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Author Topic: downhill trend all too obvious!  (Read 34276 times)

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lagereek

« on: August 06, 2010, 01:06 »
0
Well summer is pretty much over and the entire Micro world seem to have come to a stand-still,  many buyers have gone RF or RM, at least in my case, theyve had a real good summer.
Not surprised really, every Micro agency have done their best in making sure things are NOT moving, summer-reviewers not even possesing the knowledge of the English language, suports being non existant, search-engines going from bad to terrible.
Im still earning very well so thats not the issue here but I can see the same so called non-caring, relaxed attitude trend here as was seen in the RM world some 10 years back and look what happend?
Are we singing on the last verse here?  time to get serious and start producing for a higher level of picture-agencies or are the Micros going to get their act together before Santa comes along with more spamming, etc?

best.


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2010, 01:19 »
0
Seeing what's going on right now with most sites - random reviews, broken search engines, etc - it's difficult not to agree with you.

Still, I try to be positive: it they really have to play with search algorithms - if it ain't broke don't fix it is not their favourite attitude, it seems - and train new reviewers, it's better that they're doing this in the summer than in September.

I'll wait and see what the autumn brings before worrying too much.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 04:41 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2010, 03:03 »
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Summer pretty much over?  It goes in to September here and a lot of Europe takes August off.  I wasn't hit hard by the summer slump last year but that might of been an exception.  What usually happens is we are all doom and gloom this time of year then there is a sales explosion in the autumn.  Until then, I wont jump to conclusions.  This might be a slow down for microstock, no industry increases growth every month forever but it could be temporary.  A few months means nothing, it looks impossible for me to earn more in 2010 than I did in 2009 but that could change, there's still a lot of the year left.  StockXpert being closed cost me a lot and if I can come close to my 2010 earnings, it will feel like an achievement.

My biggest concern is the cuts we had in commissions when some sites raised prices, if the sites continued to do that, I would be looking at alternatives.

lagereek

« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 03:28 »
0
Hi sharshot!  well this time I dont agree, yes the usual story is were seeing doom and gloom, then comes the good times and we forget. As I said, Im NOT complaining about earnings, theres something else?  some sort of a general disinterest among the agencies, non sort of caring attitude, you know the" Oh well, screw it"  attitude and consequenses are: nothing seams to work.
Im glad the acceptance rate of applicants have decreased,  theres no more room for clogging up files anymore.

best.

« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 05:06 »
0
Perhaps it is getting worse but I have never felt the big sites have had a good attitude towards us.  They are all trying to make as much profit for themselves as possible, like most people that owned sites would.  There is nothing wrong with that but it does feel like they are going too far sometimes.

I don't think we can change that but we can support the sites that pay a decent commission and hope they can become competitive.  There are still several sites like alamy and pond5 that are great to work with.

grp_photo

« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2010, 05:48 »
0
I nearly completely switched to RM the last months, all variables included I don't expect higher earnings than in serious microstocking but I'm pretty sure there will be equal. The main reasons I switched:
1. there is only a certain range of images you can submit to Microstock, if you differ from the Microstock-Look (for example more creative, more arty) the pictures will be either rejected or there will be not enough sales to make it viable. And I'm personally tired of the Microstock-Style I wanna produce different things.
2. I'm tired of how I'm treated via the Microstock-agencies. At RM it is a much more professional, friendly and at a personal level (even at Getty-RM).
3. I'm tired of keywording I let do this the agencies (with the exception of conceptual keywords for some Agencies).
4. I'm tired of cumbersome upload-processes and unprofessional rejections.
5. I'm tired of Logo-retouching (Getty and Corbis even demand this for RM but many others don't).
6. last but not least, as a photographer you have more legal security with RM
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 05:49 by grp_photo »

grp_photo

« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2010, 06:02 »
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That said I'm sure Microstock will be a viable income for many contributors in the long term. But the general trend changed not so long ago the earnings from even average pictures have been phenomenal -- these times will never come back! Not so long ago there was enthusiasm about Microstock from the contributor- AND more important from the buyer-side -- this enthusiasm is gone many buyers can't see Yuri's girlfriend anymore ;-) serious Microstock is repeating itself it's boring for buyers and the few exceptional artists (for example Kevin Russ) get lost in the masses of the same-same pictures.
Add to this the still increasing amount of new contributors and pictures you see where it is leading.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2010, 06:14 »
0
Google Trends is showing a huge traffic drop for all sites.

