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Author Topic: Is it Just Me?  (Read 12371 times)

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« Reply #50 on: June 28, 2010, 03:05 »
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Unfortunately yes way down once again this month (as with last month) by almost 40% in both Royalties and Downloads, more than I expected for the so called summer slump, and worst period for some years for me at IS

Not sure what is causing this downward spiral and finding it disappointing as my new uploads which are proving to be sellers elsewhere are not performing there, oh well  :-\


« Reply #51 on: June 28, 2010, 07:10 »
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And if they don't, they don't, and if they do, they do, and one number divided by another isn't going to change that.  You just do the best you can do and gauge the result on how successful you are per month (or whatever time length you enjoy).

Abso-blimmin-lutely! 

Life's too short for all the stress involved in meeting or not meeting suppositions.  I much prefer to deal with what is.

When I submit more images to the ms sites, it's because I have an expectation that they will earn me money.  I know they will earn money because I know my RPI.  What if my only photos that sold were my very old stuff and my recent images did not sell at all?  A falling RPI would clue me in to this.  Of course, there could be other causes, but it would be an indicator that there's a problem, and I would be better off for knowing this.  Those who say RPI is meaningless are really saying that the last time they looked at it, they didn't like it, so they stopped looking. 

On the flip side, wouldn't it be extremely interesting to know that after a significant amount of time, your RPI held steady at a constant number?  That's a valuable piece of information!  It gives you some confidence that unless significant factors change, you can increase your output and your revenue will increase at a constant rate.  This has been true for me after nearly two years in microstock, so it is encouraging and helpful for me to track it.

Put it this way... you get hired for a job and your boss gives you no idea how much money you will make.  All you know  that your paychecks come in on schedule and the numbers on the checks are acceptable.  Wouldn't you really like to know that X hours times Y rate of pay = Z revenue?  In microstock, "Y" is your RPI.   Hardly a meaningless number.

P.S...  And really, guys, if you track your ms revenue in any meaningful way, you probably have it in a spreadsheet.  It is NO extra work if you already have columns containing the current size of your portfolio and your revenue.  RPI can be an automatically calculated column that divides one number by the other.  You all know this and probably did this at one point, but when the RPI started to depress you, you probably deleted or hid the column.

« Reply #52 on: June 28, 2010, 07:51 »
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When I submit more images to the ms sites, it's because I have an expectation that they will earn me money.  I know they will earn money because I know my RPI.

No, you don't 'know' anything.  There are many other factors in play besides prior experience from other locations.

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It gives you some confidence that unless significant factors change, you can increase your output and your revenue will increase at a constant rate.  This has been true for me after nearly two years in microstock, so it is encouraging and helpful for me to track it.

It wouldn't give any confidence about anything.  I grow the size of my portfolio, and my downloads keep relatively steady.  Because there are many other factors in play, again.

« Reply #53 on: June 28, 2010, 07:54 »
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On the flip side, wouldn't it be extremely interesting to know that after a significant amount of time, your RPI held steady at a constant number?  That's a valuable piece of information!  It gives you some confidence that unless significant factors change, you can increase your output and your revenue will increase at a constant rate.  This has been true for me after nearly two years in microstock, so it is encouraging and helpful for me to track it.

Nope. I imagine that most of us who don't bother with RPI can simply see that dividing one number into another doesn't actually tell you anything. When you've been doing this for a while longer you will probably come to the same conclusion.

Monthly earnings is all that really matters and you will soon find that the most significant factor in earnings is the season. When you have a mature portfolio, say 4 years +, you'll almost certainly find your RPI will shoot up and down according to the season. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage one month what do you think your bank manager is going to be interested in? A nice spreadsheet showing the seasonal variation of earnings over each year ... or your RPI?

