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grafix04

« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2012, 03:33 »
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I don't quite get it.  Are we paying for better placement in the search?  What happens if we don't sign up?  My images are already in the search but they're all from DepositPhotos.  If I pay, does this change to a site that pays me a higher commission?  I still don't understand why buyers are going to register for lots of sites.  What we really need is a universal registration and payment system.  I'm not a buyer but I would probably be happy using sites like SS and alamy that have huge collections, without having to register for lots of smaller sites.

You can sign up as a photographer in two ways.  Either using their platform which will cost you $40 a month for RF.  If a customer buys the image, you get 100% commission.  If you have your own site, you only pay $10 a month and your image on this site only appears once and redirects buyers to your site, again you receive 100% and youre not competing with the agencies (for your own image). 

Why wouldn't buyers register to see all images available on one site?  It's free to use and designers want the best image for their project.  Many look through different sites looking for the perfect one and then they have to sift through most of the same images on the different sites just to see exclusive images.  Sure subscription buyers won't budge but who wants them anyway?  On this site the image only appears once.  What I would like to know is how do they decide which agent has preference over the other?  If there are no duplicates, which agency is selected when a photographer doesn't sign up?  

The good thing about this is that we, as direct sellers, are able to undercut the agents.  We can match the prices of the stock agents or undercut them since we don't have to pay any commissions.  For the agents to compete, they'll have to lower prices but to stay afloat, they'll have to reduce contributor commissions.  I don't think many contributors will put up with further commission cuts and if we can sell via this site, getting 100% commissions, it will force many to leave the cheap sites like Deposit Photos without losing anything.  

It's a fantastic idea and $10 a month is nothing.  For someone that doesn't have their own site, even $40/month is pretty fair if the site takes off.  How much do we currently pay our agents each month?  Even with a small portfolio, most photographers pays his agents way more than $40 a month.  I'm really liking this idea and believe it has the potential to take off and if it does, if photographers get involved, it could really stick it up the agents.  It will be interesting to see how it pans out.  
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 03:37 by grafix04 »


« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2012, 03:55 »
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...Why wouldn't buyers register to see all images available on one site?...
Buyers can see all the images available but what happens if they want 10 images from 10 peoples sites.  Wont they have to register an account and fill out all their details and payment information ten times?  Having seen how reluctant buyers have been to move from the big sites over the years, I see this as a big potential problem.  They might use this on the odd occasion when they can't find what they want on the big sites but is that going to cover my $40 a month fee?  I could get my own site but then there's costs involved with that and it also looks quite time consuming.

If they have a way for buyers to buy from lots of different sites by only registering their payment details once, it could be a great service but without that, I'm not so sure.

Are all the big sites going to allow this site to search their images when it could be diverting buyers to other sites?  Will they be able to stop this happening?

grafix04

« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2012, 04:52 »
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...Why wouldn't buyers register to see all images available on one site?...
Buyers can see all the images available but what happens if they want 10 images from 10 peoples sites.  Wont they have to register an account and fill out all their details and payment information ten times? Having seen how reluctant buyers have been to move from the big sites over the years, I see this as a big potential problem.
 

Don't they do that now?  Designers will go to great lengths to look for that perfect image.  I'm not talking about a designer looking for a picture of an apple.  It won't matter where he looks for that, he'll find it everywhere, or snap it up with his camera.  But if he's looking for an image with a niche subject from a certain angle he will browse Google, Flickr, the free stock sites, microstock and trad sites.  They don't have much of a problem signing up to different sites.  Most are already signed up to different sites because at some point they had to buy an image they couldn't find elsewhere.  Also if they don't need the image immediately, they'll add it to their lightbox and purchase it sometime later with a bunch of others.  I think you're assuming buyers are loyal to one or two sites.  This is true for subscription buyers but not for those buying with credits.

Quote
They might use this on the odd occasion when they can't find what they want on the big sites but is that going to cover my $40 a month fee? I could get my own site but then there's costs involved with that and it also looks quite time consuming.

