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Author Topic: 95,000 photographers....  (Read 7345 times)

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« on: March 27, 2008, 23:05 »
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When I first started contributing to SS a year ago I'm sure they had 50,000 photographers and added usually 20,000 or perhaps 30,000 new images each week.

Today's numbers shown on the site give 95,000 photographers, but more astonishingly 57,000 new images added this week.

That is a helluvva lot of photographers and a helluvva lot of new images.

A number of peeps here have commented that making progress at SS seems to be becoming 'more difficult'.  No wonder when there are so many images competing to be bought each week.

How long can this continue?  And are they adding new customers at the same pace?  Food for thought......


« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 23:15 »
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Interesting observation Hatman.  I've been playing with some charts lately comparing the growth of my portfolio at each agency to their entire portfolio size - where the data is available. It turns out I can grow my 'market share' by uploading just a modest quantity of images each week.

But that's just quantity - if my quality isn't improving relative to other images it won't matter how much market share I have.

However, I'm finding my own sales at Shutterstock are rising steadily both in months when I upload and those I don't. My 3-month moving average is all over the shop, but the 6-month one is a nice steady incline for the last year and a bit.

helix7

« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 00:03 »
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...A number of peeps here have commented that making progress at SS seems to be becoming 'more difficult'.  No wonder when there are so many images competing to be bought each week...

I think standards have to change. There seems to be some issues at SS with what gets accepted, what gets rejected, and whether those acceptances and rejections are done in a way that really does grow the collection in a positive way. I think they need to increase the quality standards, and reject more images than they already do.

Now before anyone who has had mass rejections bites my head off, hear me out. I think that SS should reject more images, and those images should fall within a well-defined criteria for rejection. Currently there seems to be some disagreement among SS reviewers as to what is a good image and what is a bad one. They need to straighten that out, accept the good and reject the bad, and make the definition of "no commercial value" really mean just that. Weed out the stuff that is, quite frankly, a waste of server space. And we can all admit that there is plenty of that sort of stuff.

As a vector artists, I am amazed at what gets accepted at SS sometimes. And it doesn't take a famous art critic to see that some of the stuff passing through is just garbage.

I haven't had a rejection at SS in months. Not even sure when exactly the last one was. And that's not right. I'm not that good, and I should be getting rejections, if only to raise the standards of my work and force me to push myself harder. Everyone should get some rejections. Unfortunately it seems that SS takes just about anything when it comes to vectors, and I think that is where a lot of those 57,000 new weekly images are coming from.



« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 00:09 »
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... but more astonishingly 57,000 new images added this week.

Is that number extraordinarily high (or on current pace?)  Could it be because they are revisiting the LCV rejections that created such an uproar the the past couple weeks?   (I think that long long forum post on SS said they were going to do that...)

« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 00:18 »
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For the past 2 weeks I am back up to the level I was 18 months ago ... payout per month level. Over the past year my sales slid to something around 5 - 6 per week. Yesterday I sold 28.

Not sure what is going on.

« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 00:50 »
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Maybe more sites should restrict uploads the way IS do.

Those who produce more than their allowance for one site could send them elsewhere. We'd sell just as many images, as the demand would still be there, and the sites wouldn't all look identical.

What do you think?

DanP68

« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2008, 03:08 »
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Restricting the flow of new images just isn't smart business.  If you want to reduce the number of images on your site, while at the same time improving overall quality, you do so by deleting old, poor images.

And rather than creating more work for your reviewers by forcing them to re-review old images, you let the market decide.  If an image doesn't sell for a predefined period (12 months? 18 months?), the company may delete it from the database.  Given the incredible volume at Shutterstock, I don't see why an image without a single sale for 12-18 months should be kept.

« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2008, 03:24 »
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Yep Dan, I agree with that. If the rule that 90% earnings are made with 10% of photos, then there is hundreds of thousands junky photos. The review process should be a more objective, right now there is some real garbage accepted but some pretty good pics rejected with very poor reasons. For me SS is mostly ok but DT is extremely picky.

Another issue is dolar decrease - 25% drop in a year means you must now earn 25% more then year ago to get same money (if outside US).

I dont mind more photographers and more photos, it just kicks you to work harder. Getty has 11.millions of pics and I dont think they suffer from that but more from their marketing strategy.

« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2008, 04:21 »
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Restricting the flow of new images just isn't smart business.  If you want to reduce the number of images on your site, while at the same time improving overall quality, you do so by deleting old, poor images.

And rather than creating more work for your reviewers by forcing them to re-review old images, you let the market decide.  If an image doesn't sell for a predefined period (12 months? 18 months?), the company may delete it from the database.  Given the incredible volume at Shutterstock, I don't see why an image without a single sale for 12-18 months should be kept.


