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Author Topic: Has Alexandre Rotenberg sold his soul to the devil of free stock again?  (Read 17384 times)

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« on: January 17, 2023, 07:41 »
+3
Im a reader of his blog and I now see he started uploading to Unsplash & Pixabay
https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2023/01/16/uploading-to-the-free-download-sites-as-an-experiment-unsplash-and-pixabay/
I cant really understand how is that going to help us contributors though.


SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2023, 08:56 »
+4
Why should it help us? It's something he's decided to do as an experiment, with his content, and he's explained why he's trying it in the post.

« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2023, 09:15 »
+9
Alex can obviously try whatever experiments he feels will be valuable with his content - as pointed out above.

I would note that I wasn't at all impressed by the earnings chart of the person whose experience persuaded Alex to try this route. I earn more in a month from Adobe Stock than James Wheeler did (from Adobe Stock) in 12 months. I currently earn nothing from Shutterstock as they closed my account when I protested their 2020 royalty cuts, but the same was true for them before I became an outcast.

I don't have a large portfolio (just over 2,000 images) and as it earns reasonable returns, I wouldn't consider putting that at risk with an experiment similar to Alex's. If I earned what James Wheeler does, I'd have a lot less to lose and thus would probably be more willing to try out various things to boost my earnings.

The impact of free sites is already clear in that royalty per download is lower than it was, even when earnings are up because download volume is up.

« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2023, 12:36 »
0
There may be other benefits (other than just donations, i.e., notoriety), but taking a look at his other social media accounts (i.e., youtube accoutn, etc) - doesn't really seem to have impacted/benefited it that much, especially if those volume numbers are accurate (i.e., 650+ "million" views, very easy to 'fudge' statistics with computer programs just to make a sight look more presitigious than it is, etc).

« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2023, 15:21 »
+5
Seems like a quick way to get your portfolio re-posted and resold by others around the world.  I hope Alexandre does a reverse image search in a year or so to see where his shots have traveled. 


« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2023, 16:08 »
+2
The experiment differs from what James is doing though.
As far as I understood, he has his better selling images also available on Pexels and Pixabay, and he has over 100.000 downloads there every month.
As he said in his video, it really takes a huge volume of downloads to get a fair amount of donations.

I just don't see this happening with pretty generic images. Not in volume, and not in donations.
No offence, but will a bunch of generic images like an udder full of milk or green banana's on a tree generate a significant amount of downloads and who will actually donate for that type of content?

Of course I can be wrong, so curious to see how the experiment Alex is doing will turn out.
His experiences can help others to make their own decisions.

« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2023, 19:09 »
+1
There are quite a few youtubers who suggest something like that, upload to agencies but also upload to free sites hoping for donations.

The question i always have - how much money do they make on youtube or social media with their videos?

Should that not be part of their income results?

Justanotherphotographer

« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2023, 04:47 »
+6
LOL Alex isnt selling his soul. He isnt primarily a photographer or journalist. Hes part of the blogosphere making money from referrals, links and views. Hes just after links and clicks, as usual. The value for him doesn't come from selling licenses but from writing about the experience. Devaluing his work is irrelevant for him. See previous discussions on this forum, for example about his Vecteezy or Freepik articles.

ETA: for example
https://www.microstockgroup.com/general-big-6/my-first-month-with-freepik-!/
« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 04:54 by Justanotherphotographer »

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2023, 08:42 »
+1
Hey Theo, thanks for posting a link to the post. Interesting discussion.

I had a good think about this experiment and all your comments and will make the following adjustments:

1. For the sake of eventually getting more downloads which hopefully will become donations, I'll have to submit more quality content. This means that such quality images will probably lose all their value once given away for free (no doubt downloaded and re-sold by thieves), but then again perhaps most buyers won't bother shopping around that much (which is also part of the experiment). Perhaps what may work best are the dramatic fine artsty type shots that would do well on FAA. For the sake of experimentation it needs to be done as green bananas aren't going to be a hit; Here's some of my latest uploaded at Pexels - https://www.pexels.com/@brutally-honest-427052750/

2. As suggested by Trek, I'll conduct reverse searches on such images to see how many have ended up trying to be licensed by thieves at micros. Could be a fun little side project, doubt this has been covered elsewhere by other bloggers;

3. Curious to see if there's footage to be accepted by some of these sites to be given away for free. Perhaps footage would bring in more donations than stills. I don't mind giving away some footage that has never sold for many years, particularly if it's only HD.

Update: So far my images are pending review at Pixabay and Unsplash. Amazing how they still check for technical quality even if being given away. What they really should be checking for in view of rejecting unreleased content particularly at sensitive places which may lead to legal issues later on.

@justanotherphotographer

What I make from referrals is perhaps enough for a beer or two once a month and the way inflation is going soon will just be a chocolate bar/month! :D 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 09:36 by Brasilnut »

« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2023, 10:46 »
+1
Yes.

« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2023, 11:48 »
+3
Hey Theo, thanks for posting a link to the post. Interesting discussion.

