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Author Topic: Alamy - is it worth the time and trouble?  (Read 20647 times)

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« on: February 23, 2015, 19:48 »
+1
I started uploading to Alamy a couple of weeks ago.  I spent a lot of time trying to understand their upload and keywording process, particularly the use of phrases.  Had about 30 pics accepted, and I'm encouraged by the number of views on such a small selection.  Clearly I've done something right in the keywording process.

However, this is a cumbersome and time consuming thing to do.  We're talking hours upon hours of work to get the phrases absolutely correct.

Is it worth it?  I've heard that (in the past) people have made good livings concentrating solely on Alamy.  Of course those times might have changed.  Has anyone here experienced success with Alamy - enough to justify the investment of time and effort?  And by 'enough' I'm talking at least the $500 - $1,000 per month range.


ShadySue

« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2015, 20:52 »
+1
What do you mean by getting the phrase absolutely perfect? Although there may be an advantage in having words adjacent, basically the system throws up any words in the caption or keywords.  So if you have a pic of Joe Bloggs and Jane Doe it will show up in a search for Joe Doe or Jane Bloggs. If you have a photo of Susan Brown speaking to a crowd in London it will Show up on a search for Susan London. This is often denied but check out a search on Leonard Cohen and see bow many pics without him are above some pics of him and look at the keywords and captions to learn why. Presumably you  could do the same on many other searches.
This matters because it affects your Alamy Rank - it is the contributor who is ranked for search order, not the image.

Most, if not all of the people reporting good sales there have well over 10,000 files. And remember that most report gross income,  not net, in the monthly sales thread.

Good luck.

« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 21:09 »
+1
According to Alamy's tutorial, one can enter words, adjacent words, phrases and linked words.  All of these are important.

For instance, one can enter as keywords Eiffel, Tower, Paris, France.  But a better result is obtained by also entering "Eiffel Tower", [Eiffel Tower], "Eiffel Tower Paris" and "Eiffel Tower Paris France".  Phrases shown between square brackets indicate that the words are linked as a phrase, but are also important as separate keywords.

Another example is Restaurant, Paris, France, where the linked phrases [restaurant paris], [restaurant france], [restaurant paris france] etc etc as well as "France Restaurant", "Restaurant France", "Paris Restaurant"  etc etc.  Clearly the possibilities are endless.

None of the phrases or linked words are shown on a file's close-up page.

Apparently if a customer searches with two words and you have those words as a linked phrase or an actual phrase, your picture will be given preference.  Apparently.

I had about 30 pics accepted a couple of weeks ago.  I've had 35 views (but no zooms).  I don't know much about it, but I feel that 35 views on those files is quite good, and probably results from the work I did on phrases and linked words.

Just fumbling in the dark here, and wondering if all this is going to be worth it.

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2015, 21:16 »
+4
after a few years of placing files on Alamy, in short, I would say not worth it.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2015, 22:53 »
+2
Read again, the [brackets words] and phrases, are a proposed feature which have never been activated.

Best way I can explain it and save you some time with the phrases and all the torture, is this. Keywords in the boxes, in order, will make the rank of words difference. Word order and proximity do matter. Weighting does work.

Then read this about weighting:  http://www.alamy.com/contributor/help/captions-keywords-descriptions.asp?login=1

THIS MATTERS:

Essential keywords    The most important words and phrases for the image. Although you have 50 characters, try to limit yourself to just 35 - about 6 to 8 words only.    50    Very high
Main keywords    The next most appropriate words and phrases.    300    High
Comprehensive keywords    Any other words and phrases. Put all the remaining terms that apply, but which are not as significant as main or essential keywords.    856    Medium
Caption    A short factual description of the image used by customers to summarise its content.    128    Low


Read what James wrote here. He's the source, not me or someone on the forums:  http://www.microstockgroup.com/alamy-com/how-important-is-ctr-for-your-alamy-rank/

Plus everyone, will have a Medium Rank to start with and until you have enough sales, you retain that medium rank. When people think they have been re-ranked or dropped, if you haven't had enough sales, (I suspect it's 100) you are imagining things. You don't get re-ranked until you get many sales and have reached a level to be re-ranked. It doesn't happen automatically after some time period. It's based on sales.

The reason I added this is some forum posts people say "I was doing good until I was re-ranked" and they haven't ever been ranked or re-ranked. They are still at the entry level of medium. This also comes from James, not my imagination.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2015, 23:12 »
0
Have you found this page?

http://www.alamy.com/contributor/help/alamysearch-engine-explained.asp?login=1

To further improve relevancy of image results the search engine returns exact word matches only, i.e. it does not "stem" words, so a search for "Dog" will not return the same search result as for "Dogs".

