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Author Topic: Yuri admits he's losing money !  (Read 41736 times)

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« Reply #125 on: March 03, 2010, 18:12 »
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This forum is not  a gossip magazine.

It is. And now and then, it's also Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band;)
Quote
It's wonderful to be here
It's certainly a thrill
You're such a lovely audience
We'd like to take you home with us.


« Reply #126 on: March 04, 2010, 02:50 »
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Maybe I am crazy, but I think the fact that Yuri's production model is ultimately proving to be unprofitable is both predictable and welcome news. 

The factory folks who have been flooding the micros the past couple of years with thousands upon thousands of cookie cutter images all shot on the same formula have virtually buried the offerings of the rest of us.  While at the same time they are running up production costs that are totally unsustainable at micro prices.

It seems inevitable their business model would cease to be profitable for them.  Maybe once they move on to greener pastures it will allow those of us with realistic production costs and thrifty business models to thrive.

With respect to the newbies being recruited, I think the barriers to entry are increasing to a point where only the very determined will stick it out.     

It would be nice to think his business model isn't panning out and he'll leave the game for the rest of us to play, but he seems to have something else up his sleeve.  He's stated that he might start giving his images away for free.  That doesn't seem to make sense, but it does if you're extremely ambitious and do extensive research like Yuri does. 

Blogging is now the bigger game, and he's done his homework.  Nothing beats the word "free" for SEO.  If he can bring traffic to his blog for free downloads, he could make a whole bunch more money off his blog than he ever made doing photography, and with much less overhead and physical work.  I stumbled on one blog that wasn't giving anything away for free, just her random writings about her fairly mundane life.  She had enough traffic to secure just one big name advertiser and now pulls in 120K a year.  Imagine what Yuri could make if he were giving away free photos and writing about business in general.  And what would that do to others shooting similar images and trying to sell them the traditional way?  I actually thought about pooling several photographers into a blog and giving away free photos a few years back.  Even that long ago blogging was generating enough advertising money that it made sense. 

Aside from learning illustration because it's lots of fun, I've also turned to blogging.  If you're on twitter you'll find there are hundreds of blogging gurus handing out advice because it is growing so rapidly and is so profitable.  Those turning to blogging do need a LOT of images, but they don't need good quality images, nor are they at all impressed with the snob factor of high end equipment.  In fact, they want photos that help break up blocks of text without overpowering the text.  If stock agencies are smart, they'll keep this in mind and adjust their reviewing standards accordingly.  IS made a brilliant move with Vetta to keep the price point high on quality work, while lowering the price on "good enough" photos to feed the blogging market.  It just doesn't make sense to me to pour thousands of dollars into camera equipment when I can blog for the same income with just my computer and a keyboard.  That's not even necessary now.  Sites like Helium are planning on selling their writing as stock to bloggers.  That's quite an indicator of where the next big market is.

As for Andres and some others in his league, there's been some posts made by him and others that they're so fed up with the games of microstock that they're thinking of going strictly RM.  That could be frustration speaking, but it's certainly social networking in action.  You can't just put up a portfolio and promote it on sites like this any longer.  You've got to twit and tweet and have a fan page on facebook, do the hokey-pokey, then turn yourself about. It's all very exhausting from my perspective, and the game plan will probably change all over again by this time next year!

You're very right in stating that it's an unhealthy practice encouraging hobbyists to enter the game.  It dilutes the market, lures them into buying more equipment than they need, and in general doesn't do anybody much good. 

There are some things that never change, like the more things change the more they stay the same :-)  If you're in it for the money, then the money has to be your focus at all costs.  If you're in it because you love photography, then don't sweat the changes and enjoy the ride.  You'll always come out on top, so long as you know why you're doing what you're doing and would do it for free if you had to.

ShadySue

« Reply #127 on: March 04, 2010, 03:17 »
0

As for Andres and some others in his league, there's been some posts made by him and others that they're so fed up with the games of microstock that they're thinking of going strictly RM.  That could be frustration speaking, but it's certainly social networking in action.  You can't just put up a portfolio and promote it on sites like this any longer.  You've got to twit and tweet and have a fan page on facebook, do the hokey-pokey, then turn yourself about. It's all very exhausting from my perspective, and the game plan will probably change all over again by this time next year!


Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you wrote above, but I've read similar things being said in several places recently.
Do you mean that people should promote their micro portfolios via social networking sites?
I'm just wondering - if you are attracting people to buy your photos via your website of facebook/twitter etc, why would you allow a micro site to take a big percentage of the income? That's why I sell on agencies -so's I don't have to do it. If buyers find me by my own promotion, I want 100% of the income.
But like I said, I've read several people recently who say they promote their portfolios all over, so I'm clearly missing something.

« Reply #128 on: March 04, 2010, 04:51 »
0
The majority of microstock submitters still produce low-cost images, something that I think will be profitable for a long time.

 but the real problem is that the % of the total libraries is always reducing. Unless you are able to substantially increase output and/or saleability then growth will eventually stop and then reverse.

I'm sure I'll remain profitable, in so far as the images will sell for more than they cost me to produce, but the question is for how long that profit will remain high enough to live off.

Hi there Gostwyk

I wholly concur with this, for me I have had to treble production of images since I started. As a bench mark I make sure I have 100 accepted on SS per week, with other agencies taking what percentage of that they will ( or I am able to upload as in IS). I have done this for four months, and yes my revenue is increasing every month, not a lot, but an increase nevertheless. Naturally you have to factor in time etc, but currently it is still a workwhile use of it.

With such small growth the lost of StockXpert was a hit, but I still increased by a small margin in February.

I am not sure how long this wil be sustainable, so I can do one of two things. Shoot more sellable images or increase output again. I'm no David Bailey (famous British photographer), so option two looks good. Here I run into the proverbial brick wall. Yes, I could up to 150 per week, but at what cost? I am already working 10 hours a day, six days a week on micro and trad agencies.

If the UK editorial market hadn't been squeezed by the economy I would not have entered Micostock, but times change and we must change with them.

For me the final answer will always be more hard work and an eye out for new markets. I'm a grafter rather than an businessman with insight, and on current figures my only growth (trad / own agencies / Alamy / Overseas agents etc) is Microstock.

Musing over it's back to the daily quota.

Oldhand

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #129 on: March 04, 2010, 04:58 »
0
Excuse me guys but ...

BLOGGING free images ??

Twittering ??


If this is the future you better grill burgers and fry chips at mcdonalds.

You've no idea how much time it takes to really promote a single site
in all forums, social networks, newsletters, mailing lists, blogs, and newspapers.

It takes AGES and the more you give out for free the more your readers will
expect from you, GIVING NOTHING BACK apart a click-thru-rate of barely 1%
on your ads and buying the odd e-book if you can write one.

120K from blogs ? yes if you're in the world's top 10 blogs, but if not...

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #130 on: March 04, 2010, 05:01 »
0
If you're really desperate then by all means switch to Flickr and sell directly, or Photographer's Direct.

I mean, the ONLY reason to join an agency, any agency, is for them to bring us the buyers.

If they don't, we better find the buyers ourselves and sell the pics at 100 or 200 $ each.

Sheila Smart in the Alamy forum is very successful at this, she sells everywhere, macrostock, microstock, flickr, fine-art galleries, word of mouth ...

« Reply #131 on: March 04, 2010, 08:10 »
0
I wholly concur with this, for me I have had to treble production of images since I started. As a bench mark I make sure I have 100 accepted on SS per week, with other agencies taking what percentage of that they will ( or I am able to upload as in IS). I have done this for four months, and yes my revenue is increasing every month, not a lot, but an increase nevertheless. Naturally you have to factor in time etc, but currently it is still a workwhile use of it.

With such small growth the lost of StockXpert was a hit, but I still increased by a small margin in February.

