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Author Topic: Visible Download Numbers and Portfolio Protection  (Read 14647 times)

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« on: October 28, 2011, 05:04 »
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Hi everyone,

I would like to invite you to a discussion about the use and abuse of visible download numbers. I contribute to both istock and Getty and I am very grateful that Getty does not display my download numbers. In all the time I have been there I have never seen anyone trying to copy my files.

This year I didnt have much time to shoot, but next year, I will make a big push for Getty and fill any slots I have, because I really feel like my hard work is much better protected there.

istock has introduced the "fuzzy numbers" to help protect the new files. But because the number of sales have fallen with rising prices, any file that has more than 10 downloads in 6 months is still a very visible bestseller.

And the files with flames, well they just scream to be copied. When you do a best match search for xmas right now you can easily see the blue flames right next to the copies or "creatively inspired" ones. It also forces teh artist with bestsellers to continuosly reshoot them, otherwise all downloads go to the copy cats. This leads to endless duplications and I think is a reason why so many stock sites are boring and bland.

For the istock exclusives there is the additional problem that our bestsellers get copied by independents and are uploaded to other sites. Of course I know anyone active here would never do such a thing ;-). But the visible download numbers on exclusive files are fuelling the competition.

Now of course I do use download numbers when I do my market research on a new subject. Say, I want to create a series on pumpkin pie, with or without people. Of course I will look at the download numbers and analyse the style of the successful files. But I think I could be just as creative if I did a search without the download numbers.

In fact, if the download numbers were NOT visible I think it would then become interesting to shoot something that is different to what is already in the library. It encourages you to stand out and make something new.

Customers can still be offered a search by "popularity", but this doesnt tell them if the top images have been downloaded 100 or 10 000 times.
They are buying RF images at very low prices and they always have the risk that their competition chooses the same file.

It would be wonderful if istock gradually removed the DL numbers and works more like Getty. I think it is one of the reasons the Getty portfolio has so much unique and unusual content (I love their style).

No Download numbers - no incentive to copy.

So what do you think?

Is showing the numbers essential for success, learning or the customers?

Are copy cats a big problem for you and does it affect how you work? Do you have any strategies that help against them?

I would be interested in hearing opinions from all players - contributors, customers, agencies.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 05:15 by cobalt »


« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 06:16 »
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 08:05 »
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Copycats are a real problem. Each time I've done an absolutely original concept and has been succesful, has been copied. Most (but not all) serial copycats are weak photographer's. All I can do is re-shoot and report.

« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 08:11 »
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Quote
Customers can still be offered a search by "popularity", but this doesnt tell them if the top images have been downloaded 100 or 10 000 times.
They are buying RF images at very low prices and they always have the risk that their competition chooses the same file.

So if images can still be sorted by popularity, and copycats want to copy, which they are going to do, what difference does the exact number or fuzzy number make? Numbers or not, copycats, thieves and cheaters are going to find a way to do just that.

Quote
Now of course I do use download numbers when I do my market research on a new subject. Say, I want to create a series on pumpkin pie, with or without people. Of course I will look at the download numbers and analyse the style of the successful files. But I think I could be just as creative if I did a search without the download numbers.

As a buyer, that's exactly what I use it for too, therefore it is helpful to some buyers to have the numbers. I can't imagine that my buying habits are too much different than the rest of the buyers in the world.

Quote
For the istock exclusives there is the additional problem that our bestsellers get copied by independents and are uploaded to other sites. Of course I know anyone active here would never do such a thing ;-). But the visible download numbers on exclusive files are fuelling the competition.

Exclusives aren't the only creative geniuses in the world.  ;) Many times I have run across images that look very similar to mine and I think "hey that person copied me". I go check, they have uploaded before me. And I KNOW I don't copy anybody, exclusive or otherwise. I read a lot of magazines and internet articles. Images flood my everyday life. Inspiration can come from anywhere and I personally don't believe that I can come up with any idea (or any other photographer, for that matter) that hasn't already been done by someone in the world at least once.* Sometimes that's just going to happen and you either accept the whole crowdsourcing model or you move to RM (or Getty).

*A great example, most recently...the apple logo with Steve Jobs silhouette on it. Turns out someone did that way before the version circulating after Jobs' death was a copy. Yet, IIRC, those two people lived in different parts of the world.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 08:15 by cclapper »

fujiko

« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 08:13 »
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For the istock exclusives there is the additional problem that our bestsellers get copied by independents and are uploaded to other sites. Of course I know anyone active here would never do such a thing ;-). But the visible download numbers on exclusive files are fuelling the competition.

