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Author Topic: "Free: The Future of a Radical Price"  (Read 22348 times)

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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2009, 22:02 »
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Sergey (Hippy),

WHY do you even want to bother with this forum at all?  Very strange, since from the sounds of it you're making soooooo much more in RM than you could ever dream of in microstock.  Why's this place rate even a brief moment of your thought, much less so much actual posting?  Something doesn't add up.  Sounds like out of the goodness of your heart you're really concerned about the sorry plight of micro-shooters.  Or jealous of them.  Or scared of them.......


Xalanx

« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2009, 00:24 »
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Scared, I guess. If I remember correctly from some older posts which I'm too lazy to really look for now, Old Hippie tried his hand at microstock with his traveling shots and was amazed that his shots were rejected. Some "what do these guys want?!" that any newbie would ask. So, one could only assume that he doesn't really have the understanding of what flies in microstock.

« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2009, 01:23 »
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i instead focus on people, street people if possible, and i go
straight in the people's face, some say my style is "slash and burn" :)

"cheap holidays in other people's misery" - seems like a very punk ethic for an old hippy.

Sergey

    This user is banned.
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2009, 04:49 »
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Sergey (Hippy),

WHY do you even want to bother with this forum at all?  Very strange, since from the sounds of it you're making soooooo much more in RM than you could ever dream of in microstock.  Why's this place rate even a brief moment of your thought, much less so much actual posting?  Something doesn't add up.  Sounds like out of the goodness of your heart you're really concerned about the sorry plight of micro-shooters.  Or jealous of them.  Or scared of them.......

it's simple.

i come here to learn, and eventually to teach.

Xalanx

« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2009, 05:22 »
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it's simple.

i come here to learn, and eventually to teach.

yea, but WHY?

RacePhoto

« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2009, 10:35 »
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Interesting.  I think 'free' is where microstock really wants to be.  When buyers see millions of images available for pennies - from multiple sources - they realize that  there's basically an enormous oversupply.

Eventually some big microstock is going to throw in the towel and start giving away the images,  and run ads on the search pages. Contributors will get nothing - but of course, we'll make it up on the increased volume of sales... :) 



Seems to be the trend. The hosting site makes money off page views and "free" images, which are almost free now with some of the pricing plans, and the contributors get ???

Here's a review. I found one that was more critical last month, but haven't discovered where I read it. Interesting concept based on supply and demand and the availability of "free" information because of the Internet.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jun/28/review-free-chris-anderson

« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2009, 10:48 »
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racephoto, interesting review, thanks.

When free content becomes available, consumer standards drop down to meet it. For example, Wikipedia isn't as well written as Encyclopedia Brittanica. But it's free, so in time, people forget that there used to be something better.   One could say that Brittanica was better than it needed to be, that people really only wanted the raw information, not the fine English.  But I'm convinced something of value is being lost.  And in time, the pendulum will swing back the other way.

I'm guessing that the big money players moving into microstock are spinning grand plans in which the images are just loss leaders, a way to pull in customers to whom they will eventually market other products and services.  
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 10:58 by stockastic »

Sergey

    This user is banned.
« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2009, 11:11 »
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racephoto, interesting review, thanks.

When free content becomes available, consumer standards drop down to meet it. For example, Wikipedia isn't as well written as Encyclopedia Brittanica. But it's free, so in time, people forget that there used to be something better.   One could say that Brittanica was better than it needed to be, that people really only wanted the raw information, not the fine English.  But I'm convinced something of value is being lost.  And in time, the pendulum will swing back the other way.

I'm guessing that the big money players moving into microstock are spinning grand plans in which the images are just loss leaders, a way to pull in customers to whom they will eventually market other products and services.  


microstock will never die, because there's a ton of people willing to upload even for free, look at Flickr for instance.
who owns the micros will make money, it's you the microstocker who'll get more and more screwed and you'll realize it
before or later i hope.

Sergey

    This user is banned.
« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2009, 11:15 »
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Interesting.  I think 'free' is where microstock really wants to be.  When buyers see millions of images available for pennies - from multiple sources - they realize that  there's basically an enormous oversupply.

Eventually some big microstock is going to throw in the towel and start giving away the images,  and run ads on the search pages. Contributors will get nothing - but of course, we'll make it up on the increased volume of sales... :)  



Seems to be the trend. The hosting site makes money off page views and "free" images, which are almost free now with some of the pricing plans, and the contributors get ???

