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« Reply #100 on: May 27, 2012, 12:27 »
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What is the payback to PicturEngine if someone buys a photo from an agency rather than from a paying user?

Nothing.  They make their money from us only.

So you pay your commission to the agency you chose to upload to, and PictureEngine creams off it's percentage, even though we did not opt to be included there?
People who choose to use this, fair enough, but our files shouldn't be hijacked without our permission.

(Oh, but that probably already happens on those weird iStock 'associate sites'.  >:( )

I agree, they must follow agencies rules


lisafx

« Reply #101 on: May 27, 2012, 16:08 »
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(snip)
AIUI, if you pay, you get the version on your personal site included, not those from agencies.
Do they have some mega-sophisticated way of blocking out identicals?

The image that is shown is from the agency that it was uploaded to first.

That makes no logical sense. Plus it will punish those who submitted to the easy-to-get-into, low paying sites first.

What is the payback to PicturEngine if someone buys a photo from an agency rather than from a paying user?

Yes, I would like a clear answer to this.  I asked on the last page:  If you pay the $120/year for advertising, will the only images displayed be the ones from your own website, rather than the agencies?  Regardless of where you uploaded first, which sites were indexed first by PicturEngine, etc?  
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 16:11 by lisafx »

« Reply #102 on: May 27, 2012, 17:43 »
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(snip)
AIUI, if you pay, you get the version on your personal site included, not those from agencies.
Do they have some mega-sophisticated way of blocking out identicals?

The image that is shown is from the agency that it was uploaded to first.

That makes no logical sense. Plus it will punish those who submitted to the easy-to-get-into, low paying sites first.

What is the payback to PicturEngine if someone buys a photo from an agency rather than from a paying user?

Yes, I would like a clear answer to this.  I asked on the last page:  If you pay the $120/year for advertising, will the only images displayed be the ones from your own website, rather than the agencies?  Regardless of where you uploaded first, which sites were indexed first by PicturEngine, etc?  

The following is from the Picturengine FAQ page. 

"I have my own searchable stock photo sales and distribution website, how can I be included?
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2012 09:58PM CDT

Depending upon your platform, we offer an Advertising Only package, which includes all of your keyworded images within our search results.  When a buyer clicks on your image, they are redirected to your website for licensing, as we do for agencies."

grafix04

« Reply #103 on: May 27, 2012, 22:23 »
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What is the payback to PicturEngine if someone buys a photo from an agency rather than from a paying user?

Nothing.  They make their money from us only.

So you pay your commission to the agency you chose to upload to, and PictureEngine creams off it's percentage, even though we did not opt to be included there?
People who choose to use this, fair enough, but our files shouldn't be hijacked without our permission.

(Oh, but that probably already happens on those weird iStock 'associate sites'.  >:( )

I don't see an issue.  It's no different to a Google query, say if you google "businessman royalty free".  Only here it will be more efficient, indexed and sorted in a meaningful way for buyers, without any duplicates.  I can't see how they're 'hijacking' our images.  You don't have to sign up and upload your images if you don't want to but your images will be searchable and a thumb will display there with link to the micro site just like it does on any other search engine.  I don't see anyone making such a fuss because our images appear on Google.  They won't be hosting your images unless you sign up.

grafix04

« Reply #104 on: May 27, 2012, 22:39 »
0
(snip)
AIUI, if you pay, you get the version on your personal site included, not those from agencies.
Do they have some mega-sophisticated way of blocking out identicals?

The image that is shown is from the agency that it was uploaded to first.

That makes no logical sense. Plus it will punish those who submitted to the easy-to-get-into, low paying sites first.

What is the payback to PicturEngine if someone buys a photo from an agency rather than from a paying user?

Yes, I would like a clear answer to this.  I asked on the last page:  If you pay the $120/year for advertising, will the only images displayed be the ones from your own website, rather than the agencies?  Regardless of where you uploaded first, which sites were indexed first by PicturEngine, etc?  

The following is from the Picturengine FAQ page. 

"I have my own searchable stock photo sales and distribution website, how can I be included?
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2012 09:58PM CDT

Depending upon your platform, we offer an Advertising Only package, which includes all of your keyworded images within our search results.  When a buyer clicks on your image, they are redirected to your website for licensing, as we do for agencies."

dehooks, that doesn't really answer Lisa's question and I'd like to know this as well.  All it says there is that the image will display and link to the image from our own websites, just like it does when it displays and links to the micro we first upload to if we don't sign up.  What I'd like to know is more about this 'sim search' where they compare agents.  If we pay for the 'Advertising Only' plan, will the buyer be able to compare our images with the micros on that little button underneath the image (the one that doesn't work in beta).  I won't sign up if that was the case. 

