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Author Topic: Self Hosted self-hosted Why isn't there one good package?  (Read 784 times)

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Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« on: June 24, 2020, 07:35 »
+4
Jon is right about one thing. If I could self host and sell on my own, I would.

But I've been saying that for so long, that I'm getting tired of reading my own posts.

Why isn't there one, simple self hosted software platform, for individuals? One that works? If there are all these thousands of artists out there, wouldn't it make sense to have a basic, digital download software package, not WordPress. One that actually handles display, search and transactions? Is it that complicated or is the prospective market so small that no one wants to develop the package?

Maybe this is the right time?  ;) Thousands of people who want to go self hosted.



PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 08:09 »
+3
Sounds like you mean something like Symbiostock. I'm guessing there's not enough money in it.

If you're in it for the long term you need something that has financial backing so the platform will be sustained. Otherwise you'll be having to redo your website every few years when the software is abandoned by its creator. Check out Photoshelter and Photodeck. Or even Shopify.

« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 08:18 »
+2
I was making a middle tier agency income from my own symbio site and growing. Shut down overnight when the EU said we couldn't sell a single digital file online directly without getting VAT registered and charging VAT. Not worth the hassle, another win for the silicon valley giants.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 11:31 »
0
I was making a middle tier agency income from my own symbio site and growing. Shut down overnight when the EU said we couldn't sell a single digital file online directly without getting VAT registered and charging VAT. Not worth the hassle, another win for the silicon valley giants.

Good point and now the states are demanding taxes collected for every sale. How regulations can kill a small business, before they have a chance to start.

Sounds like you mean something like Symbiostock. I'm guessing there's not enough money in it.

If you're in it for the long term you need something that has financial backing so the platform will be sustained. Otherwise you'll be having to redo your website every few years when the software is abandoned by its creator. Check out Photoshelter and Photodeck. Or even Shopify.

The problem I saw with Symbio was people kept making demands for features, before the basic software was solid and developed. It because a maze for Leo and even for people who understood how it worked, as it was a patchwork. Then Leo got tired of being criticized and quit. When Php changed it would be broken again. If Wordpress updated, it would often break again.

There was a point way in the start, that someone said, if we all rely on one person to develop and update, there's bound to be a problem some day. In other words, if Symbiostock had caught on as opensource, with a number of programmers involved, it might still be around.

Self hosted means, self hosted, not that I pay someone else, never ending fees, like shopify.

I guess with just those two points, taxes and keeping up with software, that pretty well answers my question, why there's nothing out there.  :) Not easy and the return for the developer isn't there.

So maybe that does leave me with Shopify or FAA. Sad situation.

« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 12:19 »
0
Okay, I open thread with separate theme.

https://www.microstockgroup.com/35766/35766/msg553783/#msg553783

Thank you very much.

If you want to comment, you do me a favor. For the third time, I ask the three questions:

- How many files do you think are necessary for a client to have an interest in simply approaching that new website?

- How much would you be willing to invest economically a year?

- How many files are you able to contribute exclusively?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 18:01 by Tenebroso »

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 13:03 »
+1
Sounds like you mean something like Symbiostock. I'm guessing there's not enough money in it.

If you're in it for the long term you need something that has financial backing so the platform will be sustained. Otherwise you'll be having to redo your website every few years when the software is abandoned by its creator. Check out Photoshelter and Photodeck. Or even Shopify.

The problem I saw with Symbio was people kept making demands for features, before the basic software was solid and developed. It because a maze for Leo and even for people who understood how it worked, as it was a patchwork. Then Leo got tired of being criticized and quit. When Php changed it would be broken again. If Wordpress updated, it would often break again.

There was a point way in the start, that someone said, if we all rely on one person to develop and update, there's bound to be a problem some day. In other words, if Symbiostock had caught on as opensource, with a number of programmers involved, it might still be around.

Self hosted means, self hosted, not that I pay someone else, never ending fees, like shopify.

I guess with just those two points, taxes and keeping up with software, that pretty well answers my question, why there's nothing out there.  :) Not easy and the return for the developer isn't there.

So maybe that does leave me with Shopify or FAA. Sad situation.

Sounds like you ruled out Wordpress? Seems like a good option. Inexpensive. They have stock templates and sales engines. Well supported. Good SEO.

« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 16:57 »
0
...
Why isn't there one, simple self hosted software platform, for individuals? One that works? If there are all these thousands of artists out there, wouldn't it make sense to have a basic, digital download software package, not WordPress. One that actually handles display, search and transactions? Is it that complicated or is the prospective market so small that no one wants to develop the package?