Here's a review. I found one that was more critical last month, but haven't discovered where I read it. Interesting concept based on supply and demand and the availability of "free" information because of the Internet.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jun/28/review-free-chris-anderson



image hosting barely can cover their own expenses.
do you think they all make millions ? think again, Facebook is in deep red, Twitter never made a single dollar so far,
Google's net gain is from 5 to 10% of their revenue, and the list goes on.
Youtube is LOSING 1million$  A DAY.

the only cash cows on the web are poker/gambling/dating/porn/moneytransfer/creditcardgateways  sites.
anything else is lucky to make a 10% net profit.

the free model is all to be seen where is it going in the future.
murdoch is going pay-per-read soon for instance and he's  right.

« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2009, 12:13 »
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Yes, the pendulum always swings, or as the French put it,  "the more things change, the more they stay the same".   Many if not most of these grandiose free-content schemes will eventually crash and burn, and microstock (after it goes 'free') will probably be one of them.

I agree that the vast majority of microstock contributors are losing money, to the extent they value their time.  For me it's been a useful learning experience.  I am at the point where I know I can produce images that sell, and I also know I'm light-years away from making enough money per image for this activity to be worthwhile.  Now, I'm wondering what to try next. Stick with microstock and try to zero on on profitable subjects? Try moving up to something like Alamy?  Sell photos at art fairs?   Or just forget about ever making any money from photography?

I could spend a lot of effort  creating 1,000 good stock images, at about the same time these agencies grind each other down to a price point of 0, making it all a waste of time.

As always, the future will head off in directions we never predicted.




« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 12:57 by stockastic »

« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2009, 13:08 »
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And what is conclusion!?


« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2009, 15:37 »
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...
You may think we are micro fools, but I like many others here do upload our RM images to Alamy, I assume that is why you are quoting the 'L' license, we can see the value of both models and realise that different images suit different agencies, so we have a finger in both pies, instead of in our ears.

David  ::)  

haha very well put :)

« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2009, 16:53 »
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For example, Wikipedia isn't as well written as Encyclopedia Brittanica. But it's free, so in time, people forget that there used to be something better.  

And the quality of information is not necessarily good or accurate.  But I confess I resort to Wikipedia almost daily.  ::)

I agree people give less value to quality than to price, and that's even before the recent economic crisis.  Due to the internet, at least in its early days, we got used to getting things for free and it's no surprise people now think everything in the internet is free unless it is blocked by subscription or some other controlled access.  When Geocities started it was totally free, then Yahoo took over and included popups and ads (still free, but annoying, and you could get rid of them with a paid account).

Sergey

    This user is banned.
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2009, 17:19 »
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Yes, the pendulum always swings, or as the French put it,  "the more things change, the more they stay the same".   Many if not most of these grandiose free-content schemes will eventually crash and burn, and microstock (after it goes 'free') will probably be one of them.

I agree that the vast majority of microstock contributors are losing money, to the extent they value their time.  For me it's been a useful learning experience.  I am at the point where I know I can produce images that sell, and I also know I'm light-years away from making enough money per image for this activity to be worthwhile.  Now, I'm wondering what to try next. Stick with microstock and try to zero on on profitable subjects? Try moving up to something like Alamy?  Sell photos at art fairs?   Or just forget about ever making any money from photography?

I could spend a lot of effort  creating 1,000 good stock images, at about the same time these agencies grind each other down to a price point of 0, making it all a waste of time.

As always, the future will head off in directions we never predicted.






yes, the core point is HOW MUCH TIME IT TAKES to keyword/upload/edit to a dozen microstock agencies ?

what about people paying models or making expensive shoots ?
can they really cope with the pityful micro payouts ?

micro can only go down the drain as long as they're fighting each other on prices,
and this will first and foremost screw the photographers not the agencies.

it's the same with supermarkets now, farmers are paid so low they start leaving
their vegetables on the trees as selling to Tesco they would lose money.

and what Tesco does then ? importing cheaper vegs and fruit from China and Africa
and screwing the farmers.

it's a rat race, that's why only RM will survive in the long term, coz there is still a shitload
of money on RM.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 17:22 by Sergey »

« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2009, 02:50 »
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Back to the OP and the use of the word 'Free'

I was listening to a report on the radio driving into work and a quote I heard put it into context, and the quote was:

"Free only means that someone else is paying"

Before you can look at giving anything away 'Free' you have to look at "who and how", who will pay in the longer run and how you are going to monitize it, if you cannot answer these questions then there is no point in giving anything.

