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Author Topic: Uploading Strategies  (Read 10203 times)

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« on: February 28, 2008, 14:22 »
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I've been thinking lately about uploading strategy. The initial exposure an image gets can play a large role in its long-term performance, and I'm curious about the uploading strategies people use in an attempt to maximize this.

I typically upload in batches of 10 images.
For fast turnaround sites (FT, StockXpert, 123) I upload on Saturday through Wednesday so that images will be entered into the database on weekdays.
For sites that hold images in a queue (DT, BigStock, CS) I upload on weekdays.
For SS I upload as soon as my current batch is approved on Friday through Wednesday so that images are entered into the database on Monday through Friday. It was pretty fast to get images on SS when they approved batches daily, but it's taking longer to build my portfolio now that inspection time has increased.
For IS I upload in batches of 5 as soon as a window opens.

Am I overthinking things?
What is your approach?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2008, 14:38 by sharply_done »


« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2008, 14:45 »
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I also upload in batches of about 10.

For SS I try to upload on a Friday evening (GMT), I usually get an email from SS to say they've reviewed them on Sunday evening and then hopefully they appear in the database on Monday or Tuesday.

I don't have a strategy for the other sites and usually upload in the order they appear in my FTP client list.

Then I upload to IS, Alamy and Photoshelter in that order, submitting only RM images to the two macro agencies.

« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2008, 14:53 »
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We've been in microstock almost since the start, and in that time have done various things, such as uploading everything everywhere at the same time, not uploading to a particular site because of the commission structure, not uploading anywhere for several weeks because we were travelling, then catching up with big batches,

I can honestly say that it doesn't seem to make much difference. Our total income has risen at a fairly even pace.

I'm now experimenting with uploading only to IS, although I have just sent a few to SS, since IS upload limits have left me with time on my hands. So far, same story, it hasn't made any difference, we will have our BME by approximately the usual amount.

I'm currently deleting our portfolio from one site,  so the next  couple of months will be interesting. Can IS cover it? Time will tell.

If this continues, I suppose going exclusive would make sense, although I can still think of reasons for not doing so (eggs in one basket etc).

Linda


« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2008, 15:37 »
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Well, the only site where i really bother to upload on specific dates is SS, i usually try to upload on friday or saturday nowadays, so that my batches are approved on monday or tuesday.

Looking at my download stats at SS, it's pretty evident my images have a very short life span. It usually goes something like this (with hypothetical numbers):

Day after approval: 100 dl
2nd day after approval: 80 dl
3rd day after approval: 60 dl

And then it keeps going down.. slower but going down nonetheless.  That's the one thing i really, really dislike about SS.

« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2008, 16:00 »
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When a batch is ready to go, I upload it to all the sites at the same time.  End of story.  Most photos on most sites never get viewed right away anyway, so it really doesn't matter when they are uploaded.  And since I upload new batches several times a week, waiting for a specific day for a specific site would seriously impact my workflow. 

rinderart

« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2008, 12:20 »
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When a batch is ready to go, I upload it to all the sites at the same time.  End of story.  Most photos on most sites never get viewed right away anyway, so it really doesn't matter when they are uploaded.  And since I upload new batches several times a week, waiting for a specific day for a specific site would seriously impact my workflow. 

Agree

« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2008, 13:22 »
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When a batch is ready to go, I upload it to all the sites at the same time.  End of story.  Most photos on most sites never get viewed right away anyway, so it really doesn't matter when they are uploaded.  And since I upload new batches several times a week, waiting for a specific day for a specific site would seriously impact my workflow. 

I don't agree.

If your images gets aproved on SS on late Friday and during the weekend , not only that you are loosing large percent of downloads you will probably get if they were approved on Monday but your images are sinking in the "most popular" search  so they get pushed back faster and you are again loosing downloads that images could get in the later stage.

My personal opinion is that if an Image gets approved there on Saturday the chances of becoming "popular" are reduced.

« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2008, 14:55 »
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Quote
waiting for a specific day for a specific site would seriously impact my workflow.

I agree with this totally. When I get pictures done, I start to upload. It gets way to confusing to try to upload 2 here...10 here...5 here.  If I have 20 photos done they all get uploaded...to all sites. Work flow is everything to me. I have a system and it works so I stick with it. Sometimes my photos get approved on SS on Saturday....sometimes on Monday....it doesnt really seem to matter they still get downloads.  I'm sure there is some advantage to upload your photos for they show up at the beginning of the week, but if you upload a lot of photos all the time.....it's not worth worrying about timing. Just put quality photos up and they will sell continuously....no matter when you upload them.

dbvirago

« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2008, 19:25 »
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When a batch is ready to go, I upload it to all the sites at the same time.  End of story.  Most photos on most sites never get viewed right away anyway, so it really doesn't matter when they are uploaded.  And since I upload new batches several times a week, waiting for a specific day for a specific site would seriously impact my workflow. 

