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Author Topic: Graph comments please  (Read 9845 times)

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« on: April 25, 2007, 08:47 »
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What do you think about this Alexa 3-year traffic ranking graph?  Does it predict some trends for the months or years to come?
Any comments welcome.  Thanks.

Traffic Details (daily page view) for:
(graph edited - I don't know why it ended up showing only 1 line)

    * istockphoto.com
    * Shutterstock.com
    * Dreamstime.com(Beige)
    * Fotolia.com
    * stockxpert.com

« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 10:03 by berryspun »


« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2007, 09:00 »
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am I missing something where are the other lines, or is this the point of the graph???

« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2007, 09:01 »
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yep... missing lines... repost

« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2007, 09:21 »
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Here are the graphs. You can get to them by going here.





The things I immediately notice are:
  • big slump after Christmas, smaller spring slump
  • IS has more traffic than all of its competitors combined
  • SS seems paired with DT
  • FT seems paired with StockXpert

I'm glad to see that the whole industry slumped in April. I was getting concerned with my sales, which didn't rise as much as they should have. Things have begun to turn the corner, though, and I'm once again seeing record DL days.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 09:41 by sharply_done »

« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2007, 09:35 »
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Hmmm. Looks like all sites are already in the saturation stage, which of course is not what we want to hear. At least we left the biggest in-year dry period (April) behind us. The next major one seems to be the end of the year.

« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2007, 15:40 »
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I spent a lot of time looking at the Alexa charts after Michael mentioned them a few days ago.  Fascinating charts.

It is useful to compare the progress of individual agencies against each other; the biggest trend I noticed was that StockXpert appears to be making good progress and now appears to be ahead of FT (in terms of page view trends).  Perhaps those here who contribute to both StockXpert and FT could make some observations.

Saturation is a good word.  If these were financial markets or economic cycles charts I would interpret them as follows:

Each cycle within larger cycles tends to have five distinct phases (up, down, up, down, up) and it is very likely that the big burst of activity at the end of the last year was the final UP in that five phase sequence.  If so, we have entered the DOWN phase of a larger cycle.  The first down phase in a five phase sequence often lasts a Fibonacci ratio 38.2% of the previous cycle; if that cycle was 4.7 years then the down phase should be about 1.7 years.

Very likely that the market has reached a first saturation point; perhaps the flow of images has exceeded the flow of buyers, or agency competition is changing the market, or perhaps the buyers in the first cycle now have enough images to keep them going for a while.

If this analysis is correct, we should expect sales to remain at present lower levels for another year or so (broadly speaking) before the down phase ends and we enter the next five phase upwards cycle.


« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2007, 15:52 »
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Oh, I should have added that any form of analysis of those trend charts has a good 50/50 chance of being a load of bollocks of course........

« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2007, 16:48 »
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Well, I'll take you half seriously hatman  :)

Thanks for your analysis, makes sense.  More and more photographers, thousands of pictures uploaded everyday, makes me wonder each time I add a picture in this massive tidal wave.  And with the subscription system some companies may have enough on their hard drives to last for a few years.

And at the same time most of the smaller companies are not aware of the microstock resources, so I can see some potential for growth, even this year, if the sites reinvest their resources for reaching these companies with a cleverly-managed advertizing campaign.

IS has a strong client base, the graphs surprised me quite a lot in that respect.  I wonder if any of the other 4 sites will reach or cross over IS line in the near future.

« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2007, 17:20 »
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Well berryspun IF the trend follows the classic economic analysis, turnover or activity should drop to at least 61.8% of previous peak levels, and possibly as far as 50%.  We are seeing that already.

As with any recession, people will have to work twice as hard just to stand still; in the case of microstock that might mean having twice as many images just to keep the same income.

Many here are already seeing that happen.

The worst point of the cycle should be the first few months of next year, which will be worse than the first few months of this year.  But nothing goes in a straight line and activity will probably pick up towards the autumn and Christmas, only to plunge to lower levels afterwards.

Of course those who can stand the strain of this slowdown and continue to shoot and upload will reap the benefits when the next upwards cycle begins perhaps half way through 2008.  But it will get much worse before then.

