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Author Topic: A different sort of buyer  (Read 4109 times)

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« on: June 09, 2009, 00:10 »
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I have often assumed that microstock buyers were either designers for magazine/print/web advertising and/or buyers for small organizations such as churches and schools that need images for web sites and brochures.

Today I met with a potential client; a cosmetic surgeon who wanted high end glamor 'after' shots of some of his patients for his web site. When I arrived at his sumptuous office I noticed several poster size prints that I recognized as the work of several different microstock photographers.

As the good doctor was gushing (no really he was) over my print portfolio, I casually mentioned that I also was an exclusive on iStock.
To my surprise he was very familiar with IS, and DT but none of the other big six. He did mention several other sites like Crestock and a few that I had never heard of. 

Of major interest to me was the fact that he felt there was a lot of low end garbage on IS and had trouble locating the sort of shots that he wanted on IS. On the other hand he did mention that he thought the prices were good. He even was savvy enough to keep a lightbox on IS. Obviously, he needs training in using search terms to find what he is looking for.

I am beginning to wonder how many sales many of us are missing, not because we don't have good keywording, but because the clients are not full time image  buyers and don't know how to search effectively?




« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2009, 01:31 »
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I would think that your surgeon is not a different buyer but more like the mainstream, if it was only designers and art directors there would be less revenue, many new microstock buyers that would or could not use a designer do thier own layout and copy.

Microstock opened up Image supply to many new Customers, you mention designers and advertizing, but there are many others users that are not designers that will use microstock for presentations, community leaflets, websites, articles, blogs, even students homework etc:

I have purchased $1 images for a personal website and a presentation before, and I am an IT consultant not a designer or AD, the reason was simple the images add value and are affordable, on the other side I know my limitations and have just paid over $100 for a website logo for my IT business website.

I did have a problem finding the right business images searching on several microstock sites, the main problem I found was finding a set of business images from the same photographer that have the same look, feel and models, if you try it yourself think of an online business and look for 10 images that fit together for a website or presentation, it is hard to get a consistant flow of images, I think a lot of that is the stocksites only taking so many similars from a shoot or theame.     

If we take your cosmetic surgeon, the images were likely selected by the surgeon and passed to a designer to layout and produce the copy, I am sure the surgeon could earn more in an hour than what the designer would charge.  

David
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 01:46 by Adeptris »

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2009, 04:12 »
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I'd agree. I found out our Real Estate agent uses Istock. She loves it but said they don't have enough of certain types of images. I did a search and found plenty. She just doesn't really know how to search.

So, is that the buyers fault for not knowing common search options? Or is it the site's fault for not making search intuitive?

« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 06:25 »
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This proves again, that we/they need to clean up the sites from garbage.   The clients will always search the way they do.  And find what they find.  If they say its not enough, we need to give em more.     

« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 07:59 »
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I had a potential client contact me a few months ago about building a web site for a new start-up business the hoped to launch this summer.  During the course of the conversation, he said had everything needed for the site -- he said he even had "over $500 of stock photography from istock" sitting on his hard disk.

Unfortunately, he thought $1000 for the html & php coding was too much.

I also had another client that went to istock and found his own pictures for this hair saloon website before he even started looking for a webmaster.

« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 11:21 »
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I too have found that people tend to know only about iStock.  And I think a big part of it is the name.  They hear "iStock" and assume it has something to do with Apple, the iPhone, iPod etc so they instantly assign it a high coolness factor.  By contrast, there are lifeless, hard-to-remember names like DreamsTime (what's with that "s" anyway?),  CanStockPhoto, and (sorry John) CutCaster.  ShutterStock doesn't sound very artsy either, and the mis-spelled Fotolia sounds like it's about gardening.



