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Author Topic: Experiences after quitting iStock exclusivity.  (Read 37533 times)

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lucato

  • [<o>] Brasil


« Reply #75 on: October 27, 2012, 07:31 »
+1
Hi folks, just sharing the things after going to complete the 5th month... By the way, I'd like to hear also from other member that have left the exclusivity too how are the things doing on their side.

Well, I'm sorry to all for my delay, but it isn't not something to post daily. ;0)

Updating the other thread above where I said the agencies and files#, here is the update:
- Shutterstock (Lucato's Portfolio) - 950 files, now it is 1524 files online (2400 submitted + 200 in the queue);
- Fotolia (Lucato's Portfolio) - 149 files, now it is 1816 files online (2400 submitted + 200 in the queue);
- Dreamstime (Lucato's Portfolio) - 1450 files, now it is 1656 files online (2400 submitted + 200 in the queue).
- iStockphoto  (Lucato's Portfolio) - 7189 files, now it is 7213 files online (24 submitted)
- Depositphotos (Lucato's Portfolio) - new site, now it is 2553 files online (2600 submitted)
- BigStock (Lucato's Portfolio) - new site, now it is 1521 files online (2400 submitted)

Regarding the iStock earnings, in sum it dropped 80% of my income by leaving the exclusivity (+ iStock sales drop), and the other agencies income didn't get close to this dropped value. So, for example if I used to make/earn 1k a month at iStock, it dropped to $200/month, and the other agencies, no one get close to 50% of it yet and summing them all, they don't reach what I was making as exclusive. 

Well, it was a decision for not leaving all eggs in the same basket and as they cut our exclusivity earnings from 40% to 35% with the RC, and the sales went down drastically, plus a lot of bugs in the system, no FTP or other improvements in upload an so on. By knowing the other sites systems you see how iStock is old in its technology/system for editing/uploading images. Well, it is a long term and not for a short term results, I hope so, despite of being in the 5th month that I've left the exclusivity. When I started at iStock, I started to make my 1st $100 bucks and got to withdraw it after a year or more too.

Well, in sum, if it is you only income and you have no reserves to hold this period of going down the hill, it is a big risk and I would advice you to not take it, plus if you're not a "workaholic", I would suggest you to stay as exclusive. Keep in the "comfort zone" even with the risks iStock is showing to have.

Besides that, you cannot take my data/portfolio as reference. I mean there are photographers with much less files and making much more money than I do/did. So, it will depend on your work/portfolio content/style too.

If you have in mind to move or not, I suggest you to ALWAYS save your images with the IPTC data for keywords, descriptions and categories. I didn't know that and you can imagine what a hard work I'm having with my 7200+ files to submit to other agencies. So, keep in mind this TIP/ADVICE! If you have no idea what IPTC data is, read this article that wrote in my blog.
 
Well, I hope that helps your future decision. Who knows in the next 5 months I post some other news. ;0)

As I said before, I'd like to hear also from other members that have left the exclusivity also and know how are the things doing on their sides too.

Thanks and have a nice day.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 15:22 by lucato »


« Reply #76 on: October 27, 2012, 07:55 »
0
Hi Lucato,

thank you very much for your honest reporting. I think many people underestimate how long it takes for the customers to "bookmark" you and your portfolio so that they keep coming back to check what you have new. Also many other artists may already be active in your niche and again it will take time to get noticed.

When you enter a new market with products, I would expect at least 12-18 months to pass before you get a signifacant amount of repeat customers. I would expect it to be the same in the stock world, unless what you offer is so unique that noone else has it.

If you take your example of 1k earnings from istock, how much have you recovered now in total over all agenies at this stage? 300 dollars? 500?

And do you also have your own webstore where customers can buy directly from you?

I know a lot of people who are considering to quit their photo exclusivity, but I keep pointing out that the other agencies are not exactly waiting for the exclusive content.

The video market is different, because it is a new market and all the sites have very few files. It is similar to the stage photos where in in 2005.

For me the combination video independence and photo exclusive for now seems to be the best route.

