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Author Topic: Subscription Coming Soon to StockXpert  (Read 11563 times)

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« on: September 28, 2007, 11:50 »

Just wanted to give you a heads up that we will be launching subscription very soon. I know some of you have expressed ambivalence towards subscriptions, but we are doing this because we have found that subscribers are an additional customer base.

We talked about making it optional for the contributor, but we felt it would work against the site overall because the offering wouldn't be consistent to the consumer.

The payout will be $.25 per download.

Let me know if you have any questions, and of course, comments.


« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2007, 12:26 »
you should better approve my pics from 3 weeks ago:)

« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2007, 12:28 »

The payout will be $.25 per download.

I know I'd already expressed my concerns about it before ,$.25 per download regardless of size? it sounds   loss of money to me for contributers,which  means  in order  to achieve to $2,50 the commission which I currently receive for an XL  sale I will have to get 10 downloads.
I know Steve  you  clearly expressed that you're doing this attract more buyers but I am sure the system will also attract existing buyers to become subscribers,which may  sounds  good for StockXpert but I am not sure if it will work the same way to the contributers.

and one more thing I am concerned about we all know in terms of number of files StockXpert hasn't got as many files as some other subscription  based sites i.e. SS I don't know what kind of overall effect this might have.

you might have noticed lately it has been discussed more and more among contributers how low micro prices are and we were hoping to find a way to get the prices at the optimum potential level they have but to my point of view subscription system only does the opposite.

anyway I hope it will work out I guess we will have to wait and see,I wish at least the commissions were  $.30 like SS offers.

thank you for keeping us updated Steve and thanks for giving us opportunity discuss this freely
much appreciated
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 12:35 by stokfoto »

« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2007, 13:03 »

As you stated, many contributors have voiced their concerns about subscription sales (time and time again).  Royalties would be cut in half when a Small image sells under a subscription package ($0.50 vs. $0.25).  But royalties would be cut 20x when an XXL image sells under a subscription package ($5.00 vs $0.25).

I think that it would be more just if the size of the image was taken into account for a subscription.  For example, charge the equivalent of 1 download for a Small size, 2 downloads for a Medium size, 3 downloads for a Large size, etc.  This would result in a sliding scale for royalties: $0.25 for a Small size, $0.50 for a Medium size, $0.75 for a Large size, etc.

Both sides would win under this scenario.  Buyers would still get a drastic reduction in price, and contributors would get higher royalties for larger image sizes.

« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2007, 13:12 »
Is there an "opt out" feature?

« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2007, 13:25 »
Hi stokfoto!

I understand your concerns. There may be some overlap. Some per download buyers may buy subscriptions, but I think it may be a small percentage and I think what you gain from subscription will outweigh this.

We get feedback to the site about offering subscriptions, and at the tradeshows I've attended people ask about subscription. When we say no we don't offer it, they go somewhere else. They don't just go PPD with us.

So I do believe it's mainly a separate customer base, which is why we also launched the DG opportunity. You will reach a different clientele looking for more exclusive imagery at a higher price point.

Like you said, we will have to wait and see. It's new for us too.


« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2007, 13:43 »
Is there an "opt out" feature?

have you read the posting? it's all there ... :D

« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2007, 13:58 »

to address your concerns about your XL and XXL files, our experience has been (with and LiquidLibrary subscription offerings) that the most popular download size for subscribers is medium size. Very few download the larger file sizes.


« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2007, 14:26 »
I might be the only one but I think the subscription option is a good idea.  30 cents would have been a better price but I suppose dreamstime do 25 cents, so this is in line with them.

My earnings have gone up a lot since dreamstime introduced subscriptions, so I don't think this will reduce my overall earnings.

« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2007, 14:26 »
I'm so encouraged that yet another site values its own contributors enough to give away their body of work for nothing.

« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2007, 14:55 »
to address your concerns about your XL and XXL files, our experience has been (with and LiquidLibrary subscription offerings) that the most popular download size for subscribers is medium size. Very few download the larger file sizes.

