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Author Topic: Starting a New Stock Marketplace  (Read 2539 times)

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« on: December 14, 2013, 19:08 »
-1
I had posted earlier about starting a new image marketplace. People had mixed thoughts, but mostly on the down side. I had stumbled across this article about DespositPhotos. They were only started from nothing in 2009 and now are fairly successful. What made them different than all the other companies that tried and failed? Does this show starting a new image marketplace is still viable?


http://inventures.eu/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-and-100m


« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 19:53 »
0
I may be wrong but I think depositphotos is owned by depositfiles which was already very successful and big so they did not exactly start from scratch.. (had a look at your url after I posted this and noticed you already mentioned this)

what they did "good" was that they studied the market well and implemented all the best features other sites had..

looking at depositphotos is like looking at fotolia + shutterstock + dreamstime combined :)

- their logo is too similar to "previous" shutterstock logo, their stats page is identical to shutterstock which has the best stats page..

- their pricing and ranking system is based on fotolia.. (also on istock's canisters) but the graphics and presentation is more similar looking to fotolia..

- their colors are dreamstime..

I think there are many more that I am forgetting to mention right now.. so they took what competitors did best and merged it into one site, plus they had prior success and funding for their plan..
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 20:00 by cidepix »

« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 01:35 »
+2
..Does this show starting a new image marketplace is still viable?...

There has to be some reason that people will come to a new site to buy - and if it's competition based on price (one of the biggest complaints contributors have against agencies) you'll have a hard time these days getting decent content. A number of contributors are more interested in alternatives to the type of agency currently around because the last few years haven't been good from a contributor point of view.

I don't supply Deposit Photos because I think they don't operate in an up-front way - they offer people "deals" to get higher commissions and better search placement, but that's clearly something they can't deliver (everyone having preferred placement). I also wasn't thrilled that they came from people who operated a file sharing site, but as far as we know things have been fine in that respect.

PhotoDune also seemed promising because of the connection to the other Envato marketplaces, but they've settled into a low performer rut which is hard to get excited about (I do contribute to them)

Starting a new agency and suggesting that your goal is to become an agency at the bottom of the middle tier isn't very exciting from the contributor point of view.

The last time I saw a lot of people get excited was when Stocksy launched - although that isn't something that all of us can participate in as they don't want most of us.

There's absolutely room for something better, but not for another one just like the others but newer.

« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 01:42 »
+6
My understanding is that what was different with DP is that they had a millionaire backing them who was willing to pay a fortune to build up the collection and, presumably, in advertising. As long as you have a budget of a few million dollars to set the thing up, you probably can launch another one successfully. If you are ready to pay me 50c per file I upload, I'd probably be willing to send you a few thousand to help launch your site.

« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 02:30 »
0
I think there is always room for another agency, but you need to think very hard before launching it. Ideally you should have previous experience in selling images and working with clients, maybe if someone spent two years on the team of an existing agency before going out and starting their own.

Running a stock business is like any other business. The entrepreneurial quality of the managing director will be the dominant factor for success. Money and financial backing help, but every day thousands of small decisions need to be made and everyone has to be the right one.

I like working with depositphotos, so far it has been a really good experience. They communicate easily, have an easy upload and even better keywording service, they pay out 44% or more and have regular sales.

At mexpo they had a stand and where representee by a very friendly team of people.

They seem very ambitious, so I think they will keep fighting for a bigger piece of the industry.

If you really want to start a new stock site and put a lot of hard thinking, planning and research into it, sure you can be successful. You also need to build a team of qualified managers and staff. Finding them and locking them down with solid contracts will proably be one of the hardest challenges. The ideal staff will also have mamy connections with customers and know who to talk to, to attract clients with deep pockets.

This industry depends entirely on having the right people and being well networked. Excellent social media skills and online communication, people who feel comfortable online.

In the end the question is: do you want to dedicate 3-6 years working 50-60 hour weeks to get an agency of the ground and running or do you want to send your time shooting and building a portfolio.

Which do you enjoy more? How will you make more money?

« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 04:44 by cobalt »

« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 06:21 »
0
Is it not so, that DP started with a lot of money? They had at the beginning a program where you got money only for uploading images , if I remember correctly.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 08:11 »
+3
I didn't read your other thread to see the responses but here are a couple thoughts.

I read the Depositphotos article. I know nothing about them and have nothing against them. But something seems off with this article and the numbers. They're on track for being valued at $100M? But had $6 million dollars in revenue the previous year with "plans" for $15 million this year. And they have 130 employees with $6M in revenue? These numbers seem a bit odd to me. Are they a success? Well, that's subjective and opinions will vary. A competitor to Getty or Shutterstock? Technically yes, performance-wise they have a small piece of the pie. So if $6M revenue is successful to you then yes it's possible to make it.

Regarding starting up a new site in general... Any person that's going to be a success will run the numbers, know what needs to be done to build the business and do it. Not come here and ask if a bunch of contributors think there's still an open door. Photoshelter dropped over $1M to try and compete as a stock agency and failed. Dozens of people have come here touting "I built a new cool site, come join" and they are long gone. Any new entrant will need to bring their A-game.

I think there is still plenty of opportunity to succeed with a new site but the game has changed in the past several years. A few years ago you may have been able to do the "build it and they will come" approach. I think an example of that would be Stockxpert. They seemed to have grown without any major money. Today, I think that approach has slim chances of making it. There are there are plenty of obstacles such as:

  • Content - Top contributors who produce sellable content are hesitant to join new sites from past experience that it's a waste of time. No content, or unsellable content, means no revenue
  • Money - I think Shutterstock spent over $30M in marketing last year. How will a new site market themselves and compete without deep pockets? This also goes back to contributors. Without sales coming in contributors will abandon ship
  • Unique Model - Why should a buyer use the new site over the other established players? What's different? If you go with "we're the cheapest" contributors probably won't make enough money. Or "we have the biggest collection" or "we have the best collection". That's all been done.

The new successful site will have leaders with proven industry experience, financial backing, a solid plan, and a unique value proposition. An example of that would be Stocksy. And they knew what needed to be done and made it happen.

EDIT: Or they they will come up with a completely new business or licensing model that disrupts the existing model.

Best of wishes for you on whatever you end up doing.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 08:18 by PaulieWalnuts »

« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 08:12 »
+3
If Symbiostock didn't require individual registration for each site, it would be easy to turn the network into a new image marketplace. The network search site already exists, although it would require some sprucing up to bring it up to agency standards. It's a start though. The easier option is something like Photoshelter where photographers can link together to create virtual agencies.


 

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