Unless we're able to see more of how the site will function in all its glory, I've decided to wait till they launch.  I want to know how user friendly it will be for the buyer, the speed it will run, the bugs that we'll find, the perks to photographer when they sign up paying the $40 and all the other things we won't know till the site launches.  There's no point investing in it just yet.  Not for me anyway.  For all I know it might end up being an unusable piece of crap like Spiderpic and ShotSpy.  Or it may be fantastic and I might want the perks and sign up for the $40 plan.  My webhosting is up for renewal later this year so I'd like to see whether it's worth ditching my own site and selling directly through here.  There are too many unknowns, making it difficult to make any decisions.

I'm still excited about the idea and it's great that someone like Justin took the initiative to come up with a model that's so different to anything else.  I'm looking forward to finding out more about it.

grafix04

« Reply #105 on: May 27, 2012, 22:42 »
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Another thought, wont most of the images in the PictureEngine search be from traditional agencies and at a price that's too high for the average microstock buyer?  If they can filter by price, they will end up with what's already on SS and istock.  If they can't filter by price, isn't there going to be around 180 million non-microstock images to wade through?  I really don't see the advantages for microstock buyers.

If you have a look at the site, you will see that buyers can filter our RM, RF, Microstock and Subscriptions.

« Reply #106 on: May 28, 2012, 02:13 »
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If they filter out for only microstock, what's the advantage over using SS and istock?  Buyers only have to have two places to search almost all the microstock images available and it will be much easier to buy from two sites rather than hundreds of them.

ShadySue

« Reply #107 on: May 28, 2012, 02:22 »
0

What is the payback to PicturEngine if someone buys a photo from an agency rather than from a paying user?

Nothing.  They make their money from us only.

So you pay your commission to the agency you chose to upload to, and PictureEngine creams off it's percentage, even though we did not opt to be included there?
People who choose to use this, fair enough, but our files shouldn't be hijacked without our permission.

(Oh, but that probably already happens on those weird iStock 'associate sites'.  >:( )

I don't see an issue.  It's no different to a Google query, say if you google "businessman royalty free".  Only here it will be more efficient, indexed and sorted in a meaningful way for buyers, without any duplicates.  I can't see how they're 'hijacking' our images.  You don't have to sign up and upload your images if you don't want to but your images will be searchable and a thumb will display there with link to the micro site just like it does on any other search engine.  I don't see anyone making such a fuss because our images appear on Google.  They won't be hosting your images unless you sign up.

From the OP:
This portal has five primary goals:
1 To make it possible for customers to review, in a single search, all the images included in the major RM, RF and microstock collections as well as images from individual direct contributors to PicturEngine.

Does Google cream off some of our money if someone buys our image from an agency based on an original Google search?

I'm also not convinced about "it will be more efficient, indexed and sorted in a meaningful way for buyers," - GIGO, so spam results in poor results, just like on the agencies and GIS.  >:(

« Reply #108 on: May 28, 2012, 02:55 »
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...Does Google cream off some of our money if someone buys our image from an agency based on an original Google search?

I'm also not convinced about "it will be more efficient, indexed and sorted in a meaningful way for buyers," - GIGO, so spam results in poor results, just like on the agencies and GIS.  >:(
They aren't creaming off some of our money.  They make money by us paying them a monthly fee, if we want to.

The results are going to be interesting.  I presume they'll have all the appalling stuff from Mostphotos that's been uploaded with no reviews.  And lots of individuals sites that have no QC.  I'm sure most people don't upload junk but there will be lots of exceptions.  How will they sort out the different ways sites use keywords?  It might be OK to search images but wont they need to use the keywords on the sites?  Istock do them differently, will that make their images harder to find in the search.

ShadySue

« Reply #109 on: May 28, 2012, 03:00 »
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...Does Google cream off some of our money if someone buys our image from an agency based on an original Google search?

I'm also not convinced about "it will be more efficient, indexed and sorted in a meaningful way for buyers," - GIGO, so spam results in poor results, just like on the agencies and GIS.  >:(
They aren't creaming off some of our money.  They make money by us paying them a monthly fee, if we want to.
So if someone buys a file we have with an agency, but we haven't opted to pay them anything, they get nothing?

« Reply #110 on: May 28, 2012, 03:15 »
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That's how I see it.  They will make money if people sign up and pay them every month, otherwise they will have to think of another way to monetize it.

