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Author Topic: iofoto interview on John Lund  (Read 15481 times)

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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2010, 13:28 »
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My pick for the quote to note is this one "My only conjecture is that once a search engine gets involved in licensing images, many of the current distributor channels will be challenged to offer a compelling reason for customers to visit their web site."


Completely agree Joann.  I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.


lisafx

« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2010, 13:44 »
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My pick for the quote to note is this one "My only conjecture is that once a search engine gets involved in licensing images, many of the current distributor channels will be challenged to offer a compelling reason for customers to visit their web site."


Completely agree Joann.  I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.

Will this be a good development for contributors? 

Not sure how this will work.  How will we get our images indexed in the search engines?  How will we charge for downloads and get paid?  Who will set and enforce licensing terms?  And if Google grows to completely dominate the image industry, will they do the same as the agencies and slash our commissions to a tiny %? 

I am not skeptical it could happen, just confused on implementation. 

vonkara

« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2010, 13:58 »
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Very interesting article.  Thanks for posting.

Here are a couple of statements I found particularly notable, especially since the long term sustainability of the image-factory model has been debated so often here:

All of our cost reduction measures were to no avail- revenues continue to drop, and microstock is no longer profitable for our business.

and:

With Change being our studio mantra and discovering that microstock was not sustainable in the long term, we looked for new opportunities.

And if I may add my favorite business viewpoint "When we started, most micro sites only had 1,000,000 images. Now those same sites have over ten million images! The statistical chance of making a sale has decreased by 90%." Competition and dilution, small wonder that sales are down for individuals. Not only that, the new images are better than the old ones in many cases as competition gets newer equipment and more sophisticated. Here's the true unsustainable.

Already in 2008 I started to wonder about the dilution effect. I always try to follow the rule quality over quantity. Now all what is left it's to find a niche and only make quality. Soon it will be to find a niche, only make quality and flip a coin in hope your work show up in the search. I don't even tell about lowering the production cost

WarrenPrice

« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2010, 14:08 »
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My pick for the quote to note is this one "My only conjecture is that once a search engine gets involved in licensing images, many of the current distributor channels will be challenged to offer a compelling reason for customers to visit their web site."


Completely agree Joann.  I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.

Will this be a good development for contributors? 

Not sure how this will work.  How will we get our images indexed in the search engines?  How will we charge for downloads and get paid?  Who will set and enforce licensing terms?  And if Google grows to completely dominate the image industry, will they do the same as the agencies and slash our commissions to a tiny %? 

I am not skeptical it could happen, just confused on implementation. 

I think this will force us to operate our own websites -- not sure how the images will be indexed but likely much as blog articles/websites are indexed.
Nearly everything I sell at Cutcaster is due to Google search. 

I'm wondering if this approach isn't why so many (all) agencies are now so active in the social networking communities.

« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2010, 14:17 »
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Not sure how this will work.  How will we get our images indexed in the search engines?

Umm... your images already are indexed in Google images. People probably already find them there and buy them from the stock agencies. It doesn't seem like much of a leap that the company that indexes those would try to sell them too. I'm not sure if they have any plans though or if it creates a conflict of interest.

« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2010, 14:32 »
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Not sure how this will work.  How will we get our images indexed in the search engines?

Umm... your images already are indexed in Google images. People probably already find them there and buy them from the stock agencies. It doesn't seem like much of a leap that the company that indexes those would try to sell them too.

This is correct.  It will fall upon the contributor to have other skills - the ability to publish to the web, set up e-commerce facilities, and self-edit one's portfolio.  Well worth it imo for a 100% commission percentage.

lisafx

« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2010, 15:02 »
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Not sure how this will work.  How will we get our images indexed in the search engines?

Umm... your images already are indexed in Google images. People probably already find them there and buy them from the stock agencies. It doesn't seem like much of a leap that the company that indexes those would try to sell them too. I'm not sure if they have any plans though or if it creates a conflict of interest.

Umm...  Thanks for stating the obvious, but at the same time, missing the point of my question. ;)

I am well aware that my images that are sold through stock sites are indexed on Google.   My question was asked in the context of a suggestion that agencies would lose their market dominance in favor of contributors selling images through search engines directly.  


I think this will force us to operate our own websites -- not sure how the images will be indexed but likely much as blog articles/websites are indexed.
 


It will fall upon the contributor to have other skills - the ability to publish to the web, set up e-commerce facilities, and self-edit one's portfolio.  Well worth it imo for a 100% commission percentage.


