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Author Topic: GL Stock (GraphicLeftover) - The state of the situation  (Read 14151 times)

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Chichikov

« on: November 06, 2017, 07:28 »
+3
Does anyone have success with this site?
After the remodeling of the site, their beautiful speeches and their fantastic promises I still do not see anything coming ...


« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 08:27 »
0
Me neither

dpimborough

« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 09:08 »
+3
Nothing except two downloads over 2 years and a bunch of rejections for any new content submitted

They are now relegated to the can not be bothered with pile like iSuck and Depochit 123xyz cannedsuck and Enfarto

« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 09:27 »
+1
The drip of sales seems to have started again for me. Back to the low but steady level it was before the sale of the site.

« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 14:48 »
0
I think they forgot the No.1 priority, keeping enough buyers to make it worth contributors uploading.  The old site seemed fine to me, they could of spent money marketing while working on the new site design.  Now, like many other sites, it looks nice but isn't frequented by enough buyers.

« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 16:22 »
+2
Diddly squat.  They're coming off my roster for 2018.  Not worth the effort to keep them in my spreadsheet.

« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2017, 04:40 »
+2
Selling all image sizes for the same price is their biggest mistake IMO.

« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2017, 09:19 »
+3
Selling all image sizes for the same price is their biggest mistake IMO.

That's one of the best parts (along with setting prices). I'm glad they aren't like every other agency. A few sales there actually add up to something.

« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 13:07 »
+5
I think they forgot the No.1 priority, keeping enough buyers to make it worth contributors uploading.  The old site seemed fine to me, they could of spent money marketing while working on the new site design.  Now, like many other sites, it looks nice but isn't frequented by enough buyers.

It's silly to say we "forgot" that buyers are crucial to the business, as that is a given.  It's a lot easier said than done when competing with companies who are spending tens of thousands of dollars a day (if not more), and the average lifetime value of a buyer is dramatically higher.

There's a lot more than throwing marketing dollars that goes into converting visitors into paying members.  We are working on this every day, and we are finding obstacles that we have to overcome.

For those who don't think we're worth uploading to, you're welcome to your opinion.  At no point did we set unrealistic expectations for the members of MSG here.  We said from day one this is going to be a long process, and one in which we are working towards.  We receive significant amounts of uploads each day, and we review images each day.  Unlike our competitors with hundreds or thousands of employees, we're a couple of people doing everything.  We of course want to earn everybody's business, and attract more buyers, and there are things we are working on to do that. 

Some of our sellers do relatively well and are frequently seeing sales, some see a few sales per month, and of course some see little to no sales.

Giving up control of pricing to our sellers does in fact pose challenges.  We are in the works of pursuing additional purchasing packages that would enable us to control pricing for those packages, while trying to attract the larger buyers out there.  We are treading carefully around this idea, as we need to ensure that our sellers still have control of their pricing, as we believe (and most sellers believe) this is a source of positivity, since you can determine the market value of your images.

As you can imagine, our site attracts people looking for a few images here and there, and only some bigger buyers who buy more frequently.  It always has been the case.  That's the difference between a la carte buying, versus subscription buying.  The larger companies who have significant budgets much rather spend $.12 per image than $1 - $30 per image.   Yet, as a seller, you rather make $0.40 - $16 per download, than $.10 per download. 

Buyers could care less how much a seller is making per image, they only care about how little they can pay per image.  The challenge of paying contributors high commissions, and allowing you to determine your own pricing is one that often discourages buyers.  Unlike the buyers, we do care how much you make per image sale.  So we are trying to find that healthy medium where we ensure high commissions for our sellers, while putting together packages that are attractive for buyers. 

We are also not trying to make massive changes on a whim, and spend a lot of time doing research and planning, before queuing up our developers with new initiatives.

In the near future, you will likely see new buying options for sellers, where the price per image is controlled, and based on the package they chose, will determine the commission you earn.  This would be in addition to the a la carte pricing.  This is not set in stone, but something we are working on and discussing internally.

« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 14:04 »
0
I am still Having Problems uploading 6mp images that have one side under 2000px. The uploader is saying the image needs to have at least one side OVER 2000px.( which of course it does).

Even though their (GL's) belated support reply said that ALL IS NORMAL with uploading???

Is anyone else experiencing this problem or am I the only sufferer?
I would like to support GL but without their support, it is a no go.

Chichikov

« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2017, 15:18 »
0
I am still Having Problems uploading 6mp images that have one side under 2000px. The uploader is saying the image needs to have at least one side OVER 2000px.( which of course it does).

Even though their (GL's) belated support reply said that ALL IS NORMAL with uploading???

