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Author Topic: Is it a good thing if Shutterstock stays #1?  (Read 12804 times)

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« on: December 16, 2011, 17:20 »
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One of the reasons why I went exclusive on Istockphoto more than 3 years ago was I was tired of getting paid peanuts for my image sales.  Now I see that Shutterstock may be stealing customers from Istockphoto, and I'm thinking why would this be a good thing?

I'm in the gold level on Istockphoto (probably not after this month) and I make about $0.42 to something like $7.8 an image sale, but more like at least $3.5 a sale on average.  Shutterstock only pays like $0.25 to $0.38 a sale.  I know that the on-demand images pay more, but I don't know if they are anywhere as popular as the subscription sales.  It would take more than 10 times the sales that I have on Istockphoto for Shutterstock to match my exclusive Istockphoto sales, and I doubt even half of that is possible.  Is selling full size images for even $0.38 a sale a good thing?  I know there are other websites like Dreamstime that pay more (and especially in royalty rates) but for the photography I do, it doesn't look like Dreamstime has anywhere the level of sales volume compared to IS or SS.

I feel that if Shutterstock stays #1 and further weakens other websites like Istockphoto, that would further dilute and cheapen the stock photography market and seriously damage the ability to produce stock photography for microstock as well as hurt many stock photography careers out there.  I guess microstock did that to traditional stock, but Istockphoto raised prices slowly but surely, and made it more viable to invest in produce stock photography for microstock.  Shutterstock doesn't care with keeping its rock bottom compensation rates. 


« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 17:32 »
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I don't think SS is as much the active cause of iStock's problems but the lucky recipient of the customers as iStock has systematically pissed off group after group of buyers.

I am back as an independent because of my educated guess at where iStock's bad decisions would leave them in a year or two. I'm still no fan of subscriptions but if you look at the November stats thread here you'll see that (a) the SS average per sale is more like $1 these days and (b) SS walloped IS for me

I can't do anything about iStock's choices, so pursuing the best option out there right now - which is independence with SS as the lead earner - is the best I can manage.

« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 17:38 »
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I average about $0.65 per sale at SS. Nowhere near $1 but I am pretty happy considering the massive quantity.

I don't think a clear #1 in any industry has proven to be a good thing for consumers or workers in the last decade. But one thing is clear with regard to IS and FT, and that is if you treat your workers poorly enough for an extended period of time, they will leave you and you will feel the effects eventually. I think if Jon wanted to lower our commissions, he would have done so by now. Afterall Shutterstock has been the #1 seller for most of us for a few years now, long before iStock fell off the cliff.

« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 18:05 »
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To Be Honest, I always wondered why Istockphoto was still #1 the way that there's a cult / yes men like culture there of being blindly positive and not questioning "dear leader", but it seemed to me like the exclusives at Istockphoto were making a lot more money three years ago.

My other issue with Shutterstock is that at least back then, more than three years ago, Shutterstock had these stringent noise standards (of near zero noise but cannot look overfiltered) that I felt was hard to meet.  Istockphoto had a more lenient policy on noise.  Is it still like that in shutterstock?

My third issue was about tracking the hundreds of images on several websites, how do you all here that are non-exclusive do it?

ShadySue

« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 18:09 »
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To Be Honest, I always wondered why Istockphoto was still #1 the way that there's a cult / yes men like culture there of being blindly positive and not questioning "dear leader", but it seemed to me like the exclusives at Istockphoto were making a lot more money three years ago.

Not really that culture, just that many voices which dissent too often and don't stay silent after threats are banned.
However, SuperSean constantly takes them to task and tries to keep them honest (an uphill task).

« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 18:24 »
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I have a portfolio that is available on both SS and IS. On SS it makes far more money for me each month. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, SS's business model is more successful.

It wasn't always like this. I've been doing microstock for about 7 years and for the first 5-6 years or so IS always made the most money. But then IS's greed eventually became too great, with ever-increasing prices and cuts to commissions, and so they blew it both for themselves and for their contributors. You can't blame SS for Istock's actions.

Istock did not 'raise prices slowly but surely' as you contend. In the time that I've been in microstock they've gone from a maximum image price of $1 (when credits actually cost $1 or less) to nearly $400 now (for an Agency XXL with the minimum credit package needed to buy it). Ask any buyer. Istock weren't doing that 'for the contributor' either as they kept most of the money for themselves although there's no reason why their own costs would have risen so spectacularly.

I've never felt uncomfortable with SS's subs model anyway and nor do I feel I'm 'being paid peanuts' for my work. I think it is very likely with the subs model that 3 or 4 images are downloaded for every one that is actually used (in the early days it was like that on IS too but images became too expensive). Sub images can only be used during the period of the subscription and, unlike with IS, cannot be hoarded and used forever and a day with the original license.

Btw, if I was exclusive on IS now and I was receiving the same average of $3.50 per image that you and others have quoted, then my income over the last few months would have been barely more than half what I actually earned in total. I know, as an exclusive, my images would have had better positioning in the best match __ but would that have doubled my sales? I doubt it.

ShadySue

« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 18:34 »
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Sub images can only be used during the period of the subscription and, unlike with IS, cannot be hoarded and used forever and a day with the original license.
True, but how many buyers know that, and how could it ever be policed?

« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 18:44 »
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we all love money. Yes it does bring some of us happiness. Istock was doing that for many. Exclusives mostly. Often with royalty rates that were unsustainable. It changed that and now most are not so happy. Because of the poor relations with everybody (except a few fan club members) it lost business. To help exclusives stay loyal it pushed their images to the front of searches. So some are not so unhappy.

For independents old files sell if the customer searches by "downloads". New ones are now buried. Whilst it is self destructive to remove images from IS it probably is no longer worth the effort to put new images up (unless they are in  a very small niche category). best match strongly favours exclusives.

If you are exclusive and leave you will lose from IS big time. This is a penalty for dropping exclusivity rather than a reward for staying. The wrong sort of motivation in business long term. SS meantime has made it harder to get images accepted. Many exclusives would find that old favourites with good search positioning would not be accepted into SS.

It is not that Shutterstock is great it that IS has been self destructive. You can quote rubbish figures all you want about average sales amount at IS but for most of us it will end up being 25 cents per image at IS. Most will be sold through TS not IS itself. An increasing percentage are being sold through partner program. Customers may at times be dumb but they are not stupid. They will buy of TS or try to buy using "downloads" to search. Dodgey price sliders and other reluctly introduced search features do little to appease customers. Long term it looks bleak the longer it takes to drop excusivity the more it will cost you and the longer you wait the lower your rewards will be at IS. They have gone as far as they can to milk money with higher prices to compensate for lower sales..

« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 18:54 »
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I often wonder if sub's never came to be, what would we b making?

Would we be selling the same amt (quantity) as we do at SS but @ non sub prices?!
That would b nice.

Or are we selling allot more volume at SS BECAUSE of the sub model??

Have we all shot ourselves in the foot participating in the sub scheme or should i say scam?
Just looking at immediate gratification NOW and ignoring the tomorrow?
I say that cause prices can only go down...thats scarry.

« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 19:00 »
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You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 19:26 »
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You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

Being accepted at SS or elsewhere is not the problem. Having one ex-exclusive that has been rejected is just anecdotal; actually SS has made things easy from exclusives to be there and open accounts, and thet wouldn't have done it if not interested. Just imagine sodafish or Aldra not accepted. The real problem is the change of model, passing from 3,5 or more than 5 (my average per download at IS) to subscription cents. I can't avoid thinking that at least two (or three) subs agencies with the selling power of SS would be needed to match earnings as exclusive. And there's just one SS.
(And making the same, more or least at one site than another only have some meaning if you have the same number of photos at the sites compared. If not, it's meaningless)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 19:56 by loop »

« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 19:33 »
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I say that cause prices can only go down...thats scarry.

Everyone has been saying that for several years, and prices continue to go UP. Even the cost of subscriptions have gone up (which has raised concerns for SS contributors since our commissions have been frozen). At some point you have to look at the facts, which show that prices have been going up. Dreamstime raises their rates every year. At Warmpicture, we don't try to under cut anyone. The buyers we do have seem more than willing to pay for quality. Our average selling price is over $6 per image, with 50% going to the photographer.