IS and SS are down around half.since January. Where'd everybody go?

http://www.google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+shutterstock.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

 

« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2010, 06:27 »
0
... Where'd everybody go?

Thinkstock  ;D

« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 07:23 »
0
My biggest concern is the cuts we had in commissions when some sites raised prices, if the sites continued to do that, I would be looking at alternatives.
There are no alternatives. All the "midstock" agencies started since 2006 went down the drains. If a few, even major, contributors (like Arcurs) would drop out of microstock, the void would immediately be filled up by all the Arcurs-clones and the guild of the copycats. Price comparison will be made very easy by sites in the making or already in beta.

For some and for the easy subjects, the market is already oversupplied. Who needs another Eiffel Tower or another businesswoman? Thinkstock is setting the baseline soon, certainly when they enter Picscout.

Ellen Boughn (I keep repeating it) made the observation earlier this year for a Russian audience, that the production of images will move to the East (where production and living costs are lower) and sales will stay concentrated in the West. Images will be like sneakers. There might be an exception for very talented photographers with a high volume and stunning new concepts. I'm just talking about the regulars.

There is no alternative for microstock.

« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2010, 07:34 »
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FD, there is a lot of truth to what you said.

I think though that there is something to consider first.

I saw three years ago the first wave of Asian or Eastern European contributors coming to the micros. And of course in most of those countries cost of living is much cheaper than in most other industrialized parts of the world.

Naturally this kind of business will attract a higher percentage of contributors from these countries.

BUT, will there be enough Caucasian models there to shoot? Many Eastern European contributors take images with their fellow citizens and you can tell immediately if the image is coming from Russia, Poland, Ukraine etc.

I wonder if those images will easily replace Yuri's style? In America people want to see classic American faces and even the Latino market is huuuge.

I think there is only so much that can be produced in "Eastern World" but some things will never change...

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2010, 07:44 »
0
... Where'd everybody go?
Thinkstock  ;D

Maybe. No stats yet for Thinkstock.

But, Photos.com, TS's cousin, shows consistent sales and a huge spike at the time when others had a huge drop.  :o

The other interesting thing on Google Trends are the traffic sources. Wonder why so different?

Shutterstock
1. India 
2. Indonesia 
3. South Africa 
4. Philippines 
5. United Arab Emirates

Istock
1. Canada 
2. Ireland 
3. South Africa 
4. New Zealand 
5. United States

« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2010, 08:36 »
0
My biggest concern is the cuts we had in commissions when some sites raised prices, if the sites continued to do that, I would be looking at alternatives.
There are no alternatives. All the "midstock" agencies started since 2006 went down the drains. If a few, even major, contributors (like Arcurs) would drop out of microstock, the void would immediately be filled up by all the Arcurs-clones and the guild of the copycats. Price comparison will be made very easy by sites in the making or already in beta.

For some and for the easy subjects, the market is already oversupplied. Who needs another Eiffel Tower or another businesswoman? Thinkstock is setting the baseline soon, certainly when they enter Picscout.

Ellen Boughn (I keep repeating it) made the observation earlier this year for a Russian audience, that the production of images will move to the East (where production and living costs are lower) and sales will stay concentrated in the West. Images will be like sneakers. There might be an exception for very talented photographers with a high volume and stunning new concepts. I'm just talking about the regulars.

There is no alternative for microstock.
There are always alternatives and they don't have to have anything to do with microstock.  There are too many to list and there are new ways to sell images all the time.

grp_photo

« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2010, 08:53 »
0
I agree with sharpshot there are actually a huge number of alternatives but you have to do your research.

« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2010, 09:57 »
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Maybe it is the end, and the only one or two left will be
Shutterstock and Istock. I not sure if others are necessary.
My thinking is maybe good to have monopoly. Buyers keep with
these two who consistent for performance history, and maybe
commissions go up for all of us due to centralized market.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 09:59 by lefty »

« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2010, 11:06 »
0
Microstock is not unlike a pyramid scheme. Those at the top stay there, those at the bottom rarely see the top. It's a generality but I think holds true for the most part. Then comes into the mix what buyers want. Microstock can get so boring so fast. Yes there is Vetta but it is still so dull compared to traditional macro. The world moves in fads and microstock capitalized on a fad. Not saying its dead or anything but it's only a matter of time before the same old, same old provided by micro isn't wanted much. There is talk of a second dip in the recession. No help there.

How can it not become more difficult for individual photographers?

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2010, 11:14 »
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I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.


WarrenPrice

« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2010, 11:19 »
0
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.

I've received a lot of rejections, Donna, just for trying to produce and provide such shots.  I admit, however, it is very difficult to get the kind of "microstock lighting" in unstaged setups that most agencies (and buyers) expect.

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2010, 11:28 »
0
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.

I've received a lot of rejections, Donna, just for trying to produce and provide such shots.  I admit, however, it is very difficult to get the kind of "microstock lighting" in unstaged setups that most agencies (and buyers) expect.

Yes lighting is very difficult especially in candid shots because they are captured on the fly. I really think the trend in microstock is changing. It seems the sites just keep accepting the same thing over and over again and don't put much effort in watching the changing trends and needs of the buyers.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2010, 11:29 »
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Microstock can get so boring so fast. [...] Not saying its dead or anything but it's only a matter of time before the same old, same old provided by micro isn't wanted much.

I think we all - photographers, agencies and buyers - know that microstock can be boring. If a buyer wants something really original, the he/she should hire a photographer - at least for really important projects. For the majority of everyday projects (local newspapers, local store leaflets, ...) microstock is just fine: they get what they pay it for, and shouldn't expect more for a few cents.

That said, "watching the changing trends" as "donding" says is an easy way to renew microstock and I really hope agencies will understand and accept more good unusual shots.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 11:36 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2010, 11:34 »
0
Microstock is not unlike a pyramid scheme.  

Microstock is completely unlike 'a pyramid scheme'. Other than the fact that if you arranged contributors on different levels, according to sales numbers, then it would be pyramid-shaped ... but then so would virtually any large company, country, participants in a sport, etc, etc.

From Wiki - A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud.

Microstock is entirely a meritocracy in that it is a level playing-field and you get exactly the success that you deserve for your talent and effort. Those who started earlier have no advantage other than the experience they have gained and the sizes of their portfolios. I have no doubt that more Yuris, Lises and SJLs will emerge from nowhere sometime in the future and trounce those of us who have been doing it for years.

« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2010, 12:40 »
0
I think we all - photographers, agencies and buyers - know that microstock can be boring. If a buyer wants something really original, the he/she should hire a photographer - at least for really important projects. For the majority of everyday projects (local newspapers, local store leaflets, ...) microstock is just fine: they get what they pay it for, and shouldn't expect more for a few cents.

I totally agree.

But really, microstock is just mimicking the rest of the business world. Employers now expect years of experience, a 4 year college degree, and versatility in your capabilities. In other words, you are expected to know how to do several jobs well and, by the way, we're going to pay you minimum wage for that.

Somewhere along the line, somebody started thinking that now we should all be grateful for what we get and if we want to play with the big boys, we should be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and models and shoot professional, macro-style shots and STILL get paid cents for an image. NO, that's not what I signed up for.

RacePhoto

« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2010, 13:16 »
0
Easy if you pick a poor definition. Many pyramids or MLM schemes do have goods delivered, just that the promise of getting a raise at different levels and recruiting new members is important. Sound familiar? Sure Micro isn't a pyramid but many facets of the business have the same failings of pyramids.

People who get in on the bottom can make something. Those who get in later may never make up their investment

Both rely on referrals and pay a bonus for recruiting. Sometimes this will bring in more than the actual business. Ask some of the top IS people who have hundreds of members under them, bringing in money. Ask the people who run the websites designed for encouraging referrals. There was a profit to be made with that, in the beginning.