Is anyone else experiencing this problem or am I the only sufferer?
I would like to support GL but without their support, it is a no go.
Yes, I have the same problem with 360 panoramas
(And the same problem on Storyblocks too)

« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 15:28 »
+1
I think they forgot the No.1 priority, keeping enough buyers to make it worth contributors uploading.  The old site seemed fine to me, they could of spent money marketing while working on the new site design.  Now, like many other sites, it looks nice but isn't frequented by enough buyers.

It's silly to say we "forgot" that buyers are crucial to the business, as that is a given.  It's a lot easier said than done when competing with companies who are spending tens of thousands of dollars a day (if not more), and the average lifetime value of a buyer is dramatically higher.

There's a lot more than throwing marketing dollars that goes into converting visitors into paying members.  We are working on this every day, and we are finding obstacles that we have to overcome.

For those who don't think we're worth uploading to, you're welcome to your opinion.  At no point did we set unrealistic expectations for the members of MSG here.  We said from day one this is going to be a long process, and one in which we are working towards.  We receive significant amounts of uploads each day, and we review images each day.  Unlike our competitors with hundreds or thousands of employees, we're a couple of people doing everything.  We of course want to earn everybody's business, and attract more buyers, and there are things we are working on to do that. 

Some of our sellers do relatively well and are frequently seeing sales, some see a few sales per month, and of course some see little to no sales.

Giving up control of pricing to our sellers does in fact pose challenges.  We are in the works of pursuing additional purchasing packages that would enable us to control pricing for those packages, while trying to attract the larger buyers out there.  We are treading carefully around this idea, as we need to ensure that our sellers still have control of their pricing, as we believe (and most sellers believe) this is a source of positivity, since you can determine the market value of your images.

As you can imagine, our site attracts people looking for a few images here and there, and only some bigger buyers who buy more frequently.  It always has been the case.  That's the difference between a la carte buying, versus subscription buying.  The larger companies who have significant budgets much rather spend $.12 per image than $1 - $30 per image.   Yet, as a seller, you rather make $0.40 - $16 per download, than $.10 per download. 

Buyers could care less how much a seller is making per image, they only care about how little they can pay per image.  The challenge of paying contributors high commissions, and allowing you to determine your own pricing is one that often discourages buyers.  Unlike the buyers, we do care how much you make per image sale.  So we are trying to find that healthy medium where we ensure high commissions for our sellers, while putting together packages that are attractive for buyers. 

We are also not trying to make massive changes on a whim, and spend a lot of time doing research and planning, before queuing up our developers with new initiatives.

In the near future, you will likely see new buying options for sellers, where the price per image is controlled, and based on the package they chose, will determine the commission you earn.  This would be in addition to the a la carte pricing.  This is not set in stone, but something we are working on and discussing internally.
What I said might be silly but it also seems quite accurate.  I remember you saying that you were spending less on marketing until the new site was done.  I knew that wasn't a good idea because we've seen other sites make the same mistake.  And it should be "couldn't care less", not "could care less". https://youtu.be/om7O0MFkmpw

« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 17:01 »
+8
You're making the incorrect assumption that the results of our marketing was yielding positive results on our old design. Wasting money on ineffective marketing is very different than spending money on marketing and seeing positive results.  In a completely saturated industry, it is very easy to burn through thousands of dollars with little to no results, and our old design was the perfect example of that.  That's a big reason why the previous owners never used paid traffic.  They relied on SEO traffic, yet by the time we purchased the site, the SEO rankings had dropped significantly from the years prior.  We still have a large amount of daily traffic from the search engines, but nothing like years ago.

Our old design yielded very poor results of marketing spend, converting visitors into sign ups.  With our new design, we are seeing a much higher conversion rate of visitors into members signing up.  Now, our mission is to increase our conversion rate from sign ups to paying customers.  So while the new design has yielded better sign up conversion rates, our new challenge is converting these sign ups into paying members.  That is where the pricing model has posed a challenge for us, and one we're working towards addressing.

Because our lifetime value of a customer is lower than our competitors, more important than throwing money at it assuming that is the solution, we need to make improvements that increases the LTV of our customers.  When your average LTV of a paying customer is $40 - $50, and your competition's average is anywhere from 3-10x higher, bidding on the same placements yields us net losses, and yields the competition net positives on the marketing spend.  So reaching the same customers via paid advertising as a company who frequently receives $2,000 sales makes it a lot more challenging for a company whose average sale is significantly lower.  It certainly helps them as well with their marketing spend that they only have to pay you guys 10% of sales, whereas we are paying 40-52%.

