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Author Topic: The stock site you recommend to buyers  (Read 8792 times)

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helix7

« on: February 10, 2010, 23:10 »
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Since StockXpert is shutting down, I have been thinking about which stock site I support more than any other. StockXpert was the one I would recommend to anyone I spoke to about stock images, feeling as though they had a good well-rounded collection, a good pricing structure, and a fair royalty percentage for contributors. The site was always very user-friendly, had plenty of great features for finding and lightboxing images, was rarely (if ever) down for any reason, etc. I felt good about backing that site, so it was the one that I'd unofficially endorse and recommend to anyone who asked.

Obviously I can't do that anymore, and I'm certainly not going to recommend that anyone go to ThinkStock (especially since within the next few days my stuff won't be there anymore). So I find myself in the dilemma of deciding which stock site I'd recommend if asked.

I'm curious about which sites people support above all others. If someone asked you which stock site you'd suggest they try for purchasing images, which one would it be and why?


« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 23:24 »
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I always recommend Dreamstime or if I'm linking to my own stuff, 3DStudio. 

« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 01:03 »
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I've been thinking about this recently as well. I used to always recommend iStock, but I was thinking about switching because they are getting further behind in my total catalog with their upload limits. I was thinking about Dreamstime. I think Shutterstock and StockXpert have my most complete portfolio, but Shutterstock isn't practical for everyone and StockXpert is closed.

I'd like to hear what others are recommending though.

« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 01:49 »
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How competitive are Shutterstock's On Demand licenses?  I'd be inclined to recommend SS because of the way they run their business, as well as the size of their collection.  Heck, maybe I'd recommend BigStock; they're part of SS now, and they've been relatively drama-free.

« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 05:22 »
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Dreamstime. It has the best search engine imho by its choice between popularity and relevancy. It also has the widest choice in the industry, and it has editorials.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 05:53 by FD-amateur »

« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 05:37 »
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dt

« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 06:54 »
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DT for me too.

« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2010, 09:50 »
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One more for DT.
I use the 'fair trade' argument.
Please buy from DT, they treat us better. And searching for images is easy. 

« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2010, 10:07 »
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One more for DT.
I use the 'fair trade' argument.
Buyers don't care for fair trade. I choose DT from a buyer's viewpoint (I'm a low volume buyer too). I get much faster what I want on DT. The best match of IS sucks big time, at least for me. All those "did you mean?" questions slow me down, and I know that IS deletes many relevant keywords, so I have to wade through much more pages than at DT. For a commission of just 2 euro per suggested image, I can't afford that.
Also, IS has too many microstockish images, avoiding the more creative ones. DT has it all.

For illustrations, DT is much better. There are many great rasterized illustrations on DT, and IS avoids those, in favor of vectors. The group I work for is not a design group, but a daily media group. I guess they don't even know how to treat vectors. If they were, they wouldn't have time for it too since they have tight deadlines.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 10:14 by FD-amateur »

« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2010, 10:16 »
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One more for DT.
I use the 'fair trade' argument.
Buyers don't care for fair trade. I choose DT from a buyer's viewpoint (I'm a low volume buyer too). I get much faster what I want on DT. The best match of IS sucks big time, at least for me. All those "did you mean?" questions slow me down, and I know that IS deletes many relevant keywords, so I have to wade through much more pages than at DT. For a commission of just 2 euro per suggested image, I can't afford that.
Also, IS has too many microstockish images, avoiding the more creative ones. DT has it all.

For illustrations, DT is much better. There are many great rasterized illustrations on DT, and IS avoids those, in favor of vectors. The group I work for is not a design group, but a daily media group. I guess they don't even know how to treat vectors. If they were, they wouldn't have time for it too since they have tight deadlines.

IS doesn't seem to like the idea of 'let the buyer decide'. Not all buyers are designers.

lisafx

« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 10:19 »
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Dreamstime for me too. 

It used to be istock for years, mostly because I have my profile page customized there with lightboxes that make it easy for people to view related images in my portfolio.  But some of the changes they have implemented over the past year or so caused me to switch to recommending Dreamstime. 


« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 10:33 »
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I'd agree with Lisa's reservations but I think I'd still recommend Istock, just from the buyer's perspective. With half of IS's library being exclusive and, in my view a very sophisticated best match, you definitely get the best selection at a broad range of prices.