What we need are some of these smaller agencies (which many of us champion) to start raising their prices.

« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 19:44 »
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You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

I cannot afford a potential 75% decrease in my sales (due to many of my sales being from images that rank at the top) just for going nonexclusive, and the unpredictable time to upload hundreds of images to at least 4 other websites (which could be tens to hundreds of hours).  I don't have another job and I have bills to pay.  I thus can't take such a decision lightly.

BTW I need an answer about the noise issue.  Is SS still extra picky about noise?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 19:50 by Skylinehunter »

« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 20:00 »
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Neither are necessarily a good thing, but they both have strong sales. You can just accept it as "that's the way it is" or you can try something else to see if it works for you.

I've been trying to reward the the fair paying sites with my newest work. Everyone else gets old stuff or nothing. The main places I upload to now are MyStcokVectors (my own site), Clipartof and Graphic Leftovers. I've been thinking of adding Cutcaster to that list and maybe experimenting with some of these new smaller sites that keep popping up.

I have to admit my monthly earnings look less and less like the chart to the right every month and I think that's a good thing.

« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 20:01 »
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BTW I need an answer about the noise issue.  Is SS still extra picky about noise?

I never noticed SS as being particular about noise any more than IS was, but I'm sure others have their own opinions. In my experience SS is very particular about selective focus.

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2011, 20:09 »
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You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

all ten of my images were accepted on the first try at SS. I am an iS exclusive but thought it prudent to set up accounts everywhere else just in case. conversely, it took me five months and six tries to be accepted at iStock. granted there were two years in between but still.

« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2011, 20:12 »
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IST was once the No1? really...i'm not kidding....just online since three years.
SS will roll over the market in the next two years...they never misbehaved to contributors and not to customers.
Since i joined there i ask myself each month when i can close any other accounts...
especial FT who is engaged in making themselves dispensable.

By the way...I realize much higher earnings than in this thread manifested.


« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2011, 20:18 »
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Insert Quote

You can not change what is. Just deal with it.

I agree, too late now.
If when subs had just started, we all (or most) said "heck no, i will not upload to your site for sub prices". Then mabey something would be diffrent now.

BUT yes "You can not change what is. Just deal with it"- i agree.
What is the best thing to do now i think, is get as much out of every co. as we can. while this boat is still afloat.

I say that cause prices can only go down...thats scarry.

Everyone has been saying that for several years, and prices continue to go UP. Even the cost of subscriptions have gone up (which has raised concerns for SS contributors since our commissions have been frozen). At some point you have to look at the facts, which show that prices have been going up. Dreamstime raises their rates every year. At Warmpicture, we don't try to under cut anyone. The buyers we do have seem more than willing to pay for quality. Our average selling price is over $6 per image, with 50% going to the photographer.

What we need are some of these smaller agencies (which many of us champion) to start raising their prices.

i dont know about that (I might b wrong?) but i dont recal any raises lately.
maybe some co's. have increased the cost to the customer (charging more) but they have kept the diffrence for themselves.

lets just ride this (watered down) gravy train till the end of the line.
and see where we end up.

« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2011, 20:28 »
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My sales have dropped about 25% to 38% (depending on the month) this year compared to last year.  Last year was really great so this year's sales drop didn't sting that much.  Still, I'm still trying to figure how much of a sting it would really be, at least at first.  And then I have to evaluate the long term viability of microstock photography.

How do you guys deal with so many images?   Are there services that help you prepare or upload lots of images?

« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2011, 20:32 »
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BUT yes "You can not change what is. Just deal with it"- i agree.

The same could be said about outsourced labor and people working for cents in third world countries.

lisafx

« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2011, 20:38 »
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Just as a point of interest, I just compared my $ per download on Istock (including PP sales) and Shutterstock.  On Istock/PP I averaged .95 per image sold, and on SS it was .84.  

Not much difference, as you can see.  Individual, on-demand, and EL sales on Shutterstock have grown each month, while TS sold over 1k more of my pictures in October than Istock did, at .25.  End result is that the royalty gap between the two sites is practically nonexistent anymore.  

« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2011, 20:41 »
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I haven't had an SS rejection for noise in ages - either I have figured out how to avoid it or they don't care so much. A lot of this was when I switched from a p&s to dslr, but I think I still had noise rejections for a while after that. I also used to get "distorted pixel" rejections from IS - I never really did figure out what made the pixels anything other than square though.

SS seems to have tightened acceptance lately, I have no idea about IS, but back when I was submitting to both it often felt like what IS accepted SS would reject and vice versa. In general SS liked saturated colors and IS liked it less so. SS has always been tough on shallow depth of field.

I would have preferred customers pay IS prices and I get 50% of that, but that doesn't seem to be happening much, so I'll accept subs at SS and others and hope that customers avoid the sites that seem to be primarily concerned with skimming as much as they possibly can from each sale while moving the goalposts whenever they feel like it <cough>IS FT </cough>

If you are stuck in the IS basket with all your eggs you still might be making more than you would outside, but if the trends continue eventually that will not be the case.

I think that the dropping contributor commissions has been a much more damaging trend in the last 2 years than dropping prices - we aren't in a race to the bottom price war, we are in a race to the bottom commission war and contributors appear to be losing.

lisafx

« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2011, 20:42 »
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You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

all ten of my images were accepted on the first try at SS. I am an iS exclusive but thought it prudent to set up accounts everywhere else just in case. conversely, it took me five months and six tries to be accepted at iStock. granted there were two years in between but still.

I think that's more an indication of how your skill and quality have grown than that SS standards are lower than IS :)

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2011, 20:47 »
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You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

all ten of my images were accepted on the first try at SS. I am an iS exclusive but thought it prudent to set up accounts everywhere else just in case. conversely, it took me five months and six tries to be accepted at iStock. granted there were two years in between but still.

I think that's more an indication of how your skill and quality have grown than that SS standards are lower than IS :)

thanks Lisa, but actually I don't think that is the case. Obviously I can't comment based on any great deal of experience, since I have only literally submitted to SS once. but from much of what I read on their forums, and from what i see in their newest acceptances, SS is still accepting a lot of work that would never meet iStock criteria for acceptance. despite what some say here, it seems feeding the beast is a constant necessity still at SS....whether you're feeding it processed food, gourmet or utter crap doesn't always seem to matter

« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2011, 20:51 »
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Subscription prices and royalties don't bother me.  I really don't care how much I make for one sale; it's the total that interests me.  If Shutterstock could bring me a million sales a month, they could pay me a penny each and I wouldn't squawk.  And Shutterstock does bring me a heck of a lot more sales than anyone else, so many that in pure revenue terms they often beat my #5 by a factor of five.

As for rejections, I don't have much trouble with them at Shutterstock.  That may just mean that I've figured out what they want and know how to deliver it.  I remember getting a lot of rejections at iStock for images that were accepted at Shutterstock.  Can't tell if the opposite was true, as I submitted new content to Shutterstock first and generally didn't take any rejections to any other sites.  And I submit a lot, so many that iStock never had more than a third of my portfolio even before I stopped uploading and started deleting.

« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2011, 21:21 »
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Subscription prices and royalties don't bother me.  I really don't care how much I make for one sale; it's the total that interests me.
How could lowering prices result in making more money? It happens all the time in business. Would Dunkin' Donuts make more money if they were charging $10 for one doughnut?

Low prices make possible things which cannot happen when prices are high. New kinds of customers enter the market.

Consider a designer who is thinking about using an image she finds on iStock. She downloads a comp and works on it in PShop to see if it will work in her design, maybe isolating it or whaterver. If it does work, she buys it and starts working on the full size image, doing to it what she did with the comp. But if she has a subscription to SS, she just downloads the full size image and starts working on it. She doesn't have to do the same work twice.

This may not seem like much of a difference, but it is a big difference to designers. If I can download 20 images from SS for the same price one image costs me on IS, it will enable me to work in new ways. And I may end up buying more images than ever. This is really what's happening.

« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2011, 21:24 »
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despite what some say here, it seems feeding the beast is a constant necessity still at SS....whether you're feeding it processed food, gourmet or utter crap doesn't always seem to matter

Huh? How would you know? From my experience I'd say that 'feeding the beast' is way more important at IS nowadays than it is at SS because the best match favours new images so much __ it hasn't done so on SS for years. I had 5 months off uploading anywhere this year. My income at IS went down and my income at SS went up. Why do you talk such nonsense on matters you obviously know so little about?


SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2011, 21:53 »
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despite what some say here, it seems feeding the beast is a constant necessity still at SS....whether you're feeding it processed food, gourmet or utter crap doesn't always seem to matter

Huh? How would you know? From my experience I'd say that 'feeding the beast' is way more important at IS nowadays than it is at SS because the best match favours new images so much __ it hasn't done so on SS for years. I had 5 months off uploading anywhere this year. My income at IS went down and my income at SS went up. Why do you talk such nonsense on matters you obviously know so little about?

I already acknowledged that obviously I don't know firsthand. But I read the SS submitter forums regularly and I see their latest uploads. sorry, but their standards are not anywhere close to iStock's. (well, that is for regular contributors. for content being trucked in from Getty, apparently there are no standards.)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 21:55 by SNP »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2011, 22:04 »
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Is it a good thing?

Oh, absolutely. When the day comes that the majority of buyers come to the realization that any image is worth no more than 33 cents we should all pop champagne and break out the high fives.

« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2011, 22:20 »
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Is it a good thing?

Oh, absolutely. When the day comes that the majority of buyers come to the realization that any image is worth no more than 33 cents we should all pop champagne and break out the high fives.


I think the buyers don't really know how much the contributors get paid for an image - if it is .07 or .25  (those are the lows I have seen listed for IS xsmall and pp sub sales) or .25 to .38 up to 5.70 (ss sub to single image range). we shall leave ELs out for now.

In general I do agree that sites could stand to raise prices a bit and commissions more. In reality I am guessing that prices will only rise slightly and they will be offset for the artists by drops in commission and dilution of sales as the image libraries continue to grow.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2011, 22:32 »
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Is it a good thing?

Oh, absolutely. When the day comes that the majority of buyers come to the realization that any image is worth no more than 33 cents we should all pop champagne and break out the high fives.


I think the buyers don't really know how much the contributors get paid for an image - if it is .07 or .25  (those are the lows I have seen listed for IS xsmall and pp sub sales) or .25 to .38 up to 5.70 (ss sub to single image range). we shall leave ELs out for now.

In general I do agree that sites could stand to raise prices a bit and commissions more. In reality I am guessing that prices will only rise slightly and they will be offset for the artists by drops in commission and dilution of sales as the image libraries continue to grow.

I'm not talking about commissions. I'm talking about the homepage of SS where it shows buyers they can get 750 images in a month for $249.

Regardless of how many they download, buyer perception is that each image is worth 33 cents.

So what would happen if most buyers flocked to SS, along with most contributors? Well, after they have a trillion images from a bazillion contributors, and the supply of subscription images heavily outweighs demand, guess what happens? The same thing that is happening to macro and higher priced micro. Enjoy your nice earnings while they last.

« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2011, 23:08 »
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One of the reasons why I went exclusive on Istockphoto more than 3 years ago was I was tired of getting paid peanuts for my image sales.  Now I see that Shutterstock may be stealing customers from Istockphoto, and I'm thinking why would this be a good thing?

I'm in the gold level on Istockphoto (probably not after this month) and I make about $0.42 to something like $7.8 an image sale, but more like at least $3.5 a sale on average.  Shutterstock only pays like $0.25 to $0.38 a sale.  I know that the on-demand images pay more, but I don't know if they are anywhere as popular as the subscription sales.  It would take more than 10 times the sales that I have on Istockphoto for Shutterstock to match my exclusive Istockphoto sales, and I doubt even half of that is possible.  Is selling full size images for even $0.38 a sale a good thing?  I know there are other websites like Dreamstime that pay more (and especially in royalty rates) but for the photography I do, it doesn't look like Dreamstime has anywhere the level of sales volume compared to IS or SS.

I feel that if Shutterstock stays #1 and further weakens other websites like Istockphoto, that would further dilute and cheapen the stock photography market and seriously damage the ability to produce stock photography for microstock as well as hurt many stock photography careers out there.  I guess microstock did that to traditional stock, but Istockphoto raised prices slowly but surely, and made it more viable to invest in produce stock photography for microstock.  Shutterstock doesn't care with keeping its rock bottom compensation rates. 

I would guess that rpd has been gradually increasing on ss over the years, since they keep introducing other methods to purchase images other than sub plans. I ran a poll recently to try and get an idea of sub verses non-sub income and non-sub income is actually pretty high. But with subs it's the sheer volume of downloads which is impressive, no other site that I'm aware of has that volume and it's increasing. For sure many former iStock customers have gone to the other big microstock site that they know, the simplicity of buying at ss is probably appealing especially as it seems that buying at IS is becoming ever more complex.

« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2011, 23:23 »
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Subscription prices and royalties don't bother me.  I really don't care how much I make for one sale; it's the total that interests me.
How could lowering prices result in making more money? It happens all the time in business. Would Dunkin' Donuts make more money if they were charging $10 for one doughnut?

Low prices make possible things which cannot happen when prices are high. New kinds of customers enter the market.

Consider a designer who is thinking about using an image she finds on iStock. She downloads a comp and works on it in PShop to see if it will work in her design, maybe isolating it or whaterver. If it does work, she buys it and starts working on the full size image, doing to it what she did with the comp. But if she has a subscription to SS, she just downloads the full size image and starts working on it. She doesn't have to do the same work twice.

This may not seem like much of a difference, but it is a big difference to designers. If I can download 20 images from SS for the same price one image costs me on IS, it will enable me to work in new ways. And I may end up buying more images than ever. This is really what's happening.

As I see it, if your image is good and superior enough, people would pay the money to buy your image.

Back in December 2009, my images sold almost 400 times and made $673 (I was exclusive at the time), and when Istockphoto raised prices for Exclusive Photographers  (around 60%), my sales didn't go down, they went UP, and gather that I did upload 100 images between December 2009 and January 2010, but in March 2010, my royalties shot up to $1900 on 645 image downloads, thus my # of downloads went up between 40% and 60% and my average royalty per image went from $1.68 to $2.94, about a 75% increase.  At the very least, sales didn't go down as prices went up, and the combination of the same sales and a price increase means a lot more royalty revenue.

Look at Netflix, they raised prices about up to 60% and they only lost 4% of their customers, thus they made a lot more money as a result.  Of course though, their customer base growth has stalled.

If people are that desparate for low prices, either it shows more concern about the economy or that designers are getting paid less and less for their work.

BTW, once someone requested an image directly from me (that was not on my online collection) that was an Istockphoto customer, I sold them the image for $50 and they had no issue paying it.  

Perhaps Istockphoto exclusives are also moving more to Gettyimages?  I once had a Getty image sale (because Vetta collection images are also put on Getty Images) that netted me $250 in royalties earlier this year.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 23:38 by Skylinehunter »

« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2011, 23:47 »
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Obviously I can't comment based on any great deal of experience, since I have only literally submitted to SS once. but from much of what I read on their forums, and from what i see in their newest acceptances, SS is still accepting a lot of work that would never meet iStock criteria for acceptance. despite what some say here, it seems feeding the beast is a constant necessity still at SS....whether you're feeding it processed food, gourmet or utter crap doesn't always seem to matter

I haven't submitted more than a few images to Shutterstock in several months and my earnings are growing. And I have submitted enough images to both sites over the years to know there is little difference in acceptance standards. This rah-rah iStock exclusive non-sense is so annoying. "Gee we have to work so much harder to get our great work past the inspectors. It's just garbage at all the other stock sites." Please.