ShadySue

« Reply #111 on: May 28, 2012, 03:24 »
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I assume these 'associates' of e.g. iStock monetise by referral fees?

grafix04

« Reply #112 on: May 28, 2012, 05:50 »
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...Does Google cream off some of our money if someone buys our image from an agency based on an original Google search?

I'm also not convinced about "it will be more efficient, indexed and sorted in a meaningful way for buyers," - GIGO, so spam results in poor results, just like on the agencies and GIS.  >:(
They aren't creaming off some of our money.  They make money by us paying them a monthly fee, if we want to.
So if someone buys a file we have with an agency, but we haven't opted to pay them anything, they get nothing?

I already replied to you on #93 telling you they get nothing.  They only earn the yearly fees from us - the ones who sign up.  You must have missed the post so I couldn't understand why you were still hammering on about it.  And to answer your next post, no they're not associates and won't be earning referrals.  They are just a search engine with a few extra features that should benefit buyers, plus they allow photographers a chance to be included in the search among the big boys for a fee.  That's all.  They don't host our images.  They just index them the same way that Google does and host only the images from photographers who sign up.  There's nothing sinister about it.  It's not illegal to create a search engine and display thumbs.  The only question is whether they're likely to be successful with buyers and none of us on this forum are really in a position to know or even guess. 

Sharpshot, it's clear that you're not interested in this site.  That's okay, you don't have to be.  So don't sign up.  I and others are interested and will probably take the risk and sign up.  I don't see why you have to keep trying to look for reasons why I or others shouldn't sign up when you've made your decision not to.  Good luck with whatever you do.  I like the site and I believe it has potential to be a hit with buyers eventually.  I'm looking forward to finding out more about how it works.  You can keep going on about 'buyers this' and 'buyers that' but you're just guessing like anyone else.  It's clear that you're the type that likes to play it safe and won't join a site like this no matter what.  I'm a risk taker and I don't consider risking $120 for a year much of a big deal.  I've betted way more than that on a horse race.  Betting it on my business is worth it to me.  If it doesn't pan out, well at least I gave it a go. 

« Reply #113 on: May 28, 2012, 08:13 »
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Sharpshot, it's clear that you're not interested in this site.  That's okay, you don't have to be.  So don't sign up.  I and others are interested and will probably take the risk and sign up.  I don't see why you have to keep trying to look for reasons why I or others shouldn't sign up when you've made your decision not to.  Good luck with whatever you do.  I like the site and I believe it has potential to be a hit with buyers eventually.  I'm looking forward to finding out more about how it works.  You can keep going on about 'buyers this' and 'buyers that' but you're just guessing like anyone else.  It's clear that you're the type that likes to play it safe and won't join a site like this no matter what.  I'm a risk taker and I don't consider risking $120 for a year much of a big deal.  I've betted way more than that on a horse race.  Betting it on my business is worth it to me.  If it doesn't pan out, well at least I gave it a go. 
You've got me wrong.  I can be a big risk taker.  I gave up my steady well paid job back in 2001 for a 20 bet, when someone told me I wouldn't dare do it  I've not had a proper job since.  Spent a few years gambling on the stock market before finding microstock.  It's lucky I don't need a lot of money to live on :)  I'm interested in PicturEngine or I would ignore this thread but I really don't like losing money.  I can do that on poker and horses.  If I think they're going to increase my earnings by more than $40 a month, I might sign up but there's lots of potential problems I can see that are putting me off at the moment.  If they come back with some good answers to some of the things discussed here, I might be taking a risk on them.  $480 is much less than I have risked on a daily basis for many years.

grafix04

« Reply #114 on: May 28, 2012, 20:42 »
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Sharpshot, it's clear that you're not interested in this site.  That's okay, you don't have to be.  So don't sign up.  I and others are interested and will probably take the risk and sign up.  I don't see why you have to keep trying to look for reasons why I or others shouldn't sign up when you've made your decision not to.  Good luck with whatever you do.  I like the site and I believe it has potential to be a hit with buyers eventually.  I'm looking forward to finding out more about how it works.  You can keep going on about 'buyers this' and 'buyers that' but you're just guessing like anyone else.  It's clear that you're the type that likes to play it safe and won't join a site like this no matter what.  I'm a risk taker and I don't consider risking $120 for a year much of a big deal.  I've betted way more than that on a horse race.  Betting it on my business is worth it to me.  If it doesn't pan out, well at least I gave it a go. 
You've got me wrong.  I can be a big risk taker.  I gave up my steady well paid job back in 2001 for a 20 bet, when someone told me I wouldn't dare do it  I've not had a proper job since.  Spent a few years gambling on the stock market before finding microstock.  It's lucky I don't need a lot of money to live on :)  I'm interested in PicturEngine or I would ignore this thread but I really don't like losing money.  I can do that on poker and horses.  If I think they're going to increase my earnings by more than $40 a month, I might sign up but there's lots of potential problems I can see that are putting me off at the moment.  If they come back with some good answers to some of the things discussed here, I might be taking a risk on them.  $480 is much less than I have risked on a daily basis for many years.

