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Poll

Are you going exclusive with Istock in the next 6 months ?

I am already exclusive
33 (15.2%)
I am going to be exclusive
12 (5.5%)
I am not sure yet
28 (12.9%)
No I will stay independant
138 (63.6%)
Other (exclusive at DT/can't in the next 6 months)
6 (2.8%)

Total Members Voted: 195

Author Topic: Who is planning exclusivity ? -Poll-  (Read 33139 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2009, 06:09 »
0
I am (was) about 3-4 months away from achieving silver at IS.

Part of the draw to microstock is the always changing field of agencies. New ones pop up all the time and existing agencies add microstock sections to their sites, and then there are the hidden gems out there you find occasionally. This keeps things interesting and allows me to expand my horizons. If I was stuck in IS exclusively and didn't have the chance to explore these new horizons, I would get bored very quickly. The last thing I want is to have restrictions placed on me about what and where I want to upload.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 06:17 by epantha »


« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2009, 12:03 »
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A few reasons I can think of to stay independent.

- Only being able to sell RF via Getty owned sites.  There are lots of buyers out there, some willing to pay higher than microstock prices, I don't want to cut myself off from them.

How often do you actually get sales through them though?  The Vetta collection is essentially midstock, they are adding higher tiered sections for exclusives if you feel you must have more money for that photo.  They are raising the prices for exclusive photos, so you get higher sales prices that way too.  There is always the Rights Manage route, too.

Quote
- best match changes, what do exclusives do when their earnings are cut in half?  It has happened in the past and will probably happen again.

This is perhaps, my biggest concern.

Quote
- They reject images that sell well on other sites, they don't accept many non-vector illustrations.

I've never been convinced that iStock doesn't favor their exclusives with a little more leeway in the inspection process.

Quote
- I don't know if they are going to be sold off soon, who will buy them?  Wont they want to make even more profit by squeezing us?  Will istock still be part of Getty?

Who knows, but you can always opt out of exclusivity (see longer response below)

Quote
- They took my portfolio off photos.com and I still think that was a bad decision, are they going to come up with more ideas as bad as that?

Ah, so you are a bit bitter about that?  If I had my way, none of my images would have ever been on photos.com.  Good riddance I say.

Quote
- Working for one company doesn't appeal to me, it is too much like being an employee, whatever they say goes and while you can leave, it would be a difficult and time consuming task rebuilding portfolios on the other sites again.

Did you mean working with, rather than working for?
The FTP uploads and model release libraries at other sites make it a lot easier to get your ports back up if you decide you can't handle exclusivity.  I've been through the exclusive / re-independent cycle before, it wasn't as bad as you seem to think.

Quote
- Their upload limits keep millions of the best microstock images off their site, counteracting the appeal of their exclusive collection.  I have never understood the reason for that and I still think it will stop them dominating the market.

The upload limits are much higher for exclusives, aren't they?  So independents can't get their images on iStock as fast as exclusives.  That doesn't mean the exclusives aren't churning out their own content that never goes to any of the other sites.  Its arguable who has the advantage in that, but considering iStock is still dominating the market even with all the competitors, I'd say there has to be some kind of inherent value to their exclusive collection.

« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2009, 16:52 »
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I will stay independent because I am sure other sites will have something to say about this.

Also istock is not going to win me over by burrying my files further down everytime they give exclusives better exposure.

Had they not changed their search behaviour last year to boost exclusives, I would have been exclusive long ago. But they showed me they can not be trusted.

Exactly how I feel....  any business should be about mutual respect and trust, nuff said!  ;)

helix7

« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2009, 17:51 »
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Lately, istock represents about a quarter of my monthly earnings. On average over the last year, that percentage has been higher, but right now the prospect of exclusivity makes me a little nervous.