When the websites like flickr give away limited free accounts, the revenue to pay for these comes partly from advertising and the 'Paid Pro Accounts', so the free stuff is never 'Free' 

David   

Sergey

    This user is banned.
« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2009, 03:23 »
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Back to the OP and the use of the word 'Free'

I was listening to a report on the radio driving into work and a quote I heard put it into context, and the quote was:

"Free only means that someone else is paying"

Before you can look at giving anything away 'Free' you have to look at "who and how", who will pay in the longer run and how you are going to monitize it, if you cannot answer these questions then there is no point in giving anything.

When the websites like flickr give away limited free accounts, the revenue to pay for these comes partly from advertising and the 'Paid Pro Accounts', so the free stuff is never 'Free' 

David   


right on the spot.

FREE works fine for who owns the micro agencies : someone else is paying .. .YOU microstockers with your time and work !


« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2009, 05:57 »
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Before you can look at giving anything away 'Free' you have to look at "who and how", who will pay in the longer run and how you are going to monitize it, if you cannot answer these questions then there is no point in giving anything.

Of course just giving away for free is no good.  The trick is using free as a bait for more. 

When Yahoo took over Geocities, they created paid accounts without advertisements/popups, more storage, etc.  It was a natural way for someone who had started a website in Geocities for free and then grew it (my case).  I was too lazy to move to a more intelligent solution - my domain and a host, a choice that was however only available at affordable prices years later.


Sergey

    This user is banned.
« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2009, 06:09 »
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it's just too easy today to mess with the web.

never before it has been so cheap to publish images and articles and spread the word around
to a huge list of contacts.

but as production and distribution costs are next to zero, so are the earnings because when anyone can clone your idea or your products without effort where's the real value of your product ?

and why clients should pay for it ?

the only way to sell on the web is making something unique and hard to steal and that's simply not possible in any fields but only in some specific market niches.

« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2009, 00:12 »
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Speaking from both the view point of a buyer and a seller, RF has its place in the market.  As a web designer it makes absolutely no sense to pay $50 for a small photo to put on a web page. And my clients don't have $1000's to spend on just images alone...and I doubt I am unique in that regard.

That being said, there is, and will likely always remain a niche out there for the very best photographers, taking photos that nobody else can get,  using equipment no else can afford.  But the combination of the internet, computers, and high quality digital cameras have leveled the playing field on the lower end of the photography profession, at the same time whole new markets demanding cheap imagery have emerged.

So nothing has really changed, those who find themselves in a niche with a high barrier of entry will make the big bucks, or at least a decent living, and those who don't will get the left overs.

« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2009, 00:30 »
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Stockastic,

About you thoughts on Wikipedia, I do agree something was lost (editorial quality), but at the same time it brought to the market some very powerful things, that its competitors just couldn't match. It allowed everyone on Earth to be an editor...many of whom were willing to add material and review other's material for "free". This has obvious draw backs, but it also has numerous benefits. While not exactly related, the best example of this occurred when a bunch of bloggers were able to nail Dan Rather to the cross when he tried to take down a sitting president with bogus documents. The web and Wikipedia in particular have made it possible for a level of access and transparency that didn't exist 10 years ago. And lastly there is timeliness. With all that free access and help Wikipedia is generally updated with in seconds of something significant can happening on any given subject. I wouldn't be surprised while I was sitting on the shores of Lake Powell taking pictures this summer, someone, somewhere was madly typing away on Wikipedia the second Michael Jackson was rumored to have died. Wikipedia's competitors just can't compete with that...especially when there are so many people willing to do for free, what they would have to pay an army of editors to do (update, and watch the headlines).

That said I think Wikipedia may have lost temporarily some editorial quality, but I think in the end it will get that back and still have many of the advantages it has now over its former competitors.

« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2009, 09:20 »
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gwhitton,

Wikipedia is evolving.  Eventually we may have full confidence that its content is provided by people with appropriate expertise, is peer-reviewed and reliable. While the story about Dan Rather shows value, Wikipedia has also published erroneous and self-serving material that they've struggled to clean up.

With regard to images for web pages - aren't you basically saying that your clients can't afford traditional stock prices, so they deserve to get images for whatever they feel they want to pay?  That's how people justified Napster - CD prices were too high, so we 'deserve' free music.  

99.9 % of my sales on SS are 25 cent subscriptions, so we got from "$50" to 25 cents very quickly. I hope your customers are happy at this point, but if not,  I guess the next stop is zero.  The microstock have created a nearly perfect "buyer's market".  