Words in sequence that match phrases entered by customers will carry more weight than words not in sequence. For example, if a customer searches for "blue whale", an image with the Keywords "blue" and "whale" next to each other in the Keywords or Caption will have a higher relevancy score than an image containing the string: "blue, sea, humpback, whale" in its Keywords.


Higher Relevancy, doesn't mean ignored if it's not in that specific order. We control what we guess a buyer might search for.



« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2015, 23:19 »
0
Uncle Pete, are you saying that all the stuff about square bracket phrases etc shown on this page have never been activated and don't work?

http://www.alamy.com/contributor/help/annotation-options.asp

ShadySue

« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 23:23 »
+3
Uncle Pete, are you saying that all the stuff about square bracket phrases etc shown on this page have never been activated and don't work?

http://www.alamy.com/contributor/help/annotation-options.asp


It doesn't work.  Never has.

« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2015, 23:35 »
+3
That was my impression as well.  To make over $500 a month there I suspect you will need many thousands of images.  I just went and calculated from my own earnings last year that I would need 33,000 images to make $500 a month there, so hopefully your images are much better than mine.  Of course so far this year I have made almost as much as I did all of last year so you never can tell with Alamy, but I think very large numbers are important.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 23:45 »
0
"We intend to introduce a number of additional annotation options to the Alamy Search Engine..." There's no date on that, but I first read the forums and discussion about that feature seven years ago.

If you are counting on those features, now, for results, please don't. If you are avoiding a bunch of work for the future, if they institute them, by all means, keep adding them.

Concentrate on the weighting and also it appears that Proximity does work:  "words adjacent to each other should receive a higher relevancy" they also say that word order matters, so part two of proximity (or part one?) is the word order.

I very carefully used Descriptions and they decided to turn that match off. I used the different boxes, one which wasn't displayed and the way they were searched, to my advantage, they decided to change that, and display the other one.

I'd say stick with the essential features and worry about the vague subtle features later. The Alamy search does work and searches everything, within the limits of the weighting and proximity and something that isn't mentioned in their thread. Diversity.

Diversity  attempts to keep one artists photos from domination the search, and it give a better exposure to a greater number of people. Nice thinking.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2015, 02:19 »
+2
That was my impression as well.  To make over $500 a month there I suspect you will need many thousands of images.  I just went and calculated from my own earnings last year that I would need 33,000 images to make $500 a month there, so hopefully your images are much better than mine.  Of course so far this year I have made almost as much as I did all of last year so you never can tell with Alamy, but I think very large numbers are important.

talking about Travel images, there's a Greenberg guy in the Alamy forum who's got 100K + images on sale and he claims to make 5-6000$ per month net but his stuff is mostly about the USA so that's certainly in higher demand than other countries.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2015, 02:22 »
+2
after a few years of placing files on Alamy, in short, I would say not worth it.

agree unless you literally flood your niche with tens of thousand images, it's very unpredictable what will sell or not sell and far as i've seen their top sellers are mostly about UK and USA so even a giant archive of photos taken in Asia aren't going to sell too much at Alamy while they sell a lot better in other agencies, that's my case and my direct experience so far.

« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 02:44 »
+3
Competing against 55,000,000 unedited images - probably not worth it.

And I'm in the "top 500" club for the last period, and I still say not worth it for the time and effort.

« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 03:49 »
+1
If you have got editorial content which is likely to be useful then it definitely can be worth it. That means either a specific subject which nobody else has got - or else a more likely to be used shot of something which is going to be a story. The more dynamic and interesting the picture the better. I think it is about looking at the world in terms of what might be the story.

Suppose you have a good useable shot of something about a specific company which becomes news (perhaps there is a take-over bid or a new stock issue). That picture is going to earn you much more at Alamy than it will on RF subscription.

IMO churches, castles, street furniture, protests, the village fte, red carpet,  steam trains, famous tourist attractions, old cars etc - is a numbers game and possibly a waste of time unless you are doing that anyhow.

Good keywording, including how the words are grouped, definitely matters. You can see that by looking at the All Of Alamy sample data provided.

even a giant archive of photos taken in Asia aren't going to sell too much at Alamy

I recently sold a shot I took in Saigon. I have very few shots of Saigon.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 03:52 by bunhill »

« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2015, 04:18 »
0
It doesn't work.  Never has.

