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Author Topic: Is istock exclusive contributor worth it?  (Read 2976 times)

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« on: August 30, 2020, 04:30 »
0
Everybody is good, I want to consult one thing, hesitation ss have already cut prices in May reduce my income a lot, I want to try to register istosk sole contributor account, don't know what you think, I saw my friend is exclusive to istock contributor, income is very good, although I also have the non-exclusive istock contributor, income is too low.
I want to ask, what are the requirements for istock to apply for an exclusive right now? Do you still need 1,000 downloads? How long does it usually take? Has anyone successfully applied recently?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 04:37 by [email protected] »


« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2020, 05:24 »
+8
Unfortuantely, iStock also has a long and sad history of unilaterally changing contacts, moving goals posts and screwing contributors over.

If you feel that exclusive is the way to go for your images, I'd honestly look at Stocksy and consider if your work, or the work you want to produce, fits their niche.

In my head there is a short list of agencies worth considering going forwards. Adobe, Alamy, Pond5 and maybe Dreamstime.

I know that it's not exactly scientific, but if you look at the general MS Poll Results at top right on this site, you will see that AS has overtaken SS for earnings and IS is now just a few short points behind iStock exclusive. In other words, if you stay independent and upload only to AS and a handful of other sites that pay better commissions you won't cannibalise your sales at idiot agencies like Shutterstock.



ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2020, 06:03 »
0
I won't offer an opinion as to whether you should become exclusive at iStock: it all depends on your port and your tolerance of BS. (disclaimer: I'm exclusive and I'm earning less than 25% of what I earned in e.g.2011-12, when my port was about 30% of its current size, but I know that was better 'for me' than being indie would have been, through the years I've been active [historically, SS wouldn't have worked for my particular port]).
And who knows what will happen in future? Risky if you do, risky if you don't.

Nowadays, becoming exclusive isn't dependent on sales, it's done by them assessing your port for commercial value.

Be aware that if you choose to become exclusive, your existing files will all stay at their current 1 credit selling price, though you'll get your exclusive rate on these sales. Your subsequently uploaded files will sell at 3 credits, and you'll get your exclusive rate.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 16:30 by ShadySue »

« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2020, 06:39 »
0
Thank you, I understand, I still can't put eggs in a basket, but I heard that istock is exclusive, there is a chance to sell pictures into the subset of gettyimages, and there is a better chance.
I won't offer an opinion as to whether you should become exclusive at iStock: it all depends on your port and your tolerance of BS. (disclaimer: I'm exclusive and I'm earning less than 25% of what I earned in e.g.2011-12, when my port was about 30% of its current size, but I know that was better 'for me' than being indie would have been, through the years I've been active [historically, SS wouldn't have worked for my particular port]).
And who knows what will happen in future? Risky if you do, risky if you don't.

Nowadays, becoming exclusive isn't dependent on sales, it's done by them assessing your port for commercial value.

Be aware that if you choose to become exclusive, your existing files will all stay at their current 1 credit selling price, though you'll get your exclusive rate omn these sales. Your subsequently uploaded files will sell at 3 credits, and you'll get your exclusive rate.

« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2020, 12:36 »
0
I'm on the fence also. Adobe is not enough to compensate for SS loses. Other agencies are not even worth mentioning. So, it comes down to decision Adobe vs Istock exclusive. It doesn't look like a hard decision at this moment and  in this environment.

« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 13:00 »
+1
I don't know why, my adobe income is very poor. I already have more than 10,000 pictures on adobe, and only more than 100 dollars a month, I am so depressed!
I'm on the fence also. Adobe is not enough to compensate for SS loses. Other agencies are not even worth mentioning. So, it comes down to decision Adobe vs Istock exclusive. It doesn't look like a hard decision at this moment and  in this environment.

« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2020, 13:04 »
0
So, it comes down to decision Adobe vs Istock exclusive.
Adobe does not offer any exclusive programm and going exclusive on one agency without any benefit does not seem ike a smart idea.

« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 13:44 »
0
So, it comes down to decision Adobe vs Istock exclusive.
Adobe does not offer any exclusive programm and going exclusive on one agency without any benefit does not seem ike a smart idea.
I know, that's why I said that it is not hard decision. Adobe, on its own, without exclusivity, can't compete with Getty/Istock. It comes down to Adobe, because other agencies are poor performers and SS did what it did.

« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2020, 13:46 »
+1
I don't know why, my adobe income is very poor. I already have more than 10,000 pictures on adobe, and only more than 100 dollars a month, I am so depressed!
I'm on the fence also. Adobe is not enough to compensate for SS loses. Other agencies are not even worth mentioning. So, it comes down to decision Adobe vs Istock exclusive. It doesn't look like a hard decision at this moment and  in this environment.
If it will make things any easier for you - I'm depressed, too  :)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2020, 14:56 »
0
I don't know why, my adobe income is very poor. I already have more than 10,000 pictures on adobe, and only more than 100 dollars a month, I am so depressed!
I'm on the fence also. Adobe is not enough to compensate for SS loses. Other agencies are not even worth mentioning. So, it comes down to decision Adobe vs Istock exclusive. It doesn't look like a hard decision at this moment and  in this environment.
If it will make things any easier for you - I'm depressed, too  :)
As I said above, "I'm exclusive and I'm earning less than 25% of what I earned in e.g. 2011-12, when my port was about 30% of its current size", so I'm not exactly jumping with joy.
The situation is imponderable, it's impossible to make any sort of informed decision, as any agency/distributor can make changes at any time, very occasionally for the better, usually for the worse.
Even as exclusives, we are really  at the mercy of the search algorithm. I've had best sellers (by my standards) drop to almost zero overnight, and it's usually because of a change in algorithm (e.g. going from the first two lines for a keyword to below the tenth page). There is absolutely nothing we can do about that.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2020, 16:02 »
+7
Why would you want to be exclusive with the scummiest agency in microstock history? They did even worse things than SS. Cutting royalties and treating contributors like dirt. You may not have been around in 2016 when iStock-Getty completely massacred their own reputation and goodwill, but what they did to contributors back then showed their true colors.

Their sales fell off a cliff, they lost their market leader position to Shutterstock and never recovered. So, yeah, good luck.


« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2020, 16:27 »
+5
In the current environment, I'd be open to image exclusivity in the right circumstances, but iStock requires contributor exclusivity by media type and that's much, much harder to justify (a) given the current market and (b) given Getty/iStock's abysmal track record.

I was an iStock exclusive for 3 years (but that was a long time ago) and while I can fathom why current exclusives stay (given the crappy choices if they become independent), I can't see why anyone would become an exclusive now.

If you want to have your work on Getty Images you can submit to EyeEm (which is now seeing lots of low value sales via the Getty partnership) or one of the other agencies that submits work to Getty (Westend61, Mint Images, Brand X, Cavan, etc.). But there are so many low-ball royalties with Getty - and no opt out for you - why would you consider them any better than Shutterstock?

I know there's a phrase "any port in a storm" but I couldn't convince myself that Getty is a port

« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2020, 17:15 »
+7
Jo Ann pretty much summed it up.

I am exclusive and remain so for the very good sales volume. Sure, a minority of images sell for a pittance but most images sell for fairly decent coin. I am currently receiving 35% commission, and it is enough to live on, barely. In my situation, I'd be foolish to drop the crown. Being exclusive works well if you can get 15% or more of your images accepted into S+.

That said, my wife submits to multiple agencies and for where she is at in regards to volume produced and sales etc, she'd be foolish to go exclusive as she'd only make 25% commission, and that is not enough to warrant being exclusive.

If I was starting out in stock photography in the current pathetic state of the industry as a whole, I would not go exclusive with any agency.




« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2020, 04:05 »
+1
Okay, thank you, I still like SS, because it is my best selling bill
Jo Ann pretty much summed it up.

I am exclusive and remain so for the very good sales volume. Sure, a minority of images sell for a pittance but most images sell for fairly decent coin. I am currently receiving 35% commission, and it is enough to live on, barely. In my situation, I'd be foolish to drop the crown. Being exclusive works well if you can get 15% or more of your images accepted into S+.

That said, my wife submits to multiple agencies and for where she is at in regards to volume produced and sales etc, she'd be foolish to go exclusive as she'd only make 25% commission, and that is not enough to warrant being exclusive.

If I was starting out in stock photography in the current pathetic state of the industry as a whole, I would not go exclusive with any agency.

« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2020, 12:20 »
+6
I went iS exclusive back about 2003. Been exclusive since. 2008 through 2011 I made very good money. From iS I paid about half of 2 kids in private college, all photo gear expenses, and some photo related short vacations. This year I already have 3 months where I've missed the minimum $100 balance to receive a monthly payout. I'm at 30% (well, for now). I can't imagine it being beneficial to a new contributor starting in Exclusive. Albeit the percentages are better than Non-Ex, but you still need to be well into the sales chart to get a useful percentage return. With the number of images now on the site there is very little chance any of your images can become a regular seller - which is very much needed at these low prices. With the percentages changing almost every year, that carrot on the stick is always too far out to attain a new payout percentage level. Changing the levels is how iS and Getty adjust how much money they keep from the sales and how little they give to contributors. It is a hamster wheel with no end and very limited ability for new people to grow in the ranks. Only go exclusive if you have a niche of images already selling very well and you can keep feeding that niche with expected good repeating sales. Even then, the search engine can change and kill your image sales.

« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2020, 07:15 »
+4
Unfortunately, iStock also has a long and sad history of unilaterally changing contacts, moving goals posts and screwing contributors over.

iStock exclusive's download targets are unreachable due to coronavirus slowdown.
Many exclusives will lose their current royalty level this year.

« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2020, 08:46 »
+1
Thank you for your detailed answer! I understand
I went iS exclusive back about 2003. Been exclusive since. 2008 through 2011 I made very good money. From iS I paid about half of 2 kids in private college, all photo gear expenses, and some photo related short vacations. This year I already have 3 months where I've missed the minimum $100 balance to receive a monthly payout. I'm at 30% (well, for now). I can't imagine it being beneficial to a new contributor starting in Exclusive. Albeit the percentages are better than Non-Ex, but you still need to be well into the sales chart to get a useful percentage return. With the number of images now on the site there is very little chance any of your images can become a regular seller - which is very much needed at these low prices. With the percentages changing almost every year, that carrot on the stick is always too far out to attain a new payout percentage level. Changing the levels is how iS and Getty adjust how much money they keep from the sales and how little they give to contributors. It is a hamster wheel with no end and very limited ability for new people to grow in the ranks. Only go exclusive if you have a niche of images already selling very well and you can keep feeding that niche with expected good repeating sales. Even then, the search engine can change and kill your image sales.

« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2020, 08:51 »
+1
This year may be the cause of the new crown pneumonia that caused the big data economy to be poor. What if there is no cause of the new crown pneumonia? According to last year's usual sales and download data, is it objective? I mean, is the result of my hard work now that the economic recovery after the end of the new crown pneumonia is a good return? ? ? ?
Unfortunately, iStock also has a long and sad history of unilaterally changing contacts, moving goals posts and screwing contributors over.

iStock exclusive's download targets are unreachable due to coronavirus slowdown.
Many exclusives will lose their current royalty level this year.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2020, 10:33 »
+3
These are imponderable questions, meaning we have no objective way of assessing that. You could upload loads of great work, but at that exact time, new files are being held down in search algorithms, and might never recover. Or you could hold onto your files until there's an improvement in demand and lose possible sales. If you have found a niche which sells well and has little competition, you're winning in most future scenarios, especially if there is little potential for competition.

This year may be the cause of the new crown pneumonia that caused the big data economy to be poor. What if there is no cause of the new crown pneumonia? According to last year's usual sales and download data, is it objective? I mean, is the result of my hard work now that the economic recovery after the end of the new crown pneumonia is a good return? ? ? ?
Unfortunately, iStock also has a long and sad history of unilaterally changing contacts, moving goals posts and screwing contributors over.

iStock exclusive's download targets are unreachable due to coronavirus slowdown.
Many exclusives will lose their current royalty level this year.

« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2020, 16:31 »
+2

If it will make things any easier for you - I'm depressed, too  :)

Thanks to you, I'm a whole lot less depressed now.  ;D

« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2020, 11:38 »
0
No need Exclusive IS/Getty!
I am 35% on SS, this is difference:
2019.08  - RPI $0.84
2020.08  - RPI $0.56
28% low DLs After Covid-19

For other agency, see graphic

« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2020, 00:37 »
0
Thank you for your proposal, I still choose non-exclusive.
No need Exclusive IS/Getty!
I am 35% on SS, this is difference:
2019.08  - RPI $0.84
2020.08  - RPI $0.56
28% low DLs After Covid-19

For other agency, see graphic

« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2020, 00:38 »
0
Although the price of ss is reduced, the download is still the best!
No need Exclusive IS/Getty!
I am 35% on SS, this is difference:
2019.08  - RPI $0.84
2020.08  - RPI $0.56
28% low DLs After Covid-19

For other agency, see graphic

« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2020, 08:10 »
+3
iStock exclusivity is the great thing if you have a proper portfolio and ready to work under the briefs. And to work hard, BTW.

I'm iStock exclusive since 2007, and I made barely $1000-$1200 per month, which was nothing. But it was my side-project all those years. Since I started to work focused on it 2016, I have the constant growth in my income. Since 2018, I makes my live in the USA exclusively from iStock/Getty and I dropped almost all my freelance gigs. This pandemic year going almost 1.5 times better than the previous one. RPD is higger than $4 (combined for photo and video), with 35% royalty (and I expecting to reach 40% for video this year). Video is growing fast, photo is more tough market but still good.

But you have to evaluate your portfolio. You will have a good income only if you will have good S+ acceptance level, and the criteria for S+ acceptance is very strict and specific. It is not enough just to have a "nice quality content" - many great SS-like portfolios would have no chances there. Do your research. Long story short, if you don't shooting people, forget about it (not quite true but close enough).

And keep in mind that iStock exclusivity means TOTAL exclusivity: you can't sell RF-imagery nowhere else, so, all your accounts in other agencies must be shutted dowb prior you will move to exclusivity.

BTW, if you do speak Russian, check out my webinar "Интимные тайны iStock" - almost 5 hours, lol, but people reported that it was helpful :)

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk


« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2020, 05:27 »
0
Thank you for these valuable info!


 

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