I am not sure how long this wil be sustainable, so I can do one of two things. Shoot more sellable images or increase output again. I'm no David Bailey (famous British photographer), so option two looks good. Here I run into the proverbial brick wall. Yes, I could up to 150 per week, but at what cost? I am already working 10 hours a day, six days a week on micro and trad agencies.

If the UK editorial market hadn't been squeezed by the economy I would not have entered Micostock, but times change and we must change with them.

For me the final answer will always be more hard work and an eye out for new markets. I'm a grafter rather than an businessman with insight, and on current figures my only growth (trad / own agencies / Alamy / Overseas agents etc) is Microstock.

Musing over it's back to the daily quota.

Oldhand

That's an impressive output Oldhand, I'd be happy if I could maintain 100 new images per month but that's down to laziness on my part.

However I do think that volume production is becoming an increasingly pointless exercise. All that really counts is quality and it is only going to get harder. Whatever your subject matter is your images need to be amongst the very best out there (and have the luck to be noticed by the buyers too) or they will simply become swamped and disappear down the sort order.

Four years ago my monthly sales ratio at Istock was slightly better than 1:1, i.e. I sold a few more images per month than the total number of images in my portfolio. Nowadays my ratio is a third of that (0.32:1). I'm sure I'm much better as a photographer and my understanding of stock has increased hugely too but even so I'm losing ground and quickly. If the rate of decline continues, in another 4 years I might be down to 0.1:1 __ I'll need 10,000 images to sell 1000 per month.

In my view the only realistic solution is not to work harder but somehow find a way of working smarter. The lower the level of either skill or investment at which you operate the easier it is for others to compete directly with you.

Yuri_Arcurs

  • One Crazy PhotoManic MadPerson
« Reply #132 on: March 04, 2010, 10:08 »
0
Maybe I am crazy, but I think the fact that Yuri's production model is ultimately proving to be unprofitable is both predictable and welcome news.  

The factory folks who have been flooding the micros the past couple of years with thousands upon thousands of cookie cutter images all shot on the same formula have virtually buried the offerings of the rest of us.  While at the same time they are running up production costs that are totally unsustainable at micro prices.

It seems inevitable their business model would cease to be profitable for them.  Maybe once they move on to greener pastures it will allow those of us with realistic production costs and thrifty business models to thrive.

With respect to the newbies being recruited, I think the barriers to entry are increasing to a point where only the very determined will stick it out.      
It would be nice to think his business model isn't panning out and he'll leave the game for the rest of us to play, but he seems to have something else up his sleeve.  He's stated that he might start giving his images away for free.  That doesn't seem to make sense, but it does if you're extremely ambitious and do extensive research like Yuri does.  

Blogging is now the bigger game, and he's done his homework.  Nothing beats the word "free" for SEO.  If he can bring traffic to his blog for free downloads, he could make a whole bunch more money off his blog than he ever made doing photography, and with much less overhead and physical work.  I stumbled on one blog that wasn't giving anything away for free, just her random writings about her fairly mundane life.  She had enough traffic to secure just one big name advertiser and now pulls in 120K a year.  Imagine what Yuri could make if he were giving away free photos and writing about business in general.  And what would that do to others shooting similar images and trying to sell them the traditional way?  I actually thought about pooling several photographers into a blog and giving away free photos a few years back.  Even that long ago blogging was generating enough advertising money that it made sense.  

Aside from learning illustration because it's lots of fun, I've also turned to blogging.  If you're on twitter you'll find there are hundreds of blogging gurus handing out advice because it is growing so rapidly and is so profitable.  Those turning to blogging do need a LOT of images, but they don't need good quality images, nor are they at all impressed with the snob factor of high end equipment.  In fact, they want photos that help break up blocks of text without overpowering the text.  If stock agencies are smart, they'll keep this in mind and adjust their reviewing standards accordingly.  IS made a brilliant move with Vetta to keep the price point high on quality work, while lowering the price on "good enough" photos to feed the blogging market.  It just doesn't make sense to me to pour thousands of dollars into camera equipment when I can blog for the same income with just my computer and a keyboard.  That's not even necessary now.  Sites like Helium are planning on selling their writing as stock to bloggers.  That's quite an indicator of where the next big market is.