The problem that I'd have with recommending DT is that their 'Relevancy' often produces awful results with multiple near-identical crappy images from the same contributor. Also I'm not entirely comfortable with the Levels prices for the smaller sized images __ 9 credits for an XS image that has sold 50x (possibly over 5 years) seems expensive to me in comparison to other agencies.

« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 10:42 »
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@FD,
I buy images too and the 'Did you mean...?' at IS drives me right up the walls.
Up the walls.
I end up with very few images and leave the site in frustration.
You're right about the 'fair trade' argument. It's not a deal clincher and I only use it as an extra.
The collection, file diversity, prices and easy searches are the real factors.
DT is doing well in all those areas.
And then, there's the 'fair-trade' side of it. No harm in trying :)

WarrenPrice

« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2010, 10:45 »
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I understood the question as "Which agency do or would I recommend; not which was the best for buyers."  I recommend Cutcaster.  They were the first to help me sell really old editorial/historical images.  I'm obligated.


« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 10:51 »
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It used to be StockXpert for me.. Now it's Dreamstime.

« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2010, 11:21 »
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I understood the question as "Which agency do or would I recommend; not which was the best for buyers." 
I understood the question as best for buyers, not best for me/you/any contributor. This is a real life situation. If I would recommend a small site just because it was in my interest, or because I liked the guy that runs it, and it turns out that there are much better sites later, - I would lose my credibility. What's more, if they subsequently ask me to scout the images myself (which happened) I would suffer from it.

Cutcaster, how nice it may be, just doesn't have the choice of a very large agency. Arcurs is on CC, Iofoto, Monkey... but they are on DT too. I got them plus much more, and even for a lower price. A buyer has another mindset than a contributor, and other goals. The goal is to find the right picture in the least possible time. That's why the search engine is so important. A buyer doesn't care who made the image. The exclusive content of IS is all over DT by copycats. Sad, but the buyer doesn't care.

helix7

« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2010, 12:11 »
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I understood the question as best for buyers, not best for me/you/any contributor...

That was my intention. I wouldn't recommend FeaturePics just because they pay out the highest percentage in the business. I'm more inclined to recommend sites like DT who are fair to contributors but also, more importantly, deliver the goods for buyers.


« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2010, 12:30 »
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I always recommend IS, telling them that there they will find lots of superb photos that aren't everywhere. If not, anyone, I say, all of them have more or less the same content. Being IS exclusive is a good reson to do that, but I find that people stick there and thank me for the recommendation. I also think than getting the micro-buyers used to pay decent prices is also good.

« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2010, 12:34 »
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I always recommend IS, telling them that there they will find lots of superb photos that aren't everywhere. If not, anyone, I say, all of them have more or less the same content. Being IS exclusive is a good reson to do that, but I find that people stick there and thank me for the recommendation. I also think than getting the micro-buyers used to pay decent prices is also good.

Adding: Controlled vocabulary is another argument, if we talk about non-english speakers. All the other sites hace autamatised translation systems that doen't work great.

« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2010, 12:40 »
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Since I buy photos too, I can't in good conscience recommend IS because of the "Did you mean..." syndrome. I would recommend DT. It seems much faster for me to find what I need and they have a great selection.

Reef

  • astonmars.com
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2010, 12:53 »
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I always buy and recommend IS but with so many of you praising DT I might try them next time.

« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2010, 13:11 »
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I must of misunderstood the question too because I thought we were recommending sites to buyers for our OWN work. I get inquiries occasionally for images I've posted on my blog, so I usually direct them to a site that has that image and more. If that image is in a series and it has a lightbox on IS, then I usually post a link there.

Yeah, they may not buy my stuff when they get there, but I can at least point them in the right direction.

RT


« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2010, 13:20 »
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Like some others I've bought some images in my time, and likewise I've found iStock to be the worst site for being able to find what you want.

DT on the other hand has what I think is equal best search engine in terms of relevancy (equal to FT) but as gostwyck said it has a habit of grouping them in a weird order of similar shots and they're not always the best ones. DT also has some major legal implications for some of it's images which is a big risk for buyers.

FT as mentioned above has great search results and unlike DT you do get the quality images first, however they also feature some dodgy 'legal issues' images and given their history of how they treat their contributors it would not be the site I'd recommend.

SS has too many crap images and spammed keywords which infect the search results.

So in answer to the OP's question I'd say to a buyer search for the shot you want on FT and then buy it as iStock, of course that's if you can find it there!