I can't really answer that.  How much of a risk it is depends on your portfolio, how much your earn at the other sites and how much the site is likey to take off.  For those that sell direct, $120 for the year shouldn't be too much of a risk.  I need some answers questioned questions answered (dyslexia!) but it seems like something I would like to be involved with.  

Quote
Are all the big sites going to) allow this site to search their images when it could be diverting buyers to other sites?  Will they be able to stop this happening?
I don't think they can stop them.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 04:55 by grafix04 »

« Reply #53 on: May 25, 2012, 11:25 »
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Thanks very much for coming in and posting Justin.  From your description, it does sound like what I have been hoping someone would come up with.  Would love to have a one-stop-shop that could direct buyers of my images to my own site.

I do have a question about the plans you offer.  I see there is a very reasonable "advertising only" plan for people with existing sales platforms (i.e. their own site), but also a more expensive plan where Picturengine does the sales and delivery part.   I only would need the advertising function, but my concern is that down the road there will be incentive for Picturengine to promote the images from more expensive plans in the search ahead of the lower cost plan.

What do you plan to do to keep your search fair and equitable among all your subscribers?

Hi Lisa,
Great question!  The Advertising Only plan is very affordable.  It is designed specifically for image producers/photographers who are representing themselves and already have an online sales and distribution platform. The Advertising Only plan imports your image database including your images searchable metadata, and a visual fingerprint into our industry wide search database.  The Advertising Only plan, however, does not include access to any of our exclusive tools offered to PicturEngine RM or RM/RF (platform) photographers. 

PicturEngine platform photographers gain access to these tools, providing them assistance every step of the way, including real time comparisons with information on how images are performing in the stock photo marketplace relative to visually similar, similarly priced and keyworded images.  These useful tools enable you to spend your time creating images that sell.

To answer your question, those on the PicturEngine platform will have the competitive edge (if they choose to use the provided tools), but NOT as a function of any bias in the search itself.

As far as a fair search, we do NOT allow and actually penalize anyone trying to trick the system to unfairly gain image ranking.  Our mission is to assist image buyers in finding the best images to suit their needs FAST, and not require them to sift through irrelevant images.

I hope Ive answered your question.

Best,
JB

« Reply #54 on: May 25, 2012, 11:52 »
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thanks for showing up Justin, have emailed you before and no answer but I do appreciate your replies here to all questions, great job!

grafix04

« Reply #55 on: May 25, 2012, 12:19 »
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Justin, I have a few questions that I couldn't find answers to on your support page.  If you don't mind, I'd appreciate if you could answer the following:


I see a lot of image not available thumbs in the search result which prompts me to ask what happens if an image is pointing towards an agent that you leave?  How long before the relevant images are re-indexed and linked to a new site(s)?

How many agents have signed up so far? All I see is Corbis and Deposit Photos and I plan to leave DP.

How are search results sorted?  Will there be various options such as relevancy, popular, best selling, upload date?  If there's no further options, how are they sorted/ranked now?

When do we get to see how the sim search works and how agents are compared?

Will the Advertising Only plan remain at $10 after the launch?

Roughly when do you plan to launch?  Is it when you have a certain number of stock agencies and photographers signed up?

Before this thread, I hadn't head of you before.  Will you be marketing to attract buyers?

Is the $40 lifetime plan (if you sign up before launch) fixed or is it capped?  If in future you decide to reduce the monthly charges (due to competition or if decide to start charging agencies), are we still locked into the $40? 


Sorry, I know it's a few questions but I'd want answers to these before signing up. 

velocicarpo

« Reply #56 on: May 25, 2012, 12:26 »
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I don't quite get it.  Are we paying for better placement in the search?  What happens if we don't sign up?  My images are already in the search but they're all from DepositPhotos.  If I pay, does this change to a site that pays me a higher commission?  I still don't understand why buyers are going to register for lots of sites.  What we really need is a universal registration and payment system.  I'm not a buyer but I would probably be happy using sites like SS and alamy that have huge collections, without having to register for lots of smaller sites.

