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Author Topic: Declining trend?  (Read 10889 times)

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« on: April 05, 2007, 12:39 »
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I am seeing lots of comments from some of the old hands at IS that they are experiencing a disappointing trend in sales.

At the same time the approvals list has dropped significantly from a peak of 30,000 to a current level of 17,000 (the lowest I have seen in months).

All of this is happening at a time when SS and DT seem to be accellerating (DT approvals list still 40,000).

Is this just a temporary thing or a sign of something else?  Anyone have a view?


« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2007, 12:47 »
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Maybe because their entire system sucks. The only thing keeping them alive is the fact that they started it all. Uploading is a pain in the ass and their prices are a lot more expensive than other sites, while their commissions are lower. Not to mention their support is utterly useless. (In my experiences at least). Their uploading limit is BS, and it takes them ages to review anything, and then they reject 90% of your best sellers.
Go Shutterstock!  ;)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2007, 12:55 by Kngkyle »

« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2007, 12:54 »
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My sales peeked in Nov. and have been falling ever since, while my uploads have gone up. Not a good sign. My approval rate for new uploads has remained high.

« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2007, 12:59 »
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Yes, YY, that is what others seem to be saying.

« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2007, 13:45 »
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I am seeing lots of comments from some of the old hands at IS that they are experiencing a disappointing trend in sales.

At the same time the approvals list has dropped significantly from a peak of 30,000 to a current level of 17,000 (the lowest I have seen in months).

All of this is happening at a time when SS and DT seem to be accellerating (DT approvals list still 40,000).

Is this just a temporary thing or a sign of something else?  Anyone have a view?

That the queue has decreased is as much a reflection of the increased inspectors and decreased upload levels as anything else. 2 years ago it was  around 5000 iirc.

As an old hand, yes my dls have decreased and have posted graphs to that effect, but I know exactly which files that sold over 200 each per month were killed by the big best match change in September and also know that many new folks benefitted pro-rata.

Despite that I continue to make more money per month.

And dear people I suggest we are soon approaching the point that the increase in supply is outstripping the increase in demand.

« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2007, 14:34 »
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Surprisngly, the past three months have been my best months ever on IS. 

Shutterstock on the other hand, has been steadily declining.

« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2007, 17:07 »
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for the past month my sales went up and my acceptance rate was high too. but I agree with you  uploading is a pain and I am not a big fun of upload limits either. it takes so much time to build a porfolio and pending times are quite long too.

« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2007, 17:42 »
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IS has been my best-selling site for the past 3 months and its well ahead also in April.  $/dld also increased a lot this year.  I haven't noticed any positive trend in my approvals, but then I don't upload that many images.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2007, 17:48 »
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I don't understand why istock keep these low upload limits.  For those just starting, 15 photos a week is often not enough.  Someone with 1,000 great photos could take years to get them all online.  istock are missing out on a lot of income.  I am making more money some days with smaller sites because I have been able to upload more photos to them.

As Alamy has over 8 million photos, I don't believe in over supply being a problem.  Designers seem to want as many photos as possible to choose from.  istock may well lose their market leading position if they limit their growth like this.

« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2007, 17:54 »
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Well, I can't produce so many images in a week, I normally upload ony 3-4 on a good week...

Anyway, I think that someone who has such a huge portfolio ready to go online, if they are really good images, would easily get a permission to upload more than this limit.  At least, that is the smart thing to do from a business point-of-view, as it's a win-win situation.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2007, 04:16 »
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IS is performing really well for me.

I hate the slow uploading process but my sales are consistantly increasing, I am averaging about 10 uploads a week and my sales have been doubling ever month since I joined in Dec 06. Their rate of sales growth is greater than SS for me. Perhaps because I am only submitting my best shots due to the upload limit?

So I say 'way to go IS' , working well for me  :)

« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2007, 07:23 »
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My IS sales have completely gone through the roof in the last months. I did spend a lot of time DAing my images as well so that might be it.  I now make roughly 30% more money on IS than on SS with 600 images less! I have had no increase in sales on SS in the past 3 months even though I'm uploading regularly.