However I will say that I am able to keep an open mind about it. I have always said that I'm in this for the money. It's not a hobby for me. So I'll go where the money is, plain and simple. For now, that road leads me to independent status. But if things change next year and exclusivity looks to be working out better for more people, I'd reconsider. It also depends on how this canister craziness pans out. I could only justify going exclusive at Diamond level, so if they move the canister milestone, exclusivity is off the table. For now and for at least the next 6-12 months, I'm staying right where I am at. I'll reassess the situation if the canister plan is amended.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 15:35 by helix7 »

« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2009, 13:17 »
0
Hi All,

WOW, I would have thought the jump would have been bigger much faster out of fear. I am totally impressed with the fact that people are thinking this through rather than taking a knee jerk reaction. I also stopped uploading to Dreamstime a long time ago to avoid there 6 month pull out. Smart people on this site, always thinking ahead that's good for all of us.

Best,
Jonathan

lisafx

« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2009, 13:31 »
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Hi All,

WOW, I would have thought the jump would have been bigger much faster out of fear. I am totally impressed with the fact that people are thinking this through rather than taking a knee jerk reaction. I also stopped uploading to Dreamstime a long time ago to avoid there 6 month pull out. Smart people on this site, always thinking ahead that's good for all of us.

Best,
Jonathan

Jonathan, with your heavy presence in Macro RF, would Istock artist exclusivity ever be a possibility for you?

« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2009, 13:43 »
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It's definitely a tough question to go exclusive. I was looking at it again today. Even if I could make a clean break with all sites and go exclusive the next day, it would still take a couple months to get all my unuploaded files uploaded to iStock to make it profitable. It starts to look like how much do I want to lose now, so maybe I can make more later?  ???

« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2009, 18:58 »
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Hi Lisa,

 Yea I could pull all my work off the other sites and leave the couple thousand I can't. I can also upload motion to Istock as an exclusive because all my Macro motion is in RR or RM. I just have to pull my RF"s down on stills I can keep all my RM's and RR's stills selling in the Macros. Then crank out several thousand top quality location shots with great talent and strong lighting as well as having a good idea of what the buyer is looking for in images this year and away we go. If the market trends towards that direction I have already met my quotas for going exclusive at Istock, that was the reason for testing last year.
 But it will be a slow turn of this ship. I try to Look at Getty's numbers last year and see where they made the most revenue and what they project for the near future. I want to be in every port with some form of business to stay ahead of the curve and my strongest work where they predict the most return for the coming year. I sure wouldn't do it over this canister thing, that's  the complete opposite reason for me to join an agency. Change their exclusive contract so it reads like everyone else's in the business and that might do a better job at me crunching the numbers.
 They drop the bar and let us Macro shooters in as exclusives I would have to do some serious analyzing to make the change but I am a big number cruncher and if the numbers showed that was the right move then I would jump ship just like the rest of the rats : ) I have no allegiance to any stock agencies but the ones I am part owner in. My allegiance is to my family and myself. However I would continue to shoot RM for Macro and Motion for both markets even after making the switch.

Best,
Jonathan
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 19:02 by Jonathan Ross »

« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2009, 10:31 »
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I have been pushing hard, only uploading at iStock and planned on going exclusive when I hit 250 DLs, but now I am not sure. I used to upload to a couple other agencies, but deactivated everything there long ago to concentrate on iStock.

With the proposed changes there, some input from friends, I am starting to reconsider going the independent route and uploading to other agencies.

« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2009, 11:45 »
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I have been pushing hard, only uploading at iStock and planned on going exclusive when I hit 250 DLs, but now I am not sure. I used to upload to a couple other agencies, but deactivated everything there long ago to concentrate on iStock.

With the proposed changes there, some input from friends, I am starting to reconsider going the independent route and uploading to other agencies.
I'm not advocating one route or the other, but you could consider uploading to everywhere that doesn't have a time hold (i.e. avoid DT and BigStock). That way you keep your options open while you explore.

« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2009, 12:56 »
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I'm not advocating one route or the other, but you could consider uploading to everywhere that doesn't have a time hold (i.e. avoid DT and BigStock). That way you keep your options open while you explore.

