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Author Topic: Dropping The Crown?  (Read 19440 times)

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shudderstok

« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2014, 00:43 »
0
Besides the unsubstantiated and hopeful promise that if you stay exclusive with iStock that you will make more money than if you go Indy, I am yet to see any logic evidence to support that notion. Meanwhile, there have been many logical reasons posed as to why there is a greater potential to earn more as an Indy at this point.
There's a reason why 9 of the top 10 exclusives from 6 years ago are still exclusive.  And of the 2 that switched spots, the non-excl turned excl was the one made by choice. There is I suppose, some evidence. That being said and to try to get back on topic, I do think the decision has a lot to do with your portfolio. Quality still life, editorial, on-white type of stock may do better as an indy, where as high volume quality lifestyle may do better as exclusive. Not saying they can't also do ok vice-versa. My 2 cents anyway.

i am still struggling where the benefit of dropping exclusivity makes sense - at least from my point of view. i'd drop from 35% to something like 18-20%. then i would lose all the extra royalties from GI and that is rather substantial in itself. then i would need to work 3-5 times harder to upload to as many sites in hope that i would make back what i just lost. and just judging by the poll to the right here, all of the reporting from all of the sites still falls very short of what exclusive reports, and it has been like that for years, so i am assuming there is a grain of truth to this poll. to each his own, but i have better things to do than spend my life uploading.
it boils down to whatever floats your boat and where you find your zen in the world of shooting stock.


« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2014, 02:46 »
+3

That tells me that she should be able to replace 50% of her previous exclusive income by uploading all her images to one Indy site. And hopefully the other 50% can be made up from uploading all 3,600 images to Dreamstime, Fotolia, and 123RF.

Not if she uploaded only her top sellers. 80% of my sales come from about 20% of my photos.

This is where it gets interesting - my top sellers from istock are rarely top sellers on the new agencies. Dreamstime customers seem to like my traditional istock style most. On SS only two files that were regular sellers, but not my bestsellers made it into the current top 20.

I did upload a mix of what I hope are very nice/useful files from what I usually do - mostly seasonal images, lots of objects on white and some people shots. People didnt sell that well for me on istock, but they sell very well on SS. But not so much on Fotolia. I have lots of people shots I never processed, because the series never took of on istock. So maybe now they can start a new life on SS.

Hopefully all my files get their day in the sun by being spread over different agencies.

I dont know if 3600 files will give me 50% of my old istock exclusive earnings just from SS. But if the exclusive income keeps dropping and I keep uploading slowly and steadily, then maybe yes, they will.

Personally I believe that it is a combination of having your files in a good position in best match and your files in as many lightboxes as possible that give you the best steady income. Again a reason why I dont throw everything up in one week. It takes time to get noticed and bookmarked, so the steady weekly stream is necessary to keep attracting customers to my portfolio.

But I would definetly recommend to focus on SS first from the micros. I neglected them for a long time, because I thought they sell only subs. They dont.

Overall I think I will need around 3000 nice files (mix of old and new) to get close to my old exclusive income, keeping in mind that in 2012 my income was quite low because I had not been uploading regularly in a while. This will include video.

For full time living I would probably need 6-8000 like everyone else. But I still do other things, so my old 2012 istock exclusive income is my current target.

I will also be doing more lifestyle, because this is what is interesting for macro and what seems to sell best in my portfolio on SS.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 03:01 by cobalt »

« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2014, 11:39 »
+3
Thank you again Cobalt for all your great input and for sharing your experiences with us. I was hoping some other people would also chime in on their actual experiences too after dropping their crown. Cheers.

« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2014, 11:50 »
-3
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 21:27 by tickstock »

« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2014, 15:58 »
+4
I think diamonds and black diamonds have a hard time dropping the crown because the stronger you are on the iS the harder it is to leave exclusivity even if your income has dropped by 40-50%. For example, if you used to earn 2000$ a month and now you're down to 1200$ it is still quite a lot of money even though you had to change your lifestyle and cut the expenses. Going from 1200$ to just 500 or so as non-exclusive would be a serious no-no.

