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Author Topic: Is this a threat or opportunity for Microstock  (Read 5769 times)

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« on: October 27, 2009, 06:27 »
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I posted an article about a company called Demand Media on my magazine site and it kind of threw me of course. This company is a massive "content generating machine" that automatically produces lists of subjects that will be popular (it uses algorithms), pays contributors $15-$20 to produce it and then publishes it on their own community sites or sells it to publishers and corporations to fill up their sites with more content.

As far as I can see it's mostly text and video now but you'd think that this model can also be applied to Microstock quite easily. I'm not quite sure yet what to make of it. Do you think this is this a threat or an opportunity for Microstock?  http://www.fastmediamagazine.com/?p=1613


RT


« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2009, 06:50 »
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......pays contributors $15-$20 to produce it and then publishes it on their own community sites or sells it to publishers and corporations to fill up their sites with more content.

And presumably the contributor then gets squat from the sales?

If they're using algorithms they can only produce lists of subjects that will be popular based on what has already sold, which in turn is therefore either old news or will already have been copied.

If my assumption is correct they're just trying to bang another nail in the coffin for professional content creators but no doubt there will be a few suckers that will work their butt off for $15 and then watch as the site sells it for hundreds!

Edit: I like your online magazine site by the way, keep up the good work.


« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2009, 06:56 »
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The biggest threat is that they have partnered with Google and YouTube where they publish the video content, now think Google Search, Google Images, Google tools and then think about what threat they could be to microstock to deliver online iage content.

David  :o

lisafx

« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2009, 13:42 »
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Sounds pretty threatening to me.   It is the natural evolution of the image factories that have already flooded microstock sites. 

Another step in making this an unviable business for the small independent producer. 

Too bad, really, because most of the original style and ideas come from the little guys.  Once they/we are gone it will be just the same redundant stuff all over the place.

« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2009, 14:35 »
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My gut feeling is that with a lot of this content, its going to be about as inspiring as reading from a Walmart catalog. Looking at the their web offerings doesn't make me too worried. Personally I find "Cracked.com" to produce exactly the product I'd expect from someone put into a sweatshop and told to write something "smart and irreverent". The same goes for "Trails" - its perfect if you want to get off the beaten path in a golf-buggy assisted by GPS.

The trend in blogging now appears to be to write in a style that would allow the writer to maximise sales revenue from the advertising or from the commissions that they would be able to achieve. While this may work in the short term, I think after a while people will start to see through the advertising spin, and seeking out content that is actually written by a real person, that reflects a bit of personality, rather than "on demand".

The people that will be threatened by this are the ones that produce microstock on spec already - I don't think its going to affect the smaller contributors, or those with their own style.

« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2009, 15:34 »
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The ehow site is very interesting from a user's perspective. Curious from a writer's perspective. The small articles would take 30 minutes to an hour or so to write properly if you knew the subject well. There was a short How-To on taking digital pictures in the snow that was very workable for most folks. Even had 5 or 6 small photographs to illustrate the topic. Most folks in microstock could do similar with areas of their expertise. But why? A possible payout of $10-$20 one-time isn't very exciting. Especially when many articles many be rejected and there doesn't seem to be any recurring royalties on subsequent sales. I guess that covers the site's overhead and the initial payment to the writer.

« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 17:19 »
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Its an extension of microstock applied to another area. You people are funny. What photographer would sell his work for 50 cents a download or make $1 a month from a photo when he can sell it for $200. It would take 10 years to make the same as one sale. Microstock will never work. That's what you are saying about this new idea, writers will not go for the crowd sourcing $20 an article volume business which is precisly what microstock does for you.

Payment varies by assignment and is based on number of video clips within the assignment. Videos are grouped together to allow for ease of shooting and average $200 to $300 per assignment. It's not a threat its a parallel development using the same ideas. The site doesn't mention photos its more modern then still pictures.

« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2009, 17:42 »
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If the payment is 10 -20 and just once, they'll get articles worth this price.  That's to say, lame stuff. Even so, maybe it's not bad for personal blogs or run of the mill web pages and little online magazines.  Microstock works because you can sell one thousand times the same photo and get paid everytime. Ask the microstock shhoters for how much they would sell the full rights of their photos, and you won't get a "microstock" figure.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 17:45 by loop »

« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 23:16 »
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Sounds pretty threatening to me.   It is the natural evolution of the image factories that have already flooded microstock sites. 

Another step in making this an unviable business for the small independent producer. 

Too bad, really, because most of the original style and ideas come from the little guys.  Once they/we are gone it will be just the same redundant stuff all over the place.


In my opinion, the large 'image factories' tend to produce bland cookie cutter images.
They really have to in order to maximize ROI.
That means the high end creative niche is left wide open to the small independent.

In any event, as loop pointed out, this is a very cheap buyout price and I don't think a lot of producers would be chomping at the bit to sell this way.

« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2009, 00:55 »
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I read that article in wired last week, yes it was very interesting, and it made me wonder if it could be applied to stock image searches to fill gaps in microstock collections. But there are several reasons it's not at all scary for me:

demand media seems to work on the fact that when it's free people accept a poorer quality video or articles on what they want rather than something higher quality on a subject that they don't (to paraphrase chris anderson). The same is not always true of microstock where quality is a requirement and people pay for it, the costs of making each image varies - I think agencies could do something here in publishing lists of top search phrases that didn't convert into a sale? the model might work to populate a site full of free images and footage where quality was less of a concern.

If the payment is 10 -20 and just once, they'll get articles worth this price.  That's to say, lame stuff.

Exactly! and that why a search on google for something obscure usually returns a load of trite articles without any conclusion or really useful information. Creating a whole load of stock of low quality would only open up a demand from people searching for stock of a higher quality, likewise a youtube full of tedious to follow demand video clips will make well organised paid training material even more attractive.

and who finds about.com and answers.com useful these days? or like me finds them a last resort?

RacePhoto

« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2009, 10:04 »
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Oh I get it. Someone thinks that a Micro site will come up with a per assignment option with one time buyout. Don't some sites have request forums and on demand pricing for the images. If they are RF it's still going to be RF afterword, which isn't so bad. If the shots are RM and exclusive, yes I agree, that's not very good.

Crowd sourcing informational articles is interesting and will produce just what they pay for, which is cheap and inaccurate slop, most of the time. Funny that you should mention it because someone linked to an article about crickets on another forum and the article has a photo of a grasshopper on it! Oops! The authors for these articles will probably do an Internet search, cut and paste (aka plagiarize) information. Re-order it and modify a little and submit. Here's a point where the Internet fails as one source is used for a second and those two are used for more, until the flawed information becomes the predominant result and factoids are a house of cards with no solid basis in fact. Poor research based on other poor research grows misinformation on an exponential basis.

I'm not so sure that the $200-$300 per video assignment is that bad, maybe I'm reading it wrong. Depends on length and rights and requirements. I don't shoot video. I don't have a clue. If it can be re-sold anywhere, not too bad. If the information factory owns all rights, it's stinky.  ;)

Oh, by the way, no I don't see it as either a threat or opportunity to Microstock. Someone tell me why? I may be missing the point.

« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2009, 10:19 »
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Oh I get it. Someone thinks that a Micro site will come up with a per assignment option with one time buyout. Don't some sites have request forums and on demand pricing for the images. If they are RF it's still going to be RF afterword, which isn't so bad. If the shots are RM and exclusive, yes I agree, that's not very good.

Crowd sourcing informational articles is interesting and will produce just what they pay for, which is cheap and inaccurate slop, most of the time. Funny that you should mention it because someone linked to an article about crickets on another forum and the article has a photo of a grasshopper on it! Oops! The authors for these articles will probably do an Internet search, cut and paste (aka plagiarize) information. Re-order it and modify a little and submit. Here's a point where the Internet fails as one source is used for a second and those two are used for more, until the flawed information becomes the predominant result and factoids are a house of cards with no solid basis in fact. Poor research based on other poor research grows misinformation on an exponential basis.