The risk is different for different people.  I have no idea about your income or your standards of living so risking $480 might be way more than 4 times riskier than me risking $120.  That's fair enough and I understand people will be reluctant to sign up.  I'm excited about this because with all the negatives surrounding Microstock lately, I'm thinking of throwing in the towel on all of them eventually but I'd like to replace that income somehow by selling direct only.  I see this as an huge opportunity for me to do that in the future, as it will allow me to compete with the big guns. 

You and others have mentioned that you wanted a direct only site or a site for direct only with a universal system.  That's what I wanted initially but this is very limiting for buyers who will only see images from photographers selling direct.  They'll lose interest so it wouldn't work unless all photographers were selling direct.  This model (PicturEngine) could potentially work for buyers so it gives me great hope that either I can eventually let go of the microstock industry entirely or that this will keep the micros in check and stop them reducing our commissions.  If the site takes off, even if contributors don't participate, it will force them to think about where they upload their stock to.  If their images on this site are all linking to Deposit Photos, they might leave them or stop uploading to them and only upload on the sites that give them a better return. 

I appreciate your concerns over the site but most of your questions are based around what buyers will do.  We'll never get that answered unless the site is up and running.  Even then, buyers won't flock to the site right away no matter how good it is.  I'm willing to stick it out and support it even if it means being out of pocket.  The hope of this model replacing the current one is good enough for me for now. 

There are a few things with the site that I'd like changed.  For instance, I'd like to see page numbers.  When I do a search and scroll down the page, as the images load, the page keep flickering and moving up which is very frustrating.  Page numbers will sort that out.  I'd like to see how the sim search will work as well. 

« Reply #115 on: May 29, 2012, 02:01 »
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$480 isn't much but if it isn't going to make me a profit, I would rather spend it on a lens.  I want to see PicturEngine work because I'm slowly building a big portfolio of photos that are only on alamy.  This could be a good way for more buyers to find my photos there.  But I don't need to pay anything for that.  I would make a higher commission selling direct but I'm not going to start doing that just yet.  When ktools has PhotoStore 4 available,  I'll have a look at it.  $120 is less of a punt but I would still like to get a return on my money.  I still feel bad at wasting 10 on another site.

I don't see anything wrong in taking an educated guess about how buyers will look at PicturEngine.  Having done this for almost 6 years, I like to try and think like I'm an image buyer.  I might not be able to make accurate forecasts all the time but most successful business people asses things and go with their gut instinct.  I'm not one of them or I wouldn't be here but I don't think it's a bad thing to do.  It would be much better if buyers came here and told us what they think but unfortunately that doesn't happen often enough.

« Reply #116 on: May 29, 2012, 02:36 »
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It would be better of instead of picture engine linking to the site where the image is uploaded to first that it was linked to a site that you could nominate the site that you want to be displayed. i.e the one that gives you the most money per sale (or % if you want to direct your sales that way)

 (how does linking to the "first site" work anyway if I upload to all sites on the same day, first site to approve, first to index ?)


grafix04

« Reply #117 on: May 29, 2012, 05:37 »
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$480 isn't much but if it isn't going to make me a profit, I would rather spend it on a lens.  I want to see PicturEngine work because I'm slowly building a big portfolio of photos that are only on alamy.  This could be a good way for more buyers to find my photos there.  But I don't need to pay anything for that.  I would make a higher commission selling direct but I'm not going to start doing that just yet.  When ktools has PhotoStore 4 available,  I'll have a look at it.  $120 is less of a punt but I would still like to get a return on my money.  I still feel bad at wasting 10 on another site.

I don't see anything wrong in taking an educated guess about how buyers will look at PicturEngine.  Having done this for almost 6 years, I like to try and think like I'm an image buyer.  I might not be able to make accurate forecasts all the time but most successful business people asses things and go with their gut instinct.  I'm not one of them or I wouldn't be here but I don't think it's a bad thing to do.  It would be much better if buyers came here and told us what they think but unfortunately that doesn't happen often enough.