But others are seeing very large drops in their sales and I understand that they are looking into alternatives. Also all the drama at istock and the lack of communication can be really hard to deal with. At least now whenever there is a disaster at istock I can just go and do a video and enjoy the really modern upload systems of SS and others and 24 hour turnaround times for video inspections.

It really helps my peace of mind to have some balance.

Looking forward to hear how your journey continues. All the best!

« Reply #77 on: October 27, 2012, 09:37 »
0
I think cobalt has hit the nail on the head there and gives some good advice. Lucato, give it some more time for repeat customers and also to allow yourself to grow in the search engine rankings and im sure you will do very well, and don't rule out video as it can supplement your income.

Unfortunately being non-excluive at istock is a very sad state of affairs. You will get raped on commission, shoved to the back of the search results and be the last to get your photos inspected. And be there problems at istock, expect to be the last on the list of istock's priorities.

« Reply #78 on: October 27, 2012, 09:51 »
0
You also have to consider that you have 7k images on iStock, and you submitted 1/6 on other sites.

I have mostly Illustrations but I would also put your port  to Canstock, easy and quick.

Second, considering you are losing income monthly by not having your full portfolio online, I would find a Freelancer (I can refer one on my team in PM if it helps) to submit your images for you say at 10 to 15 cents per image.

The monthly income should help you get back that investment quick. At least target shutterstock to increase to the top tier as quickly as possible.

For your videos get them on Pond5 they sell well there. 

Hope this helps a bit!

lisafx

« Reply #79 on: October 27, 2012, 11:13 »
0
Thanks for reporting your results Lucato.  Interesting food for thought for exclusives thinking of making the jump.  Also very good advice from Cobalt and Morphart. 

If I could just add a bit to that advice - Instead of uploading some images to each new site, and building your portfolio simultaneously on all new sites you are on, you might want to concentrate on getting all 7k images on each site at a time, in order of importance.  For example, I would be focusing all my energies on getting my portfolio on SS right now.  The sooner your port is up to high numbers there, the faster you will see your overall earnings jump.  Once they're all up on SS, then move to DT, then FT, and so on, in order of the sites' earnings potential. 

Just a suggestion to help you recover lost income as quickly as possible.  :)

Poncke

« Reply #80 on: October 27, 2012, 12:23 »
0
I am not sure if I understand correctly, and it is by no means a jab towards anyone. But am I correct in saying that 2400 images were submitted and 600 were rejected?

If thats true, he wont have 7k images online, but around 5k. Which is still phenomenal, but 2k images less will also affect potential income compared to the 7k images exclusive on IS.

I have to say, I didnt realise that being exclusive would get you so much more money than being independent.

« Reply #81 on: October 27, 2012, 14:09 »
0
I am not sure if I understand correctly, and it is by no means a jab towards anyone. But am I correct in saying that 2400 images were submitted and 600 were rejected?

- Shutterstock (Lucato's Portfolio) - 950 files, now it is 1524 files online (2400 submitted + 200 in the queue);


its actually 876

Poncke

« Reply #82 on: October 27, 2012, 14:50 »
0
Thank you for correcting my typo, keep it up and maybe someday I'll let you be my secretary

« Reply #83 on: October 27, 2012, 15:32 »
0
Thank you for correcting my typo, keep it up and maybe someday I'll let you be my secretary

dont forget to eat the cereals

« Reply #84 on: October 27, 2012, 16:01 »
0
Lucato, thanks so much for the update. I continue to debate with myself over what point to leave iStock Exclusivity. I don't think I am at the point just yet for a number of reasons. Your report has been very helpful.

« Reply #85 on: October 27, 2012, 16:52 »
0
I am not sure if I understand correctly, and it is by no means a jab towards anyone. But am I correct in saying that 2400 images were submitted and 600 were rejected?

If thats true, he wont have 7k images online, but around 5k. Which is still phenomenal, but 2k images less will also affect potential income compared to the 7k images exclusive on IS.

I have to say, I didnt realise that being exclusive would get you so much more money than being independent.

