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Author Topic: Sales slump  (Read 65628 times)

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lagereek

« Reply #250 on: August 21, 2010, 11:00 »
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The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.


« Reply #251 on: August 21, 2010, 11:13 »
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The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.

Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.

« Reply #252 on: August 21, 2010, 11:42 »
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Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.

It's not just that, even in niche subjects (say when all images are on one page) the new images are largely ignored. Buyers don't seem to trust their own judgement and appear to mostly buy images that have been chosen by many others before them. It may be that they don't even consider the age of the image, simply assuming that if it has no sales then it can't be as good as those that have.

lagereek

« Reply #253 on: August 21, 2010, 11:54 »
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The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.

Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.

No, no, thats not enough, thats by a scrolling choice, two separate searches as default. Think about it, how many buyers do you think use the "search-within" correctly, well I can tell you, I know some buyers here in Sweden, they havent got a clue or cant be bothered so instead they type in phrases which the CV doesnt even recognize.

ShadySue

« Reply #254 on: August 21, 2010, 13:18 »
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The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.

Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.
Since F5, I've found it very difficult to change my search order: it requires a degree of persistence.

« Reply #255 on: August 21, 2010, 18:21 »
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I have these moments too. Especially the family part. This takes a lot of time away from my family. 

I signed up for a Lookstat account a couple days ago and it gave an absolutely clear snapshot of my progress which I really haven't been tracking much.

Since July of 08 I have tripled my portfolio (which is still small at around 500 images), and my revenue has gone up sigificantly, but my download count is literally the same. If it wasn't for stuff like going exclusive, the price increases, and E+ my income would have been flat for two years despite tripling my portfolio.

It's probably caused by a combination of a lot of things but regardless the end result is a bit of a concern. Without more price increases can I grow revenue?


As always you make a lot of good points.  Especially for a gangsta.

I went back and looked at my earnings at various sites prior to going exclusive, and it was a nice wake up call.  I can't see myself removing my iStock crown even if this downturn lingers into the fall.  As much as I enjoyed SS, my previous earnings there don't justify giving up the crown.

It still doesn't change the frustration that nothing new seems to ever catch on, and I know that the files which caught on for me in 2009 and late 2008 are not any better than what I've done in 2010.   So I stand by what I said...that until I see some measurable return on time invested I can't see much point in working to produce new material.  I'm more than happy to collect monthly earnings on past work however.   8)

lisafx

« Reply #256 on: August 21, 2010, 19:06 »
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 So I stand by what I said...that until I see some measurable return on time invested I can't see much point in working to produce new material.  I'm more than happy to collect monthly earnings on past work however.   8)

I feel exactly the same Dan.  This phenomenon of producing more and earning less really is seen on all sites to one degree or another.  Perhaps we are seeing it more pronounced on istock because their volume is/was largest fore most of us. 

In other words I am not sure giving up the crown would make any difference.  Probably even result in a drop of income. 

I can't seem to find any motivation at all lately either.  Usually I try to shoot several concepts every month, but I haven't managed to shoot one single thing for August.  Can't even get inspired to plan a shoot.

I think most of the top contributors who do this as a living feel compelled to produce an awful lot of images to maintain their incomes - it's like a vicious cycle in a way - they have to keep producing more and more but by so many of them doing just that it ends up flooding the market.


I agree with the above statement, if you are talking about the factories.  As Sean pointed out, if you are an individual producer, regardless of rank, you can only produce so many good images per month, and that's it.  I have been producing at pretty much the same rate for years - roughly 100-150 images/month. 

However when I look for my own images in searches, they are now lost in the flood of many thousands of cookie-cutter, virtually indistinguishable images from the factories.  I can forsee a time when perhaps just a couple of factories will have pretty much divided the market between them and the rest of us will just be scampering around looking for scraps.  (hope I am wrong)

What frustrates me is when I go on the content request forums and see buyers asking for EXACTLY the images I have already produced.  They have searched and can't find them because they are lost in the shuffle.  I know it's not just me experiencing this.  I am sure all the threads about downed sales are because others images just aren't being found by buyers either. 

« Reply #257 on: August 21, 2010, 19:13 »
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Just in case you haven't noticed, the search is not working at all late this afternoon and evening (Saturday). I wasn't online earlier. If you search for anything now, you get "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".

« Reply #258 on: August 21, 2010, 19:16 »
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I agree with the above statement, if you are talking about the factories.  As Sean pointed out, if you are an individual producer, regardless of rank, you can only produce so many good images per month, and that's it.  I have been producing at pretty much the same rate for years - roughly 100-150 images/month. 

However when I look for my own images in searches, they are now lost in the flood of many thousands of cookie-cutter, virtually indistinguishable images from the factories.  I can forsee a time when perhaps just a couple of factories will have pretty much divided the market between them and the rest of us will just be scampering around looking for scraps.  (hope I am wrong)

What frustrates me is when I go on the content request forums and see buyers asking for EXACTLY the images I have already produced.  They have searched and can't find them because they are lost in the shuffle.  I know it's not just me experiencing this.  I am sure all the threads about downed sales are because others images just aren't being found by buyers either. 

