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Author Topic: Istockphoto in now cost uneffective for me  (Read 9243 times)

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« on: September 21, 2006, 13:38 »
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I have uploaded several dozen photos and made some measures during that.
The result is:
Average upload speed (via WWW) is 15,14 kB/s. (My internet link has 0,5 MB uploading speed).
Upload of 4 MB (not much) jpg takes 4 minutes 24 sec. This time is too short to go anywere and do something else so I'm sitting and watching screen.
When jpg is uploaded I check 4 checkbox + accept + wait to see another screen (+4 sec)
Choosing categories and adding MR takes 47 sec. I have to do it at every new photo because there is no possibility to copy this form last photo. I choose only 4-5 categories.
Then keywords - my favorite! I use EXIF so all names and keywords are in the right places but adding them (I have to carefully examine whole the list) takes me whole 1 minute 43 sec.
I'm clicking "Proceed" and it begins uploading MR (+19 sec) and new page.
That's all. One photo less. I'm in the place I have started.
Whole operation takes me... 6 minutes and 50 seconds - for one photo!

25 photos x 7 minutes (I'm not machine + 10 sec/photo) = 175 minutes. Almost 3 hours during I cannot do anything else!

New system cause that contribution with Istockphoto is unprofitable for me. I've about 500 photos there which earns about 250 USD/month. I's quite a lot but uploading new has no sense any more. It's too much pain even if they accept 85-90% of them. If they would give us chance to use FTP it would make big difference but without it's too hard for me.
What's your experience with new system?


« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2006, 14:03 »
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Souds like you still have decent returns for your efforts.
i started with IS, DT and FT at the same time with same images, now I got:

FT 248 Pic  112 DL
DT239 Pic   213DL
IS  85 Pic     63 DL

Download per image is comparable,  but not only IS rejects lot more,  slow to build up a portfolio, and also lowest in average $ per download, so in two month I am at it:

I earned 5.7 times more on DT, and 2 times more on FT,

So I think I started to lose interest in them, especially their painful uploading system and rejections.

« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2006, 14:07 »
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At least this way the cue goes down  ;)
I have the same thing only they accept like 15 % of my stuff  >:(
I,m afraid to put a lot of time in it and then find out they are all rejected  ???

dbvirago

« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2006, 14:15 »
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I agree with you paperboy. I didbn't like the old upload system and this one is worse. I have done a few, but this morning, I uploaded 5 images to 9 different sites in about the same time it took to upload 1 to Istock. And for me, they are a 2nd tier earner way behind DT and SS. I will upload there if I have some time to kill, but it won't be priority.

« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2006, 15:44 »
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I have 20 photos waiting for IS.  All 20 have already been approved (or rejected) at the four other sites I use and I have had some downloads already. (finally some downloads are starting  :))  I have to have a bunch of extra time on my hands to go through the headache upload process.  I will keep doing it on a "have the time" basis.  I otherwise like that site and will stay with them.  I am optimistic that they will simplify things when the high earning exclusives make enough noise.  They rightfully shouldn't give a hoot what I think at my level of participation currently.

« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 16:14 »
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I think that you have right Fred. Their Exclusives are our only hope for the change. I'm affraid another thing. My entire Istock experience tells me - change on Istockphoto is ALWAYS on worse. Even if we expect something good.

« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2006, 16:15 »
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IS did exactly what they wanted to do!  Now that they seem to be satisfied with the numbers they have online, they shifted their strategy a few weeks ago by restricting the numbers of uploads for most of us.   When they reduced the amount of uploads by half, they didn't hide that they expect the photographers to present their best by selecting only a portion of what they used to submit.  Some photographers begged for quite some time to get an easy upload through FTP, but it has always been ignored, I suppose because it would flood them with many more series of pictures taken with sllight different angles and lightings, B&W, Sepia etc.., without encouraging the photographers to only upload a few outstanding ones, and only that.  Making the pending time long, and making the uploading cumbersome is part of this strategy, I think.  For example, there is no reason to keep the categories with the new keyword system, it creates a similar, almost duplicate search.  They should have easily deleted it when they installed their new search engine, but however they didn't...  So, the bottom line is that it will be much harder for the non-exclusive photographers to make a living or to get a decent income with IS.  And it seems that they don't care anyway...  but for the designers, it will be much simpler to choose pictures, without being confused with too many similar choices!  The only risk that they take is that the photographers would turn away, but will they ?? mmmhhh...

« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2006, 16:41 »
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So, the bottom line is that it will be much harder for the non-exclusive photographers to make a living or to get a decent income with IS.

One thing doesn't fit me in this theory. Their exclusives has as hard time as we now. Just imagine - Phil Date is Exclusive. He may upload 150 photos per week (not 50).
150 x 7 minutes = 17,5 hours weekly! Sitting and watching computers screen!  Can you imagine that?

