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Author Topic: Arrogance abounds at istock  (Read 30304 times)

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ShadySue

« Reply #125 on: May 30, 2011, 02:28 »
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like watching a slow death, obviously IS is changing the model.  I made 26.00 this month. Even with my mainly nature port, I used to get a payout every month. Sad, really sad. Here's another link with bailing buyers. It probably won't be there long.

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=329654&page=1


This one sums it up in a nutshell:
jerryleeg
Posted 1 hour ago


   
I've been using istock extensively for years and when the last of my credits run out, I'm going to have to move on. With no way to sort by price and no improvements to the search functionality, trying to find a suitable image at a price I or my clients would be willing to pay has become such a time consuming and frustrating chore. Thankfully, not all of istock's competitors have chosen greed over usability.


Hard to have sympathy with that one, given that it was posted after the latest best match shuffle, which puts non-esclusive, non P+ images in half of the top line of five of my usual searches.
On the other hand, that may be geographical bias in the searches: I saw someone yesterday complaining that there were only (a single figure number) of non V/A images in a search on 'landscape'.  That certainly wasn't the result I found, unless, possibly, the 'first page' was only 20 images, where, admittedly, there are only 3 base priced images.
But I do notice that the 'landscape' best match search is heavily weighted to huge sellers as others have mentioned since the new best match.
Curious, because in other searches, I have found quite a lot of new images nearish the top of the search (contrary to an iS thread). Don't know if that relates to the partucular search or if there was a new best match shuffle sometime yesterday.


lagereek

« Reply #126 on: May 30, 2011, 03:00 »
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Really, what a laugh!  Designers charge, dont they?  ever come across a cheap designer? I havent and I know plenty. The going rate in London/Stockholm is 150-200 dollars per/hour. pretty much as an average dayrate photographer AND, we dont accept less then min, a days work, cheap hey?

The pics are very often the most important for the designer, so why should that be so stinking cheap?  man one can sure tell in this forum whos been around and who hasnt.

Caspixels!!

Nobody really likes to sell Micro, we would ofcourse much rather sell plenty of RM, etc, thats bloody obvious, isnt it, but since Micro has had a big influence on the global photography market, we jolly well have to jump on it or we all end up piss-poor.

« Reply #127 on: May 30, 2011, 03:30 »
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A lot of my microstock sales are to people like bloggers that probably don't have a big budget to spend.  Then there's companies that used to have a policy of spending nothing on their website images but now they use microstock.  The BBC used to ask me for free images for a regional site, then I noticed they started using istock.  I'm sure there's a massive low budget microstock market that would be unwilling or unable to pay midstock prices.

Slovenian

« Reply #128 on: May 30, 2011, 03:31 »
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I'm of the opinion IS search functionalities are crippled this way exactly to push their agenda of giving more vibisility to Vetta and agencies images.

It's not a bug but simply a business plan and they've certainly no intention to "fix" it, they're rightfully trying to re-educate buyers into paying fair prices (while screwing photographers, but that's anotherpart of their master plan).

Especially screwing with non exclusives, but we got used to the abuse over the years...

I've nothing against a push to midstock if it was successful. Oh wait a minute, I have, since only exclusive A/C's will really get there, the rest of the files will just stay higher priced microstock material. They should, within a few years price everything like e+ (yes, non-exclusive stuff as well) and leave A/C where it is. No more confusion about where they stand and about numerous collections. And then they should fix the search as well and add search by age etc, the way it's done on Alamy for instance (great way for buyers to look for fresh material, say uploaded within a year)

lagereek

« Reply #129 on: May 30, 2011, 03:35 »
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A lot of my microstock sales are to people like bloggers that probably don't have a big budget to spend.  Then there's companies that used to have a policy of spending nothing on their website images but now they use microstock.  The BBC used to ask me for free images for a regional site, then I noticed they started using istock.  I'm sure there's a massive low budget microstock market that would be unwilling or unable to pay midstock prices.

Oh sure!  but in this case we were on about designers and believe me they know how to charge, only the more they have to pay for a pic, ultimately the less in their pocket I suppose.

lagereek

« Reply #130 on: May 30, 2011, 03:43 »
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If it bothers you to sell your stuff at microstock prices, you have a choice. Don't do it. Sell only RM.


LOL! Nice one.

No its not, in fact its a rather naive statement. Anybody here exept you two who likes to get paid pennies for pics? no didnt think so. I think all of us would rather prefer to sell loads of RMs for big money but since Micro has had such a giant influence on the entire market, there is little choice but to be part of Micro, isnt it? the latest Getty contract speaks loud and clear for that.

