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How do your October sales (number of images sold) compare with September on iStock?

A lot better >25%
A little better >2 to 25%
About the same +2 to - 2%
A little worse <2 to 25%
A lot worse <25%
Don't know

Author Topic: How's it been at iStock for October?  (Read 12608 times)

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« on: November 01, 2006, 02:26 »
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Since the change at of keywording at iStock, how have your sales gone? Please fill in the poll (to the left). It's anonymous.

Please assess this according to the number of images you have sold (the bottom graph on your Stats Page which shows numbers as a monthly comparison), rather than the monetary amount.

I know that cash is more important ... the bottom line and all that ... but the reason for choosing numbers is because the sale of just one extended licence for a single image, or a big print purchase, can boost your cash earnings for a month and distort the picture.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 03:26 by Bateleur »


« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2006, 02:48 »
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Best month ever.  Haven't changed many keywords.  Sells are now different.  Ratings seem to help.

« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2006, 07:32 »
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Bataleur:

It might be helpful if you defined what a "little worse" was vs. a "lot worse". If not, then everyone will use their own definition and the results might be skewed.

You might want to try to define the terms in a percentage of last months totals. For example, a "little worse" might be from -1% to -25%, and a "lot worse" might be > -25%. FYI: I have heard a lot of people complaining about being down 40% or more.

« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 07:57 »
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Ratings definitely make a difference. My best selling image, which isn't rated, was download about once a day before the change. It hasn't been downloaded once since the change, I've updated the keywords but it is way back in the search results behind all the rated images.

« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2006, 08:33 »
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Bataleur:

It might be helpful if you defined what a "little worse" was vs. a "lot worse".  If not, then everyone will use their own definition and the results might

Good point.   :)  Thanks. I was just taking it as a sort of visual thing, by looking at the graph. Let's say, for consistency, that:

A lot better = Over 25% increase
A little better = From 2% to 25% increase
About the same = Between -2% and +2% of last month's figures (to allow for the inevitable small fluctuations in sales ... ebb and flow)
A little worse = From 2% to 25% decrease
A lot worse = More than 25% decrease
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 08:39 by Bateleur »

« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2006, 11:35 »
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Second half of the month has been brilliant: the revamp of the "best match" search helped. First part was crap: with the changed searched none of my popular images were visible (despite being disambiguated). It had to do with them being in popular sections. Several flame and double-flame images not appearing in the top 1000. That sucked! But now with the search kicking out new images that haven't been downloaded I'm back. Overall I did somewhat better than the previous month and that's saying a lot because within the last three months my sales have more than tripled.

BTW, ratings don't matter as much as you think. Everyone is doing the same mistake: looking at a first page of some search and assuming that because all the images are rated that ratings matter. Approach it with a scientific method and you'll figure out the algorithm no time.

A) You will notice that plenty of "Top Rated" images with perfect 5 ratings numbering in 20's-100's have very few downloads and some have NONE.

B) You should not assume that images get downloads BECAUSE of ratings, but that it could be vice versa: images get ratings because of downloads and views (my top rated image has more than 1000 downloads and more than 3000 views. Coincidence that it has many ratings?)

I get inundated with people from the yahoo list and my creative network sending hundreds of stupid, pointless e-mails saying "oh please rate my image" and share their ridiculous theories based on completely flawed data and throw accusations of admins rating images of people they like. You know what? To give you some approximates: within the next month I shall have more than 20,000 downloads on iStock and yet I have: less than 400 ratings. I have NEVER had a file in the Top Rated section. And guess what? My sales go on. And guess what again? he logs show ratings activity on 100's of files of a single photog at once and admins know about it and already started removing ratings (light punishment) and suspending people (hard punishment). I know from high up sources that this ratings game is about to end because the next step is suspending photogs rating's priviledges.

Maybe it's silly of me to disclose this (keep my advantage for one and keep others occupied with the ratings game), but the three most important factors of the best match search are: age of the file, dl's per month and having the proper boxes ticked and no others (disambiguation).

« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2006, 11:51 »
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Maybe it's silly of me to disclose this (keep my advantage for one and keep others occupied with the ratings game), but the three most important factors of the best match search are: age of the file, dl's per month and having the proper boxes ticked and no others (disambiguation).
Thanks for your post. what you say seems sensible and reasonable .... but.... this does not explain why two similar photos with identical keywords and uploaded recently on the same day show up in this order:

photo 1: 2 sales, few views , *****
photo 2 : 4 sales, more views, no stars

Now that photo 2 is rated, it now shows up first rather than second.

