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Author Topic: My View on the future of IStock as a full-time non-exclusive microstocker  (Read 47820 times)

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« Reply #125 on: December 05, 2008, 23:29 »
0
Hoi Ha and WhiteChild - Yes!

Before starting to upload to any micro agency I was a buyer. I still am. Been doing this for years and years.
Right now, on this computer's hard drive I've got anything between 7 to 10 thousand stock images. Bought from all over the place and from a lot of you guys!
I work for a small design and photography company in Dublin.
Never, not ever were we bothered to care about the 'status' of a photographer.
You've got to be jocking! There is no time for such things and honestly, who cares?
I want an image, that's all.
Who cares about the photographer's status?
This Istock idea that I, as a buyer, should somehow be happy with a mediocre image only because the photographer works micro exclusively with Istock is pure nonsense.
If I want one unique shot I either shoot it myself, or, when location is out of reach, I contact photographers from all over the world and comission/buy.
That is all there is to it!
The only way a business stays successful is by providing its customers with the right content.
Istock is simply not doing it and one day this will spell disaster.
Just have a look on those poll results.
Crestock and Istock.
La creme de la creme.
Indeed.

Anna


« Reply #126 on: December 05, 2008, 23:36 »
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Phil, trying to get around the istock terms by pulling that kind if thing will likely see you gone forever.  If you can't commit to exclusivity, then don't.  Don't try to have your cake and eat it too.  Management isn't stupid.

Hi, I am not about to :) (I have neither the quality or quantity to make it worthwhile :)) .  Its just one I wonder about in a purely hypothetical sense, considering that I thought of it a longtime ago, I am sure some brighter spark in management, thought of it well before me I wonder how it is handled without causing other restrictions etc.

Rgds
Phil

bittersweet

« Reply #127 on: December 05, 2008, 23:45 »
0
Considering the fact that a former inspector and current exclusive still sells images RF at ImageZoo (though he changed the profile listing from his name to his business name) ... and I know that Bruce himself aware of this because I was privvy to an email exchange from when this person was first named exclusive and a member of my CN brought it to his attention ... I guess there are loopholes in the system. ??
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 23:48 by whatalife »

« Reply #128 on: December 06, 2008, 08:03 »
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I hope all this is not made by Getty. Maybe Getty wants to attract exclusives to it self and to practically destroy IS and to take their market

« Reply #129 on: December 06, 2008, 09:48 »
0
Sorry folks, didn't have time to read the whole thread, so maybe it is already mentioned!
But did somebody see the Zeitgeist lately?
http://www.istockphoto.com/most_popular.php ( click on zeitgeist)

Almost all Contributors On The Rise are NON-exclusive, while almost all contributors with Highest Average Downloads Per File are Exclusives!

This can't be a coincident is it?

AVAVA

« Reply #130 on: December 06, 2008, 12:48 »
0
Hi Gregor,

 Although the numbers you are looking at do show who is on the rise and who is on the fall you must remember that the longer a photographer has a collection and the more images he adds the return per image is going to drop because the older work that has been up for a long time drops in returns and waters down the overall return unless you can continue to increase production to offset this change. ( the longer you produce the more you have to produce to offset per image return drops in that collection RPI ) But that is not important it is the return you make in relation to what you spend that counts in the end.
 The people that are growing on that list are the people that are actually making some of the lowest returns because as you start out every single sale increases your company growth percentage by huge margins. This is the reason I like to talk dollars and cents as apposed to percentage in these conversations. Look at that list and click on the first guy growing by 233%. WOW! You would think this is some kind of portfolio and he must be making big money. Look again, this is based on the fact that he is so new and his sales are still small that it doesn't take many sales to make giant leaps in his companies growth. I am not picking on this individual on the list just making an example. It is the same for all of us when we start out.
 Just want people to see that the info has to be broken down into what the return is in dollars compared to what you spent producing your product that is the only real measuring stick. If I spend $200 dollars on making an image for Micro I better have a great deal of sales for that image or I am going to lose money. Finding your expense to return ratio is very important if you want to grow in this business. You need to know how much to spend when and where to spend and especially when to stop spending. That is the dance that will keep you on the floor the longest in this ever changing marathon.

Best,
AVAVA

traveler1116

« Reply #131 on: December 06, 2008, 13:58 »
0
AVAVA how do calculate your return, do you give the image a year, 5 years, or guess way into the future? 