As for Andres and some others in his league, there's been some posts made by him and others that they're so fed up with the games of microstock that they're thinking of going strictly RM.  That could be frustration speaking, but it's certainly social networking in action.  You can't just put up a portfolio and promote it on sites like this any longer.  You've got to twit and tweet and have a fan page on facebook, do the hokey-pokey, then turn yourself about. It's all very exhausting from my perspective, and the game plan will probably change all over again by this time next year!

You're very right in stating that it's an unhealthy practice encouraging hobbyists to enter the game.  It dilutes the market, lures them into buying more equipment than they need, and in general doesn't do anybody much good.  

There are some things that never change, like the more things change the more they stay the same :-)  If you're in it for the money, then the money has to be your focus at all costs.  If you're in it because you love photography, then don't sweat the changes and enjoy the ride.  You'll always come out on top, so long as you know why you're doing what you're doing and would do it for free if you had to.

Well there is a point to my plans and you are getting closer to it. You will see in 6-8 months from now. Your observations are more knowledgeable than I think most people here will realize. Free you say.... and yes... the concept of free is very interesting in my eyes. :)

Yuri_Arcurs

  • One Crazy PhotoManic MadPerson
« Reply #133 on: March 04, 2010, 10:13 »
0
About building another studio.
Yes I am building another studio. Pricetag: 300000USD. That is not a whole lot in my eyes for what I am getting. And when storm hits, or if it does, I can hide away in my studio and shot away at no cost :)

Y

« Reply #134 on: March 04, 2010, 10:21 »
0
Well there is a point to my plans and you are getting closer to it. You will see in 6-8 months from now. Your observations are more knowledgeable than I think most people here will realize. Free you say.... and yes... the concept of free is very interesting in my eyes. :)

You'll forgive me if I don't applaud efforts to lower buyer's expectations further, won't you?  Of course "free" images for buyers wouldn't necessarily raise traffic when you're trying to sell services to contributors, so... we'll just have to wait and see, eh?

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #135 on: March 04, 2010, 10:33 »
0
@Yuri :


Dear Yuri,
Reading that the world's microstock top seller is openly talking about FREE images is frightening.

As a long time RM shooter i'm really wondering where the RF is heading :
as if 0.25$/download wasn't cheap enough, are we really reaching the point where images will be
available for free in personal web sites surrounded by advertising banners or paired with discounts
and monthly subscriptions ?

p.s.
I didn't want to be rude in the other blog (Ellen Boughn), it's just pure curiosity, after all it's you
making a lot of hype about your sales stats so please forgive me if i pushed the wrong button.

« Reply #136 on: March 04, 2010, 12:46 »
0
I think the future of ALL stock will not be in trying to license "Intellectual Property" - but in how one gets to access and download it. There are major issues with IP, I sugguest you read up on arguments for abolishing it.

Imagine finding the image database of your dreams with the most powerful, turbo charged search engine ever with features like drawing out the image you want to find, similar image searching use Tin Eye Technology, etc... - except you can only run a few free searches a day, then you gotta "pay to play" with it.

Now thats the future of stock.

« Reply #137 on: March 04, 2010, 13:02 »
0
Will the magical stock fairy be filling this 3rd party search thing with content?

« Reply #138 on: March 04, 2010, 13:10 »
0
In the end, it's what makes you happy:) I know it sounds corny, but it's true. If running production company with big staff and expenses and focusing on making money is what makes you feel good about yourself, that's cool. This doesn't mean it's the only way to stay in business and enjoy what you're doing. Myself, I get kicks out of making money out of thin air. Although I do have expensive photography equipment and a studio (mostly to go there and hide away from my family:)), I get the most thrill from finding something to shoot that doesn't cost me much at all. For lots of my images my ROI is close to infinity:) Which kinda bit me in the butt this year now when it's time to pay taxes....should have spent more money on business;-)
And yes, return per image will diminish as libraries go bigger and there is more competition. But is this really  big news for anyone? It's kinda obvious. In industry's early days a good photog with 500 decent images could make a very good income. Of course it wasn't gonna last forever! To be competitive these days in microstock is the same as to be competitive in any other maturing industry. It requires lots of work, research, time, investment. The industry is maturing. The bubble is over. But it doesn't mean there will be nothing to gain for those who chose to stay. 