The antidotal evidence suggests that ratings are important. I hope they do make rating irrelevant (except for the rating search).

[edit: time on site seems to have an effect as well looking in more detail - are you suggesting they have a similar system to SS where it is a DL/month basis)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 11:55 by CJPhoto »

GWB

« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2006, 12:43 »
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Best month ever for me on IS for DLs and sales.  I did work on my tags and added phrases to most of my files.  If this helped or not I can't say as I really don't understand how the search routine there works.  Sales were also up on SS and DT as well.

G~

« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2006, 13:15 »
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Kacper,

I wish you are correct in that ratings don't matter, and I'm sure for buyers they don't. But the search engine obviously does care whether an image has been rated or not. I have tried many a random search and have yet to come up with one that doesn't have the rated(even if poorly rated) images on the first handful of pages.

« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2006, 13:17 »
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It is possible that Kacper is trying to throw everyone off the trail by providing disinformation...

Or maybe not...

Who knows for sure?

« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2006, 14:40 »
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It is possible that Kacper is trying to throw everyone off the trail by providing disinformation...
Or maybe not...
Who knows for sure?

Yeah :) I'm an admin for iStock who wants all the sales to meself. Seriously now... if I wanted to throw people off the trail, I'd try a bigger forum so I'd get a bigger potential audience. I didn't say ratings DON'T matter, just that they matter so much less than everyone thinks.

Quote from: CJPhoto
[edit: time on site seems to have an effect as well looking in more detail - are you suggesting they have a similar system to SS where it is a DL/month basis)

CJ: the example you provided is correct: picture with 4 dl's with a rating will be higher than the one without a rating. But: it could be age. And YES, iStock DOES have a SS-like variable. It's called DL'S/MONTH (it's one of the columns in your list when looking up your uploads). I have two images of the same situation currently both with 25 downloads. One was uploaded in September last year, one this October. They both have 1 rating each, they both have been disambiguated. One appears on page 2 of the appropriate search, the other on page 46 of the same search. The newer file got 25 downloads in a month, the old one got... none.

What I'm pointing out is lack of logic shown by people who are in this ratings craze and the best way to illustrate my point is to show unquestionable data. Look at Andresr folio on iStock. Barely over 500 ratings, more than 42,000 downloads in two years. Now look at t-lorien: almost 5000 ratings and barely over 3,000 downloads in three years. True her portfolio is three times smaller, but that's a HUGE difference (about 7-10 fold proportionally). Do your own research, don't believe in mine. Look at Top 30 Rated pictures and see how many of those have decent downloads. And then you'll figure out that the only ones that do (and also the ones that have the most ratings) are previous IOTW (Image of the Week).

It's just that I'm surrounded by lack of logic in my daily life (just the part of the world I'm from lacks all center of logic) and this has seemed to spread to a large part of iStock users who think that their portfolios will get tons and tons and tons more downloads if they can get tons of ratings from their CN. The fact is, they're likely to get their priviledges taken away, suspended or even banned. Ultimately what sells pictures is 1) quality, 2) originality, 3) uploading what sells, 4) uploading in a timely fashion (ie: uploading summer pictures now means they will get lost in a shuffle because no one is buying summer shots now).

But... let me be the last person to dissuade you from this ratings craze. If more people get banned for block rating, the better it will be for the rest of us.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 14:43 by kacper »

« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2006, 16:40 »
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Downloads were 22% less in October, but earnings were only 12% less.  Given I haven't uploaded anything last month (except in the past few days, they're pending), I believe it wasn't that bad.  I haven't done anything with the keywords yet.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2006, 18:57 »
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both downloads and $ were slightly higher -- modified about 30% of my photo's keywords -- 0 of these has sold since modified (some were top sellers some had never sold)

« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2006, 20:04 »
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Man.....   my head hurts!!  I've got a background in quantum physics.... and I'm confused...  I guess my questions is...  should a newbie like me even bother with istock?  seriously... 
          tom

« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2006, 02:18 »
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try submitting 10 images and see how you like it.  It DOES have good earning potential.

« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2006, 04:41 »
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try submitting 10 images and see how you like it.  It DOES have good earning potential.