« Reply #54 on: June 28, 2010, 08:28 »
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On the flip side, wouldn't it be extremely interesting to know that after a significant amount of time, your RPI held steady at a constant number?  That's a valuable piece of information!  It gives you some confidence that unless significant factors change, you can increase your output and your revenue will increase at a constant rate.  This has been true for me after nearly two years in microstock, so it is encouraging and helpful for me to track it.

Nope. I imagine that most of us who don't bother with RPI can simply see that dividing one number into another doesn't actually tell you anything. When you've been doing this for a while longer you will probably come to the same conclusion.

Monthly earnings is all that really matters and you will soon find that the most significant factor in earnings is the season. When you have a mature portfolio, say 4 years +, you'll almost certainly find your RPI will shoot up and down according to the season. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage one month what do you think your bank manager is going to be interested in? A nice spreadsheet showing the seasonal variation of earnings over each year ... or your RPI?

Funny, but true.

« Reply #55 on: June 28, 2010, 09:22 »
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Monthly earnings is all that really matters and you will soon find that the most significant factor in earnings is the season. When you have a mature portfolio, say 4 years +, you'll almost certainly find your RPI will shoot up and down according to the season. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage one month what do you think your bank manager is going to be interested in? A nice spreadsheet showing the seasonal variation of earnings over each year ... or your RPI?

Of course I take seasons into account when looking at my RPI.  But it IS instructive to know how my summer slowdown RPI last year compares to my summer slowdown RPI this year.

Another analogy... you own a business and hire employees.  Don't you want to know how productive each employee is, or do you just care about the bottom line and not how you got to it.  "Well, I got to my revenue goal last month, but I don't care if 10 employees were super productive and the other 90 were dead weight."  Or "I hired another 20 employees and still hit the same monthly revenue as last year, but I'm happy with that number, so I don't care."  You should want to know that as you hire more employees your bottom line increases by a significant number, or you wouldn't devote the resources to bringing on more workers.

Back to the microstock world... if you put in 20 hour days for a solid month, and the end result was that you made $100 more than the same month last year, are you thrilled simply because you made more?  I suspect you'd only be happy if the revenue increase was proportional to the amount of extra effort you put into it.  That's when RPI is helpful.

lisafx

« Reply #56 on: June 28, 2010, 10:11 »
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As I have said, I DO track RPI.  But no, it isn't helpful. Because knowing it doesn't give you any ability to change anything. 

And some of the other factors that affect it will be competition, both globally and in your specific niches, raises or cuts in royalties from the various sites, seasonal changes, and just good old ebb & flow.   None of those are things you can do anything about. 

The things you can control are the quality of images you upload and the amount of images you upload.  To some degree, quality of images should increase your RPI, but amount of images will probably lower it.   Since one can assume that most of us who have been at this several years are already uploading the best quality of images we can, that just leaves quantity as the only variable we have much control over.

If I upload and sell three images from my latest shoot my RPI is likely to be higher, but if I upload 50 (different!) images from the same shoot and sell lets say 25 of them, the RPI will be lower.  However by uploading a greater variety I am offering a better selection to the buyer and demonstrably increasing my sales overall and the money in my pocket.

Does that mean I should upload fewer images?  No.  That would hurt my overall sales.  So focusing on RPI to the exclusion of other factors could actually have a negative affect on overall income. 

« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2010, 10:48 »
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So focusing on RPI to the exclusion of other factors could actually have a negative affect on overall income. 

Excellent summary, Lisa.  Agree with everything you said.  In particular the ending line about the risk of focusing on RPI to the exclusion of other factors.  RPI on its own can't tell you anything.  But it can be combined with other evidence to paint a picture, or it can raise a flag that something is going on that merits looking into.

By advocating that RPI is a good stat to watch, I'm not saying to exclude anything else.  My spreadsheet tracks my uploads and sales in every conceivable manner.  RPI is just one of many equations available for me to look at. 