Sorry but I wouldn't agree with that. In my view a decision such as this should be taken with a view as to what might happen to the industry over some years, not just the next few months, which makes the DT lock-in almost irrelevant. Microstock is still a developing industry and in my view should be fully explored before committing to exclusivity with one site or another. DT are an important agency and without uploading to them you will be losing a significant proportion of income as well as the experience of the agency itself.

I've been doing this for 5 years and when I check my stats it is amazing how much has changed __ even in just in the last 3 years. Who knows where things will be in another 5 years? Who will own the various agencies by then and what will they do with them? The industry now generates something like $500M per year and is still growing fast so maybe we'll have another major player or two prepared to invest heavily to grab themselves a significant piece of the action.


« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2009, 13:12 »
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I cant imagine ever going exclusive.

« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2009, 13:23 »
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Microstock is still a developing industry and in my view should be fully explored before committing to exclusivity with one site or another. DT are an important agency and without uploading to them you will be losing a significant proportion of income as well as the experience of the agency itself.
I contributed to DT and BigStock almost the whole time I was independent. I don't disagree that the experience of each agency helps to understand what's going on.

Change is about the only constant I've seen in the last 5 years and while I've had various long(ish) term plans through that time, I had to keep adjusting them to adapt to the realities of what was out there. I fully explored with Albumo, emboldened by seeing a number of other well known microstock names that had already signed up. Turned out that didn't work out so well (although I did get paid). I explored Gimmestock for a little while as well, but it became apparent they were going nowhere. My point? I don't have a problem your idea of exploring. I've generally suggested that people should be independent to start for most of the reasons you stated (the big one being financial).

However, given the poster's interest in exclusivity and DT's unfortunate 6 month hold, I think he could view his choice differently -just giving him more options. While DT is an interesting agency, it never broke out of the 3rd place slot (and slipped down quite badly towards the end of my independent period). I don't see it as a must-have for independents.

« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2009, 15:22 »
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I will stay independent. Istock barely makes a third of my income only, so going exclusive would not make up for the loss of income.  I do not like putting all my eggs into that one basket and being vulnerable to losses by changes made through Istock.
The other reason is: I am a Euro contributor. Istock income is in US$, which has been very volatile over this past year, and I expect no change in that. If the dollar looses value, I loose even more money. So double vulnerability, no incentive for exclusivity.

RT


« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2009, 15:31 »
0
Shutterstock, Fotolia and Dreamstime are the one's that need to pull their finger out and come up with a counter strike, and they need to do it soon or risk losing contributors and buyers. Buyers will go where the images are and contributors will put the images where the money is. And because of the Dreamstime 6 month clause they need to do something really really soon, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out why.


« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2009, 15:44 »
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The industry now generates something like $500M per year and is still growing fast

May I ask if this number is just a wild guess or if you have a foundation to base this on? Just curiosity.

helix7

« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2009, 15:53 »
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...And because of the Dreamstime 6 month clause they need to do something really really soon, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out why.


Looks like they are already on it.

Shutterstock needs to make a move now. Big time. They need to get more money to contributors and the are going to look very old-fashioned when istock rolls out this new website design they are working on. The clock is ticking...


« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2009, 16:01 »
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May I ask if this number is just a wild guess or if you have a foundation to base this on? Just curiosity.

It's a broad guestimate based on known sales numbers, size of libraries, etc. Microstock is very transparent so you don't need to be a forensic accountant to get a broad handle on it. It's still growing incredibly fast though and I haven't worked through the figures for six months or so.

vonkara

« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2009, 16:44 »
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...And because of the Dreamstime 6 month clause they need to do something really really soon, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out why.


Looks like they are already on it.

Shutterstock needs to make a move now. Big time. They need to get more money to contributors and the are going to look very old-fashioned when istock rolls out this new website design they are working on. The clock is ticking...

I agree they need to move quick. But the new pricing at DT will only favor more subscription to me. A popular image worth around 14$ at maximum size and 8$ for a level 2. For 130$ you can download 300 images a month.

