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Author Topic: Reason for going exclusive (maybe - or maybe not?)  (Read 5153 times)

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« on: April 30, 2008, 13:03 »
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Currently I'm fighting with myself about going exclusive at istock.

For the last couple of month, istock constantly creates around 45% of my microstock revenue. Ignoring all other pros and cons, my major consideration is "bottom line" - money. Just entered the silver level, so its not enough to compensate the revenue of my other sites - unless I sell more at istock as an exclusive. So - how much more can I expect?

Given a certain level of image quality, more sales can be generated by better positioning in "best match". So my question was: how strong is the influence of the "exclusivity factor" for "best match".

So I did a little test. I tried to just look for the initial "push" of new images with 0 (zero) downloads. To avoid going through hundreds of pages I entered a search items that displayed just a couple of thousand matches -> "facade + entrance" -> 3825 matches found (just photos).

Here are the results: the first 0-DL image was at position 103 (exclusive). The first 0-DL image of a nonexclusive photographer was on position 459 (maybe I should feel privileged because it was one of mine... ;)). Between these two positions you can find another 101 exclusive 0-DL images (yes, I invested some time...).

So in this specific case before a buyer finds the first new nonexclusive  0-DL image, he was able to look at over 100 exclusive 0-DL images. No guarantee that they will sell better, but this REALLY is a big push for the start.

My conclusions: if this result is not purely coincidental, there is a good chance for more DL and money - and to compensate the missing revenue of my other sites.

Suggestions/remarks are welcome. Even better would be: specific feedback about that additional sales effect from somebody that went from nonexclusive to exclusive. Thank you very much!

Manfred (being on the verge of deleting my other ports....but still fighting with myself..... ???)


« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2008, 14:52 »
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I've spoken to half a dozen iStock exclusives about the jump in sales after going exclusive and their responses ranged from double to quadruple the quantity of sales. The average was around triple. Obviously earnings would jump even more due to the commission bonus, which depends on your canister level. Needless to say they were all convinced that they were earning more by being exclusive than they would contributing to all agencies.

The experience will vary with each portfolio, so take all input in context. The only way to know for sure whether your portfolio will earn more exclusive with iStock is to test it.

I'm telling you what they said, but I myself am skeptical. I won't be doing that test with my portfolio any time soon.

« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2008, 15:40 »
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You're assuming a buyer will buy the first image they see instead of the one they want.

« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2008, 15:40 »
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hmm interesting.

I am guessing those stats you counted are about right.

It sounds right, and 'fair' that if Istock were given two images with equal 'ranking' (0 sales/day) that the exclusive ones would come out first.  If a non-exclusive image had a little better rank, then perhaps it would come ahead of the 0 sales/day image, but not ahead of images that had similar rank to itself.... if that made sense.

It is really tough to know what to do yeah... The other sites ARE good though, and it is difficult to say what the future holds.  Snapvillage has 'potential' to be big, maybe shutterstock will roll out some nice commissions (here hoping :)

Istock currently earns 8% of my total... you won't see me going exclusive any time soon :) - but I am trying hard to get more images there.

« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2008, 15:41 »
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One of the reviewers from one microstock site, a very well known photographer to whole world told me that going exclusive is not a good idea. He is in photoraphy more than 40 years, and he stopped being exclusive some 5-6 years ago. I believe him, because he is real professional. He posted his first stock photography in late 60'. I think he know what he says...

He also told me that the key is to join every new site you find and that biggest photographers are on 13-15 microstock sites...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 15:44 by whitechild »

« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 15:42 »
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You're assuming a buyer will buy the first image they see instead of the one they want.

well that is exactly what they do.  most can be bothered to look through 10 pages of images.  They find the first one that is good enough.

I once had a rotten picture of a skeleton key turn up on the first page of results.  It was in 2nd or 3rd place on the search results.  I got almost 100 sales on that image and it was my best seller.  Search results were shifted and it hardly sells a few times a year now.

« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2008, 16:03 »
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I am not one for going exclusive, but don't berate anyone who does. At least the OP has done some proper research in his consideration. That's a very good thing, instead of just looking at the superficial benefits of the cream on top as so many do.

« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2008, 16:37 »
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He also told me that the key is to join every new site you find and that biggest photographers are on 13-15 microstock sites...

What a waste of time!  I can't believe that is good advice.

Contakt

    This user is banned.
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2008, 16:56 »
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I really am perplexed as to why this subject is debated so much and especially when it revolves around one specific site whose interest is entirely self-serving.

There is no compelling reason whatsoever to go exclusive with any particular site and especially with the growth potential we're witnessing lately from some other big earners like SS and Fotolia, etc.

IS clearly have a well placed agenda to encourage you to go exclusive but this point has already been argued on numerous occasions.

Who, at the end of the day, will be the main beneficiary? Certainly not the contributor. By going exclusive you are effectively discounting a huge portion of income from other sites and anyone who tells you otherwise is seriously misguided.

If your portfolio sells well on IS at the higher rate will going exclusive compensate you for the loss of earnings you could be generating from other sites? Of course not! But that for me is the key question and nobody has been able to give me a convincing answer.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 17:10 by Contakt »

« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2008, 17:52 »
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Didn't we have a thread about this last week?

What about all the sites that sell for more than istock?  I'm not going exclusive when it would stop me selling RF on midstock and traditional priced sites.

I have also read that some exclusives after a bad best match change end up with no improvement on their pre-exclusive days.  Wouldn't that be fun after deleting from all the other sites ::)

« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2008, 08:38 »
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I've spoken to half a dozen iStock exclusives about the jump in sales after going exclusive and their responses ranged from double to quadruple the quantity of sales. The average was around triple. Obviously earnings would jump even more due to the commission bonus, which depends on your canister level.

My sales didn't dramatically increase when I went exclusive.  Sure, new files sold a little better due to them being approved quicker so heading to the front of the best match quicker, and of course I had my extra 5% earnings.  I went unexclusive in Jan, had my portfolio offline for half of jan and feb (naughty me).  My search rankings obviously sunk because of my portfolio being offline, but this month I've actually made more than I did the last whole month I was exclusive (except for a rather large extended licence in Jan).

I'm making more with other sites than my extra 5% + exclusive search bonus.  Plus I've only got 1/5 of my portfolio on DT, and FT, so I'm hoping that'll make a big difference when I find the time to upload it.

helix7

« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2008, 09:53 »
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Even if it were fairly average that an increase was seen, it's still a risk. Not sure I could pull the trigger on exclusivity based on speculative earnings increases. For the amount of time it would take to remove all images elsewhere, go through the waiting periods to remove images at sites like DT and BigStock, and thereby losing some money along the way, it still seems excessively risky for just a chance at a big earnings increase.

My beef with istock exclusivity (as outlined in that other long thread) is primarily that the low commissions wouldn't allow most people to go exclusive without taking a big pay cut. So this magical increase in sales becomes a big part of the equation, and if it doesn't pan out as expected, it's a loss. If the commissions were higher, it would reduce the risk level. On top of that, some ballpark idea of how much of an increase can be expected should be detailed in the exclusivity terms. Obviously an exact percentage of increase can't be determined as it is different for everyone. But some idea of how many people experience this boost, and approximately how much of a boost it is, should be disclosed by istock. right now, all they say is that sales will increase. That's all. By how much? Who knows.


« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2008, 10:37 »
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another point to ponder is...

most people considering going exclusive with istock are probably just into the gold ranking and not that much more.. which means their sales on dreamstime and fotolia haven't gotten them too high of a level yet either.  However, once you reach emerald on fotolia you can double the prices of your images which would give you a significant boost in earnings.  Same on dreamstime with images that have more sales, have their prices increase.  Those types of benefits are able to be tested for photographers who have just reached gold ranking at istock.  They would need quite a bit more time to see how much fotolia and dreamstime really COULD earn them if they had their images there a bit longer.

« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2008, 17:37 »
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He also told me that the key is to join every new site you find and that biggest photographers are on 13-15 microstock sites...

What a waste of time!  I can't believe that is good advice.

the 'top' people to me seem to be a pretty even mix of those that exclusive and those that aren't. 

« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2008, 00:11 »
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Thanks to everybody for the valuable feedback and advice! A lot of stuff to consider....


 

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