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Author Topic: If I had to start up a new microstock site  (Read 21723 times)

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puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #75 on: July 14, 2009, 10:06 »
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If you have an existing stock video online presence, I see no reason that you need to hid behind anonymity.  You're a business who is out there selling.  Why not show us your existing stock site?

Well said !
Yes, it may initially open you to certain interrogation which might be a pain in the rear end, but after the inquisition you will find that those who gained the confidence of many here in MSG actually do well and enjoy proactive participation with the forum. Example is Keith of Zymmetrical, John of Cutcaster, and more recently  the reps of Veers Marketing.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 10:49 by puravida »


« Reply #76 on: July 14, 2009, 12:16 »
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I am sure everyone has their own views of starting a microstock website but easiler said than done.
Calling them "clone", I dont know if I would put them down. If it were not for other stock agencies, I would not make the money I do make. There is always room for competition even for the "little" companies. Obviously someone is buying from them. Each agency has their own way of running things. I am ok with that.
I am just glad there is a top 10 and would be happy to use any others moving up the ladder.
I would never make my images exclusive. I dont think I would make more doing that.

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #77 on: July 14, 2009, 14:29 »
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I am sure everyone has their own views of starting a microstock website but easiler said than done.
Calling them "clone", I dont know if I would put them down. If it were not for other stock agencies, I would not make the money I do make. There is always room for competition even for the "little" companies. Obviously someone is buying from them. Each agency has their own way of running things. I am ok with that.
I am just glad there is a top 10 and would be happy to use any others moving up the ladder.
I would never make my images exclusive. I dont think I would make more doing that.

You are right your opening statement, it is easier said than done. As is the gist of this topic.

On the subject of "clones", it's hard not to call most of them "clones" when so many of us submit the same images to all of them.
Obviously, someone is buying from them no doubt, but here is where your closing statement could be challenged by those who are successful and exclusive.
If the buyers know your images can only be found in one site, then perharps you will make more money for two reasons. More cumulative earnings so you get paid faster, and more sales because the buyer knows your images are exclusive.
Before the premium stock diversification came about, it probably makes little difference, but now that say Istock has this new premium tier, I am inclined to think that there is going to be an advantage to consider going exclusive.
The contra reason for most independents like myself has always been the lurking dangers and threat of putting the eggs in one basket. But I haven't seen too much of an exodus from the IStock exclusives.  So perharps, they know something we don't. It doesn't hurt to investigate the other side of the coin.

« Reply #78 on: July 14, 2009, 21:00 »
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I am sure everyone has their own views of starting a microstock website but easiler said than done.
Calling them "clone", I dont know if I would put them down. If it were not for other stock agencies, I would not make the money I do make. There is always room for competition even for the "little" companies. Obviously someone is buying from them. Each agency has their own way of running things. I am ok with that.
I am just glad there is a top 10 and would be happy to use any others moving up the ladder.
I would never make my images exclusive. I dont think I would make more doing that.


Hi lephotograph:

It is refreshing to hear your comments. I see and understand of others and although some have a "negative connotation" they are very valid. But it is the positive that keep the possibilities open however small it might be. As you said, there is always room for competition. My best wishes to you.  :)

« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2009, 09:14 »
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Thanks for answering my question about why so many of you hide your email addresses.

1. Where is yours?
2. All forums, included this one, have private messaging that goes faster and is more secure. An email can be from anybody, even a competitor in disguise.

Perhaps you should consider using yahoo and hotmail email addresses to protect your personal email address from more spam, and also to help keep your various enterprises/personas separate.

We all do that for many years, but thanks for reminding us.

Although our company has been around 14 years, we haven't been in stock that long--we started with 3D models--but our sales increase each month so there is no need for us to abuse our Members.

What is your company name and website?
www.the3dstudio.com by any chance?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 09:18 by cevapcici »

« Reply #80 on: July 17, 2009, 21:08 »
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well, i think "no reaction" is kind of agreement inside here.
I' think punching some girls just in the middle of their face isn't a good sign of equlity and acceptance.you're right, you wouln't have to, i do. Call me bad...oh, and please ignore me, nobody had done this until yet. Please do so.

Well..thank you puravida...please more at this kind...feel free
anyone else?

Okay, now we have to do a little bit of shadowboxing.....puravida prefer to be hidden and im present. Please be aware that i couldn't read her messages.
Only your reactions on my and her posts i couln't read.
Interesting....
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 21:24 by palaver »

« Reply #81 on: July 18, 2009, 01:20 »
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Keyword limitations:
As a contributor I would like to have freedom to use the keyword I see fit for my material, but
as a stock house I want to make sure there is no profanity or anything that can offend anyone in any way. We don't limit keyword unless is rude, crude, or profane. There are some gray areas that require consultation.

Ahh but you absolutly have to address keyword spam, agencies can not continue to allow contributors to use any keyword they see fiit and expect to draw in large corporate art departments. Quality keywords = quality search results and the agency that can offer quality relative search results will break into new markets that other agencies have been unable to open. Rude Crude or Profane matters not iof it is relavnt to the image.


Photoshow also brought some great point, which are great ideas but are somewhat tricky to implement depending on the business model...