As far as I understand that PE is crawling all sites and all files from everyone and you do not have to do anything for that.
If you sign up PE is like any other Agency, execpt that you keep 100% of the sales and pay them 10$, 20$, 40$ on a monthly basis for the storage.

This is at least how I understand the concept.

I am honestly excited about it. This could very well kill off some greedy agencies. It is like having your own site combined with all the other contributors at the same cost. Off course advertising remains a questionmark, but I am not too worried right now about it. In any case it seems like a good offer to me.

« Reply #57 on: May 25, 2012, 16:26 »
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" And last, but certainly not least, an indispensable tool, so unique that image buyers make it their FIRST stop when searching for images.  "

What makes it unique?  It looks like any other stock search site.

"I studied other industries for a proven model and the search engine sales advertising model was a near perfect fit."

What is the 'search engine sales model'?


Hi Sean,

You asked:
What makes it unique?  It looks like any other stock search site.

PicturEngine is a search engine with 300 million images from the worlds largest stock photo agencies, alongside the best niche agencies and individual photographers.  We reduce these results by 1/3 after removing duplicate images, providing truly unique results and perspective on the entire stock photo industry.  Just as Google knows your location, searching habits, and what you click on and buy through its search, we serve image buyers the types of images that they like to see and buy, based upon past searching and buying behavior.

The agency format is familiar and comfortable to buyers.  We provide the look and feel of an agency with the direct to base supplier approach.  Image buyers who use our platform know they are seeing all that there is (readily available) of a subject, without duplication.  Knowing they are going directly to (or closest to) the image source, buyers can feel confident about getting a fair price and that the money they spend is NOT going through a labyrinth of intermediaries before paying the actual image producer.

You also asked:
What is the 'search engine sales model'?

http://support.picturengine.com/customer/portal/articles/478866

PicturEngine shares the same business model as any other search engine, meaning advertisers pay for the search. The big difference is, our advertisers are unique image producers. We use this to our advantage by providing buyers with the best, most comprehensive search possible and without paid bias.  Just as Google records your search patterns and habits to better serve you targeted advertising, we do the same, but instead of side posted targeted advertising, we rearrange the users results according to what they like seeing, sharing and BUYING.  With our search, the BEST IMAGE wins, NOT an advertiser with the most money.  This promotes buyer loyalty.

I hope that answers your questions.

Best,
JB

« Reply #58 on: May 25, 2012, 16:32 »
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how will we collect the 100%? will we upload into PE?

lisafx

« Reply #59 on: May 25, 2012, 16:41 »
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Justin, thanks a lot for answering my questions above.  This all sounds quite promising.   I just have a couple more questions before making a final decision:

If you are representing agencies, as well as artists, do you delete the duplicates from the agencies when an artist signs up with their own site?    If I am paying to have my images searchable on the site, I don't want buyers to be finding and buying my images from the agencies instead. 

Also, if I were to sign up for the advertising function, at $10/month, but a year from now discover that you have brought in enough sales to justify upgrading to the $40/month account, would that rate still be locked in, or would I have to pay whatever the going rate is for the plan at that time?

Lastly, the concern I have is that if you are representing agencies, this might conflict with your representation of artists.  Agencies certainly have deep pockets and can pay more for premium placement, if you should decide to offer that type of service. 

« Reply #60 on: May 25, 2012, 20:32 »
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Anyone remember Lucky Oliver?
There have been no shortage of new entries into microstock, most with some new wrinkle or other that promises a better outcome for contributors. I confess I used to join the flock in wasting lots of time uploading images with the hope that this is the one that will really be a winner.
I've since learned to limit the wasted time by sitting on the sidelines and checking back here occasionally to see if anyone is actually selling anything on the new sites.