I just went to and took a look at the offerings.  I did a search and selected an image.  I then noticed that there were 5 sizes as follows:

Multimedia (667 x 800)
Medium (1000 x 1200)
High (2001 x 2400)
Super (2751 x 3300)
Ultra (4001 x 4800)

Only the first three options (Multimedia, Medium, and High) were available by subscription.  The last two options (Super and Ultra) were only available by single download options (with the prices for the image being $219 and $299 respectively).

So the largest size available via subscription is about 5 MP, which would equate to a Large on StockXpert.

Why not offer something similar on StockXpert - only allow the smaller sizes to subscriptions?

« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2007, 15:05 »

Good suggestion, and I will pass it on, but I think if we are to offer subscriptions, we need to offer a service that competes with the other microsites.

Do any of the other microsites have size limits on their subscription offering?

Do many of you not contribute to the other stock sites that offer subscriptions?



« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2007, 15:29 »
I HATE SUBSCRIPTIONS  >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( :'( :'(
Snapvillage gives you the possibility to option out for suscriptions (you can decide on each images individually or set it globally as a standard for all your images).
If StockXpert don't give me the possibility to option out i certainly will stop uploading and remove some of my better pictures. I did the same as dreamstime started with subscription because of this i have only a portfolio  of about 1000 pictures at DT and at StockXpert i have over 3000.

« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2007, 16:26 »

My earnings have gone up a lot since dreamstime introduced subscriptions, so I don't think this will reduce my overall earnings.

The earnings went up since DT introduced subscription not because of the subscriptions but because they gave a substantial price increase and introduced a tier system at the same time.  I'm convinced that if they hadn't done that the earnings would have gone down

« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2007, 16:51 »
Oh no, 25c earningss again?  This is a plague in CanStockPhoto and CS, a bit of a nightmare in DT (though not as much as I had expected, but my earnings in DT have decreased), and now you plan to make the same in one of my favourite sites? 

Why not offer good discount in credit packages instead of subscription? 

Now I'll hold my uploads for a while.  I'm really disappointed with StockXpert's decision.


« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2007, 17:01 »
Do any of the other microsites have size limits on their subscription offering?
Many experienced stockers have recommended to downsample to 4 or 5 mp for SS because they are loath to give their XL files away for such low return.

The wild price differences in this industry don't sit well with me.   LO sells the largest/original file size for $50 and they give me $25.   Now, stop laughing.  I know a lot of us are discouraged that LO has failed to take off, but I HAVE and many others have sold XL's there.  It just doesn't seem right selling that same image for the $ or whatever the purchaser will pay you on subscription.

« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2007, 17:48 »
I HATE SUBSCRIPTIONS  >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( :'( :'(

You'll notice that there never is a discussion about subscriptions from a microstock site.  Nor is there ever an agreement about this.  There is just an announcement that it is coming.  End of story.

The reason that sites refuse to make subscriptions optional is because they know that all of their contributors will opt out and then they wouldn't have anything to offer their buyers.  So they try to sweet talk us like we don't know any better.  They tell us how much more money we will make.  Well, the only people that make out on a subscription deal are the buyers and the site owners.

Have any of you had 100s of new subscription sales from DT?  I highly doubt it.  From the chatter, it appears that they are far and few between.


Microstock sites would never try this if we were organized and had the power to deal with them on the same level.  Instead, they know that we are disorganized and won't stand together.  So they can basically do almost anything.

Contributors spend $1000s of dollars on cameras and lenses every year or so.  We spend countless more money on computer hardware and software.  We even sometimes pay for models.  We do all of the hard work and then we get stiffed by a greedy company.

If a buyer came to any of us individually and asked if they could buy 100 images from us for $30 we would laugh at them (and probably tell them that they insulted us).  Why do we take this sort of abuse from any microstock site???

« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2007, 18:19 »
StockManiac, I find your comments about a microstock union very interesting. Have you seen what's been happening in the macrostock market in the last two months? Getty Images offered a $49 web-use license and the industry went into uproar. The interesting part is that all the photographer representatives, in the form of industry associations, have been the ones "making submissions" to Getty and "writing letters" - the exact "organization" you're referring to.