Agree

Same here. I upload in batches of 5 - one or two batches a day 5-7 days a week to all sites.

« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 19:42 »
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I upload to StockXpert first for the fast reviews with a reasonable feedback for technical rejections.  Then I upload to FT, which is usually fast too.  Less picky sites come next.  If the image is doing well in acceptance, then I upload it to IS and last to DT (because of the effect of acceptance ratio).

I also upload only one image of a series first.  If I have problems with it - technical or "non-stock image" - I get selective to what to do with the rest of the batch.

Regards,
Adelaide

gbcimages

« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 20:07 »
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I upload anytime,I don't worry about order or whatever

« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2008, 20:16 »
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I upload anytime,I don't worry about order or whatever
I do the same
and one of the reasons  why I am not concerned about when to upload is that it is not alway possible to know when your images would be approved.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2008, 20:30 by stokfoto »

vonkara

« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2008, 20:18 »
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  If the image is doing well in acceptance, then I upload it to IS and last to DT (because of the effect of acceptance ratio).



Mmm... I have to say that I do the same thing, but I'm affraid that other micros do the same about acceptance rate. On the other hand, I sometimes don't submit pictures whit a higher degres of technical difficulty to DT even when accepted at IS, because I don't know how DT will understand what I try to do whit my subject or anything like that.

I also think that having files rejected for "it's not exactly what we looking for" is  iresponsible while they know that whitout technical quality problem, this rejection is going to affect the whole portfolio in a way


« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2008, 00:26 »
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I have found out I do much better with approvals and selling if:

 I have spent countless hours developing this technique

1. I only upload on days of the week that end in "Y".
2. Only upload if the images are on my computer.
3. Only upload images I have created within the last 20 years.
4. Only if I am a registered user of the stock site I'm uploading to.
5. Only upload images I have created.

If I follow theses 5 rules, I find that I have more than a 90% chance
Of making money, while having the images approved also.

« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2008, 00:30 »
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So ... I gather that the overwhelming consensus here is initial exposure of an image plays at best such a minimal role in its long-term performance that I'm wasting my time by trying to maximize and/or control it. True?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 00:50 by sharply_done »

« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2008, 01:57 »
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So ... I gather that the overwhelming consensus here is initial exposure of an image plays at best such a minimal role in its long-term performance that I'm wasting my time by trying to maximize and/or control it. True?

Spending the same time taking one more photo is probably more useful.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2008, 07:12 »
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So ... I gather that the overwhelming consensus here is initial exposure of an image plays at best such a minimal role in its long-term performance that I'm wasting my time by trying to maximize and/or control it. True?
Absolutely not true, depending on the site and the quantity of similar images being uploaded by other contributors. You are correct in thinking that to maximize performance that images should be approved during primetime.

So, here are a couple of scenarios for SS:

1. Timed uploading - Image gets approved on a Monday afternoon. Buyers who use the Newest First search option will see your image in the first few rows and will download it like crazy for the entire week because it's new. It has been downloaded so many times that it's now showing high placement for the buyers who use the Most Downloaded search option. Although it drops off the New Image search, it sells well because it continues to show up high for the Most Downloaded search for its keywords.

2. "Whenever" uploading - Image gets approved on a Friday evening. It sits all weekend on the New Image list with few to zero downloads.  Because it hasn't had any downloads, it doesn't make the Most Dowloaded cut for its keywords and is now pushed off the New Images search results by the gazillion other images being uploaded. It now starts its downward spiral into the search abyss 50 pages back where few buyers bother looking.

The one caveat is the number of competing images being uploaded. If it's a popular subject that has a ton of contributors uploading, you may only have a day or a few hours before you're pushed off the New Images search. If it's not a popular subject and few people are uploading similar images, the image will probably stay on the New Image search for days or weeks. But, if it's not a popular subject, it probably won't sell well anyway.

