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Author Topic: StockXpert Subscriptions (Mulligan)  (Read 5718 times)

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« on: October 10, 2007, 14:42 »
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Guys,

After the previous discussion about StockXpert subscription offering, we decided to refine the contributor terms to reflect the following:

1) $.30 per download
2) Opt-Out/In at anytime

There were many differing opinions and suggestions about subscription on StockXpert, but after weighing contributor, buyer, business, and technical considerations, this is what we have decided to start with.

We will give you a couple days before launch to decide what you'd like to do, and we will send out an e-mail or site mail once functionality is ready. We're hoping to launch next week.

As I said in the StockXpert forum, we know some of you will opt-out no matter what, but for those of you on the fence, we do believe we can make subscription successful without cutting into per-download revenue. Every site is different with different dynamics and different management, so we do hope you give it a shot.

Please let us know if you have any (other) questions or comments.

Thanks!
-Steve


« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2007, 14:50 »
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Thanks for the additional 5 cents Steve. I will be opting-in. Hope the volume is there to make it worth while.

I have a question though..

How will the search for the subscription buyers work? Will they see the per-photo pictures too? 

« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 15:03 »
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What's StockXpert's relationship with photos.com?
 
Other contributors likely just recieved an e-mail from StockXpert also offering a subscription at photos.com to download 250 images per 24 hours for $449 per year.  (how can they make a profit on that????)

This isn't where our subscription sales will be coming from will it?

edit:  the name says stockxpert, but the e-mail address is reply-2827b-3226-1778ac16be@nl.internet.com... 

« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 15:12 »
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Kngkyle,

Checking on the search functionality for subscriptions.

Pixart,

Photos.com is Jupiterimages wholly-owned content subscription offering. We occassionally do some cross promotion, so Photos.com customers (other JI customers, and graphics.com readers) also receive StockXpert promotions.

We also own the internet.com domain.

-Steve

« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2007, 15:28 »
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Steve,

Thanks for the reply.  I still think it's too little, but being able to opt-out if this becomes too common is a relief.  This is something that wa asked for in DT and they didn't agree (luckily in my case subs sales haven't become too common, and although my earnings there decreased, I can't say this was the reason).

In any case, I hope you make available an option for a buyer to see images that are not in the subs model.  Maybe a link on the search result page, something like that.

My greatest concern, however, is that, depending on how you set up the subs plans (like in Photos.com email we all received and Pixart referred to), it will be too advantageous for a buyer to buy a package, and then subs sales will prevail, what would be a pity.  The earnings per sale in StockXpert today are a treat, and even if I make less there than in IS, it makes me much happier.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2007, 15:48 »
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I will opt in and give it a go.  I don't think it will work if too many people opt out though.  That is probably why DT don't give us that option.  I see subscription sales as a bonus, as there is a good chance that I would receive $0.00 if it wasn't for the subscription :)

« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2007, 15:54 »
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Hi Madelaide,

Not sure yet, but I think we will simply tag images on the thumbnail pages to indicate whether or not they are available for subscribers. This way buyers don't have to click on the image to see if it is available or not.

Don't worry. We aren't offering year subs for $449.00 on StockXpert. Despite what some think, we don't have this type of flexibility with StockXpert subscriptions.


Sharpshot,

When we were discussing opt-out/in, we decided there should be no reason to not offer an opt-out clause since the goal is to make everyone more money. If we are confident in this purpose, then we shouldn't be worried that too many contributors will opt out.

-Steve

« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2007, 16:00 »
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thanks for the revised terms.  They look good and I will definatly be opting IN.

by the way, are we opted OUT or IN be default.

« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2007, 16:05 »
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Not sure yet, but I think we will simply tag images on the thumbnail pages to indicate whether or not they are available for subscribers.
Steve,

That's even better.  This way non-subs images will not be discriminated in a search, and the buyer will see what's more relevant for his needs.

Regards,
Adelaide

jsnover

« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2007, 18:43 »
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Thanks for taking contributor's comments to heart. When you combine free opt in/out with a higher commission, it makes it very easy for me to say that I'll happily try it out, and decide how it's working after a few months.