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2011, 00:31 »
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^ I don't think anyone said anything about garbage. the standards are higher at iStock. all it takes is a browse through recent uploads. I don't agree with everything iStock accepts. they let some 'garbage' (as you put it) through too. but overall, I think the standards are more consistent and higher. rah rah.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 01:35 by SNP »

lagereek

« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2011, 03:13 »
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Look at all the past history of any stock-photography!  started in mid 70s,  Stones, Image-Bank, Telegraph, Pictor, etc, etc. Any agency will get their 10, years, of market leading and then slowly they have to move over. Fact of life really.
IS,  is no differance, theyve had their time. They could have done something better about it but chose, not to and thats really the end of story.
Getty, alone, ( without all their sister companies)  would today, not be the market leader.

« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2011, 03:15 »
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^ I don't think anyone said anything about garbage. the standards are higher at iStock. all it takes is a browse through recent uploads. I don't agree with everything iStock accepts. they let some 'garbage' (as you put it) through too. but overall, I think the standards are more consistent and higher. rah rah.
That's not my experience.  I'm sure lots of exclusives that go independent will be shocked by the amount of images that istock accepted but get rejected by SS now.  Standards have risen a lot over the years, you can get lucky with a lenient reviewer on any site but they also have ones that have RSI from hitting the reject button.


« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2011, 03:30 »
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Something I don't like about subscriptions is not having a fixed percentage of the amount buyers pay, like we do with pay per download.  I would like to know what commission % I get from subs sites.  Sub sites prices and commissions haven't kept pace with the increases we have seen in pay per download prices but that might not be a bad thing.  Every time prices go up, sales volume falls and it also gives sites an excuse to cut commissions.  This is microstock, so low prices with high sales volume and a reasonable commission that doesn't get cut every year works for me.

« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2011, 03:34 »
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I'm always surprised when contributors send buyers to SS just becuase they sell more there.  I send buyers to Dt where I make 3x more per DL than I do at SS. Just because you sell more images there doesn't make it the best place for you to sell images.

RT


« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2011, 03:42 »
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^ It surprises me too.

Although I don't have anything personal against SS, and they do what they do well without too many complications, if I could have one new years wish it'd be that SS ceased trading. Most people won't understand this but it would benefit us all.

« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2011, 03:55 »
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^ It surprises me too.

Although I don't have anything personal against SS, and they do what they do well without too many complications, if I could have one new years wish it'd be that SS ceased trading. Most people won't understand this but it would benefit us all.
Yes, I agree with you to a certain extent as long as thinkstock go as well.  As far as I am concerned they are taking sales from places where we could earn a lot more money.  The only place that pays decent money for subs is  DT where they more often than not pay me more than a $ for a sub dl.
This month so far average earnings per sale 62c with SS and nearly 3$ with DT.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 03:59 by fotografer »

« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2011, 04:20 »
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^ It surprises me too.

Although I don't have anything personal against SS, and they do what they do well without too many complications, if I could have one new years wish it'd be that SS ceased trading. Most people won't understand this but it would benefit us all.
How?  Would buyers spend more on other sites?  I think they would download a lot less images.  A lot might just use free images.  Every time prices have increased, I see a fall in the number of images sold.  Would I make more if the buyers went to istock?  They pay such a low commission % that I just don't see how that would benefit me?  Buyers would download much less and my earnings would be lower.  It really baffles me how that would benefit me.

SS aren't perfect, I would like to see some changes that benefit contributors but that's not going to happen.  Too many people are willing to sell for whatever they can get and buyers are used to cheap subscriptions.  I think SS closing would be a disaster, buyers would just move to sites like Thinkstock.

RT


« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2011, 05:25 »
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How?  Would buyers spend more on other sites?  I think they would download a lot less images.  A lot might just use free images.  Every time prices have increased, I see a fall in the number of images sold.  Would I make more if the buyers went to istock?  They pay such a low commission % that I just don't see how that would benefit me?  Buyers would download much less and my earnings would be lower.  It really baffles me how that would benefit me.

SS aren't perfect, I would like to see some changes that benefit contributors but that's not going to happen.  Too many people are willing to sell for whatever they can get and buyers are used to cheap subscriptions.  I think SS closing would be a disaster, buyers would just move to sites like Thinkstock.

Would buyers spend more on other sites? - It's common knowledge that buyers on SS don't use their full subscription allowance, because if they did SS would go bust. So therefore you don't know how much buyers are willing to pay, there have been numerous messages from buyers across many forums who have all stated that within reason a few dollars here and there isn't a deal cruncher because in most cases the fee is passed onto the client.

I think they would download a lot less images. - You think but you don't know, but I ask why you think this? Do you think buyers on SS download stuff just for the fun of it, or are you going along with the urban myth that most of the images downloaded on SS are never used.

You keep mentioning percentages and yet you don't know what percentage SS actually pay you, as I've mentioned many times percentages mean absolutely nothing, it's the RDP that matters and on iS and DT it's higher than on SS.

"Too many people are willing to sell for whatever they can get and buyers are used to cheap subscriptions." - Yes and you're one of them, and through default so am I and everyone else who sells through SS. And why do you think buyers have become used to cheap subscriptions.

If you really want to understand it do your own sums, take the number of your sales across all the sites you submit to and then transfer that number to equate to only selling those files at SS based on your average RPD on SS, then do the opposite for your top 5 sites. SS would be the lowest return.

Heres my RPD and I've been very generous to SS because I've used last Oct when I had three times the amount of EL's than I've ever had (for some strange reason as discussed elsewhere), or in other words my SS RPD is normally a lot lot lower:

SS - $1.41
iS - $ 1.94 (and yes thats including Thinkstock sales)
DT - $1.85
FT- $1.54 (based on current exchange rates)

So you see if SS disappeared tomorrow and those buyers went to any of the other sites I'd make more money, and looking at what others have said on previous 'XXX month sales statistic' threads, so would they.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 05:50 by RT »

RT


« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2011, 05:28 »
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Yes, I agree with you to a certain extent as long as thinkstock go as well.

Wouldn't we all, but I have no doubt you understand why Thinkstock came into existence in the first place!!

« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2011, 05:41 »
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The only place that pays decent money for subs is  DT where they more often than not pay me more than a $ for a sub dl.


But the 'decent money for subs' isn't working for DT is it? That's why they are being 'revised in order to keep a competitive product'. See here;

http://www.microstockgroup.com/dreamstime-com/dt-subscriptions-update/

« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2011, 06:02 »
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Although I don't have anything personal against SS, and they do what they do well without too many complications, if I could have one new years wish it'd be that SS ceased trading. Most people won't understand this but it would benefit us all.

Your head is in the clouds my friend. What you, the OP and a few others fail to understand is that it is the buyers who decide who is #1.

You have to deal with the real-world market for your work as it actually is, not how you'd prefer it to be. You can't 'uninvent' the subs model any more than you can uninvent digital photography or the internet __ which of course both massively reduced the selling price of imagery but, at the same time, has have given you access to customers all over the world.

How would SS ceasing trading benefit us all? Wouldn't SS's buyers simply move to an alternative subscription agency, like FT or TS, which pay contributors less? How would that 'benefit us all'?

RT


« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2011, 06:36 »
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Your head is in the clouds my friend. What you, the OP and a few others fail to understand is that it is the buyers who decide who is #1.

You have to deal with the real-world market for your work as it actually is, not how you'd prefer it to be. You can't 'uninvent' the subs model any more than you can uninvent digital photography or the internet __ which of course both massively reduced the selling price of imagery but, at the same time, has have given you access to customers all over the world.

How would SS ceasing trading benefit us all? Wouldn't SS's buyers simply move to an alternative subscription agency, like FT or TS, which pay contributors less? How would that 'benefit us all'?

My head isn't in the clouds and I fully understand how business works thanks, I've never mentioned trying to uninvent the subs model (and have no idea why you think I'm against digital or the internet) but it seems that I'm in a minority here against folks who sing the praises of extra sales on SS whilst also mention how there revenue has dropped from previous years, maybe I should join the SS wooyay gang - "Wooyay I'm selling more and more on SS, I'm so happy even though I'm making less money than last year, I hope I make even less next year"  ::)

Lets all encourage the buyers to move to a site with the lowest RPD.


« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2011, 06:49 »
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Lets all encourage the buyers to move to a site with the lowest RPD.

Why do you keep going on about RPD as if it is the be all and end all? If RPD is so very important to you then why aren't you selling all your stuff RM at Alamy or macro agencies? You won't earn much but you will have a fantastic RPD.

At the very least you sound like a perfect candidate for exclusivity at Istock. Just opt out of the PP and you should enjoy an RPD of $3.50+. Surely you would be willing to sacrifice your status and some of your income as an independent contributor to maintain your RPD? No?

I'll ask again __ can you just explain how SS ceasing trading will benefit us all? How? What do you think will happen in that event?

RT


« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2011, 07:21 »
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Why do you keep going on about RPD as if it is the be all and end all? If RPD is so very important to you then why aren't you selling all your stuff RM at Alamy or macro agencies? You won't earn much but you will have a fantastic RPD.


I'll ignore the reference to macro agencies because I'm sure you understand the principles of microstock so I presume that was tongue in cheek(and you're getting RPD and RPI confused), however you don't seem to understand the basic fundamental problem of encouraging buyers within a 'microstock' targetted audience to go to the site which pays you the least.

At the very least you sound like a perfect candidate for exclusivity at Istock. Just opt out of the PP and you should enjoy an RPD of $3.50+. Surely you would be willing to sacrifice your status and some of your income as an independent contributor to maintain your RPD? No?
Like many others in the top 500 or so in this industry I did consider it once, but A. I wouldn't qualify because I had/have contractual agreements with some distributors for RF in both micro and macro & B. my premonitions of going exclusive and relying on the management of just one sales outlet and the possibilities that could incur would have and did come to reality!

I'll ask again __ can you just explain how SS ceasing trading will benefit us all? How? What do you think will happen in that event?

I thought I had, you amongst others have said your selling more on SS but making less overall than in previous years.

In simple terms:

You're an egg supplier, you have four shops selling eggs in various schemes in your town, you make less per individual egg sold at shop A than any of the others but you sell the highest quantity there, shop B suddenly alienates all it buyers and they come to you asking where to buy your eggs - why oh why please explain to me your reasons for sending them to shop A ????

Or for whatever reason shop A suddenly closes down, people still need and want to buy eggs so they go to the other shops in town - as things stand can you not see that you'd end up making more money.

Now in answer to your next question - Why do I sell on SS - It's because I'm in dependant and I understand that SS have a lot of buyers, I also understand that in this industry buyers don't shop around like some naively think they do, and if I wasn't on SS any buyers that go there would just buy someone else's image. But given the choice I would rather the buyer bought my stuff from a site that pays me more, which as things stand is any of the other top three microstock sites, and if SS were to cease trading the buyers would have no choice but to buy from a site that pays more.

That's me done on this subject, if you haven't got it yet you never will.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 07:37 by RT »

« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2011, 08:50 »
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Now I see that Shutterstock may be stealing customers from Istockphoto, and I'm thinking why would this be a good thing?

Stealing!????  ??? ::)

wut

« Reply #50 on: December 17, 2011, 09:16 »
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Look at all the past history of any stock-photography!  started in mid 70s,  Stones, Image-Bank, Telegraph, Pictor, etc, etc. Any agency will get their 10, years, of market leading and then slowly they have to move over. Fact of life really.
IS,  is no differance, theyve had their time. They could have done something better about it but chose, not to and thats really the end of story.
Getty, alone, ( without all their sister companies)  would today, not be the market leader.

I'm wondering how someone can use commas so randomly ;D (and not only in this post, throughout history)

« Reply #51 on: December 17, 2011, 09:55 »
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...You keep mentioning percentages and yet you don't know what percentage SS actually pay you, as I've mentioned many times percentages mean absolutely nothing, it's the RDP that matters and on iS and DT it's higher than on SS.
I disagree, the RPD is only part of the equation and is meaningless if you don't look at volume of sales.  Would you rather sell 1 image for $100 and get a great RPD or sell it 500 times for $0.50 and get a worse RPD?  If SS buyers went to DT, they don't accept a lot of my portfolio, so I lose out to the competition.  There might be buyers that are prepared to pay a bit more but what about those that have to stick to a budget and those that will look for even cheaper alternatives?  If they go to istock/Thinkstock, I get paid less for subs commissions and lose out to the exclusives that have better search placement.

If a buyer moved from SS to DT or istock and bought the exact same images at a higher RPD, your assumptions would be correct but I believe overall they are likely to buy less of my images and my earnings would decrease.

I don't think the fall in earnings a lot of us have experienced are all down to buyers moving to SS.  The increased competition and the economic downturn must of had an effect.  The commission cuts and closing Stockxpert have hit my earnings and I'm also less motivated to produce new images now.

helix7

« Reply #52 on: December 17, 2011, 11:17 »
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...You keep mentioning percentages and yet you don't know what percentage SS actually pay you, as I've mentioned many times percentages mean absolutely nothing, it's the RDP that matters and on iS and DT it's higher than on SS.
I disagree, the RPD is only part of the equation and is meaningless if you don't look at volume of sales.  Would you rather sell 1 image for $100 and get a great RPD or sell it 500 times for $0.50 and get a worse RPD...

Exactly. RPD is a sucker's statistic. There are sites that pay phenomenally better RPD than SS, even better than istock. But who cares? The warm fuzzy feeling I get from $3-$5 per sale at some sites doesn't keep the lights on in my house if I'm only getting a handful of sales per month at those sites.

istock doesn't cover my electric bill for the month. DT does, but not with a whole lot left over. SS almost pays my mortgage. I'll take the mortgage payment over quality RPD any day of the week.

« Reply #53 on: December 17, 2011, 11:58 »
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I agree with RT. Since metaphors suck, lets go with a real world hypothetical. Let's say I submit to 3 agencies:

If I sell 1000 images a month at SS and average $0.50 a piece, I make $500.

If I sell 200 images a month at IS and average $2.50 a piece, I make $500.

If I sell 50 images a month at GL and average $10 a piece, I make $500.

That's $1500 total, but if I could move my 200 sales at iStock over to GL, it would be $2500. Now, let's say I had 50 of my 1000 sales at SS were On Demand. Let's move those over to GL too. I'm up to $3000. I just doubled my income by eliminating the two best selling agencies and I haven't even tried to convert the sub buyers.

Granted, you just can't wave a magic wand and make buyers shop somewhere else, but to say RPD doesn't matter seems absurd. And, it seems weird to me that contributors don't fight harder to try to move those sales to better paying agencies.

« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2011, 12:08 »
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I'm always surprised when contributors send buyers to SS just becuase they sell more there.  I send buyers to Dt where I make 3x more per DL than I do at SS. Just because you sell more images there doesn't make it the best place for you to sell images.

I agree. If someone can't find what they are looking for at WP, I send them to Dreamstime. And on occasion, to Graphics Leftovers.

helix7

« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2011, 12:39 »
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...Granted, you just can't wave a magic wand and make buyers shop somewhere else, but to say RPD doesn't matter seems absurd. And, it seems weird to me that contributors don't fight harder to try to move those sales to better paying agencies.

In an ideal world, everyone would buy images at GL and similar sites with high RPD. But in reality, it's never going to happen. I refer buyers only to GL, and will continue to do so. But even with everyone referring people to higher RPD sites, I think this business will still always be about the high-volume sites like SS for maximizing profits.

If things change, then sure RPD matters. But right now, I think that sticking with high RPD sites over high-volume sites is nice in theory but in practice it's a good way to cut your earnings.

« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2011, 13:09 »
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Granted, you just can't wave a magic wand and make buyers shop somewhere else, but to say RPD doesn't matter seems absurd. And, it seems weird to me that contributors don't fight harder to try to move those sales to better paying agencies.

How do you propose that contributors should "fight harder to move those sales to better paying agencies"? What actions should they take to achieve this?