Thanks, Warren and Dan, for understanding my question and responding with relevant answers :)

If the industry changes in this way, it seems that most of us will have to devote a lot more time to marketing than we currently do.  Wouldn't this shift the skill set necessary for success in stock images from an emphasis on photographic quality to an emphasis on programming and search optimization techniques?
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 15:09 by lisafx »

« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2010, 15:27 »
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Umm...  Thanks for stating the obvious, but at the same time, missing the point of my question. ;)

I am well aware that my images that are sold through stock sites are indexed on Google.   My question was asked in the context of a suggestion that agencies would lose their market dominance in favor of contributors selling images through search engines directly.  

Now, you've got me confused. I'm not sure I understand. Are you talking about a search engine running a stock site or people running their own stock sites? I reread your post and the other comments and you seem to be referencing both.

« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2010, 15:49 »
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If the industry changes in this way, it seems that most of us will have to devote a lot more time to marketing than we currently do.  Wouldn't this shift the skill set necessary for success in stock images from an emphasis on photographic quality to an emphasis on programming and search optimization techniques?

Rather than shift your emphasis, you will need to keep that quality high while becoming proficient in other areas too.  Search optimization is kind of a holy grail.  Obviously there are some things you can do to make a website more Google friendly, but there are no clear answers to gaining preferential position.  Nobody knows that answer...and if they do, you can bet they aren't sharing any secrets.  In other words when you come across someone selling a program to reveal search engine secrets to you, run away.

I don't think you need to learn to program so much as you need to have an eye for design.  There are plenty of WYSIWYG website editors available which require little or no programming background.  The trick is to make an eye-catching site which is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and sells your work efficiently.

« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2010, 16:01 »
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Just a follow up on the previous point...

Up until a month ago I ran a fairly successful collegiate football website.  It was online for 7 years.  The site covered my former college's small college football program, and included game stories and my best photography shot from field level, as well as some op-ed, schedules, results, etc.

It built up a helluva following.  The last time I checked Google a few months ago, my site had passed the college's official site to become the #1 ranked site.  My traffic was so high I needed to consider upgrades to my host's plan.

I took it down because I ran out of time, and it was a hobby - not a money making venture.  But it proved to me that in a few short years I could build a site which attracted massive traffic.  The key was my content was relevant, enjoyable, high quality, and my site was easy to navigate.  No annoying pop ups.  No flash video wasting bandwidth and time.  No hard sales to turn people off. 

I DO have a programming background, but most of what I did was accomplished in Kompozer (free) and Dreamweaver-4 using the WYSIWYG interface. 

lisafx

« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2010, 16:04 »
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Now, you've got me confused. I'm not sure I understand. Are you talking about a search engine running a stock site or people running their own stock sites? I reread your post and the other comments and you seem to be referencing both.

From my reading of Ron's comment, it seemed he was talking about our selling images directly through Google and keeping 80% of the royalties.  Maybe I misinterpreted him.  

If Google were to start an agency of their own, that would certainly be easier on most contributors, IMHO, than our each having to do our own thing and fight for placement in Google images.   OTOH, in that situation, I doubt Google would do it for only 20%.  If they were to offer even 50% royalties I imagine most of us would jump on it.  

My original post on the topic was an effort to figure out how the logistics of selling images through Google, as mentioned in the interview, might work.  

lisafx

« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2010, 16:06 »
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Thanks for the additional info Dan.  Sorry to hear you had to take down your football site.  Bet a lot of folks are disappointed.

« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2010, 16:19 »
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Dan Heller has some interesting views, if you want to peep over the microstock fence, his blog is well worth a read.

My tip - learn SEO.

« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2010, 16:19 »
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No that's not what Ron meant imo, Lisa.  When you search Google Images for "football field" you get a myriad of results.  Some come from iStockphoto, others come from Bigstockphoto, some from Flicker, and a ton more from independent sites.  

The idea is that Google is already indexing images which it "finds" on the net through its web crawler.  There is no reason that Google Images couldn't return one of my images hosted on my own site alongside the examples from iStock.  Which means someone searching "football field" using Google is likely to find my image sitting right next to an agency's image.  Now if they click on my image and find it is for sale on my website, they can buy it directly from me and totally bypass the agency.  

You can take advantage of this RIGHT NOW if you are selling from your own site and your images are being found by Google.  The trick is, can you get Google to find your images?  If so there is no reason to sell for a 20% commission ever again, unless you really want the extra money.

As time goes on Google will get better at indexing these images and finding the most relevant material.  It is inevitable that eventually all agencies will see a portion of their sales lost to direct purchases which are found through Google Images.  If that portion tends out to be rather large, a lot of agencies are going to go out of business.

« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2010, 16:21 »
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I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.