What about popular independent photos and illustrations copied by istock exclusives?

SS popular images are copied in days and SS doesn't show DL numbers at all. Regardless of the downloads displayed or not, people always copy what is most popular. And the easy way to guess the amount of downloads is to look at the ID, older popular images have more downloads. There is another easy way, copy the popular contributors, their images have lots of downloads.

Do you want to remove popular sort of all agencies? Sure it would be much easier in many aspects if the search was random. And much better if there were no contributor names and image ID was also random.

« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2011, 08:20 »
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For the istock exclusives there is the additional problem that our bestsellers get copied by independents and are uploaded to other sites. Of course I know anyone active here would never do such a thing ;-). But the visible download numbers on exclusive files are fuelling the competition.

What about popular independent photos and illustrations copied by istock exclusives?

SS popular images are copied in days and SS doesn't show DL numbers at all. Regardless of the downloads displayed or not, people always copy what is most popular. And the easy way to guess the amount of downloads is to look at the ID, older popular images have more downloads. There is another easy way, copy the popular contributors, their images have lots of downloads.

Do you want to remove popular sort of all agencies? Sure it would be much easier in many aspects if the search was random. And much better if there were no contributor names and image ID was also random.

And while we're at it, maybe the crown icons should be removed, as well as download numbers. After all, that could lead a copycat to copy only exclusives work, using the rationale that you (cobalt) use...exclusives' photos must be better and must be the original.

Quote
SS popular images are copied in days and SS doesn't show DL numbers at all.

Exactly.

Maybe a question to istock should rather be...why are you not protecting exclusive's work from copycats and why are you allowing other contributors to upload copies of your work?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 08:22 by cclapper »

« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2011, 08:40 »
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So if images can still be sorted by popularity, and copycats want to copy, which they are going to do, what difference does the exact number or fuzzy number make?

For example: you search for "apples" and get results sorted by popularoty. Then you search "oranges" and get results and sort them by popularity. If you have numbers visible you know what sells better, apples or oranges. If numbers aren't visible, you can only guess.

« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2011, 08:44 »
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Exclusives aren't the only creative geniuses in the world.  ;) Many times I have run across images that look very similar to mine and I think "hey that person copied me". I go check, they have uploaded before me. And I KNOW I don't copy anybody, exclusive or otherwise. I read a lot of magazines and internet articles. Images flood my everyday life. Inspiration can come from anywhere and I personally don't believe that I can come up with any idea (or any other photographer, for that matter) that hasn't already been done by someone in the world at least once.* Sometimes that's just going to happen and you either accept the whole crowdsourcing model or you move to RM (or Getty).

*A great example, most recently...the apple logo with Steve Jobs silhouette on it. Turns out someone did that way before the version circulating after Jobs' death was a copy. Yet, IIRC, those two people lived in different parts of the world.

It is called convergent evolution, and is common everywhere. Even the concept of evolution was discovered by two people at det same time.

« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2011, 09:14 »
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So if images can still be sorted by popularity, and copycats want to copy, which they are going to do, what difference does the exact number or fuzzy number make?

For example: you search for "apples" and get results sorted by popularoty. Then you search "oranges" and get results and sort them by popularity. If you have numbers visible you know what sells better, apples or oranges. If numbers aren't visible, you can only guess.

Good point. But frankly, I think it's moot. Getty is turning istock into the Getty model, so I expect that the DL numbers will disappear anyway at some point. And since buyers are bailing and going elsewhere, they are unnecessary for them. As I see it, you could blame Getty for the whole copycat problem. Those DL numbers didn't seem to be an issue for anyone until Getty bought the place. Once they turned the site into a competitive free-for-all, pitting contributors against each other for every last stinkin penny, the numbers and flames were basically a pat on the back and reward for the contributors, a means of recognition for a job well done.

Ah, the good old days.  ;)

« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2011, 09:39 »
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You can find complains in the IS forums about copycats since, al least, 2004.

helix7

« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2011, 10:36 »
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I used to think the DL numbers were useful to buyers, allowing them to get an idea for how many licenses have been issued for a particular image. If they want an image that is more exclusive to them, they could purchase an image with very few DLs and know that very few other companies are using that image in their marketing materials, designs, websites, etc.