I second that. The only thing is, their keywording, etc. is a total pain now.

« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2006, 09:20 »
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Kacper,

I wish you are correct in that ratings don't matter, and I'm sure for buyers they don't. But the search engine obviously does care whether an image has been rated or not. I have tried many a random search and have yet to come up with one that doesn't have the rated(even if poorly rated) images on the first handful of pages.
Obviously didn't read the post correctly. He was saying that ratings tend to be a result rather than a cause.

Side note: October had the most downloads and by far the most royalties (including one EL) for me. IS is my best preformer, and I haven't uploaded anywhere in 2 months.

« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2006, 09:46 »
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Kacper,

I wish you are correct in that ratings don't matter, and I'm sure for buyers they don't. But the search engine obviously does care whether an image has been rated or not. I have tried many a random search and have yet to come up with one that doesn't have the rated(even if poorly rated) images on the first handful of pages.
Obviously didn't read the post correctly. He was saying that ratings tend to be a result rather than a cause.

Side note: October had the most downloads and by far the most royalties (including one EL) for me. IS is my best preformer, and I haven't uploaded anywhere in 2 months.

I assume your talking about why images get rated\downloaded and which causes which. Which is not what I was talking about at all. In fact I really don't care, because I agree, just because an image is rated doesn't mean it will get downloaded. What I was referring to is how images appear in the search results. It is very obvious that rated images get a preference in the results.

« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2006, 16:02 »
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I assume your talking about why images get rated\downloaded and which causes which. Which is not what I was talking about at all. In fact I really don't care, because I agree, just because an image is rated doesn't mean it will get downloaded. What I was referring to is how images appear in the search results. It is very obvious that rated images get a preference in the results.

He did not say that ratings don't matter. He only said that they aren't weighted as heavily as people think.

« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2006, 11:55 »
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Interesting. The results we have so far (30 people have completed the poll so far) divide quite clearly into two groups.

I wonder why that is? Anyone got any ideas? Theories?

« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2006, 12:17 »
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my guess is that total sales are similar to last month.

That means that if 33% of the people had better sales than last monght 33% of the people had to have worse sales than last month.

« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2006, 16:14 »
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They said that total sales for the site are up.

« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2006, 17:53 »
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The disambiguation has me baffled though. Now I have gone and done my entire portfolio (shitload of work). And I've basically noticed three things:

1. Disambiguation didn't help at all my older very well selling files (which are no longer well selling)
2. It helped a lot my older not so well selling files (which are now well selling)
3. One file that HASN'T been disambiguated started selling like hotcakes (40 times half a month): stupid me... I disambiguated it and now it hasn't sold once since October 30th...

So I suggest doing a very careful portfolio analysis and disambiguating your files on a case to case basis.

« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2006, 05:30 »
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What's a 'case by case basis'? What sort of things do you suggest looking for?

My best selling file (which has a flame) suddenly stopped selling as from the big change, and hasn't sold since. I've disambiguated it, but it still isn't selling. It's just stopped dead.

More alarmingly, I've done a search on the three most important keywords in its list ... 15 files come up and it isn't even amongst them!

« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2006, 06:00 »
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i think kasper was meaning that if a file is selling well DON'T TOUCH IT.  if it isn't selling at all, then it can't hurt changing things around... it just might help.

on a side note.

My 14 day average sales per site now has bigstock earning more per day than istock  ???  This may just have something to do with the fact that I disambiguated all my best selling images about 2 weeks ago :( ... now they don't seem like best selling images anymore
« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 06:03 by leaf »

« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2006, 06:28 »
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i think kasper was meaning that if a file is selling well DON'T TOUCH IT.  if it isn't selling at all, then it can't hurt changing things around... it just might help.

on a side note.

My 14 day average sales per site now has bigstock earning more per day than istock  ???  This may just have something to do with the fact that I disambiguated all my best selling images about 2 weeks ago :( ... now they don't seem like best selling images anymore


Maybe not , I'm experiencing the same and I didn't touch a thing at istock. I use to have between 7-12 downloads at day over there few weeks ago , now I'm on maybe 1 or 2 some days not a single one. 

« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2006, 09:04 »
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I think Kasper wasn't saying not to touch them, at least I hope not. The problem he and others are having is that their photos no longer show up at the top of best match searches, so they don't get downloaded. This stems from the the fact they iStock doesn't give as much weight to total downloads as it use to, they now focus more on downloads/month.

« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2006, 09:43 »
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The disambiguation has me baffled though. Now I have gone and done my entire portfolio (pooload of work). And I've basically noticed three things:

1. Disambiguation didn't help at all my older very well selling files (which are no longer well selling)
2. It helped a lot my older not so well selling files (which are now well selling)
3. One file that HASN'T been disambiguated started selling like hotcakes (40 times half a month): stupid me... I disambiguated it and now it hasn't sold once since October 30th...

So I suggest doing a very careful portfolio analysis and disambiguating your files on a case to case basis.

I have no where near the volume but the trend is the same -- once hot shots now don't sell.  Actually any shot I editted hasn't sold since I changed it.  Send an email to istock on this and got back a "list all the shots you changed ...." which isn't worth the effort.  Good news is I'm making a small amount from shots that haven't been active sellers.

« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2006, 11:17 »
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Good so far.  My best-selling pictures are the ones other photographers have generously included in their own lightboxes which seem to generate a lot of traffic.  Sometimes the picture chosen isn't the best one from a serie, but sure that specific  picture sells very well that way.

I created some lightboxes, with the understanding that when we have more than 20 files in them, they automatically become public.  It has not been the case.  And I don't see an option to change from private to public.  So... zero traffic up till now with my own.  Maybe I misunderstood the lightbox concept:  should the 20 files come from 20 different photographer's work?  or is it simply an incentive privilege reserved for exclusive IS photographers?  In the meantime, to make use of the lightboxes, I put them into my profile.

Did I miss something?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 11:39 by berryspun »

« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2006, 13:27 »
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berryspun - you must mark as public, have more than 20 photos AND have at least 1 photo not by yourself

« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2006, 14:25 »
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Got it, thanks CJ !
I had more than 20.  The 'mark as public' only shows up if there is another photographer's picture in the lightbox.  Good to know.  Again, thanks.

« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2006, 04:41 »
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My best selling file (which has a flame) suddenly stopped selling as from the big change, and hasn't sold since. I've disambiguated it, but it still isn't selling. It's just stopped dead.

More alarmingly, I've done a search on the three most important keywords in its list ... 15 files come up and it isn't even amongst them!


Okay ... I've re-disambiguated it (these words are getting crazy) and now when I do the same search, with the same keywords, 16 files appear. Mine is now there (15+1=16  :) ) and it's third in line.

Let's see if it starts selling again.

« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2006, 09:56 »
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My best selling file (which has a flame) suddenly stopped selling as from the big change, and hasn't sold since. I've disambiguated it, but it still isn't selling. It's just stopped dead.

More alarmingly, I've done a search on the three most important keywords in its list ... 15 files come up and it isn't even amongst them!


Okay ... I've re-disambiguated it (these words are getting crazy) and now when I do the same search, with the same keywords, 16 files appear. Mine is now there (15+1=16  :) ) and it's third in line.

Let's see if it starts selling again.

what did you do to re-disambiguate it?

« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2006, 12:16 »
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Leaf - hes done it once and he has done it again.  i beleive they did some changes at some point that disambiguated the images again after people had dis-ambiguated but I am not sure if he was effected by taht.

« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2006, 13:51 »
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this is getting confusing :S

I don't think i understand anything anymore.

« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2006, 17:59 »
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this is getting confusing :S

I don't think i understand anything anymore.

Me neither ... but to re-disambiguate it (I made up that word) I opened it in the editing screen again, added a couple of sort of relevant keywords, removed a couple that I thought were the least relevant, checked a few more boxes here and there, and saved it once more.

Still hasn't sold, but at least it's appearing in searches now.

I just hope I don't have to re-re-disambiguate it tomorrow.   ;)

« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2006, 19:12 »
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Me neither ... but to re-disambiguate it (I made up that word) I opened it in the editing screen again, added a couple of sort of relevant keywords, removed a couple that I thought were the least relevant, checked a few more boxes here and there, and saved it once more.

Still hasn't sold, but at least it's appearing in searches now.

Bataleur:

Unfortunately, you have now reached critical mass where the internal discombobulators cannot saturate the phantasmagoric bicubic linear interstellar algorithm that displays images thru the holographic sort matching universal translator.

In other words, your doomed...

 ;D

« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2006, 01:40 »
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Yikes!

Sounds as if it's about to go critical.  :)  Don't blame me.


 

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