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Author Topic: Agencies with Fair Commissions  (Read 20080 times)

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rubyroo

« on: January 20, 2011, 19:57 »
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I thought it might be worth having a dedicated thread for Fair Trade Agencies for photographers.  

For newbies:  As others have pointed out in this thread, there are many factors involved in how an agency will fare - e.g. their market share; their business model, the price they charge etc. and pooling all of that information is beyond my abilities, but as a starting point I felt having this information in one place might be useful.  

Individuals can investigate the agency in question and come to their own conclusions, via their websites and via threads on those agencies here at MSG.  Also, note whether/where they appear in the poll results on the right of this screen.  It is not necessarily the case that the highest commission equates to the highest income for you.

Please feel free to add info to this thread, and I will update this initial post as and when I can.

Zoonar - up to 80% - partner commissions 60%
Alamy  60% on direct sales; 40% via distribution deals
3DStudio 60%
Graphic Leftovers  52%  (set your own price or accept their recommendation)
Yay Micro  50%
Stockfresh 50%
123RF 50% on PPD(?)  Subs to be clarified...
Featurepics 50%
Spaces (niche macro agency) - 50%
Cutcaster 40% non-exclusive; 50% exclusive (set your own price or accept their recommendation)
Dreamstime 30% PPDs and .35 per sub (at the time of writing:  An individual image price and % commission may increase as it's sales grow to hit specified targets set by Dreamstime.)

Note:  Cutcaster and Spaces have confirmed these percentages directly in this thread.  Other percentages have been provided by contributors.  

NB:  If an agency sees any errors in this list, please advise via this thread and it will be corrected asap.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 09:12 by rubyroo »


« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 19:58 »
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123RF has 50% no?

rubyroo

« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 20:03 »
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Thanks Luis  :)  I've added them.

I'm going to bed soon, but just wanted to get this started.  Feel free to add any you know of.

« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 20:06 »
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but they are quiet weird once we can have blog sales for 0.25 or 0.45.. credits whatever..

featurepics has also 50%.. 2 sales but yeh they pay 50

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 20:07 »
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Remember that Alamy give you 60% on images sold directly by them, but 40% on images sold via distributors.

rubyroo

« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 20:11 »
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Thanks Sue!

Luis - the 123RF structure is a bit confusing, I'll have to leave that with a question mark for the moment.

« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 20:13 »
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3DStudio has 60%.. 3 sales lol.. 5 year lock in 70%

cutcaster 40%.. 2 sales :(

visco 40% (level 2) 50% (level 3).. guess they havent started the marketing etc..
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 20:18 by luissantos84 »


rubyroo

« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 20:22 »
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Thanks John and Luis (again).  I've never heard of Visco... I wonder should I just add all agencies, or should there be some discrimination (my instinct is to put them all in and let contributors investigate and decide, but let me know what you think.... I'll check back tomorrow :))

Off to bed now, but keep them coming :)

« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 20:22 »
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There is so much that goes into a "fair" commission beyond the percentage.

So an agency with $1 prices for all sizes, an anything goes license and 60% going to the photographer might look more "fair" than one with different prices for different sizes, a tighter basic license with extended licenses for more money and a 40% royalty for the photographer. But it probably would not make anything like as much money for the photographer.

And then there's SS which is so regularly the #1 or #2 earner and we have no idea what the percentage they pay to photographers is.

Then I'd want to look at agencies that might take a slightly higher cut, but spent it on aggressive promotion of the business which is more fair to photographers in the long run than those who just suck cash out of the business to pay back their investors or corporate parents.

I like the idea of a fair trade label for stock agencies, but I think it has to encompass much more than just the percentage.

rubyroo

« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 20:26 »
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I agree with you JSNover.  It's just that with people looking at their options more vehemently right now, I thought it would be worth having percentages as a starting point for further investigation.

« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 20:29 »
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I agree there a few important things in the fair question.. Regarding SS yes we dont have a fixed % but honestly that isnt bad I guess, regarding size we can upload 4MP or so.. I just hope they wont change it.. I am close to a milestone the 3k and I would be quite mad if something bad happen :P

FT was really crazy, night to day this announcement.. I am wondering when will it start, will it really go? why havent FT agreement etc changed?

« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 23:36 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word.

On topic... this thread is a great idea!  I think there are so many variables to consider but commission is hugely important to me and the easiest to analyze. If the agency is getting exactly the same cut for representing my work then that is fair. Anything under 40% to contributer is not fair.  I worked in the offline art gallery sales world for many years. Every single art gallery I dealt with took between a 40-60% cut of any sale...that has always been industry standard for access to more buyers. Lets remember a real brick and mortar business with huge overheads  and a limited client base of only people who are in a radius that can physically drive to the store somehow manages to maintain an industry standard of around 50/50 for many many decades, possibly hundreds of years (speculating)  but an online agency with access to the entire world and very little overhead can't do the same. It is hugely unethical and not fair trade to offer such low commissions. Sorry but advertising on the net is so much cheaper than the overhead for a real storefront. They are just so greedy that they are going to run this new microstock experimental business model into the ground very quickly to turn a quick profit.

« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 23:55 »
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I agree there a few important things in the fair question.. Regarding SS yes we dont have a fixed % but honestly that isnt bad I guess, regarding size we can upload 4MP or so.. I just hope they wont change it.. I am close to a milestone the 3k and I would be quite mad if something bad happen :P

I did a quick calculation on SS based on their direct purchase prices and the rate ranges from 19% to 30% depending on your sales volume. I imagine the subscription sales % is somewhere around there as well, although it's impossible for us to know.

« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 23:59 »
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...Graphic Leftovers  52%...
I might add that at GL you can set your own price. The most popular price is $6 which yields you $3+ per sale.

