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Author Topic: Exclusive - stay or leave? - by the numbers  (Read 4231 times)

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Uncle Pete

« on: October 08, 2014, 11:04 »
0
I don't propose to tell anyone what to do. Everyone knows their own situation and idea of what they want and what they earn, for what effort, best. We all have individual goals, and most of the time they are not identical.

Just that an often repeated percentage and number has been tossed about, saying how much you would need to make on the top ten, to equal the income from Exclusive.

Something doesn't match up? Either that, or the poll figures are not realistic in indicating what people will potentially make on a site. In which case, the figures for Exclusive are just as flawed?

If some numbers are wrong, any of the numbers should be suspect. You can't have one agency be accurate (IS Exclusive) as your proof and then see that the rest aren't. Simply not logical.

You may be asking yourselves, what is he talking about?  :)

Do The Math: Top Ten Image Sites

Shutterstock    94.7
iStock    36.5
Fotolia    20.7
Dreamstime    13.6 
123RF    10 
DepositPhotos    6.9
Bigstockphoto    6.9
Envato    4.2
Canstockphoto    3.7
Veer    3.6 

Total 200.8

IS Exclusive 141.2


Not included because, to be fair... they don't fit
Alamy    8.3 (not Micro)
Pond5    12.6 (Mostly video)



In other words, someone leaving exclusive, according to the poll on the right, will make MORE with the top ten sites, than they do on IS as an exclusive.

But it appears that in reality, reports from people who have dropped the crown, say this is not true.

Do we believe the statistics or personal reports?

If the facts don't agree and income doesn't meet expectations, based on the Poll on the right. Why should we believe the numbers for the IS Exclusives, on the right?



« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2014, 11:39 »
+4
Your premise is suspect, your conclusion (that the numbers don't match people's experiences) invalid.  First you have to consider how much of the earnings reported here are based on submissions that would not be accepted today.  There is work in my portfolio that continues to earn, even though it violates acceptance policy for new work.  That suggests that a new submitter with the same work would not do as well with at least some of the agencies, since what can't get accepted can't make money.

Second, a new submitter's work won't have the same search placement as that of a veteran.  Assuming that there's some benefit to work that's been around a few years and still makes regular sales, a new submitter will be at a clear disadvantage.

Third, different agencies are more or less successful at selling different types of work, even separate from what they accept and reject.  An iStock exclusive may have gravitated over time to producing work that sells there and not bother with content that is either rejected at a high rate or fails to deliver earnings.  That unsubmitted or even unshot work might do well at other agencies.  By tuning a portfolio to one agency, a submitter may do far less well if they make the move to others.

Fourth, in my case at least I have found value in submitting many images from the same shoot.  Each image may sell infrequently if at all, but the aggregate from a shoot may do very well.  This is my argument against RPI as a metric, but it's also a reason sites that had or have upload limits don't do as well for me as those that are more open to submissions.  The same applies to Dreamstime and their former policy of rejecting similars.

There are probably other objections I haven't considered.  Maybe some of the former exclusives gave up or reduced their efforts too soon, either before they had uploaded the largest part of their portfolios, or before all those new images had a chance to get noticed.  Maybe it takes two or even five years to get a true picture of a move from exclusive to independent.  Or maybe things have changed too much, and an exclusive can't make the move successfully in the current climate.  Or maybe there's something about the self-selected group that has reported their results that wouldn't apply to a larger population.

I don't know that breaking exclusivity is the best answer for every microstocker.  I don't know that it isn't.  But I also don't see a contradiction between the poll numbers and the anecdotal reports we've heard.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2014, 11:56 »
0
A number of excellent points.

"I don't know that breaking exclusivity is the best answer for every microstocker.  I don't know that it isn't."

I don't claim any support for either since it's not about me. I wouldn't go exclusive, because what I have, doesn't do as well on IS and it does on SS. But the returns on IS are far better than anywhere else - except SS - so I'm happy.

"But I also don't see a contradiction between the poll numbers and the anecdotal reports we've heard."

So you don't see that 200 is 30% higher than 141? and I left out two higher numbers just to be fair.

If the polls are right, shouldn't people be able to recover from dropping exclusive by uploading their collection to the top ten sites +2?

Yes to all your arguments, any and all could be true.

I'm just saying the numbers don't add up to the reports? Or the poll. Or maybe they don't add up to the wisdom from some, claiming how difficult it is to switch and recover?

There's a huge disparity in IS poll income, between Exclusive and Indy, but we don't know how well a former Exclusive does, compared to their own numbers on IS. That would be interesting. That also assumes the same person with all the same images and only one variable... dropping the crown.

DC


« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2014, 12:16 »
+2
Wasn't IS exclusive over 300 not too long ago?  I'm almost positive it was around 340 at the beginning of the year, but I could be wrong.