Its become a matter of if you cant beat them, join them. Pretty much the same as anything else.

Slovenian

« Reply #131 on: May 30, 2011, 03:44 »
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I think the idea of 1$/image should come to an end, it lasted way too long, it should last a year or two, to get people (designers) to start buying stuff from micros, but then agencies should increase pricing every year, until the prices become reasonable. And I'd say the e+ prices are about reasonable at the moment. IS is going in the right direction price wise, they shoudl just left royalties where they were (at 20% they were at Getty's level, which sells photos for 10x more).

« Reply #132 on: May 30, 2011, 03:49 »
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Really, what a laugh!  Designers charge, dont they?  ever come across a cheap designer? I havent and I know plenty. The going rate in London/Stockholm is 150-200 dollars per/hour. pretty much as an average dayrate photographer AND, we dont accept less then min, a days work, cheap hey?

The pics are very often the most important for the designer, so why should that be so stinking cheap?  man one can sure tell in this forum whos been around and who hasnt.

Caspixels!!

Nobody really likes to sell Micro, we would ofcourse much rather sell plenty of RM, etc, thats bloody obvious, isnt it, but since Micro has had a big influence on the global photography market, we jolly well have to jump on it or we all end up piss-poor.

You're using exactly the same rationale that has been used to produce false "evidence" that microstock didn't expand the market for photos: Treating the pre-existing design companies in London and Stockholm as if they are representative of a majority of microstock buyers. I'm pretty certain that they represent only a small segment of the microstock market.
Your sampling technique is a bit like asking shoppers in Harrods how much they would pay for a packet of tea and then going to a co-op in Tyneside and telling everybody that its ridiculous to sell tea for $1.50p a packet when your market research shows that people are used to paying $15 a packet.
Then you complain that by supplying your tea to the Co-op you are no longer being paid what Harrods used to pay you but say you have to supply the co-op because nobody shops at Harrods any longer. I mean, come on! How irrational is that?
If you think buyers will pay higher prices, don't undermine your value by selling too low. If you think buyers won't pay higher prices, then take what you can get. But for goodness sake stop arguing that buyers won't pay higher prices so what we need to do is put the prices up (which is what saying "I have to sell cheap or end up piss -poor" and "why should pictures be so stinking cheap" adds up to when you put them side-by-side).

« Reply #133 on: May 30, 2011, 03:57 »
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If it bothers you to sell your stuff at microstock prices, you have a choice. Don't do it. Sell only RM.


LOL! Nice one.

No its not, in fact its a rather naive statement. Anybody here exept you two who likes to get paid pennies for pics? no didnt think so. I think all of us would rather prefer to sell loads of RMs for big money but since Micro has had such a giant influence on the entire market, there is little choice but to be part of Micro, isnt it? the latest Getty contract speaks loud and clear for that.

Its become a matter of if you cant beat them, join them. Pretty much the same as anything else.

It was a "nice one" because it showed how irrational your position is. Of course, I'd rather have the same sale figures and get $50 a sale and become a millionaire instead of $1 a sale and just pay the bills. But if the prices all went up fifty-fold, then 98% of the sales would dry up. There's only a certain amount of money chasing our pictures, not an infinitely expanding amount. It's not Caspixel who is being naive.

Just to add: The corollary to that is that the road to continued success for iStock lies in expanding the market to pull in new spending power, it doesn't lie in closing the gates to new customers (which is surely what the pricing/search order is doing) and trying to squeeze ever larger sums of cash out of an apparently diminishing number of buyers.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 04:03 by BaldricksTrousers »

lagereek

« Reply #134 on: May 30, 2011, 04:38 »
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Baldrick!!  with due respect and mutual understanding and without falling out. You are specualting and guessing. Who do you personally know high up in the hierarchy of Getty? to gain the info of closing doors and losing buyers? who? have you been up there to the accountancy dept and seen their balance? I think not.
All agencies are along the way losing and gaining buyers, nothing new at all.

I can tell you this much, without giving it away, Getty nor IS, are the slightest worried, not now nor for the future. This forum seams more worried??

As for the Micro, well I think we all have to agree on the fact that, ofcourse its had a massive influence on the market and especially for the professional photographer.
I think more and more of our agencies will slowly go towards mid-stock and I think thats a possitive sign.

As for arrogance towards buyers, well we havent got the inside or full story and even so, in business you cant satisfy everybody and the old adage "customer is always right"  well that might apply in a shoe-shop.

as for TEA!!  I rather go to Fortnum-Mason, then Harrods.

« Reply #135 on: May 30, 2011, 05:03 »
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Talking about rock bottom prices, what can be more rock bottom than monthly "all you can eat" subscriptions ?

