pancakes

MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: Brainstorming services for the perfect agency  (Read 4486 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« on: August 22, 2016, 07:22 »
0
There has been a lot of postings in this forum about decline in earnings and how agencies are lowering the payouts. As I see it, it is a natural consequence of supply and demand. In short, the stocks of photos are increasing WAY faster than the demand for photos (maybe 10-20 times faster???). As in any other market, prices and earnings will be lower until that balance shifts. Let's face it. It is not going to happen unless the supply is lowered (all contributors suddenly stop uploading just good enough quality (rather unlikely)) or demands increase at least by a factor of 10 (also a bit unlikely).

So what can we do instead? A part of the earning problem is that most common niches are well covered. Buyers don't need "business handshake" number 1.000.001 and it is no longer enough to produce quality better than everyone else as most top niches are already filled with superb quality work.

Generally speaking, I would say these options remain:
1) Discover new niches to fill.
2) Improve visibility of already uploaded material (increase sales).
3) Reduce life-cycle cost per image produced. By cost I mean time and money spent to get the photo online.


The aim of this thread is to start a discussion on what we would like the ultimate stock agency to be like. Hence, to PITCH IDEAS to the bold agency/agencies who are willing to invest time in helping their contributors.
The recent discussion on GL Stock Images in this forum is a good and positive starting point and many ideas were raised. However, I think it got a bit cluttered with discussion on pricing models, bug reports, and whether or not the royalty rate was fair for newcomers.

Let's try to brainstorm and hope that GL Stock Images or another bold agency will pick up some of these ideas!

Some themes (rephrased from above) - feel free to add more:
 1) Research tools for niche discovery. How can the agency help us discover new less obvious niches?
 2) Boosting position on google and other search engines.
Google page rank is hugely important, both for the agency and for contributors - how can push our photos up the list?
 3) Easier workflow. Nothing is more dreadful than an tedious upload procedure. E.g. who need image categories?


PLEASE DON'T START ANOTHER DISCUSSION ON PRICING MODELS, ROYALTY RATES, OR LACK OF INCOME - I think we have this covered.  :)

Please number your idea Theme X, idea Y. I'll put a poll together once we are done so we can vote on the best ideas.

Ok?!? I'll pitch a few ideas in a couple of follow up postings to allow separate quotes for each of them.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 07:25 by jazz42 »


jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2016, 07:23 »
+1
Theme 1, idea 1: Keyword statistics for searched that DID not lead to sale

Lists of top keyword searches is interesting, but becoming increasingly useless as these niches are filled with superb quality. We are SIGNIFICANTLY more interested in the top searches that didn't lead to a sale as they indicate potential niches.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2016, 07:23 »
+1
Theme 2, idea 1: Contributor links to buyers pages where the photo is used.

Bloggers are dying to get deep links so why not give it to them? In return we should ask for links back to the sales page on the agency's homepage. this is actually a win-win-win setup. The blogger wins by getting more exposure on google, the agency wins by getting direct links to sales pages from content-rich blogging pages (considered candy by google search engines), the contributor wins by getting more exposure in google image search.

Technically it is not so difficult. The buyer submits his link to the agency with a bit of description. The agency can create a small piece of code that can be inserted on contributors private homepages that pulls the link from the agency's database and shows the link to the blogger's page.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2016, 07:24 »
0
Theme 3, idea 1: Skip the image categories

Manually clicking on dropdowns is a REALLY time-consuming part of uploading, especially if you are on multiple agencies.

« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2016, 08:41 »
+1
There's a bunch of these threads. Here is the latest one but there are many others.

http://www.microstockgroup.com/new-sites-general/microstock-agency-made-by-photographers-(by-you)-lets-start/

Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2016, 08:56 »
0
As I see it, it is a natural consequence of supply and demand. In short, the stocks of photos are increasing WAY faster than the demand for photos (maybe 10-20 times faster???). As in any other market, prices and earnings will be lower until that balance shifts. Let's face it. It is not going to happen...

Sadly this is a fact. As I see it, the industry from a contributor's perspective is no longer sustainable no matter where you submit your work.

Shelma1

« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016, 09:29 »
+1
You're going to get a lot of conflicting opinions. Here are mine.

1) Discover new niches to fill.

The last thing I'd want is agencies suggesting which niches to fill. Agencies already promote light boxes that result in a flood of contentgreat for the buyers and the agency but not for the individual contributors. Agencies also track sales spikes, in my opinion. I've had a couple of spikes when I discovered good niches, and SS noticed and guess what?created and promoted lightboxes for those previously undiscovered niches that resulted in a flood of content that killed my sales. When iS suggests new categories for illustrations, I purposely avoid uploading anything for them...I know a tsunami of content will follow their suggestions.