But I don't think that's really much of a concern to buyers anymore. Getty has never revealed that info and yet people keep buying images there. Maybe just under the assumption that Getty images aren't as widely used because of the higher prices. But even within microstock, DL numbers aren't revealed by many sites. SS is the top microstock site and buyers there don't seem to mind at all that DL numbers aren't shown.

I'm all for getting rid of visible stats and those "Most Popular" lists. Neither are useful to buyers, and the popular lists like the one on SS only encourage copying.

« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2011, 10:54 »
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We're all copycats, we're humans and that's the way we do it. Look, learn and alter. That's called evolution. Keeping knowledge private is just stupid and contra productive in the long run.

« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 11:02 »
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Unfortunately, it's part of the system. It's probably unavoidable. When you let everybody in, some of them may not have the best of character or intentions. Even if they do, a little bit of inspiration or similar ideas happen all the time. Especially when you put thousands of contributors together all working towards the same end goal.

I would think the only way to stop it would be to really regulate your contributors, and that may not benefit most of us.

« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2011, 12:43 »
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Thank you for the many replies, looks like it is a painful subject for all of us.

I didnt mean to allude that istock exclusive content was "better" than independent content or that the exclusives would never copy independent files. Sorry, if it came across like that, that was not my intention.

But istock has within the exclusive community quite a few very original artists and I believe if the download numbers were not visible their work would be better protected, especially those who are good enough to get every file into Vetta or Agency.

I know that a search by popularity will give the customer an indication of which files sell best, but it is one thing to see "popular" file, it is something else to see it has over 14 000 Downloads...I am sure I am not the only one who in his mind just multiplies by 2 or 3 and adds a dollar sign behind that number....

And for new content it is terrible if your files get copied within the first year.

I know we cant patent our work and we are all so influenced by all the images we see all the time that very files are truly unique...and yet...we all know how crucial small details can be to give the image "flow", it can be the angle of a hand, a prop that is slightly tilted, a piece of cloth in the background with just the right colour to make it all work...

And when you compare the "original" blue flamer with the copy, those who copy rarely get it right as good as the successful file.

That is because they dont truly understand the necessary attention to detail.

But often if it just gives you 80% of the feeling but if it comes up first in best match...

So although getty only pays 20%, I really want to upload more there. I will also try to give them the more unusual or creative files where I am not sure if the file might sell in high volume. But their customers seem to appreciate uniqueness.

May I ask which Agencies out there do not show number of downloads? And are these agencies less profitable than those who show downloads? This might help us understand how many customers prefer agencies that offer this (of course that is not the only reason for teh success of an agency).

Are the agencies that dont show download numbers slow sellers?

« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2011, 13:25 »
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The download numbers, flames, 'most popular' lists exist at Istock precisely because Istock WANT contributors to identify the market's preferences and create more content like it. The numbers are there to encourage 'copiers' and always have been. Istock used to hide image keywords but then later made them viewable, much to the angst of some contributors who thought that their keywording skills gave them an advantage. Istock have given much thought and provided many tools for copiers to take advantage of, quite deliberately.

« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2011, 14:09 »
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You really think so?

I always thought the download numbers and flames were from the early days of istock, when file sharing was free or cheap. It was a fun way to get recognized.

I still enjoy seeing my files burst into flames, its like a badge of honour for that file, but unfortunately now I really depend on the money and with
120 000 photographers, the copycats make a painful impact, so painful, that I wish I could extinguish all flames and hide my numbers.

« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2011, 14:18 »
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Total Contributors: 37506


« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2011, 14:24 »
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Total Contributors: 37506

False. Many more. Tha'ts just the total number of contributors that have opted in to be showcased at istockcharts.de

« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2011, 14:27 »
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Total Contributors: 37506

False. Many more. Tha'ts just the total number of contributors that have opted in to be showcased at istockcharts.de

the opted out arent the ? ? ? ?

« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2011, 14:36 »
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No, istockcharts has only those photographers whose names have been added to teh list and most people no longer refer to it. So the majority of people isnt on there. It was never officially supported by istock as far as I know and it is the reason for the "fuzzy" numbers. It was used by too many people to sort by daily downloads and identify copy targets for the season.

Jonathan Klein said istock/getty have 120 000 photographers in the interview mentioned here somewhere. A lot of these are just registered but not active, but still, a huge number.

Ed

« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2011, 14:38 »
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I think hiding download numbers is a bad idea.  If a customer is looking for a unique image, but doesn't want to go the RM route, this is a way they can see that the same image is less likely to show up in a competing ad campaign.

With relation to people who copy things - yes, it's a problem...and it will continue to be a problem as long as buyers post in image request forums "we need an image like this one on x site".  This happens quite a bit.