Yes IS is a pain to upload but I'm reaping the rewards now.  ;D  I'm a very happy IS uploader.

« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2007, 10:25 »
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My experience somewhat mimics kosmikkreeper's: IS sales have increased significantly (> $2.00/image/month), while SS has been flat or in modest decline. IS isn't overtaking SS - yet - , but I'm pretty happy with its performance of late.

« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2007, 13:54 »
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I don't understand why istock keep these low upload limits.  For those just starting, 15 photos a week is often not enough. 

Sharpshot, obviously I don't work for Getty, so I can't provide a definite answer, but I can provide a guess.

Oversupply is part of the problem. In theory iStock can continue to increase revenue with many more images while all individual photogrpahers see a decrease in revenue. While that is good for iStock in the short term, it is not so good for you guys, and therefore not good for them in the long run.

I'm sure they know how many images they need from contributors to keep a balance between supply and demand, to maximize revenue for each contributor, and to not overwhelm their inspectors.

Just imagine if all 30,000+ of their contributors started to upload 50+ images a day!

I think there is a critical mass threshold that all companies approach.

As you know, we were recently at Photoshop World exhibiting. We talked with many people. Some weren't familiar at all with microstock model, and some of those who were had only heard of iStock until they ran into StockXpert.

Supply is not the mid to long term problem for them. It's going to be demand, now that they have growing competition.

Just my two slightly biased cents. :)

« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2007, 08:03 »
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Istock has been up or me the last three months. I small part-timer with micro but they are consistently the best seller for me.

« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2007, 10:43 »
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I'm not happy with iStock at the moment but I'm hoping things will change in the near future.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 12:16 by ManicBlu »

« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2007, 10:43 »
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Surprisngly, the past three months have been my best months ever on IS. 

Shutterstock on the other hand, has been steadily declining.

same with me.

GWB

« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2007, 12:31 »
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Same here, sales have been shoddy lately.  I'm not worried yet, as ebb and flow are are the process and I've experienced that many times before.  Besides, if iStock is down, the other micros will come through.  Those 0 or 1 DL days remind me why I'm not exclusive!  But I have had an aggravating time dealing with them that I've never had with any of the other micros. 

« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2007, 01:56 »
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My sales there have been really horrible, especially this month. They are at about the level they were in September when I had about 200 less photos and 50 fewer vectors. You can check out Marcopolo9442 and see all the new vector files and some others I uploaded since then, and then realize that my income this month is the same as before I uploaded all that. I disambiguated about 100 more files last month in the hope that I would see a sales increase in those files but I have not yet, so I am not sure it is even worth the effort to disambiguate the files I have not done yet, which is probably still around 30-35% of my portfolio there. If I saw an immediate improvement as a result of disambiguation I would have done the rest by now.  I wonder if it is possible that your overall postition in the search engine declines proportionately to the files you have disambiguated, and that is why my overall sales are so terrible?

« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2007, 03:14 »
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My sales are still around 40% down from a peak in mid march.  My sales have increased on other sites. 

I can see that they might be concerned about over supply of photos but wont people looking for new images go to the sites that allow more uploads?  I think they will lose customers by restricting uploads and that will reduce demand for their images.

« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2007, 17:03 »
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Proportionally to the number of days so far, my earnings are a tad higher in April than in March and even February (BME).  I suppose they will be more or less the same in the end.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2007, 03:13 »
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Sales completely tanked this month, haven't even sold half as many at this point as I did last month, have IS played with the search engine again?

« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2007, 06:18 »
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iStock want to keep their upload levels low. Steve-oh is spot on. It's balance of supply and demand. Their strategy reflects it. They have the most severe upload limits in the market, and their referral program only rewards for referring buyers, not contributors.

While it's frustrating to us contributors, iStock know where their money comes from. There will always be more brilliant photographers, and they have most of the current ones on their books already. There's a much higher impact losing a customer than losing a supplier, and they know it.

« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2007, 07:30 »
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Sales are still increasing on the sites that have no resrictions or better limits.  Only being able to upload 15 photos a week must be a hindrance to someone with thousands of photos ready to go.  Has Iofoto (Ron Chapple) submitted to istock?  He has over 4,000 photos on the other big sites.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 07:33 by sharpshot »

vicu

« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2007, 09:39 »
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FWIW, istock has hinted several times that established pro photographers can potentially get around the initial upload limits by contacting them.

Also, marcopolo... your work is nice, but icon sets like the ones you seem to be focusing on have the potential to be good sellers, but more likely potential to be lost in the thousands of similar images being uploaded daily (media and business icons are getting as bad as the "floral grunge backgrounds"). Landscapes are not big sellers at istock either, so you have a challenge there as well. It's great to stick to a style that you enjoy and like I said, your work is very nice, but if you are looking for higher sales, you might want to branch out a bit. The more specialized icons, such as the "signs and signals" and the science and  medical ones should do well for you. I've lightboxed both of them for future projects myself. :)

« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2007, 12:25 »
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Surprisngly, the past three months have been my best months ever on IS. 

Shutterstock on the other hand, has been steadily declining.

same with me.

Same.

« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2007, 04:36 »
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was going like that then all of a sudden May came along and turned everything on its head, better sales at SS and IS has more than halved compared to April.

« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2007, 04:46 »
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was going like that then all of a sudden May came along and turned everything on its head, better sales at SS and IS has more than halved compared to April.

Same here. Strange thing with IS is that I sell the same photos over and over again, while on all other sites, my sales come from a much broader selection. That may of course have something  to do with the upload limitations on IS, which means that many of the top-sellers from other sites haven't been uploaded at IS, and some have been rejected (for all kind of funny reasons).

Although IS is still the third best for me, it's very up and down, as sites like StockXpert, FT and even 123RF are closing in. SS seems to be unbeatable. Increased sales and increased payment per sale. What more could one wish for?

« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2007, 10:36 »
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My earnings have been helped this month by three ELs, but overall sales are down for the second month in a row.  It's difficult to say whether it's caused by another tweak in the search engine or if it's a sign of the summer slowdown.

« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2007, 10:54 »
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My sales have been in a downward trend ever since the big changes made at end of last year, despite uploading as many new images as possible. It's still my second best earner but I would've expected revenues to increase given the extra exposure in different languages and the time/money I spent sorting out my portfolio.

They are definitely squeezing out the non-exclusives I feel however it's their choice to do that.

« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2007, 12:28 »
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My sales are almost everywhere up, while my IS sales decreased this month although I increased my portfolio over 25% at IS the last two months.

« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2007, 15:58 »
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I have a very small folio with IS, simply because I'm new to them and the 15 limit, ....well, it limits you!  I'm experiencing about a 30 - 40% rejection, however, of that, most of them are something which I can correct and resubmit. Therein lies the  problem for me.  When 5 of the 15 are resubmits, I'm taking a lot of time getting one picture on the site. That's frustrating. The upload process itself doesn't bother me as I've known nothing else on IS.  I am VERY pleased with the sales of the small folio that I have.  While I'm not doing the volume of pix that I do on SS,  I'm making a heck of a lot more than 25 cents per sale... so money-wise...  IS will soon be surpassing SS.  Even so, I am happy with my SS results.
     I am experiencing increasing sales everywhere except  123rf. Haven't sold once this month there.  Also, FP.... have never sold there at all. 
 8)-tom
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 06:48 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2007, 00:45 »
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My sales are up at IS - so much so that they're beginning to approach SS. I'll hit the silver badge level very early next month and should make gold by December.

On the downside, my rejection rate is also up - I'm at times astounded by the pickiness of some IS reviewers. Makes me a stronger photographer, I suppose ...

« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2007, 09:39 »
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iStockphoto are my only declining site so far this month. A bit of quick & dirty research shows some interesting results:

Alexa compare of IS, SS & DT shows IS declining slowly over the last six months while SS & DT are steady. Much lower, but steady.

Google Trends analysis of searches on the names of IS, SS & DT shows them all rising and again, IS well in front.

But the most interesting metric, which is in line with the trend IS photographers are experiencing is the comparative chart of IS, SS & DT at compare.com  It shows a marked drop in traffic at IS since March.

Note, these links are permalinks, so the charts you see following the links will change over time and may not be relevant to this topic after a month or two.

Big picture, I think the others are catching up to iStockphoto. IS are continuing their innovation and in my opinion have the most advanced system. But economics have a greater impact, so ShutterStock's subscription model has more influence on how much photographers receive and how many photos buyers get for their money. You can have the most functional and pretty website, but if your competition have more photos availabler for lower prices, it's not going to keep you in the top position for very long.

Small picture, these trends go up and down all the time. What we're experiencing here is - so far - a short term trend. I expect it'll be a forgotten trough in the charts before long.

« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2007, 16:02 »
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On the downside, my rejection rate is also up - I'm at times astounded by the pickiness of some IS reviewers. Makes me a stronger photographer, I suppose ...


Sharply_done...  I too am amazed at some of the rejection issues. Fortunately, as I said, many of them are fixable. They are tough in the review, but.... I can honestly say, I couldn't argue with even one rejection I've received. They were all dead-on.
       I was always in the 100% habit.... if the thing looked good at 100, it was good enough.  That sure isn't the  case with IS.  The only pix I upload there are my top sellers on SS, StockXpert & DT.  Yet so many get kicked back.
    One example. I have this shot of my son taking a picture of the Grand  Canyon.  It flys everywhere, has never been rejected.  IS kicked it back for a trademark infringement.  If you blow the pic up to 2 or 3 hundred percent, you could just make out a Nike logo on the side of his sock.  ...wild!!
      Naturally,  20 seconds in photoshop and that was gone and they took the pic.  I've had several like that.  I'm fixing one now. An overview of the Hoover Dam complex.  What appears to be a dot on a building at normal viewing, when blown up to 300% ...you can make out as the Hoover Dam sign/logo.  I've got to take it off the building.  No big problem.... but, again,  the pic is on 8/9 other sites. IS is pickier, or more careful  about what they pick up. 
    What I like about IS is when they have a problem like this,  they attach a clip of it with your mail and you know exactly what needs to be done.  I have never felt 'offended' by any of the critiques they send.
    What I don't like about it is....  in order to resubmit, it has to be part of your next 15 batch.  At 15 at a time.... it'll take me the rest of my life to upload my  current folio.
     Now, before I load to IS,  I go back over the pic at 2 & 3 hundred percent.  And the fact is,  I'm am now amazed myself what I find that I'd never found before. And as you said, since IS, I am even more careful about what goes into the camera now. It's making me a better photog.
      But while my 'folio is small....what they take  sure does seem to sell.  So I ain't complaining at all.  8) -tom

« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2007, 20:43 »
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Lee, thanks for the links. I had not seen compare.com before. Very interesting.

« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2007, 23:38 »
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Quote
The more specialized icons, such as the "signs and signals" and the science and  medical ones should do well for you. I've lightboxed both of them for future projects myself. Smiley
Have not looked on here for awhile and just saw this, thanks for the compliment. I am trying to make a combination of popular stuff as well as looking for possible gaps to fill. I wish those two were doing well for me, the science icon set got 3 dowloads the frist 2 days it was up and then nothing for the last couple of weeks, kinda strange as I had high hopes for it after getting a few downloads right away. The inspector even liked it and gave it 5 thumbs.
I am not too surprised about IStock losing market share, when I compared it to Canstock in my other thread I was kinda exgagerrating, they are still my highest earning site but Shutterstock is catching up. My illustration sales are steady and are still increasing proportional to my uploads, but my photo sales have been going down consistently every month and really tanked in April and further tanked in May, so my illustration sales are basically replacing my lost photo sales keeping my income at about the same level.
It also seems it is much easier to get accepted as a photgrapher there these days than it does as an illustrator. From what I have seen on the forums they generally only accept illustrators if they have something original to add to the collection. It is interesting how they are more selective about that than they are about new photographers, when there are many more photographers then there are vector artists.

« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2007, 17:57 »
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I have also experienced lower sales in IS in May.  June is not exciting either.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2007, 21:56 »
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thanks for the trends... very interesting stats...


 

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