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Author Topic: "Personalities" of the Big 5 (or 6)  (Read 7718 times)

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« on: December 11, 2007, 10:46 »
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Hi all,

I'm new to microstock and to photography in general.  I have a microscopic portfolio on Bigstock, Fotolia, Shutterstock and Dreamstime.  I have IStock in my sights next but then I think that will be it!

I've been browsing through these forums for the past month or so and find them very informative!  One thing that comes up every once in while is that someone will comment about eack microstock site looking for specific things or having a certain "customer base."  In a sense, they each have their own "personality" and preference for what they're looking for in submissions.

 ???  My question is:  From your experience, how would you describe each site's "customer base" and/or "personality"?  What makes each one unique in what they're looking for?

Thanks for your insights!


« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 12:16 »
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Customer Base

I know that this will probably receive a lot of disagreement, but I believe that the whole "customer base" issue is, for the most part, an unsound rumor.  People claim that some of their images sell like hotcakes on one site, while they sit idle on other sites and they chalk it up to a different "customer base".  I don't believe that sites have different types of customers at all, but rather would put forth that they have very similar if not the same customer base.  The reason that some images sell on one site and not on another all comes down to placement in the Best Match algorithm.  That is what will make an image or break an image.

But there are some small differences between the sites.  For example, SS probably has more corporate customers than most (since most individuals can't afford to purchase a subscription).  Fotolia probably has more European customers than most, but the U.S. is still the predominant buyer for almost all of the sites.

Personalities

The only thing that I can say in this regard is that some sites reject certain types of images.

For example, IS doesn't like to take images that are "cooked", but would rather have a "raw" image.  What I mean is that they rarely take an image that is obviously edited, such as a photo montage.  They also don't accept fractals and many other types of computer generated images.

SS is known for rejecting noisy images.

Other than that, it all depends on who you get as a reviewer.

« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2007, 13:20 »
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I agree 100% with GeoPappas.  I have similar images from the same shoot where one has been a best seller on DT and almost no sales on IS  and the other has been  a best seller on IS and not sold much on DT. This happens quite often with very similar images, it's more the luck of the draw which one takes off first. 

jsnover

« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2007, 15:07 »
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I think there are a few distinctive traits for each site, but I agree that the big sales differences are more to do with search placement and the powerful effect of prior sales on future sales (reassuring the buyer that they're making a wise choice).

There are obviously quirks and foibles of individual reviewers and issues when newly-trained reviewers have to find their feet (those oddball rejections are typically overturned if you bring them up)

There are a few patterns though that I've noticed.

Scanned film is really hard to get accepted at SS these days, where IS has a separate film queue.

Composites, collages, highly designed and heavily Photoshopped images do well at a number of sites, particularly SS, but IS very rarely accepts them.

StockXpert doesn't much like landscapes, city scenics and nature images (higher chances of rejction of technically good images of these subjects).

123-rf is much stricter about similars in a series that other sites

Fotolia is pretty unpredictable, IMHO. They sometimes reject something as not what they need - " Your photographic work is excellent but does not meet the needs of the Fotolia customer base" - when it sells very well elsewhere.

At one point I tried to restrict myself to submissions that I thought would be accepted across the board, but this fall, I created some images I was fairly sure SS would accept and IS would reject - as I expected, they have sold well at SS and IS did reject the couple that I uploaded just to test (you have to keep checking as things can change). SS sells well enough that catering to them seems to make sense.

« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2007, 15:06 »
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jsnover,

Looks like you hit the nail right on the head with your SS and IS comment.  SS seems to like my images that are obviously photoshopped, but IS does not.  Since I've posted the original question, I've applied to IS twice.  The first time they accepted one, rejected two.  The second time they accepted one, rejected one.  I can submit a third photo later today, so hopefully it's "third time's a charm."  I'll definitely keep this in mind for the future.

Thanks everyone for your input!

« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2007, 07:50 »
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For each site is a little different:

ISTOCK: I do very little editing of the photo, the don't like noise. For me they are more likely to take a nature pic. I have more luck with flower pics here than any of the other big sites.

Dreamstime: I like this site but I have a tougher time here than anywhere. The don't like batches of the same photo uploaded together. They are tough on nature and flower pics. Every once and a while they will surprise me and take something that I am betting would get rejected. I also have more extended licence sales here.

123RF: This site has a higher acceptance rate than any of the other big ones I upload to, the down side is my sales there are below the others.

Fotalia: This site is a tough read, an OK rejection rate but sometimes there are odd reasons for rejections.

Of the smaller sites:

Lucky Oliver: I love the review process here, feedback is useful and generally on the mark.

Bigstock: Bigstock will take photo's in most catagories without too much trouble and ok sales.

Canstock: I like this site, the uploading is easy and they take more of my stuff than any other site. Someday I hope sales pick-up.

I would recommend getting some softeware like pro photo master- to help with bulk processing and uploading. Bottom line is upload anything you want (of good quality) to the sites and don't worry about rejection rates!


« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2007, 21:28 »
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Excellent information coming through in this thread, which is a credit to the original question.