« Reply #61 on: May 25, 2012, 20:58 »
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I find a site I like, I stick with it.  When/if climate changes I will change.  When they want $40 bucks, I poop.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 21:01 by Mantis »

« Reply #62 on: May 26, 2012, 06:17 »
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Anyone remember Lucky Oliver?
There have been no shortage of new entries into microstock, most with some new wrinkle or other that promises a better outcome for contributors. I confess I used to join the flock in wasting lots of time uploading images with the hope that this is the one that will really be a winner.
I've since learned to limit the wasted time by sitting on the sidelines and checking back here occasionally to see if anyone is actually selling anything on the new sites.

yeah its kind of like the day new software comes out. i sit back and wait for everyone to find the bugs, wait for a couple of updates, then buy it.

« Reply #63 on: May 26, 2012, 14:54 »
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There's a couple of things I don't understand, having read everything here and the FAQs on the site.

You say you have 300 million images from the world's top stock agencies. You also say that agencies with over 1 million files can join for free. Does that mean that many top agencies have already joined? Can you give us some examples? Someone in this thread said you would be crawling all the sites, that suggests without any permission from them, but if that is the case, why would they need to "join"?

If I don't have my own site to sell from, how do I get my images onto PE? That doesn't seem to be addressed in the FAQs.

On the surface, this sounds wonderful, and what we've all been waiting for, but you know what they say...

Thanks for any help you can give.

« Reply #64 on: May 26, 2012, 16:52 »
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Hi grafix04,
Thanks for helping answer questions here on the forum.  You are making my job easier.  Find your answers below in bold.

Justin, I have a few questions that I couldn't find answers to on your support page.  If you don't mind, I'd appreciate if you could answer the following:

I see a lot of image not available thumbs in the search result which prompts me to ask what happens if an image is pointing towards an agent that you leave?  How long before the relevant images are re-indexed and linked to a new site(s)?

As stated previously, the current search is for demonstration purposes only and is static (some of the thumb links are broken).  The search is indexing constantly, and will be updating the results every 2 hours (when we go live out of the Photographer Beta).

How many agents have signed up so far? All I see is Corbis and Deposit Photos and I plan to leave DP.

Agencies over a million images dont sign up, we index them.  We currently index over 60 agencies.

How are search results sorted?  Will there be various options such as relevancy, popular, best selling, upload date?  If there's no further options, how are they sorted/ranked now?

The search results are sorted based upon the individual image buyers past searching and buying habits.  The more a user searches, the better their results are targeted to their preferences.  Yes, we have many advanced search options and filters available on the PicturEngine search platform (many of these and more will be live when we launch).

When do we get to see how the sim search works and how agents are compared?

The sim search (visual sim search) link under each image will be activated when we go live out of the Photographer Beta.  Know that we do NOT allow price comparisons (period).  When agencies compete selling the same image, the photographer loses.  When exact matches (duplicate images) are identified, we show only the originating agency (usually this is the first agency to receive the uploaded image) or the photographer (if they are on our platform).

Will the Advertising Only plan remain at $10 after the launch?

All prices are subject to increase after the beta.  Beta prices are locked-in for life for those who subscribe during the beta as a thank you for helping us test and perfect the platform before the official launch.

Roughly when do you plan to launch?  Is it when you have a certain number of stock agencies and photographers signed up?

We would like to launch ASAP!  Our launch sequence depends upon actual testers.  We have a lot of photographers and agencies (under a million images) currently signed up, however not enough of those registered are actually testing the platform on a regular basis, we need more active beta testers sending us feedback.

Before this thread, I hadn't head of you before.  Will you be marketing to attract buyers?

PicturEngine quietly opened the Photographer Beta last month.  Yes, we will start our advertising campaign for PicturEngine when we launch from the Photographer Beta. 

Is the $40 lifetime plan (if you sign up before launch) fixed or is it capped?  If in future you decide to reduce the monthly charges (due to competition or if decide to start charging agencies), are we still locked into the $40? 