Uploading is easy, even for vectors, and the mgmt and reviewers are nice people. I have gotten several payouts there, and I know for a fact that some people are doing very, very well at GL. It's definitely worth submitting to, IMO.

RacePhoto

« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2011, 00:59 »
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I agree there a few important things in the fair question.. Regarding SS yes we dont have a fixed % but honestly that isnt bad I guess, regarding size we can upload 4MP or so.. I just hope they wont change it.. I am close to a milestone the 3k and I would be quite mad if something bad happen :P

FT was really crazy, night to day this announcement.. I am wondering when will it start, will it really go? why havent FT agreement etc changed?

I don't think SS will change. They sell well, they make money. They have a nice simple system and good customer base. There's no reason to change anything. They could give us more and I wouldn't complain? :D

Did FT change something? Again? I dropped them after the last commission cuts as did some others. Just shows that people will come on the forum and complain all day, every day, but then leave their pictures on the places that screw us and cheat us. I won't!

« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2011, 01:14 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word.

On topic... this thread is a great idea!  I think there are so many variables to consider but commission is hugely important to me and the easiest to analyze. If the agency is getting exactly the same cut for representing my work then that is fair. Anything under 40% to contributer is not fair.  I worked in the offline art gallery sales world for many years. Every single art gallery I dealt with took between a 40-60% cut of any sale...that has always been industry standard for access to more buyers. Lets remember a real brick and mortar business with huge overheads  and a limited client base of only people who are in a radius that can physically drive to the store somehow manages to maintain an industry standard of around 50/50 for many many decades, possibly hundreds of years (speculating)  but an online agency with access to the entire world and very little overhead can't do the same. It is hugely unethical and not fair trade to offer such low commissions. Sorry but advertising on the net is so much cheaper than the overhead for a real storefront. They are just so greedy that they are going to run this new microstock experimental business model into the ground very quickly to turn a quick profit.

almost 7 months waiting for fresh eheh it will be a record!

Race, hope you are right :)


« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2011, 01:19 »
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Identifying agencies that pay well is a great idea, but I think there is fundamental problem with contributors and agencies and it's related to the timeline. We want to create images for decades, but the agencies only seem to want to grow large enough to be purchased. In the cases of Istock and Stockxpert, it was less than 10 years. The smaller agencies offer great royalties while they are weak, but as soon as they grow to a certain size the royalties for contributors will drop. Percentage growth for the agency looks much better in the financial statements than percentage growth for the contributors.

Unfortunately, I think fair commissions are nothing but a short term proposition.

I think until a large company comes along with lots of money to spend, that wants to pay contributors a fair commission, this business will constantly be in a state of change.

If Apple created some sort of Itunes type platform for stock medias that would change things and they pay 70% to the app developers.  

Could you imagine if Google sold stock images right out of the regular search engine using Google checkout?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 01:22 by retrorocket »

« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2011, 06:30 »
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This is opportunity for small agencies...

We need an agency that will work on "contributor friendly" brand, that will change its insignificant  name  in "www.microstockunion.com" or something like that ...

Who dares win!?

« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2011, 08:21 »
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Zoonar offers up to 80%, partner commission is 60%

helix7

« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2011, 09:03 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word...

SF is growing slowly and quietly. I believe they're past the 500,000 image mark and are probably waiting to get 1,000,000 images in the collection before they make much noise. I had some early action through a few sales and referrals. As of now my balance sits at $26, but I'm hoping to see more action later this year as the company gains momentum.

So far, I'm really liking what I see, though. The site design is exceptional, image quality is great, it's shaping up to be a really good collection. And the pricing should be a huge draw for buyers. Simple credit system, fair prices, good royalties. If they can attract buyers and build a solid customer base, SF could become a major player.

« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2011, 10:39 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word...


SF is growing slowly and quietly. I believe they're past the 500,000 image mark and are probably waiting to get 1,000,000 images in the collection before they make much noise. I had some early action through a few sales and referrals. As of now my balance sits at $26, but I'm hoping to see more action later this year as the company gains momentum.

So far, I'm really liking what I see, though. The site design is exceptional, image quality is great, it's shaping up to be a really good collection. And the pricing should be a huge draw for buyers. Simple credit system, fair prices, good royalties. If they can attract buyers and build a solid customer base, SF could become a major player.


agreed.  I haven't had any sales there yet, but am building my portfolio there slowly but surely.

back more on topic.  has anyone check out this site:
http://www.whichstockagency.com/

I believe it is more geared towards buyers and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time there, but they post on Twitter frequently asking people to share their opinions of various stock agencies.

« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2011, 12:26 »
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So far, I'm really liking what I see, though. The site design is exceptional, image quality is great, it's shaping up to be a really good collection. And the pricing should be a huge draw for buyers. Simple credit system, fair prices, good royalties. If they can attract buyers and build a solid customer base, SF could become a major player.

Call me jaded, but my bet is if SF becomes successful it will be sold just as StockXpert was. 

WarrenPrice

« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2011, 13:05 »
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back more on topic.  has anyone check out this site:
http://www.whichstockagency.com/

I believe it is more geared towards buyers and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time there, but they post on Twitter frequently asking people to share their opinions of various stock agencies.



Very interesting;  noticed that Flickr is ranked very highly as a "buyer's" source.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 13:07 by WarrenPrice »

« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2011, 14:40 »
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back more on topic.  has anyone check out this site:
http://www.whichstockagency.com/

I believe it is more geared towards buyers and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time there, but they post on Twitter frequently asking people to share their opinions of various stock agencies.



Very interesting;  noticed that Flickr is ranked very highly as a "buyer's" source.