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #139 on: March 04, 2010, 13:10 »
0
Will the magical stock fairy be filling this 3rd party search thing with content?

You see why Yuri's statements are dangerous ?

Because as soon as he opens his mouth there's a crowd of believers and disciples
foaming from their mouth in awe.

Yuri mumbles something about "free images" and in a flash people will start
talking about direct selling, web sites, SEO, adsense, CJ, Amazon, DoubleClick, CPM, CPC, CPA, etc

I think it's all rubbish and if this is the model for the future i better get a job
grilling burgers at my local mcdonalds.

Stock photography was born as RM and will die as RM.
RF and micros are just a passing fad, a heresy, and soon they'll show their real face
and their real hidden goal : screwing photographers and destroying the stock market.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 13:12 by macrosaur »

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #140 on: March 04, 2010, 13:16 »
0
In industry's early days a good photog with 500 decent images could make a very good income.

yes and no.

you can do it nowadays as well if you're represented by serious agencies with rich buyers.

what about Getty Images, Robert Harding, Corbis, LPI, Alamy, AGE, Masterfile, Blend Images, for instance ?

there's plenty of pros making this full time, some have 500 pics, other have 50.000, and yet
they're not starving counting their 0.25$ downloads.

there can be no long-term plan with microstock, and Yuri's recent statements only confirms this
obvious fact.

« Reply #141 on: March 04, 2010, 13:31 »
0
In industry's early days a good photog with 500 decent images could make a very good income.

yes and no.

you can do it nowadays as well if you're represented by serious agencies with rich buyers.

what about Getty Images, Robert Harding, Corbis, LPI, Alamy, AGE, Masterfile, Blend Images, for instance ?

there's plenty of pros making this full time, some have 500 pics, other have 50.000, and yet
they're not starving counting their 0.25$ downloads.

there can be no long-term plan with microstock, and Yuri's recent statements only confirms this
obvious fact.
Yes, Yuri is the entire microstock industry and none of us ever have more than a few $0.25 downloads a day :)


« Reply #142 on: March 04, 2010, 13:40 »
0
Quote from: macrosaur
Stock photography was born as RM and will die as RM.
RF and micros are just a passing fad, a heresy, and soon they'll show their real face
and their real hidden goal : screwing photographers and destroying the stock market.

I find this statement funny, and kind of ironic.

You could restate it like this:

"COMMERCIAL photography was born as ASSIGNMENT WORK and will die as ASSIGNMENT WORK.
RM, RF and micros are just a passing fad, a heresy, and soon they'll show their real face
and their real hidden goal : screwing COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENT photographers and destroying the ASSIGNMENT COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY market."

There's always someone pointing a finger at you man. Thats life.

Stock photography will continue, too many sound free market reasons for it to be here, but it's look and business model will be very different in the coming years.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 13:42 by cardmaverick »

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #143 on: March 04, 2010, 14:53 »
0
there's certainly space for both RM and RF and Assignments but why only RM should pay the price for it ?

i've nothing against microstock selling cheap images and hiring hordes of Flickrs but i've certainly something
to worry about when they start selling editorial travel and invading the RM market with images priced 100x times
less.

and please tell me, who's stopping micros from selling RM at 10$ ?

or istock selling editorial RM with a 100$ monthly fee ?

because i'm afraid this is the strategy they're already cooking up for us.

the getty bean-counters can't spot the difference between RM or RF or CC or Freeware, all
they know is iStock is now their top selling market and they're ready to kill the whole
RM market if they can squeeze 1$ more with iStock and Thinkstock.