2) Improve visibility of already uploaded material (increase sales).

Whose material? The agencies represent everyone. Unfortunately that means they won't promote your work or my work over someone else's work, unless it will make them more money.

3) Reduce life-cycle cost per image produced. By cost I mean time and money spent to get the photo online.

There's only so much you can do to reduce costs, unfortunately, but sure, whatever you can do you should.

So far I think eliminating categories and anything else that will make uploading more efficient are good ideas...but keep in mind that creating efficiencies will also attract even more content.

Shelma1

« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 09:34 »
+1
So here's my idea: Research. If you want to change something or start an agency, step 1 is conducting research to see what buyers and contributors want from an agency that they're not getting now. Listen to them and craft a site that caters to needs that are unfulfilled. That means hiring someone to conduct surveys and focus groups, and a group of contributors...or an agency...willing to invest time and money in research.

« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2016, 09:37 »
+1
Other than kicking people out of agencies and making them more artist rep based, the only thing that really matters is pricing.

« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2016, 09:39 »
+1
You're going to get a lot of conflicting opinions. Here are mine.

1) Discover new niches to fill.

2) Improve visibility of already uploaded material (increase sales).


so true on points 1 and 2.
i always thought the only thing ss did better than the rest was not to show downloads for each image.
this is certain death for anyone whose images are selling like hot.
i am sure sjlocke, dolgachov,etc all had their fill of clones by the millions of copycats.

niche was great when i too first started, but like you, the niche gets picked up and exposed
to kill yours. a niche is no longer a niche if the whole world knows about it.

your point is so true---
agencies don't give NFA on contributors interest,
they will push whatever is hot till it is exhausted like a good racehorse is push till it drops.
this does not bother the agency, because like telemarketing business,
there is always more to hire to fire.
that is the problem with microstock ...

everyone is expendable.

Chichikov

« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2016, 09:44 »
+1
Why do you persist to call the microstock sites "agencies"
They have nothing to do with any kind of agency


jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2016, 10:16 »
0
There's a bunch of these threads. Here is the latest one but there are many others.

http://www.microstockgroup.com/new-sites-general/microstock-agency-made-by-photographers-(by-you)-lets-start/


Yes, I know. The discussion with GL representatives just led me to hope for an agency that would implement some of the ideas: The thread is here: http://www.microstockgroup.com/graphic-leftovers/gl-news/

I don't believe in starting a new agency from scratch, but improving one that already has a foothold in the market may be doable.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2016, 11:04 »
0
You're going to get a lot of conflicting opinions. Here are mine.

1) Discover new niches to fill.

The last thing I'd want is agencies suggesting which niches to fill. Agencies already promote light boxes that result in a flood of contentgreat for the buyers and the agency but not for the individual contributors. Agencies also track sales spikes, in my opinion. I've had a couple of spikes when I discovered good niches, and SS noticed and guess what?created and promoted lightboxes for those previously undiscovered niches that resulted in a flood of content that killed my sales. When iS suggests new categories for illustrations, I purposely avoid uploading anything for them...I know a tsunami of content will follow their suggestions.

2) Improve visibility of already uploaded material (increase sales).

Whose material? The agencies represent everyone. Unfortunately that means they won't promote your work or my work over someone else's work, unless it will make them more money.

3) Reduce life-cycle cost per image produced. By cost I mean time and money spent to get the photo online.

There's only so much you can do to reduce costs, unfortunately, but sure, whatever you can do you should.

So far I think eliminating categories and anything else that will make uploading more efficient are good ideas...but keep in mind that creating efficiencies will also attract even more content.

Regarding 1)
I'm not asking for the top 100 niches to fill, but for access to the search results and whether or not a search lead to a sale. Then we can build research tools that still allow each contributor to do his own research.

Regarding 2) Yes - agencies as anyone else are interested in top google placements. Links with text content, e.g. a blog post with a photo is valued higher because someone invested time in writing the text. Good photos will have more links and thus more visibility and (probably) more sales.

Regarding 3) I agree, there is a lower limit on how much you can save on this account. Tedious clicking on is currently my main pain-point in my workflow.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2016, 11:19 »
0
There's a bunch of these threads. Here is the latest one but there are many others.

http://www.microstockgroup.com/new-sites-general/microstock-agency-made-by-photographers-(by-you)-lets-start/



Here's another: http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/if-you-started-a-stock-agency-what-would-be-your/
and another:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/new-sites-general/new-co-op-owned-rfrm-agency/
http://www.microstockgroup.com/ranting-general-stock/stock-artists-collective-anyone/
http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/a-microstock-create-by-contributors/

Have fun reading!