Clicking on the microstock link  http://www.whichstockagency.com/en/19/category/microstock/agencies   you can see that istock and fotolia are number one and two.  Everyone needs to sign in and post comments as to why it is important to suppport fair trade stock photography and also include your recommendations/rankings for the top sites.  This is the list that I bet a lot of buyers are using to decide who is best....so are we in agreement yet which agency we all should be pushing? At the end of the day what agency gives us the highest dollar amount per dowload should probably be considered the best way for us to collectively push traffic and earn more money,  I guess what agency has the highest RPD would be a good measure. (lets exclude alamy for the microstock list since people used to fotolia pricing are not going to switch to alamy. 

From my personal analytics (please add yours if different results). My list in order of highest return to artist per download is this. (excluding alamy which is the highest at $71 average sale, very few sales though)

dreamstime  $1.69
canstock       $1.42
bigstock        $1.15
Istock           $0.92*
123rf            $0.65
Fotolia          $0.64*
Shutterstock  $0.55

*all numbers are an average of the past 12 months these are numbers not taking into account the recent commision cut so presumably fotolia and IS will have roughly 20% lower numbers in the coming year.

The winner for the top 2 sites that we should focus on pushing traffic to (based only on my numbers for these 7 sites) are Dreamstime and Canstock.  I really wish we could push higher sales traffic to canstock it is so easy to use. but Dreamstime have the unique quality that your prices go up as you sell more.   So we could argue all year and complain and moan but in the end if we do not organize with the common theme of pushing traffic to the sites with the highest payout per image we are just waisting energy that could be put to good use.  So get on your blogs and get on these stock recommendation sites and make your voice heard. buyers really do go to these sites to find out the "best" places to buy images.

please add other sites if you have more RPD data...I am no ton many of the smaller sites but would be willing to give them a try if the RPDs are high.

« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2011, 00:43 »
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Hi All,

 We offer 50% in Macro at Spaces Images and we are not the only ones.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2011, 02:19 »
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What's our share at Veer? I couldn't find it


RacePhoto

« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2011, 02:24 »
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Hi All,

 We offer 50% in Macro at Spaces Images and we are not the only ones.

Best,
Jonathan

How does someone get accepted and submit there again?

rubyroo

« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2011, 07:29 »
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Hi all, I've updated the initial post so as not to give newbies the wrong impression.  I hope everyone is happy with it now.  :)

« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2011, 08:13 »
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tks for this list :)  I've just added 3 of those agencies to my upload list in StockSubmitter !!

They are relatively easy to upload to, and with good commission worth a try :)

Never had a sale at any !  but who knows !?  ;)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2011, 08:25 »
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tks for this list :)  I've just added 3 of those agencies to my upload list in StockSubmitter !!

They are relatively easy to upload to, and with good commission worth a try :)

Never had a sale at any !  but who knows !?  ;)

Sadly, that's the problem

« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2011, 14:14 »
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General rules:

- The smaller the agency and the lesser sales, the more "fair" they are. Who cares? They always can go bankrupt when they ate their resting money from the payout limit and they don't sell enough anyways (except for the very talented happy few) to reach that limit.
- No agency founded after 2005 ever made it.
- The larger the agency, the more they will scrw you in any possible way, going from bans, no replies, moving goalposts, commission "changes". It's called "crowd sourcing". There will always be enough crowd left in the crowd that are happy with less. It's called "sustainable", like windmills.
- "Commission structure change" is always newspeak for contributor share cut.
- Cutting your ear off and dying early might make you famous - a century later.

 ;)

rubyroo

« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2011, 15:48 »
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Cheers for that.

There's two ways of looking at this as far as I can see.

1)  We're where we are, the leaders will always be the leaders and nothing will ever change
2)  Things will shift over time and it might be a good idea to keep an open mind about how things will go.

I'm heavily discouraged about the microstock game right now, but none of us has a crystal ball, and history tells me that everything changes in time... so I'm hanging out in camp two.

« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2011, 16:27 »
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Hi Race,

 Just go to www.spacesimages.com and go to the contributors page, it will explain from there how to send us a message. I would be happy to have you contact us.

Hi FD,

 Maybe not in Micro but in Macro there are several top agencies that have started in the past 5-6 years. It is an interesting point you bring up. Why have we not seen smaller Micro agencies be able to establish themselves in Micro but the small agency can thrive in Macro. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe it is time for some Niche Micro agencies that can support their own sales and also be represented by the bigger Microstock agencies at the same time. I think we might see something of this nature in the near future.

Best,
Jonathan

rubyroo

« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2011, 16:36 »
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I wonder that too.

Although obviously some may have not been up to the challenge (practically or financially), I have to wonder if some fail simply because they don't manage to obtain enough images from us to become serious competitors.

« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2011, 17:08 »
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I wonder that too.

Although obviously some may have not been up to the challenge (practically or financially), I have to wonder if some fail simply because they don't manage to obtain enough images from us to become serious competitors.

Most fail because they don't have a unique selling proposition.

lisafx

« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2011, 19:45 »
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There's two ways of looking at this as far as I can see.

1)  We're where we are, the leaders will always be the leaders and nothing will ever change
2)  Things will shift over time and it might be a good idea to keep an open mind about how things will go.

I'm heavily discouraged about the microstock game right now, but none of us has a crystal ball, and history tells me that everything changes in time... so I'm hanging out in camp two.