And about designers, the average commercial Fonts are sold for 50$, so what's the problem in paying
50$ for a photo instead of 0.5$ ?

Designers are scared of losing customers if the price is too high, photographers are scared of losing sales if the prices rise too much, clients have a wide choice of cheap designers working for peanuts and on top of this there's a ton of youngsters working for free or for "vanity", it's just a buyer's market nowadays, we're powerless.

« Reply #136 on: May 30, 2011, 05:40 »
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Baldrick!!  with due respect and mutual understanding and without falling out. You are specualting and guessing.
.

We are all speculating. Do you imagine that even if you know Getty high-ups they would tell you if they were worried about the way things are going? You yourself say that trying to make a living from RM is the road to starvation. The whole RM industry is down according to the analysts. Istock discovered a year ago that its position was financially "unsustainable" (OK, we probably both think they were lying at that time). Getty's profitable iS subsidiary is a mess, full of buggy problems and gazillions of price points - we have no idea if it is more profitable now than when it was unsustainable. Getty is forcing its established RM stars into the bottom level of microstock. Its owners have missed the original deadline to sell it - no doubt because they couldn't find anyone willing to pay the price they wanted - and have effectively mortgaged the business to recover cash from it.

So I have no idea if the Getty high-ups are truly sailing their leviathan along without a care in the world. Maybe they are. All I know is that I would be looking at the weather with concern if I was them. I'm sure Capt. Edward Smith was a happy, confident man on the evening of April 14, 2012, as he enjoyed his dinner on the RMS Titanic. But maybe Getty isn't the Titanic. I guess we'll all find out at the journey's end.

« Reply #137 on: May 30, 2011, 05:52 »
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Photography is being devalued in any department nowadays, only fine-art sold in galleries is still making good money.

Getty RM might fail sooner or later, their prices are often unrealistic considering the fall in demand and the actual oversupply.

Their idea of moving RM pictures that haven't sold in 3 yrs into ThinkStock or IS is great, as that's the only way to clearly differentiate their collections.

« Reply #138 on: May 30, 2011, 06:14 »
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I started shooting microstock and submitting to istock. I knew I would get pennies for my images, but as the first year passed, I was making some good extra money. I certainly expected that as the years went by, I would get a "raise", but I was still shooting microstock. I invested money in studio lighting and even upgraded my camera. But I am still shooting microstock. Microstock fulfilled a need for those companies who are NOT agencies that charge an arm and a leg for their work.

If five years ago, typical small to medium-sized companies were paying $1 for an image, and today they are being asked to pay $100 for that same image, I can certanly understand why they are complaining. I'm pretty sure most of these buyers tolerated a reasonable price increase. But istock isn't just increasing prices, they are trying to change the face of their company, and they only want the ad agency/high dollar buyer. Some buyers still only want to buy microstock.

istock has been the leader in raising the bar for images to be shot professionally and to moving images towards midstock. That's not what microstock is. Microstock's concept was to offer good, decent images for low prices and they recruited average Joe's to submit. Those are the types of images small to medium sized companies can afford to buy, and they shouldn't have to pay high prices for those images. The same market that was there 6 years ago is still there. In fact, the market has likely gotten bigger for cheap images because of the recession. istock is trying to change the market to suit their own financial woes. Doesn't work that way.

I'm with caspixel...

If it bothers you to sell your stuff at microstock prices, you have a choice. Don't do it. Sell only RM.

I'm not interested in investing even more money into equipment and studios and models and etc. I only ever wanted to sell microstock. I would love to see my take of the pie increase, for sure. But I'm still selling microstock.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #139 on: May 30, 2011, 07:03 »
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If it bothers you to sell your stuff at microstock prices, you have a choice. Don't do it. Sell only RM.

So what happens when RM and Macro RF are being licensed at micro prices?

My Getty statement often makes me wonder why I jump through all of their requirements hoops to get a $1 commission on a sale. There are a few higher sales too but in the end the average Return Per Image Per Month and other measurements are becoming not much different than micro.

So now what?

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #140 on: May 30, 2011, 07:17 »
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And sorry, but no one is going to buy a photo of a piece of paper or an apple for RM prices.

And this is why Getty is shuffling images around. 10 years ago they probably could have sold an apple for RM prices. Not today.

With the new agreement they tried to take total control over moving images between RM and RF. Contributors went nuts. Problem is that some of those contributors probably still have RM apples and Getty understandably wants to cull RM to unique high value images.

Your apple comment is about supply/demand and perceived value. An apple image is simple so it should be cheap. The problem is when an image has a room full of expensive models shot at an expensive location. Should that be as cheap as the apple?