What I make from referrals is perhaps enough for a beer or two once a month and the way inflation is going soon will just be a chocolate bar/month! :D

so better than Dreamstime.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2023, 08:30 »
+4
Exchanged some ideas with James and he provided the following tip which I'll follow:

Quote
Also, one  thing I started trying recently is uploading the lowest resolution allowed to pexels (which is 4 megapixels), this make them useful for online but not that useful for print.  The idea is that if someone sees an image they want on pexels but need a higher resolution image they need to buy it from me.  Hasn't resulted in much yet but another thing you could try.  Hope it helps.

Justanotherphotographer

« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2023, 12:31 »
+6
Exchanged some ideas with James and he provided the following tip which I'll follow:

Quote
Also, one  thing I started trying recently is uploading the lowest resolution allowed to pexels (which is 4 megapixels), this make them useful for online but not that useful for print.  The idea is that if someone sees an image they want on pexels but need a higher resolution image they need to buy it from me.  Hasn't resulted in much yet but another thing you could try.  Hope it helps.

The reason it a "hasn't resulted in much" is that it isn't correct that 4MP is "not that useful for print". Maybe if you're printing large posters but it'll work just fine for most other print, with a bit of upscaling or dropping to 200 DPI if necessary (it's 6.67 inches square at 300dpi). The chances of people finding your work on one of these free sites and also needing it in a larger resolution, and also being prepared to pay for it is so vanishingly small basing a business model on it is...unwise.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2023, 06:31 »
+7
Update on giving away my images for free like a fking idiot (as an experiment).  :o

So, Pixabay featured one of my images of a red lighthouse against a blue sky on their home page which led to over 22,000+ free downloads after a few day (and no donations).

Three thieves decided to download it and re-sell it on Shutterstock (where I'm also re-selling):

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/side-close-shot-red-light-house-2287205047
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/resizedimage-red-lighthouse-balcony-2283907955
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/red-colour-light-house-sky-2284676895

Those accounts predictably contain many stolen other works.

I've sent in a DCMA notice to Shutterstock's legal department and will be really really annoyed if they just remove the images without closing their accounts.
 
So far no donations and will keep uploading a few more images here and there and also hopefully catching these thieves. Will report any further news as usual in the monthly earnings report.

Alex

« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2023, 07:04 »
0
As I understand it, on Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels, all photos and videos are given away for free. How can an author make money there? What's the point of uploading content there?
Or it is done to advertise itself, and only something unnecessary is uploaded.

« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2023, 07:08 »
0
I currently earn nothing from Shutterstock as they closed my account when I protested their 2020 royalty cuts, but the same was true for them before I became an outcast.
Were you banned just because you wrote to them that you are against lowering payments?

« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2023, 07:41 »
+2

So far no donations and will keep uploading a few more images here and there and also hopefully catching these thieves. Will report any further news as usual in the monthly earnings report.

Alex

Are you sure you want to continue Alex?
Because it looks like you are creating a honey pot for image thieves instead of something that actually makes you money (via donations).
22.000 downloads an no donations -> enough said I would say.

Unless your goal is to fish for image thieves, which is a noble thing to to, but still doesn't make you any money :)


Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2023, 08:07 »
+1

So far no donations and will keep uploading a few more images here and there and also hopefully catching these thieves. Will report any further news as usual in the monthly earnings report.

Alex

Are you sure you want to continue Alex?
Because it looks like you are creating a honey pot for image thieves instead of something that actually makes you money (via donations).
22.000 downloads an no donations -> enough said I would say.

Unless your goal is to fish for image thieves, which is a noble thing to to, but still doesn't make you any money :)

That's a good question. If nobody will even donate $1 after 22,000+ downloads what hope is there? Images that don't get featured get few downloads. So this sort of proves the first hypothesis that people who download free stuff are some of the most selfish types out there (that's why they're downloading for free, duh :) ) No excuse that they're students or academic or not-for-profit entities...what's $1 these days?

Secondly, the thieves taking images and re-selling is predictable. This could be an interesting avenue to reel in thieves but not really worth my time. If SS paid me for this would be cool but that will never happen and I won't work for free especially for them.

I'll continue the experiment since I want to have at least 100 images spread and wait at least one year before jumping to conclusions. I've begun very very reluctantly uploading more quality images (downsizing the resolutions) so let's see if this will make a difference.

To be continued...

@stoker

People who upload to these sites aren't looking to make money from donations but get their work exposed which may lead to opportunities down the line. The PR of these agencies have sold them a false dream.

« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2023, 08:14 »
+16
This is also a good lesson for others who believe that giving their work away for free, in exchange for the "exposure" illusion is good practice.

Free stuff is not used, it's abused.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2023, 08:18 by Zero Talent »

« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2023, 08:34 »
0
On the other hand, if you leave links to your portfolios everywhere, this can lead buyers to stocks.

« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2023, 09:04 »
+2

That's a good question. If nobody will even donate $1 after 22,000+ downloads what hope is there? Images that don't get featured get few downloads. So this sort of proves the first hypothesis that people who download free stuff are some of the most selfish types out there (that's why they're downloading for free, duh :) ) No excuse that they're students or academic or not-for-profit entities...what's $1 these days?

Secondly, the thieves taking images and re-selling is predictable. This could be an interesting avenue to reel in thieves but not really worth my time. If SS paid me for this would be cool but that will never happen and I won't work for free especially for them.

I'll continue the experiment since I want to have at least 100 images spread and wait at least one year before jumping to conclusions. I've begun very very reluctantly uploading more quality images (downsizing the resolutions) so let's see if this will make a difference.

To be continued...

@stoker

People who upload to these sites aren't looking to make money from donations but get their work exposed which may lead to opportunities down the line. The PR of these agencies have sold them a false dream.

I admire your determination to make it work :-)

Don't forget the temporary conclusions: you've put in time and effort to build a small portfolio there that generated 22.000 downloads (I would call that a success) and no money.
Instead, you've got image thieves creating competition on sites where you offer the image for sale, and costing you time and effort to get the stolen content removed. (and you know for sure that keeping an eye out for thieves is a recurring task which will only consume more time as your portfolio grows).

Also: 22.000 downloads in a few days of a generic red lighthouse. I mean, it's a nice shot and all, but seems a bit odd that there is such a high demand for red lighthouses. So I wonder what the story behind the download volume really is. How many of those downloads are real and how many are bots that just scrape content for whatever reason (ai training anyone?). Maybe different types of images attract different types of freeloaders with higher percentages of willingness to donate. Could be, but I'm very skeptical.

But, as I said, the experiment and sharing your experiences is a noble thing to do.
Thanks for the update.


« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2023, 10:57 »
+2
It seems like there should be a way to demand the sales of illegally uploaded images along with the DMCA notice, but we all know that not only does SS not really care, they actively are annoyed at people that point out stolen ports.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2023, 11:25 »
0
It seems like there should be a way to demand the sales of illegally uploaded images along with the DMCA notice, but we all know that not only does SS not really care, they actively are annoyed at people that point out stolen ports.

I have to say and I apologize, but if they had to track every stolen image and then trace back to the original author, imagine how complicated that would be. If this case, the thief has 69, or 10 or 3 images, and for all of them Usage score Never used.

We can't assume that just because someone stole an image that it was used.


I've sent in a DCMA notice to Shutterstock's legal department and will be really really annoyed if they just remove the images without closing their accounts.
 
So far no donations and will keep uploading a few more images here and there and also hopefully catching these thieves. Will report any further news as usual in the monthly earnings report.

Alex

I must agree, take down these accounts, before one of them gets a download. How many sales have you had on SSTK for this image. I can't say for sure, but I might guess that of the 22,000 free downloads, maybe one of those was someone who might have paid on SSTK for a license?

I'm enjoying the experiment, and if this was diving into a lake, to see how deep the water is... OK good, You Go First!  ;D

After one of your posts, I decided to upload 100 images to Freepiks. (113 actually it says 135? I don't know) I get reports of Estimated earnings, it's 33 this month. When I look at earnings, I see nothing. I don't understand how that works. It shows that I have 17 DLs to date. But I am level 3 now. 🤩

If anyone wants to look and see my wonderful gallery of leftovers and old photos, it's https://www.freepik.com/author/crapstock/2 Yup, I'm Crapstock on their site.

Since I started, that paperclip image has been rejected everywhere. Even Lucky Oliver and DT. And I stacked them up so carefully?  ::)

« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2023, 11:45 »
+5
I currently earn nothing from Shutterstock as they closed my account when I protested their 2020 royalty cuts, but the same was true for them before I became an outcast.
Were you banned just because you wrote to them that you are against lowering payments?

I had been posting a lot on twitter about the reduction in royalty rates and they closed my account twice. The first time ostensibly because I'd changed my profile picture in violation of their rules (which I hadn't - my profile picture was the same boring headshot it had been for ages) and the second time because of my public comments:

"We disabled your account in consideration of your public comments regarding Shutterstock. While we respect your opinion, it may not be a good fit for Shutterstock to represent your content. In section 4 of the TOS, Shutterstock reserves the right to terminate an account in Shutterstock's discretion."

« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2023, 13:32 »
0
I had been posting a lot on twitter about the reduction in royalty rates and they closed my account twice. The first time ostensibly because I'd changed my profile picture in violation of their rules (which I hadn't - my profile picture was the same boring headshot it had been for ages) and the second time because of my public comments:
"We disabled your account in consideration of your public comments regarding Shutterstock. While we respect your opinion, it may not be a good fit for Shutterstock to represent your content. In section 4 of the TOS, Shutterstock reserves the right to terminate an account in Shutterstock's discretion."
1. It was necessary not to link twitter to the account on the shutter.
2. Or it was necessary to write on Twitter from another account.


 

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