AVAVA

« Reply #132 on: December 06, 2008, 14:33 »
0
Hi Traveler,

 That is a great and important question in these changing times. I used to be an old school RPI guy and you just divided your collection by your returns annually and you had your per image return. RPI is still important to the agencies because that is how they track how much money they make off of your work and your value to their collection. They also watch your " Sell Through Rate " ( how many of your images actually sell in their life time ). This helps them analyze your value but in this changing market they don't mean quite as much to us photographers as they used to at least not the RPI. Boy when I think about it that is actually a mixed subject because as long as agencies use these tools to figure out our worth individually as photographers then we do still have to pay attention to these figures.
 How I actually track sales from my point of view while intergrating what I just said above is to include these methods for consideration of my value through my agencies eyes while at the same time being very aware of what each actual shoot produces in returns. " Return Per Shoot " is how I am tracking my internal sales these days to see where my money is being best spent and how well it returns a profit. With shooting Micro at 200 images a day or doing 10 images for Stone RM in the same amount of time I can't use just a basic RPI anymore. I have to calculate what I spent on the shoot with what it will return my company, as well as how much fun I had doing it.  ;D
 If my images are making me a good return per shoot then I imagine they are also making a good return for my agency so my need to track RPI is not as important as my need to pay attention to " Sell Through Rate ". This is what my agencies are really paying attention to ( Micro will see more focus on this stat over time ), they do not want to waste space or workflow on an image that never sells. If you have a good " sell through rate " agencies take notice and will be more likely to support your growing relationship.
 If I have completely confused you I am sorry, let me know and I will try to clarify. Numbers, it all comes down to numbers. What is going out and what is coming in. Don't forget to pay yourself when you are doing your estimates. I think many Micro shooters do this for fun so this doesn't apply as much to those people but for those who are trying to grow this into their business remember to pay yourself. You have to calculate all your costs to produce an image especially your time that was taken to produce your work. It is easy to forget about yourself.

Best,
AVAVA
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 14:36 by AVAVA »

AVAVA

« Reply #133 on: December 06, 2008, 14:49 »
0
Hi T,

 Sorry all that and I didn't offer a shelf life.

 RM Macro ( Getty / Corbis ) = 5-7 years returns

 RF Macro = 3 years returns

 RF Micro = 1 year return

 The Micro is still young and these are very conservative estimates but I will say that I want all my shoots to pay for their production costs within the first year or I did something wrong. With the acception of Micro which I would like to see three times my money invested payed back in the first year as that is the shelf life we have put on this model. I am more and more conservative on my numbers in this industry because it is changing so fast. Testing the market is the first step for me, remember to invest in your R&D ( research and development ).

Best,
AVAVA




« Reply #134 on: December 06, 2008, 15:16 »
0
Hi Traveler,

 That is a great and important question in these changing times. I used to be an old school RPI guy and you just divided your collection by your returns annually and you had your per image return. RPI is still important to the agencies because that is how they track how much money they make off of your work and your value to their collection. They also watch your " Sell Through Rate " ( how many of your images actually sell in their life time ). This helps them analyze your value but in this changing market they don't mean quite as much to us photographers as they used to at least not the RPI. Boy when I think about it that is actually a mixed subject because as long as agencies use these tools to figure out our worth individually as photographers then we do still have to pay attention to these figures.
 How I actually track sales from my point of view while intergrating what I just said above is to include these methods for consideration of my value through my agencies eyes while at the same time being very aware of what each actual shoot produces in returns. " Return Per Shoot " is how I am tracking my internal sales these days to see where my money is being best spent and how well it returns a profit. With shooting Micro at 200 images a day or doing 10 images for Stone RM in the same amount of time I can't use just a basic RPI anymore. I have to calculate what I spent on the shoot with what it will return my company, as well as how much fun I had doing it.  ;D
 If my images are making me a good return per shoot then I imagine they are also making a good return for my agency so my need to track RPI is not as important as my need to pay attention to " Sell Through Rate ". This is what my agencies are really paying attention to ( Micro will see more focus on this stat over time ), they do not want to waste space or workflow on an image that never sells. If you have a good " sell through rate " agencies take notice and will be more likely to support your growing relationship.
 If I have completely confused you I am sorry, let me know and I will try to clarify. Numbers, it all comes down to numbers. What is going out and what is coming in. Don't forget to pay yourself when you are doing your estimates. I think many Micro shooters do this for fun so this doesn't apply as much to those people but for those who are trying to grow this into their business remember to pay yourself. You have to calculate all your costs to produce an image especially your time that was taken to produce your work. It is easy to forget about yourself.