Yes and no. No it has not been fully implemented - but it may still indirectly work.

Eg - If someone searches for Joe Bloggs using quotes they are only going to see your picture if Joe & Bloggs are next to each other. And that, I think, also spills over into the relevance sort - ie even without quotes Joe & Bloggs next to each other are going to score higher than Bloggs .... Joe.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 04:21 by bunhill »

ShadySue

« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2015, 04:47 »
+1
talking about Travel images, there's a Greenberg guy in the Alamy forum who's got 100K + images on sale and he claims to make 5-6000$ per month net but his stuff is mostly about the USA so that's certainly in higher demand than other countries.
It may well true that the US is in higher demand than other countries, but what you've written doesn't support that theory.
JG is American and shoots in the US. He has over 100k images, mostly from the US and sells a lot, but we can't know how well his particular type and volume of images, taken in other places, would sell.

Are you sure he quotes net? (He seems not to have given a figure in the past three months and I need to go out ...)

Semmick Photo

« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2015, 04:50 »
0
That was my impression as well.  To make over $500 a month there I suspect you will need many thousands of images.  I just went and calculated from my own earnings last year that I would need 33,000 images to make $500 a month there, so hopefully your images are much better than mine.  Of course so far this year I have made almost as much as I did all of last year so you never can tell with Alamy, but I think very large numbers are important.


talking about Travel images, there's a Greenberg guy in the Alamy forum who's got 100K + images on sale and he claims to make 5-6000$ per month net but his stuff is mostly about the USA so that's certainly in higher demand than other countries.


107863 images and his sales have been declining for a while.



He hasnt updated his stats recently, I think it doesnt look any better after Jne 2014. And the sales threads in there are sad to read. People with 33K images whooyaying over 1500$ gross.

« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 05:18 »
+2
And the sales threads in there are sad to read. People with 33K images whooyaying over 1500$ gross.

It's only sad if those are 33K inherently useful images and which could reasonably be expected to be selling in greater numbers.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 08:05 by bunhill »

« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2015, 05:54 »
+7
I haven't read any of the posts in this thread and I don't intend to, because it's not worth to waste long sentences on alamy..

Just replying to the thread title with all caps:

ALAMY IS NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE!

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2015, 06:35 »
+1
And the sales threads in there are sad to read. People with 33K images whooyaying over 1500$ gross.

half of them being probably similars and duplicates.


ShadySue

« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2015, 06:41 »
0
As for personal figures, I'm nowhere near the bracket you're targetting, but up til now iStock always netted me more. In fact my total Alamy net for nearly six years is less than what I've had in each of the past seven years from iS.
But with the way my iS sales are going, that could reverse without any actual Alamy improvement, which is dire news all around. 2013 was my best year on Alamy; last year went down sharply in both sales and $$.

Alamy loves to report the occasional very big value sale (I once netted $300 for one sale, way back in the day), but quite a number of people who report are reporting lower value sales than a few years ago, which no doubt reflects the wider market. Last month, I had two sales netting $1.71 each. Might as well go back into the UK newspaper scheme - at least there you can get repeat sales (NB: forever, even if you close your account altogether).
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 20:16 by ShadySue »

« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2015, 07:32 »
+1
Huge portfolios are usually not quality but quantity and this does NOT work on Alamy! There is no sense in uploading 10k similars!

I rarely shoot series of pictures, currently 400+ photos on Alamy and earned me $160+ NET in 2014. Shutterstock has 900+ of my pictures and managed to earn some $830 in 2014. Alamy makes about 10 % of my stock income = definitely worth it. Especially compared to massive crap rejections at ALL microstock sites. Alamy and Depositphotos are the only growing agencies for me, all other are going down despite increasing volume of uploading new work. 

Semmick Photo

« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2015, 07:43 »
+3
Depositphotos LOL

« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2015, 10:19 »
0
i don't have very many photos there so i haven't invested a huge amount of time with it. i also don't do anything fancy (i.e. helpful) with keywords/phrases.

i get long periods of nothing punctuated by the occasional big sale. doesn't replace shutterstock but it is certainly a significant part of my income (small fish perspective)

« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2015, 10:29 »
+3
Success with Alamy may depend on what sort of photos you have. I have mostly travel and some other editorial photos there, with some outright press photography mixed in. My experience is very positive. Editorial and press stuff sells well (almost exclusively to British clients) and travel sells *very* well, even internationally.

The total number of sales for me is about 100 times lower than on Shutterstock, but the revenue is about the same.


 

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