I also believe that some of the copying is unintentional.  I have some images I shot for a client (commissioned work) where I was shooting a hand, with a blue glove, holding an ampule.  The only reason I used a blue glove was because that's what my client handed me to use.  Today, I discovered similar images from another contributor that had been uploaded prior.  The reason my buyer (who is a personal friend) asked me to shoot the images is because she said she could not find anything at the micros (and she did look).

Sometimes, it just happens based on chance...or not so best match.

« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2011, 14:45 »
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I'm sure that when the numbers and flames were first introduced they weren't intended to encourage copying. They were there before 100,000 files were online. But I'm pretty sure that they stayed there despite complaints because management wanted everyone to know what the most popular types of image are so they could be "inspired" by them. Shutterstock's most popular serve a similar purpose.

« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2011, 16:36 »
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It would make copying slightly harder to identify the very highest downloaded photos but basically anything that is at the top of the best match older than 1 month old would be a good target.

To my thought it would just spread the copying across a wider range of photos. Yes it may reduce copying of photos with 5000 downloads and people may choose to copy the one with only 90 downloads.


Do a search on Istock best match for say

woman shopping
man holding money
grunge background

The files in the first page of the best match all have heaps of downloads. Independents probably don't have to worry to much as it dominated by exclusive,vetta and agency. Only independents are  monkeybusiness and yuri's photos.

Searches on less popular areas bunch the heavily downloaded photos at the front.

Copying photos that appear at the top of the best match would be just as effective for a copycat as at the end of the day position in the best match is so heavily weighted by downloads and the future chance of getting downloads is reliant on best match position.
i.e. copy for search position not download numbers.

« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2011, 16:44 »
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Thinking a little more I can see the arguement that it does encourage people to get into microstock seeing the download numbers.

I remember when I was working out whether to submit to microstock I did some searches and saw photos with hundreds of downloads that weren't that special. I thought "So I do have hundreds of photos on my hardrive collected dust that could earn me money"  :)

« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2011, 16:57 »
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That is indeed a good argument in favor of those numbers. But is there still a lack of photographers?

By the way, getty doesnt have a search by popularity. They just have their own form of best match and a search by file age/newest.

Are there other successful agencies without a "popularity" search?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 16:59 by cobalt »

« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2011, 17:28 »
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but basically anything that is at the top of the best match older than 1 month old would be a good target.

Okay, then let's get rid of the upload date too!

« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2011, 17:29 »
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That is indeed a good argument in favor of those numbers. But is there still a lack of photographers?

By the way, getty doesnt have a search by popularity. They just have their own form of best match and a search by file age/newest.

Are there other successful agencies without a "popularity" search?

Now that I'm in the door it can be shut tight. ;)


« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2011, 17:35 »
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but basically anything that is at the top of the best match older than 1 month old would be a good target.

Okay, then let's get rid of the upload date too!

okay good point.

however I think it would only make it slightly harder again to zero in on the best sellers.
My thoughts are that if copy anything except the absolute dogs that appears at the top of the best match it would be 95% as effective as copying by download sort.

I'm not trying to justify the copiers just my opion.
 

« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2011, 04:16 »
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but basically anything that is at the top of the best match older than 1 month old would be a good target.

Okay, then let's get rid of the upload date too!

But this would mean some serious work - taking regular screenshots of searches etc...of course there might be people with enough criminal energy, but if you can deter the "normal" copycats, wouldnt that be an improvement?

« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2011, 06:24 »
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Are copy cats a big problem for you and does it affect how you work? Do you have any strategies that help against them?
Yes, badly, no. Even if sales numbers are hidden, they still will find you in the search engine. Some even hang out here (MSG) to lurk for your flames. That's why I don't put links here any more. Sorry. You're right.

« Reply #30 on: October 29, 2011, 12:11 »
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I find the download stats immensely helpful when I have what I think is an unusual concept. I'll scan through what my key words would be to see if that niche is already occupied with decent images. Only if my concept is better than what's there will I proceed with my image.

If the keywords show very few images or lots of decent images with very low downloads relative to the ages of the images I won't waste my time proceeding. Saves me lots of time and effort.

If there are no images with those keywords I need to honestly decide if I have a goldmine or just another goofy idea nobody wants. That dilemma is the most fun I get out of this business.