Best,
AVAVA

Basically I'm doing the same calculations.  Not just the return per image versus images online.  The end result determines the amount my models get payed.  So actually i'm motivating them to be and perform at their best.  Every 3 months I redo the calculation, based on that I setup my budget for models and props.
The fact I involve them in their own payout pushes them to be at their best...:-)

Patrick H.

RacePhoto

« Reply #135 on: December 06, 2008, 15:39 »
0
Sorry folks, didn't have time to read the whole thread, so maybe it is already mentioned!
But did somebody see the Zeitgeist lately?
http://www.istockphoto.com/most_popular.php ( click on zeitgeist)

Almost all Contributors On The Rise are NON-exclusive, while almost all contributors with Highest Average Downloads Per File are Exclusives!

This can't be a coincident is it?


Tell me, what do they use to measure contributors on the rise? Is it downloads per file, total downloads this period, what method do they use to create this list? Here are the top five, which show nothing amazing. First is total DLs. Third column is DLs last 30 days. 10 downloads is On The Rise?

Except for Huebi these are well establish, long time members. 1.23 DLs per day, that's "On The Rise" and important?

But the question is, what is a contributor on the rise? How do they figure it?



Most Popular Downloads is still the stable list, and whatever On The Rise is, it's nothing compared to these people.  ;D

rank-name-files- DLs 90 days for ONE FILE!
1X caracterdesign - 3383 - 12980
2 M-I-S-H-A- - 569 - 11925
3X nico_blue - 2930 - 10777
4X DrGrounds - 539 - 9462
5X dem10 - 2551 - 8555
6 Yuri_Arcurs - 3719 - 7845
7X nico_blue - 2930 - 7432
8X ggodby - 551 - 7284
9X popadic - 32 - 7022
10 solarseven - 613 - 6737
11X lisegagne - 6074 - 6599
12X sjlocke - 5820 - 6523
13X sandoclr - 633 - 6478
14X appleuzr - 587 -  6299
15X lisegagne - 6074 - 6047

Lets look at #1, 1X caracterdesign - 3383 - 12980, that's 144 DLs per day for one file, but 45 DLs in a month for a whole portfolio puts Huebi on top of the other list?

Zeitgeist appears to be meaningless. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

lisafx

« Reply #136 on: December 06, 2008, 15:43 »
0
Considering the fact that a former inspector and current exclusive still sells images RF at ImageZoo (though he changed the profile listing from his name to his business name) ... and I know that Bruce himself aware of this because I was privvy to an email exchange from when this person was first named exclusive and a member of my CN brought it to his attention ... I guess there are loopholes in the system. ??

You mean there is an "exclusive" who sells RF elsewhere under a different business name and Bruce knows about it and that's okay? 

If I were exclusive I would be REALLY pi$$ed about this. 

AVAVA

« Reply #137 on: December 06, 2008, 16:49 »
0
Hi Patrick,

 Good Idea! So much of your sales in lifestyle depends on how well you interact with the talent and what they can each deliver. To set a sliding scale can be very motivating once they see their efforts paying off. Thanks for the tip.

Best,
AVAVA

« Reply #138 on: December 06, 2008, 17:59 »
0
Ok I stand corrected! I forgot about portfolio sizes!
But if the Highest Average Downloads-list is accurate, there's a lot of exclusives!

bittersweet

« Reply #139 on: December 07, 2008, 01:09 »
0
Considering the fact that a former inspector and current exclusive still sells images RF at ImageZoo (though he changed the profile listing from his name to his business name) ... and I know that Bruce himself aware of this because I was privvy to an email exchange from when this person was first named exclusive and a member of my CN brought it to his attention ... I guess there are loopholes in the system. ??

You mean there is an "exclusive" who sells RF elsewhere under a different business name and Bruce knows about it and that's okay? 

If I were exclusive I would be REALLY pi$$ed about this. 

What I know is this: The person in question was appointed as a vector inspector. An email was sent to Bruce informing him that this person has a portfolio on ImageZoo. Bruce's reply was something to the effect of "thanks, we already knew about this, and have taken appropriate steps" (whatever that means). The inspector badge temporarily disappeared during this time and then reappeared. At some point in time that I didn't notice, he quit being an inspector. He is, however, still an exclusive crown-wearing contributor, and his work is still available RF at imagezoo.

The only logical explanation is that they transferred copyright ownership to a business partner or something. It is clearly his work though, as the styles in both portfolios are distinct from other artists, and are the same as each other.