ShadySue

« Reply #144 on: March 04, 2010, 16:13 »
0
Will the magical stock fairy be filling this 3rd party search thing with content?
I'd imagine they would be doing searches, for a fee, through all the agencies.

lisafx

« Reply #145 on: March 04, 2010, 16:19 »
0
Will the magical stock fairy be filling this 3rd party search thing with content?
I'd imagine they would be doing searches, for a fee, through all the agencies.

I think his point was that without the content producers there would be nothing to search through...

« Reply #146 on: March 04, 2010, 17:41 »
0
Will the magical stock fairy be filling this 3rd party search thing with content?
I'd imagine they would be doing searches, for a fee, through all the agencies.

I think his point was that without the content producers there would be nothing to search through...

I'm assuming this is aimed at my idea of a pay search engine. This really isn't a radical idea, and it could be enacted today if an agency really wanted to do it. The key point here is this:

They would be selling something you can't just download and give to your friends. It's pretty easy to control who can log into secure accounts these day because of things like ISP numbers, so even "account sharing" could be effectively controlled.

Ideally, I see an agency with two search engines, one is the "crappy public search" - anyone can use it and download for lower fees - the other is the mega power search that you have to pay extra to use. Make the freebie lower cost search less appealing, and I bet people would be willing to pay extra for a vastly more powerful search engine. Tin Eye already limits the number of searches you can do for free, so obviously some companies are moving towards this concept that you can only reliably sell things you can actually control. Once you release images into the wild, existence of intellectual property laws or not, you've just lost control of that image. Suing every Tom, Dick, and Harry over usage terms can quickly become an unprofitable thing, even with a Tin Eye like service helping you find content being used, Tin Eye can't find stuff NOT online, and theres also no saying if Tin Eye can search for images inside of ZIP files, especially encrypted ZIP files- which is how I suspect many images get passed around.

Anyhow, back to the pay for play search, it could be just like the current model, only featuring higher subscription and credit fees - the search engine being the INCENTIVE to pay more money. I really believe the future is selling access to power search tools, and you can already see how the agencies stack up in order of industry dominance. The top agencies have the best search engines. It's not hard to see this trend. There is one downside though, some of these power search tools would require more human input to achieve - you can only automate so much data entry and have so good a search experience. Sometimes you need that "human touch".
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 18:41 by cardmaverick »

« Reply #147 on: March 04, 2010, 17:52 »
0
Most people wouldn't pay, they would stick to the free search engine. That's what experiencie tells. Paying customers would be maginal, if they see that exactly the same that costs money, can be got by free.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 17:55 by loop »

« Reply #148 on: March 04, 2010, 18:37 »
0
Most people wouldn't pay, they would stick to the free search engine. That's what experiencie tells. Paying customers would be maginal, if they see that exactly the same that costs money, can be got by free.

Just to clarify, the free search doesn't mean free download  in my example. It just means lower prices, but you get less in terms of services etc...

Judging by the reaction from the Thinkstock search engine, among others at major sites, I bet people would be willing to pay for a search engine they know is extremely powerful, especially if they can take it for a test spin. You could also make more content available via the pay search, and only a smaller fraction inside the free search, plus non downloadable teasers of whats inside the pay search area. In essence you make it more like a club you wanna belong too because it offers things actually worth buying that make life easier for the stock buyer.

Why do you think people pay more to go to Disney Land and not just save the money and go to the more local amusement park, both have roller coasters and cotton candy. It's the experience.

I should point out that Agency Access uses a business model similar to the one I'm proposing, you pay nothing for a freebie 3 day trial, you pay a lower base fee for 1 year access to their database, more to use their email campaign management, and they offer other services ala carte on top of everything - but the bottom line is they are charging for entry into the services.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 18:40 by cardmaverick »

« Reply #149 on: March 04, 2010, 18:49 »
0
Disney parks and other parks offer different things. Disney ffers their popular characters, and bigger and better atracttions.

The right example would be paying much more (I assumed you meant paying nothing) to enter directly at DisneyWorld, or paying way less to support a queue. The queue would be long.


 

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