The average payout at StockXpert is very good, and if subscriptions boost the monthly totals that'll be great. Knowing that I can do something other than pull my whole portfolio if it doesn't work out is excellent.

Re: photos.com promotion, it seemed like a bargain basement deal - 91,250 (250 x 365) photos for $499. But only if you can download a photo every 5.76 minutes around the clock :) Leaves you wondering if perhaps the images aren't all that appealing...

« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2007, 19:23 »
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Will the opt in/out be available on a per image basis, like at Slaptown, or will I have to make the decision for the complete portfolio?

The per image solution makes sense to me, since it would make it possible to opt out for  "unique" images, while "paper clip isolated on white" could be available for subscribers.

I'm still on the fence with regards to this. At DT, it works quite well, since there are lots of full price downloads, and rather few subscriptions. But should it end up like Crestock, I'm out. Low volume, and almost exclusively subscription. This is my worry with StockXpert as well. The volume there is relatively low, and with the majority of that volume is changed to subscription, it's not worth it.

From a customer's point of view, it's very simple: if his downloads at StockXpert approaches the price of a subscription, it obviously pays to subscribe. Very profitable for the customer, but probably not for the photographer, unless the customer increases the volume dramatically. I don't really see that happening.

nruboc

« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2007, 22:46 »
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Awesome news, thanks for listening. The .30 cents makes it a clincher for me, I'm opting in!!!

I love StockXpert!

« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2007, 01:04 »
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I was thinking of charging $50 for my 'paperclip on white' over at slaptown.  Do you think I should revise my strategy.....?

Not that anyone will actually FIND my pictures there....... what with all the keywords they delete and the wrong categories they put pictures into, I'll be surprised if they actually sell anything.........

Still, one can live in hope I suppose......

« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2007, 01:08 »
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Thank you so much for listening to us!  :-)  That itty bitty little nickel means we more than likely won't lose any earnings in the competition wars.

« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2007, 08:33 »
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Wish it had been just left as this site was starting to perform very well for me not in numbers but in incom Shame! HOWEVER appreciate the need to test Waters and the opptions given to us....


Can you guess where this is leading lol I will be opting out as I feel one main Subscription site is enough for me ( and we all know who that is ) Had intended to stop uploading at StockXpert and remove most Images if it had been forced upon us so pleased I do not have to do this just yet  :)

will let y'all know how the changes effect my income  ;)

« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2007, 10:25 »
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To address some more comments:

It will be opt-in by default. You will be receiving an e-mail or site mail with more info, but basically you will be able to opt-out in My account --> Profile. There will be a check box to uncheck.

This is option is on a contributor basis.

For search functionality the plan is to tag the images on the thumbnail pages to indicate which images are available via subscription.

I'm glad some of you have decided to give it a shot with the new terms. Now it's up to us to make it work!

-Steve

« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2007, 13:21 »
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Steve,

Given the thoughtful way StockXpert worked in this matter, I'm opting in, just hoping subs do not get too much space there.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2007, 13:30 »
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Yes, Steve.  Thanks.  I am very impressed that you/StockXpert listen.

One thing that subscriptions should do is attract a new client.  I have the idea that designers work for agencies who purchase subscriptions.  The designer will move on or get freelance work and may buy credits packages with the stock agencies they like. 

Subscription sales are increasing on a monthly basis at DT, but I wonder if they are true DT clients who switched from purchasing credits packages, or if they are new subscribers.  At DT the subscription purchases do help escalate the price of a photo, so perhaps it is for the best in the long run?

RT


« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2007, 13:58 »
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I'm happy to opt in, and it's nice to see an agency that listens to it's contributors reasonable requests.

« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2007, 15:30 »
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In

« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2007, 16:03 »
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Now... who (or what) is Mulligan?

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2007, 16:06 »
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It's a golf term that kinda means second chance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulligan

« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2007, 16:49 »
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  :)  Will opt in. :)

« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2007, 17:04 »
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Yes, I'll opt in.  StockXpert have been very supportive of their contributors and I see no reason to think they suddenly want to screw us.