  



« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 10:05 by stockastic »

RacePhoto

« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2009, 13:55 »
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Back to the OP and the use of the word 'Free'

I was listening to a report on the radio driving into work and a quote I heard put it into context, and the quote was:

"Free only means that someone else is paying"

Before you can look at giving anything away 'Free' you have to look at "who and how", who will pay in the longer run and how you are going to monitize it, if you cannot answer these questions then there is no point in giving anything.

When the websites like flickr give away limited free accounts, the revenue to pay for these comes partly from advertising and the 'Paid Pro Accounts', so the free stuff is never 'Free'  

David  

Radio is "free" and so is broadcast Television.  ;D You are correct and the point of the book isn't driving a nail into microstock, but for information. For Screwgle/old H/serge/ (soon to be announced new name?), it always comes back to that. The reasons for print publications going out and that includes magazines and newspapers that are in deep financial trouble, electronic is a modern medium that is almost freely accessible and in many cases "free". Print publications are supported by advertising, not subscriptions. So is the internet.

10% profit is great! If you sell 200 million in products and make 10% that's 20 million dollars! Years ago I knew someone who owned a supermarket and they said, after expenses, if they made 2% it was wonderful. If the microstock agencies make the investors any profit, it's good, and 10% is more than you can get storing your money into a bank account. A retail storefront needs to make 25% on sales to cover expenses and overhead, or it will lose money. An internet company has much lower fixed expenses, so they can sell for less.

Ask yourself how many dedicated camera shops are there in your city compared to ten years ago? Locally, a city of one million, there are three left!

Hey folks, lets go back to the first days that anyone came here and asked, can I make money in Micro? What's the answer? Yes, but it takes hard work, and a large portfolio. It's not easy money. Photos have to be nearly perfect. Getting them through QC is only the first step, because getting someone to buy them is another thing. Then people have 200 photo portfolios and don't make much, they forget the first advise in bold above.  ;D

There may be a very small number of people, I can think of a few IS exclusives who have around 300 photos, and make good sales. They are 300 very good photos. I can also see that there are people with 1000 average photos on the top six, who don't reach payout every month. That's about $50 a month in sales. It won't pay the bills or set you free from your day job. Not that it can't be done, it takes a big effort and at least a year of hard work.

Speaking of FREE there's no free money from selling snapshots on Microstock. It's a highly competative volume business and "some people" fail to recognize that!  ::)

« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 00:04 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2009, 15:26 »
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Well, sure. There's no pot of gold here, that's pretty clear.  What is really disappointing though is that prices seem to be still falling. It's hard to motivate yourself to produce hundreds of images without some confidence that the returns you thought you might get won't turn out to be a mirage.

And I'm serious when I say the price could go to zero.  The microstocks know there's virtually no resistance to cutting the commission.  At some point many contributors will stop submitting, but will they actually delete their files and close their accounts?  (Especially if it's a royal pain to do so?)  

All my sales at SS now are 25 cent subscriptions.  It's probably already too late.

« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 17:13 by stockastic »

« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2009, 19:50 »
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gwhitton,

Wikipedia is evolving.  Eventually we may have full confidence that its content is provided by people with appropriate expertise, is peer-reviewed and reliable. While the story about Dan Rather shows value, Wikipedia has also published erroneous and self-serving material that they've struggled to clean up.

With regard to images for web pages - aren't you basically saying that your clients can't afford traditional stock prices, so they deserve to get images for whatever they feel they want to pay?  That's how people justified Napster - CD prices were too high, so we 'deserve' free music.  

99.9 % of my sales on SS are 25 cent subscriptions, so we got from "$50" to 25 cents very quickly. I hope your customers are happy at this point, but if not,  I guess the next stop is zero.  The microstock have created a nearly perfect "buyer's market".  



Stocktastic,

No I am not concluding that I or anyone should have to pay nothing for photographs. And I wasn't the one who determined .25c was the right price to by or sell at. What am saying is that for a glorified thumbnail, $50 is way to much, and simply would not fly in the internet age, when suddenly millions of multi-media websites needed cheap imagery to be practical. But at the same time the internet opened up photographers 1000's if not millions of new clients they couldn't have reached in the past. So there is a trade off, and the microstock explosion is the manifestation of both realities.

Nothing is stopping you of course from charging $50 or $100 dollars at the local photo gallery, but as was always the case in the past, 95% of the people will look at a photo on the wall, comment how nice it is and walk on. But at the same time they won't hesitate to buy a photo calendar or a postcard covered with the very same images. Two different markets, it just comes down to whether you are willing to serve both.

« Reply #49 on: August 20, 2009, 05:00 »
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Which site pay less $$ per download now than they did 12 months ago?


 

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