« Reply #31 on: October 29, 2011, 14:23 »
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Are copy cats a big problem for you and does it affect how you work? Do you have any strategies that help against them?
Yes, badly, no. Even if sales numbers are hidden, they still will find you in the search engine. Some even hang out here (MSG) to lurk for your flames. That's why I don't put links here any more. Sorry. You're right.

I have heard that people do that and some friends have suggested to avoid all online forums to not attract attention to your portfolio. But for myself I am convinced that download stats visible in searches are my biggest enemy.

But I understand why you do it. Maybe it is a good strategy.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2011, 05:56 »
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I find the download stats immensely helpful when I have what I think is an unusual concept. I'll scan through what my key words would be to see if that niche is already occupied with decent images. Only if my concept is better than what's there will I proceed with my image.

If the keywords show very few images or lots of decent images with very low downloads relative to the ages of the images I won't waste my time proceeding. Saves me lots of time and effort.

If there are no images with those keywords I need to honestly decide if I have a goldmine or just another goofy idea nobody wants. That dilemma is the most fun I get out of this business.

Same here. It helps me find holes and figure out if it's worth my time.

But at the same time as I'm trying to find holes I'm also finding the copycats.  @#$!% unbelievable. It's almost like they have my portfolio bookmarked and are waiting to see what stuff of mine is selling so they can produce almost exact copies. A few months ago I shot a unique series of images that didn't exist. There are now a couple of contributors who have taken the same images with the exact same angles. Coincidence? I doubt it.

The agencies need to come up with a better way of helping us produce unique imagery while minimizing the copying.

« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2011, 06:09 »
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I think you are not the only scanning the libraries for what is missing. But I am also pretty sure you have a few "fans" who enjoy being "inspired by you".

Getty doesnt even have a "popularity" sort, just a best match and newest.

I think this is very smart. It helps to protect the successful artist and forces all the others to come up with their own ideas. And you can still search their library to see what is missing, but nobody looking at your portfolio will see if it was worth producing it.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2011, 06:26 »
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I know I'm not the only one scanning for stuff that's missing. But way too many people are out there copying.

Like you, I'm going to start focusing on Getty here pretty soon. Hopefully there are still some buyers and money left in macro because the micro ship seems to be sinking, the lifeboats are overloaded and taking on water, and there are too many people still trying to get in them.

michealo

« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2011, 06:41 »
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No, istockcharts has only those photographers whose names have been added to teh list and most people no longer refer to it. So the majority of people isnt on there. It was never officially supported by istock as far as I know and it is the reason for the "fuzzy" numbers. It was used by too many people to sort by daily downloads and identify copy targets for the season.

Jonathan Klein said istock/getty have 120 000 photographers in the interview mentioned here somewhere. A lot of these are just registered but not active, but still, a huge number.

It wasn't officially supported by IS but Bruce was aware and ok with it

« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2011, 06:44 »
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Maybe Bruce was ok with it, but many contributors were not and asked to have their names removed.


RacePhoto

« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2011, 13:17 »
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No, istockcharts has only those photographers whose names have been added to teh list and most people no longer refer to it. So the majority of people isnt on there. It was never officially supported by istock as far as I know and it is the reason for the "fuzzy" numbers. It was used by too many people to sort by daily downloads and identify copy targets for the season.

Jonathan Klein said istock/getty have 120 000 photographers in the interview mentioned here somewhere. A lot of these are just registered but not active, but still, a huge number.

The istock charts represent a good 96% of all active photographers. Don't believe that there are 120,000 active people. Inflated claims and bragging for the press. Also that was Getty and Istock, not just iStock? Just figure about half are "photographers, who never passed the admission test!  :) Then a bunch more who never sent in the fist photo because nothing they had passed, or they uploaded ten and found it wasn't a money tree just shedding dollars, so they left.

I'd be willing to bet the under and 40,000 active photographers on IS is a good estimated number. Look at the exclusive count, look at the Black Diamonds and different levels, it matches.

Back to the comp0laint department, copying. Sorry but if people are weak minded or think they can make sales by copying, nothing the agency can do will prevent it. Not worth the time to complain or find some counter or popularity flame as the cause of the problem. May I ask, do people copy at SS where none of this exists? DO people copy from magazines or galleries or ideas they get on the street? There is no help or protection for an idea, it's not worth worrying about it either.

Keyword advantage, oh boy, big secrets, words? When there are about a dozen sites offering the same words, analysis of words, and software that has collections of most popular keywords for subjects. No advantage anymore.