So, to sum it up, the weaker and smaller you are on the iS, the easier it is to go indie and vice versa. Especially if your family depends on the istock income. That complicates this issue so much more. But on the other hand you can bite the bullet and just go indie for the sake of challenge. But you'd probably have to work 3x as hard to achieve something you had in the past. I know I didn't help you much, but it's just my current view. Of course, if things go really bad for iS, other options will have to be considered. I guess this year, 2014. will be crucial for iS. They are firing on all cylinders and do all they can to stay current in the market.

« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2014, 16:29 »
0
I think diamonds and black diamonds have a hard time dropping the crown because the stronger you are on the iS the harder it is to leave exclusivity even if your income has dropped by 40-50%. For example, if you used to earn 2000$ a month and now you're down to 1200$ it is still quite a lot of money even though you had to change your lifestyle and cut the expenses. Going from 1200$ to just 500 or so as non-exclusive would be a serious no-no.


Diamonds, and especially black diamonds earn much much more, so it is not comparable, but you get the point (just add one zero)

wds

« Reply #56 on: May 12, 2014, 20:36 »
0
Personally, if and when I see my income drop by 50% over the long term (at least 6 month average) with me putting in the same amount of effort, I will drop exclusivity and upload to the usual suspects.

shudderstok

« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2014, 20:47 »
0
Personally, if and when I see my income drop by 50% over the long term (at least 6 month average) with me putting in the same amount of effort, I will drop exclusivity and upload to the usual suspects.

that is also my take on it as well. my simple formula for  this is looking at the earnings on the side here, if the top tier - big 4 surpass IS exclusive earnings for 6 months on average or more, then it's time to drop the crown.

« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2014, 21:23 »
+7
That's a terrible gauge. The smaller exclusives, the ones who have less to lose are going to be the first to go. This is going to expand the gap not lessen it. The earnings rating for exclusives is actually likely to improve but not because people are earning more money. It is because only those making a lot of money are left and that is improving the average. It's a false positive.

shudderstok

« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2014, 21:38 »
+1
That's a terrible gauge. The smaller exclusives, the ones who have less to lose are going to be the first to go. This is going to expand the gap not lessen it. The earnings rating for exclusives is actually likely to improve but not because people are earning more money. It is because only those making a lot of money are left and that is improving the average. It's a false positive.

the only reason i remain exclusive is that i make money over there. for me  this is a business, and if i see the results fall below my expectations, then i am gone, simple as that. i ask myself daily, is it IS that is reducing the sales by their own selfish actions or is it an industry wide problem of cut throat activity, decreasing values on images, and an over saturated market. as much as i don't like IS or GI, they have much much more insight into the industry than i ever will. i personally think the market erosion is due to the factors i mentioned above. the whole industry is spiraling out of control.

« Reply #60 on: May 12, 2014, 21:44 »
+2
I completely get that and totally respect it. In fact if I had started earlier I would probably be in your shoes. I just don't agree with using the poll as an indicator. Using your own metrics based on your own experience and stats seems like a smarter and ultimately more trustworthy gauge.

wds

« Reply #61 on: May 12, 2014, 21:48 »
+1
I completely get that and totally respect it. In fact if I had started earlier I would probably be in your shoes. I just don't agree with using the poll as an indicator. Using your own metrics based on your own experience and stats seems like a smarter and ultimately more trustworthy gauge.

Yea, I would agree with "using your own metrics". There are just too many unkowns in a poll.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #62 on: May 13, 2014, 02:58 »
+3
I guess this year, 2014. will be crucial for iS. They are firing on all cylinders and do all they can to stay current in the market.
I really don't see them firing on all cylinders.
They won't even put in the resources to sort long-standing, customer-facing bugs.
They show no intention of reinstating quality or especially keywording standards.
I'd like to see your indications of positive moves on their part to even stay in the market.

« Reply #63 on: May 13, 2014, 05:20 »
0
I guess this year, 2014. will be crucial for iS. They are firing on all cylinders and do all they can to stay current in the market.
I really don't see them firing on all cylinders.
They won't even put in the resources to sort long-standing, customer-facing bugs.
They show no intention of reinstating quality or especially keywording standards.
I'd like to see your indications of positive moves on their part to even stay in the market.