 

« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 11:28 »
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Have you noticed how many banner ads IS has everywhere for weeks now? Maybe that's one of the reasons more people know about them.

digiology

« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2009, 11:49 »
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I too have found that people tend to know only about iStock.  And I think a big part of it is the name.  They hear "iStock" and assume it has something to do with Apple, the iPhone, iPod etc so they instantly assign it a high coolness factor.  By contrast, there are lifeless, hard-to-remember names like DreamsTime (what's with that "s" anyway?),  CanStockPhoto, and (sorry John) CutCaster.  ShutterStock doesn't sound very artsy either, and the mis-spelled Fotolia sounds like it's about gardening.
 

I agree...

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2009, 12:15 »
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I too have found that people tend to know only about iStock.  And I think a big part of it is the name.  They hear "iStock" and assume it has something to do with Apple, the iPhone, iPod etc so they instantly assign it a high coolness factor.  By contrast, there are lifeless, hard-to-remember names like DreamsTime (what's with that "s" anyway?),  CanStockPhoto, and (sorry John) CutCaster.  ShutterStock doesn't sound very artsy either, and the mis-spelled Fotolia sounds like it's about gardening.


I don't think Dreamstime is hard to remember I just think it's difficult to connect the name with the offering. I just don't see how it has anything to do with stock photography. The first thing I think of is sleep products. Like sleeping pills or sleep therapy. "Have insomnia? Call the experts at Dreamstime today!".

« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 12:36 »
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I think that a lower-case 'i' in front of a capitalized noun can now be used to sell just about anything.  

iStock has another advantage - a web page that looks like it was created by - well - an actual graphics designer.  Most of the other sites are basically sandpaper on the eyeballs.  Crowded, clunky, and corporate-looking.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 12:43 by stockastic »

lisafx

« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2009, 12:42 »
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So, is that the buyers fault for not knowing common search options? Or is it the site's fault for not making search intuitive?

[quote from Magnum]
This proves again, that we/they need to clean up the sites from garbage.   The clients will always search the way they do.  And find what they find.  If they say its not enough, we need to give em more.

[/quote]

I have to agree with the above statements.  

Although I appreciate the idea behind istock's search methodology, I think they definitely erred on the side of being counterintuitive.  If you need to publish detailed instructions on how to search the site then your search is probably too complicated for the average user.  

And there is tons of garbage on all the sites.  Can't fault istock on that score, though - they are certainly taking ample steps to clean out the flotsam from their collection.      

« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2009, 13:00 »
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Although I appreciate the idea behind istock's search methodology, I think they definitely erred on the side of being counterintuitive.  If you need to publish detailed instructions on how to search the site then your search is probably too complicated for the average user.  

And there is tons of garbage on all the sites.  Can't fault istock on that score, though - they are certainly taking ample steps to clean out the flotsam from their collection.      

I have always wondered how many keywords are needed for an image, I often struggle to find 10-15, and looking at real search data it looks like buyers search with simple keywords, these are random actual buyers searches on one website that has editorail and commercial:
health insurance, asian ice, mistletoe, worcestershire summer, apple, old rusty ship, irish,
hong kong harbor, exercise,  asian man, westminster abbey, asian team suit, druids, invoice,
school pupil, zebra running, optical pattern 

One to three words that should be relative to the content of an image, so how many buyers search for a concept and why do some Photographers add lots of not so relevant keywords?

David  ???

« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2009, 13:45 »
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Just to further make the point... a week ago, one of my models asked me if I still had shots of her on IS, because she could not find them.

I gave her my user name and even the number of one of the files, but she still could not find her images. I finally emailed her a direct link to a lightbox with her files in it!

I have no idea what search terms she was using and I did not inquire.

It really does seem to me that 'regular' people are having a difficult time finding what they are looking for.


« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2009, 16:28 »
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One aspect I have mentioned before: don't expect general public, and even many designers, to know boolean operators.  I always laugh when people say that someone looking for images of red car without a person should type "red AND car NOT person NOT people".  :D

Buyers search according to their knowledge.  And as DT shows us, a lot of people search one or two keywords only, and not rarely a very vague one, such as "love" or "sun".


 

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