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2006, 16:43 »
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Hmm.  This group feels a bit paranoid today.  I truly doubt that IS is actively doing anything to drive anyone away.  There is no conspiracy.  No.  What there is at IS is  a poor business sense.  No one in their right minds would make the moves we've seen this week.  Surprise rollouts.  Making the photographers beta test the system.  Becoming angry and defensive when their moves are questioned.

This is almost exactly like every big PR snafoo in history.  There's a big mistake, followed by a public outcry.  Then, rather than face the fact that mistakes had been made, the organization begins to make excuses and find scapegoats (think "Exxon Valdez").  In the end, the company loses face and short-term profits.

It's a dumb move, a result of arrogant "Don't question me" attitudes and defensiveness when the mistake becomes obvious.

But, it's not a coverup or conspiracy.  Still, it has cost them at least one photographer--me (not a big loss, mind you).
« Last Edit: September 21, 2006, 16:47 by Professorgb »

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2006, 16:44 »
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Phil is not exclusive.  Sorry.

So, the bottom line is that it will be much harder for the non-exclusive photographers to make a living or to get a decent income with IS. 

One thing doesn't fit me in this theory. Their exclusives has as hard time as we now. Just imagine - Phil Date is Exclusive. He may upload 150 photos per week (not 50).
150 x 7 minutes = 17,5 hours weekly! Sitting and watching computers screen!  Can you imagine that?

« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2006, 16:59 »
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Phil is not exclusive. Sorry.

Yes, I know. I read his posts here. It's misunderstanding cause my English. I'm sorry.

« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2006, 17:00 »
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without encouraging the photographers to only upload a few outstanding ones, and only that. Making the pending time long, and making the uploading cumbersome is part of this strategy, I think.

Although I understand your reasoning I feel it is flawed. The casual photographer who isn't worried about time will continue to submit his occasional batches of images. It is a hobby and he isn't overly worried about wasting some extra time. But professional photags and serious hobbyist who depend upon Istock for a part of their income will be discouraged. Time is extremely important to them and they will be turned off by the new submittal process. So essentially Istock will cut out those photographers who submit a lot of images and spend a lot of time on photography. My guess is that the quality will go down not up, because serious photographers will be less likely to submit.

I think the real reason is Getty Images. There submittal process is quite different. I'm not a member so I'm not 100% on their submission process but from what I understand they take a larger cut than some other macro-stock sites but they do the keywording and catagorizing. Essentially their strategy has been to put a good deal of emphases on excellent keywording and they do this by doing it in house so they can control it. This makes it easier for the photographer and designers. The only downside to it is photographers get a smaller commission. This has worked extremely well for Getty, and they are trying to push this policy on Istock. Since they can't lower the photags commission anymore (Its already the lowest in the industry) they decided to implement a submission process that places a higher burden on the photographer but hopefully produces better keywording. Personally I think they are going to fail and give up on the system or at least make some significant changes. But it won't happen for a while and they aren't going to be hurt all that much by it because they have enough images to run their business without a significant amount of new images. Until they change it I have no desire to submit images, hopefully the exclusives will push back to.

Mark

Mark

« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2006, 17:04 »
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Professorgb, I didn't say that is was a conspiracy, but I think that it's a site atrategy (I don't think that these people are dumb - unconsiderate maybe, but not dumb), and as I said, and this is a fact, they did encourage photographers to sort throught their pictures with more scrutiny so that they would upload less and present their best work.  Nothing parano here, just facts.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2006, 17:13 »
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I may be playing at semantics, but what else is a conspiracy but a hidden strategy, enacted by a select, private group of actors?

Anyway, it makes perfect business sense for Istock to request that photographers stop submitting multiple incarnations of the same photo.  If a client wants to change the background color or go monochrome, the client can do it.  By allowing photographers to submit multiple, highly similar images, Istock would simply clog its servers.  Also, how is it wrong for Istock to encourage us to send our best work?  Better work should sell better.

My problem with the site is in their treatment of their suppliers.  Mistreating suppliers, and then becoming irate when they protest, is not good business.  This is especially true when the company is paying pennies.  Improving your product--in this case photos/vectors--is good business for anyone.

Professorgb, I didn't say that is was a conspiracy, but I think that it's a site atrategy (I don't think that these people are dumb - unconsiderate maybe, but not dumb), and as I said, and this is a fact, they did encourage photographers to sort throught their pictures with more scrutiny so that they would upload less and present their best work.  Nothing parano here, just facts.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2006, 17:21 by Professorgb »

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2006, 17:14 »
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No need to apologize.  Mistakes happen.

What's your native language?

Phil is not exclusive.  Sorry.