I would submit photos that IS had rejected. Many best sellers on other agencies are rejected by Istock. I'd concentrate on the ones accepted on Istock first though.

So the overall images may be about the same after rejected ones are submitted.

« Reply #86 on: October 27, 2012, 17:49 »
0
I may be wrong, but I doubt that Lucato has many rejected files. If you are exclusive you really get to know the style that istock likes very well. Many exclusives have very high acceptance rates (over 90%).

However I wonder what kind of rejections he is receiving at the other agencies. Maybe he can share some insights or tips when he has time.

Poncke

« Reply #87 on: October 27, 2012, 17:52 »
0
I may be wrong, but I doubt that Lucato has many rejected files. If you are exclusive you really get to know the style that istock likes very well. Many exclusives have very high acceptance rates (over 90%).

However I wonder what kind of rejections he is receiving at the other agencies. Maybe he can share some insights or tips when he has time.
I didnt mean to imply that he has many rejected images at IS. I was only looking at the numbers he mentioned himself

« Reply #88 on: October 27, 2012, 18:33 »
0
I do not envy you the task of getting all the iptc data on all those files. ugh. I am guessing that as soon as the iptc is done then you upload them everywhere.  - a daunting task, that is for sure. For anyone starting out or for exclusives I second the advice to keyword etc. in the iptc.

I think that IS has been insulating exclusives (mainly by shafting independents it appears) from any downturns - unfortunately for them they seem to have run out of shafting to be done to independents, so the pain is starting to hit the exclusives. It will be a painful process to jump ship, and a long road to get back to the kind of earnings you made as an exclusive. Thanks for keeping us posted.

ShadySue

« Reply #89 on: October 27, 2012, 18:59 »
0
Yes, thanks, Lucato. Very interesting reading, and not necessarily what I've have expected from your port going indie. (I'd have expected you to be exceeding your iStock exclusive earnings by now.) But clearly it's a long haul.

« Reply #90 on: October 27, 2012, 19:06 »
+1
...However I wonder what kind of rejections he is receiving at the other agencies. Maybe he can share some insights or tips when he has time.


I'll give you some examples of iStock files of mine that have sold well that Shutterstock rejected (one of them I resubmitted saying that it had sold over 500 times on iStock and they accepted it; they had said it had LCV at first). In general, they don't much like dramatic light (and some of the rejects had been Vetta at iStock)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

On the other hand, iStock rejected some things that SS accepted and which sell well, such as this, this  and this, so it really is a roundabouts and swings situation. DT's most annoying thing is the ridiculous similars policy; otherwise, they're pretty reasonable.

« Reply #91 on: October 27, 2012, 21:24 »
0
Very interesting, thank you!



« Reply #92 on: October 27, 2012, 23:55 »
0
Extremely daunting but brave move and in a totally oversaturated market where supply is much higher then demand and where most other agencies are turning their screws tighter and tighter around contributors.

I know somebody almost exactly in your shoes and with almost exactly the same amount of files. He keeps a low profile, doesnt really want to talk, let alone write about it. He left the entire micro industry and uploaded all his thousands of files as RF instead.
Today, just over a year later he is doing very well, almost on par with his earlier earnings.

Wish you all the luck and as Lisa said,  concentrate on SS at first, thats where your bread and butter will come from. :)

ShadySue

« Reply #93 on: October 28, 2012, 05:40 »
0
He left the entire micro industry and uploaded all his thousands of files as RF instead.
Today, just over a year later he is doing very well, almost on par with his earlier earnings.
That is, he uploaded his files RF on macro sites?

« Reply #94 on: October 28, 2012, 05:50 »
0
He left the entire micro industry and uploaded all his thousands of files as RF instead.
Today, just over a year later he is doing very well, almost on par with his earlier earnings.
That is, he uploaded his files RF on macro sites?

Thats what I meant. yes.

lucato

  • [<o>] Brasil


« Reply #95 on: October 28, 2012, 08:33 »
0
@Cobalt

Hi Lucato,
thank you very much for your honest reporting. I think many people underestimate how long it takes for the customers to "bookmark" you and your portfolio so that they keep coming back to check what you have new. Also many other artists may already be active in your niche and again it will take time to get noticed.