Maybe this is the right time?  ;) Thousands of people who want to go self hosted.

it's just not that simple -  wordpress takes care of  basic needs w/o having to re-create user interface, menus, formatting, page design, database, blogging, etc etc before being able to develop your app (in same way apps rely on windows' processing)

so wordpress remains a great option for developing a self-hosting website but the work has to be paid somehow and the relatively small set of possible users makes that difficult to re-coup (Leo donated massive amounts of time effort to the project knowing there was little chance it would be profitable)

  photo-XXx, smugmug et al. charge for their product and with fewer features than symbio/WP had

« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 17:38 »
+3
Wordpress also is a big hacker target. Keeping on top of the constant updates helps with that, but it still is an easy target. In the end, it is tough to wear all the hats to make it work and the internet seems to be rapidly moving away from the "little guy" business model.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 17:55 »
+1
I once had my own stock site with the CMSAccount software. Paid $70 for the template, spent days customizing, fixing and tweaking, then creating a database, prepping my portfolio, writing license documents, uploading everything, checking the payment system, tweaking some more...I got it all up and running after many, many days of work.

I figured if I made 10 sales a year, I'd be able to recoup my costs.
But my portfolio wasn't big enough to get traffic, and those who did find my website didn't purchase anything.
On top of that the VAT system was hard to configure as I couldn't automatically check where my visitors were located. In other words, automatic checkout with custom VAT options was not possible.

All in all it was a big waste of time for me.

 

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 18:12 »
+3
I once had my own stock site with the CMSAccount software. Paid $70 for the template, spent days customizing, fixing and tweaking, then creating a database, prepping my portfolio, writing license documents, uploading everything, checking the payment system, tweaking some more...I got it all up and running after many, many days of work.

I figured if I made 10 sales a year, I'd be able to recoup my costs.
But my portfolio wasn't big enough to get traffic, and those who did find my website didn't purchase anything.
On top of that the VAT system was hard to configure as I couldn't automatically check where my visitors were located. In other words, automatic checkout with custom VAT options was not possible.

All in all it was a big waste of time for me.

It's a waste of time for a lot of people because picking the software, configuring it and uploading images are only the first couple steps. There's a lot to do after that to make sales.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2020, 18:13 »
0
Wordpress also is a big hacker target. Keeping on top of the constant updates helps with that, but it still is an easy target. In the end, it is tough to wear all the hats to make it work and the internet seems to be rapidly moving away from the "little guy" business model.

There are a ton of plugins including security.

« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2020, 03:37 »
0
Jon is right about one thing. If I could self host and sell on my own, I would.

But I've been saying that for so long, that I'm getting tired of reading my own posts.

Why isn't there one, simple self hosted software platform, for individuals? One that works? If there are all these thousands of artists out there, wouldn't it make sense to have a basic, digital download software package, not WordPress. One that actually handles display, search and transactions? Is it that complicated or is the prospective market so small that no one wants to develop the package?

Maybe this is the right time?  ;) Thousands of people who want to go self hosted.

Do you know PhotoStore ? I don't know it but it seems to fit your needs.

The pitch is promising :
"PhotoStore is a professional photo gallery and shopping cart. Sell images, artwork, digital files, videos, prints and more direct to your customers with your own website! No commission fees. Great for event photographers or selling stock photos."

You can manage multiple currencies, languages and even rights managed pricing. The pro lifetime licence is only 29$.
Seems to good to be true :o

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 07:31 »
0
I installed PVS, I think it's that? Photo Video Store. Seems like a good one. Uploaded images and tried to configure, I have nothing. I guess I need to more simple, step by step instructions, or I'm just getting slow in my old age.  :) I haven't added the part that takes payments, because I have a gallery that no one can see not even me.

Sounds like you ruled out Wordpress? Seems like a good option. Inexpensive. They have stock templates and sales engines. Well supported. Good SEO.

Possibly I have been unfair, but from what I saw, it kept "breaking", errors, functions, changes to WP caused Symbio to stop functioning. When Leo looked and couldn't figure out why my site was losing the main menu and sorting things alpha, and didn't see how to fix that, I took it down.

I think a modular construction would have been the answer, where one basic, rock solid, sales platform was created. Then as people wanted fancy tricks, they could add modules or alternate routines. Because everything was woven, and each piece of code, was entwined with the rest, there was a tendency for one error to cause many other problems. On missing ; would blow up the whole site. (as an example)

I thought it was a smart idea and good concept. Especially the sharing links to get exposure for many nodes, from others. Small co-op agencies could have formed, where people didn't directly compete, or if friends, at least didn't try to copy and duplicate content. So I'd have what I liked, lets say cars? Someone else what they featured, kittens and cakes. Another person could do their stores and vegetables... then when a buyer came, they would find an assortment, which would benefit everyone in the co-op.

