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Author Topic: Sales dropping. Istock especially.  (Read 51442 times)

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antistock

« Reply #225 on: October 27, 2011, 08:23 »
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I think, but am not sure, she might have meant software sells more/better than stock photos.

While I'm not going to argue at all whether this is true, because I have no idea, this is indeed a huge part in the equation that you cannot ignore.  Sure, photo storage is cheap, but that further proves the point.  The main sources of overhead (guessing here -- server bandwidth, server maintenance, employees (coders, designers, businessmen, etc) ) do not vary much with each additional image added to the database.  Therefore the amount of money the company needs to take from a given sale varies perhaps nearly linearly with the total amount of sales.  Yes, photos and software are comparatively easy to sell.  Therefore necessary profit per sale is very correlated with total sales.

no, i'm simply saying the cost per image for an agency nowadays is barely sustainable, don't you  see how many RM agencies have closed their doors in the last few years ? and of all the micros only 4 agencies are actually working well,what about the others who are struggling to stay afloat ?

by opposite your reasoning might work for Alamy, their expenses are minimal, they don't do keywording, they barely have a QC, they're not aggressive in their marketing and conservative in their investments, but guess what you the photographer need to spend twice the time for their idiotic keywording and the RPI is pathetic, in my case 0.5$/year ! is it worth it ?

i mean there are dozens of good agencies around but the few rich buyers are still sticking with Getty and the big 4 for micros.
try to put a few grands on the table, launch your own agency and see how far you can go with that budget.

getting photo customers is VERY HARD, period !

on the other side with 1000$ in budget instead i can pretty well make sales for a 30$ shareware and get a decent profit too, and i can do that also for a t-shirt, and even for mugs or baseball caps.

we should all realize that this market ain't getting better soon and making sales will become harder and harder, in 2-3 years we will reach the rock bottom and start digging.


antistock

« Reply #226 on: October 27, 2011, 08:25 »
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I think most of us would be both shocked and sickened if we ever saw the figures proving just how profitable microstock was ... for the big agencies.

As an independent my average sale on IS this month produced $9.20 of revenue. I get $1.65 of that leaving $7.55 in Istock's back-bin. Somehow I doubt that bandwidth, storage and server maintenence accounted for very much of it.

and you would be shocked to know how much profitable RM stock was before digital and before microstock !

now it's too late to complain, the game is over and the race is only to the bottom.

antistock

« Reply #227 on: October 27, 2011, 08:28 »
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hm, but over 400 people, international offices and marketing, a legal department for ongoing copy right issues...sounds expensive to me.

We all saw how photoshelter failed after doing stock for only one year and they had excellent images and were well connected.

I am sure they are not living under the bridge, but I doubt the owners take a rolls royce to work. stock is a very competitive market.

exactly, Photoshelter/DigitalRailRoad was a great concept but failed for lack of clients, it's always the same story, and they had also to realize that clients don't give a crap about who's the photographer, a lesson learnt the hard way.

antistock

« Reply #228 on: October 27, 2011, 08:34 »
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That means istock was probably generating somewhere in the range 2.5 to 25 million in pure profit each year.  So yea, given how few execs it takes to run one of these, that's pretty profitable.

how can it be ?
200.000$ a month for a company with 400 employees and offices worldwide ?
maybe add a few zeros...

but hey, they were the ones digging their own grave selling photos below cost.

antistock

« Reply #229 on: October 27, 2011, 08:35 »
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Apps (and ebooks and music) help sell devices. It's a different model.

but statistically it doesn't matter.
in business you have to think you invest xxx and you earn yyy back.

it's the same logic with selling music ... if you're not famous your music is worth nothing, no matter if you spend a million $ in advertising, you've simply no added value and no one will download your mp3s.

and thanks god we're in the photo business as the music industry is even more *removed coarse language* up at the moment.

antistock

« Reply #230 on: October 27, 2011, 08:49 »
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Apps (and ebooks and music) help sell devices. It's a different model.
Having had some (profitable) experience in selling consumer-targeted apps (we called them "programs" then), I disagree. I'm talking 15-20 years ago. The secret of our success was, apart of being the first on the market with a USP, copy protection. I actually made a lot of money by selling the copy protection scheme exclusively to a very large publisher on the side. The scheme was based on a few extra bits written between the tracks of a floppy on a Unix workstation, something that the PC couldn't read under DOS/Windows. Then came the breakthrough of the iMac (that could make a bitwise copy of the floppies) and there went our sales... slowly but unavoidably.