I dunno Dan, IS seem to be doing OK :)

I do agree though that non selling images should be deleted. It takes ages to do it yourself,  they could save us the bother.

« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2008, 06:55 »
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I would rather be careful about deleting old pictures with no sales. Agreed about the girl with headset but not about niche-photos in the long tail. I recently got a full-size non-subscription download at DT of a medieval city quarter nearby. I personally always liked those shots: very stockish with blue sky, well lit red bricks. But they didn't sell nowhere in 2 years. Till the right buyer came around.
Deleting old shots is OK if done by the photog because he knows what's bad and was accepted in the early days.

The strategy of some new sites like MP and YAY is to accept that long tail of nichephotos and editorial too. They have been talking to image buyers (mostly media) and those prospective customers are craving for "natural" editorial and variety. If those prospective customers want traditional microstock (girl with headset), they have the embarassement of choice between giants like DT,SS,IS,BigStock.

The new stock agencies can only make it when offering unique content that was rejected by traditional microstock, serving an unserved audience. They can't compete with established microstock that has 10 times+ their collection.

That's why I feel (just my 2 cents) that YAY and MP and even ZYM are competitors for Alamy, not for DT and SS.

By the way, just saw that YAY_Linda registered here. Welcome YAY ;-)

DanP68

« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2008, 07:07 »
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Restricting the flow of new images just isn't smart business.  If you want to reduce the number of images on your site, while at the same time improving overall quality, you do so by deleting old, poor images.

And rather than creating more work for your reviewers by forcing them to re-review old images, you let the market decide.  If an image doesn't sell for a predefined period (12 months? 18 months?), the company may delete it from the database.  Given the incredible volume at Shutterstock, I don't see why an image without a single sale for 12-18 months should be kept.


Isn't it IS policy to send images with 0 DLs in 1 year into the Dollar Bin, and then into the Garbage Can if they fail there too?

I dunno Dan, IS seem to be doing OK :)

I do agree though that non selling images should be deleted. It takes ages to do it yourself,  they could save us the bother.

« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2008, 07:15 »
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Today's numbers shown on the site give 95,000 photographers, but more astonishingly 57,000 new images added this week....  Food for thought......
That means 0.7 uploads per week per photog, on average. I'm not a heavy contributor myself but I try to upload/get accepted about 8 images per week on average. Probably (the 80/20 rule) 20% of the photogs are responsible for 80% of the images. It might be 90/10. Some photogs maybe left, forgot, died.

The conclusion is there must be many orphaned images on SS that make them good money.


« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2008, 08:43 »
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I don't think that IS's restrictive uploading would work well for SS because of the differences in the way the sites work.  Unless they changed a lot about the search practices (both the engine and the culture of the customers) away from not favoring new images (something that their business model and customer base works well with), the levels of new images uploaded only serve to help their customers who get more variety to use their subscriptions on.  Of course tightening up standards on poor images (poor images though are different than low customer niche images, those are very good for attracting new buyers who aren't looking for typical smiling headset shots) so buyers aren't inundated, the best thing that they could do for their buyer customers (which would only help their photographer customers) IMHO is to come up with new and innovative means of serching through their images to run side by side with their traditional means to hopefully make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for easily.  IS has tried to do this, and though it is a pain to upload to them, I personally can find what I am looking for without much fluff/spam when I do searches on their database much easier than any other site.  In that sense the disambiguation is a very good thing.

IS's model OTOH works well with the upload limits.  I know what it does to me.  I don't go and upload everything there.  I first upload elsewhere and let a few different reviewers put eyes on it before uploading to IS, which has pretty much stopped me from uploading almost half my images to them, since I just don't feel that they are strong enough.  Their customers seek individual images much more than the general buyers at SS, by being more restrictive with quality than anybody else in the cliche categories, but allowing more in the low selling niche categories through (what I have found at least, they take my images that most other sites have rejected as not stock, and heck I get sales on them), they end up with a very broad high quality portfolio of images, less selection in many of the most popular categories than other sites, but what is there is the best, and more selection in the less popular categories than other sites, which makes their portfolio ideal for their buisiness model of catering to those that seek individual images.

I really think that FT is shooting themselves in the foot in the long run, they use the same basic buisiness model as IS but shoot down anything that is not stock in their opinion, yet let lesser images through in the cliche categories, they lack the depth of database the IS has and what they do have in the invidual categories is lower quality than what IS has, and it is a trend that will widen, as more and more niche images get shot down, cutomers that aren't looking for islolated apples will find IS to be a better place to find their images.

It seems though almost that SS and FT are trying to specialize somewhat, SS being the ultimate place to find vectors, backgrounds and textures, and FT being the ultimate to find isolated on white things.

vonkara

« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2008, 09:57 »
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Can we know if the buyers are growing up also? Because I think not and the micros will have to do something for sure. We have to keep in mind that the agencies continue to make money as the contributors are the only ones affected by the DILLUTION.