1) By invite only site will limit the amount of photographers as well as the amount of clients. Although this has been used in the past by the "old ring" such as Getty Images, they have "change their mind" or better yet, they now understand the market trend and ended up acquiring IStockPhoto (and video) as well as Jupiter Images (with all their agencies such as stockxpert)

An invite only agency would be a boutiqe agency, again as I haver said I would not be looking for the masses that the current microstock agencies server. I would be looking for new markets. If I simply look to enter the market that is already being servered I can only succeed by taking market share from an existing player, a player that the current contributors are already submitting to. In that case I am simply robbing Peter to Pay Paul and the contributor gains nothing. A new agency absolutly must be about opeing new markets not seizing a piece of exsisting markets.

2) Approved Camera List
The idea is good, but has it flaws. As a professional in the television and post production industry I can tell you that it is the talent, not the camera. I have seem many material shot on "crappy camera" that look professional, I have seen "crappy material" shot on "expensive as hell" cameras.

Also, a far as I can tell, no agency have the capability of controlling this. What will prevent you from saying you used an "approved camera" when in fact you did not? How will a company know for sure which camera you did used? They have to go by what you say.

As I contributor I once did a sequence of videos that was done in a non-approved video camera. I knew it will get rejected if I mentioned, but I also knew this material was going to sell like hotcakes... I ended up finding the closest pro camera compared to the one I used and that is was approved by the site. Well, it was approved, it did sell like hotcake and it is still selling good in all sites. At the end of the day, I make them money, and I make money myself.

Ahh well this is a simple two part situation.

Part 1. Yes ultimately it is about the talent not the equipment but in the end the quality of the pixel has a tangible value and that is why there would be an approved camera list. I can take photos with an IPhone that are suitable for stock use on line but that does not maen an agency that would be focused on print work and high end agency work should accept them.

Part 2. Enforcment is simple, the camera data is included in the EXIF data of every digital photograph. If that data does not match the approved data in the DB then the image is rejected without inspection at upload Strip the exif data from the image before uploading andf the image gets rejected at upload without inspection..


7) This is a good idea, but it has a cost. As a contributor I rather gain 3% and submit my own metadata, at the end of the day after an image is submitted that is it, no more work with it, of course this is long term.  Now, there are many agencies that do the submission for you, but they require you to sign a 3-7 years contract. I have material in two of such sites, and I understand the cost of having the employees to do the work. It cost money and they want to protect that investment by signing contracts.

For a small startup business like us this is a big overhead. This is the reason why microstock implemented the idea and soon the big boys joined the concept.

Expense or not it comes down to controling keyword spam and providing the best possible search results in stock. I will say again, the agency that provides truly relavant search results for a library of high quality, high resolutin images created by working commercial photographers that understand, concept, color and execution will kick open new doors, doors that will bring buyers who will make purchases with zeros on the end of the bottom line.


11) The image rejection in a "yes or no manner" can backfire and it does not offer flexibility to the contributor. As a contributor, I want to be able to submit an image after I took the time to make the necessarily adjustments, images that I know for a fact is selling great in other sites... As a stock house I want contributors to have that freedom... How can they feel they are the backbone if they are being treated with limitations?

There is no real need for an agency dealing with working professional commercial photographers to have to open up a dialog with the contributor on image acceptance or rejection. The agency either chooses to represent the work or it doesn't. That is cut and dried. In an agency such as this it is images are exclusive, the submission of similars to other agencies is forbidden by contract and the agency will choose to represent the images from a batch that it feels have the greatest market value. Additional similars that might hurt the historic value of a better image would be rejected and that would be the end of it. After your contract period was up you would be free to submit them all elsewhere again. Making the choice to commit an entire shoot to exclusivity with one agent has to be carefully weighed and measured. Not all shoots should be exclusive content but if you work in this industry loing enough you come to recognize which ones would be better served by being part of a limited, exclusive collection.


12) This is what has been done in the past 15 years (or more). But the new trend in business is community base, the freedom to chat with fellow artists, exchange ideas, discuss equipment... All that has a business value, and of course as an agency we benefit from it... (it may also backfire)  That is even aside from the fact that having forum can increase awareness, reduce non-important technical support inquiries and just have the feeling of being part of something. We are social beings, it is embedded in our nature.

A collection of working professional photographers who are represented by personal agents from within the agency have no need for a community feeling at the agency. Socializing at work is counterproductive. As a worling pro if I find I have some free time to be social I will pick a community forum to go participate in. These days though it is rare, my time is predominately spent working to produce content and build my business. If I need to chat or join a discussion I have ready non partizen communities such as this one where I can interact with my peers. Or I can go to the Shutterstock forums which are hidden from buyer on a subitter only server. tThe truth is though that the forums there serve very little truly useful purpose other then as a ready escape and a place to waste ones time.



« Reply #82 on: July 18, 2009, 15:43 »
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Hi cevapcici - My email address is in my profile; it's not "hidden". I assume you all are able to see it as I can see those who listed one. If for some reason you weren't able to see my email address, it's [email protected]. Yes, that is our business name--and it's on my profile.