Very nice summation.  Although I am discouraged at the moment too, I think I will join you in camp #2. 


rubyroo

« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2011, 19:59 »
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Welcome Lisa and thank you, I'll get the camp fire started  :)

lisafx

« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2011, 20:09 »
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Welcome Lisa and thank you, I'll get the camp fire started  :)

I'll bring the marshmallows :D

rubyroo

« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2011, 20:11 »
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Ooh! Fab!  ;D

« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2011, 05:16 »
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^^  +1   ;D

« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2011, 05:48 »
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General rules:

- The smaller the agency and the lesser sales, the more "fair" they are. Who cares? They always can go bankrupt when they ate their resting money from the payout limit and they don't sell enough anyways (except for the very talented happy few) to reach that limit.
- No agency founded after 2005 ever made it.
- The larger the agency, the more they will scrw you in any possible way, going from bans, no replies, moving goalposts, commission "changes". It's called "crowd sourcing". There will always be enough crowd left in the crowd that are happy with less. It's called "sustainable", like windmills.
- "Commission structure change" is always newspeak for contributor share cut.
- Cutting your ear off and dying early might make you famous - a century later.

 ;)
I think Graphic Lefovers has made it and I think they started in 2008.  I get regular sales there and so do some of my referrals.  I agree that most agencies that started after 2005 have been a waste of time but I think there's always room for a new agency, as long as they have something original to offer.  The other new sites are too much like copies of what is already on offer.  I think Graphic Leftovers wins on simplicity, one price for each image and a great site design that looks good and doesn't have a lot of the problems the older sites have.  They also pay 52% commission, going against the trend of most of the older sites to grab as much money from us as they can.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2011, 06:22 »
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I wonder that too.

Although obviously some may have not been up to the challenge (practically or financially), I have to wonder if some fail simply because they don't manage to obtain enough images from us to become serious competitors.

Most fail because they don't have a unique selling proposition.

You nailed it. Why would a buyer choose the new site over one of the big four? The new site usually doesn't have a reason. They just built the site hoping buyers would come. And when they do come up with a reason it's usually "we're cheaper" which is not what contributors need. We already have the bottom tier sites that are cheaper, have nice 40-50% commissions, and don't sell much.

Any new site that's going to make big 4 territory is either going to need bottomless pockets or a completely new distribution model that disrupts the agency model. Photoshelter's agency looked great but died even after dumping over $1M in marketing money into it.
 

jbarber873

« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2011, 08:44 »
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General rules:

- The smaller the agency and the lesser sales, the more "fair" they are. Who cares? They always can go bankrupt when they ate their resting money from the payout limit and they don't sell enough anyways (except for the very talented happy few) to reach that limit.
- No agency founded after 2005 ever made it.
- The larger the agency, the more they will scrw you in any possible way, going from bans, no replies, moving goalposts, commission "changes". It's called "crowd sourcing". There will always be enough crowd left in the crowd that are happy with less. It's called "sustainable", like windmills.
- "Commission structure change" is always newspeak for contributor share cut.
- Cutting your ear off and dying early might make you famous - a century later.

 ;)

     Windmills! That's a really perfect analogy! FD , you are one of the truly most analytic thinkers I have come across in a while. Keep up the good work!
Lisa and Rubyroo, it's situations like what we have now that creates an opening for a new idea. Keep the fires burning.

rubyroo

« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2011, 07:23 »
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Thanks JBarber - will do ('lose hope, lose all' is so true - and one of the worst things to learn the hard way IMO.  Life's too short). 

Here, have a toasting fork to go with your marshmallow and enthusiasm  ;)

... and yes, FD is indeed a clever dude.   :)

« Reply #45 on: January 24, 2011, 10:40 »
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GraphicLeftovers and CutCaster sounded good, and I put about 150 images on each.  Never got a sale at CC.  At GL I got a few, and even made a payout, but that ended after a few months and I've sold nothing since mid November. 

I'd been looking to those sites for some glimmer of hope for the future, and motivation to start doing more microstock images.  If I was getting just a few sales at these sites I'd have an idea of what future work might return.  But zero multiplied by any number is still zero. 

I think the number one thing new sites could offer is more productive searches for buyers.  I keep reading how buyers are turned off by pages of repetitious and/or unrelated junk.  Providing better results means checking contributors' keywords, maintaining reviewing standards, and not blindly racing to 10 million images and beyond.   In other words, spending time and money doing something besides crowdsourcing.

« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2011, 11:44 »
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GraphicLeftovers and CutCaster sounded good, and I put about 150 images on each.  Never got a sale at CC.  At GL I got a few, and even made a payout, but that ended after a few months and I've sold nothing since mid November. 
Other people reported this too. Maybe the Holiday Slowdown hit smaller sites more than bigger ones. Lately, my sales at GL have begun to rebound, and are doing better than ever. CC is also showing signs of life, and their new site may help.

IMO it's still worth supporting these fairer sites with submissions. GL is especially easy to submit to. I really don't see a downside to submitting there.


« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2011, 12:47 »
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In my humble opinion Dreamstime belongs in this list too. The only downside is their 'similars issue'. (I've never been hurt by it much because i usually pick only 1 or 2 shots from a shoot (and the times i felt it wasnt fair i shot a message to support and it got reversed) so i am slightly biassed here).
Apart from that issue they have always been very transparent and open for our suggestions. They constantly are trying to improve their site for customers and contributors and i feel like i've always been treated very well and fair there. Their image level system (as far as i know) seems unique in the industry and works very well (level 4-5 images pay a good sum). imho they fit the 'fair category' well :)

« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2011, 13:13 »
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In my humble opinion Dreamstime belongs in this list too. The only downside is their 'similars issue'. (I've never been hurt by it much because i usually pick only 1 or 2 shots from a shoot (and the times i felt it wasnt fair i shot a message to support and it got reversed) so i am slightly biassed here).
Apart from that issue they have always been very transparent and open for our suggestions. They constantly are trying to improve their site for customers and contributors and i feel like i've always been treated very well and fair there. Their image level system (as far as i know) seems unique in the industry and works very well (level 4-5 images pay a good sum). imho they fit the 'fair category' well :)

yes I frequently receive sales in the $5 range for my level 4 or 5 images. Very smart to start raising prices on the images you know are selling well.  I am surprised others haven't copied this model, an image with over 50 downloads will most certainly still be purchased for a few dollars more. This is a great way to increase profit for the agency as well as contributor.  Simple idea but also one of the smartest ideas I have seen in microstock. Pay per popularity... this model has worked in many other industries throughout the history of free-market economies...it is called Supply and Demand....we all know it, but for some reason the internet does not put it to use very often....the more demand for an image the higher the price people are willing to pay.

rubyroo

« Reply #49 on: January 24, 2011, 13:23 »
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Funny you should say that - I was just praising the 'image popularity' bonus model to my partner yesterday.  I agree that it's very fair.