So in summary, a potentially good selling image may sell like crazy or crap depending on the momentum it makes when it's first approved.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 07:14 by Nazdravie »


« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2008, 10:34 »
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I agree with what Nazdravie says about uploading to SS.  Also it's been proved that a quick sale on IS helps an image to take off so being approved on a Monday gives an image a lot more possibilities of a quick sale than if it's approved on a Friday.  Unfortunately it's a lot more difficult to get the timing right at IS than it is at SS

« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2008, 14:13 »
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So ... I gather that the overwhelming consensus here is initial exposure of an image plays at best such a minimal role in its long-term performance that I'm wasting my time by trying to maximize and/or control it. True?

Spending the same time taking one more photo is probably more useful.

100% agree.

And I also refuse to let SS or any other site dictate my workflow.  Good images will sell no matter what.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2008, 14:43 »
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100% agree.
And I also refuse to let SS or any other site dictate my workflow.  Good images will sell no matter what.

SS isn't dictating your workflow but should you ignore buying patterns and how they affect your sales?

Karin, you're a reviewer. Am I missing something you can shed more light on about this?

« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2008, 16:59 »
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If my experience as a reviewer has taught me anything, it's that queues are fickle little beasts.  It's never stable, so it's nearly impossible to gauge when a batch will be approved and go live online.  All you can really do is cross your fingers and hope for the best, because the process isn't always instantaneous or predictable.

Contributors at any given time never know how long the queue is, how many submissions are ahead of it, if there is a shortage of reviewers due to illness/vacation/time off, if there has been a surge in uploads, etc.  There are also other factors involved, like the time between the review to when the images show up in your portfolio to actually going live for the buyers.  Sometimes the servers go down.  A lot of reviewers work only on the weekends, so the chances your images will be reviewed on the weekend might actually be higher.  As you can see, there's a lot of things that can prevent uploading strategies from working.

It's best to just get on with it, upload and not worry about strategies.  I've been contributing to the micros for more than two years, and have never seen any of the strategies work for any period of time because of the factors I've mentioned.     
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 23:40 by Karimala »

« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2008, 17:33 »
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Queues are fickle little beasts.  It's never stable, so it's nearly impossible to gauge when a batch will be approved and go live online.  All you can really do is cross your fingers and hope for the best, because the process isn't always instantaneous or predictable.

Contributors at any given time never know how long the queue is, how many submissions are ahead of it, if there is a shortage of reviewers due to illness/vacation/time off, if there has been a surge in uploads, etc.  There are also other factors involved, like the time between the review to when the images show up in your portfolio to actually going live for the buyers.  Sometimes the servers go down.  A lot of reviewers work only on the weekends, so the chances your images will be reviewed on the weekend might actually be higher.  As you can see, there's a lot of things that can prevent uploading strategies from working.

   


Again I cannot agree with you.

I'm uploading for year and a half on SS , almost always on same day and I know exactly almost in hours when will they get reviewed , and when will approved stuff show up in search engine.  As I recall they messed up once or twice in all that time so you dont have to be  Nostradamus for that. 

It a proof that it can be done , probably on every site , but some of them are taking that part more seriously than others.

dbvirago

« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2008, 18:37 »
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So ... I gather that the overwhelming consensus here is initial exposure of an image plays at best such a minimal role in its long-term performance that I'm wasting my time by trying to maximize and/or control it. True?

I don't think it's a waste of time, just not necessarily a good ROI. Early on, I had a fairly complicated method of uploading to different sites. I would first upload to W, X,Y, and Z. Based on acceptance, I would then upload highly accepted files to A, B, and C. Then again based on rates, I would upload to the last sites. My acceptance rates, especially on the last sites, i.e. SS was higher then, but not enough to make it worth all that effort. Now I upload all to all at the same time. About 45 minutes, I'm done for the day.

Or to put it another way, if you were able to upload 4 times as many images because your workflow was more efficient, what would that do to your income?

« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2008, 18:43 »
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I'm with Nazdravie on this one regarding SS.  It's worth timing your upload so your submission is searchable on Monday giving it the whole week to be downloaded.

« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2008, 21:07 »
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I will agree that uploading strategies have the best chance of working at SS, because of how their search engine is programmed.  But timing uploads to the other sites doesn't show any measurable effect, because their search engines and reviewing processes work much differently.

Quote
Or to put it another way, if you were able to upload 4 times as many images because your workflow was more efficient, what would that do to your income?

Darryl makes an excellent point.  If I followed some of the advice on these forums, like uploading only on certain days of the week to specific sites, uploading only small batches at a time, uploading to low selling sites, etc., I wouldn't get anywhere.  Believe me...I've tried every complicated strategy imaginable in 2 1/2 years, and it's the simple efficient workflow that works.   