If you register during the Beta, you are guaranteed our lowest price locked-in for life.  If we ever offer a lower price, your subscription will be moved to that lower price.  This will ensure that our beta testers receive the best deal possible for helping with the beta.

Sorry, I know it's a few questions but I'd want answers to these before signing up.

I don't mind answering questions.  I will have more answers for the rest of you on Monday.

Stay ahead of the curve!
JB

« Reply #65 on: May 26, 2012, 22:57 »
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Hello Justin

I tried to sign up for the advertising only but the platform Smugmug I use is not available to choose from. How should I proceed?
Cheers

grafix04

« Reply #66 on: May 27, 2012, 01:10 »
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To Justin, thanks for being thorough answering those questions.  Your site seems promising and it's very likely I'll be signing up under the Advertising Only plan.  I need to make a few changes to my site plus switch hosting sites soon.  When everything is running smoothly, I'm there!


To everyone else.  I have say I'm getting really exciting about this site.  Not only will it effect us directly if we sign up but it will effect us indirectly even if we don't, assuming it kicks off. It will give us another way to influence the market.  We should first upload our content to the agent that give us the best deal, and then upload to the rest of them.  This way the image on this site links to the agent we prefer.  When I say 'best deal' I don't mean the highest commission.  I mean the best return. Eg. 123rf gives us a high  commission of 50% but their prices are way below average and they discount heavily.  That's one I'll push in the back of the queue when uploading. 


« Reply #67 on: May 27, 2012, 02:31 »
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People seem to be presuming that buyers will use this.  I'm still not convinced that they will use it other than occasionally.  It's hard to know how useful this will be until we see the full search in action.  As I don't have my own site, I presume the advertising only option would be of no use to me and I still don't really understand what the other options do for people that don't sell direct at the moment.

« Reply #68 on: May 27, 2012, 03:56 »
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Spiderpic never seemed to take off with buyers and it has an advantage for the buyer of highlighting the cheapest site.

My photos struggle with search order against 15million on various sites, how are they going to go at a site that searches 300 million ?

grafix04

« Reply #69 on: May 27, 2012, 05:03 »
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Spiderpic never seemed to take off with buyers and it has an advantage for the buyer of highlighting the cheapest site.

My photos struggle with search order against 15million on various sites, how are they going to go at a site that searches 300 million ?

Have you tried to use Spiderpic?  It's a piece of crap and is still in beta.  It never took off with buyers because: 

1. you cant compare prices between agents with different pricing structures and that feature doesnt work anyway.
2. the site is painfully slow and times out all the time.
3. it doesnt include all agencies.
4. it doesnt pick up all images from the agents it does have.

As to finding our images.  I don't know about you but I have no problem finding most of my images on Google, among the billions of other images that aren't even stock.

« Reply #70 on: May 27, 2012, 05:25 »
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I hadn't looked at spiderpic since the "beta launch",  must have been a couple of years ago. Yes it hopeless.

Of course I can find my own images in google if I look for them, doesn't mean that buyers are going to find them before they find someone elses.

People are forever complaining and best match sorts, my files at the back of the search, my hottest file just died, etc.

Do you think it will be better with 300 million in the mixer ?

Some images will be at the front some not.

Personally I can't see the big benefits for buyers

grafix04

« Reply #71 on: May 27, 2012, 05:50 »
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I hadn't looked at spiderpic since the "beta launch",  must have been a couple of years ago. Yes it hopeless.

Of course I can find my own images in google if I look for them, doesn't mean that buyers are going to find them before they find someone elses.

People are forever complaining and best match sorts, my files at the back of the search, my hottest file just died, etc.

Do you think it will be better with 300 million in the mixer ?

Some images will be at the front some not.

Personally I can't see the big benefits for buyers

I didn't mean finding my images in Google if I look for them.  I meant finding them immediately on the first page.  Sure some will get buried like they do on other sites but there should be a few that shine.