If macro is too expensive for buyers to justify paying, and micro is too cheap for contributors to justify creating, what's the solution?

« Reply #141 on: May 30, 2011, 07:45 »
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And sorry, but no one is going to buy a photo of a piece of paper or an apple for RM prices.

And this is why Getty is shuffling images around. 10 years ago they probably could have sold an apple for RM prices. Not today.

With the new agreement they tried to take total control over moving images between RM and RF. Contributors went nuts. Problem is that some of those contributors probably still have RM apples and Getty understandably wants to cull RM to unique high value images.

Your apple comment is about supply/demand and perceived value. An apple image is simple so it should be cheap. The problem is when an image has a room full of expensive models shot at an expensive location. Should that be as cheap as the apple?

If macro is too expensive for buyers to justify paying, and micro is too cheap for contributors to justify creating, what's the solution?

I fully agree with Getty.
RM should be left dealing with images that are hard to or expensive to shoot.
Anything else should go microstock, especially apples on white background.

I mean it's 2011 and still life images are way oversupplied.
Sorry for people shooting apples on white background but the value of such images is rightfully next to zero nowadays.

There must a justification for RM commanding high prices otherwise Getty would shoot itself in the foot.
Contirbutors going nuts means nothing to Getty, they are kept by the balls anyway whether they stick to RM or they move
to micro RF.

We must accept at the moment only a small bunch of photographic subject can still be sold at high prices.
Too many micro photographers flooded the market copying famous RM shots and this almost killed RM
and it's killing RF as well.


« Reply #142 on: May 30, 2011, 07:51 »
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[quote author=PaulieWalnuts link=topic=13437.msg202942#msg202942 date=1306757854

If macro is too expensive for buyers to justify paying, and micro is too cheap for contributors to justify creating, what's the solution?
[/quote]

As far as i'm concerned i'm running a business and therefore raising prices are only a welcome news to me.

As for the solution that's the million dollar question : my travel images are not selling good on micro RF but are
selling decently on macro RM, road signs and street shot sell fine on micro RF but never sold once on macro RM,
ethnic portraits never sold good neither as RM or RF but i have OK sales with calendars and merchandising,
bizarre photos taken around with my mobile photos in low res make some tea money on my blog with advertising,
i'm studying how to enter the fine-art market but so far haven't got any brilliant idea (never say never).

 

« Reply #143 on: May 30, 2011, 08:03 »
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[quote author=PaulieWalnuts link=topic=13437.msg202942#msg202942 date=1306757854

If macro is too expensive for buyers to justify paying, and micro is too cheap for contributors to justify creating, what's the solution?

As far as i'm concerned i'm running a business and therefore raising prices are only a welcome news to me.

As for the solution that's the million dollar question : my travel images are not selling good on micro RF but are
selling decently on macro RM, road signs and street shot sell fine on micro RF but never sold once on macro RM,
ethnic portraits never sold good neither as RM or RF but i have OK sales with calendars and merchandising,
bizarre photos taken around with my mobile photos in low res make some tea money on my blog with advertising,
i'm studying how to enter the fine-art market but so far haven't got any brilliant idea (never say never).

 
[/quote]

Raising prices is welcome news to ALL contributors and agencies but it doesn't do much good if there aren't enough buyers around to pay that price.

I know MY solution but I can see where some contributors are in a pickle, especially the ones that quit their day jobs and decided to turn this into a full-time business. I foresaw the whole "market being flooded with images from average joes" the first year into microstock. Knew it wasn't "sustainable" for me. Taking what I can, as long as I can. When it runs out, I'll find something else.

« Reply #144 on: May 30, 2011, 08:20 »
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There's no guarantee a photo will ever sell.
But if it does i prefer a single sale for a decent price rather than the hope of multiple sales for 1$.

Some failed designers complain 10$ is too much, well guess what i earn only 1.5$ from it on IS, now find me a job where they pay less than 5$/hour ... i can tell you the answer : microstock photography.

If getty raises the bar clients will be forced to pay more and shut the f.. up, as simple as that.
IS created microstock, and IS can kill it if they want.

« Reply #145 on: May 30, 2011, 08:52 »
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There's no guarantee a photo will ever sell.
But if it does i prefer a single sale for a decent price rather than the hope of multiple sales for 1$.

Some failed designers complain 10$ is too much, well guess what i earn only 1.5$ from it on IS, now find me a job where they pay less than 5$/hour ... i can tell you the answer : microstock photography.

If getty raises the bar clients will be forced to pay more and shut the f.. up, as simple as that.
IS created microstock, and IS can kill it if they want.