My RPI is currently steady, but if it dropped suddenly, it would alert me that I should look at what I'm doing and find where the problem is.  Maybe I shifted into different subject matter that isn't attractive to buyers.  Or maybe it's a seasonal slowdown (looking at my RPI for the same period last year might shed light on that question).  Or maybe I'm "hitting the wall" that microstock veterans tell me that I WILL hit someday.  A fading RPI would clearly be an indicator that I may have hit it, but again, it's just one indicator of such and I would want to look into it more deeply to find more evidence to confirm it.

Basically RPI is just one of many pieces of information I feel I should be looking at to make smart marketing decisions in terms of what to create and where to upload it (yes, my sheet even automatically tracks RPI per agency... it helped me decide to stop uploading to Crestock and Veer).

To me, saying I don't want to see RPI is like saying I want less information.  The people who succeed in ms, as well as any other part of life, are those who collect as much useful information as they can, but more importantly, know how to use it to their advantage.

« Reply #58 on: June 28, 2010, 11:21 »
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Another analogy... you own a business and hire employees.  Don't you want to know how productive each employee is, or do you just care about the bottom line and not how you got to it.  "Well, I got to my revenue goal last month, but I don't care if 10 employees were super productive and the other 90 were dead weight."  Or "I hired another 20 employees and still hit the same monthly revenue as last year, but I'm happy with that number, so I don't care."  You should want to know that as you hire more employees your bottom line increases by a significant number, or you wouldn't devote the resources to bringing on more workers.

That's not an appropriate analogy.  Poor sellers don't 'cost' you anything, while poor employees can be replaced by more productive ones.

Quote
Back to the microstock world... if you put in 20 hour days for a solid month, and the end result was that you made $100 more than the same month last year, are you thrilled simply because you made more?  I suspect you'd only be happy if the revenue increase was proportional to the amount of extra effort you put into it.  That's when RPI is helpful.

And again, it wouldn't really matter, because you put in the best work you could, and what happened happened.

« Reply #59 on: June 28, 2010, 11:48 »
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Quote
Back to the microstock world... if you put in 20 hour days for a solid month, and the end result was that you made $100 more than the same month last year, are you thrilled simply because you made more?  I suspect you'd only be happy if the revenue increase was proportional to the amount of extra effort you put into it.  That's when RPI is helpful.

And again, it wouldn't really matter, because you put in the best work you could, and what happened happened.

... and of course it can easily take 6 months for an image to gain good position in the best match anyway. Sales in microstock are not generally a function of 'effort' but mainly of skill and knowledge. Dividing one number into another is a pointless exercise.

The financial world likes ratios. I'm sure BP shares must have looked like a solid buy a few weeks ago. Enron had excellent ratios too. Pity that the massive underlying problems each company had was not reflected in them.

« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2010, 12:05 »
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To me, saying I don't want to see RPI is like saying I want less information.  The people who succeed in ms, as well as any other part of life, are those who collect as much useful information as they can, but more importantly, know how to use it to their advantage.

This argument looks very familiar, but your wasting your breath. For me it was like they were trying to tell me that math doesn't exist. I had a sad look and thought, "but the numbers... they're numbers. Don't you see."

I guess everyone is entitled to run their business in their own way. No matter how much it hurts my robot brain.

« Reply #61 on: June 28, 2010, 12:35 »
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To me, saying I don't want to see RPI is like saying I want less information.  The people who succeed in ms, as well as any other part of life, are those who collect as much useful information as they can, but more importantly, know how to use it to their advantage.

This argument looks very familiar, but your wasting your breath. For me it was like they were trying to tell me that math doesn't exist. I had a sad look and thought, "but the numbers... they're numbers. Don't you see."

I guess everyone is entitled to run their business in their own way. No matter how much it hurts my robot brain.

I hear you, I give up.  I'll just stick to my voodoo math... whatever I'm doing, it's working OK for me, and it seems you're doing OK too. 
 

