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Poll

Are you giving away files for free or in subscription models?

No, not at all - I dont offer files for free and I dont submit to sites with subscription models
10 (15.4%)
I dont offer files for free, and I only submit to sites with reasonable subscription rates or opt out possibility
21 (32.3%)
I dont offer files for free, and I do submit to all sites - no matter what their subscription rates are or if I can opt out
26 (40%)
I do offer files for free, and I only submit to sites with reasonable subscription rates or opt out possibility
5 (7.7%)
I do offer files for free, and I do submit to all sites - no matter what their subscription rates are or if I can opt out
3 (4.6%)

Total Members Voted: 59

Author Topic: Attracting more customers myth  (Read 3826 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: September 12, 2012, 22:58 »
0
As an independent video contributor, I am regularely approached by agencies to offer this or that file as a free download, or to opt into subscription models.
Usually these agencies are not among the biggest and offer rather low rates for their subscription models.
The justification for such requests is always to "attract more customers".

But hey, Im a businessman - not a dummy. If one agency attracts more customers because their rates are lower or they want to have my free file of the week, they usually come from other agencies. And if the customers change because of the cheap subscription rates, or free files I always lose money. Why on earth should I support that?

I have long ago deleted my portfolio on fotolia because of their rediculously cheap subscription model without having a chance to opt out. I am inviting others to do the same and to opt out of subscription sales on all other agencies that dont value our work with subscription rates that honour the work weve put into creating those files. Shutterstock for example has a really good subscription model and it seems to work, they are doing really well attracting customers from other sites and we can still make money.

Regarding free files: they do give exposure to our work, but does that lead to more DLs? I doubt that.
Ive been photographer of the week on Dreamstime, Bigstock and iStock - none of the sites had a significantly increased number od DLs during that week or the weeks to follow. And Ive talked to other contributors that report the same. If being contributor of the week doesnt push sales, I dont think free files will do. It sure is an honour, but thats just about it.

So as a call to all the agencies out there: try to find other ways for attracting more buyers than just reducing prices and giving away our work for free. That alone wont make you or us or anybody else successful in the longrun. Try to think about a marketing plan that brings new buyers into the stockworld rather than shifting customers from one agency to another.

What about you, are you giving away files for free, or opt into subscription models?


« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 23:58 »
0
At least on SS, if yours is the free photo of the week, you WILL have a lot more sales than usual, I had 3-4x more paid sales during that week, and still double in the following week. Even for the free photo, you'll get a lot of paid downloads, and it will push your work up the search ranks. I did it 3 or 4 times there, and hope they will ask again soon ;)

What I wouldn't do is to offer files as permanent free downloads, as you can do on DT or Fotolia ...

- Nailia

ShadySue

« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 06:26 »
0
Your poll doesn't take in all possibilities, e.g. I don't offer pics for free, but as I submit to iStock, their subs scheme is compulsory, but I don't submit to 'all sites'.

« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 06:41 »
+6
I feel free files are great for the agency as advertising and seo but serves no purpose for the photographer.  Both Fotolia and Dreamstime actively try to get us to offer our images for free but we aren't doing ourselves a favor - we are doing them a favor.  We are essentially paying for their advertising.  That is something they should be paying for themselves with their generous share of the commission.  That's what we're paying them for.

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 08:53 »
0
I feel free files are great for the agency as advertising and seo but serves no purpose for the photographer.  Both Fotolia and Dreamstime actively try to get us to offer our images for free but we aren't doing ourselves a favor - we are doing them a favor.  We are essentially paying for their advertising.  That is something they should be paying for themselves with their generous share of the commission.  That's what we're paying them for.

Very well said. There is nothing to add to it.

« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2012, 08:55 »
0
Your poll doesn't take in all possibilities, e.g. I don't offer pics for free, but as I submit to iStock, their subs scheme is compulsory, but I don't submit to 'all sites'.

Hmmmm - youre right. Would below fit (I could also edit Nr. 2 to and/or opt out possibility because iStock has reasonable subscription rates)?

I dont offer files for free, and my exclusive contract at iStock doesnt allow me to make a choice.

Anything else missing?

« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2012, 08:57 »
0
I feel free files are great for the agency as advertising and seo but serves no purpose for the photographer.  Both Fotolia and Dreamstime actively try to get us to offer our images for free but we aren't doing ourselves a favor - we are doing them a favor.  We are essentially paying for their advertising.  That is something they should be paying for themselves with their generous share of the commission.  That's what we're paying them for.

Very well said. There is nothing to add to it.

+1

But initially I was talking about the "free files of the weeks", that almost all sites do. Same applies to these.

« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012, 09:40 »
0
Is that how free file of the week works?  I just assumed someone just picked something out of a permanently free section. Personally, wouldn't do it as licences aren't too far away from free anyway and if someone doesn't want to shell out, let him steal.

The questions aren't great as most submitting to top 4 don't have a choice about subs so the choice is agree to this or don't submit.  Beyond that, the sub rates in 123 from next year will probably result in my port being pulled.

« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2012, 09:56 »
0
Is that how free file of the week works?  I just assumed someone just picked something out of a permanently free section. Personally, wouldn't do it as licences aren't too far away from free anyway and if someone doesn't want to shell out, let him steal.

The questions aren't great as most submitting to top 4 don't have a choice about subs so the choice is agree to this or don't submit.  Beyond that, the sub rates in 123 from next year will probably result in my port being pulled.
Perhaps the poll was written too much from a video contributors point of view. Im an independent videographer and exclusive photographer - I dont know too well how the situation is from an independent photographer standpoint.

« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 10:45 »
0
I have had 2 freebie photos on Shutterstock.  One photo was already very popular, but since it was offered for free it has been violated over and over again.  It is offered for free on so many websites as wallpaper, or as a "creative commence" that I have pretty much given up on it.  Again this summer it has had a new burst of free offerings and it was a freebie about 3 years ago so I wouldn't be surprised if it has been downloaded a million times by now.  (It still sells a few times a week btw).

Note to self....  put aside an entire week and send invoices to all of those sites.

The most violated photo was quite visually appealing - I thought the 2nd photo was a bad choice on SS's part, it doesn't have that "wow" factor - but in retrospect it maybe was a good thing - I can't find it on any free sites at the moment either.

At one time I thought the SS program was just fantastic, but now I really don't know if a 2 month bump of sale was worth it.  Certainly noone would ever buy-the-rights.  I'm sure the people downloading it for free wouldn't be purchasing it anyway.

« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2012, 10:53 »
+1
Gimmicks like 'free photo of the week' are just strategies to play on our egos and continue to build ever-larger archives of free images.  The agencies naturally plan to make money from them in various ways, without paying commissions.




« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2012, 11:41 »
0
I have had 2 freebie photos on Shutterstock.  One photo was already very popular, but since it was offered for free it has been violated over and over again.  It is offered for free on so many websites as wallpaper, or as a "creative commence" that I have pretty much given up on it.  Again this summer it has had a new burst of free offerings and it was a freebie about 3 years ago so I wouldn't be surprised if it has been downloaded a million times by now.  (It still sells a few times a week btw).

Note to self....  put aside an entire week and send invoices to all of those sites.

The most violated photo was quite visually appealing - I thought the 2nd photo was a bad choice on SS's part, it doesn't have that "wow" factor - but in retrospect it maybe was a good thing - I can't find it on any free sites at the moment either.

At one time I thought the SS program was just fantastic, but now I really don't know if a 2 month bump of sale was worth it.  Certainly noone would ever buy-the-rights.  I'm sure the people downloading it for free wouldn't be purchasing it anyway.

Another bad example, thanks for sharing.

You should team up with a lawyer and try to make money from those people violating the rights. You could share the revenue for the images ;-).

« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2012, 11:54 »
0
I feel free files are great for the agency as advertising and seo but serves no purpose for the photographer.  Both Fotolia and Dreamstime actively try to get us to offer our images for free but we aren't doing ourselves a favor - we are doing them a favor.  We are essentially paying for their advertising.  That is something they should be paying for themselves with their generous share of the commission.  That's what we're paying them for.

+1

Wise words.

« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 12:04 »
0
I had offered some free files to 123rf when I joined the site some years ago but it is the only site I've experienced where the free files might attract views!  I seem to get sales when I resubmit (donate) free files on this site for a set number of days of my choosing and not much when I don't!

Maybe this site does alot of advertising with the free files!  Your guess is as good as mine!

RacePhoto

« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2012, 09:39 »
0
Sorry can't vote, you didn't make a choice for No I don't give away free, but I do sell on SS (which has no opt. out so it doesn't fit any of your choices?)

My answer is:  I do NOT offer files for free, and I only submit to sites with reasonable subscription rates or opt out possibility

Because IS and SS do not offer an opt out, your poll would eliminate pretty much all the big sites.  :o

The "free" is the same as a loss leader ad for a store. They offer toilet paper or toothpaste or soft drinks, below cost, to get people in the door. The assumption is, we will buy other things at list price after going there, because we are shopping. Free peanuts or popcorn at the bar, because we'll eat it and we'll get thirsty. Free snacks at halftime (USA football for those of you elsewhere) Because people will be there for four hours, eating, drinking and watching the game. Kids 12 and under get in free, (with an adult paid admission) bring the family, drink expensive soft drinks and eat $5 hot dogs. That's free...

For Micro, it means the agency loses a little but we lose 100% because some people will come every week for the Free Files and nothing else.

Still the concept is, get they to your site and looking and they will buy something else for the standard price.

I'm not a fan of this, in fact I refused to discount anything in business for 40 years. Let the competition cut and cut, until they are out of business. I'm still around, they aren't but things are slow. There are some other new problems like Chinese and Korean imports for 1/4 of my price. Catalog houses that sell for under my cost! No place for the old business models. No country for Old Men!  ;)

Plus all that that ruxpriencdiam says as well as Jens = Rights protection after you gave something away for free? Could get interesting.

I feel free files are great for the agency as advertising and seo but serves no purpose for the photographer.  Both Fotolia and Dreamstime actively try to get us to offer our images for free but we aren't doing ourselves a favor - we are doing them a favor.  We are essentially paying for their advertising.  That is something they should be paying for themselves with their generous share of the commission.  That's what we're paying them for.

Odd, I dropped DT and FT a year ago?  :-* Bye Bye
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 11:26 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2012, 04:30 »
0
Free pictures is a very dangerous thing.
and actually function like a buyout, because you loose all rights to them ( practical rights that is).
So a free picture should be paid like a buyout by the agencies, which they would never think of.
But we photographers should.

Again we are being fooled

ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2012, 05:32 »
0
For those who are unfamiliar with the retail world here is what "FREE" is for and how "FREE" is supposed to work.

First the retail company advertises the "FREE" product by whatever means it has available to them be it on the internet or in newspaper ads and sales fliers.

It does this in the hopes that it will attract and steal away the customers from other businesses and then they will now have them in what they call "in the door" and once they are "in the door" this is where the company is relying on them to buy some other products they have for sale at regular prices while they are there for the "FREE" product that they are advertising.

Only thing is is that there are people out there who do nothing but look for "FREE" stuff and all they want is what is being advertised for "FREE" and nothing else because this is how they live and what they look for every day so they dont have to spend any of their money on anything.

So the business get a few new customers but others are just there for the "FREE" stuff and wont come back unless something is offered for "FREE" again.

And as Jens has said and i hope everyone knows it is that when you offer any of your images for "FREE" you are giving up your rights to any copyright or copyright protection that you had.

You have now allowed a complete redistribution of your work to anyone anywhere anytime to be reproduced in any manner they wish and you have no say over how it is being used in any way.

Is "FREE" good? NO!

Do you gain anything from "FREE" other then a possible temporary increase in sales? NO!

So then why give away your work? chit if you are going to do that then let me have all of your free files so I can redistribute them in any way I want and make money off of your images in any way I want because you have no say about what I do with them or how I use them and you have given up your copyright to them by giving them away for "FREE".


« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2012, 09:55 »
0
Hi- Leaf said it all. Hit the nail on the head.
Smiling Jack

« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2012, 10:22 »
0
At least with free you get 100% commission.


 

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