As for the photographers on the rise issue, I didn't think the zeitgeist had been updated in weeks. ??
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 14:04 by whatalife »

vlad_the_imp

« Reply #140 on: December 08, 2008, 13:59 »
0
Quote
Only older exclusive members are favored.

How would you define an older member? I've been there nearly three years and my sales have dropped too.

bittersweet

« Reply #141 on: December 08, 2008, 14:02 »
0
Quote
Only older exclusive members are favored.

How would you define an older member? I've been there nearly three years and my sales have dropped too.

Welcome to microstockgroup! :)

« Reply #142 on: December 08, 2008, 21:45 »
0
Quote
Only older exclusive members are favored.

How would you define an older member? I've been there nearly three years and my sales have dropped too.

probably have to be over 3 years :)
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 21:48 by clearviewstock »

« Reply #143 on: December 09, 2008, 00:29 »
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If you check the graph of the top 25 contributors on MichaelJay's blog you'll see that they have been doing very well for the past 5 weeks.

« Reply #144 on: December 20, 2008, 15:50 »
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As a non-exclusive my sales at IS have dropped about 60% since October. I never really worried much about their bizarre approval criteria or the fact that you have to pay $20 to use their FTP program to upload files, but with this sharp decline in sales and the long, long, long approval times it doesn't make sense to spend much time uploading to IS. My sales at StockXpert and Fotolia have increased dramatically in the last 3 months (coincidence?).
I don't know what the guys from IS are trying to do, or if that's their strategy to get rid of the non-exclusive members. Only they know what their doing.

« Reply #145 on: December 20, 2008, 16:18 »
0
As a non-exclusive my sales at IS have dropped about 60% since October. I never really worried much about their bizarre approval criteria or the fact that you have to pay $20 to use their FTP program to upload files, but with this sharp decline in sales and the long, long, long approval times it doesn't make sense to spend much time uploading to IS. My sales at StockXpert and Fotolia have increased dramatically in the last 3 months (coincidence?).
I don't know what the guys from IS are trying to do, or if that's their strategy to get rid of the non-exclusive members. Only they know what their doing.


I was getting pretty depressed about iS sales but mine have started moving back up in the last two months - but not to previous highest levels.  I'm not sure what $20 FTP program you're referring to - maybe ImageManager but I wouldn't call it an FTP program, it's just a bulk upload method.  However I would highly recommend DeepMeta which I think is currently still free.  It's also currently only available for Windows platforms.  You can find the latest version 1.2.6 at http://www.deepmeta.com/Downloads/ and a forum thread about it at http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=57564&page=1.  It's been a really useful program for me - and I'm a Mac user but I keep a PC running alongside mostly for this program.


« Reply #146 on: February 27, 2009, 04:06 »
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I don't get rejections for keywords. My keywords are checked two times before they go for inspection on Istock:
1. first keywording. outsourced, India
2.second keyword check by australian company.

You outsource keywording to a company in India and then you outsource the same thing to another company in Australia ... ummmm I just use common sense and do it while sitting on the couch while watching the sci-fi channel. LMAO

« Reply #147 on: February 28, 2009, 11:32 »
0
Things have changed in the last month or two.  Where are the independents say how great it is now. Or is it still not great for independents?

michealo

« Reply #148 on: February 28, 2009, 15:55 »
0
I don't get rejections for keywords. My keywords are checked two times before they go for inspection on Istock:
1. first keywording. outsourced, India
2.second keyword check by australian company.

You outsource keywording to a company in India and then you outsource the same thing to another company in Australia ... ummmm I just use common sense and do it while sitting on the couch while watching the sci-fi channel. LMAO

I think maybe thats why Yuri is world number one in microstock and you aren't ....

« Reply #149 on: February 28, 2009, 16:20 »
0
I don't get rejections for keywords. My keywords are checked two times before they go for inspection on Istock:
1. first keywording. outsourced, India
2.second keyword check by australian company.

You outsource keywording to a company in India and then you outsource the same thing to another company in Australia ... ummmm I just use common sense and do it while sitting on the couch while watching the sci-fi channel. LMAO

I think maybe thats why Yuri is world number one in microstock and you aren't ....

Sales numbers does not necessarily equal success.  My measure is gross-costs=profit .  If it isn't cost effective to outsource twice, then it may not be a good move depending on one's situation.  Sitting on the couch may pay off more and be a wiser move.


 

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