The thing is that consumer products are copied like hell, whether it's legal, ethical or not. There are the bins (usenet binary groups), torrents and specialized sites. In gaming theory, the profit is maximal since they chance of getting caught is zero when you only watch/listen to the products in the privacy of your home while you don't have to pay for the product.
In the imagery business it's different, unless you use a stolen image as your screen saver or print it out for on the wall of your living room. As soon as an image is used on a web site or on a product, it's there to see and find for everywhere - and the new image recognition technologies make it easier and easier to find them. A small time blogger might get away with it, but a large company won't run the risk using a stolen image for just a few bucks.

Apps (if you are talking about iPhone/iPad apps) are so profitable to write, even for consumers, because Apple copy-protected in a way the whole i-business. There is no (simple) way to crack/download an app for Apple products without compromising the integrity of the device. There are many "reprogrammers and sim-unlockers" around in India and SE Asia but I didn't hear yet of one that had customers for "unlocking" an iPad, iPhone or even iPod. The owners of these things paid a premium price for their devices and they don't want it to be tinkered with.

That's why the business model of Apple is so profitable : vertical integration. In the hay-days of the Mac-Microsoft war, it was said that the PC was so successful in terms of quantity, not because the over-all quality of the framework, but because almost all PC software could be stolen unlike the one for the Mac. Writing a Mac app protects your investment in time and programming effort.

vertical integration : and i fully agree but their biggest asset is their clients have money to spend unlike the cheap-ass users on Android who only download free/freemium apps.

« Reply #231 on: October 27, 2011, 08:57 »
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I think most of us would be both shocked and sickened if we ever saw the figures proving just how profitable microstock was ... for the big agencies.

As an independent my average sale on IS this month produced $9.20 of revenue. I get $1.65 of that leaving $7.55 in Istock's back-bin. Somehow I doubt that bandwidth, storage and server maintenence accounted for very much of it.

and you would be shocked to know how much profitable RM stock was before digital and before microstock !

now it's too late to complain, the game is over and the race is only to the bottom.

Only for the contributor.

antistock

« Reply #232 on: October 27, 2011, 09:06 »
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That's why the business model of Apple is so profitable : vertical integration. In the hay-days of the Mac-Microsoft war, it was said that the PC was so successful in terms of quantity, not because the over-all quality of the framework, but because almost all PC software could be stolen unlike the one for the Mac. Writing a Mac app protects your investment in time and programming effort.

i'm afraid the photo piracy is much bigger than we think.
unfortunately there are no numbers about it but i keep seeing huge packs of zipped RF images on the P2P networks and also on the thousands of warez forums and sites.

you say images can be easily spotted if they're online, but as they're RF how can you know if they bought it legally or not ? and try sueing a crook in russia or china ...

michealo

« Reply #233 on: October 27, 2011, 09:06 »
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.......

Any chance you could post 1 reply making five points rather than 5 replies making 1 point?

Slovenian

« Reply #234 on: October 27, 2011, 09:07 »
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I think most of us would be both shocked and sickened if we ever saw the figures proving just how profitable microstock was ... for the big agencies.

As an independent my average sale on IS this month produced $9.20 of revenue. I get $1.65 of that leaving $7.55 in Istock's back-bin. Somehow I doubt that bandwidth, storage and server maintenence accounted for very much of it.

and you would be shocked to know how much profitable RM stock was before digital and before microstock !