RacePhoto

« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2008, 21:53 »
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OK so I'm reading the thread and one person says, it's hard to time SS reviews, another says they can figure it down to the hours. One says upload so they are approved on Monday, but another says don't upload on Friday?

Quote
For SS I upload as soon as my current batch is approved on Friday through Wednesday so that images are entered into the database on Monday through Friday.

Review times vary and if some people think this is better and we know weekends at more popular for uploads, which will skew the cue... I don't see how anyone can predict things so they will always start showing on Mondays.

What's the secret minute, and day, to upload, so they don't get approved on the weekend, but start appearing on Monday?  :D
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 21:57 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2008, 10:41 »
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I'm had an interesting experience at SS this week.  A batch of 14 were approved Sunday afternoon, so I thought "Cool...they should be live for buyers Monday afternoon and I should start seeing sales."  Wrong!  They didn't go live until late Monday night. 

In the meantime while I was waiting, I checked to see if they had gone live outside my own portfolio.  What I discovered was photos numbering above 9964000 had gone live, while mine which started at #9892378 had not.  So...what that means is my photos in popular categories were buried right from the start and had no chance to catch a sales wave.  Today it's the same story.  I have a batch of 40 waiting for review starting at #9976837, and there are already photos live and ready for sale in 10001000's.

If SS's reviewers are jumping ahead in the queue and reviewing batches out of order, then that right there makes any uploading strategy null and void, in my opinion. 


CofkoCof

« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2008, 18:09 »
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There is another thing that can make your picture sell or sink in oblivion (at least at SS). It's indexing of you images. I think they do it a couple of times per day or when there is a certain ammount of new images unindexed. Why would indexing be important? Imagine that thea do it twice a day. One of you batches gets accepted just after the new images were indexed and has to wait half a day for the next round. Till it happens a lot of new images get accepted and those will get indexed at the same time as yours and will show on top of yours (if you use newest first). So best thing that can happen is that your images get accepted just before the indexing :D Well that's my theory, not sure if it's true and even if it is it won't help me much since I can't predict all those thing so I could benefit from it.

EDIT: Typos.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 18:16 by CofkoCof »

dbvirago

« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2008, 19:35 »
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I'm had an interesting experience at SS this week.  A batch of 14 were approved Sunday afternoon, so I thought "Cool...they should be live for buyers Monday afternoon and I should start seeing sales."  Wrong!  They didn't go live until late Monday night. 

In the meantime while I was waiting, I checked to see if they had gone live outside my own portfolio.  What I discovered was photos numbering above 9964000 had gone live, while mine which started at #9892378 had not.  So...what that means is my photos in popular categories were buried right from the start and had no chance to catch a sales wave.  Today it's the same story.  I have a batch of 40 waiting for review starting at #9976837, and there are already photos live and ready for sale in 10001000's.

If SS's reviewers are jumping ahead in the queue and reviewing batches out of order, then that right there makes any uploading strategy null and void, in my opinion. 

I have a feeling they just lost some reviewers or just hired some new ones. Review process has been a little odd lately.

« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2008, 09:41 »
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Yes, I have found the indexing totally crazy lately.  One batch will be live the same morning I see the approval, and the next won't be for a couple days.

« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2008, 11:50 »
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It depends on who you are. More specifically, your subject and your quantity of images. One of the top selling contributors on Shutterstock says his statistical analysis shows a massive difference in download quantity for images that go live on Monday. He has his finger on the pulse of the amount of time it takes for images to go live after they're submitted, so he knows when to submit.  Naturally, that delay varies over time and has the occasional hiccup, but he uploads a lot so he's intimately aware of any variation.

However, this doesn't work for me. I'm lucky if one of my new images that goes live on a Monday sells 5 times in the day. Whereas the above mentioned guru is likely measuring that metric with three figures (an assumption). But that's because he's uploading amazing images of popular subjects - very different from what I contribute.

So while we each do our own testing and form our own theories, they're only useful for ourselves. What works for you won't necessarily work for others. In other words, your mileage may vary. Find what works for you, and keep testing it as your photography and processes evolve.


« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2008, 17:49 »
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... He has his finger on the pulse of the amount of time it takes for images to go live after they're submitted, so he knows when to submit.  Naturally, that delay varies over time and has the occasional hiccup, but he uploads a lot so he's intimately aware of any variation.
...
Gee, who'd have thunk it?


 

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