One minor correction about rejection rates.  Dreamstime openly say that a contributor's acceptance rate is factored into the best match algorithm. Other agencies are likely using similar contributor based metrics too.

So while it's good advice to not get upset about rejections, it's also good advice to avoid uploading images you know have little chance of being accepted.

« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2008, 06:17 »
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ah ah a bank image without images, interesting concept :)

Microbius

« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2008, 06:43 »
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Shutterstock's customer base seems to be largely people from Russia and Eastern Europe buying loads of images with stolen credit cards then selling them on as their own.
It's personality is Laissez-faire.
 :)

Microbius

« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2008, 06:45 »
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I recommend you Pixmac (www.pixmac.com). It is new microstock agency. It provides interesting pictures from $0.5 and good earnings for photographers.
"I recommend you" not spam the forum

« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2008, 06:54 »
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I recommend you Pixmac (www.pixmac.com). It is new microstock agency. It provides interesting pictures from $0.5 and good earnings for photographers.
"I recommend you" not spam the forum

Ha!

vonkara

« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2008, 08:57 »
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I recommend you Pixmac (www.pixmac.com). It is new microstock agency. It provides interesting pictures from $0.5 and good earnings for photographers.
Do they have free vacuum, because mine is still broken

RT


« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2008, 11:59 »
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I recommend you Pixmac (....pixmac.com). It is new microstock agency.

Wow a new microstock agency, just what the industry needs.

It provides interesting pictures from $0.5 and good earnings for photographers.

Are you providing a 200% commission for photographers then? 

I wouldn't rush out and hire any reviewing staff if I were you.


« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 18:35 »
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I recommend you Pixmac (www.pixmac.com). It is new microstock agency. It provides interesting pictures from $0.5 and good earnings for photographers.

The spelling on that site is horrific - the paragraph at the bottom of the home page has a ton of typos.
Talk about falling at the first hurdle  ::)

saniphoto

« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 07:08 »
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So while it's good advice to not get upset about rejections, it's also good advice to avoid uploading images you know have little chance of being accepted.

well said, Lee. I would have answered myself this way, but you were quicker (due to the advantage of time zone difference!)   :)

Val

lagereek

« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2008, 07:18 »
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All of them even including the Trad Alamy should be tougher in acceptance. Technical perfection is just a starting block, goes without saying. Should be no rooms for dilletants here, only at the moment there are, hence the overflow of irrelevant material and spammers.

« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2008, 08:18 »
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All of them even including the Trad Alamy should be tougher in acceptance. Technical perfection is just a starting block, goes without saying. Should be no rooms for dilletants here, only at the moment there are, hence the overflow of irrelevant material and spammers.


You're right. Some of the content on Alamy is absolutel horrific. But as they passed technical muster, they are there for sale.

A few comments about some others:

At 123, well over 500 images there and still waiting for my first rejection. I don't upload crap, but still the results pretty stunning.

AT DT, it seems my "cute and pretty stuff" sells more there, so I am thinking more females in the buyer population. I sell a lot of wedding theme stuff there for some reason.

StockXpert - sales of all varieties, but I think the buyer base has shrunk dramatically because my sales have yet to recover since the Photos.com debacle.  I had a BME in July and it has not been the same since.

SS - Does well on almost everything I send up. It's hard for me to make any analysis here.

FO - last on my upload list, but fancy food does well here.

hali

« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2008, 10:44 »
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i agree almost with both ts and storm re dreamstime , is, BigStock, etc..
and like geo said, never send ss to is, that's suicide.
 fotolia unpredictable? that's for sure, all my rejects were accepted by fl and all my accepts were rejected.
alamy has tons of terrible photos,and lots of people without mr.
i commented about that when i research before joining them.
 but it's because they are the old stuff. i was one of those who complained about that to a friend. they 've tightened up since then , and so i joined them 4 months ago.

in that topic, even ss is also full of questionable stuff, if you look at it objectively. the criteria with ss is mostly no noise.
microbius, i like your comments on ss laissez faire attitude  ;D ;D ;D

girlie stuff, i personally think, anything with girls ... sell anywhere even dt.

ok, i will join pixmac, i need a new vacuum too, like vonkara .
i will send you all my ss rejects, hmm !!! ;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 10:49 by hali »

hali

« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2008, 10:51 »
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i agree almost with both ts and storm re dreamstime , is, BigStock, etc..
and like geo said, never send ss to is, that's suicide.
 fotolia unpredictable? that's for sure, all my rejects were accepted by fl and all my accepts were rejected.
alamy has tons of terrible photos,and lots of people without mr.
i commented about that when i research before joining them.
 but it's because they are the old stuff. i was one of those who complained about that to a friend. they 've tightened up since then , and so i joined them 4 months ago.

in that topic, even ss is also full of questionable stuff, if you look at it objectively. the criteria with ss is mostly no noise.
microbius, i like your comments on ss laissez faire attitude  ;D ;D ;D

girlie stuff, i personally think, anything with girls ... sell anywhere even dt.

ok, i will join pixmac, i need a new vacuum too, like vonkara .



 

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