It's the result of adding 300 pictures of 2 objects in 15 different angles (no angry whit anyone here I try also to do that whit some of my subject)

« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2008, 10:03 »
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check compete.com. it shows number of visitors. IS is growing, StockXpert is growing, FT is growing, SS is declining.


« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2008, 10:05 »
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Back to IS restrictive uploading.  Okay - I partly agree with this.  My personal acceptance rate is horrible at IS, and if this was the only site I submitted to I swear my ego would have been so bruised I wouldn't still be doing it.  I am the one that they have the 20 uploads per week limit for.  I can also say this though, the ones they accept sell very very well.

But on the other hand.... are they not just hurting their business by restricting uploads from Yuri's, or Iofoto's, or Sharply's entire portfolio because of restricted upload limits?  You would think they would have a sliding scale for proven contributors - maybe based on acceptance rather than sales.

« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2008, 11:14 »
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When buyers can get those contributors' images at any number of sites, at cheaper prices, what good would it do to flood the site with them?


« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2008, 12:57 »
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Duh.  So the buyers buy at Istock.  So the buyers don't leave Istock. 

jsnover

« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2008, 13:18 »
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But more independent images at iStock means more competition for exclusives. I think the limits are here to stay at iStock, but they really benefit exclusives, not buyers.

I know the iStock wisdom is that all the stuff the other sites accept is just substandard junk they wouldn't take, but that's just not true. They have to walk some fine lines with the exclusive contributor idea, and although most of the gripes one hears from exclusives about too few benefits for them, I think the upload limits are probably the biggest one they get.

« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2008, 13:56 »
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I mostly forget about IS. I postprocess my images for SS and DT. If they don't like that, that's their problem.

With a ridiculous upload limit of 20 per week, they don't fit in my work flow. I'm lagging behind 400 shots with them and I will never catch up. I stopped trying but when I feel like doing something stupid, I go through the ordeal of uploading 3 shots or so.

They were my best site till August 2006, then all broke down because of their disambiguitis syndrome. I remember a payout on IS of 350$ as a beginner with just bad 3MP shots. Ah... and they deleted 2 forum posts of me. That's fatal. IS and me, we just don't mix. May the Force always be with them.

Update - just logged in to have a peek. *, they accepted most and I got a 20$ jump in a couple of days. Well... whatever.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2008, 14:01 by FlemishDreams »

« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2008, 14:01 »
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Duh.  So the buyers buy at Istock.  So the buyers don't leave Istock. 

Well, duh, we've all been told repeatedly that buyers are price conscious and will leave to shop elsewhere for the same image if they know it exists elsewhere.

« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2008, 14:04 »
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Duh.  So the buyers buy at Istock.  So the buyers don't leave Istock.
The Buyer giveth and the Buyer taketh. Blessed be His name. The Buyer is always right. If it were not for the Buyer, we still all would have useless fun in . of Flickr.  ;D

« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2008, 14:10 »
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Well, duh, we've all been told repeatedly that buyers are price conscious and will leave to shop elsewhere for the same image if they know it exists elsewhere.

In that case, I wonder why that buyer bought my shots at MostPhotos for 25 Euro each, if he can get the same at Crestock for 0.25 $cents.

Buyers are in most cases highly paid professionals that don't care whether a shot is 1$ or 10$. If they shop around, they lose much more time (= money) than they can possibly earn. When you constantly have to face deadlines and yelling bosses that want results, telling you that you cost them 5000 Euro per month (been there done that), you just don't care if the right shot is there for a lousy 50$.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2008, 14:14 by FlemishDreams »

« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2008, 14:26 »
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I don't know how you guys do it at SS. I've been there three years and my downloads just limp along, while over at IS I just had my BDE and BME after 3.5 years. I am not a heavy uploader so that my be my problem at SS. Recently, SS has been rejecting some of the stuff that was accepted at IS. That was a shock to me!

« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2008, 14:36 »
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Some shop around, some don't.

You can test this easily enough by uploading to different sites at different times.

I have had shots sit with few sales on several sites for months, then put them on IS and had instant regular downloads. They could have bought them cheaper, but they didn't. It's obvious that some buyers never look anywhere but IS.

On the other hand, designers have posted in various forums often enough, stating that their company has two accounts and take the cheaper option whenever they can.

I must admit, in the past I was always happy for them to go elsewhere, because that generally meant I got more, with the other sites paying a higher percentage, but now that IS have increased prices that's no longer true.

The puzzling one is the shots that sell on every site except IS. I'm trying some new "similars" on IS only, to see if those buyers will buy from IS if the photos are nowhere else.





 

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