a big selling point.  I saw a post from a guy in there one day where he theorized that iStock was really planning on becoming an "all exclusive" site, so that they could advertise that all of their contributors sell only through them, and in theory, attract a certain number of buyers who would be attacted to that.  They're just not ready to do that yet, as it would tick off the nonexclusive people who would leave in droves, so if that is their plan, they're probably waiting until their contributor base (exclusives) build up enough that they could handle a large flight of nons out of there.  The guy who posted it stopped posting not long after that and I emailed him, and he said they banned him from the forums for saying it.   :-\   So much for that.

The only bad thing about that is if they actually do something like that, probably half of their contributors will leave rather than go exclusive with them.  For them that might be ok, but it will cause a massive flood of newbies into all of the other microstock sites, and potentially bog down everyone else for some time after!

« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2007, 02:11 »
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I can't see istock going exclusive only.  Perhaps if Getty bought a few of the other big sites it might be more likely.

Someone claims that there is an intention every now and then and it is always denied.  Why risk losing the number 1 status and radically reducing the amount of images available to downloaders?  They would be crazy to do it as they make 80% on each sale from non-exclusives.  That must be a huge amount of profit for them and it would take a lot to make up that money.

« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2007, 08:41 »
0
Someone claims that there is an intention every now and then and it is always denied.  Why risk losing the number 1 status and radically reducing the amount of images available to downloaders?  They would be crazy to do it as they make 80% on each sale from non-exclusives.  That must be a huge amount of profit for them and it would take a lot to make up that money.

Well, everyone seems to be complaining that really there are too many contributors and photos competing already on istock and some other sites already.  Even if half of the contributors left istock, I still wonder if their thinking would be that those remaining would still be contributing enough "unique exclusive content" to make them stand out from all others and get more business.  I still think this is their ultimate plan, but I agree that it's probably not something they plan on doing tomorrow or next week or month... just down the road.

« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2007, 10:02 »
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It feels contributors are likely to "grow intio" exclusivity with certain site rather than go for it form the start. If that's true then such move would all but choke off the supply of new artists, and natural churning would not only slow down the growth but actually create a danger of shrinking. I can't see any site doing that unless they want to fade out of business.

« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2007, 10:47 »
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Theres absolutely no need at all to remove all non exclusives- why not instead just openly push everything they do to the back of the search queue? This way, their stuff would be seen only when its the only choice.

« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2017, 02:43 »
+1
ten years on and people are saying exactly the same ;-)

« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2017, 05:04 »
0
OLD THREAD ALERT!


 

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