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Author Topic: Vector Artists - does it makes sense to be exclusive  (Read 8894 times)

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« on: February 25, 2009, 03:21 »
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Seeing as it is more work uploading vectors, the different sites require different file types, not all sites accept vectors, etc..  Does it make most sense to be an iStock exclusive vector artist?

I am wondering because I have a friend who is thinking of getting into illustration and I wonder if it would be best to suggest exclusivity.  I guess they could try a few sites and when they have the option to be an iStock exclusive later on, they could consider it.

Any other opinions?


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 07:54 »
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I am not a vector artist (I wish!) but this is what I have gathered from talking with friends and reading istock's forums:

Istock's vector pricing seems to suggest it would be good to be exclusive there, but for the past couple of best match incarnations (since October or so) vectors have been short changed in the searches.

Microbius

« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 08:01 »
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It seems that in general, yes it does make sense to go exclusive as a vector artist.

greener

« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 08:30 »
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I think it could make sense, since iStock's vector pricing is quite fair, plus the increased commissions when becoming exclusive and hopefully search rank.
The down side however, is putting all your eggs in one basket.  If they shuffle the search, your earnings could be cut in half over night, the affects of which are reduced if you have images on multiple sites.

« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 09:00 »
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The other day I saw one vector on iStock for 25 Credits. Nice piece of change. But to achieve those that will price that high involves considerable talent, learning, dedication, technical expertise, and time investment.

I do vectors for micro because they are fun and they offer variety in the portfolio. Most of my stuff is more on the simple side but effective. On a good day, I can sometimes knock off 5 in an hour. As I have many other irons in the fire, I don't have the time (or really the desire) to produce stuff at the 25 credit level. It's not that I produce bad work or am sloppy - my stuff is technically perfect and I've never had a vector rejected. (I do also tech some vector illustration, so I have to know the technical end well) I just don't have the drive or the time to produce aesthetically complex pieces.  Maybe someday...

My vector sales do well across the board, for some reason I do very well at DT around holidays. And even though none of mine will achieve 25 credit level at IS, I do have those 5 and 10 credit ones that sell over and over. I also had 3 ELs at SS the past week. And unlike some who post their ELs to the SS forum, I don't. Because when you do that, 100 more just like yours appear the next day.

So for me, doesn't makes sense to go exclusive. For those who have the knack to produce those complex ones that command high prices and where their style invites buyers to follow them, then I could see where exclusivity at IS would make economic sense.

« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 09:29 »
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I think for a newbie vector artist it makes no sense to go exclusive anywhere. Your friend should first try the different sites, find out what gets accepted on each one and what sells.
Perhaps after a year or so he/she will have a good understanding of the business and can make an informed decision.

« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 10:29 »
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A new girl I know went EXC at DT without researching first. She's now very sorry she did. In over a year, she has just finally reached $100 in sales.  I think it's hard to get out of EXC there. So a year of testing the waters and learning all you can is great advice.

Her low sales are a result of other factors too, poor titling and keywording etc, plus not know in how to network. Now she's paying more attention and doing better.

« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 12:12 »
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Stormchaser - when I dropped my exc at DT, it took about a month to go through the system and have me completely free of exclusivity. It isn't hard to do, you just email them. Its just a time problem if you dont like having to wait a month to move on. I think this poster was wondering about IS exclusivity, not DT though.

« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 13:23 »
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The other day I saw one vector on iStock for 25 Credits. Nice piece of change. But to achieve those that will price that high involves considerable talent, learning, dedication, technical expertise, and time investment.

I do vectors for micro because they are fun and they offer variety in the portfolio. Most of my stuff is more on the simple side but effective. On a good day, I can sometimes knock off 5 in an hour. As I have many other irons in the fire, I don't have the time (or really the desire) to produce stuff at the 25 credit level. It's not that I produce bad work or am sloppy - my stuff is technically perfect and I've never had a vector rejected. (I do also tech some vector illustration, so I have to know the technical end well) I just don't have the drive or the time to produce aesthetically complex pieces.  Maybe someday...

My vector sales do well across the board, for some reason I do very well at DT around holidays. And even though none of mine will achieve 25 credit level at IS, I do have those 5 and 10 credit ones that sell over and over. I also had 3 ELs at SS the past week. And unlike some who post their ELs to the SS forum, I don't. Because when you do that, 100 more just like yours appear the next day.

