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Author Topic: Are buyers actually on the hunt for a bargain?  (Read 5514 times)

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Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« on: December 09, 2010, 09:18 »
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My apologies if a similar topic exists.

I have uploaded my portfolio at different stocksites. Some stocksites sell my files (vector illustrations) slightly cheaper than others. So I was wondering if buyers actually try to find the cheapest available download of a file, or if they don't care about paying a dollar more (and avoid going through the hassle of setting up a new account).

In other words, am I not losing out on money if a file is sold slightly cheaper elsewhere? I'd like to think buyers stick to one or two sites, so spreading my portfolio simply means more exposure > more sales > more money. But I might be wrong.

What are your thoughts on this?


« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 09:22 »
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Some buyers say they do take the time, some say they don't and stick to one place. 

helix7

« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 09:44 »
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I think most buyers are creatures of habit. If they weren't, istock would be out of business.

« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 09:49 »
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I think buyers will stick with an agency until the price goes too high or it is too much of a hassle to purchase from there. When that happens, I think they will look around. Don't necessarily think they always go with the cheapest agency, but balance fair pricing with ease of searching and downloading.

« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 09:56 »
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I think most buyers are creatures of habit. If they weren't, istock would be out of business.

We do change our habits though! Used to be loyal to one, but now I'm loving all the choices. Definitely bargain hunting now and open to many more agencies. Don't have a problem having multiple accounts anymore, where I used to only have one. If someone else has better prices, I'm going to buy from them.

helix7

« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 10:11 »
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We do change our habits though! Used to be loyal to one, but now I'm loving all the choices. Definitely bargain hunting now and open to many more agencies. Don't have a problem having multiple accounts anymore, where I used to only have one. If someone else has better prices, I'm going to buy from them.

You're not a typical buyer, though. You are more aware of the other options out there, more involved in the microstock community. Most buyers don't even realize how many options are available to them, nor do they know they can shop around for better prices.

« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2010, 10:12 »
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You're not a typical buyer, though. You are more aware of the other options out there, more involved in the microstock community. Most buyers don't even realize how many options are available to them, nor do they know they can shop around for better prices.

I didn't used to be though. It was only recent changes that revealed the broader possibilities to me.

« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 10:27 »
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You're not a typical buyer, though. You are more aware of the other options out there, more involved in the microstock community. Most buyers don't even realize how many options are available to them, nor do they know they can shop around for better prices.

I bought stock photos long before I became a contributor. All one has to do is google stock photos and one can see there is more than one choice. What you are saying might have been true before the internet, but I think buyers today have become savvy about going to the net for researching if they become dissatisfied with any company.

I think IS caters to lots of agencies and they will stay brand loyal. I think mid to small companies, churches and individuals still need to look for a better price and save wherever they can. IMHO.

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2010, 10:30 »
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I can tell you I was a buyer on behalf of the ad agency I worked for more than a year at istock without even realizing that pics actually belonged to individuals there, who have their individual little ports. I always was in a rush, focused on fnding the pic best fitting a concept as quickly as possible - which was a huge pain in the as* -, I didn't even realize the pic I downloaded actually belonged to some user on the site. I didn't know about shuttertstock untill some of the marketing people emailed me their options for pics, which were usually from SS, that seems to be marketing ppl's favorite.

The only reason I realized what's up is because on of my colleagues told me his boyfriend shoots for stock, and showed me his port. After that I did try venturing into lightboxes and ports, but it was a completely useless waste of time, so I never did that again, went back to chewing thru endless tsunami of generic shots like most of do, I guess.

« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2010, 10:32 »
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The buyer works in a company = The Buyer shops where he/she is used to, as long as he/she can find the images he/she needs.
The buyer is a poor freelancer paying for the images himself/herself = The Buyer might shop around for lower prices.

« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2010, 15:46 »
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The buyer works in a company = The Buyer shops where he/she is used to, as long as he/she can find the images he/she needs.
The buyer is a poor freelancer paying for the images himself/herself = The Buyer might shop around for lower prices.

And...
The buyer works in a company = his/her boss says the budgets been cut and the buyer needs to start watching pennies.
The buyer is a poor freelancer = the client says the budgets been cut and the freelancer needs to start watching pennies.

I've been in both positions.  :)

red

« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 16:13 »
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This is my experience - midwestern part of the US. Professional designers are not always as savvy as you think they are, or should be. Often they work for big places that crank out work fast and sloppy. They purchase many micro images.

The "designers" are often 20-somethings that went to school to learn advertising but are mainly production artists, often just really good desktop publishers (with no photography experience). They have to fill a space with something and the business manager has purchased a subscription to a microstock site and said, "go here to get pictures, they're cheap." The buyers are merely downloaders of many images - they have no idea that there are other sources or that the images belong to anyone other than the site they are downloading them from. They do not look at the photographer's name, or notice the price unless it's very much higher than what they usually spend. That's why many prefer shutterstock over istock, the pricing is simpler.