If someone dropped exclusivity back when the poll numbers were a lot higher then it would be very difficult for them to get back to their previous level.  And if someone has dropped exclusivity recently after the poll number for exclusives has come down then it would still take a long to upload everything and get it selling again.

« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2014, 12:16 »
+1
If the polls are right, shouldn't people be able to recover from dropping exclusive by uploading their collection to the top ten sites +2?

No, for a bunch of reasons I've already stated.  The polls suggest that independence will produce more income than exclusivity on average, but they don't say anything about how someone making that move today will fare.  The polls show the average performance of portfolios that range from about ten years of age to brand new.  They tell us nothing about moving a successful portfolio to those agencies now.  And even if they did suggest that independence would be more profitable, they can't tell us anything about how long that profit would take to achieve.

As a separate point, "The plural of anecdote is not data."  Perhaps the only thing I remember from undergrad Probability & Statistics is that it takes a lot of data points before you can say anything with mathematical confidence.  30 points is what I remember, and that'll get you to 95% confidence.  Even then, there's a 5% chance that your conclusions are wrong, and would be visibly so if you had more data to analyze.

« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2014, 13:30 »
+3
the istock exclusive number was around 340-360 not too long ago, maybe one year. And the drop here on msg correlates with the drop in earnings I hear from my friends. Of course every individual case is different, but most seem to have lost 50% of their income from around 2 years ago. And most important: I am not seeing people go exclusive, or hear from people with experienced large portfolio going exclusive (with the exception of yuri...but he isnt exclusive to istock)

I agree that for people coming in new, or going indy the situation is different to people with established portfolios that have been around for years. But overall the ranking on the poll seems to be correct, SS is the most important agency, it brings in more money than the ones below it and certainly more than istock. In my case 631 photos on SS are sometimes outselling 3800 files on istock (and that portfolio has been there a long time). There are still months were istock photo sales are similar or higher, but lately SS seems to be overtaking istock- Even when I am not uploding new work.

Just shows how much istock must have lost in market share, otherwise I would expect my 3800 files to outsell my tiny SS portfolio by a large number.

The overall drop from my exclusive income is of course harsh, but seeing how much istock keeps falling, I think it wont be long before I will be earning more even with a small indy portfolio than if I had stayed exclusive.

But it is not easy going indy and the options are overwhelming. I hope I have now found a good strategy for myself.


A mix of exclusive images,high volume micro content and video will keep me going and free.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 11:06 »
0
Right disorderly. I was pointing out the apparent contradiction between numbers on the right and reported results.

Looking at simple poll results doesn't prove anything because different people, different agencies, and different files for those same people.

But still 200 is a higher number than 141.  ;D I don't think anyone will debate that?

As for statistical significance of the MSG poll, since it's voluntary and there are no checks or balances or any trap questions, it's just what it is, and too much can't be made of it. More of a relevance measure than earnings in real numbers?



shudderstok

« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 12:04 »
0
i stopped this silly poll long ago. whats the point when they cap off earnings at $2500? my exclusive earnings are much more than that. the accuracy of this poll is not accurate at all simply because of the cap in earnings that are able to be reported. also of note, if stocksy is so hot why are they still at nothing? i think you can only judge the accuracy of this poll if we actually had real earnings able to be added ie: $5300 and also by how many people actually used the poll.

« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2014, 12:21 »
+3
I believe Stocksy is not "so hot" because it doesn't meet the minimum number of responders.  Most of the contributors there aren't the type to hang out in forums like this.

shudderstok

« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2014, 12:31 »
0
I believe Stocksy is not "so hot" because it doesn't meet the minimum number of responders.  Most of the contributors there aren't the type to hang out in forums like this.

perhaps you could explain what the type of contributors stocksy contributors are and also what the type of contributors that do hang out on forums like this are? you are which type?

« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2014, 12:44 »
+6
Yeah, I figured that was coming.  A lot of them are brand new to stock, and unlikely to hang out in a forum that is solely dedicated to stock, especially one called "microstockgroup", since Stocksy is more "midstock".  Many have other photography work they do and may not have the time to spread to another forum.  Some probably don't like forum discussions.  So, for whatever reason, there aren't a lot of them here.  Might have to do with the occasional hostility and such as well.

« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2014, 12:50 »
+4
i stopped this silly poll long ago. whats the point when they cap off earnings at $2500? my exclusive earnings are much more than that. the accuracy of this poll is not accurate at all simply because of the cap in earnings that are able to be reported. also of note, if stocksy is so hot why are they still at nothing? i think you can only judge the accuracy of this poll if we actually had real earnings able to be added ie: $5300 and also by how many people actually used the poll.
I also stopped doing the poll for the same reason.  I don't think I've answered in a year or so.  If we are allowed to enter higher numbers I might start again.  Right now a nonexclusive can enter earnings of tens of thousands per month but exclusives can only enter $2,500.

shudderstok

« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2014, 12:55 »
0
Yeah, I figured that was coming.  A lot of them are brand new to stock, and unlikely to hang out in a forum that is solely dedicated to stock, especially one called "microstockgroup", since Stocksy is more "midstock".  Many have other photography work they do and may not have the time to spread to another forum.  Some probably don't like forum discussions.  So, for whatever reason, there aren't a lot of them here.  Might have to do with the occasional hostility and such as well.

fair enough, but just curious what is the minimum vote for this poll - i did not know there was such a thing? further evidence the poll is by far inaccurate. i also wonder why stocksy is even in this poll based on your description and their contributors aren't the type to hang out here, albeit there are always a lot of stocksy members commenting here.

Shelma1

« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2014, 13:03 »
0
i stopped this silly poll long ago. whats the point when they cap off earnings at $2500? my exclusive earnings are much more than that. the accuracy of this poll is not accurate at all simply because of the cap in earnings that are able to be reported. also of note, if stocksy is so hot why are they still at nothing? i think you can only judge the accuracy of this poll if we actually had real earnings able to be added ie: $5300 and also by how many people actually used the poll.
I also stopped doing the poll for the same reason.  I don't think I've answered in a year or so.  If we are allowed to enter higher numbers I might start again.  Right now a nonexclusive can enter earnings of tens of thousands per month but exclusives can only enter $2,500.

I also agree. As a non exclusive I make more than that on Shutterstock alone. And I'm certainly not wildly successful in microstock.

(But you see how it might not change the poll results much. ;) )

shudderstok

« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2014, 13:12 »
0
i stopped this silly poll long ago. whats the point when they cap off earnings at $2500? my exclusive earnings are much more than that. the accuracy of this poll is not accurate at all simply because of the cap in earnings that are able to be reported. also of note, if stocksy is so hot why are they still at nothing? i think you can only judge the accuracy of this poll if we actually had real earnings able to be added ie: $5300 and also by how many people actually used the poll.
I also stopped doing the poll for the same reason.  I don't think I've answered in a year or so.  If we are allowed to enter higher numbers I might start again.  Right now a nonexclusive can enter earnings of tens of thousands per month but exclusives can only enter $2,500.

I also agree. As a non exclusive I make more than that on Shutterstock alone. And I'm certainly not wildly successful in microstock.

(But you see how it might not change the poll results much. ;) )

not true, if you max out at SS with close to 6K images and get a fraction of that on IS with a fraction of the images, it skews the poll by inflating one while deflating the other proportionately based on actual images at either site.

Shelma1

« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2014, 13:55 »
0
i stopped this silly poll long ago. whats the point when they cap off earnings at $2500? my exclusive earnings are much more than that. the accuracy of this poll is not accurate at all simply because of the cap in earnings that are able to be reported. also of note, if stocksy is so hot why are they still at nothing? i think you can only judge the accuracy of this poll if we actually had real earnings able to be added ie: $5300 and also by how many people actually used the poll.
I also stopped doing the poll for the same reason.  I don't think I've answered in a year or so.  If we are allowed to enter higher numbers I might start again.  Right now a nonexclusive can enter earnings of tens of thousands per month but exclusives can only enter $2,500.

I also agree. As a non exclusive I make more than that on Shutterstock alone. And I'm certainly not wildly successful in microstock.

(But you see how it might not change the poll results much. ;) )

not true, if you max out at SS with close to 6K images and get a fraction of that on IS with a fraction of the images, it skews the poll by inflating one while deflating the other proportionately based on actual images at either site.

I'm just saying that raising the maximum will affect more people than just iS exclusives. And there are reasons I have a smaller port at iS, the biggest being the difference in the upload process at each site. I'd love to see iS simplify theirs. I think it holds them back to some extent.

« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2014, 14:30 »
-2
maybe leaf should change the polls to comparing past performance. maybe that will be more accurately than just ambiguous numbers.  like for next month, maybe we get a 50% increase compared to nov 2013
we put 50% . if we get a bme of 300% we put 300 . would that be more helpful ? just wondering.

Dook

« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2014, 15:08 »
0
.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 15:13 by Dook »

« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2014, 16:00 »
+2
would that be more helpful ? just wondering.

No, it wouldn't, it would be meaningless.

« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2014, 19:11 »
0
What would be cool is if Leaf can add another column that is JUST FOR THE LAST FULL MONTH and have it next to the all time numbers (those are all time correct, Leaf?). That would bring more realistic perspective to this discussion.


 

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