If the site search works as it's been described, taking into account buyer behavior and a list of other sort options, then yes I believe buyers will benefit from it.  From the buyers point of view, it seems that it would be better than the agents with their Best Match searches that keep shifting.  On the agents, there are so many factors that effect search ranking that buyers just don't care about.  They don't care about exclusives being ranked first and the acceptance ratio of the contributor, the size of their portfolio, the length of time they've contributed, the total number of downloads and a whole lot of other factors irrelevant to them.  On this site (if it works as it's been described) the search results will be effected by the merits of each individual image that buyers themselves set through their buying behavior.  The is no agent tweaking it.  Buyers are the ones who decide which images will be the stars and which will flop.  That's how it should be.

« Reply #72 on: May 27, 2012, 06:15 »
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I just did a Google searching for keywords on my best selling area. It comes up with a number of my images in the first couple of pages. Interestingly they are all either photos in use or from 123rf or shutterstock. Maybe someone can explain why other agencies don't place as highly.

If the PicturEngine search provides customers with what they want quickly, based on some great best match algorithm that is superior to the search they can do on a site then some people will use it.

I can see that there are issue however with buyers who will be confronted with images at microstock prices, mid level prices and some at much higher. If I was on a budget (or cheap) I wouldn't want to wade through looking at images above my price range. Maybe this is aimed at the higher end of the market. 

This site may be of great benefit to some contributors but I can't see it being worth $40+ per month for me at the moment.

grafix04

« Reply #73 on: May 27, 2012, 07:19 »
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I just did a Google searching for keywords on my best selling area. It comes up with a number of my images in the first couple of pages. Interestingly they are all either photos in use or from 123rf or shutterstock. Maybe someone can explain why other agencies don't place as highly.

Mine are varied pretty evenly.  Some are 123, some are DT, some are GL, some are SS.  I suppose it depends how popular my image is on each individual site and how it's ranked against competing images.

Quote
If the PicturEngine search provides customers with what they want quickly, based on some great best match algorithm that is superior to the search they can do on a site then some people will use it.

I can see that there are issue however with buyers who will be confronted with images at microstock prices, mid level prices and some at much higher. If I was on a budget (or cheap) I wouldn't want to wade through looking at images above my price range. Maybe this is aimed at the higher end of the market.  

This site may be of great benefit to some contributors but I can't see it being worth $40+ per month for me at the moment.

Buyers have the same pricing issues even now when trying to find an image, particularly niche images.  All this site will do is save them some time on the actual search without having to jump from one site to the next.  Price sensitive buyers will probably still look for the bargains but most by now know what an image costs on most sites without having to check it out everytime.  Other buyers however, don't care too much about the price, provided they get the image they're looking for.  

I don't believe this site will be a hit overnight but I do believe it has potential to take off with aggressive marketing.  For those who sign up, It will be in our best interest to promote it.  

I see what you're saying about the $40.  You obviously don't have your own site or aren't thinking about setting one up.  $40 a month is a little steep for some contributors so I can't blame people for not wanting to get involved, or not right away.  Most contributors will wait around to see how it pans out but there'll be photographers with their own sites who would sign up for only $120 a year.  I've wasted way more than that on a night out on the town, several times a year.  Risking that amount on my business isn't a problem.  It buys me one year of hope instead of one night of drinking and a chronic hangover the next day.

If you're not going to sign up, though, as I mentioned above, it might be worth strategically uploading first to the site that pays better to ensure your images display and link to the site you prefer.  As I understand it, your images won't be penalized in the search just because you haven't signed up as a photographer.  If the site gets going, it will benefit many.  I'm at the point where I'm considering throwing in the towel on RF in the future so I'm hoping this model succeeds.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 07:24 by grafix04 »

« Reply #74 on: May 27, 2012, 07:22 »
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How many agents have signed up so far? All I see is Corbis and Deposit Photos and I plan to leave DP.

Agencies over a million images dont sign up, we index them.  We currently index over 60 agencies.


So you scrape the sites?  What do they all think about that?

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