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Author Topic: The paranoia question  (Read 2218 times)

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SVH

« on: October 14, 2021, 15:54 »
+1
So I have a relative small portfolio and I don't do Microstock for a living. I earn way much better doing other things but I do enjoy the reward for getting my pictures sold (and mostly I really put effort in them).

But there is one thing I notice. And that is that these agencies have millions of clients (together) around the world. My sales are very stable though between 10 to 20 a week (I know it's peanuts but enough to bring me the little joy).

But statistically this is kind of odd. With all these buyers and my small portfolio I would have expected bigger swings in the sales like some weeks none and other weeks much more. It's kind of strange to be that stable.

So are we getting thrown peanuts by the agencies that fit within our sales history to keep us happy or are the sales really accidentally this stable? I don't shoot niche photo's but pretty broad.

Just asking, no accusations to any agency whatsoever.

Anyone else noticing this in their sales or do you have big swings from one week to another?



« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2021, 16:04 »
+1
truly depends on what you submit. For example, backgrounds can sell all year long. Food and health sell all year long.  Seems like you have some good commercial images to get regular sales.  Good start...

« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2021, 01:55 »
+5
It's a topic that has been discussed in the past, without really clear answers or proven statements.
Nobody can really prove that their portfolio is being throttled or boosted, or like you say, that agencies are trying to force stable volumes on single portfolio's.

Looking at my own stats: yes sales and volumes can fluctuate quite heavily depending on the month or season.
To give you an example, my worst month this year earned me only 20% of my best month this year.
I don't keep track of sales volume, or weekly earning stats, but I do see strong fluctuations there too.
Figures vary across contributors, and what turns out to be a good month for me can be a bad month for others and vice versa.

Questions similar to "what's going on at agency A" or "anyone else experiencing sudden low sales at agency B" are popping up very regularly.
So it's quite funny to see someone complaining about stable sales volumes, while most of us are complaining about strong fluctuations ;-)

Now to answer your question: until now I've seen nobody really proving any other impact on the algorithm than individual image ranking.
This probably means views x clickthrough ratio x actual sales. Simple as that.

It's my uneducated guess based on own experiences:
- Every now and then I upload an image that takes off and gets significant better sales than others. So no throttling at all. (and I hear the same experiences from fellow contributors)
- I do see significant fluctuations in sales volume and earnings. So no compensation effects of the algorithms, a bad month is a bad month drama all over the place. (and I hear the same experiences from fellow contributors)

My uneducated guess is further strengthened by the fact that I see fellow contributors with significant smaller portfolio's hitting way better volumes than I do.
In all honesty: they have better quality content and/or content with better sales potential.
And I also see it the other way around.

So I guess your content fits within a stable market demand.







« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2021, 02:05 »
+2
I can't really see any stable volume with my port. If I look at my sales for 2021 in my "worst" month I only had 60% of downloads compared to my best month. It really depends on what content your port has. If most of your images are of very universal things that sell through the whole year you can expect more stable download numbers. My port performs much better in months where I sell a lot of seasonal images - The time before Halloween, Easter, Christmas, etc. usually brings me higher volumes of downloads, because, naturally, my seasonal photos will not sell very often out of season.

 I also think that the difference will be more noticable the more sales you have.
You say you sell between 10 and 20 photos a week - If you think about it that's actually quite a high fluctation of 50%, so not really stable at all. It just seems so similar to you, because the number 10 is rather close to 20. But if you upscale the numbers to 100 compared to 200 sales or even 1000 compared to 2000, which is the same ratio, you will see much clearer that your sales aren't as stable as you think.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2021, 05:09 by Firn »

« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2021, 02:59 »
+4
I'm too scared to answer this question.

« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2021, 13:24 »
+3
...
 I also think that the difference will be more noticable the more sales you have.
You say you sell between 10 and 20 photos a week - If you think about it that's actually quite a high fluctuation of 50%, so not really stable at all. It just seems so similar to you, because the number 10 is rather close to 20. But if you upscale the numbers to 100 compared to 200 sales or even 1000 compared to 2000, which is the same ratio, you will see much clearer that your sales aren't as stable as you think.

but it's unlikely that will be the case - small sample size will have much greater swings & variation - eg, 1 buyer taking a series of 5-10 images will distort an average of 15, but have no effect on sales of 100-200.  this is the reason we get so many worries/complaints about swings when really it's to be expected. it's called regression to the mean - will happen quickly for large samples, slower for small ones.

« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2021, 15:59 »
+3
...
 I also think that the difference will be more noticable the more sales you have.
You say you sell between 10 and 20 photos a week - If you think about it that's actually quite a high fluctuation of 50%, so not really stable at all. It just seems so similar to you, because the number 10 is rather close to 20. But if you upscale the numbers to 100 compared to 200 sales or even 1000 compared to 2000, which is the same ratio, you will see much clearer that your sales aren't as stable as you think.

but it's unlikely that will be the case - small sample size will have much greater swings & variation - eg, 1 buyer taking a series of 5-10 images will distort an average of 15, but have no effect on sales of 100-200.  this is the reason we get so many worries/complaints about swings when really it's to be expected. it's called regression to the mean - will happen quickly for large samples, slower for small ones.

well stated! Commonly referred to as the 'Wall'--- once hit it no matter how many images you add the income levels stay the same or even drop...

« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2021, 23:48 »
+4
"the wall" is when the number of new images you can produce does not keep up with the falloff of sales of old images as well as the total number of new images overall.

If you have a few hundred pics you can double your port in a relatively short time and keep the sales volume rising. As your port gets bigger at some point you can't keep up. If you can produce a higher percentage of good selling pics you can stave this off for longer, but it is a numbers game and they will catch up to you eventually. Hopefully at that point your return is enough to offset the amount of work you are putting in.

« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2021, 00:01 »
+1
...
 I also think that the difference will be more noticable the more sales you have.
You say you sell between 10 and 20 photos a week - If you think about it that's actually quite a high fluctuation of 50%, so not really stable at all. It just seems so similar to you, because the number 10 is rather close to 20. But if you upscale the numbers to 100 compared to 200 sales or even 1000 compared to 2000, which is the same ratio, you will see much clearer that your sales aren't as stable as you think.

but it's unlikely that will be the case - small sample size will have much greater swings & variation - eg, 1 buyer taking a series of 5-10 images will distort an average of 15, but have no effect on sales of 100-200.  this is the reason we get so many worries/complaints about swings when really it's to be expected. it's called regression to the mean - will happen quickly for large samples, slower for small ones.

As said before, I have differences of up to 60% in sale numbers between months and we are talking about quite some more sales that just 100-200.

« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2021, 00:02 »
+1
...
 I also think that the difference will be more noticable the more sales you have.
You say you sell between 10 and 20 photos a week - If you think about it that's actually quite a high fluctuation of 50%, so not really stable at all. It just seems so similar to you, because the number 10 is rather close to 20. But if you upscale the numbers to 100 compared to 200 sales or even 1000 compared to 2000, which is the same ratio, you will see much clearer that your sales aren't as stable as you think.

but it's unlikely that will be the case - small sample size will have much greater swings & variation - eg, 1 buyer taking a series of 5-10 images will distort an average of 15, but have no effect on sales of 100-200.  this is the reason we get so many worries/complaints about swings when really it's to be expected. it's called regression to the mean - will happen quickly for large samples, slower for small ones.

well stated! Commonly referred to as the 'Wall'--- once hit it no matter how many images you add the income levels stay the same or even drop...

Maybe, but we are not talking about the income level here, we are talking about download numbers.

SVH

« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2021, 14:22 »
0
Lol! Four days without sales. That will teach me not place paranoia topics like this :)

« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2021, 15:30 »
+3
Lol! Four days without sales. That will teach me not place paranoia topics like this :)

Get use to the no sales day-- sadly they are getting more and more common. Years ago most of us got sales even on weekends feeling we had a bright future.

A few years ago I asked my mentor what my future was in the microstock business -- she said, "Close your eyes and tell me what you see?" I told I her that I see nothing but darkness. She didn't say anything afterwards...

« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2021, 00:34 »
+4
Lol! Four days without sales. That will teach me not place paranoia topics like this :)

Get use to the no sales day-- sadly they are getting more and more common.


I understand that the glorious microstock days are over, but it's not all just as gloomy as some people like to make it appear. I had no no sale day on Shutterstock in over a year. Sales aren't really the problem - It's rather the low payment I usually get for them.

« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2021, 04:58 »
+4
My sales are very stable though between 10 to 20 a week

10 to 20 a week is NOT stable, it means +/- 100% fluctuation...

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2021, 05:12 »
+4
My sales are very stable though between 10 to 20 a week

10 to 20 a week is NOT stable, it means +/- 100% fluctuation...

The word 'stable' is completely irrelevant with these low numbers.

« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2021, 08:18 »
+2
"the wall" is when the number of new images you can produce does not keep up with the falloff of sales of old images as well as the total number of new images overall.

If you have a few hundred pics you can double your port in a relatively short time and keep the sales volume rising. As your port gets bigger at some point you can't keep up. If you can produce a higher percentage of good selling pics you can stave this off for longer, but it is a numbers game and they will catch up to you eventually. Hopefully at that point your return is enough to offset the amount of work you are putting in.