Wow, you complaining and you are top seller . I don't know what to say for little people like I and other who is new insertion.
If your work is bury in the shuffle for your 100-150 image por month, how we with many less to survive in microstock?
Also, if they cannot find you,a nd you are one of big sellers, you think maybe there is in fact conspiracy
of favoritism ? I know again conspiraction factor, but in reality how you feel?
Must be have an evidential there is one specie for favorite seller and other specie you and everybody
buried in flood.  Hope my explanation make sense. Thankyou.

ShadySue

« Reply #259 on: August 21, 2010, 19:22 »
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Just in case you haven't noticed, the search is not working at all late this afternoon and evening (Saturday). I wasn't online earlier. If you search for anything now, you get "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".
Sarching with Firefox has been working fine all day, AFAIK, but I realise that IE has the lion's share of users. Accordng to DeepMeta, I had an extraordinary number of files viewed overnight and again today, for only one dollar bin download!

lisafx

« Reply #260 on: August 21, 2010, 19:30 »
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Wow, you complaining and you are top seller . I don't know what to say for little people like I and other who is new insertion.
If your work is bury in the shuffle for your 100-150 image por month, how we with many less to survive in microstock?
Also, if they cannot find you,a nd you are one of big sellers, you think maybe there is in fact conspiracy
of favoritism ? I know again conspiraction factor, but in reality how you feel?
Must be have an evidential there is one specie for favorite seller and other specie you and everybody
buried in flood.  Hope my explanation make sense. Thankyou.

Maybe one of the reasons I complain is because I really do rely on Microstock to pay my bills. 

I understand what you are saying, but I really don't feel like there is any conspiracy to prevent people seeing my images.  I have decent search placement on some sites, for which I am very thankful.  It's just that as a one-person-show I simply can't compete with the massive volume of factories that have multiple shooters, image editors, uploaders, and countless other support staff.  They can churn out a thousand or so high-quality images in the same period of time I can make 100.  So whose are more likely to get seen and bought - my 100 or their 1,000? 

It isn't a conspiracy, just a numbers game.  And it is frustrating. 

« Reply #261 on: August 21, 2010, 19:32 »
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You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.

Just in case you haven't noticed, the search is not working at all late this afternoon and evening (Saturday). I wasn't online earlier. If you search for anything now, you get "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".
Sarching with Firefox has been working fine all day, AFAIK, but I realise that IE has the lion's share of users. Accordng to DeepMeta, I had an extraordinary number of files viewed overnight and again today, for only one dollar bin download!

« Reply #262 on: August 21, 2010, 19:36 »
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Lisa,

I look at the factory ports too.  Not because I need ideas, because I cannot produce what they produce.  Heck I very rarely do people shots to begin with.  But I wanted confirmation that new files struggle mightily.  I see the same thing with many of the mega factory ports.  Their best sellers continue to be images from 1-6 years ago, while they have pages and pages of new uploads with no downloads, or 1-2 downloads.  Yet many have a lot of views!

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that buyers tend to buy whatever has a ton of DLs, and avoid anything with 0 or few DLs.  I think there is something to that.  Several studies have confirmed that in the retail sector, consumers will scoff at an item they perceive as under-priced because they fear there must be something wrong with it.  Yet if you double or triple the price, they will purchase it.  Dan Heller found the same perception exists among buyers in the photo stock industry.

That might explain why so many contributors mention their new images get a ton of views but no DLs, and then the images disappear into the search engine's black hole.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 19:39 by djpadavona »

« Reply #263 on: August 21, 2010, 19:43 »
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Lisa,

I look at the factory ports too.  Not because I need ideas, because I cannot produce what they produce.  Heck I very rarely do people shots to begin with.  But I wanted confirmation that new files struggle mightily.  I see the same thing with many of the mega factory ports.  Their best sellers continue to be images from 1-6 years ago, while they have pages and pages of new uploads with no downloads, are 1-2 downloads.  Yet many have a lot of views!

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that buyers tend to buy whatever has a ton of DLs, and avoid anything with 0 or few DLs.  I think there is something to that.  Several studies have confirmed that in the retail sector, consumers will scoff at an item they perceive as under-priced because they fear there must be something wrong with it.  Yet if you double or triple the price, they will purchase it.  Dan Heller found the same perception exists among buyers in the photo stock industry.

That might explain why so many contributors mention their new images get a ton of views but no DLs, and then the images disappear into the search engine's black hole.