Well, I think that is all you can see from istock nowadays. It is what it is. My opinion is that they don't have enough of the resources to fix all the bugs, to add and promote new featured content, to answer all those contributor relations requests, fix getty connector transfer, etc. Let alone add something new and visionary for contributors and buyers. They are overwhelmed with just keeping the istock running. They need like 10 or so days to fix css settings of the site and months to sort best match issues. They are also desperately promoting subs with the yellow banner. Again, they honestly don't have the resources, enough of quality staff and artists to run this business. Istock is currently much bigger than the team who operates it. If this trend continues it will certainly backfire.


the only reason i remain exclusive is that i make money over there. for me  this is a business, and if i see the results fall below my expectations, then i am gone, simple as that. i ask myself daily, is it IS that is reducing the sales by their own selfish actions or is it an industry wide problem of cut throat activity, decreasing values on images, and an over saturated market. as much as i don't like IS or GI, they have much much more insight into the industry than i ever will. i personally think the market erosion is due to the factors i mentioned above. the whole industry is spiraling out of control.

And I 100% agree with you. That's the another side of this coin - the oversaturated market and ever-growing competition.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 05:51 by maboleth »

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #64 on: May 13, 2014, 05:37 »
+9
Since they have taken away almost all of the original benefits of being exclusive the only thing left is money. And when the money drops far enough exclusivity has no more value.

I've added IPTC data to all my images if it's time to drop the crown. My income has been fairly stable over the past few years. This month it's down 50% so far. Is this a total coincidence that subscriptions launched around the same time? I'm also a Getty contributor but I'd question its value anymore.

And while the latest 100% royalty day is nice it may be a bit too late. They've been wringing contributors dry since 2009 and it's going to take a lot more time and effort to reverse that damage.

My focus now is driving traffic to my own site and sales are picking up. If that growth continues than exclusivity becomes an obstacle rather than a benefit and from a financial standpoint I'd have no choice but to drop the crown. 

« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2014, 15:39 »
+9
It's been two months since I dropped the crown.  Here's my experience so far:

I was an exclusive (diamond) vector illustrator since 2006 with a port of about 2300 images. After the 2010 changes, I took advantage of the 'partial exclusivity' loophole that allowed us to upload raster illustrations to the other agencies while maintaining vector exclusivity, so I wasn't starting from scratch. I'm really glad I did that, considering how things turned out.

The preparation was a nightmare, especially rekeywording the metadata for the JPEGs. Uploading was slow and I haven't finished uploading to the smaller sites.

I am never uploading to Fotolia because of that site's reputation and I deleted my small port at DP because of the subs nonsense.  Veer doesn't seem to be working or earning anymore, so I probably won't bother with them. That's too bad, I remember when Veer was cool.

May was my first month as an independent and there was an expected earnings drop, but it wasn't much more than the month to month drops on istock.  If you doubt that exclusivity still has any value, understand that your istock earnings will really plummet once you give up the crown.  If you're doing well, you should probably keep doing when you're doing.

June was the first month of having most of my files up on a few sites.  I nearly had a best month of the year but missed it by about $50.  I'm hoping the smaller sites will provide more flow but there's little activity, even with a larger portfolio so I don't anticipate much change going forward.

The best and worst part of the experience was having the time to look over my entire portfolio again as a collection and seeing how much lousy, lazy and inconsistent crap I have. I really appreciated the chance to have a painful reevaluation. The 2010 changes at istock, esp the RC system, knocked the enthusiasm out of me and I never got it back so I'm really looking forward to this fresh start.

TLDR; A lot of work but almost had a BMOTY in 2nd month.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 15:42 by blamb »

« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2014, 15:58 »
+1
Glad to hear things are starting well for you - and in the summer too

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #67 on: July 02, 2014, 05:49 »
0
"My focus now is driving traffic to my own site and sales are picking up"

Aren't you an exclusive at IS though? Are you allowed to sell files on your own site?

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #68 on: July 02, 2014, 06:20 »
0
"My focus now is driving traffic to my own site and sales are picking up"

Aren't you an exclusive at IS though? Are you allowed to sell files on your own site?

RM is fine.

« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2014, 06:43 »
+2
Congratulations on a successful start to independence. Looking at the earnings chart  on the right I am shocked to see that exclusive income seems to be in drastic free fall. Wasnt that number somewhere around 340 before?