That makes no sense whatsoever, since they payed contributors 70% royalties and had tons of expenses with printing and shipping catalogues etc. The customer base was also tiny compared to MS

antistock

« Reply #235 on: October 27, 2011, 09:08 »
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Only for the contributor.

we will see.

if my theory is correct in 2-3 years the "big 4" will become the "big 3".

« Reply #236 on: October 27, 2011, 09:51 »
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I tried directing customers with google adwords to my portfolio, but it just cost me money. Yes, they did click on the ads, but I saw no increase in sales.

If you want to sell yourself I think you will need to add some classical marketing.

helix7

« Reply #237 on: October 27, 2011, 10:59 »
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we should all realize that this market ain't getting better soon and making sales will become harder and harder, in 2-3 years we will reach the rock bottom and start digging.

I've been in microstock for 5 years and people have been saying that for about as long as I've been here. A couple of year ago people were making the same predictions, saying we'd all be doing something else by now, microstock would collapse, etc. 2-3 years from now, I'll still be here, still making money. Maybe more, maybe less, but I don't see my microstock income drying up completely in a few years.

« Reply #238 on: October 27, 2011, 11:22 »
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I've been in microstock for 5 years and people have been saying that for about as long as I've been here. A couple of year ago people were making the same predictions, saying we'd all be doing something else by now, microstock would collapse, etc. 2-3 years from now, I'll still be here, still making money. Maybe more, maybe less, but I don't see my microstock income drying up completely in a few years.

I tend to agree, although the landscape is always changing. Some agencies rise and others fall. It will still be here in 5 years, but what it will look like is a mystery.

lagereek

« Reply #239 on: October 27, 2011, 11:26 »
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No, youre right, it will never dry up. it will always sell. For me, its a matter of:  is working with IS, worth it?  weighing up time, effort, slow-uploading, slow reviewing against what seems a fading return?

Over the last ten days I have actually deactivated 2 blue flames and numerous red flames,  simply because I have a much better use for them, I found them way down in the best match and no way they are going to generate any revenue from there. However, one of the issues was, they had to be removed from IS and sure enough, its already paying off.

Im just wondering how many more are or will be in that position. :)

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #240 on: October 27, 2011, 11:35 »
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I think most of us would be both shocked and sickened if we ever saw the figures proving just how profitable microstock was ... for the big agencies. Most of them pay out on average about 30% commission, possibly quite a bit less, and I am quite sure that royalties are their biggest single cost by some margin.

I agree...I think it would floor us to know what their cut is, versus ours. as long as they continue in the capitalism-requires-constant-growth mindset...they'll continue to chip away at our royalties. unless some of the most influential heavy hitters were to draw a line (assuming it isn't already drawn)

« Reply #241 on: October 27, 2011, 11:37 »
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No, youre right, it will never dry up. it will always sell. For me, its a matter of:  is working with IS, worth it?  weighing up time, effort, slow-uploading, slow reviewing against what seems a fading return?

Over the last ten days I have actually deactivated 2 blue flames and numerous red flames,  simply because I have a much better use for them, I found them way down in the best match and no way they are going to generate any revenue from there. However, one of the issues was, they had to be removed from IS and sure enough, its already paying off.

Im just wondering how many more are or will be in that position. :)

Interesting comment. I deleted my portfolio there last month, and this month another agency has had huge success and reached a new plateau. It's probably coincidence, but it does make me think.

I've often wondered how much walk in traffic these agencies receive. How many people are just wandering in from a Google search? So if your image doesn't exist there, then Google will just point them somewhere else where it does.


« Reply #242 on: October 27, 2011, 11:44 »
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I've often wondered how much walk in traffic these agencies receive. How many people are just wandering in from a Google search? So if your image doesn't exist there, then Google will just point them somewhere else where it does.

Not much, I think. A few years ago iStock would give you a referral bonus for that, if it brought a new customer. I used to get one or two referrals a month that way so I don't think it makes much of a contribution.