 




helix7

« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2010, 13:37 »
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I must of misunderstood the question too because I thought we were recommending sites to buyers for our OWN work. I get inquiries occasionally for images I've posted on my blog, so I usually direct them to a site that has that image and more...

If someone contacts me about one of my images, I'm handling the sale myself and not doing it through any stock agency. I'd prefer to keep 100% of the money than to give any agency a cut. Some of my stuff is available for sale on my website at prices lower than what many agencies charge but higher than the highest agency royalty rate. If someone wants an image I don't have for sale on my website, I'll handle the sale privately.

The point of the OP was more about directing someone who will likely become a regular buyer of all types of stock imagery (not just my own) to a stock site. Apologies for not wording the question better. :)


« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2010, 15:48 »
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I wished I could say StockXpert.  Perhaps FP.

If I knew it was an occasional buyer, I would say DT.  For a heavy buyer, I would pick IS, so he doesn't put his hands on cheap subs packages.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2010, 16:32 »
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I must of misunderstood the question too because I thought we were recommending sites to buyers for our OWN work. I get inquiries occasionally for images I've posted on my blog, so I usually direct them to a site that has that image and more...

If someone contacts me about one of my images, I'm handling the sale myself and not doing it through any stock agency. I'd prefer to keep 100% of the money than to give any agency a cut. Some of my stuff is available for sale on my website at prices lower than what many agencies charge but higher than the highest agency royalty rate. If someone wants an image I don't have for sale on my website, I'll handle the sale privately.

The point of the OP was more about directing someone who will likely become a regular buyer of all types of stock imagery (not just my own) to a stock site. Apologies for not wording the question better. :)

I see.  So, in that case, I would have to ask the question, "What are you looking for?"  And go take a picture for the buyer. :P

Or, just give the buyer a list and let the buyer make his/her own choice.  Don't want to ruin my creditability.   ;D



« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2010, 17:23 »
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Since I buy photos too, I can't in good conscience recommend IS because of the "Did you mean..." syndrome. I would recommend DT. It seems much faster for me to find what I need and they have a great selection.

yep, looking at images last week try to find holes in offerings. Did you mean -> 3 options, I select one and obvisously my meaning of it is different to istocks as the search became totally irrelevant. I then spent 5-10 minutes trying to go back to those options so I could choose again. Even when I tried a new search or closing the tab and reopening it knew what I had selected last time and used the same option. The only way I could find to start again was to close the entire browser and reopen. * it was frustrating, with that and 20% commission, no way I'd recommend them.


« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2010, 17:25 »
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Since I want to boost sales on my other sites I would not promote SS and I would recommend DT

vonkara

« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2010, 18:23 »
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I made myself over a thousand business cards with my Istock portfolio link, back when I was independant. I don't care much about what pourcentage I get. I just want sales and money and it's there I was getting the most for larger sizes mostly.

Though I did made youtube videos where I was linking StockXpert before they introduced subs. Since then, the links are changed for Istock

« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2010, 19:41 »
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Quote
For a heavy buyer, I would pick IS, so he doesn't put his hands on cheap subs packages.

Don't forget that IS offers subs even if you are opted out of them.

« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2010, 20:12 »
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Quote
For a heavy buyer, I would pick IS, so he doesn't put his hands on cheap subs packages.

Don't forget that IS offers subs even if you are opted out of them.

But IS subs are not like in other sites, they are basicaly credits with a huge discount, aren't them?  It's not that a buyer with get 750 high res images for a couple of hundred of dollars, right?

« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2010, 22:52 »
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Based on who it is and what they use, for me it's DT or SS.  Mostly DT.

« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2010, 04:54 »
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Dreamstime

« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2010, 06:09 »
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Dreamstime without hesitation - I am more of a buyer than seller and DT is where we buy all our images - the search on istock is a disaster - it's not so much the keywords per se as the the way the search function itself works (or doesn't as is my experience). Half the time I quit in frustration and ask myself "what am I doing here" ... What then would clients do who don;t know they way around as well as I might? Plus the prices at IS are just getting way to high for a lot of people's budgets ... so DT it is.

« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2010, 06:22 »
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It's strange how virtually everyone here, mainly sellers of course, champions the virtues of DT. However, as we all know from our own sales, most of the the real buyers don't. Why is this?

« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2010, 06:54 »
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The problem that I'd have with recommending DT is that their 'Relevancy' often produces awful results with multiple near-identical crappy images from the same contributor.