It certainly could happen. The speed with which the mobile phone app's market has developed and changed makes microstock look positively naive. I read recently that the 'Angry Birds' game sold 36M for iPhone in the first 4 months. Now they've released a free version for Android and the developers anticipate generating $1M per month from adverts alone.

All it would need for Google to take over the image market ... is for them to decide to do so. I wonder how much Getty would be worth then?

« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2010, 16:23 »
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Dan Heller has some interesting views, if you want to peep over the microstock fence, his blog is well worth a read.

Bingo.  Read Dan Heller.  I have two of his books too.  Most of the information in the books can be found for free in his blog, but it is more conveniently organized in book form.  Regardless of whether you agree with Heller's view of microstock or stock in general, he knows how to self promote as well as any photographer I've come across.  His material is solid, but let's face it...you can find more compelling imagery.  But I bet he outsells 95% of the photographers who shoot more compelling imagery.

jbarber873

« Reply #41 on: December 07, 2010, 17:22 »
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I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.

It certainly could happen. The speed with which the mobile phone app's market has developed and changed makes microstock look positively naive. I read recently that the 'Angry Birds' game sold 36M for iPhone in the first 4 months. Now they've released a free version for Android and the developers anticipate generating $1M per month from adverts alone.

All it would need for Google to take over the image market ... is for them to decide to do so. I wonder how much Getty would be worth then?

   At the PDN photo show 2 years ago, there was a panel discussing the future of stock. One of the most interesting presentations came from someone ( I think it was Photoshelter ) who said that 40% of image sales came from google searches already, and the number was growing. If you do a search for something that is fairly unique that you own, you'll probably find images from all the microstock sites. I'm not sure how much google would be interested in going into stock image sales, however, because these microstock sites pay them a ton of money for search advertising. The last time I checked, buying the keyword " stock photo" was over $4 per click. You can run up hundreds or thousands of clicks in a matter of hours. The monthly traffic on that phrase was huge. Google usually gets into areas where they can eat someone else's lunch, not give away their own, i.e. google docs, email, android, the list goes on. For a company whose motto is "don't be evil", they've done some pretty evil things to other company's businesses.


« Reply #42 on: December 07, 2010, 17:43 »
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From my reading of Ron's comment, it seemed he was talking about our selling images directly through Google and keeping 80% of the royalties.  Maybe I misinterpreted him.

Thanks. Got it.

The more I think about it, the more I think it would be a conflict of interest for Google to run a site. If Google doesn't show up number one in the searches, it would be embarrassing, but if they do, then it would be suspicious. I'm not sure they would do anything to hurt their search business. Bing and Yahoo would love to get that market back.

I could see Google creating an engine for it like they did with Froogle, but that seems too small of a market to be profitable. I guess all these companies are pimping out their cloud type systems, so they could do hosting. But, that seems like a pretty small market too. I guess Yahoo has merchant solutions, so maybe they would be more apt to jump in.

As far as competing with your own store, ask me again in a year. SEO has fairly basic and simple rules, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy to get to the top.

« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2010, 17:50 »
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I'm not sure how much google would be interested in going into stock image sales, however, because these microstock sites pay them a ton of money for search advertising. The last time I checked, buying the keyword " stock photo" was over $4 per click. You can run up hundreds or thousands of clicks in a matter of hours. The monthly traffic on that phrase was huge. Google usually gets into areas where they can eat someone else's lunch, not give away their own, i.e. google docs, email, android, the list goes on. For a company whose motto is "don't be evil", they've done some pretty evil things to other company's businesses.

That's a very good point __ Google are already making a ton of money from stock imagery without actually having their own library! Amazing really.

« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2010, 17:54 »
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I don't believe search engines could compete/replace stock sites in a foreseeable future. Too many irrelevant pictures in the internet (wrong keywords, crap pictures, low resolution); too many problems with non-unified licensing, lack of model releases, etc. Too many troubles for buyers that aren't easy to resolve. And other logistic issues like no single payment method applicable globally.

If google would make a site that would be yet another stock agency. But google/yahoo/any_other_search as it is to day can't replace stock...

WarrenPrice

« Reply #45 on: December 07, 2010, 18:02 »
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I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.

It certainly could happen. The speed with which the mobile phone app's market has developed and changed makes microstock look positively naive. I read recently that the 'Angry Birds' game sold 36M for iPhone in the first 4 months. Now they've released a free version for Android and the developers anticipate generating $1M per month from adverts alone.

All it would need for Google to take over the image market ... is for them to decide to do so. I wonder how much Getty would be worth then?