I'm not so sure that the $200-$300 per video assignment is that bad, maybe I'm reading it wrong. Depends on length and rights and requirements. I don't shoot video. I don't have a clue. If it can be re-sold anywhere, not too bad. If the information factory owns all rights, it's stinky.  ;)

Oh, by the way, no I don't see it as either a threat or opportunity to Microstock. Someone tell me why? I may be missing the point.


I think some see it as a threat because someone will set up a big studio and pay other photographers to produce microstock photos for them and pump out lots of volume flooding the market.

Oh hang on... people already do that...!

« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2009, 10:51 »
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Great discussion, thanks for the compliment RT, appreciate it.

A couple of things here, the algorithms they use are very advanced and not only look at search terms, but also at adspace sold around those search results, how many results allready show up (to avoid burying the new content) and a number of other tweaks. The Wired article said that on a big day it had 62.000 assignments ready to be taken on...

Revenue is allready huge; $200 million so even when the content is bad, someone is paying or it (through advertising). It kind of made me feel that content becomes meaningless, in fact, a friend said to me that in a way communication becomes meaningless, but maybe I'm getting to phylosophical now...

The bottomline seems to be that this is going to get bigger and it's ever more important to find a niche or specialism and focus on personal work that can not easily be replicated.

« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2009, 14:05 »
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Oh I get it. Someone thinks that a Micro site will come up with a per assignment option with one time buyout. Don't some sites have request forums and on demand pricing for the images. If they are RF it's still going to be RF afterword, which isn't so bad. If the shots are RM and exclusive, yes I agree, that's not very good.

Crowd sourcing informational articles is interesting and will produce just what they pay for, which is cheap and inaccurate slop, most of the time. Funny that you should mention it because someone linked to an article about crickets on another forum and the article has a photo of a grasshopper on it! Oops! The authors for these articles will probably do an Internet search, cut and paste (aka plagiarize) information. Re-order it and modify a little and submit. Here's a point where the Internet fails as one source is used for a second and those two are used for more, until the flawed information becomes the predominant result and factoids are a house of cards with no solid basis in fact. Poor research based on other poor research grows misinformation on an exponential basis.

I'm not so sure that the $200-$300 per video assignment is that bad, maybe I'm reading it wrong. Depends on length and rights and requirements. I don't shoot video. I don't have a clue. If it can be re-sold anywhere, not too bad. If the information factory owns all rights, it's stinky.  ;)

Oh, by the way, no I don't see it as either a threat or opportunity to Microstock. Someone tell me why? I may be missing the point.


Sooo right, Race.

« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2009, 12:04 »
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This is BIG business. Take a look at the board of directors. This is a serious company with mucho dinero. Thanks for the link.

Jonathan

WarrenPrice

« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2009, 12:29 »
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I remember WAY back when I started in photography.  I never sold an image until I included words with it.  As a photojournalist, tech writer and blogger, I'm curious; not serious but curious.  Writing seems less passive than selling microstock ... to me????


« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2009, 04:32 »
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The market is flooded with writers who will write articles for $5 or $10.  The barriers to entry are very low for writers, and there are a lot of English speakers out there who will work for next to nothing, especially those living in less expensive countries.  I spent a year in Thailand and Malaysia doing some of this kind of work.  It's amazing how much more $10 is when it will feed you well for two days, or house you for two days.

Some of the sites pay an upfront fee and keep all revenue, some have a royalty deal, some share ad revenue, and some pay nothing and only share ad revenue.  So if I put an article on something like HubPages and nobody clicks on any ads there, or nobody buys from Amazon or whatever, I get nothing.  But if I write something that stimulates some sort of purchase activity on a regular basis, I get regular income.  

There are a lot of sites out there that pay less and, of course, screen less.  This looks as if it is attempting to get some professional writers.  This is a refinement of a market that has been around for years and years, new because it is attempting to add some quality control.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 04:42 by photovan »


« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2009, 05:42 »
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I don't know.  I think there's a limit to how much "garbage" people are willing to accept in the name of "free".


 

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