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Author Topic: Istockphoto vs. Shutterstock  (Read 13007 times)

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« on: August 27, 2007, 10:25 »
There is a strange DL development for my images at the 2 sites. OK, my portfolio is small (IS=184, SS=197), but anyway......

Since June, at Shutterstock there is a constant dl-decrease of more than 10% per month.

At iStockphoto, July was 40% better than June and August again will be approx. 20% better than July.

And it seems like today this is just reaching a climax: staring at both sites in disbelief (sad and happy):

at 5:00 pm (German time) not a single dl at SS (never experienced that on a regular weekday) and my first EL at istock (yeeehaaa....first EL of all my sites).

I could blame my images for the decrease at SS - but then, why are they selling so well on iStock?

So far, I never intended going exclusive, but if this trend is going on for the next months, I might give that a second thought...

Is anybody else experiencing this (or might have an explanation)?


« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 10:47 »
I am guessing the reason could be this.

June is a slow month and so Istock didn't sell many of your images then.  It is now progressing to the high season.  Sales should more or less increase until christmas from now on.

Shutterstock sales are slowing down because when you upload at shutterstock the images are given a 'boost' because lots of people search by 'newest uploads'  When the newest uploaded images are no longer yours, then your downloads decrease.

I would suggest you also try out dreamstime, stockxpert, fotolia and possibly luckyoliver (although not too many downloads on lucky oliver yet)


  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 20:23 »
Without knowing how many uploads you had on each of those months, this is only conjecture.  As Leaf said, SS downloads are quite dependant on your uploading.  They sell by subscription, so new uploads cause activity in your account.  Designers have paid a monthly fee, so they simply download anything they feel they may need in the future (within the download limits their fee establisheds) as well as specific immediate needs.  Once you stop uploading, the number of sales begins to decline because there's nothing available that they haven't already seen and downloaded.

IS, on the other hand, is a per-photo site.  So designers are looking for specific images rather than picking up some they think they may need in the future.  One explanation is that it is often the case where the designer may see the image he needs, but before buying it, he makes a rough mark-up, or story board, and presents it to his client.  Once the client approves his concept, then he goes ahead and purchases the images he requires.  That is part of the reason IS images may not sell right away, as compared to SS, but their sales tend to increase over time.  This is, of course, all based on the assumption that the images are keyworded adequately and designers can find them amongst all the tens of thousands of similar images.

Bottom line ... keep uploading images.  Then you've got both the subscription services and per-photo sites covered.

« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2007, 20:57 »
Good analysis and good advice.

« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 00:06 »
You have a pretty small folio with SS as compared to iStock, I have 680 with SS and 120 with iStock which seems to be the normal ratio around here.

« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 03:19 »
You have a pretty small folio with SS as compared to iStock, I have 680 with SS and 120 with iStock which seems to be the normal ratio around here.
I had the same number on SS that I did on iStock.

P.S. your SS portfolio links isn't working ozbandit.

« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 06:52 »
Cheers, fixed now. Also what I meant is that with SS there are no restrictions to how much you upload so in effect you should have a lot larger folio there then say iStock where you are limited to 25 images per week. Also to grow with SS you need constant uploads with the new images always selling quite well off the mark, while with iStock images take a bit of time to mature before they bring in good sale figures. If you just want to focus on small folio and can't shoot/upload at least 50 new images per month then don't count on SS to give you big growth or income but rather concentrate on iStock, Dreamstime and StockExpert.


« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2007, 11:25 »
Thanks a lot to everybody for the helpful advice and remarks - it helped me to put this in the right perspective - as "normal".

« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2007, 11:43 »
(...) If you just want to focus on small folio and can't shoot/upload at least 50 new images per month then don't count on SS to give you big growth or income but rather concentrate on iStock, Dreamstime and StockExpert.

Ozbandit, once a picture is ready, why not include SS too?  It doesn't take too much more time and energy, since SS FTP uploads are easy, and it gives more exposure (and income) to the picture as a result.  When a buyer wishes for a croissant, for example, I assume that he will do the search for the word 'croissant' without checking first whose photographers have the largest portfolios.  Although I see your point in searching for 'beautiful blonde', a single picture would be lost in a tidal wave of thousands of pictures  :)

« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2007, 16:24 »
Off the wall comment time....

I'm just surfing thru the latest posts... and I have to say...  I really enjoy the heck out of this site!!!   I have learned so much in my first year here!! I think it's great how everyone here is so quick to help out the newbies.. and give so freely of advice to even the 'oldies' if they should have questions on a topic they don't fully understand!

When I first got into this crazy game I figured it would be a real cut-throat, competitive madness.  I don't know about the rest of the photog world, but here on MSG,  it turned out to be just the opposite...

Just a great bunch of people here!  And I'm happy to be in the middle of them, a member of the MSG family.    Thanks, Leaf! 

Okay,   my dumb comment is over, sorry, I just had a sentimental moment....   LOL   ..  now back to business..     8)-tom

« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2007, 20:08 »

Heck yes! You should always add all your new images to all the agencies where you get regular sales, ShutterStock included. I didn't mean to quit SS or stop uploading, that would be just be plain crazy :) I only meant that if an individual doesn't think they can add around 40-50 new images there every month, they shouldn't feel disappointed by lower growth there as opposed to sites like iStock or StockExpert where the dynamics of how and why new images are sold are different.


Right you are, nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality. I think this place and talkmicro forums operate on self perpetuating basis. That is people that came here needing help once upon a time are so grateful that they in return offer help, truth and honesty to others. Be nice if the rest of the world worked like that :)

« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2007, 22:56 »
Yes ozbandit, dynamics are different on different sites for sure.  They seem to complement each other in some ways, so it's great for us.

a.k.a.-tom, same here. Leaf succeeded in building a great site for the community of photographers, and keeping it light, informative, and lively.  I also appreciate that the owners of some stock sites participate here on a regular basis.  The transparency and the good will makes this place a must.

« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2007, 23:02 »
Please don't include me in all this nice gooey sentimental stuff...

I'm 'orrible, and I like it that way.  Grrr.......

« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2007, 23:32 »
(Hint --->  Hatman = "grouchy smurf")  :)

« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2007, 01:50 »

« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2007, 08:48 »
the funny thing is we have noticed this same thing this summer... we have slowed down on the uploads to ss... but still have a weekly batch- it's slowed by about 70% since the price change...

istock has just taken off for us though.... we went from a year trying to make payout, we finally did. then we made payout again in a couple of weeks.

crazy man! :P


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