They try Google Images first to see if they can find an image for free at a large enough size to use in the weekly ad, circular, broadsheet, flyer. If they are putting together a weekly grocery newspaper insert why should they pay for a photo of an orange if they can find it on a gardening site, snag it and clip it out? They do not know that they are doing anything wrong. When they do go to their microstock site of choice they log in, get the image and leave. It's simply an image source. They do not know that these types of images can be found in other places. They don't have a clue.

Your mileage may vary and I'm not saying all buyers work this way but I've worked at several large companies who do. Much of the day to day work is done by production people who simply do as they are told. When I try to explain to them the ins and outs and why they should not do some of the things they do they simply have no time to listen, or pretend to understand but keep on doing whatever they've done in the past. It would take something major to make them change their habits.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 16:16 by cuppacoffee »

« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2010, 16:21 »
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The buyer works in a company = The Buyer shops where he/she is used to, as long as he/she can find the images he/she needs.
The buyer is a poor freelancer paying for the images himself/herself = The Buyer might shop around for lower prices.

And...
The buyer works in a company = his/her boss says the budgets been cut and the buyer needs to start watching pennies.
The buyer is a poor freelancer = the client says the budgets been cut and the freelancer needs to start watching pennies.

I've been in both positions.  :)

If we're talking about istock, I think what you have experienced as a buyer might not be the majority of the buyers on this site. Especially now with agency. I think the majority of the money spent on stock footage comes from larger companies who are used to paying traditional prices and is really enjoying cheap micro prices. Only when vetta came, buyers noticed some sort of change in pricing. The designers that work in these firms have no choice to shop around because the company has an account with steep discounts and they buy huge packages. A couple of friends of mine are designers in these fortune 500 firms and they dont really care about the price themselves. whatever works for their projects.

Im really interested in what the percentage of small buyers there are in micro land. Spending less than $500 a year would be a small buyer in my eyes.  i used to be one before contributing.

RacePhoto

« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2010, 17:18 »
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Some buyers say they do take the time, some say they don't and stick to one place. 

+1

Some people are more interested in getting their work done fast and efficiently, than wasting time to save a few cents chasing around to cut rate distributors.

Keep in mind, most of the same people have the same images at all the same sites. so searching smaller sites for a bargain, is less productive. Minutes wasted searching are unproductive.

« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 13:26 »
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A photo buyer at a local magazine once told me they care more about the right image than the right price.  She uses images from a variety of traditionals and micros, plus they buy images from local independent stock collections.  I've noticed CNN does the same thing.

bittersweet

« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2010, 14:18 »
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Some people are more interested in getting their work done fast and efficiently, than wasting time to save a few cents chasing around to cut rate distributors.

Keep in mind, most of the same people have the same images at all the same sites. so searching smaller sites for a bargain, is less productive. Minutes wasted searching are unproductive.

In most cases it is way beyond a "few cents" and yes, many of the same images are available at a fraction of the istock price at other large agencies. I have been lazy in the past because it was just too easy to convert my earnings at istock, but now I find it is just as easy to convert my earnings at Dreamstime and I'm saving a LOT of money. Of course I would never go from site to site trying to find the cheapest price, but if an image is not exclusive at istock, it's totally worth spending an extra 30 seconds to check that contributor's DT portfolio if it is going to save me 5 or 10 dollars.

RacePhoto

« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2010, 17:39 »
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Some people are more interested in getting their work done fast and efficiently, than wasting time to save a few cents chasing around to cut rate distributors.

Keep in mind, most of the same people have the same images at all the same sites. so searching smaller sites for a bargain, is less productive. Minutes wasted searching are unproductive.

In most cases it is way beyond a "few cents" and yes, many of the same images are available at a fraction of the istock price at other large agencies. I have been lazy in the past because it was just too easy to convert my earnings at istock, but now I find it is just as easy to convert my earnings at Dreamstime and I'm saving a LOT of money. Of course I would never go from site to site trying to find the cheapest price, but if an image is not exclusive at istock, it's totally worth spending an extra 30 seconds to check that contributor's DT portfolio if it is going to save me 5 or 10 dollars.

No doubt about your personal methods and opinion. Self employed people have extra latitude for time management.

I was referring to a busy designer from a rather large agency and she and the rest of their people have a shared iStock account. They don't bother with the rest, because they need it fast and good. Whether it's a few cents between sub agencies or a few dollars, the point remains, their time is worth more while they are working on a project, making a deadline, than it is searching the web for a possible "deal".