If it means not supporting the agencies who drag down their precious RPD, thereby giving up a significant chunk of their income, wouldn't that be a self-defeating exercise?

It's the buyers who choose where to shop. You can either choose to sell high volumes into the mass market or you can opt for fewer higher-priced sales at 'boutique stores' if you think your stuff is worth it (and the buyers agree with you).

I find it ironic that when SS was small, but at least offered an alternative to the big nasty Istock, most contributors appreciated it. Now that SS have grown big, simply by sticking largely to their well-proven business model, many people are starting to complain about them. Why? Shutterstock do microstock, always have done and do it very well. That's what I signed up for and it is still working fine for me. I do quick, cheap shoots of subjects that I have easy access to and keep my overheads to a minimum (just the way that the microstock model was supposed to work). I consider myself reasonably well-paid for what I do and am grateful for the extraordinary freedom it provides. I don't concern myself much about RPD (otherwise I wouldn't have started doing microstock) but only about how much my portfolio makes per month.

It seems to me that Istock's greed has become contagious for some.


WarrenPrice

« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2011, 13:45 »
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Why? Shutterstock do microstock, always have done and do it very well. That's what I signed up for and it is still working fine for me. I do quick, cheap shoots of subjects that I have easy access to and keep my overheads to a minimum (just the way that the microstock model was supposed to work). I consider myself reasonably well-paid for what I do and am grateful for the extraordinary freedom it provides. I don't concern myself much about RPD (otherwise I wouldn't have started doing microstock) but only about how much my portfolio makes per month.

Yep.  I'm too new to press any point but ... that pretty much nails what I thought it was all about.

wut

« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2011, 13:46 »
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If anything we should try and make buyers buy directly from us. Why should we be satisfied with getting 50% instead of 15-20%, if we can get 100%? OK you usually have to give 'em some discount, so let's say we could get 70%. And by doing so directing traffic from the agencies to photographers and that would make us a little bit less expendable and by that cuts wouldn't be something that's happening every year. And what's worse, a lot of contributors seem to just be getting OK with them :s

I also find it weird more buyers don't contact us to buy directly, they'd get a discount, we'd earn more, it's a win-win situation. Especially during recession.

« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2011, 14:15 »
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If anything we should try and make buyers buy directly from us. Why should we be satisfied with getting 50% instead of 15-20%, if we can get 100%? OK you usually have to give 'em some discount, so let's say we could get 70%. And by doing so directing traffic from the agencies to photographers and that would make us a little bit less expendable and by that cuts wouldn't be something that's happening every year. And what's worse, a lot of contributors seem to just be getting OK with them :s

I also find it weird more buyers don't contact us to buy directly, they'd get a discount, we'd earn more, it's a win-win situation. Especially during recession.

A buyer may buy an image or a few images of yours and then may never buy from you again. They aren't going to spend time contacting contributors individually when they can get everything in one place. The images are already pretty cheap compared to the old days of stock. Yes you could discount even further by selling directly to them, but unless u cover every subject in huge quantities, u won't get sufficient traffic to make a great income selling ur own port on ur own site at microstock prices. Ur own site would be additional income, but u will always be reliant on the agencies for the bulk of ur income.

« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2011, 15:53 »
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How do you propose that contributors should "fight harder to move those sales to better paying agencies"? What actions should they take to achieve this?

To be honest, I don't have a clear answer. I've been experimenting over the last year with it. I decided to stop uploading at the majors (IS, SS, DT, FT, etc.) and focus on my better paying agencies (my own site, Clipartof and GL). I think I'm going to add Cutcaster to that list and maybe seek out some other good paying agencies to experiment with. I'll have to evaluate my direction for next year. I also deleted my portfolio portfolio at IS, FT and VS, but I wouldn't recommend that. It really take a bite out of your income.

Overall, I'm down in total income (like I said deleting portfolios at sites hurts), but not as much as I should be because my growth has been solid at the places I've been concentrating on. Also, the places I've stopped uploading to have been stable, so it doesn't seem like I have to feed the beast. It's a slow road, but I'm hopeful that I can eventually make the agencies that I want buyers to shop at BE the best places to buy my work.

I'll let you know if it works, but you might have to wait a while for the results.  ;D
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 15:56 by cthoman »

« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2011, 16:15 »
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despite what some say here, it seems feeding the beast is a constant necessity still at SS....whether you're feeding it processed food, gourmet or utter crap doesn't always seem to matter

Huh? How would you know? From my experience I'd say that 'feeding the beast' is way more important at IS nowadays than it is at SS because the best match favours new images so much __ it hasn't done so on SS for years. I had 5 months off uploading anywhere this year. My income at IS went down and my income at SS went up. Why do you talk such nonsense on matters you obviously know so little about?

other than about 20 images in june and 20 in august I havent uploaded since april. like Gostwyck only IS income has dropped (I've had BME's on SS, 123 and Canstock during that time :)).

wut

« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2011, 17:08 »
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If anything we should try and make buyers buy directly from us. Why should we be satisfied with getting 50% instead of 15-20%, if we can get 100%? OK you usually have to give 'em some discount, so let's say we could get 70%. And by doing so directing traffic from the agencies to photographers and that would make us a little bit less expendable and by that cuts wouldn't be something that's happening every year. And what's worse, a lot of contributors seem to just be getting OK with them :s

I also find it weird more buyers don't contact us to buy directly, they'd get a discount, we'd earn more, it's a win-win situation. Especially during recession.

A buyer may buy an image or a few images of yours and then may never buy from you again. They aren't going to spend time contacting contributors individually when they can get everything in one place. The images are already pretty cheap compared to the old days of stock. Yes you could discount even further by selling directly to them, but unless u cover every subject in huge quantities, u won't get sufficient traffic to make a great income selling ur own port on ur own site at microstock prices. Ur own site would be additional income, but u will always be reliant on the agencies for the bulk of ur income.

That's not what I had in mind. It was simply that I think we should say buy from me, instead of buy (my photos) at that agency (and not IS for instance, because they're greedy bas-tards).

What I meant about finding it curious buyers don't buy directly is that they could just contact us via PM. It's happened to me once. But I think it should have happened more often

ShadySue

« Reply #63 on: December 17, 2011, 17:20 »
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If anything we should try and make buyers buy directly from us. Why should we be satisfied with getting 50% instead of 15-20%, if we can get 100%? OK you usually have to give 'em some discount, so let's say we could get 70%. And by doing so directing traffic from the agencies to photographers and that would make us a little bit less expendable and by that cuts wouldn't be something that's happening every year. And what's worse, a lot of contributors seem to just be getting OK with them :s

I also find it weird more buyers don't contact us to buy directly, they'd get a discount, we'd earn more, it's a win-win situation. Especially during recession.

A buyer may buy an image or a few images of yours and then may never buy from you again. They aren't going to spend time contacting contributors individually when they can get everything in one place. The images are already pretty cheap compared to the old days of stock. Yes you could discount even further by selling directly to them, but unless u cover every subject in huge quantities, u won't get sufficient traffic to make a great income selling ur own port on ur own site at microstock prices. Ur own site would be additional income, but u will always be reliant on the agencies for the bulk of ur income.

That's not what I had in mind. It was simply that I think we should say buy from me, instead of buy (my photos) at that agency (and not IS for instance, because they're greedy bas-tards).

What I meant about finding it curious buyers don't buy directly is that they could just contact us via PM. It's happened to me once. But I think it should have happened more often

I'm guessing that would be a great way of getting kicked off an agency.

lisafx

« Reply #64 on: December 17, 2011, 17:58 »
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other than about 20 images in june and 20 in august I havent uploaded since april. like Gostwyck only IS income has dropped (I've had BME's on SS, 123 and Canstock during that time :)).


Ditto.  Due to remodel and other personal stuff, I haven't uploaded in almost 4 months.  Sales at Istock are the only ones that are suffering (although I think it is other reasons than my not uploading).  Shutterstock, OTOH, has just given me two HUGE BMEs.  Feeding the beast seem to be unnecessary there these days.

wut

« Reply #65 on: December 17, 2011, 18:03 »
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If anything we should try and make buyers buy directly from us. Why should we be satisfied with getting 50% instead of 15-20%, if we can get 100%? OK you usually have to give 'em some discount, so let's say we could get 70%. And by doing so directing traffic from the agencies to photographers and that would make us a little bit less expendable and by that cuts wouldn't be something that's happening every year. And what's worse, a lot of contributors seem to just be getting OK with them :s

I also find it weird more buyers don't contact us to buy directly, they'd get a discount, we'd earn more, it's a win-win situation. Especially during recession.

A buyer may buy an image or a few images of yours and then may never buy from you again. They aren't going to spend time contacting contributors individually when they can get everything in one place. The images are already pretty cheap compared to the old days of stock. Yes you could discount even further by selling directly to them, but unless u cover every subject in huge quantities, u won't get sufficient traffic to make a great income selling ur own port on ur own site at microstock prices. Ur own site would be additional income, but u will always be reliant on the agencies for the bulk of ur income.

That's not what I had in mind. It was simply that I think we should say buy from me, instead of buy (my photos) at that agency (and not IS for instance, because they're greedy bas-tards).

What I meant about finding it curious buyers don't buy directly is that they could just contact us via PM. It's happened to me once. But I think it should have happened more often

I'm guessing that would be a great way of getting kicked off an agency.

Buyer, contributor or both? And what's more important, how would the agency ever know ;) . BTW is there a rule that forbids it? UNless you're exclusive AFAIK you're not tied to any agreement not to sell the images by yourself, no matter how you're approached

RacePhoto

« Reply #66 on: December 17, 2011, 19:52 »
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Did someone say RPD is a sucker statistic? Finally I get some people to agree with what I pointed out at least three years ago?


It seems to me that Istock's greed has become contagious for some.

Yeah, I've noticed that too. I wouldn't complain if we were paid a fair share, don't get me wrong, but I joined SS knowing I was going to get 25c a download, until I got a raise to 33c a download. It's not like they changed the rules, levels, jewels, canisters, or some other mickey mouse trick to grab money from us. In fact, SS has only increased and added new types of sales to make more, while the rest have been finding ways to take a bigger cut from our work.

Although I'm a SS "fan boy" and it's my best earning site after Alamy, I'd rather have my sales come from Alamy at $80 average commission, (heck of a big RPD, right?) one download at a time, than 320 downloads = $80. But lets be real. I have different material on Alamy and things that sell there would bring about a dollar a year on SS. (actually just looked and it's $3.25 in three years, but I added some more in 2011, so I'll be watching)

The same things that sell day after day on SS, wouldn't make one sale on Alamy in a decade.

Not only how many sales, as pointed out earlier, but what's being sold. If the comparison is micro to micro, the answer is on the right in little green arrows.  :) The average person answering the poll (excluding IS and DT exclusives) makes $180 (6.8) a month from SS. While the same people, including IS exclusives, makes $85 (5.7)  a month on IS. And DT in third with exclusives, people average $32 (4.6) a month.

Yeah, wonderful DT has a higher RPD than both, and IS beats SS. Which one puts money in the bank the best? Not some statistic that's for sure. DT had a habit of refusing almost all my images as LCV, we have too many like this. Which may be true, so what's the use. IS takes things that SS refused and SS takes things that IS has refused. OK at least they are somewhere.

Bottom line, which site makes most of us the most money? (hint look at the green arrows...;D


« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2011, 00:35 »
0
Did someone say RPD is a sucker statistic? Finally I get some people to agree with what I pointed out at least three years ago?


Weren't you batting on about RPI    :)

« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2011, 02:01 »
0
What I meant about finding it curious buyers don't buy directly is that they could just contact us via PM. It's happened to me once. But I think it should have happened more often

It generally wouldn't happen often because it's time consuming and impractical. Buyers purchase credit or sub packages at an agency and then they just search and download. No wasting time negotiating prices, no waiting for responses and images from individuals, no dealing with multiple transactions from several different photographers. They want images immediately with as little communication as possible.

« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2011, 04:37 »
0
I hope someone will come up with a way to search and pay for images that we host on our own sites.  Then we can all have our own sites but buyers will only have to register and pay from one site.  I'm surprised that all these people starting new sites haven't worked out that we need something different.  Most of the new sites are a big waste of time and money but if someone can come up with a way to reduce the huge fees we pay the current sites and offer buyers a collection of millions of images, they could be on to a winner.  If we don't have to give sites 70 to 85% of our earnings, we could earn more and I'm sure that would motivate us to produce more high quality images.  Just think of all the time we would save complaining about low commissions and the latest shenanigans designed to take money away from us here.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 04:39 by sharpshot »

« Reply #70 on: December 18, 2011, 07:20 »
0
I have to say for video pond5 is fair at 50/50!

wut

« Reply #71 on: December 18, 2011, 07:54 »
0
I hope someone will come up with a way to search and pay for images that we host on our own sites.  Then we can all have our own sites but buyers will only have to register and pay from one site.  I'm surprised that all these people starting new sites haven't worked out that we need something different.  Most of the new sites are a big waste of time and money but if someone can come up with a way to reduce the huge fees we pay the current sites and offer buyers a collection of millions of images, they could be on to a winner.  If we don't have to give sites 70 to 85% of our earnings, we could earn more and I'm sure that would motivate us to produce more high quality images.  Just think of all the time we would save complaining about low commissions and the latest shenanigans designed to take money away from us here.

That would be great and I wonder why no company made such an attempt yet. Sure years ago, any company tried to get as much as possible from their business (take as much as possible from us), but now a new agency don't stand a chance against the established big ones and someone trying that could just make it big time. And stock agencies would be a thing of the past (I'd really enjoy watching the fall of the greedy ones), we would be the ones keeping the vast majority of the money, double or even triple our earnings, how great is that? :)

« Reply #72 on: December 18, 2011, 14:30 »
0
I hope someone will come up with a way to search and pay for images that we host on our own sites.  Then we can all have our own sites but buyers will only have to register and pay from one site.  I'm surprised that all these people starting new sites haven't worked out that we need something different.  Most of the new sites are a big waste of time and money but if someone can come up with a way to reduce the huge fees we pay the current sites and offer buyers a collection of millions of images, they could be on to a winner.  If we don't have to give sites 70 to 85% of our earnings, we could earn more and I'm sure that would motivate us to produce more high quality images.  Just think of all the time we would save complaining about low commissions and the latest shenanigans designed to take money away from us here.


That would be great and I wonder why no company made such an attempt yet. Sure years ago, any company tried to get as much as possible from their business (take as much as possible from us), but now a new agency don't stand a chance against the established big ones and someone trying that could just make it big time. And stock agencies would be a thing of the past (I'd really enjoy watching the fall of the greedy ones), we would be the ones keeping the vast majority of the money, double or even triple our earnings, how great is that? :)


http://www.microstockgroup.com/zymmetrical-com/zymmetrical-is-now-closed/

Zymmetrical closed

« Reply #73 on: December 18, 2011, 14:33 »
0
Shutterstock, OTOH, has just given me two HUGE BMEs.  Feeding the beast seem to be unnecessary there these days.
I have been submitting less to SS and earning more. Clearly the 'Feed the beast or die days' are gone there. Probably due in part to changes in search engine weighting of new images and partly because of PPD alternatives to subscription.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #74 on: December 18, 2011, 15:01 »
0
Shutterstock, OTOH, has just given me two HUGE BMEs.  Feeding the beast seem to be unnecessary there these days.
I have been submitting less to SS and earning more. Clearly the 'Feed the beast or die days' are gone there. Probably due in part to changes in search engine weighting of new images and partly because of PPD alternatives to subscription.

That change seems to coincide with offering of the "relative sort order" search option.

RacePhoto

« Reply #75 on: December 19, 2011, 03:11 »
0
Did someone say RPD is a sucker statistic? Finally I get some people to agree with what I pointed out at least three years ago?


Weren't you batting on about RPI    :)

No doubt you are right, probably both. (and maybe some others like sales graphs every month) For someone who likes math and statistics, it's kind of strange.

Both or either are fine for personal measurements but for sharing data, they fall short, because different collections, on different sites, for different times, it's unrelated. That and as I'm sure you've seen people point out, if I want a higher RPI, I just delete the images that don't sell and never have. People do cuill images, so do sites,. it's not all stupid debate. So I remove 20% of my images, just the ones that don't sell and wow, my RPI Stats. go way up.

RPD can also be flawed. How many sales is more important. I'd be happy with that one download for $10,000 theory though.  8)

So bottom line is the bottom line, not percentages, not RPD, not RPI. Funny how few people report income, but how pretty much everyone will share RP? numbers or percentages.

« Reply #76 on: December 19, 2011, 03:29 »
0


I'm in the gold level on Istockphoto (probably not after this month) and I make about $0.42 to something like $7.8 an image sale, but more like at least $3.5 a sale on average.  Shutterstock only pays like $0.25 to $0.38 a sale.  I know that the on-demand images pay more, but I don't know if they are anywhere as popular as the subscription sales.  It would take more than 10 times the sales that I have on Istockphoto for Shutterstock to match my exclusive Istockphoto sales, and I doubt even half of that is possible.  Is selling full size images for even $0.38 a sale a good thing?  I know there are other websites like Dreamstime that pay more (and especially in royalty rates) but for the photography I do, it doesn't look like Dreamstime has anywhere the level of sales volume compared to IS or SS.



I had the same thoughts when i was exclusive on DT. i had regular $4-5 sales and thought that i must have 10-15 sales to match one exclusive sale.... believe me is not like that. Now from SS i earn more than double that i was making on DT. i will never go exclusive whit one agency ever (  with the exception: if SS launches a exclusivity program).


« Reply #77 on: December 19, 2011, 03:38 »
0
I hope someone will come up with a way to search and pay for images that we host on our own sites.  Then we can all have our own sites but buyers will only have to register and pay from one site.  I'm surprised that all these people starting new sites haven't worked out that we need something different.  Most of the new sites are a big waste of time and money but if someone can come up with a way to reduce the huge fees we pay the current sites and offer buyers a collection of millions of images, they could be on to a winner.  If we don't have to give sites 70 to 85% of our earnings, we could earn more and I'm sure that would motivate us to produce more high quality images.  Just think of all the time we would save complaining about low commissions and the latest shenanigans designed to take money away from us here.


That would be great and I wonder why no company made such an attempt yet. Sure years ago, any company tried to get as much as possible from their business (take as much as possible from us), but now a new agency don't stand a chance against the established big ones and someone trying that could just make it big time. And stock agencies would be a thing of the past (I'd really enjoy watching the fall of the greedy ones), we would be the ones keeping the vast majority of the money, double or even triple our earnings, how great is that? :)


http://www.microstockgroup.com/zymmetrical-com/zymmetrical-is-now-closed/

Zymmetrical closed

I liked Zymmetrical but that was very similar to all the other sites.  We had to upload our portfolio to their site.  I wish they were still around but they proved to me that the current way of selling images isn't going to benefit contributors.  The big sites have got away with low commissions and new sites that offer a better deal aren't able to compete with them.

I think there's another option.  We host our own individual sites, like many people are doing now.  The agent makes a universal search and payment system.  They don't have the expense of hosting the images.  They can charge a small transaction fee.  We have the costs of hosting our portfolio but get nearly all the money from selling images.  It wasn't my idea, it was mentioned here by someone else a few years ago but I though that it might of been a good solution to the problems we have with some of the big sites.  Unfortunately, all the new sites have followed the similar path that Zymmetrical took, not much different to the way istock started selling microstock images a decade ago.  They can make their sites as friendly to contributors as they want but it doesn't work, we need another option.  Perhaps this idea wouldn't work but I'm sure there's a more efficient way for contributors to sell images to buyers, enabling contributors to receive more from each sales transaction and buyers to have a huge collection of images.  Most of the new sites struggle to get a million images, why would buyers use them?

helix7

« Reply #78 on: December 19, 2011, 08:22 »
0
Did someone say RPD is a sucker statistic? Finally I get some people to agree with what I pointed out at least three years ago?

Well I probably should have clarified that statement to say that it's a sucker's statistic if it is the primary statistic that anyone is using to decide which agencies to do business with. As a measure of the quality of the contributor agreement, it's a valid and useful statistic, especially as it relates to deciding where to refer buyers.

But as a measure of overall profitability, it's a foolish statistic to use. And I always thought that was common knowledge, but apparently it's not. It seems like RPD is a significant factor in why some people stay exclusive with istock. Or why DT is such a popular site with contributors and even has some of their own exclusive artists. But like I said before, RPD doesn't pay the bills if the sales volume isn't there. If this is just a hobby for someone, then maybe that warm and fuzzy feeling they get from only working with the high RPD agencies is enough for them and the money is secondary. For me, this is my job, and maximizing my income is what matters most.

Everyone (me included) blasted istock when they made that comment about "money isn't what is going to make you happy." But maybe they were right in saying that about some people. Maybe there are a good number of people who are happier with RPD than actual income, and that's why they continue to support istock. It seems like the bottom line doesn't matter for a lot of folks, as long as they feel like they're getting a good deal on each sale.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #79 on: December 19, 2011, 08:35 »
0
Did someone say RPD is a sucker statistic? Finally I get some people to agree with what I pointed out at least three years ago?


Weren't you batting on about RPI    :)

No doubt you are right, probably both. (and maybe some others like sales graphs every month) For someone who likes math and statistics, it's kind of strange.

Both or either are fine for personal measurements but for sharing data, they fall short, because different collections, on different sites, for different times, it's unrelated. That and as I'm sure you've seen people point out, if I want a higher RPI, I just delete the images that don't sell and never have. People do cuill images, so do sites,. it's not all stupid debate. So I remove 20% of my images, just the ones that don't sell and wow, my RPI Stats. go way up.

RPD can also be flawed. How many sales is more important. I'd be happy with that one download for $10,000 theory though.  8)

So bottom line is the bottom line, not percentages, not RPD, not RPI. Funny how few people report income, but how pretty much everyone will share RP? numbers or percentages.

I deleted most of my images and now my RPI is awesome.

People should report income more often to show the fortunes to be made in microstock.  ;)

RacePhoto

« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2011, 22:38 »
0

I deleted most of my images and now my RPI is awesome.

People should report income more often to show the fortunes to be made in microstock.  ;)

If I reported income, people would hurt themselves laughing. I'm not going to be responsible for injuries and spitting on monitors.

I don't want to go completely negative on RP?# but what people have pointed out is true.

The reason for IS exclusives is RPD and RPI but also ease and income. They aren't fools. Same for people who stick with DT, if you get 10 times a SS download, even if you get 1/24th of the downloads, it feels pretty good to get $3 instead of a 33c credit? Not hard to understand, that value.

I wanted to just leave the 12 images that sold well on ThinkStock from StockXpert. Then I could report some really hot RPI numbers and make it look impressive. Instead I just closed the account.

Quote from: helix7

Well I probably should have clarified that statement to say that it's a sucker's statistic if it is the primary statistic that anyone is using to decide which agencies to do business with.


Agreed. I'm a bottom line person. No fun, I just count money. If money doesn't make me happy, what it buys will!  :D

Statistics are a good measure After The Fact and since some can be manipulated and people have different numbers, photos, and agencies, they won't necessarily predict anything for anyone else. As both of you pointed out. Not even dollars per image per year, because one EL will throw that number off, for a year.

I couldn't even use income when I was on ten agencies, because they all had different ideas of what was suitable for Micro and what was acceptable. Different size images and if I had 500 on Snap Village and 100 on SS. SS still wiped them off the map. Just too many variable to make valid decisions.

I like the general idea. Send everything everywhere and see what sells. Stop MicroAnalyzing everything. How much did I spend last year making photos, that actually went online... I have 200,000 images in the last five years, that's what my backup drive says. 1% are on sale someplace. How much did I make as profit. That's the number that counts. Kind of an IRS viewpoint? LOL

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