I also don't think their strategy is to try to take customers away from SS; Jupiter have hundreds of thousands of paying customers and they must do something to stop those customers straying away towards competing businesses such as Microstock.  By launching StockXpert they made the first move, and now adding subscriptions gives an appeal to all of their existing subscription customers, many of whom only have access to a dated collection.

I think we should trust Steve and his team to come up with the best goods for us all.

« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2007, 20:48 »
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While I appreciate the fact that StockXpert is actually listening, I'm still not very positive. Any customer going for subscription at StockXpert will either:

- come from another subscription scheme, with no gain or loss for the photographer.

- from buying "full price" microstock at StockXpert and/or other micro-agencies, which means a loss of anything between 0% and 95% per sale for the photographer.

- from buying macro-stock, which is a potential loss for those of us who submit to macro-agencies, and a loss to all, considering the fact that buying "full price" micro or another subscription scheme would be the alternative.

One can always discuss if it really matters at all, since there are other agencies offering subscriptions as well, and most probably, all of them except IS will offer it in the future.

But that's exactly our problem here. Subscriptions are for bulk buyers, and the prices are so low that even a relatively small advertising agency will probably gain from having one. Those of them with any brains at all, are probably already building their own photo databases for future use, utilizing their subscriptions for all they are worth. In the long run, that means less business both for ourselves and for the agencies.

That doesn't mean that sales will stop, but I can't see how it won't affect future business in a negative way.

It's interesting to see how some say "I'm opting in, but I hope it won't be a success". I haven't made a decision for myself yet, but: if it's not a success, it doesn't matter if I'm in or out, since there's not much money involved anyway. If it is a success, and my "full price" sales go down, I lose money, and should opt out. I can't see were I gain from this.

As I said at the top here: "I appreciate the fact that StockXpert is actually listening". But, that listening doesn't pay my rent, nor does it pay for my food or my cameras. Money pays, and $2.50 pays for more food than $0.30.

« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2007, 22:14 »
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We will be opting out, since like a couple of others can't see how it will help our overall income.
Also think it will affect the other subscription site.
Unless StockXpert have something up their sleeves not yet announced, most photos will be the same on both sites, they can only compete on price.
Although they have now offered 30 cents per DL, we have all become used to an increase every year, and this will make it more difficult to raise prices.
For the first time, we are thinking seriously about going exclusive you know where.
Any sites want to guarantee they won't bring in subscription?
Linda

jsnover

« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2007, 11:42 »
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If it is a success, and my "full price" sales go down, I lose money, and should opt out. I can't see were I gain from this.

As I said at the top here: "I appreciate the fact that StockXpert is actually listening". But, that listening doesn't pay my rent, nor does it pay for my food or my cameras. Money pays, and $2.50 pays for more food than $0.30.

This line of reasoning actually sounds very much like the folks who have contributed to traditional stock agencies complaining about microstock. The missing pieces in the equation are 1) volume and 2) tapping new markets.

If there were a fixed pool of buyers, then certainly all you do is transfer customers from one vendor to another when you change prices or packaging. However microstock showed that there were businesses (and uses within a business that might have purchased expensive stock only for a few things) who'd become buyers at the right price.

Fotolia and StockXpert have found ways to tap into international markets (I think - obviously I don't have their sales data) that the original microstock players haven't.

The way you make more money with StockXpert subscriptions (if they can make this happen) is that you get a high volume of subscription sales at 30 cents per. If it just canibalizes the existing businesses then it's going to fail.  If StockXpert can tempt some buyers into the micrstock fold with their subscription plans - buyers who weren't SS customers - then we've grown the market.

From annectodal evidence, there's a long way to go in finding new customers for microstock, especially outside the US. If a site can expand the base, we win.

For me, the bottom line will be looking at the monthly $$ totals - if it goes up, great. If it goes down, then I opt out. If I thought that StockXpert was cannibalizing SS sales, I'd drop StockXpert completely in a heartbeat. My guess is that it won't, but we'll have to see.

« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2007, 12:58 »
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This comment from Steve-oh in the original thread is interesting:-

"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."

Where do they currently go?

I hope Jo Ann is right and that everyone does make more money with this scheme, but that isn't happening at DT. Still, thanks to StockXpert for giving the option to opt out.
Linda

« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2007, 14:44 »
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Where do they currently go?