   At the PDN photo show 2 years ago, there was a panel discussing the future of stock. One of the most interesting presentations came from someone ( I think it was Photoshelter ) who said that 40% of image sales came from google searches already, and the number was growing. If you do a search for something that is fairly unique that you own, you'll probably find images from all the microstock sites. I'm not sure how much google would be interested in going into stock image sales, however, because these microstock sites pay them a ton of money for search advertising. The last time I checked, buying the keyword " stock photo" was over $4 per click. You can run up hundreds or thousands of clicks in a matter of hours. The monthly traffic on that phrase was huge. Google usually gets into areas where they can eat someone else's lunch, not give away their own, i.e. google docs, email, android, the list goes on. For a company whose motto is "don't be evil", they've done some pretty evil things to other company's businesses.

I found a ton of good information on Photoshelter about SEO and Social Networking.  I don't have a link but try searching for "SEO Cookbook."  It is a FREE Photoshelter download.

Dated ?April? 2009.

jbarber873

« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2010, 18:15 »
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I believe Google will create a huge disruption in this marketplace.  Agencies are going to lose a lot of power in a hurry.


It certainly could happen. The speed with which the mobile phone app's market has developed and changed makes microstock look positively naive. I read recently that the 'Angry Birds' game sold 36M for iPhone in the first 4 months. Now they've released a free version for Android and the developers anticipate generating $1M per month from adverts alone.

All it would need for Google to take over the image market ... is for them to decide to do so. I wonder how much Getty would be worth then?


   At the PDN photo show 2 years ago, there was a panel discussing the future of stock. One of the most interesting presentations came from someone ( I think it was Photoshelter ) who said that 40% of image sales came from google searches already, and the number was growing. If you do a search for something that is fairly unique that you own, you'll probably find images from all the microstock sites. I'm not sure how much google would be interested in going into stock image sales, however, because these microstock sites pay them a ton of money for search advertising. The last time I checked, buying the keyword " stock photo" was over $4 per click. You can run up hundreds or thousands of clicks in a matter of hours. The monthly traffic on that phrase was huge. Google usually gets into areas where they can eat someone else's lunch, not give away their own, i.e. google docs, email, android, the list goes on. For a company whose motto is "don't be evil", they've done some pretty evil things to other company's businesses.


I found a ton of good information on Photoshelter about SEO and Social Networking.  I don't have a link but try searching for "SEO Cookbook."  It is a FREE Photoshelter download.

Dated ?April? 2009.


  I've had a site on Photoshelter for a few months now, and I have to say they make it pretty easy to do sales, although there is still the problem of getting people to the website. When you set up the site, they have certain things they try to guide you on for SEO. I suppose it might help, but who knows? If you want, check out the site , and drive up my traffic numbers!   http://www.expresspix.com] [url]http://www.expresspix.com[/url]

lisafx

« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2010, 18:17 »
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  I've had a site on Photoshelter for a few months now, and I have to say they make it pretty easy to do sales, although there is still the problem of getting people to the website. When you set up the site, they have certain things they try to guide you on for SEO. I suppose it might help, but who knows? If you want, check out the site , and drive up my traffic numbers!    [url]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com] [url]http://www.expresspix.com[/url]


Good to know.  Are you making enough sales there to justify the effort in uploading and getting setup?

jbarber873

« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2010, 18:18 »
0

  I've had a site on Photoshelter for a few months now, and I have to say they make it pretty easy to do sales, although there is still the problem of getting people to the website. When you set up the site, they have certain things they try to guide you on for SEO. I suppose it might help, but who knows? If you want, check out the site , and drive up my traffic numbers!    [url=http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com] [url]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com] [url]http://www.expresspix.com[/url]


Good to know.  Are you making enough sales there to justify the effort in uploading and getting setup?


In a word, no. But hope springs eternal...

« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2010, 11:50 »
0

  I've had a site on Photoshelter for a few months now, and I have to say they make it pretty easy to do sales, although there is still the problem of getting people to the website. When you set up the site, they have certain things they try to guide you on for SEO. I suppose it might help, but who knows? If you want, check out the site , and drive up my traffic numbers!    [url=http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com] [url=http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com] [url]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com]http://www.expresspix.com] [url]http://www.expresspix.com[/url]


Good to know.  Are you making enough sales there to justify the effort in uploading and getting setup?


In a word, no. But hope springs eternal...


I don't think Photoshelter will be it, but my guess/hope is that someone offers a bundle of merchant services along the lines of amazon's for third party merchants who have "stores" at amazon.com. I don't think there'd be much chance of getting every photographer to become an expert in building a web site themselves. That scenario would require paying them something for the service, but possibly less than the large cut currently going to the microstock agencies.

And if it were Google doing it, at least we'd have a working search engine :)

Of course it could also be an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire situation, where it's a change of distributor but still very little control.


 

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