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Author Topic: iStock Vrs Shutterstock Subscription Plan  (Read 3374 times)

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« on: April 23, 2014, 00:41 »
So people are talking about leaving iStock Exclusive so they can be on other stock sites such as Shutterstock which may or may not be a good thing which brings me to my question for those of you who are Non-Exclusive and are on both sites.

If you were to take lets say your best selling photo on iStock and compare it to the Sells you have with that same photo on Shutterstock, which site sells the most of that image in terms of number of downloads?

Please post your numbers on the downloads one vrs the other! No need to mention the photos subject matter or income unless of course you wish to share that too!


« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 04:00 »
That doesn't work because my best-selling iStock photo is only just in my top 60 at SS.
I can tell you that my biggest earning iStock photo has made roughly the same amount of money as my biggest earning SS photo. If I'd been exclusive I suppose that iStock best-seller would have made a lot more than it did.
I don't think there is any way to reach a definite conclusion about what dropping exclusivity would do to your earnings - any more than there is any way of knowing exactly what the big put towards subs on iStock will do to your bottom line.

« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 07:15 »
That doesn't work because my best-selling iStock photo is only just in my top 60 at SS.

Exactly. Different images sell differently on different agencies... I wouldn't expect an iStock big seller to sell anywhere else. Maybe it could but most likely it won't. But other images might take off that are sitting around at the end of your portfolio in iStock.

I can give a different comparison: On iStock I have 16 "flaming images", so with 100 sales each. Those images all were uploaded between 2007 and 2009 when prices were still lower and download volume higher.

On Shutterstock, after slightly more than one year, I have 6 image with 100 or more downloads, and four more images coming very close. The overlap between iStock flames and Shutterstock sellers is exactly Zero. None of my iStock flames have gathered lots of downloads anywhere else. And non of the new Shutterstock best sellers are doing exceptionally well on iStock either.

And to go a step further: From my top 10 images at Fotolia (none of them coming close to 100 downloads there), none is in the best selling lists on iStock nor Shutterstock either.

« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 07:50 »
Exactly. Different images sell differently on different agencies...

This is true for many images, I agree. But my topseller is the same image on Shutterstock and iStock. It was sold over 1000 times on both agencies since 2011. Counting all downloads (any kind of downloads on Shutterstock / iStock sales + sales from PP) I see only a difference of exactly 10 downloads (in favor of iStock), but my income for this image on iStock is only 94% of my income on Shutterstock.
Edit: So in this case both agencies are (almost) on one level, but speaking generally Shutterstock is my top earning agency like it is for most of us.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 08:17 by jsfoto »

« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 11:07 »
None of these things are easy comparisons for all the reasons noted above. In my case, I have a few from my iStock top 20 that are also in my Shutterstock top 20. In a couple of cases the download numbers are about comparable (two were 500-ish on istock) but the money total is much better for iStock.

But that isn't the whole story - iStock is (IMO) on a downward trajectory and SS upward, so although it would have been nice if iStock had continued as they were when those files were earning so well, that wasn't happening, which was a big reason for me leaving exclusivity. 6 of my SS top 20 are images created since I left iStock, so I don't have anything comparable.

I no longer upload to iStock, but as an indie, the returns are now so low that SS would be beating it easily.

The other thing looking at SS sellers, is that I have a couple in the top 20 that were there from my earlier stint as an indie and the lower $$ totals for a given number of downloads is striking compared to newer files (that have benefitted from the shift away from subscriptions at SS).


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