They obviously go to another subscription site. There aren't too many choices: SS, DT and 123. From those who have already decided to go with a subscription, there's nothing to lose or gain. But this will not succeed for StockXpert unless it's marketed. If it's marketed, it will take customers from other segments as well, those who pay more per image today.

This has nothing to do with the expansion of the market. Any image purchaser can afford to pay $10 or more for a photo, and if they don't have a choice, they will. But as long as the suppliers, that's us, keep undercutting each other with subscription schemes and lower prices, they will get a lower price, a price that they didn't even ask for until somebody offered it too them. What kind of business model is that?

I'm all for microstock. That's the reason why I'm here. But it has been shown beyond all reasonable doubt that customers are actually willing to pay real money for images. The prices of microstock images are already very low compared to other design/publishing costs.

Who goes for subscriptions? Not the secretary who needs an occasional photo for a presentation. It's the advertising agencies, the web designers and other bulk users. Do they invoice their customers 30c per image? No, they don't. Only the cost of having a designer searching for an image is somewhere between 30 and 80 dollars per hour. Still we, and our agents, fight to offer them even lower prices. Lower prices that are more or less insignificant to the customers, since they are completely overshadowed by other, higher costs.

StockXpert may gain some market shares from this, at least to start with, but long term, the others will fight back. Back to square one, only with a lower profit.

« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2007, 03:35 »
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Epixx, you just discribed how macrostockers feel / felt about microstock.  Yet you're in for microstock !!  But now that they could be cutting into YOUR profit (and not that of the macrostockers) it's suddenly all hell and doom.  Why don't you tell people to quit microstock, than we all can ask $50 an image.

As I see it, it's just 'go-with-the-flow'  and when it's not profitable enough (and that day will come) I'll just quit, no problem.

The microstock model is doomed to give low profit at some time.  So just grab what you can as long as it lasts.

« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2007, 04:10 »
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Epixx, you just discribed how macrostockers feel / felt about microstock.  Yet you're in for microstock !!  But now that they could be cutting into YOUR profit (and not that of the macrostockers) it's suddenly all hell and doom.  Why don't you tell people to quit microstock, than we all can ask $50 an image.

As I see it, it's just 'go-with-the-flow'  and when it's not profitable enough (and that day will come) I'll just quit, no problem.

The microstock model is doomed to give low profit at some time.  So just grab what you can as long as it lasts.

You are correct and you're incorrect. The reason why microstock exists, is that making halfway decent images has become much cheaper with the introduction of digital cameras. Another result of the "digital revolution" is that there are much more images on the market than before. So, the prices fall, and quite rightly so.

The problem we are facing now, is that we are competing with ourselves, selling the same images cheaper. If a photo has shown that it can generate a profit of $2.50 at StockXpert or any other site, why on earth should we offer it to the same customer for a price that only generates a profit of $0.30? If you lower the price of ice-cream, you can always hope that your customer will buy two cones instead of one. But he's certainly not going to buy your image twice, even if you lower the price to $0.01. The customer has already accepted the higher price, and would probably pay more if he had to.

If the agencies mostly had exclusive photographers and unique photos, it would have made some sense, since it would have been a competition between those photographers. But it's not. It's the same photographers competing against themselves, lowering the prices.

Lowering the price from, say $10 to $1 probably won't affect the number of images sold much, since, as I've mentioned earlier, $10 is already a very small fraction of the costs the customer has to publish the image. What you are talking about, the macro-stock prices, are so far above this level, that it doesn't really make any sense comparing. It's a different market altogether.

So who will be the winners if we keep lowering the prices from where we are now?

Photographers? Absolutely not, since volume will in no way increase at the same rate as the lowering of the prices, if at all.

Agencies? StockXpert will get a short term gain, until the competition catches up, or rather: catches down. Then we are back to where we were, only with lower profits.

Customers? High-volume buyers, absolutely. This is a gift from heaven for them.

iStock? Absolutely. Being the only micro-agency that has managed to market their exclusivity feature in a proper way can keep their price up and tell customers that "if you want our exclusive images, you have to pay the price". So no subscription from IS. They simply don't need it.

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