Yep - but I don't believe in starting from scratch. I already started two other websites (not photography related) . Both are closed now because it was simply too difficult to get some visibility - you have to invest 40 hours a day or huge sums in advertising to get a decent top placement in google results.

« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2016, 11:34 »
0
y'know, when you come to think of it,
many of my images are being downloaded by bloggers who make money from traffic and ads.
some are already reporting earnings of 3 grands a month,
or as in a reportage recently , many have quit their IT jobs to do their own blog
and earn as much , if not more, than their past salary.

so, to me, why should anyone not want to brush up on blogging
and then start their own blog, using their own photographs.
.. and if successful, bring it far more than being a ss contributor.

at worst, your blog will earn you the little you make these days monthly with ss
dwindling earnings.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2016, 11:39 »
+1
1) Research tools for niche discovery. How can the agency help us discover new less obvious niches?
Alamy do this via their blog and by browsing through Alamy Measures.
AM is interesting and intriguing - what on earth did the searcher want occurs a lot of the time. Also gives a clue about mis-spellings.
The blog gives requests and not-founds, but
a. Someone last week searched on X but didn't find it doesn't mean that you providing it would give a sale. Presumably they had to trawl round other sites and maybe found what they wanted. Or maybe it was a very expensive file to set up ...
b. They never say how much the sale would net  - maybe the buyer was one with a huge discount.
Measures doesn't really reveal whether a zoom resulted in a sale, as the sale would have to occur in the same session to count. So if someone zoomed on a sale, and bookmarked it, then came back later and bought it, it wouldn't show as bought. Also, it only counts views, zooms and sales by their top buyers.

Which leads me on to ...
iS/Getty also have a needs/trends newsletter for exclusives. Again almost always expensive to set up, sometimes in a very specific locality, sometimes using many models, very difficult-to-get property releases etc. But no clue as to whether these clients would be buying via subs, far less low or high price, all of which are possible over iS/ Getty.

So it's not much different from these sites that put out 'wants' as 'competitions', and you might have lots of people (unless geographically very out of the way) providing similar content, but only one sells, at best.


jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2016, 13:05 »
0
y'know, when you come to think of it,
many of my images are being downloaded by bloggers who make money from traffic and ads.
some are already reporting earnings of 3 grands a month,
or as in a reportage recently , many have quit their IT jobs to do their own blog
and earn as much , if not more, than their past salary.

so, to me, why should anyone not want to brush up on blogging
and then start their own blog, using their own photographs.
.. and if successful, bring it far more than being a ss contributor.

at worst, your blog will earn you the little you make these days monthly with ss
dwindling earnings.

Hmm, I wouldn't bet too much on it. I haven't tried blogging, but I have google ads on my site and 20.000 page views in a month result in less than 10$ of earnings - 20.000 view is actually quite a lot.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2016, 13:07 »
0
1) Research tools for niche discovery. How can the agency help us discover new less obvious niches?
Alamy do this via their blog and by browsing through Alamy Measures.
AM is interesting and intriguing - what on earth did the searcher want occurs a lot of the time. Also gives a clue about mis-spellings.
The blog gives requests and not-founds, but
a. Someone last week searched on X but didn't find it doesn't mean that you providing it would give a sale. Presumably they had to trawl round other sites and maybe found what they wanted. Or maybe it was a very expensive file to set up ...
b. They never say how much the sale would net  - maybe the buyer was one with a huge discount.
Measures doesn't really reveal whether a zoom resulted in a sale, as the sale would have to occur in the same session to count. So if someone zoomed on a sale, and bookmarked it, then came back later and bought it, it wouldn't show as bought. Also, it only counts views, zooms and sales by their top buyers.

Which leads me on to ...
iS/Getty also have a needs/trends newsletter for exclusives. Again almost always expensive to set up, sometimes in a very specific locality, sometimes using many models, very difficult-to-get property releases etc. But no clue as to whether these clients would be buying via subs, far less low or high price, all of which are possible over iS/ Getty.

So it's not much different from these sites that put out 'wants' as 'competitions', and you might have lots of people (unless geographically very out of the way) providing similar content, but only one sells, at best.

I'll have a look at Alamy. I also don't follow these trends and wanted images as you have just confirmed my suspicion about the stampede they create  ;D



 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
7 Replies
5110 Views
Last post October 18, 2007, 16:26
by cameraB
38 Replies
21401 Views
Last post June 08, 2011, 14:53
by Slovenian
7 Replies
2891 Views
Last post March 06, 2013, 15:41
by click_click
11 Replies
4481 Views
Last post November 19, 2015, 21:58
by YadaYadaYada
29 Replies
6813 Views
Last post July 23, 2018, 12:36
by cthoman

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors