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Author Topic: Is it a good thing if Shutterstock stays #1?  (Read 12762 times)

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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 »
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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?


Weren't you batting on about RPI    :)

« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2011, 02:01 »
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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 »
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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 »
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I have to say for video pond5 is fair at 50/50!

wut

« Reply #71 on: December 18, 2011, 07:54 »
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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 »
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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 »
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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 »
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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.

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