I guess you're forgetting about all the other successful microstock sites. Getty/IS isn't the only game in town. Fortunately.

« Reply #146 on: May 30, 2011, 09:11 »
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And sorry, but no one is going to buy a photo of a piece of paper or an apple for RM prices.

And this is why Getty is shuffling images around. 10 years ago they probably could have sold an apple for RM prices. Not today.

With the new agreement they tried to take total control over moving images between RM and RF. Contributors went nuts. Problem is that some of those contributors probably still have RM apples and Getty understandably wants to cull RM to unique high value images.

Your apple comment is about supply/demand and perceived value. An apple image is simple so it should be cheap. The problem is when an image has a room full of expensive models shot at an expensive location. Should that be as cheap as the apple?

If macro is too expensive for buyers to justify paying, and micro is too cheap for contributors to justify creating, what's the solution?

Your, and others', anger at buyers is displaced though. How is it the buyers' faults that Getty is doing all that stuff with RM and RF? They are making the decisions on what price point the photos are being sold at, not the buyers. All the buyers can do is take it or leave it. Clearly they don't care what the buyers (or contributors) think and they are just pushing ahead with whatever they think they need to do as a company.

And if you want to blame someone else, blame Bruce and blame John Oringer. The buyers bought microstock because it was suddenly available. Prior to that, as Baldrick says - they either weren't in the industry or didn't buy imagery.

The thing I find most ironic about those who are complaining (who weren't part of the RM club back in the day) is that you wouldn't be selling photos at all if it wasn't for microstock. (I've heard the talk about how hard it is to get to be a Getty photographer.) And many people made a great living when microstock first started, and still are, though I agree that the market is over-saturated. Something that should also be noted as well, is that many photogs were making the "high cost/production" value shots back when when microstock was just a buck (or less - Aldra at iStock comes to mind, and YuriArcurs as well). So, I'd say the devaluing came from other photographers, not buyers. No one was forcing people to make those shots at those prices. They took it upon themselves for their own reasons.

And I sure would like to meet some of these designers who are charging $200/hour! I see a lot of people doing stuff for $25/hour and I see jobs for even lower hourly rates than that.

« Reply #147 on: May 30, 2011, 09:19 »
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If getty raises the bar clients will be forced to pay more and shut the f.. up, as simple as that.
IS created microstock, and IS can kill it if they want.

Like cclapper said, Getty is not the only game in town. If Getty raises the bar, the client will shut the f up and move onto another site. And Getty will be left wondering, again, what the heck happened.

I think most microstock buyers are okay with the $10 price point. It's the $50-$200 "microstock" price point that is the deal killer. Most iStockers report great earnings in 2007-2008. I think that was when iStock had the pricing structure that worked for everyone.

« Reply #148 on: May 30, 2011, 09:24 »
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Hard to have sympathy with that one, given that it was posted after the latest best match shuffle, which puts non-esclusive, non P+ images in half of the top line of five of my usual searches.


This was not my experience when searching last night. I didn't see any difference in how heavily weighted the search was with Vetta/Agency.

« Reply #149 on: May 30, 2011, 10:14 »
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As both a microstock only photographer and a small (read $30/hour) designer, I can't afford to pay more than $10-15 per image. My business model is to create a website for under $400 with a 2 hour photo-shoot included in the setup fee. My main income is derived from my (very affordable) monthly hosting & maintenance fee which I subsequently charge.

My clients are small businesses, many of which are start-ups. I have no desire to work with larger firms. The headache of committees, endless meetings, etc. just isn't worth it to me. My clients come to me because they can afford my price-point. They don't pay for the imagery separately. It's included in the setup fee, so if I can't produce what's needed, I buy from microstock. How much can I afford to spend on photos when it comes out of my pocket and still make a living?

These clients are the same folks that pay for wedding photos that are noisy with bad white balance and just plain crappy, so image quality isn't their top priority. It seems like many people look at things from their own perspective only. They think (and may be correct) that they produce quality images and should be compensated adequately. The problem is that there are a huge number of people that need photos that can't tell the difference between a good photo and a bad one. They simply want a photo that illustrates a concept or service. Microstock is perfect for those people and if it isn't available, they'll seek out alternatives. IMHO there's still a large market for shots that don't cost so much to produce.

As a photographer, I'm all for making decent money. However, the reality of microstock is that you sell the same photo multiple times for a small commission each time in order to realize your earnings from that particular photo. I got into creating microstock knowing this. If anyone else jumped on the wagon thinking otherwise, I feel bad for you.

It seems to me that the market is diverse enough for more price-points than just RM and Mid-stock.


 

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