It sounded like you were being snarky about it but maybe that's just how it seemed rather than how you meant it. I use my actual name in posts too. If you don't choose to do so, that's your prerogative of course.

I have never and still don't understand all the secrecy in forums--not just here--and the paranoia about email addresses. I believe most people are good natured and wiling to help others if given half a chance. Sure, now and then you get burned, but I personally have had much more good than bad in my life so it's working for me.

Thanks for all the insight and helpful info you've all shared.

:)

« Reply #83 on: July 18, 2009, 16:50 »
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It sounded like you were being snarky about it but maybe that's just how it seemed rather than how you meant it. I use my actual name in posts too.
I'm sorry if it sounded snarky but it wasn't intended like that. I was just so amazed that you brought the anonymity issue up in a rather off-topic way in this discussion. As I said before, it's very easy to contact a member here by a private message, that's how forums work. In that case, you are also sure it's the person you were dealing with, while an email, certainly a buffer email on yahoo, gmail or hotmail, might not be the same person. It's also much faster and more direct to send a private message on the forum.

I have never and still don't understand all the secrecy in forums--not just here--and the paranoia about email addresses. I believe most people are good natured and wiling to help others if given half a chance. Sure, now and then you get burned, but I personally have had much more good than bad in my life so it's working for me.
The net is not always a nice place. As to this forum, it's frequently visited by site managers and reviewers, and taking clear stances can be adverse for business. Microstock is a crowd phenomenon. A site like Shutterstock for instance has 200,000 contributors. Relations between contributors and the site inevitably can't be as cordial and personal as on a 3D-modeling artists site were the artists are highly skilled and few. So probably, the kind of relation is totally different.

Also, there is just one or two leading 3D sites, while there are many microstock sites. Most microstocks have a much better attitude towards their contributors than others, so this forum about microstock is also about testing the good sites against the not so good ones, concerning attitude and sales. Once again, anonymity can help to be more clear and honest in this. If it's used to degrade a site, the community will correct that soon in a very clear and frank way.

Finally, this forum reflects on Google. Some people here have different lives and areas of interest. Some people might have a high profile in some other area, like for instance politics. Google can be your enemy if some creep start to combine info on Google.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 16:54 by cevapcici »

« Reply #84 on: July 19, 2009, 09:43 »
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  8)   Send every one a V mask
 8)    Read the book / watch the movie
 8)    Apply it to microstock.

Ironic, V ? Could it be V-eer? ???
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 09:46 by Perseus »

« Reply #85 on: July 19, 2009, 11:12 »
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Greetings Photoshow:

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I understand your point of view, it is also worth noting that I'm not necessarily in disagreement. My opinion was based considering various factors (and assumptions). The tile alone "if I have to start up a new microstock site" suggest we are talking about microstock sites, which by its nature is "compressed" by certain common features (I hesitated to use the word standard) that differentiate from the rest.

Addressing your comments:

1- You are correct about addressing keyword spam and quality keywords. There are many ways to address the "issue". I'd like to be "filtered" by the agency but not limiting the contributor and even the interaction between contributor and agency can produce positive results.

2- Invite only is fine, it is just another target and selected group. As mentioned earlier, I was based on the concept of microstock site which is how the thread started.

3- By no means I mean take a picture with an iphone and sell it as something else  :) Since this is a photographer site, I'm to assume the use of prosumer cameras and up are the norm. But now, after your technical explanation it makes it clear is a do-able thing. (Thanks for the info)

4- You are correct about expenses "shouldn't be an issue" when addressing metadata, but costs are are an intrinsic part of any business. Since we are assuming we are talking about microstock, this is one of the things that MS are known for, operating efficiently while reducing overheads. Certainly this issues are addressed when the site has been operating for a while. Keep in mind, many microstock sites start with private funding or seed investors who, depending the factors, use their resources "wisely" and accounting for future re-do or "fixes" as the machinery is running "properly" In the same manner I'm not denying the possibility of such agency (your proposal) to start with limited resources.

At the end, is not a matter of right or wrong, just different point of views. Nonetheless, if the title didn't included the word "microstock" I most likely wouldn't give an opinion in the first place.

Thanks again for your comments.

Kind regards.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 21:50 by photovideo »

« Reply #86 on: July 21, 2009, 07:38 »
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In current agencies the thumbnails have a maximum width and height. That is favoring the square format (it gets the biggest thumbnails). To crop a normal DSLR aspect ratio to a square sounds plain stupid, even if they say it may result in more sales. In my agency, the thumbnails would be generated to be the same size, ie. to have the same amount of pixels. (this will only work for images between DSLR aspect ratio and square, not panoramas - even if I would sure like panoramas to look bigger.)

« Reply #87 on: July 21, 2009, 22:14 »
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My own opinions, it's always a catch 22.

1. Without sales - you cannot attract contribution.
2. Without content - you cannot attract sales.

If you want exclusives, but you don't have a proven track record, why would anyone want to supply you with EXCLUSIVE IMAGES?

Even if you had deep pockets, would you pay a good amount to get images into your database? And what would be the trigger point for photographers to send exclusive work to you?


 

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