I'm very happy to put Dreamstime on the list - it's just with all the variations in the contributor's cut (year credits were purchased etc)... it's hard to know how to express their arrangement in a way that is relative to the others in the list.  Any suggestions?

« Reply #50 on: January 24, 2011, 13:38 »
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DT pays 30% of the sale price and .35 per sub sale for the base. If the image is a higher level you can get more.

rubyroo

« Reply #51 on: January 24, 2011, 13:45 »
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Well that's straightforward enough!   ;D

I get lost in the maze of 'deals' sometimes.  I'll write it up much as you've stated it.  Many thanks Pancaketom.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 13:52 by rubyroo »

« Reply #52 on: January 24, 2011, 14:00 »
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In my humble opinion Dreamstime belongs in this list too. The only downside is their 'similars issue'. (I've never been hurt by it much because i usually pick only 1 or 2 shots from a shoot (and the times i felt it wasnt fair i shot a message to support and it got reversed) so i am slightly biassed here).
Apart from that issue they have always been very transparent and open for our suggestions. They constantly are trying to improve their site for customers and contributors and i feel like i've always been treated very well and fair there. Their image level system (as far as i know) seems unique in the industry and works very well (level 4-5 images pay a good sum). imho they fit the 'fair category' well :)

yes I frequently receive sales in the $5 range for my level 4 or 5 images. Very smart to start raising prices on the images you know are selling well.  I am surprised others haven't copied this model, an image with over 50 downloads will most certainly still be purchased for a few dollars more. This is a great way to increase profit for the agency as well as contributor.  Simple idea but also one of the smartest ideas I have seen in microstock. Pay per popularity... this model has worked in many other industries throughout the history of free-market economies...it is called Supply and Demand....we all know it, but for some reason the internet does not put it to use very often....the more demand for an image the higher the price people are willing to pay.

That is a smart idea. Even smarter is the agency that introduces a plan with image exclusive rights that allow more of the commission to go to the contributor as the images get more downloads. Raise prices of the image, give more back to the contributor.  They will in the end attract very talented artists and have images exclusive to their site. This agency will be at the top in no time i think.

lisafx

« Reply #53 on: January 24, 2011, 14:19 »
0
In my humble opinion Dreamstime belongs in this list too. The only downside is their 'similars issue'. (I've never been hurt by it much because i usually pick only 1 or 2 shots from a shoot (and the times i felt it wasnt fair i shot a message to support and it got reversed) so i am slightly biassed here).
Apart from that issue they have always been very transparent and open for our suggestions. They constantly are trying to improve their site for customers and contributors and i feel like i've always been treated very well and fair there. Their image level system (as far as i know) seems unique in the industry and works very well (level 4-5 images pay a good sum). imho they fit the 'fair category' well :)

Well stated!   I agree completely about Dreamstime.  They have always been quiet fair and above-board IMHO :)

They manage to be fair to contributors, while also selling a lot of images :)

« Reply #54 on: January 24, 2011, 14:35 »
0
I've had issues with DT in the past but over the long term I absolutely agree that their commission structure, which raises the prices of images as they sell, totally sets them apart, and seems so obviously fair and effective.  I have a few winners there which are steadily climbing.

With 150 images I'm not expecting much, but most of them do sell steadily at the big 3.  So all I'd need to see at GL or CC is something above zero, on a continuing basis- that would motivate me to get in gear and start producing again.  

But maybe GL has a boost for new images, and strict popularity ranking after that -  in which case I may be road kill by now.  

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #55 on: January 24, 2011, 14:44 »
0
I've suggested at least twice on iStock forums that files could get an increased percentage commensurate with their flame level, on the grounds that it's proved its worth, and more than earned its expenses to iStock of inspection and server space, but the suggestion didn't garner any support (or opposition).
Trouble is, with that sort of post, there's not much you can say if you agree except +1 (or its equivalents), though I guess people could give their reasons against.

« Reply #56 on: January 24, 2011, 17:16 »
0
The problem with Dreamstime is that they just don't have as the number of "buyers" as iStock or even ShutterStock.  I have almost the exact same portfolio on SS and DT and at a whopping 33 cents a pop for subs, SS outsells DT by a margin of 15 to 1 on average.  Granted I have less than 100 images, so my results may be totally atypical... but I make payout on SS almost every single month and it takes several months to make payout on DT.

I also find that as my more popular images sell and raise in rank, they sell less often.  To be honest, I tend to start with the lower level images first in my searches for stuff I buy before buying the higher level stuff when I can't find what I need for less there.

DT is my favorite still site and as a contributor I like how they do things there, but they just don't seem to be as popular with buyers.


« Reply #57 on: January 24, 2011, 17:48 »
0
As the tiniest of fish in this pond, my opinions may not be worth much, but after doing this for a while and getting a few payouts, I'm starting to see SS as something like opium.   Yes I make steady sales there but they're virtually all 33 cents and I feel that by selling on SS we're all just creating our own dystopian future where there's nothing left but subscriptions and bottom-feeder prices.   