Just took a look at DT and would agree with gostwyck. 

« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2010, 07:46 »
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It's strange how virtually everyone here, mainly sellers of course, champions the virtues of DT. However, as we all know from our own sales, most of the the real buyers don't. Why is this?
Perhaps because there are many types of buyers. I need the largest possible selection, editorial and raster graphics. Since I don't like to spend more than 30 mins per day for my 6 euro (3x2 euro commissions) and I also need to read the article in that time and email the suggestions, searching should be superfast. The best match of IS is slow and doesn't give the right relevance > longer searches. DT is just, well..., faster.
It's not a self-vested interest since 1 - SS makes me more, and 2 - I don't buy my own images, as a rule.
QC on IS might be better but for a 400-800px image, it doesn't matter whether the feathering is 1 or 2px; or there is some "distortion".
Different buyers, different needs.


RT


« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2010, 08:03 »
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It's strange how virtually everyone here, mainly sellers of course, champions the virtues of DT. However, as we all know from our own sales, most of the the real buyers don't. Why is this?

Because they don't do enough marketing, open any magazine to do with any part of the industry and you'll most probably find adverts from iStock, Shutterstock and Fotolia, I have never ever seen an advert from Dreamstime. If buyers don't know they exist how do Dreamstime expect to attract them to the site. Go into any design office and you'll see a stack of related magazines that everyone in the company reads. I also know that Fotolia has a very active sales team in the UK that constantly target potential customers.

Existing and having a great site, good database of quality images but relying on Google searches is not enough IMO, direct marketing works, it always has and always will. Look at all the sites that have tried and failed and you'll see a common denominator - bad marketing.

« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2010, 08:59 »
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It's strange how virtually everyone here, mainly sellers of course, champions the virtues of DT. However, as we all know from our own sales, most of the the real buyers don't. Why is this?

Because they don't do enough marketing, open any magazine to do with any part of the industry and you'll most probably find adverts from iStock, Shutterstock and Fotolia, I have never ever seen an advert from Dreamstime. If buyers don't know they exist how do Dreamstime expect to attract them to the site. Go into any design office and you'll see a stack of related magazines that everyone in the company reads. I also know that Fotolia has a very active sales team in the UK that constantly target potential customers.

Existing and having a great site, good database of quality images but relying on Google searches is not enough IMO, direct marketing works, it always has and always will. Look at all the sites that have tried and failed and you'll see a common denominator - bad marketing.

I was also going to make this point. Thanks for saving me lots of typing.

helix7

« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2010, 09:34 »
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Because they don't do enough marketing, open any magazine to do with any part of the industry and you'll most probably find adverts from iStock, Shutterstock and Fotolia, I have never ever seen an advert from Dreamstime. If buyers don't know they exist how do Dreamstime expect to attract them to the site. Go into any design office and you'll see a stack of related magazines that everyone in the company reads...

Totally true. I haven't seen a DT ad in an industry publication in a long time. I do remember seeing an ad once a while back, but not recently. istock and SS are good at maintaining a presence in magazines. If only to keep their names in minds of designers, it's worthwhile to run the ads. istock sometimes even runs multiple ads in one issue of a magazine.

Dreamstime would be wise to invest in some ad insertions.

« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2010, 09:41 »
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Lots of you are quick to praise some of the 'up and coming' sites like Featurepics and Cutcaster for being generous to contributors and talk big about how you hope they become more successful, yet not a single one of you would recommend them.

Interesting.

helix7

« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2010, 10:01 »
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Lots of you are quick to praise some of the 'up and coming' sites like Featurepics and Cutcaster for being generous to contributors and talk big about how you hope they become more successful, yet not a single one of you would recommend them.

Interesting.


Doesn't seem so odd. I do hope Cutcaster gets bigger, but I'm not going to recommend them to buyers. They just aren't that big of a site yet to fully endorse.

There's a big difference between hoping for a site to do well and throwing your support behind it by recommending it to friends, clients, colleagues, etc.

« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2010, 18:48 »
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Lots of you are quick to praise some of the 'up and coming' sites like Featurepics and Cutcaster for being generous to contributors and talk big about how you hope they become more successful, yet not a single one of you would recommend them.

Interesting.

In fact, I mentioned them, and I would direct a buyer to my own portfolio there.  However, for a general buyer, I don't know if FP is a good choice after the changes.


 

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