Hi Cobalt, thank you for your reply and comments.
Yes. Actually I don't even believe that at some point we get bookmarked or have any customer loyalty, once the customer will buy what the search results will bring and will fit for their needs in the project they're working on. Maybe your image will be added to some LB project for those customers that are very organized. :0)

Quote

When you enter a new market with products, I would expect at least 12-18 months to pass before you get a signifacant amount of repeat customers. I would expect it to be the same in the stock world, unless what you offer is so unique that noone else has it.

Yes, and besides that you have a lot of other factors such a "search results formula" like iStock sets every time different way wich doesn't bring always the "all products into the store" as any regular store.

Quote
If you take your example of 1k earnings from istock, how much have you recovered now in total over all agencies at this stage? 300 dollars? 500?

Here is a spreadsheet I built to show a sample assuming that iStock is the 100% income compared to the other agencies:


Quote
And do you also have your own web store where customers can buy directly from you?

Well, IMHO, I think it doesn't worth the effort. I have no time to manage it all and besides that expend all this time to maybe get extra 100 bucks, so I don't think it is a good a idea. Maybe use this time to treat the other thousand of files parked in my HD to submit or start to make more movies. ;0) Well, by having the other agencies with "zilions" of visitors a day and making 1% as you saw in the spreadsheet above, you can imagine by having an own web store how much would make. :0) Any way I'd like to hear from those that have built its own image web store to see how it is going and percentage comparisons.

Quote
I know a lot of people who are considering to quit their photo exclusivity, but I keep pointing out that the other agencies are not exactly waiting for the exclusive content.

Well it depends if they see the image as exclusive or the contributor as exclusive. So in my case, regular images, just a exclusive contributor, so nothing like vetta, hiper power productions and so on. Well, actually I just remembered that I have some exclusive contents at iStock, the images I took from the minilypses. :0)

Quote
The video market is different, because it is a new market and all the sites have very few files. It is similar to the stage photos where in in 2005.

Thanks for the tip. I need to start to enjoy this slice. Actually two weeks ago I requested the exclusivity cancellation for video too, despite of not having a great video volume/content. Anyway, I will start to think more about video production this year and spread the few ones I have to the other agencies. The next step will be my vectors and sounds for those that will accept these type of files.

Quote
 
For me the combination video independence and photo exclusive for now seems to be the best route.

I need to try the photo and video independence to see how it goes. :0)

Quote
But others are seeing very large drops in their sales and I understand that they are looking into alternatives. Also all the drama at istock and the lack of communication can be really hard to deal with. At least now whenever there is a disaster at istock I can just go and do a video and enjoy the really modern upload systems of SS and others and 24 hour turnaround times for video inspections.

Yes, very sad what iStock became these days. I loved the other upload systems and editions that are much more ahead/beyond  than iStock is.

Quote
It really helps my peace of mind to have some balance. Looking forward to hear how your journey continues. All the best!

Thanks, the same this side.
Have a wonderful Sunday.

P.S.: I will try to reply to everybody, just need a time. ;0)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 04:28 by lucato »

lucato

  • [<o>] Brasil


« Reply #96 on: October 28, 2012, 08:43 »
0
@Istocker2011

I think cobalt has hit the nail on the head there and gives some good advice. Lucato, give it some more time for repeat customers and also to allow yourself to grow in the search engine rankings and im sure you will do very well, and don't rule out video as it can supplement your income.
Yes, it takes time to grow in the search engine. That is because I'm feeding all agencies step by step. Thanks for talking about the video, I need to find some extra time to work with it. ;0)

Quote
Unfortunately being non-excluive at istock is a very sad state of affairs. You will get raped on commission, shoved to the back of the search results and be the last to get your photos inspected. And be there problems at istock, expect to be the last on the list of istock's priorities.
Yes I agree. A huge fall in earnings and other situations and actions. But how the thinks are, it also keeps scaring anyone to keep all eggs in one basket. If for some reason they have some outage of power, cancel the site as they did in the past with iStockPro, can you image how long will you start to build all over in other agencies and start to make money? Well to much pros and cons to thing about to take such a decision. ;0)