« Reply #58 on: January 24, 2011, 20:21 »
0
As the tiniest of fish in this pond, my opinions may not be worth much, but after doing this for a while and getting a few payouts, I'm starting to see SS as something like opium.   Yes I make steady sales there but they're virtually all 33 cents and I feel that by selling on SS we're all just creating our own dystopian future where there's nothing left but subscriptions and bottom-feeder prices.   

If you compare it to a retail/manufacturer relationship, it's like selling to Wal-Mart.  You reduce your selling price but make it up on volume and efficiencies.  We may make less per image at SS, but if the volume is high enough you have a higher contribution to cover overhead and ultimately profit.  The danger is when the sites that don't offer the same volume think they can command the same low prices.  Additionally, it can be necessary to cut "ingredients" or quality materials (ie: props, models, etc) to support the lower costs, ultimately leading to a lower cost and lower quality product. 

« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2011, 20:38 »
0
As the tiniest of fish in this pond, my opinions may not be worth much, but after doing this for a while and getting a few payouts, I'm starting to see SS as something like opium.   Yes I make steady sales there but they're virtually all 33 cents and I feel that by selling on SS we're all just creating our own dystopian future where there's nothing left but subscriptions and bottom-feeder prices.   

If you compare it to a retail/manufacturer relationship, it's like selling to Wal-Mart.  You reduce your selling price but make it up on volume and efficiencies. 

Somewhat true and as with WalMart, it only makes sense if your product is something that can make a huge number of sales. 

« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2011, 20:46 »
0
I've suggested at least twice on iStock forums that files could get an increased percentage commensurate with their flame level, on the grounds that it's proved its worth, and more than earned its expenses to iStock of inspection and server space, but the suggestion didn't garner any support (or opposition).

Otoh, large download numbers could indicate less perceived value from over saturation...

« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2011, 20:55 »
0
For DT it would be more accurate to say that individual image prices and % commission may increase as the specific images are sold more.

For more detail see here:

http://www.dreamstime.com/sellimages

Note that they state the $ listed are maximum values, so they aren't as helpful as if they stated the average or the range.

so for a non-exclusive, level 1 =30%, level 2 (over 5 sales) =35% up to level 5 (over 50 sales) = 50% of a significantly higher price.

For subs, level 1 and 2 = .35, level 3 and 4 = .70 and level 5 =1.05

The prices of credits varies too, so in actuality the lowest I seem to get for an XS level one sale is .26


rubyroo

« Reply #63 on: January 25, 2011, 09:19 »
0
Pancaketom - I've altered it now.  I hope your happier with the phraseology I've used.

I feel strange not having Shutterstock on this list, especially as they're most people's no. 1 seller, and it seems the majority (including me) are very happy with their performance, attitude, efficiency etc.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should just list all the agencies and comment them, rather than having a percentage cut-off point?   It wouldn't be a 'fair trade' list then, but it would have the 'fairest trade' commissions at the top, with some reference to sales performance in the descriptive notes.

What do you all think, and if you want SS in there, what do you want me to say in the descriptive notes?

« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2011, 21:02 »
0
This is not exactly a timely response I know, but I just wanted to add a little clarification to the info you have on us. We are actually The3dStudio not 3dStudio.

As was pointed out, 60% is our base royalty rate--we do pay 70% for those who join our Member Loyalty Program and agree to leave their products with us for 5 years and many of our sellers are in the MLP. We do not require the MLP sellers be exclusive with T3DS. Our affiliate program can also increase earnings.

And Matt has publicly pledged to never lower the royalty rate below 60% for anyone who is currently a seller with us. And our minimum photo price is $2.
[email protected]
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 21:11 by LisaAnderson »

« Reply #65 on: February 22, 2011, 06:02 »
0
And Matt has publicly pledged to never lower the royalty rate below 60% for anyone who is currently a seller with us. And our minimum photo price is $2.
[email protected]

I was not aware  you accepted photos, will take a look

« Reply #66 on: February 22, 2011, 07:56 »
0
how about list down the agencies that only paid fixed amount with subscriptions and no extra amount for extended license?

Most subscriptions downloads sites are required a higher fee for extended license. But i notice it seems some websites are offered the images with subs download without option for extended licenses.

scanstockphoto - everything 1 euro
colourbox - everything 0.20-0.35 euro
photospin - can be as low as few cents

please correct me if i am wrong, but i can't find a option in those site if i want to use as 'extended license'.


« Reply #67 on: February 22, 2011, 11:37 »
0
This is not exactly a timely response I know, but I just wanted to add a little clarification to the info you have on us. We are actually The3dStudio not 3dStudio.

As was pointed out, 60% is our base royalty rate--we do pay 70% for those who join our Member Loyalty Program and agree to leave their products with us for 5 years and many of our sellers are in the MLP. We do not require the MLP sellers be exclusive with T3DS. Our affiliate program can also increase earnings.

And Matt has publicly pledged to never lower the royalty rate below 60% for anyone who is currently a seller with us. And our minimum photo price is $2.
[email protected]
AND, they payout at the end of each month with no minimum...not getting "rich" but i AM getting paid ;)

« Reply #68 on: February 22, 2011, 12:44 »
0
visceralimages: We began in 1996 as free 3d model site and expanded and evolved over the years. Stock photos/images were added in summer 2009 and we recently added vector images. We are the oldest and largest 2D and 3D resource site on the internet and we would be happy to welcome you as a seller. Some of the folks here at MS Group are sellers with us and they probably have referral links.

anonymous: thanks for pointing out that we pay monthly with no minimum payout--it seems so basic that I often forget not every agency does so. :)

[email protected]

« Reply #69 on: February 22, 2011, 13:23 »
0
I just looked at the3DStudio and did not see anything about approval - would we just create an account and start uploading?