If you were paying someone $20-$30 an hour, for example, you don't want them wasting 15 minutes, not working, not producing, to save a dollar. :D
 Funny thing is now I'm getting down to IS and SS, competing with myself, but hoping to remove everything from BigStock and ThinkStock with the next payout. Why should I compete with myself? On the other hand, if someone is shopping, they may never see my photos because they are only available on the two big agencies that have the best returns for my time.

Dilution or direction? I chose to be limited and selective.


« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2010, 19:00 »
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If you were paying someone $20-$30 an hour, for example, you don't want them wasting 15 minutes, not working, not producing, to save a dollar. :D
 Funny thing is now I'm getting down to IS and SS, competing with myself, but hoping to remove everything from BigStock and ThinkStock with the next payout. Why should I compete with myself? On the other hand, if someone is shopping, they may never see my photos because they are only available on the two big agencies that have the best returns for my time.

Dilution or direction? I chose to be limited and selective.

But if I am paying 30$ an hour and 15 minutes saves me 10$, that is worthwhile.

I see no reason to remove images from higher paying sites that are competing with your images at lower paying sites (as far as BigStock and SS are concerned) it is a little different comparing them to IS. I could see not sending them anything new though if you don't think the return on time is worth it. If all you have to do is just check the sales every few months and request payouts as needed, that isn't too bad.

« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2010, 19:18 »
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Some people are more interested in getting their work done fast and efficiently, than wasting time to save a few cents chasing around to cut rate distributors.

Keep in mind, most of the same people have the same images at all the same sites. so searching smaller sites for a bargain, is less productive. Minutes wasted searching are unproductive.

In most cases it is way beyond a "few cents" and yes, many of the same images are available at a fraction of the istock price at other large agencies. I have been lazy in the past because it was just too easy to convert my earnings at istock, but now I find it is just as easy to convert my earnings at Dreamstime and I'm saving a LOT of money. Of course I would never go from site to site trying to find the cheapest price, but if an image is not exclusive at istock, it's totally worth spending an extra 30 seconds to check that contributor's DT portfolio if it is going to save me 5 or 10 dollars.

Well, the istock photos that you could find at DT maybe be more expensive there, unless you use subscripcions. Independent work is the cheapest at istock, and the only content that can be found as well at other agencies. You can find the same Yuri's photo at 1 credit at IS and, at level 5, at 9 credits at DT, and it's just an example. Bargain hunting needs patientie, time and a calculator in hand.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 20:00 by loop »

« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2010, 19:35 »
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I can't speak from experience, but I think if I were buying and were aware of multiple sites I might just start my search at the site that offered the best prices based on my status (subcription, on-demand, etc), then migrate to other sites if I wasn't finding what I wanted.  Once I found what I wanted I might pop back to a better priced site just to do a quick check for a contributors portfolio to see if I could find the image thinking I may have missed it earlier (afterall, they all have different search features), but I can't see myself taking a lot of time searching for the image on several sites doing comparison shopping.

RacePhoto

« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2010, 22:59 »
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If you were paying someone $20-$30 an hour, for example, you don't want them wasting 15 minutes, not working, not producing, to save a dollar. :D
 Funny thing is now I'm getting down to IS and SS, competing with myself, but hoping to remove everything from BigStock and ThinkStock with the next payout. Why should I compete with myself? On the other hand, if someone is shopping, they may never see my photos because they are only available on the two big agencies that have the best returns for my time.

Dilution or direction? I chose to be limited and selective.

But if I am paying 30$ an hour and 15 minutes saves me 10$, that is worthwhile.

I see no reason to remove images from higher paying sites that are competing with your images at lower paying sites (as far as BigStock and SS are concerned) it is a little different comparing them to IS. I could see not sending them anything new though if you don't think the return on time is worth it. If all you have to do is just check the sales every few months and request payouts as needed, that isn't too bad.

But during the time someone is searching, they lost productivity, which is the output side.

The point wasn't about whether you should upload to 20 sites, or whether I care to only use two, but the answer that sometimes it's more efficient to just get the photo and get back to work, and any time spent searching is unproductive. I design agency doesn't want to waste time searching for prices, to save a small amount of money. It's just not efficient use of time and resources.

Most of the sites prices are NOT $10 different. Be honest, it's pennies and maybe at most a dollar, between Micro sites. Even the difference between subscription and on demand isn't huge, unless someone is working on a large volume operation. A high volume account at IS, for example, gets a discount and for many people, that's enough that they don't need a second source. How many million images does someone need to get a microstock shot?  ;D

I suppose you drive miles to save 3 cents a gallon on gas for your car too?  ???

On the other hand, I admit that an individual, working for themselves on a tight budget, might find that searching for a best price can make a difference.

Point is, take the top four or six agencies and it's the same artists, mostly all the same millions of images, price is almost identical. What's the use for someone to waste time and effort going further into smaller sites?


 

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