Have a great Sunday and thanks for your input.

lucato

  • [<o>] Brasil


« Reply #97 on: October 28, 2012, 08:54 »
0
@Morphart

You also have to consider that you have 7k images on iStock, and you submitted 1/6 on other sites.
I would say something around 1/4 approved. :0)

Quote
I have mostly Illustrations but I would also put your port  to Canstock, easy and quick.
Not sure if you have the same illustrations at iStock, but assuming iStock is 100%, how much Canstock income represents to your income compared to iStock?

[/quote]
Second, considering you are losing income monthly by not having your full portfolio online, I would find a Freelancer (I can refer one on my team in PM if it helps) to submit your images for you say at 10 to 15 cents per image.[/quote]
Didn't get it very well (Maybe my language barrier). :0)  If you PM me with further explanation I'll appreciate. Thanks

Quote
The monthly income should help you get back that investment quick. At least target shutterstock to increase to the top tier as quickly as possible.
I hope so. ;0)

Quote
For your videos get them on Pond5 they sell well there. 
I'll check this out, thanks for your tip.

Quote
Hope this helps a bit!
Yes it does. Thanks and have a nice day.

lucato

  • [<o>] Brasil


« Reply #98 on: October 28, 2012, 09:23 »
0
@Lisafx

Thanks for reporting your results Lucato.  Interesting food for thought for exclusives thinking of making the jump.  Also very good advice from Cobalt and Morphart.
Hi Lisa, good to hear from you. Thanks for replying. Yes good points.

Quote
If I could just add a bit to that advice - Instead of uploading some images to each new site, and building your portfolio simultaneously on all new sites you are on, you might want to concentrate on getting all 7k images on each site at a time, in order of importance.  For example, I would be focusing all my energies on getting my portfolio on SS right now.  The sooner your port is up to high numbers there, the faster you will see your overall earnings jump.  Once they're all up on SS, then move to DT, then FT, and so on, in order of the sites' earnings potential.  Just a suggestion to help you recover lost income as quickly as possible.  :)
Thanks for you suggestion Lisa. Good one too. Actually I thought about it, but I was a little bit concerned about building the reputation. I mean, as mentioned by iStocker2011: "grow in the search engine rankings". IMHO by sending all at once would generate different ranking and so on. Well, at least I think so. We never know how it exactly works. Maybe I will take your advice and send the next 2500 to SS and after move to the others. As you can check in the spreadsheet, SS really is in the second place for income. ;0)

Thanks Lisa for your suggestion, I appreciated that. Have a great Sunday.

lucato

  • [<o>] Brasil


« Reply #99 on: October 28, 2012, 09:38 »
0
@Poncke

I am not sure if I understand correctly, and it is by no means a jab towards anyone. But am I correct in saying that 2400 images were submitted and 600 were rejected?
If thats true, he wont have 7k images online, but around 5k. Which is still phenomenal, but 2k images less will also affect potential income compared to the 7k images exclusive on IS.
Hi there, yes, let's say 600 were reject, but each agency works in its way. So for example some just accepts images with at least 4MP while iStock used to accept lower sizes, so as I sent in lot/FTP it counts, other reject due similar tittle and description or similar image or too much already in the database or some has just an automatic rejection if you pick some category or other prefer that the image be more sharpened or less effects and so on. So, a lot of factors to reject them, and I wont lose time fixing them. Let's move on and keep upload and I have also thousand of new images parked in the HD to still be treated and submitted too. But I have no time. Image if I lose time fixing some rejections or worrying about them. ;0)

Quote
I have to say, I didnt realise that being exclusive would get you so much more money than being independent.
Well, it isn't like it seems easy or other. It has canister levels to reach. I'm 10 years member, and so on. So, it isn't in a blink of eyes to get a huge income difference. Mainly now with the RC system at iStock.

Thanks and have a nice day.


 

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