« Reply #70 on: February 22, 2011, 14:08 »
0
I guess you must tell here too that you request ITIN (like no other agency) or you will take 30% of US sales or it is from all?! (I am talking to non US contributors)

I have nothing against 3dstudio I have there a few pictures too, no sales very often, not sure to continue because of ITIN

« Reply #71 on: February 22, 2011, 14:38 »
0
Yes, stockastic, you just create an account and start uploading--I think you will like our new improved and faster upload system. Products are "live" after you create them. Our stock photo team reviews them after you create them. If you have any questions or need help there is a help button on each page and your support ticket will be handled by the same person until it's resolved. Here is some info: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help.aspx?id_help=20

luissantos84: The ITIN only applies to US sales so it is not a big issue for most sellers--our customers are all over the world. Unfortunately we can't just do what we'd like regarding taxes. Our attorneys and tax accountants have advised us to comply with the IRS regulations and US laws, regardless of what other companies do. Here is some info: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help_tax.aspx

To those who compare us to other companies, we dont worry about what others do--whether its in business or in personal life. We are a family owned and operated business and we all share the same values. Our top priority is to run our business in an ethical manner at all times. We work hard to treat everyone the way we would want to be treated and to do the right thingthe Golden Rulethough we dont use that term in a preachy way. Im sure those who sell with us are glad we dont copy the business model of agencies that use credits and subscriptions and sell photos so cheaply that photographers get only pennies for a photo.

Our philosophy has been working well for us for almost 15 years on the 3D side, and we are confident it will work on the stock side as well.

[email protected]

« Reply #72 on: February 24, 2011, 07:39 »
0
Thanks Lisa

I did register the other day but have not uploaded anything yet.  Do we need to convert ("create products") all images or do we just leave them as regular jpg.

« Reply #73 on: February 24, 2011, 10:50 »
0
Hi visceralimage,

Yes, leave them as jpg unless you are talking about vector images. For any other specific questions, please use the help button on our site so someone who knows more about these things can help you--I had to ask since I have no discernable photo skills and am the least tech savvy person in our group. :)

Or you can email Tracy on the stock photo team directly: [email protected]

Welcome to The3dStudio.com--I will look forward to seeing your stuff!

:)
[email protected]

« Reply #74 on: February 24, 2011, 20:58 »
0
Hi visceralimage,

Yes, leave them as jpg unless you are talking about vector images.

:)
[email protected]

Thanks Lisa, I tried one yesterday, site seems easy enough but need to wait till I finish loading lightburner for my other sites.  If you have ftp option, that would certainly speed things along.  I am located in Far East Russia and my upload speeds are less than 3 g, many times less than 10 kb/s (pretty slow).

« Reply #75 on: February 25, 2011, 11:52 »
0
visceralimages: Here is what Matt says about FTP:

We do not allow FTP into our data center due to the security risks that come with that protocol. Our multi-file uploader will let you upload hundreds to thousands of files at a time and works very much like FTP.

If you have a lot of files (usually 5000 or more but we can work with less) you can mail us a DVD of your files if you prefer. We'll then batch upload the files directly into your account which will save you the step of uploading. From there you would just "Create Products" as usual. If this is an option you would like to use please contact [email protected] for details.

[email protected]

« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2011, 19:12 »
0
And Matt has publicly pledged to never lower the royalty rate below 60% for anyone who is currently a seller with us. And our minimum photo price is $2.

I'm always willing to give an agency a try. 

I just think you should understand that statements like the one above ring hollow for contributors.  Fotolia said they would never offer subscriptions, and so did Stockxpert.  Multiple sites have lowered our commissions and/or moved the bar for promotion.  And really there is no recourse for contributors.  So a public pledge really means nothing in this industry.  Sign a contract if you really mean it.  Otherwise it is a meaningless statement if a thousand new contributors sign up, and next month the royalty rate is lowered to 30% and subscriptions are installed.


« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2011, 21:09 »
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djpadavona: I understand your point, and it is understandable that you have a certain level of distrust of agencies, based on the examples you gave and some of the stuff weve read in the forums here. When Matt decided to grow The3dStudio.com from a free hobby site to a full time business, he decided his top priorities were to offer superlative customer service and to treat people as he wanted to be treated.

I dont know who buyers and sellers deal with at other agencies if they have problems or questions or are unhappy about something. At The3dStudio.com you always deal with an owner, and you have access to us seven days a week. We never use canned or auto responses and we own any problem or issue until it is resolved. If we screw up, you can let us know directly and we will listen to you and we will make it right.

As newcomers to the stock arena, we did research--this forum has been extremely helpful--and we all agreed subscriptions, credits, having to ask for payout, needing to have a minimum amount before you could be paid, crazy review processes, etc. made no sense if you want win-win business dealings. We understood the dissatisfactions sellers expressed and we decided it didnt matter to us how the big guys operated. The only thing that made sense to us was to use the business model that has been successful for us in 3D.

Customer service (and to us a "customer" is a seller as well as a buyer) is of the utmost importance to us. As is our reputation--as the next generation of family members begins to come into the family business, we all know that its more important than ever for us to adhere to our core principles so we are good examples for them. Treating people right is important to us. Can we screw up and make mistakes? Yep. Do we try to avoid that and fix what we break? Definitely.

Matt put his August 7, 2009 pledge, "Building Trust at The3dStudio.com - Royalty Guarantee" in writing on our website: http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id_blog_post=958
He had lowered the royalty rate earlier and was not happy about it. He later realized that bad decision had to be reversed and that he would never again lower a members royalty rate. The current royalty rate someone is at now stays the same forever. If you joined August 7, your royalty rate was 60% forever and if you join today your royalty rate is 60% forever. Unless it is higher.  :) (If you join the Loyalty Program you receive 70% for 5 yearsor longer if you renew the LP.)