So for me, doesn't makes sense to go exclusive. For those who have the knack to produce those complex ones that command high prices and where their style invites buyers to follow them, then I could see where exclusivity at IS would make economic sense.

I'm in the same boat.  My vectors are far from complicated, but I enjoy doing them immensely and also have a 100% approval rating across the board (except at IS because I haven't gotten up the nerve to apply yet).  Be that as it may here's my opinion.  I look through the vectors at IS and see that the vast majority have very high DLs, now I haven't taken the time to see how long each of these files have been online but I get the impression that many buyers in search of vectors go to IS because the quality level seems to be consistently higher IMO.  But I do agree with you on the pain in the a$$ it is to submit vectors to the big six, all seem to what different JPG preview sizes or none at all, FT takes only SVG, StockXpert wants zipped files etc. etc.  So with that said if I were you I would certainly consider going exc. at IS, especially if you were able to continue submitting photos elsewhere.

greener

« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 15:14 »
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  So with that said if I were you I would certainly consider going exc. at IS, especially if you were able to continue submitting photos elsewhere.


No, you can't do that.  If you are exclusive to istock you have to be exclusive for photos, illustrations, and flash all together.

You can however be exclusive with those items and non-exclusive with video, or the other way around. 
http://www.istockphoto.com/sell-stock-photos-exclusivity.php
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 15:17 by greener »

« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 20:30 »
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Many good points have been made above. One more important thing to think about re exclusivity is:
Since the only exclusivity which would really make sense for a vectorist would be exclusivity at IS, consider that IS rejects a LOT of images, based on "we do not consider this to be stock."

I have been submitting there since 2005, and I can tell you with certainty (and many other vectorists would back me up) that iStock's rejections have nothing to do with the commercial value - the potential sales - of an image. IS rejects images which sell a ton at all other sites. Of course, IS will accept a higher percentage of your images if you are exclusive (and however much ISers will deny this but it is, of course, true) but expect that many of your best images may be rejected by IS for no real reason.

If SS rejects a great image, DT and StockXpert will sell it and you will make money from that image. But if you are exclusive at IS and they reject it, you will make nothing from that image.

« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 21:18 »
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Everybody's experience is different, but I can't imagine making the same amount of money on just IS alone. I think trying out the other sites is a good idea. Besides, don't you want to get the referral income for your friend on all the different sites? ;)

As far as different formats for different sites, I use Action scripts in Illustrator & Photoshop and the Automator on the Mac. That helps speed things up.

« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2009, 23:10 »
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Stormchaser - when I dropped my exc at DT, it took about a month to go through the system and have me completely free of exclusivity. It isn't hard to do, you just email them. Its just a time problem if you dont like having to wait a month to move on. I think this poster was wondering about IS exclusivity, not DT though.

Thanks for that. I'll be sure my friend knows. Her work is getting better and she is more aware of the biz now. For her, non EXC will be better as she doesn't do enough volume to gain a decent following

helix7

« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2009, 21:20 »
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I only sell vectors, and for me personally it would be a bad idea to go exclusive. istock typically represents about 30-35% of my monthly microstock earnings lately, so even if I were a Diamond level contributor, I'd still be losing a lot of money by going exclusive.

It's different for everyone, but for me, it wouldn't make financial sense.


« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2009, 12:14 »
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What does exclusivity mean?  Like - what if I had the same image on two different sites - but I changed the color for each site?  Like - I had a blue version on Shutterstock and a red version on Istockphoto.  Would that count as an exclusive?  If so - why not change the color a tad - especially if you're using Illustrator - it's as easy as edit - edit colors - recolor artwork...

Or does that not work that way?

« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 12:35 »
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At istock, exclusivity applies to the person, not the file. If you are exclusive at istock you are NOT submitting any files anywhere else. Period. I was going to go exclusive at istock, but decided to test the waters first. I contribute to six sites right now. After a year I will assess and determine if I need to change my strategy. Right now, exclusivity is not what I want. But that could change. It is nice to be in a position where I can decide.

« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2009, 13:40 »
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if that's exclusive - only on one site and you're not uploading to any other site - then that's not a good deal at all.  If anything - you want to be on, at least, shutterstock and istock...the rest seem pretty cold to my stuff...but exclusive seems to only limit you, and seems to be only good for the company you're working with...

bittersweet

« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2009, 14:47 »
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What does exclusivity mean?  Like - what if I had the same image on two different sites - but I changed the color for each site?  Like - I had a blue version on Shutterstock and a red version on Istockphoto.  Would that count as an exclusive?  If so - why not change the color a tad - especially if you're using Illustrator - it's as easy as edit - edit colors - recolor artwork...