Maybe something like a reviewer rejecting competing photos, or maybe seeing good ideas first hand and copying them before they are even online... Self review for reviewers is another sticky point. All of those worse than having people be able to identify best sellers! Then there are best matches designed to give an advantage to the house collections. 12 million images, check something popular and there are 10,000 photos of that subject! Dilution because of so many good choices.

And someone is worried about copying? Please, I don't think it's a big problem.

It's more like looking for things to be wrong, will cause them to be wrong.  ;) Some cute little flames are not the downfall of MicroStock sales.

« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2011, 13:31 »
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I don't know why people bother researching niches. I never have. If I feel like shooting something I do it. I don't care whether or not others have done it before. I certainly don't go and look it up. You never really know if an idea will catch fire or not - and just because someone else has failed with it doesn't say anything about whether yours will catch on.

lisafx

« Reply #39 on: November 02, 2011, 13:53 »
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I don't know why people bother researching niches. I never have. If I feel like shooting something I do it. I don't care whether or not others have done it before. I certainly don't go and look it up. You never really know if an idea will catch fire or not - and just because someone else has failed with it doesn't say anything about whether yours will catch on.

Agreed.  I shoot what I want, without bothering with "market research".  The last thing I want to do is search and see someone else's ideas, because I might be influenced to shoot a certain way, or to NOT shoot a certain way out of fear of copying.  If I never see competing images then I am not influenced by them one way or the other.  I recently uploaded a photo and then later learned that someone had done a very similar shot before me.  At least my conscience was clear because I had never even seen his image. 

« Reply #40 on: November 02, 2011, 14:23 »
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Me too.  I remember once coming up with a great concept and later saw that somebody had copied it.   I was really annoyed until I looked at the dates and theirs was in fact uploaded before mine.

« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2011, 14:39 »
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I don't know why people bother researching niches. I never have. If I feel like shooting something I do it. I don't care whether or not others have done it before. I certainly don't go and look it up. You never really know if an idea will catch fire or not - and just because someone else has failed with it doesn't say anything about whether yours will catch on.

Same here.

« Reply #42 on: November 02, 2011, 15:03 »
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I don't know why people bother researching niches. I never have. If I feel like shooting something I do it. I don't care whether or not others have done it before. I certainly don't go and look it up. You never really know if an idea will catch fire or not - and just because someone else has failed with it doesn't say anything about whether yours will catch on.

I think a little research, when it is freely available for a couple of clicks on a keyboard, makes perfect sense when deciding how to invest your time and money in a new shoot. I certainly do it on my niche shoots to see if there is a significant demand for the subject at all.

I think that many of us are also forgetting just how much we have benefitted over the years, from the download numbers being visible, in learning what stock is all about. Most of us started in microstock as hobbyist photographers who enjoyed trying to make beautiful art. It's one hell of a switch to one's mindset to then start making images that might be useful rather than beautiful. Most newbies think that the photography itself is the difficult thing to master (and therefore route to success) whereas understanding stock itself is the real key. It is no accident that so many of the top microstockers have come from a design background. For those of us without a design background those download numbers were an invaluable resource.

RacePhoto

« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2011, 15:01 »
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I don't know why people bother researching niches. I never have. If I feel like shooting something I do it. I don't care whether or not others have done it before. I certainly don't go and look it up. You never really know if an idea will catch fire or not - and just because someone else has failed with it doesn't say anything about whether yours will catch on.

Agreed.  I shoot what I want, without bothering with "market research".  The last thing I want to do is search and see someone else's ideas, because I might be influenced to shoot a certain way, or to NOT shoot a certain way out of fear of copying.  If I never see competing images then I am not influenced by them one way or the other.  I recently uploaded a photo and then later learned that someone had done a very similar shot before me.  At least my conscience was clear because I had never even seen his image.  

I've looked afterwards and found 5,000 of the same thing, but what the heck, maybe mine is going to attract someone different. (HA HA) With 15 million images, it's fairly difficult to come up with anything really "new". Why worry about it?

My other point was, I don't worry about people copying, just try to make mine good enough for the buyers to notice and download. Some old standards with many downloads may not be worth copying, so let the people who have not creativity waste their time on sold out ideas, out of date concepts?

By the way, one more indicator that the istock de numbers are correct and show the accurate number of contributors (active... have one photo, or actually past applying for membership) is the total downloads on IS compared to the numbers calculated on IS DE. Total number of files on IS vs the reported numbers calculated on IS DE.

I might be optimistic but I believe it to represent 96% of all active IS contributors.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 01:08 by RacePhoto »


 

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