You might ask what happens if, despite all the promises, we felt we HAD to lower the rate. Nothing happens to youyou are at the 60% rate forever. A reduction would only affect members who joined after the reduction. Though let me state for the record: we truly intend to never reduce royalties because it would create a second class membership.

In addition to the Royalty Guarantee and Loyalty Program, our affiliate and referral programs can put even more money in sellers pockets. Info on all our programs is on our help page: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help.aspx

We recently introduced a Reward Program for buyers. The bottom line is that these policies and programs are all promises. So I guess you either are willing to give us a chance to prove ourselves or you arent. As with many things, experience over time may be the only proof. We hope you do decide to take a chance with us. Im not sure what downside there is to doing so, beyond the time you spend adding products.


[email protected]

« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2011, 21:49 »
0
visceralimages: Here is what Matt says about FTP:

We do not allow FTP into our data center due to the security risks that come with that protocol. Our multi-file uploader will let you upload hundreds to thousands of files at a time and works very much like FTP.

If you have a lot of files (usually 5000 or more but we can work with less) you can mail us a DVD of your files if you prefer. We'll then batch upload the files directly into your account which will save you the step of uploading. From there you would just "Create Products" as usual. If this is an option you would like to use please contact [email protected] for details.

[email protected]

no worries lisa, will get them there in the next week or so via internet

« Reply #79 on: February 26, 2011, 10:12 »
0
There is so much that goes into a "fair" commission beyond the percentage.

So an agency with $1 prices for all sizes, an anything goes license and 60% going to the photographer might look more "fair" than one with different prices for different sizes, a tighter basic license with extended licenses for more money and a 40% royalty for the photographer. But it probably would not make anything like as much money for the photographer.

And then there's Shutterstock which is so regularly the #1 or #2 earner and we have no idea what the percentage they pay to photographers is.

Then I'd want to look at agencies that might take a slightly higher cut, but spent it on aggressive promotion of the business which is more fair to photographers in the long run than those who just suck cash out of the business to pay back their investors or corporate parents.

I like the idea of a fair trade label for stock agencies, but I think it has to encompass much more than just the percentage.

Exactly right. 

« Reply #80 on: June 08, 2011, 21:28 »
0
Veer with 35%

velocicarpo

« Reply #81 on: June 08, 2011, 21:39 »
0
Veer with 35%

I would consider nothing below 50% as fair.

« Reply #82 on: June 08, 2011, 21:48 »
0
Veer with 35%

I would consider nothing below 50% as fair.

I have placed it only because the bottom one on the list is DT with 30%.. actually 25% on level 0

« Reply #83 on: June 09, 2011, 01:04 »
0
^^^But you can get 50% with DT and Veer is stuck on 35% with relatively low sales.  I don't mind 35% quite so much if they sell like the top 4 sites but unfortunately they don't and it's making me wonder if they are worth the effort.

« Reply #84 on: June 09, 2011, 03:29 »
0
^^^But you can get 50% with Dreamstime and Veer is stuck on 35% with relatively low sales.  I don't mind 35% quite so much if they sell like the top 4 sites but unfortunately they don't and it's making me wonder if they are worth the effort.

true.. I remembered them because yesterday had a 3.5$ and a 5.25$.. I have kept the uploading there and will continue.. overall must be around 400$ but like 200$ from dash for cash.. they have just a little sales but better than canstock, bigstock and a lot of other too

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« Reply #85 on: June 09, 2011, 06:22 »
0
Although SS has the lowest download average, it has the highest volume for me.  And the majority of my photograph downloads (as opposed to video downloads) are 33 cents.  (I wish it were the 55 cents that Lightscribe indicated.)  Nevertheless, even though DT is at the top of the list of average commission per photo, I see daily sales at SS, but I'm lucky if I get a sale per week at DT.  The bottom line is that I make more money by far on SS because of volume.  The exception, of course, is Alamy.  I've had one sale at Alamy, for which I received a commission of $40.  It would take 121 sales at 33 cents each on SS to do that.  But I can count on regular activity at SS.

I sell videos on IS, but I'm not uploading any new material there.  I haven't been accepted as an IS photographer, and still haven't decided if I want to pursue it or not.  I hate their keywording system.

« Reply #86 on: June 09, 2011, 06:31 »
0
Although Shutterstock has the lowest download average, it has the highest volume for me.  And the majority of my photograph downloads (as opposed to video downloads) are 33 cents.  (I wish it were the 55 cents that Lightscribe indicated.)  Nevertheless, even though Dreamstime is at the top of the list of average commission per photo, I see daily sales at Shutterstock, but I'm lucky if I get a sale per week at Dreamstime.  The bottom line is that I make more money by far on Shutterstock because of volume.  The exception, of course, is Alamy.  I've had one sale at Alamy, for which I received a commission of $40.  It would take 121 sales at 33 cents each on Shutterstock to do that.  But I can count on regular activity at Shutterstock.

I sell videos on IS, but I'm not uploading any new material there.  I haven't been accepted as an IS photographer, and still haven't decided if I want to pursue it or not.  I hate their keywording system.

DUDE thats way OT :)


« Reply #87 on: June 09, 2011, 11:27 »
0
Dreamstime should be updated to 25%-50% / subs $0.35-$1.05...

I find jsnover's comment that you have no idea on Shutterstock's royalties interesting.  The same is true of any site that offers subs, isn't it?  As far as I've seen any site with subs pay a fixed amount, not a royalty.


 

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