I also believe that the wall is hit when you repeat yourself.
Not necessarily with similars, but with similar themes, similar styles, etc.

If you want to keep growing your sales, you must branch out and try new themes, new styles, new techniques, etc.
You must innovate instead of doing the same old over and over again.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 08:49 by Zero Talent »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2021, 12:57 »
+2
"the wall" is when the number of new images you can produce does not keep up with the falloff of sales of old images as well as the total number of new images overall.

If you have a few hundred pics you can double your port in a relatively short time and keep the sales volume rising. As your port gets bigger at some point you can't keep up. If you can produce a higher percentage of good selling pics you can stave this off for longer, but it is a numbers game and they will catch up to you eventually. Hopefully at that point your return is enough to offset the amount of work you are putting in.

I also believe that the wall is hit when you repeat yourself.
Not necessarily with similars, but with similar themes, similar styles, etc.

If you want to keep growing your sales, you must branch out and try new themes, new styles, new techniques, etc.
You must innovate instead of doing the same old over and over again.

There has never been a decisive answer, but personally I don't know why or how and agency would regulate downloads or income. What does that matter to them and their income?

Here's something about "the wall" 100,200,400,800,1600, 3200, 6400 images. Hypothetical 10 sales, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70. You have to keep doubling the number of images to get the same number of sales.

Otherwise, when I had 500 images I'd make one number and 1,000 images double that, and 2,000 I'd make four times the starting number. But normally, that doesn't happen for most of us. In a sad way, I have over 5,000 on Shutterstock now and make less than I did two years ago. To which I'd say, image numbers don't equal dollars or downloads.  ;)

For the people in the past who complained and said they were handed a quota income, I want to complain that I'm NOT!

Lol! Four days without sales. That will teach me not place paranoia topics like this :)


What four days? Weekends are always less downloads for me, Saturday is the worst.

SVH

« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2021, 15:40 »
0
So, yes I know 10 vs 20 is a 100% increase, but that was not the point I was making. I have a merely max of 200 photo's in each portfolio I have with the three big ones. To busy with other work to let it grow for now. About 15% of each individual photo has been sold and some are bestsellers in the way they have sold a lot more times than others.
So one of my bestsellers is a decent photo taken of the moon (pretty pin sharp, good post-processing, not many pixels though due to the necesarry cropping when taken at 960 mm). It's one a first page with one of the big agencies and for all the time.
This agency has about a couple of million of users. Now with Halloween upcoming I see a small rise in sales. From 2-3 a week to 4-5 a week. So hey, sort of a 100% increase, yeah!
But every week it's 2 or 3 and now 4-5. Never, with the millions of users they have, it's 20,60,200 or 0. And that's what I would have expected it to do with the one photo versus millions of customers. That's what I mean with stable and that is what surprises me.
It's not a photo of a rare item that is a niche and only some clients could be interested in I would say.

« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2021, 11:38 »
+1
So, yes I know 10 vs 20 is a 100% increase, but that was not the point I was making. I have a merely max of 200 photo's in each portfolio I have with the three big ones. To busy with other work to let it grow for now. About 15% of each individual photo has been sold and some are bestsellers in the way they have sold a lot more times than others.
So one of my bestsellers is a decent photo taken of the moon (pretty pin sharp, good post-processing, not many pixels though due to the necesarry cropping when taken at 960 mm). It's one a first page with one of the big agencies and for all the time.
This agency has about a couple of million of users. Now with Halloween upcoming I see a small rise in sales. From 2-3 a week to 4-5 a week. So hey, sort of a 100% increase, yeah!
But every week it's 2 or 3 and now 4-5. Never, with the millions of users they have, it's 20,60,200 or 0. And that's what I would have expected it to do with the one photo versus millions of customers. That's what I mean with stable and that is what surprises me.
It's not a photo of a rare item that is a niche and only some clients could be interested in I would say.

Nice you won the search lottery - enjoy it while it lasts

SVH

« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2021, 13:05 »
0
Nice you won the search lottery - enjoy it while it lasts

Don't understand what it is you meant but I like your member pic:
'Download please!'  ;D

« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2021, 19:54 »
+1
Nice you won the search lottery - enjoy it while it lasts

Don't understand what it is you meant but I like your member pic:
'Download please!'  ;D

Thanks, I presume there are many thousands of moon images that are good enough that if they were on the first page of the search they would get downloaded. Somehow yours got there - so you will get sales and this should continue until the site changes the search. I managed to get a fireworks pic on the first page for about 3 years. Then one day it wasn't on the first 10 pages and sales went from average of about 1 per day to under one per month.


 

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