That mean if you download around 30 level 2 images at small size each month, you are better to buy a subscription. That's probably the case of most designers working on 2 or 3 projects at same time. That become worst if you need maximum size, (15 at level 2) or (12 at level 3).

I have no data about how much designers need images each months, but the line between buying a sub package and buying only credits is thin.

I would add that the credit package are not really appealing. You get 12 credits for 14.99$ and 108 for 99.99$. Add the applicable taxes and you have a difference of almost nothing. Maybe I'm wrong though, I just calculated this on the fly...

« Reply #44 on: December 15, 2009, 17:25 »
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Perhaps the other sites might wait and see how the istock changes work out.  Higher prices will lead to less sales, some buyers will go to the cheaper sites, we don't know how many yet.  Shutterstock have raised their prices in the spring in previous years, they might not want to make a knee jerk reaction to istock now.

The istock changes might be great for diamond contributors but a lot of non-exclusives wont be able to leave DT for 6 months, that is enough time to see if the new istock prices work.  The istock changes don't look as good for lower canister contributors, it is going to take much longer to reach the levels where going exclusive might be worth considering.

« Reply #45 on: December 15, 2009, 17:54 »
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Quote
I have no data about how much designers need images each months, but the line between buying a sub package and buying only credits is thin.

I can only speak for small, 1-man operations like myself, but I can tell you from my experience that buying a subscription package makes absolutely no sense for me. I just don't use enough images to justify the financial outlay. I would think that the bigger firms are the ones that buy subscriptions, but OTOH, they are also the ones more likely to use more traditional RF sources because they have more money to throw around.

It seems to me that micro-stock is a godsend for small businesses like mine. We can spend a little at at time, as we need to, and get great imagery. While there are lots of big firms out there, there are plenty of us little guys that will continue to buy credits.

« Reply #46 on: December 15, 2009, 17:59 »
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a lot of non-exclusives wont be able to leave DT for 6 months, that is enough time to see if the new istock prices work.  The istock changes don't look as good for lower canister contributors, it is going to take much longer to reach the levels where going exclusive might be worth considering.

My thoughts exactly!

And we can see a lot of changes in 6 months...

RT


« Reply #47 on: December 15, 2009, 18:10 »
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Looks like they are already on it.


I agree it's a start but they need to do more, paying more commission and raising prices is great when there's volume of sales which is what the microstock business model is all about, as I said in that thread if they don't market themselves they're not going to be in a position to counteract what iStock will be offering potential exclusives. I get a good RPD at Dreamstime just nowhere near the volume of sales I get on other sites, and I'm not the only one, the table on the right here is great but it doesn't show how much of a gap there is between the number 3 and 4 sites in terms of revenue and volume in peoples sales.

The saying "if you build it they will come" only works in films, in business you have to build it and get off your backside and tell people you've built it, of course you also need to tell the right people which is the most basic rule of marketing. Not doing that caused the demise of LuckyOliver.

« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2009, 13:36 »
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However, given the poster's interest in exclusivity and DT's unfortunate 6 month hold, I think he could view his choice differently -just giving him more options. While DT is an interesting agency, it never broke out of the 3rd place slot (and slipped down quite badly towards the end of my independent period). I don't see it as a must-have for independents.

I'm not always typical with the trends others experience, but my earnings have really grown at DT the latter half of this year.  SS has tanked to will the worst EVER in 3 years.  If my trends continue, DT will be on top for me next year unless I get some new flame-possible sellers on IS - I've been lucky enough to experience the kind of sales a hot photo can make at IS.  A few of those would be nice this year!

« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2009, 14:31 »
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Count me as another nowhere near the fence.  I don't see the logic in going exclusive... I don't have a big port right now, but even if I did, I don't expect IS to ever grow to be more than 50% of my total revenue, so I would have to make double what I make as a non-exclusive to make sense to go exclusive.  So a question to the IS exclusives out there... did the added exposure and/or increased upload limits get you anywhere near doubling your revenues on IS?


 

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