Or does that not work that way?

No, it does not work that way. Being exclusive on istock means you, as an artist, upload your RF images exclusively to istock. For sites with image exclusivity, I feel certain that the differences must be more significant than a simple color change.

vlad_the_imp

« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2009, 02:47 »
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Quote
then that's not a good deal at all

Firstly exclusives earn more than non on iStock, and generally get better privileges. Secondly, if you have a large portfolio (I have over 2000 vectors) then managing a large portfolio on multiple sites can be very time consuming. Thirdly, having looked at vector standards on other sites I consider IS to have the highest standards of illustration and I'd rather ( as an experienced illustrator) be associated with high standard work rather than some of the rubbish I see on Shutterstock and Dreamstime. I'm not saying it's all rubbish, far from it, but there is a greater proportion of dross on those sites. ALso, once you've made that exclusive decision, uploaded huge amounts of work and have developed a regular income stream, it's pretty hard to give that all up for the unknown quantity of multiple sites, some of whom lock you into them for 6 months, so should you go non-exclusive and then decide it was a bad move, you then have the hassle of unlocking yourself from other sites before returning to IS.

MisterElements

« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2009, 17:43 »
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lol hack no  :D :D :D :D its a numbers game. if you are on 8 sites that avg $15 each day you would have to make $120 each day on the other , and if you avg $50 each day on 8 sites thats $400 a day on one exclusive site :D hey but in the end its your choice :D
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 17:44 by MisterElements »

« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2009, 01:03 »
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lol hack no  :D :D :D :D its a numbers game. if you are on 8 sites that avg $15 each day you would have to make $120 each day on the other , and if you avg $50 each day on 8 sites thats $400 a day on one exclusive site :D hey but in the end its your choice :D

I am not a vector artist and I am sure I will be put right if I am wrong, but from reading the comments above the two main sites for vector sales in any volume and revenue are IS and SS, so you may not get 8 sites that average 15 a day and the low earners will drag down the averages, I know on SS you can delete and take an image off line within 24 hours, any move to IS exclusive will be easier if you concetrate on sites with an easy in and easy out policy, however it might be a good policy to start with just these two for a year.

IS limit the quantity you can upload so growing your portfolio will take much longer than at SS, SS have a fast turn around and with no restrictions on the quantities you upload you will get sales faster, take note of what has been said though, IS is better for higher quality vectors, research what is already on offer at both sites and look at what you have to contribute and where it fits in.

I know that many say it is a numbers game and SS will get you a faster return, but the revenue per download will be much less at SS than at IS, but the volume of sales at SS will be higher.

Many Photographers decide and target which sites to upload a specific image to based on content, others upload everything everywhere, and have the same image returning values from a $0.25 subscription to a $20 extended licence.

Some are happy to have their assets downloaded in high volume and lower revenue per download at SS, others feel that model is not for them and get to the same revenue point for lower quantity and higher rate at IS, but many just upload to both and after a year cannot justify going exclusive because they have many more assets with SS than IS and each site is returning good revenue.

The exclusive call will be hard a year down the line, many exclusives defend going exclusive, some opted in and back out again as it was to restrictive, many will say it is not worth it but have never been exclusive themself, so it is a personal choice with no right or wrong answer just like macro vs micro, but you need to forget the community side of stock and put on your business head and look at what system gives the best return on investment and suits your portfolio quantity and workflow.

One thing I found as a part time contributor was that I could not invest the time to maintain the volume for SS, and I reached the same revenue at SS and IS at the same time but with far less assets on IS due to upload limits, the overhead cost in time and effort for 'feeding the beast' at SS was much higher than IS, as downloads for an asset peaked on SS within a few days and then dropped off, on IS there were a few views when the image was in the latest uploads, then steady views and downloads over a much longer period.