Again, it's not as simple as you may think.  We ARE currently running various marketing campaigns, and testing various sources, spending a lot of money relatively speaking.  Testing internet marketing campaigns is not something that can be analyzed on a daily basis, but done week over week, month over month, etc.  In the meantime, we are analyzing the statistics, and are collecting lots of data, optimizing campaigns, and working to figure out ways of increasing our users' average LTV.  The challenges I've mentioned above are what affects those LTV figures, and so there is no obvious solution to make overnight improvements while also keeping contributor commissions high. 

We get a lot of negative comments because sales are low, yet where sales are highest, all I see are complaints about commission structures for contributors.  We pay to host all of our contributors images, regardless of whether they sell or not, we pay for marketing, we pay transaction fees, etc.   To do this, and continue to offer some of the highest commissions in the industry leaves for very tights margins, which means a lot more out-of-pocket spending on marketing dollars than you would think.  So when I'm spending my money to try and yield better results for our contributors, it's difficult not to take the harsh negative comments a bit personally, but I try my best to brush them off.  I'm not a major corporation, we are a couple of people just like all of you.  If you want to have a friendly conversation, I'm all for it.  I'm always open to suggestions and friendly debate on the merits of what we're doing. 

To reiterate, we are testing and working towards finding ways for us to not only be a profitable company, but we are doing so in a way to make sure we are NOT like the larger agencies who are constantly cutting your commissions and devaluing your work.

I am here solely as representation, to show that we are here every day working on this and trying our hardest. However, I'm not going to get into an argument over a grammar mistake I made (and heck, I wouldn't be surprised if you can find one or two in this post as well...), and I'm not going to continue arguing over how hard we're working to make you more money, while trying not to undercut you at the same time.

If you'd like to make positive suggestions, we will take them into consideration.  I'd submit that your unhappiness with GLStock runs much deeper than just dissatisfaction with us, but more so dissatisfaction with the industy you work in.  That seems to be the common trend, and rather than caving into the constant negativity we see here, we press on and keep working on our project.  It's easy to kick a horse when it's down, but it doesn't make sense to kick that horse when you're asking it to ride you across the desert.  It would be easier for me to disregard these messages and just continue working on the project, but the only reason I am here is to put a face to our company, and to represent a small company that IS working hard every day to make improvements.  At the end of the day, we are not a public company, do not have shareholders, and are beholden to ourselves and our investment, which we are trying to turn into a positive one.

PS: A couple weeks of pausing marketing campaigns is really not a big deal.  We don't have a $50mm marketing budget that we evenly spread through 365 days a year.  We test, collect data, make optimization, and continue testing.

« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 17:16 »
+2
I've been happy with the changes so far, so it isn't all grumbling over here. You guys hit my sweet spot of $10 RPD (which the whole industry should be at but is nowhere near). I'm interested to see where sales go over time. They are OK for me now, but better is always nice too. Plus, it isn't all on an agency to build sales. Unique content makes sales as well.

« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2017, 17:20 »
+2
I appreciate the kind words.  We also do not have exclusivity, meaning that buyers can often find the same images on SS or other larger agencies, and pay pennies on the dollar for the same image.  There are very real challenges we face based on the current pricing options, and that is why we are considering expanding upon the way buyers buy images through us with different packages.  There's no doubt there's a lot of work for us to do, and we've committed ourselves to do it.  Nothing is overnight, but nothing would make us happier than to make our contributors more money.  We have that common goal, and I rather work with our contributors to exceed that goal, than work against the grain of course. 

« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2017, 22:13 »
+4
It's no secret that for most photographers, the fizz went out of microstock long ago.  I closed my accounts at the big sites (I still have a few hundred at GL).   And I totally get the problem:  while buyers have been conditioned to expect extremely low prices, producers have given up because returns got too low.

 Is it just classic oversupply, or a disfunctional market where buyers and producers can't communicate?  Something of both I guess.  And while I see the problem I don't pretend to know the solution. 

Maybe some time has to pass. With many photographers no longer participating, at some point he existing image archives have to start looking dated, creating an opportunity - maybe buyers will gradually realize they have to pay more for newer imagery.

While I'm not in touch with buyers, I have to believe there's some burnout from searching endless pages of poor quality, repetitious images on the big sites - and that only seems to be getting worse.  That's also an opportunity.

Just my 2 cents worth.   


« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2017, 10:18 »
+1
....PS: A couple weeks of pausing marketing campaigns is really not a big deal.  We don't have a $50mm marketing budget that we evenly spread through 365 days a year.  We test, collect data, make optimization, and continue testing.
I'm sorry of you think I'm being too negative but I'd rather tell you what I think than lie about it.  Was it really only a couple of weeks pausing the marketing?  It seemed like many months passed by when you mentioned that you were focusing on the new site layout.  Perhaps I got that wrong as well but I'm sure my memory isn't that bad.  It's great that you pay us a decent percentage but I'm getting a nice percentage of zero sales and that's not good.  There are other sites I use that pay 50% and have reasonable sales, like Pond5 and Alamy.  I don't believe the profit margins are that tight, if you sell enough.

The bit about the english was a joke.  The man in the video is a comedian.  I know the British sense of humour doesn't always work in other countries but I couldn't care less.  (That was a joke as well).  My english isn't that good, I just find that video funny.  I do wish you well with GL but I'm not going to be enthusiastic when I keep getting zero sales months.

« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2017, 10:59 »
+1
There are other sites I use that pay 50% and have reasonable sales, like Pond5 and Alamy.  I don't believe the profit margins are that tight, if you sell enough.

Isn't some of that expected? Some sites sell video better, photos better or illustration better. Not saying that as an excuse because GL has probably been selling photos long enough that everybody knows they are there. Still, I chuckle a little when I see P5 in the top 4. I like P5 too, but it isn't the strongest seller for illustration. Alamy either, but they seem to be slowly finding their footing.

GraniteCove

« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2017, 12:05 »
+2
It's no secret that for most photographers, the fizz went out of microstock long ago.  I closed my accounts at the big sites (I still have a few hundred at GL).   And I totally get the problem:  while buyers have been conditioned to expect extremely low prices, producers have given up because returns got too low.

 Is it just classic oversupply, or a disfunctional market where buyers and producers can't communicate?  Something of both I guess.  And while I see the problem I don't pretend to know the solution. 

Maybe some time has to pass. With many photographers no longer participating, at some point he existing image archives have to start looking dated, creating an opportunity - maybe buyers will gradually realize they have to pay more for newer imagery.

While I'm not in touch with buyers, I have to believe there's some burnout from searching endless pages of poor quality, repetitious images on the big sites - and that only seems to be getting worse.  That's also an opportunity.

Just my 2 cents worth.

I couldn't agree more, but it's only an opportunity if someone recognizes it for what it is, and then actually takes advantage of it. In the case of GL Stock I'm not convinced that they see this opportunity for what it really is.

I gave them a +1 for the posts above not because I agreed with them entirely, but because I thought they provided brutally honest insight and disclosure into some of the challenges facing smaller agencies today. The posts should be compulsory reading for any one of the number of "hey, we're starting a new agency" threads on this forum.

While I appreciate GL's candor and willingness to engage directly with contributors, I do think there are fundamental flaws with GL's approach which (in my opinion) are at the core of the issues facing them today.

First and foremost, I just don't see how in the absence of financial backing from the likes of the Koch brothers or a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for example, chasing the same buyers as the big boys can ever pay off. Way back in the day maybe, but not anymore. The spread is just too great. Obviously they're aware of the uphill battle that this represents for them but instead of a paradigm shift in strategy they are "trying to find that healthy medium where we ensure high commissions for our sellers, while putting together packages that are attractive for buyers." Just an observation but if these are the same buyers that "...could care less how much a seller is making per image, they only care about how little they can pay per image.",  then I respectfully submit that they are chasing rainbows. No happy medium can ever exist between this kind of buyer and contributors. Particularly when complicating matters by allowing contributors to make the same images available elsewhere for a fraction of the price. As an agency where's the differentiation? Where is the value proposition for the buyer?  Provide those two elements coupled with a closely vetted collection in terms of quality and that's where I think the real opportunity lies today. Maybe the only opportunity.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 12:09 by GraniteCove »

« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2017, 12:15 »
+2
No happy medium can ever exist between this kind of buyer and contributors. Particularly when complicating matters by allowing contributors to make the same images available elsewhere for a fraction of the price. As an agency where's the differentiation? Where is the value proposition for the buyer?  Provide those two elements coupled with a closely vetted collection in terms of quality and that's where I think the real opportunity lies today. nity.

That's what I keep coming back to: to change the game, an agency has to offer a product that's better in some way.  Newer and better quality images, and thoroughly vetted keywording, should make a difference over time.   And exclusivity probably has to be part of it too.   Maybe there's some other way to bridge the currently vast gap between buyers' and producers' expectations, but I'm not seeing it yet. 

I also think that younger people today just aren't as 'into' image quality anymore; they've grown up seeing cell phone photos of everything under the sun.  And they're used to small images on LCD displays, not high quality printed magazines.  I don't know where that leaves us.

So, I have no solutions to offer, just some degree of patience - meaning I've basically given up and have nothing to lose by waiting.