Anyway, the whole VAT tax problem, starts to make things nearly impossible. USA the different states have been enacting laws to claim sales tax. That's a huge problem because they mostly have different laws. That means the buyers or the site have to start collecting all kinds of tax data, along with sales data, filing with 50 different states as well as income.

Where I am, and I still have the remnants of a small sales business, there are 72 counties. Some had no sales tax, some had the baseball stadium tax, other had a football tax, and then there are different county sales taxes. I'm not going to pretend there are 72 different, but five of one, four of another, then with and without, plus of those with a tax, they had varying rates. I had to track all my sales by county and report to the state at the end of the year. Very interesting and entertaining day of number sorting.  :-\

Is it time to move to Nevada? LOL  :)

« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2020, 08:15 »
0
I installed PVS, I think it's that? Photo Video Store. Seems like a good one. Uploaded images and tried to configure, I have nothing. I guess I need to more simple, step by step instructions, or I'm just getting slow in my old age.  :) I haven't added the part that takes payments, because I have a gallery that no one can see not even me.

I don't think so. Photo Video Store is a WP plugin but PhotoStore is a standalone software based on the classic trio PHP/MySQL/Apache. If you are not familiar with these technologies they offer free installation and can install PhotoStore for you.

I don't work for them ;) but each time I take a closer look at their product it seems more interesting. If I was to sell my pictures by myself I would consider this soft seriously.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2020, 08:23 »
0
I installed PVS, I think it's that? Photo Video Store. Seems like a good one. Uploaded images and tried to configure, I have nothing. I guess I need to more simple, step by step instructions, or I'm just getting slow in my old age.  :) I haven't added the part that takes payments, because I have a gallery that no one can see not even me.

I don't think so. Photo Video Store is a WP plugin but PhotoStore is a standalone software based on the classic trio PHP/MySQL/Apache. If you are not familiar with these technologies they offer free installation and can install PhotoStore for you.

I don't work for them ;) but each time I take a closer look at their product it seems more interesting. If I was to sell my pictures by myself I would consider this soft seriously.


Thanks, I'm sure I looked, installed and got lost. In other words, the problems are from my lack of knowledge. No I didn't know they would help, maybe I can ask someone, "where are my photos that I uploaded?"  ;D

I thought it was the most interesting choice for myself. I used to run websites, create them and manage. I'm just not as fast on the uptake as I used to be.

« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2020, 08:54 »
0
The demo it's down.

« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2020, 08:55 »
+3
I had the same issues with the symbiostock site breaking. I had to build it, then it broke, and I had to rebuild it. The next time it broke, I just gave up. Self-hosting isnt as easy as some people say it is. I did try another software, and Photostore sounds familiar. But its the same problem as all of them: building is one thing, getting customers to make it pay for itself is quite another. Photographers want to shoot photos. And self-hosting is like working three jobs.


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2020, 08:58 »
+1
I had the same issues with the symbiostock site breaking. I had to build it, then it broke, and I had to rebuild it. The next time it broke, I just gave up. Self-hosting isnt as easy as some people say it is. I did try another software, and Photostore sounds familiar. But its the same problem as all of them: building is one thing, getting customers to make it pay for itself is quite another. Photographers want to shoot photos. And self-hosting is like working three jobs.

Perfect description and conclusions.  8) Maybe more than three jobs, but still? Not easy to get customers.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2020, 10:15 »
0
For those not deeply involved in the history of Symbiostock, there were two very different versions - one that was heavily developed and influenced by the group here and then a later version that was much more hands-off - the developer approached it more as a business. That version is still going strong and I see, from their forum, that they can now host the application on Amazon's cloud which might overcome some of the cost and performance issues of hosting. I wrote a history of my adventures with self hosting and symbiostock which is here on my blog:

https://backyardsilver.com/do-self-hosted-stock-photo-sites-ever-work/

Steve

50%

« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2020, 11:24 »
+1
I was making a middle tier agency income from my own symbio site and growing. Shut down overnight when the EU said we couldn't sell a single digital file online directly without getting VAT registered and charging VAT. Not worth the hassle, another win for the silicon valley giants.
there is absolutely no problem to get VAT-registered and it's completely normal business, if you run a business you do need to be registered. If you are VAT-registered you get your VAT back from your cameras, lenses, computers etc. for a small business it can be easily a win especially if you have income  that doesn't have VAT applied like all Microstockers have. Just do it and you can save a lot of money if you buy a lot of gear or travel a lot.


 

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