Now, I don't agree with you about unions, but you've really got me thinking. The disorganization is what made microstock possible. If microstock had been geared toward professional photographers instead of hobbyists it would never have succeeded. Can you imagine professional photographers earning hundreds of dollars per sale accepting a deal to earn 25cents? The disorganization was the open market - digital camera and Internet enabled "mom n' pop" contributors - no professional photographer associations, no unions, not even industry conventions.

Getting back on to the issue of StockXpert and their subscription, they're a commercial organization offering you an opportunity. If you don't like it you can simply decline, as others have suggested. Voting with your dollars (in this case your photos) is more powerful than any union. And this way it's organic - if StockXpert contributors aren't earning sufficient royalties, they'll take their business elsewhere and StockXpert will have to re-assess or close their doors. If, however, it turns out like they predict, then their contributors will be better off and they'll continue to flourish.

In short, I don't care how much margin a microstock agency makes on their sales. I care about how much money they give me at the end of the month relative to my portfolio size. StockXpert can give me a 1% commission if they like. At the end of the month I'll look at my earnings to decide whether they're worthwhile, not at my portion.

That being said, I'd love to see you or someone else setup a microstock contributor's union. I wouldn't join, but it'd be fun to watch.

« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2007, 18:34 »
I have mixed feelings about this.

first DT offered subscription with the same reason as StockXpert now uses :

"We're only offering what other sites already offer"

In case of DT they ment SS.

But what they didn't tell was that a shutterstock subscription is for 750 images and costs something of $199 (please forgive me if mess up the numbers)

Then DT went in with a subscription of 300 images for only $90. Meaning that there will be a lot less downloads "given away" because 300 image / month is much more reasonable than 750.

DT also said they pay the same as SS -> meaning $0.25.  In the meanwhile SS raised the payout to $0.30 ... .... but we're still stock with $0.25 at DT.
What will StockXpert do ?  Offer a subscription of 200 images ? for $60 ??  And the next site ?  100 images for $30 ???  Before we know it we have 'subscriptions' of 10 images.

THATS MY CONCERN  in the end the competitions between the sites will lower are payout.

« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2007, 19:29 »
Getting back on to the issue of StockXpert and their subscription, they're a commercial organization offering you an opportunity. If you don't like it you can simply decline, as others have suggested.

Well, that's not correct.  You can't simply decline because there is no "opt out".  An opt out feature is exactly what everyone is asking for.  Even better would be an opt in feature.  But the microstock sites refuse to even humor us with the thought.

At this point, the only thing that you could do is stop doing business with them.  In other words you would have to remove all of your images.  But some microstock sites (e.g., DT) won't even let you remove your own images because you agreed to leave your images on their site for a certain amount of time (6 months in DT's case).

If this were a new microstock site that was starting up and they made this announcement, they would be laughed off of this forum.  But the problem is that most of us already have an investment in this site.  Most of us have spent hours and hours of time editing, keywording, and uploaded 100s or 1000s of images with the promise that we would get a payback for our efforts over the years.

Finally, we uploaded the images under a previous contract.  It just isn't fair to have the old contract pulled out from under you and a new contract implemented without your consent.

There have been many discussions about the lifetime of an image on this and other forums.  Most people agree that a generic image (that is not fashion or technology oriented) should have a lifetime of at least 5 or 10 years.  After all, a picture of an apple is a picture of an apple.  But now it seems like the problem is not the lifetime of the image, but the lifetime of the contract that you agreed to.  Contracts don't even seem to last a year in this environment.  They are constantly changing the contract behind our backs without even asking us for comments.  This is a classic example of bait and switch.  They bait us in with enticements (such as higher royalties) and then once they establish themselves, they switch out the original contract with a newer contract that benefits only themselves.

It seems that StockXpert is becoming the latest victim of their own success.

Last week their Annual Contest turned into a joke and now this.


If StockXpert really cares about its contributors, then "show us the money".  Here are some suggestions:

- Allow us to opt-out or opt-in of subscriptions

- Only allow subscriptions sales on smaller image sizes

- Have a sliding royalty scale for subscription royalties based on the size of the image (0.25 for small, 0.50 for medium, etc)

- Give contributors a 0.35 royalty for subscriptions.

I'm sure that there are other options out there as well.

But to come out with a royalty plan that is the lowest in the industry is simply not acceptable.

« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2007, 20:15 »

Thanks for you input! There actully was a discussion started by FreezingPics about this here:

Some of you voiced your concern with subscription, but the discussion didn't turn into much, so I figured most contributors didn't mind one way or another.

It's my job to relay your comments and concerns back to the folks at StockXpert, and I will.


« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2007, 20:31 »
It seems to me that StockXpert have done everything pretty well so far - given the size of their library, they appear to have a very high customer/image ratio (far higher than say DT or BigStock) and I get encouraging results.

StockXpert were also not tempted to build the library with any old rubbish; they've been selective right from the start, and this builds confidence in customers.  They have a tightly run contributor list of only 3,400 photographers, compared to 17,000 at DT and 36,000 at IS.

Also, through Steve, StockXpert have tried to give good communication - how often do we see anyone in authority from FT or BigStock posting here?

Now Steve says that StockXpert's reseach shows that subscriptions will INCREASE the customer base, resulting in increased sales for us all.  Given what I've seen so far, I am inclined to trust StockXpert's judgement, unless and until proven otherwise.  I don't think this is a way to 'screw' photographers at all - StockXpert will need to run the subscription model in an efficient way in order for it to make profits, and that means it will need volumes of customers to dilute maximum download risk.

However I agree that 25c is disappointing and will need to be higher if StockXpert wants to use this to attract quality images.

« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2007, 20:54 »
How about this:


750 'credits' a (30 day) month for say

25 'credits' can be used per day (up to 25 downloads a day)


20c per credit. this would make a months subscription cost $150 in commissions if the person uses all 25 credits that they can per day.
so the commissions per size would be:
Small = 20cents
Medium = 40cents
Large = 60cents
XLarge = 100cents
XXLarge = 200cents


Subscription plans:
1 month - $179 ($29 profit for StockXpert if buyer uses all credits) $20 less than SS
3 months - $499 ($49 profit for StockXpert if buyer uses all credits) $60 less than SS
6 months - $899 ($1 loss for StockXpert if buyer uses all credits) $160 less than SS
12 months - $1699 ($101 loss for StockXpert if buyer uses all credits) $300 less than SS

just a thought. I know submitters hate giving away a full size for only .25c or .30c. This would make it more fair for the submitters.

« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 20:57 by Kngkyle »

« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2007, 21:02 »
The fixed subscription scheme is what kept me away from SS from the start.  I tolerate it in DT while it is a small percentage of my sales (about 10-15% of my dlds).  I'm still trying to see how CS, CanStockPhoto and 123RF develop, but I haven't uploaded anything to CS in months because I almost only gets subs sales there.

It may be arrogance from my part, but I simply do not agree that people may buy images so cheap (and we earn so little with them), no matter if there are many sales to make a good total earning.  It is just against my nature to devalue photography so much.


« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2007, 21:06 »
I don't believe in this. Increase the customers base, from where? From other subscription based agencies probably, but also from customers who currently buy images at the full price at StockXpert as well as other places.

The conclusion is the same anyway: since most of us are represented at all the major agencies, any price decrease will affect us negatively, wherever the customers are coming from. Since the earnings per sale at StockXpert are relatively good, 0.25 per sale here means a major decrease.

Most of us have been praising SS for the income they have generated for us, but that is due to their high volume and the fact that they accept most images as long as they have no technical flaws. If those agencies that have had a stricter quality profile are going to pose as "also-rans" in the subscription business, the whole system gets diluted into what the nay-sayers warned about: microstock is good for the agencies and the buyers, and bad for the photographers.

At DT, the subscription sales have so far been low enough to be insignificant, at least for me, so I'm staying. But at Crestock, they represent the bulk of my sales, and since they can't seem to generate much volume, my profit is minimal. They, like StockXpert, are also a high quality agency, and the low price contradicts the whole purpose of their concept.

I'm still on the fence with regards to subscriptions, but I'm seriously considering pulling my portfolio from agencies offering subscriptions unless they:

A. Accept more or less all of my submissions, so that volume can compensate for the lower sales price.

B. Are able to generate sales volumes similar to those at SS. I have 20 times as many downloads at SS as I have at StockXpert, just to give you an idea.

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