Well you can go by your gut instinct but I'm going to go by his claim of surveying 40,000 buyers ;)

grafix04

« Reply #118 on: May 29, 2012, 05:40 »
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It would be better of instead of picture engine linking to the site where the image is uploaded to first that it was linked to a site that you could nominate the site that you want to be displayed. i.e the one that gives you the most money per sale (or % if you want to direct your sales that way)

 (how does linking to the "first site" work anyway if I upload to all sites on the same day, first site to approve, first to index ?)

That's a great idea! Maybe they could introduce that as another way a photographer can sign up for a smaller monthly fee.  They'll get more support that way.

« Reply #119 on: May 29, 2012, 14:12 »
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Hi Lisa,
Please find your answers in bold below.

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. 

We use a visual comparison algorithm to identify when you upload an image that is also located at an agency (other non visual considerations are also taken into account to verify the match).  Once confirmed that you are the originating photographer, we remove the image from agency record in the active search and direct the end user directly to your image.  Duplicate images was the biggest complaint we received from image buyers during our market research, and it is fundamental to what makes PicturEngine unique.

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?

We are offering the beta discount for those helping with and participating in our beta.  The Advertising Only subscription does not really do anything to help with the beta.  You supply a link to your platform and we pull the images, that's it.  The Advertising Only subscription is very simple (and affordable).
If you had a RM subscription and participated in the beta, then wanted to up upgrade to a RM/RF subscription we could definitely extend the beta price down the road, but not with the Advertising Only subscription.


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. 

You cannot pay to gain a higher ranking in the PicturEngine search, period.  There is NO premium/paid placement.  These are my core values and the values of the platform I built.  Image buyers will NOT use the platform if it has a biased search.

Stay ahead of the curve,
JB

« Reply #120 on: May 29, 2012, 14:17 »
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Here's another question for Justin.  How do you feel about Pinterest? :)  I hope you won't be adding a button under each image.

Hi grafix04,
I think Pinterest still needs some work before it has applications in our industry.

JB

« Reply #121 on: May 29, 2012, 15:16 »
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Justin, thanks for answering some of our questions, but I feel that you still haven't answered my main question, which is what do I get for my $40? Presumably, you would be hosting my images on your site, but I would like a clear answer on that. Do you have FTP? Would I need to categorise? Just knowing a bit more would be helpful.
I think this is a great idea and would love to be involved from the beginning, but I'm a cautious person. If I could pay monthly, I'd be much keener to join than if I had to pay $480 up front. Is that a possibility?

« Reply #122 on: May 29, 2012, 15:57 »
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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

MicrostockExp,
Please email photographer_relations at PicturEngine dot com with the suggestion of adding Smugmug.  If enough people on the platform want to be included, we will add it to the Advertising Only options. 

« Reply #123 on: May 29, 2012, 16:01 »
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So if someone buys a file we have with an agency, but we haven't opted to pay them anything, they get nothing?

Hi ShadySue,
You are correct.  Just like Google, PicturEngine has options for both buyer and seller.  We use the same (or very similar) business model:

1. You can search for free on Google and PicturEngine,  and when you login to the search on Google and PicturEngine, your search results are tailored to your searching preferences, the more you search the better your results become.

2. Just like Google, if you have an established company (an agency over a million images), you will show up in the organic results and pay nothing.

3. If you are a smaller agency (under a million images) or a photographer with a sales platform, you can pay for Advertising Only and be included alongside the organic results.  Unlike Google, your results are mixed in and not posted on the side, PicturEngine has NO paid placement.  Your images are ranked just like all of the others in the organic results.

4. Similar to selling on Amazon or using the Google cart, you can opt to use our sales and distribution platform to skip the steps of making and maintaining your own sales platform.  Our sales and distribution platform has many options to help you get your images online and selling fast. 

We are not reinventing the wheel here.  You can look around and see other industries are very successful with this model.

Best,
JB

lisafx

« Reply #124 on: May 29, 2012, 17:23 »
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Justin, thank you again for your thorough answers to our questions.  I, for one, will be signing up for the advertising plan.  Hopefully it will return much more than the nominal $120 fee over the next year.  :)

ETA:  Okay, I'm confused.  The only "platforms" listed are photoshelter, stockpipeline, licensestream, rightspro, and photodeck.  Don't you have functionality to sign up with my own, self-hosted site?  (Ktools)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 17:42 by lisafx »

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