The unsustainable market is when friends bring friends and the pyramid can't support the volume needed for so many agents/artists. Hey look, 200,000 photographers and 12 million micro photos. There aren't enough buyers to feed all those people, so everyone suffers by dilution. Of course sales are going to be down, the market is over saturated = diluted with far too many similar images and choices for buyers.

Just like a chain letter, which is a pyramid of sorts, the number of people involved multiplies until it reaches an impossible number and the whole thing is mathematically impossible. Much like microstock depending on volume sales, but the number of buyers is not endless. Soon they are all satisfied and have places to buy from. New agencies are doomed (which we've seen for what, three years now or is it four?) Old agencies will fail as the market consolidates with the best agencies.

In the end, the agencies still have the same sales volume but it's divided between more artists. There's your pyramid, where only those on top are truly making a profit. The big base has no where to grown. Market saturation. Leveling off. Stagnation as the growth stops but the production keeps flowing, cramming the market with more and more images. Expect less sales and less income, just like people have noticed with a diminishing return for the number of images. You can't fit ten pounds of sugar into a five pound bag!  ;)



What we are observing is market saturation, leveling off, stabilization. The agencies could be selling many more images, making much more money, but since the sales are divided by many times more artists, than in the recent past, each artist will have less sales and less profit for their production. Don't expect things to be like they were two years ago. Easy enough, production is now far exceeding demand.


Microstock is not unlike a pyramid scheme.  


Microstock is completely unlike 'a pyramid scheme'. Other than the fact that if you arranged contributors on different levels, according to sales numbers, then it would be pyramid-shaped ... but then so would virtually any large company, country, participants in a sport, etc, etc.

From Wiki - A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud.

Microstock is entirely a meritocracy in that it is a level playing-field and you get exactly the success that you deserve for your talent and effort. Those who started earlier have no advantage other than the experience they have gained and the sizes of their portfolios. I have no doubt that more Yuris, Lises and SJLs will emerge from nowhere sometime in the future and trounce those of us who have been doing it for years.

lagereek

« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2010, 13:30 »
0
As it happens all these crappy old isolations on white, etc, models, businessmen, engineers and God knows, yes, it could be a very serious culprit, the market for them is fed-up, buyers cant find proper people anymore. I saw a shot of an oil-rig with a pretty girl of 20 wearing a hard-hat, who . wants that?
Yet all the Micros seam to promote this crap and on premiere pages in search. Its an insult to buyers!
Friend of mine owns one of the biggest AD-agencies in Scandinavia, they used to spend tens of thousands of bucks per year with the micros, catalogue works and everything, well they just struck a deal with some RF agencies, leaving the Micros behind, fed up with all the rubbish and totally irrelevant material.

Im dead certain the juicy days are over and unless the leading Micros really pull themselves together and be a lot and I mean a lot more selective, their time is counted and slowly one by one they will bite the dust. Its happend to many RMs, RF, etc and there is even more reason it could happen to the Micros.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2010, 13:35 »
0
I think we all - photographers, agencies and buyers - know that microstock can be boring. If a buyer wants something really original, the he/she should hire a photographer - at least for really important projects. For the majority of everyday projects (local newspapers, local store leaflets, ...) microstock is just fine: they get what they pay it for, and shouldn't expect more for a few cents.

I totally agree.

But really, microstock is just mimicking the rest of the business world. Employers now expect years of experience, a 4 year college degree, and versatility in your capabilities. In other words, you are expected to know how to do several jobs well and, by the way, we're going to pay you minimum wage for that.

Somewhere along the line, somebody started thinking that now we should all be grateful for what we get and if we want to play with the big boys, we should be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and models and shoot professional, macro-style shots and STILL get paid cents for an image. NO, that's not what I signed up for.

problem is... I already quit/refused a few 'real' jobs for exactly the reason you stated: too high requests compared to proposed wage;

Now, if I quit microstock as well... I'm almost unemployed. At least I feel (almost) free here. I'm afraid THEY know this as well.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 13:38 by microstockphoto.co.uk »


 

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