Yes, I know. I read his posts here. It's misunderstanding cause my English. I'm sorry.

« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2006, 17:24 »
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i don't think istock has made their site PURPOSLY difficult to submit to, it just turned out that way, and I they obviously don't have a problem with it.  I think now that they have a very healthy sized image database, they are going to become more and more selective with the images they take, and not worry too much about offering massive uploading to the contributor.  I think all the sites will get to this stage eventually.  Perhaps the established well selling sites will become more prestigious where only professional photographers are able to submit.  The hobbiest will have to be content with the start up sites.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2006, 17:27 »
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I'm not sure that microstock will become professional, as there is a lot of resentment among working pros over the devaluation of our craft.  However, I think the rest of what you say is dead on.

i don't think istock has made their site PURPOSLY difficult to submit to, it just turned out that way, and I they obviously don't have a problem with it.  I think now that they have a very healthy sized image database, they are going to become more and more selective with the images they take, and not worry too much about offering massive uploading to the contributor.  I think all the sites will get to this stage eventually.  Perhaps the established well selling sites will become more prestigious where only professional photographers are able to submit.  The hobbiest will have to be content with the start up sites.

« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2006, 17:34 »
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well there is a lot of resentment, but there is also a large number of people who have tested it, and done the math, and realized that it can be highly profitable.  There is a number of people doing stock full time, and a larger number who are full tmie photographers who do stock on the side.  I think it will take a few years before the microstocks get saturated with professional photographers but I think it could happen.

Addionally, as the micro stocks are now, they are great breading ground for new pro photographers, so if in five years time, the 100 top contributers who are beginners now, should be making pretty much full time income, and could consider themselves pros.

« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2006, 17:35 »
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Professorgb, then your definition of conspiracy would include any kind of business implementation which has been discussed and decided behind closed doors.  This, I call business strategy.  We, the suppliers, are independent contracters.  When changes are made, either we are free to continue or to withdraw our investments and our trust.  And in this case I agree that they are making a big gamble by not respecting the top vendor's wishes - by mistreating them if you wish  ;)

dbvirago

« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2006, 18:03 »
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Agree with the Professor. Don't think it's intentional, just stupid. They created this idea in a vacuum, sprung it on everyone and said take it or leave it. Only time will tell if their business model works over the long haul. People for which the income is worth the trouble will continue. I'm not leaving, but they don't take priority.

I have a 70% acceptance rate on most sites, and that is getting higher as I get better. I sell about 70% of the accepted pictures on those sites. On Istock those numbers are 40% and 50% respectively along with the 2nd lowest avg per image of all my sites. To get these low averages, I have to spend many, many times the amount of time to get the images up there. And with the limits, I can't grow my portfolio any near as fast as the easier, more profitable sites.

Full time, part time, or hobby, it's still a business. Do the math. If it works for you, keep doing it.

Quevaal

  • Rust in Peace
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2006, 18:33 »
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If I worried about cost effectiveness, I'd be long gone. But in my case, I do a lot of the boring stuff at work, so I would be sitting there anyway.


« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2006, 02:14 »
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I've changed my mind. I just uploaded a photo to IS and YES it is too much work.  I'm going to stay on the sidelines and at other sites until they make it easier to add photos.  I'll pull my hair out selecting categories and checking off key words that are linked to my imbedded key words. They won't miss me and I won't miss them.

« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2006, 04:35 »
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I don't think that any of us (unless someone here is a high-up employee of the company  :o ) can state, with certainty, the reason behind iStock's change. It could be deliberate, to limit uploads, or it could be a massive mess which they didn't foresee.

Or it could be something in-between.

Speculation is pretty much pointless, so why bother?

But one thing is certain. Uploading to them is now a major pain in the butt.

I'm deeply thankful that, when my chance came, I didn't go exclusive with them. I thought long and hard about it but, given their history of treating their suppliers, I didn't fully trust them. That seems to have paid off.

I feel really, really sorry now, for those who have gone exclusive with them. Is an extra 20-25c per image worth the hassle?

« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2006, 05:00 »
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My guess is Getty told them to do it.  G

etty do their keywording in house so probably dont have the time lag that internet has when doing this kind of thing.  iStock then had to implement it and quickly (Getty gave them a deadline) and they didn't get time to finish their beta testing.

They really need to get the image manager working (even if you have to go in and confirm the meaning of words).

« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2006, 09:03 »
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After about a year, iStock is still my bestseller. I have about 50-75% of images there that I have in other agencies and now the ratio keeps shrinking as we're stuck with very low upload limits. But I handle it by the following process:

1. First I submit to LuckyOliver, FeaturePics, Fotolia, Shutterstock, 123RF, StocXpert (StockXpert is REALLY tough on rejections recently for some reason)
2. Whatever gets through (usually rejected: 0% at LO and FP, 10% at FO and 123, 20% at SS and 50% at SX) I send to DreamsTime and resubmit to SS and SX with changes (smaller sizes usually, sometimes I just resubmit without ANY changes to see what gets taken)
3. I wait for a couple quickest sites and then out of approximately 70-80% of photos accepted I pick the best selection for iStock theme wise. I do not submit ANY duplicates, multiple angles or B&W/sepia versions. I wait with those until the files start selling, then I can always submit with the next batch.

This has worked really well. In the last couple months I have about 95-100% approval rate on iStock.

dbvirago

« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2006, 09:42 »
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Wow. I have almost the same process, except it's SS and IS that are my holdouts. They get whatever gets through the other guys. SS because I think their reviewers are tough but fair, IS because I don't want to make the aggravation worse by uploading something likely to get rejected.

Just came from updating my SX portfolio. Don't mind them getting tougher, but I hate the generic 'we are not accepting such photos at this time' I tend to send in batches of 5. If I have similar shots, I spread them over multiple days. So if I send them two similar images and one is accepted and one is rejected for this reason, it makes no sense.  Also sent them 3 shots of power tools isolated on white. Layout identical. One was accepted. One was rejected due to poor cropping (subject was not cropped) one was rejected for inappropriate background. All have been accepted on the other sites that have reviewed them.

I'll stay there becuase there uploads are very fast and they have a high average pay. Just wish it was busier.

GWB

« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2006, 10:46 »
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Yeah with IS I feel like I'm rolling the dice to submit anything to them. You notice it when you shoot a horizontal and vertical shot of the same subject, some gear, some settings, same jpeg compression and one goes through the other is rejected for whatever reason. I feel my work gets a much fairer review from SS, SX, DT, FO, LO, and so on. IS for me, is the best for sales though.

But going back to CJPhoto's earlier point...I agree. I think Getty put the pressure on iStock to make recent changes. We pay them 80% of our earnings and they don't have the courtesy to let us know this was coming down. It makes me wonder what else is in the works that they are going to spring on us next.

G~

« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2006, 14:38 »
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1. First I submit to LuckyOliver, FeaturePics, Fotolia, Shutterstock, 123RF, StocXpert (StockXpert is REALLY tough on rejections recently for some reason)
2. Whatever gets through ... I send to DreamsTime and resubmit to SS and SX ...

Sounds like a great technique. Thanks for the advice.

« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2006, 18:36 »
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Hey everyone, was busy shooting all day yesterday and didn't get a chance to get to the forums...thanks Prof for pointing out that I am not exclusive at IS...not am I ever likely to be.

Couldn't sleep last night so decided I would try uploading again to IS. Thankfully keywords are extracted from files now and actually, for me, I don't find the tagging system too bad. What bugs me now is the categories, since there is no way of selecting the same categories as one of the last five pics. And aren't categories redundant now? Aren't the tags the same thing? Hopefully IS will sort this out soon but I can just about live with the uploading as it is now. Gotta keep uploading my weekly amount and keep my market share as best I can!

Two days without reading the IS forum and I don't think I will make any sense of what has happened. Can anyone who's really been following developments fill me in?

« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2006, 11:42 »
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Hi Phil and All

It may have extracted your keywords but it did not extract anything from mine and I have just spent 20 minutes uploading and going through the keywords on one image, and all those wretched tick boxes (long means length - I did not even mention hair !!) and then it tells me I have too many keywords but does not say how many over.  :-X

I give up - if they cannot make the site user friendly then I will stick to uploading to sites that have more consideration for their contributors.  >:( ??? :-X :-\

Christine

« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2006, 11:46 »
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Frustration continues...

Finally my batch of 20 got reviewed after a long wait, the same batch as been accepted 100% by SS, StockXpert,Bigstock, 1 rejection from FT and DT each, I got 13 rejections out of IS. ( I even got a nice email from the reviewer at BigStock, " nice work, saves my eyes tonight, thank you" )

The funny thing some photos were rejected for not good enough model release ( the whole batch using the same model release)

Another is on camera flash is not accepted, well I did not use onboard flash, I have flash mounted on a tripod 5 feet away from camera just to add a tinkle to the eye, cannot tell flash is used.

Another one is over filtering or cannot find a focal point, ( those are for model portrait, try to make it a little soft ) yet it is perfectly focused.

The worst one is in camera settings! I shoot raw and convert to Tiff, then go through Neat Image, then save to Jpeg 12, I don't see how the setting has been affecting quality.

However most of the accepted one got rated 5 out of 5 star, though they were shot at the same time at the same place using the similar settings.

Not only IS is distance 4th, after SS, DT and FT, but more pain to deal with them, besides it's so hard to build the portfolio with them, anyway I am dissappointed.


 

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