I imagine those most likely to suffer will actually be the leading lights of the industry; those who have images with 500, 1,000 or even 3,000 downloads might find that those images are the first to fall off the tree.

But these thoughts might be complete rubbish of course.....

« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2007, 17:31 »
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I prefer to trust my own chart base on earnings .. LOL

no point having a great number of hits if my photo will not sell there.

« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2007, 17:52 »
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I imagine those most likely to suffer will actually be the leading lights of the industry; those who have images with 500, 1,000 or even 3,000 downloads might find that those images are the first to fall off the tree.

hatman, I trust your insight, I am not an expert in economy, but I am hoping for the best.  I don't understand why photographers with big portfolios would suffer the most.  I would think that it's the photographers with smaller portfolios - like mine - who would have less visibility in the long run, but I hope not.  This has not happened to me yet...  :)

I prefer to trust my own chart base on earnings .. LOL
no point having a great number of hits if my photo will not sell there.
Definitely! 

« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2007, 01:58 »
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A lot of Fibonacci experts have been very negative about the stock market over the past five years.  Their predictions have been totally wrong.  I don't believe this type of analysis works.  Ask 10 Fibonacci experts to examine a chart and you will probably get 10 different answers.  Ask them again in a months time and they will probably all of changed their minds.  The few that get lucky and predict the future accurately will seem like geniuses.  The rest of the predictions will be quickly forgotten.

« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2007, 03:26 »
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Quite right sharpshot, which is why I warn that my analysis could easily be a complete load of bollocks.  The key to chart analysis is knowing that most of the time it doesn't work.


« Last Edit: April 26, 2007, 03:32 by hatman12 »

« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2007, 04:05 »
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But then again....

These stats could be a complete load of coblers due to the way that istock renders it's site..

A lot of the content on istocks site is delivered vi AJAX type interfaces tricks, so that any one page view might actually be 2x or 3x the number of object hits for another site of the same content type.

Also the exiry of static content in transproxies for ISP's will have a huge effect, although without a bit of piddling around I can't check that.

It also could be that people do more 'next' clicks on IS, due to the different search structure from the other sites..

lastly is the huge variable around how Alexa collect their stats via their toolbar, and some 'partner' businesses also collect stats for them.  So this tells us that the average IS user is more likely to install a stats collecting software on their PC, or that IS advertised it at some stage as being a 'great tool for finding stock images.  (Just speculating on that last one).

ie: Take Alexa stats with a _HUGE_ grain of salt.


« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2007, 05:57 »
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StockXpert has been exploding for me this past month. Over a 700% increase in sales this month. They are #2 behind Shutterstock this month for me. (Not on Istock)


« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2007, 07:54 »
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If you look at the graphs as a whole, without making any comparisons between them, without applying any complicated mathematical formulae, but trying to smooth out all the little bumps with your eye, they all seem to show the same thing ...

A steep rise in 2005.

Another steep rise in 2006, but with a fall at the beginning of the year.

And a downward trend in 2007 so far (or do I need a new pair of glasses?)

Will that turn into an upward trend for the rest of the year ???




« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2007, 08:20 »
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just a comparison between SS and DT:

1. more people access DT than SS on a daily basis.
2. People look at more pages at SS than at DT.

The result:
3. DT and SS produce very simmilar traffic.



« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2007, 09:16 »
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StockXpert has been exploding for me this past month. Over a 700% increase in sales this month. They are #2 behind Shutterstock this month for me. (Not on Istock)

Kngkyle: I am strongly considering ditching FT in favor of StockXpert. I am curious about your 700% explosion - how many images does your portfolio contain, and how many DLs have you had? 700% is very impressive, but may be a bit misleading if you have, say 300 images with 2 sales last month and 14 this month.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2007, 13:08 by sharply_done »

« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2007, 09:57 »
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The thing with StockXpert is the new search system. Thats why some of us get suddenly a lot of sales. What you need are images who were doing quite well before they changed the search system. I have two of such images. This two images currently generate about 50% of my income at StockXpert. Now each one of them has dls almost every day.
The new ones are not bad images too. One of it is currently the top selling image from my portfolio at SS. But they get no dls and almost no views.
However I am still doing better than before at StockXpert and StockXpert gets me more income than FT.

« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2007, 12:44 »
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Well I opened an account at StockXpert yesterday and I'll start uploading today.

This decision is prompted by several observations: firstly the Alexa charts, even though they might not be truly representative, do show StockXpert making good progress; secondly, StockXpert according to those charts has gained ground on FT and now seem to be ahead of them; StockXpert appears to be gaining ground against the others as well (albeit at a slower pace); you all know that I do not trust FT, but StockXpert appear to be professional and trustworthy and we have steve-O here which is a good sign; lastly the commissions at StockXpert are competitive and appear to be higher overall than FT.


« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2007, 13:27 »
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That settles it: I'm reapplying to StockXpert.

StockXpert was the only site that rejected my initial application, which soured me quite a bit. Rejection ain't easy to take, especially when you have a history of success.

I'll hopefully get in this time. If all goes well, I'll have a long and rewarding relationship with these guys.

« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2007, 14:57 »
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StockXpert didn't accept my first lot of pics either, they asked for 'further images' after my initial submission...  They also have my highest rejection ratio at the moment, so I think they are aiming to have a higher quality collection than some of the other micros.

It also might be that my port. sucks.  :)

I get a few rejections for 'Thanks, but this is not what we're looking for' which to me means that the photo is OK, but they are aiming for a particular 'look' to their stock... Which is fine by me.

My sales on StockXpert are slow so far, with only 100 images approved as of yesterday I'm up to $25 in earnings since January, but I've been fairly slow to upload there...

StockXpert has one hug advantage over the other micros, which I think they could all learn from (Particularly IS if anyone is listening) and that is they will inspect an image before it is keyworded...  You can bulk FTP upload some files, and submit them without going through the pain of keywording/categorising..  Once they have been inspected you can delete the ones that didn't make it, and keyword the others.. 

Another huge plus is that after uploading (Here's something else for the other micros!!) the images retain their original uploaded filename, so you can find them in your spreadsheet/database of images to asociate with keywords etc.

I think if you've got a strong portfolo StockXpert would be a good punt...

« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2007, 15:09 »
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StockXpert has been exploding for me this past month. Over a 700% increase in sales this month. They are #2 behind Shutterstock this month for me. (Not on Istock)

Kngkyle: I am strongly considering ditching FT in favor of StockXpert. I am curious about your 700% explosion - how many images does your portfolio contain, and how many DLs have you had? 700% is very impressive, but may be a bit misleading if you have, say 300 images with 2 sales last month and 14 this month.

I have about 125 images in my StockXpert gallery, all illustrations. Last month was my first full month at StockXpert and the way the search was set up then, it was very hard for newbies to get a good start, since they were sorted by downloads. Now that they have changed it this month, my sales have as I have already said exploded. Most the sales come from 5-10 images but they are constant. Last month I only had 6 sales on StockXpert, this month I have had 26. Not too much, but I'm still a bit of a noobie to all this. Another great feature that only StockXpert has is the ability to keyword AFTER the file gets approved, and approval is usually done within a couple hours. The $$ per download on StockXpert is higher for me than any other site. An XXL sale gets you $5 commission. But since all of my submissions are computer generated, it is hard to compare that to photographs since they serve a whole different purpose. Their $50 payout minimum is nice too. I think switching from Fotolia to StockXpert is the right decision for you. Good luck on getting accepted.  ;)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2007, 15:15 by Kngkyle »

« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2007, 15:59 »
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Thanks for the info, chellyar and Kngkyle.
I hope things go the way I want them to!

« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2007, 16:22 »
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Sharply, I submitted my first 49 images early this morning (05.00am Australia time) and at the time of posting this message (07.30) 45 images have already been accepted and are online.


« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2007, 21:41 »
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That's great!

You haven't provided a link to your portfolio - lemme know how things turn out, will ya?

« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2007, 22:13 »
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Yep.  Presently 89 submitted, 79 accepted.  Now 13.20 Australia time.

I get amused by the different rejections at different agencies; one rejected by StockXpert but accepted everywhere else, has a background of a selection of international currencies; StockXpert's rejection is "Please remove Malaysian Ringitt - sorry, bank regulations"!

« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2007, 19:34 »
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Hey, hatman12, I'm wondering how long I'll have to wait until I can begin uploading. How long did it take you to get approved?

« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2007, 21:29 »
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I can't remember sharply - I applied and got approved back in February but never used the account and actually asked them to shut it down.  I dropped them a quick email a couple of days ago asking if they could reinstate my account and they said that was fine; I was up and running very quickly.

If I recall correctly my original approval thing took a few days.

BTW I've been looking through the new uploaded images and it seems that StockXpert are attracting very good quality - perhaps some good players are getting the same impression as we are that StockXpert will be one to be with over coming years.  The various web sites in different languages, subsidiary of Jupiter and Haan all help the credibility I suppose.

« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2007, 00:50 »
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There are some familiar names on the top contributors list.  I think StockXpert could give istock a hard time.  They offer a good deal for the contributors and for the designers.  The site is fast and easy to use.  They have had good sales since I joined last August and I have made more with them than with FT/BigStock. 

I wonder if more people will drop istock exclusivity if a few more new sites take off?  It might have been wise to be exclusive when there wasn't much competition but I don't think it is worth doing now.

« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2007, 12:20 »
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...I think StockXpert could give istock a hard time.  They offer a good deal for the contributors and for the designers.  The site is fast and easy to use.  They have had good sales since I joined last August and I have made more with them than with FT/BigStock. 

I wonder if more people will drop istock exclusivity if a few more new sites take off?  It might have been wise to be exclusive when there wasn't much competition but I don't think it is worth doing now.

Very thoughtful comments. I echo yours, and add mine:

-StockXpert doesn't have the puerile high-school-clique/snotty-peebert culture you find at IS. StockXpert is run more like a business. Some IS exclusives who have the need to belong will probably remain loyal to IS no matter what, but business-wise imagists (as Kirsty Pargeter, Rinder, Andresr do now) may choose to reject IS exclusivity.

-And StockXpert sells vectors, in a sensible way. And uploading vectors at StockXpert is much, much faster and easier.

-And, in spite of constant denials by the rulers at IS, the new search system there looks more and more like a total, permanent disaster. They seem to have shot themselves in the foot with it, and refuse to admit that they are losing blood.

« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2007, 22:48 »
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Using ALEXA rankings is not a real acurate way of gauging traffic in this biz.

For a start, the traffic is monitored by those using an Alexa toolbar, which only works on IE6 and above.

Alexa does not work on Firefox or Macs. And, I would think the majority of designers use Macs ... what do you think.

Alexa is a good gauge of where traffic flows, but from a sales point of view, I reckon it is a waste of time in any publishing industry stats.

« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2007, 22:58 »
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Using ALEXA rankings is not a real acurate way of gauging traffic in this biz.

For a start, the traffic is monitored by those using an Alexa toolbar, which only works on IE6 and above.

Alexa does not work on Firefox or Macs. And, I would think the majority of designers use Macs ... what do you think.

Alexa is a good gauge of where traffic flows, but from a sales point of view, I reckon it is a waste of time in any publishing industry stats.

You're right, of course. But the Alexa charts seem to have correlated very,very well with my microstock sales for the last (almost) two years. And also with the sales anecdotally reported in forum posts by stockers with large portfolios.

The populations which Alexa samples have the flaws you mentioned. But in their favor, the samples are huge. In statistics, as I recall, the larger the 'n' the more reliable the correlations. The huge size of the population may wash out some of the shortcomings of the sampled population and add to the validity of the results.

Anyway, the Alexa charts are fun to look at and I do not think they are comopletely without validity. They may be, until microstock sites start making public their sales data, the best clues we have as to what is going on with downloads in the industry which we are part of.


 

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