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Author Topic: Why does midstock not work?  (Read 9117 times)

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« on: August 25, 2008, 08:37 »
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I sell my images macrostock and microstock (different images of course). I have tried various midstock sites as well, but the results have been very disappointing.

I really like the idea behind midstock: In theory you can put more work in each image to produce better images than the microstock ones. You still don't need anything "special" in images as in the macrostock world. The images would still be very affordable for smaller businesses. Something like $50 is a very, very cheap image in advertising.

But why doesn't customers buy midstock images, only cheap and expensive images?
One thing is propably that customers are also divided to big corporations and "mom  & pop" stores. (yes I know, big corporations also use some microstock for some minor projects)

One thing is also that most of the midstock sites are flooded with microstock images and that is not a good thing. Why would anyone pay $50 for an image that can be bought for $5 at a micro.

In my dream midstock site there would be a restriction to sell the same images on the other sites too cheaply, let's say a web sized image shouldn't be sold anywhere under $10. Also a per-image exclusive site could be a good idea, but only if they have decent marketing budgets. Also a place with only exclusive images you can't buy anywhere else. The exclusive images only site should also be a bit more picky about the images and accept only good images.

Ok now I have this out of my system... :)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2008, 08:40 by Perry »


« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 08:58 »
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You could try these guys:  http://www.photographersdirect.com

You would have to ditch all of your microstock though.

grp_photo

« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 08:58 »
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One thing is also that most of the midstock sites are flooded with microstock images and that is not a good thing. Why would anyone pay $50 for an image that can be bought for $5 at a micro.



That is the point!
Some people even upload their microstockimages to macrosites. I can foresee a slow death to Alamy by this behaviour.
The really successful macrosites are exclusive like getty or corbis.

« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 09:10 »
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Some people even upload their microstockimages to macrosites. I can foresee a slow death to Alamy by this behaviour.

Yes, I'm also worried about that. Photoshelter says in their contract that the same images cannot be sold for under $50, at any size - I think that's a good thing to be clear about that.

I really hope that Photoshelter will succeed, they seem like professionals and nice people, but the times are hard... :(

« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 09:23 »
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Because there is no real difference between the images uploaded at any level, anymore.

There is a perceived gain ( and some habitual ) buying, when you buy at a high price from the macros.  You may gain some exclusivity due to price.  Also, some clients like to see purchases from the big houses.

There is no buyer gain at this point from spending $50 on something you could either buy for a higher price for the above reasons, or at a micro due to price.

The micro floor may eventually move upwards a bit more (although not if subs stay strongly in the game).

jsnover

« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 09:47 »
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Because there is no real difference between the images uploaded at any level, anymore.


In terms of technical qualiity, I agree. In terms of location, models, styling and props, I think there are still some things you just aren't likely to find on the micros. Yuri's casino shoot was a first (I think - certainly according to him) for a micro given the expenses.

So if those shoots go to macro agencies and everything else to micros - where the volume is - what content area is left for a midstock agency to carve out?

There are some specialized stock agencies (farms and such http://www.heilmanphoto.com/, for example), but why would they go midstock versus macro? I don't think they can grow their buyer audience by lowering price as the audience is pretty well circumscribed by interest, not price.

« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 10:00 »
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There is one possibility for successful midstock. And that's localisation ie. images that represent a lifestyle and culture of a smaller country/nation. I have some images at a local midstock agency and they do sell a bit, not great tho. Those images would never really sell at microstock, because they don't look "american" enough.

I have also been a on the buyer side, sometimes I just can't find anything at the micros that would look like it was shot in my homeland. People somehow look a bit different even if they have the same skin color. And then there's the small details that seem "wrong", it may be just some electrical poles in the background, a house door etc.

I believe there's some point in midstock agencies that approve only images shot in a certain country, the higher price (than micros) comes from the fact that the market is smaller. The advertising budgets for a local market are also smaller.

« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 10:16 »
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In terms of technical qualiity, I agree. In terms of location, models, styling and props, I think there are still some things you just aren't likely to find on the micros. Yuri's casino shoot was a first (I think - certainly according to him) for a micro given the expenses.

I tried to get into a Casino a few years ago, but here in Missouri, they won't let you in with a camera (unless it's their marketing) for any cost.

« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 10:54 »
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I tried to get into a Casino a few years ago, but here in Missouri, they won't let you in with a camera (unless it's their marketing) for any cost.
True sjlocke. The best way I've seen people get photos of casinos is to go to the casino supply stores in vegas, or even the dealing schools. They're normally willing to work something out.

jsnover

« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 11:06 »
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There is one possibility for successful midstock. And that's localisation ie. images that represent a lifestyle and culture of a smaller country/nation..... People somehow look a bit different even if they have the same skin color. And then there's the small details that seem "wrong", it may be just some electrical poles in the background, a house door etc.

I think there are some really tell-tale things that place a shot - new houses in the UK look unlike those in the US, for example. Apparently not enough to prevent a Birmingham UK agency from using a Birmingham, AL photo for their recycling brochure, but that was just sloppy work on their part.

Given that contributors to micros come from just about every country and buyers do too (witness Fotolia's success largely with buyers outside the US) I'm not sure there is much of a niche to carve out with local shots at higher prices except for very out of the way places or perhaps very detailed event and place coverage (the maypole dance in Beeny/Pennycrocker from 2002 - I made up all but the place names).

« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 07:06 »
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What comes to same images for microstock and midstock is kind of bad thing but there is some differencies/advantages about the rights (we sell).

How we explain that to our customers is that they get total Royalty free -rights without any limitations e.g to print circulation, time of usage, size of the photo used in product and they get always the biggest size of the photo.

What comes to sales in other agencies I dont have knowledge. About sales in our own agency Im not disappointed at all. ;)


 

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