GraniteCove

« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2017, 13:25 »
+2
I wish I had the answers too. All I know is that the more my top earner heads down the alarming and inexplicable path they seem to be following, the more time I spend thinking about my options. I find myself rooting for the little guys, hoping someone will emerge with a viable alternative. I suspect most of us do. I have a gut feeling about where this is all heading in the not too distant future,  but in my scenario the success story doesn't include small time contributors like myself.

« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2017, 14:59 »
+1
No happy medium can ever exist between this kind of buyer and contributors. Particularly when complicating matters by allowing contributors to make the same images available elsewhere for a fraction of the price. As an agency where's the differentiation? Where is the value proposition for the buyer?  Provide those two elements coupled with a closely vetted collection in terms of quality and that's where I think the real opportunity lies today. nity.

That's what I keep coming back to: to change the game, an agency has to offer a product that's better in some way.  Newer and better quality images, and thoroughly vetted keywording, should make a difference over time.   And exclusivity probably has to be part of it too.   Maybe there's some other way to bridge the currently vast gap between buyers' and producers' expectations, but I'm not seeing it yet. 

I also think that younger people today just aren't as 'into' image quality anymore; they've grown up seeing cell phone photos of everything under the sun.  And they're used to small images on LCD displays, not high quality printed magazines.  I don't know where that leaves us.

So, I have no solutions to offer, just some degree of patience - meaning I've basically given up and have nothing to lose by waiting.
I think if someone can really crack having a search engine that delivers what an individual buyer is looking for on the first screen consistently then they will be onto something but I've not seen anything close. In fact with the exponential increase in images its getting further away.

« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2017, 15:20 »
+1
No happy medium can ever exist between this kind of buyer and contributors. Particularly when complicating matters by allowing contributors to make the same images available elsewhere for a fraction of the price. As an agency where's the differentiation? Where is the value proposition for the buyer?  Provide those two elements coupled with a closely vetted collection in terms of quality and that's where I think the real opportunity lies today. nity.

That's what I keep coming back to: to change the game, an agency has to offer a product that's better in some way.  Newer and better quality images, and thoroughly vetted keywording, should make a difference over time.   And exclusivity probably has to be part of it too.   Maybe there's some other way to bridge the currently vast gap between buyers' and producers' expectations, but I'm not seeing it yet. 

I also think that younger people today just aren't as 'into' image quality anymore; they've grown up seeing cell phone photos of everything under the sun.  And they're used to small images on LCD displays, not high quality printed magazines.  I don't know where that leaves us.

So, I have no solutions to offer, just some degree of patience - meaning I've basically given up and have nothing to lose by waiting.
I think if someone can really crack having a search engine that delivers what an individual buyer is looking for on the first screen consistently then they will be onto something but I've not seen anything close. In fact with the exponential increase in images its getting further away.

Search algorithms are really limited by the quality of the data they have to work with.  Big agencies like SS now have 10s of millions of images stuffed with wrong, misleading, fake, repetitious keywords. Until so-called AI can actually understand what's in a photo and how it connects with what's in the rest of the world, there's no way a computer can clean that up.  And the cost of having human reviewers do it would be huge.   Basically, they're stuck; the question is, how can someone else start fresh and seize that opportunity?


« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 20:23 by stockastic »

« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 15:29 »
+1
If I knew the answer I wouldn't be taking pictures for peanuts...but yes the next step forward will be radical not just a slightly better version of what we have now. Probably needs someone thinking from a completely different viewpoint.

farbled

« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 17:17 »
+3
I think the saturation effect is what someone said above, poorly key'd images for the most part, repetitious keys and the like or people that game the system. Another part of the problem is that so many of us have the same images across so many agencies. Finally, there is the quality issue.

I think some bright agency out there will try something new sooner or later.

For me, I could see the tier/levels that SS uses combined with exclusive/non-exclusive images for different price points. Those who can demonstrably sell good images climb the ranks faster and get more visibility in search, which equals better sales for quality images.

Those who have exclusive images also climb higher faster (equals better sales for unique stuff a buyer cannot find elsewhere, like at Stocksy).

A lot of buyers have proven they will pay for quality images if they can find them, so having options to sort by exclusive, artist tier (where the quality is higher or lower) or some other indicator, I think would go a long way to sorting out a proper search. Buyers can suss out by price for the cheap stuff, or the more unique/exclusive or better quality, sort that way too.

The crap that doesn't sell will sink as it should and end up in a dollar bin somewhere at the bottom. There just needs to be a better way to force the bad down and the good up, plus give contributors a reason to keep improving quality.


 

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