« Reply #62 on: June 28, 2010, 13:34 »
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@ PowerDroid

So look at my example, I had over 5000 images on DT and I deleted more than 2500, so my RPI went through the roof. That happened because I deleted the images that had no sales. But that doesn't mean anything to my income, I did not collect any more money than before and I am not going to. Actually, this may even hurt my income in the long run. But as I said, my RPI is now very high.
Lisa, gostwyck and sjlocke are right.
So it is good to know your RPI to compare past earnings to current ones. However, my monthly income is the only thing I look at. If you track your hours and monthly income, that will tell you how much you are making per hour. But again, the next month will be totally different and you can't use this to predict your future income.
You mentioned that RPI tells you to stop uploading to some agencies, I don't need the RPI to tell me that, if I see no income, I will quit that agency on my own. So this is very simple, without spending days, or even months, to calculate your RPI accurately.

« Reply #63 on: June 28, 2010, 14:46 »
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So look at my example, I had over 5000 images on DT and I deleted more than 2500, so my RPI went through the roof. That happened because I deleted the images that had no sales. But that doesn't mean anything to my income, I did not collect any more money than before and I am not going to. Actually, this may even hurt my income in the long run. But as I said, my RPI is now very high.

OK, first, why would you delete images?  I've never understood the logic in doing so.

Lisa, gostwyck and sjlocke are right.
  Yes, and no.  Statements to the effect of "RPI tells you nothing" are true, in that it is only useful as an indicator of something happening or not happening.  For instance, if I am worried about the severity of this year's summer slump, I can look back at my RPI during last summer to see how I was faring then.  If it is roughly the same (which is true in my case) I take that as ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE that things may be OK.  OF COURSE there are other factors to consider... am I on more sites now, the level of competition, etc... but it IS useful to me. 

So it is good to know your RPI to compare past earnings to current ones. However, my monthly income is the only thing I look at. If you track your hours and monthly income, that will tell you how much you are making per hour. But again, the next month will be totally different and you can't use this to predict your future income.
  If all you look at are monthly totals, how do you compare a month like January with 31 days to a month like February with 28 days?  I'd say you need more sophisticated metrics than monthly totals.

You mentioned that RPI tells you to stop uploading to some agencies, I don't need the RPI to tell me that, if I see no income, I will quit that agency on my own. So this is very simple, without spending days, or even months, to calculate your RPI accurately.

As I mentioned, I spend NO time calculating RPI... my spreadsheet automatically does it as long as I enter my port size and income numbers.  I'd say RPI is an excellent way to determine if a site is worth uploading to.  For me, my RPI at all the sites except Crestock and Veer were holding steady or increasing.  Falling RPIs at Crestock and Veer told me that these are underperforming sites and not an effective use of my time, compared to the others.  Sure, you could just eyeball the monthly totals for individual sites and say, "those are low... I'll stop submitting to those"... but what if those sites actually were starting to perform better for you?  It may be that RPI would be the only indicator to tell you this.

I feel I've given a number of examples of how RPI... COMBINED WITH OTHER FACTORS... can help people make smart decisions.  If anyone reads too much into RPI and jumps to conclusions from it, that's using RPI incorrectly.  However, I feel it's helping me, and I'm extremely pleased with my current ms income.  If you choose to ignore it, that's fine.  Over and out.

« Reply #64 on: June 28, 2010, 16:27 »
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It's too complicated and confusing. We supposed to be photographers, not scientists ...  :o

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #65 on: June 28, 2010, 16:35 »
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For the last few months, I've been averaging sales of around $120.00 on iStock each month.  So far, this month, I've only had sales of $38.00.

Is it just me, or are there others who are experiencing a downturn in sales?
Back to the OP!!!
I've had a really weird June. First week was dire, I thought the dreaded 'summer slump' was early. Then I had two good weeks; best nonEL weeks this year. Then this past week has been dire again, 3dls Fri, 0 Sat, 1 Sun 2 today. No best match shift that I can see. Maybe this is the start of the summer slump; or maybe it's just ebb, flow and ebb again. Who knows?


 

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