« Reply #243 on: October 27, 2011, 12:02 »
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Not much, I think. A few years ago iStock would give you a referral bonus for that, if it brought a new customer. I used to get one or two referrals a month that way so I don't think it makes much of a contribution.

Well, that's you. I'm talking about Google. They drive a lot of traffic to a lot of sites. Most of us use the same titles for our images across multiple agencies, so if you have an image titled "Cartoon Pirate Dog Vector". If somebody searches for that exact phrase on Google, what does it pull up? Is iStock first? Bigstock? Shutterstock? And if your image isn't on one of those sites, then it may skew the results to favor the agency that does have it. That was my point.

ShadySue

« Reply #244 on: October 27, 2011, 12:06 »
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A few years ago iStock would give you a referral bonus for that, if it brought a new customer.
They still do, apparently - I got one last week.

RacePhoto

« Reply #245 on: October 27, 2011, 13:06 »
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Only for the contributor.

we will see.

if my theory is correct in 2-3 years the "big 4" will become the "big 3".

Do I hear two, anyone want to bid two?  :)

And from my viewpoint there only is a big two right now, but I'm sure some people would count the lower agencies, which makes it the Big Nine if you include all the middle tier on life support.

Funny how fans of one or another of the Life Support Seven, say they do better with Agency X, but there's no consensus of which one that is. And how long will people believe that one of those seven will some day break free of the pack and make it into the top three? Not going to happen, unless that agency comes up with something new and different and draws the buyers and sellers.

Time for another one of my limited opinion polls? LOL

« Reply #246 on: October 27, 2011, 16:20 »
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...Over the last ten days I have actually deactivated 2 blue flames and numerous red flames,  simply because I have a much better use for them, I found them way down in the best match and no way they are going to generate any revenue from there. However, one of the issues was, they had to be removed from IS and sure enough, its already paying off.
Exactly. The less I submit to IS and the more I deactivate the more money I make elsewhere.

When I deactivate a 'flame' image, in the little box to give a reason why I am deactivating, I type, "Not suitable as stock."

lagereek

« Reply #247 on: October 27, 2011, 16:27 »
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...Over the last ten days I have actually deactivated 2 blue flames and numerous red flames,  simply because I have a much better use for them, I found them way down in the best match and no way they are going to generate any revenue from there. However, one of the issues was, they had to be removed from IS and sure enough, its already paying off.
Exactly. The less I submit to IS and the more I deactivate the more money I make elsewhere.

When I deactivate a 'flame' image, in the little box to give a reason why I am deactivating, I type, "Not suitable as stock."

Might be coincidence, dont know??  but, yes!  they tend to sell a hell of a lot more and a lot more RF sales and for good money. Weird?

Slovenian

« Reply #248 on: October 27, 2011, 16:41 »
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...Over the last ten days I have actually deactivated 2 blue flames and numerous red flames,  simply because I have a much better use for them, I found them way down in the best match and no way they are going to generate any revenue from there. However, one of the issues was, they had to be removed from IS and sure enough, its already paying off.
Exactly. The less I submit to IS and the more I deactivate the more money I make elsewhere.

When I deactivate a 'flame' image, in the little box to give a reason why I am deactivating, I type, "Not suitable as stock."

Might be coincidence, dont know??  but, yes!  they tend to sell a hell of a lot more and a lot more RF sales and for good money. Weird?

So am I just stabbing myself in the back by spreading my work to smaller sites? I used to UL to just IS and SS. Perhaps that approach was a better one. An even better one would be SS + the best 50% royalties paying agency

KB

« Reply #249 on: October 27, 2011, 21:59 »
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Exactly. The less I submit to IS and the more I deactivate the more money I make elsewhere.

When I deactivate a 'flame' image, in the little box to give a reason why I am deactivating, I type, "Not suitable as stock."
Don't you mean, "Not suitable at iStock"?  ;)


 

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