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Author Topic: Do you count on having microstock income in 5 years? 10? 20?  (Read 16065 times)

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lisafx

« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2010, 15:03 »
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Lisa,  I like what you say. What do think will happen in the next ten years that makes you feel you won't be able to make a living at it? After all in ten years of full time shooting and following the market you will be a qualified expert, if your not there already.

Gostwyck's post above answers this better than I could :)


« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2010, 15:45 »
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I didn't even know about microstock 3 years ago: there was life before microstock and there will be after

Ditto!

Plus, spending all this extra time making new images is like getting paid to get better and learn, so I feel I'll be prepared for whatever is next.

« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2010, 16:01 »
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Only last night I had 2 requests to join my CN at Istock __ coincidentally both from Chinese contributors. Think about it.

Yes, I went through this in past. I freelanced as a software developer, mostly via RentACoder.com. The marketplace there (based on tasks on which the coders bid) was flooded with 'coders' that were willing to do the work for much less than I was willing to. They were ok biding with what sometimes was around $1 per hour (estimated by me)... And they were mostly from China and other countries.

« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2010, 16:56 »
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I am not pro right now microstock is around 1% of my income. Will I reach 10% in next 10-20 years? If it happens I will be satisfied if not I will still learn a lot :-)

« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2010, 20:20 »
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Call me a pessimist, but I think microstock is drying up for individual contributors. The agencies are laughing all the way to the bank, as the microstock market is (and will be) very strong for years to come. The problem is that there is just too darn much competition between the contributors, and our individual slice of the pie is getting smaller and smaller each day.

Think about what Shutterstock is doing at the moment: 100,000 new images every week! Five years from now, my individual portfolio will have increased by 5000 to 7000 images. But the large agencies are growing at a substantially much higher rate and it will be very difficult for individual contributors to get noticed in a sea of millions and millions of images.

I'm not betting the farm on microstock, and I'm already working on other projects which I think will give me a higher return on my investment years down the road.

« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2010, 20:28 »
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Call me a pessimist ...

Alright then. You're a pessimist Norebbo!

Unfortunately it is true, the agencies will do very well and ultimately most contributors will struggle to make it worthwhile.

« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2010, 22:54 »
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It's not reasonable to simply expect to make money because you've had images accepted.  What is reasonable, and has always been reasonable, is to expect that in whatever business you're in, in the end, quality will win out.  The best products - as judged by buyers -  should always have a shot at making money.

How is that going to be possible at a place like Shutterstock, when they're taking in 100,000 new images a week?  The answer is, it is not possible.  No way can buyers expect to find quality in the midst of that quantity.  Variety, yes.  Cheap prices, yes. Quality becoms a needle in a haystack.

In the early days when these agencies numbered their images in the thousands and not millions, popularity-based ranking had some chance of bringing quality to the top of the heap. For images submitted today, it does not.  These quantities of images will simply overwhelm today's simple search technologies.  



microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2010, 03:00 »
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SS is taking 100k new images a week just because they want to reach 10M pictures first! (at least I hope so)

nevertheless, it's true that the risk of losing marketshare is always there for individual submitters

« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2010, 05:29 »
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It's not reasonable to simply expect to make money because you've had images accepted.  What is reasonable, and has always been reasonable, is to expect that in whatever business you're in, in the end, quality will win out.  The best products - as judged by buyers -  should always have a shot at making money.

How is that going to be possible at a place like Shutterstock, when they're taking in 100,000 new images a week?  The answer is, it is not possible.  No way can buyers expect to find quality in the midst of that quantity.  Variety, yes.  Cheap prices, yes. Quality becoms a needle in a haystack.

In the early days when these agencies numbered their images in the thousands and not millions, popularity-based ranking had some chance of bringing quality to the top of the heap. For images submitted today, it does not.  These quantities of images will simply overwhelm today's simple search technologies.  



If a buyer bookmarks your portfolio, they will easily find your new images.  You can also do something different to all the other contributors and guarantee that your image will be on the first page of a search.  It is still easy, there is an infinite amount of subjects not covered yet.  That is why I wont be concerned when SS has its billionth image :)

« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2010, 10:39 »
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You can also do something different to all the other contributors and guarantee that your image will be on the first page of a search. 

Explain that statement, please. 

« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2010, 13:13 »
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Explain that statement, please. 
Creativity! ;)

RT


« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2010, 13:22 »
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Explain that statement, please. 

Originality!  ;)

« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2010, 14:21 »
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So their server software now has an algorithm that scans the image for 'creativity' and puts unique, original images on the first page?  It's brilliant!  I'm on it!





« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2010, 14:26 »
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Yep, it's called the "niche match" system.  ;D

« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2010, 14:38 »
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I don''t even count on it now...micro is simply somewhere to place out takes and shoots that I don't feel are right for macro. It's starting to pay towards monthly bills but to be quite honest the returns on micro are not worth shooting specifically for it.

« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2010, 15:08 »
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I think that in 10 years 3D technology will have reached the point where realistic people can be dialed up in an application and eliminate the need for 'real' models in 'real' situations completely. 3D animators will become the major content producers.

« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2010, 15:10 »
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It just seems to me like there's a big opportunity being missed, in the huge gulf between micro and macro prices.  

The things I do don't make sense for micro. They're niche things that sell now and then, presumably to buyers who want them, but at 25 cents a sale, it's not worth my time in setup and post-processing.  But macro expects to sell them for hundreds; that greatly reduces the number of potential buyers - and I'd be quite satisfied with a lot less.  

I keep coming back to the CutCaster concept. At some point, it has to happen.


« Reply #42 on: February 11, 2010, 15:13 »
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I think that in 10 years 3D technology will have reached the point where realistic people can be dialed up in an application and eliminate the need for 'real' models in 'real' situations completely. 3D animators will become the major content producers.

That's definitely true, and not just for 'people' shots.  Is it 10 years away, or less?

Just think of the endless, gag-inducing images of radiantly happy, magnetically handsome people - in cubicles, phone pits, conference rooms, hospitals, on the street- and no model releases to be found.  Philip K. Dick would be fascinated.

Subjects which had been difficult or impossible will become easy.  I'm already picturing "Happy group of multi-ethnic employees receiving layoff notices" and "Happy senior man having sigmoidoscopy".


« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 15:21 by stockastic »

« Reply #43 on: February 11, 2010, 15:44 »
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You can also do something different to all the other contributors and guarantee that your image will be on the first page of a search.

Explain that statement, please.  
All I do is look at the less well covered subjects that I have some knowledge about and I see are popular with the buyers.  Then I try and come up with something that isn't already there.  It isn't difficult to have your image as the only on one the site when someone does a search.  It will get copied, but that is usually after it has had lots of downloads.

« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2010, 16:00 »
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I'm off to shoot some cheese shoes and a concrete canoe.

« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2010, 16:01 »
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Explain that statement, please. 

Originality!  ;)

Creativity and originality by themselves aren't enough in the micro business, the image has to be difficult to copy, too. Many of my ideas have been ripped off and copied relentlessly, and on some sites it's the inferior rip-off that show up in searches first.  There are too many people with low integrity that are looking to make a fast buck by feeding off of the creativity of others. That's why I'm always working to add to my skill set, it's my only hope for survival in this business.

« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2010, 17:36 »
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... the image has to be difficult to copy, too.

But that usually means it took some time and effort to produce - setup, post-processing.  Which means it has to sell a lot, to be worth doing.   Like I keep saying - if we could just get some control over our prices...

« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2010, 17:43 »
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I think that in 10 years 3D technology will have reached the point where realistic people can be dialed up in an application and eliminate the need for 'real' models in 'real' situations completely. 3D animators will become the major content producers.
This is a good point. But even if this doesn't happen something else will. New technologies for making images will emerge, and buyers will want the images made using those technologies.

Microstock is the child of technologies:
-digital cameras
-image software, from Photoshop to 3DS Max
-cheap high speed internet access
-search engines

In the future, revenues will increase for people who are willing to learn the new technologies and who can see the market clearly enough to recognize the best opportunities.

« Reply #48 on: February 11, 2010, 17:51 »
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Only last night I had 2 requests to join my CN at Istock __ coincidentally both from Chinese contributors. Think about it.

Yes, I went through this in past. I freelanced as a software developer, mostly via RentACoder.com. The marketplace there (based on tasks on which the coders bid) was flooded with 'coders' that were willing to do the work for much less than I was willing to. They were ok biding with what sometimes was around $1 per hour (estimated by me)... And they were mostly from China and other countries.

What eventually happened with your freelance coding, did the Chinese competition drive you out of the freelance software development business, or did you take a different approach to finding coding work?

« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2010, 18:17 »
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I just added a Chinese person to my CN.  She has some nice photos of her local area and autumn leaves.  I can't see anything that looks like it has been copied.  I am sure Chinese contributors will find it possible to make more than their average national wage without having to resort to copying.  No doubt some will do it but I would think those that need to make more money will be tempted more.  Isn't the average wage in China around $3,000?


 

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