They have really let the exclusives down badly. And it would be so easy to reverse the trend. Just let people nominate 20% of their portfolios for E+ again and mirror that content on Getty. It would make a huge difference for shooting new content and investing in your production if you know you can have some control over prices and dual exposure.

istock revenue used to be over 300 million dollars, now it is just 180 million. And probably going down if more and more customers switch to subs.

So it is encouraging to hear that you had a good start. i think many people are building vector and video portfolios (and some RM photos) to balance the loss of income when they jump.

Others sadly give up on stock completely. But the market is still there, the customers are just elsewhere.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 06:56 by cobalt »

wds

« Reply #70 on: July 02, 2014, 08:04 »
+2
Congratulations on a successful start to independence. Looking at the earnings chart  on the right I am shocked to see that exclusive income seems to be in drastic free fall. Wasnt that number somewhere around 340 before?

As an iS exclusive I am not shocked if the chart on the right has dropped significantly. The trend seems to be a strong downward one. It is getting to the point where it feels like it is almost just a matter of time before the decision to go non-Ex will not be a difficult choice to make.

« Reply #71 on: July 02, 2014, 10:26 »
0

istock revenue used to be over 300 million dollars, now it is just 180 million.

Where did you get this information please?

« Reply #72 on: July 02, 2014, 10:42 »
0
Jim Pickerell mentioned in one of his articles that istock had a revenue of 180 million. And a few years ago an istock admin told us that the revenue was over 300 million.

It is of course possible that some of that revenue has been redistributed to getty or thinkstock. But this doesnt help the istock exclusives who make most of their money on istock itself.

ETA: he says that 75% of their sales make 180 million in revenue. So total revenue would be a little higher. Sorry.

http://www.selling-stock.com/Article/can-istock-turn-midstock-sales-around
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 10:52 by cobalt »

« Reply #73 on: July 02, 2014, 12:47 »
+2
Jim Pickerell mentioned in one of his articles that istock had a revenue of 180 million. And a few years ago an istock admin told us that the revenue was over 300 million.

It is of course possible that some of that revenue has been redistributed to getty or thinkstock. But this doesnt help the istock exclusives who make most of their money on istock itself.

ETA: he says that 75% of their sales make 180 million in revenue. So total revenue would be a little higher. Sorry.

http://www.selling-stock.com/Article/can-istock-turn-midstock-sales-around


Ok thanks. I thought it was being stated as an audited fact rather than just Jim's guesstimate ... although I don't think he's too far off. I'm pretty sure that IS's revenues have been in constant decline for ages anyway. You only have to read the monthly sales thread for the evidence of that.

It's interesting that exclusives are reporting sales declining by say 30%, compared to the previous year, whilst revenue has usually declined by a lesser number like 5-10%. It can only mean that IS are still trying to maintain revenue by continually bumping up prices ... which leads to fewer sales ... and so on. When will they ever learn?

« Reply #74 on: July 02, 2014, 12:52 »
+2
Jim Pickerell mentioned in one of his articles that istock had a revenue of 180 million. And a few years ago an istock admin told us that the revenue was over 300 million.

It is of course possible that some of that revenue has been redistributed to getty or thinkstock. But this doesnt help the istock exclusives who make most of their money on istock itself.

ETA: he says that 75% of their sales make 180 million in revenue. So total revenue would be a little higher. Sorry.

http://www.selling-stock.com/Article/can-istock-turn-midstock-sales-around


Ok thanks. I thought it was being stated as an audited fact rather than just Jim's guesstimate ... although I don't think he's too far off. I'm pretty sure that IS's revenues have been in constant decline for ages anyway. You only have to read the monthly sales thread for the evidence of that.

It's interesting that exclusives are reporting sales declining by say 30%, compared to the previous year, whilst revenue has usually declined by a lesser number like 5-10%. It can only mean that IS are still trying to maintain revenue by continually bumping up prices ... which leads to fewer sales ... and so on. When will they ever learn?


If I could choose, all my files would be S+, at S+ prices. According to my own experiencie (after having about 33% of my files demoted from S+ to S) it produces far better revenue.


 

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