David  ;D  
« Last Edit: June 14, 2009, 01:11 by Adeptris »

MisterElements

« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2009, 01:06 »
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lol hack no  :D :D :D :D its a numbers game. if you are on 8 sites that avg $15 each day you would have to make $120 each day on the other , and if you avg $50 each day on 8 sites thats $400 a day on one exclusive site :D hey but in the end its your choice :D

I am not a vector artist and I am sure I will be put right if I am wrong, but from reading the comments above the two main sites for vector sales in any volume and revenue are IS and SS, so you may not get 8 sites that average 15 a day and the low earners will drag down the averages, I know on SS you can delete and take an image off line within 24 hours, any move to IS exclusive will be easier if you concetrate on sites with an easy in and easy out policy, however it might be a good policy to start with just these two for a year.

IS limit the quantity you can upload so growing your portfolio will take much longer than at SS, SS have a fast turn around and with no restrictions on the quantities you upload you will get sales faster, take note of what has been said though, IS is better for higher quality vectors, research what is already on offer at both sites and look at what you have to contribute and where it fits in.

I know that many say it is a numbers game and SS will get you a faster return, but the revenue per download will be much less at SS than at IS, but the volume of sales at SS will be higher.

Many Photographers decide and target which sites to upload a specific image to based on content, others upload everything everywhere, and have the same image returning values from a $0.25 subscription to a $20 extended licence.

Some are happy to have their assets downloaded in high volume and lower revenue per download at SS, others feel that model is not for them and get to the same revenue point for lower quantity and higher rate at IS, but many just upload to both and after a year cannot justify going exclusive because they have many more assets with SS than IS and each site is returning good revenue.

The exclusive call will be hard a year down the line, many exclusives defend going exclusive, some opted in and back out again as it was to restrictive, many will say it is not worth it but have never been exclusive themself, so it is a personal choice with no right or wrong answer just like macro vs micro, but you need to forget the community side of stock and put on your business head and look at what system gives the best return on investment and suits your portfolio quantity and workflow.

One thing I found as a part time contributor was that I could not invest the time to maintain the volume for SS, and I reached the same revenue at SS and IS at the same time but with far less assets on IS due to upload limits, the overhead cost in time for SS was much higher than IS.

David  ;D   


you are right everyone should go to IS  :D :D

bittersweet

« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2009, 01:16 »
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Well, you only need 3 or 4 vector downloads on IS to get your $15 a day. That does make it a little hard to dismiss.

vlad_the_imp

« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2009, 01:41 »
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Quote
I have been submitting there since 2005, and I can tell you with certainty (and many other vectorists would back me up) that iStock's rejections have nothing to do with the commercial value - the potential sales - of an image. IS rejects images which sell a ton at all other sites. Of course, IS will accept a higher percentage of your images if you are exclusive (and however much ISers will deny this but it is, of course, true) but expect that many of your best images may be rejected by IS for no real reason.

The real reason  'many of your best images' are rejected usually is the quality is just not good enough. Selling elsewhere is not a proof of quality. I'm a vector exclusive at IS, I'm somewhere in the top 100 sellers, I do have times when I consider dropping exclusivity , but when I look at the standard of artwork on DT and SS I'm put right off-generally lower standards than at IS. IS keeps its standards higher than other sites and rejects the sort of rubbish that clogs up other stock sites.

« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2009, 01:52 »
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[you are right everyone should go to IS  :D :D
There is a simple way to look at this by numbers, so talk quantity not quality for now.

SS is a high volume, low revenue per download website, IS is a low volume higher revenue website, sometimes one of these models might not suit a portfolio.

IS restrict the number of files you can upload and have a lower acceptance rate than SS.

If you produce low volume vectors that require a lot more work then it is likely IS is a better option, if you can create several new vectors a day then SS might be a better option for a quick turnaroud.

So it is a matter of what the artist is looking for, a quick return or a steady return, also how much time they have to invest full or part-time, after the initial upload frenzy will they be able to maintain a flow of assets to feed SS, reading the SS forums it is clear that uploads perform well in the first few days but drop off quickly, over on the IS forum it is clear that an asset takes time to move up the searches and then will return steady views, downloads and revenue.

Both models have positives and negatives, the OP was asking about going exclusive before the artist has opened an account, this is not a bad thing as the artist would then have an objective and be able to set milestones, with a clear business plan to work to, one factor for any artist to consider is production, what volume they can produce and which sites will give the best return on that investment.

It is not about IS vs SS, Micro vs Macro, Quantity vs Revenue, Us vs Them or Me vs You  :P

An image might sell 340 times a year on SS to earn $85, or once on Alamy to earn the same amount, they both return the same RPI so which model is better. 

David  ;D  
« Last Edit: June 14, 2009, 02:00 by Adeptris »


 

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