So again the dilemma . Lisa said it's the volume. But one more factor, the bias to buyers to select pictures with biggest download number. So Shutterstock and other agencies who prefess not to show download number to prevent bias influence on buyers justification.
Buyers not as independent as we all think. Ironic, you think a buyer will prefer to use a unique picture , not one that is already used by 1000 other people.
It is a strange business for sure this microstock. Uniqueness and quality of image are no the criteria for success
but the number and the influence of other people. So again the groupie mentality.

KB

« Reply #264 on: August 21, 2010, 19:49 »
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You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.
I just tried searching IE and it worked fine, too (other than all the images looking VERY different from how they appear in FF!).

« Reply #265 on: August 21, 2010, 19:55 »
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Both are working now. Did anyone get normal DLs this afternoon and evening?

You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.
I just tried searching IE and it worked fine, too (other than all the images looking VERY different from how they appear in FF!).

« Reply #266 on: August 21, 2010, 19:58 »
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Just a theory Lefty, but there are many studies in various fields which show the same thing.  Buying the image with a long track record of success which has been used by various other companies may be considered "safe" to the person required to make stock photo purchases for his/her company.  The old adage in the financial world is "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."  Even if a money manager knows there are a hundred better investments, she knows IBM is in almost every large cap fund in the US, and she can't possibly be blamed if IBM goes belly up.  Safety in Numbers.

It could be as simple a thing as the "average microstock purchaser" uses the Default Search options when looking for something interesting to buy.  Then said purchaser quickly scans the page and notices a few images with 100+ or 5000+ downloads, which also stand out like a sore thumb on iStock because they have flames on them.  Of course 99.9% of these images are excellent images, which is why they sold so many times to begin with.  So purchasing them becomes a no-brainer.

You won't find too many contributors who want their DL numbers shown.  Really there is no reason to show them.  They don't show them in the macro world.  Shutterstock doesn't show them in the microstock world.  I think it would be a great first step to eliminate the DL numbers from everyone's view but the author of the image.  Given how many times this has been suggested, I don't figure it will happen.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #267 on: August 21, 2010, 23:28 »
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As always you make a lot of good points.  Especially for a gangsta.I went back and looked at my earnings at various sites prior to going exclusive, and it was a nice wake up call.  I can't see myself removing my iStock crown even if this downturn lingers into the fall.  As much as I enjoyed SS, my previous earnings there don't justify giving up the crown.It still doesn't change the frustration that nothing new seems to ever catch on, and I know that the files which caught on for me in 2009 and late 2008 are not any better than what I've done in 2010.   So I stand by what I said...that until I see some measurable return on time invested I can't see much point in working to produce new material.  I'm more than happy to collect monthly earnings on past work however.   8)

A gangsta. Wow, I'm movin up in the world.  :)

My new stuff is selling. But not at a pace that's keeping up with the dropoff in existing stuff that used to sell. Which is probably why my downloads are flat.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 06:27 by PaulieWalnuts »

« Reply #268 on: August 22, 2010, 00:22 »
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Did the sales slump (more) around the time of the web interface changeover?  I don't do a lot of searching on there, but I was checking for certain categories/combinations to see how saturated they were and I noticed that several times the search was broken.  It would say something like, "Your search returned 53 images" but underneath that, where the thumbnails should be, it was blank.

I also noticed irritating problems when I tried to change or adjust the search parameters, such as add/remove a keyword or change the sort criteria from "Age" to "Downloads".  Sometimes it wouldn't respond - or it would appear to respond but it would then show me the identical images in the identical order, or it would do something else strange and unexpected.  I'm an uploader and not a buyer so I would just say, "*&#$#" and go do something else ... but I wonder how many actual buyers have run into this and then gone off to another web site.

If the search interface doesn't respond well to tweaking the parameters and refreshing, then maybe this is a reason why so many buyers simply grab one of the first images that is presented to them by the best match.  Maybe they found that trying to fine-tune or change the order of the original results is FFFFed up, like I have found since the switchover, so they just grab anything which is (a) popular and (b) in their price range.  If the best match is showing them expensive images first, that could make them give up entirely and go elsewhere.

Maybe we should have a poll: I experienced an unusual slump this summer ...

only at IS
only at non-IS sites
at IS and elsewhere
no unusual slump this summer

And if a summer slump was experienced, my slump began in:

May
June
July
August

lagereek

« Reply #269 on: August 22, 2010, 01:18 »
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When I said two search-engines, as default, it wasnt my idea, that was the idea of a friend of mine who is total computer wizard and who has been working with Adobe (Thomas Knoll) on a number of programs, i.e. one of the very best!

He explained: a search-engine is the making or breaking and in an industry which accepts thousands of applicants and millions of keywords all the time with one type of search and one CV. As the number of images, keywords grow the less effective the search, its an impossibility to maintain. Further, you cant build a CV and maintain an effective search based on generics.

Oddly, there were better searches in the old Trad-agencies Transparancy files working with a bloody old typewriter and an 19 centuary old computer.

« Reply #270 on: August 22, 2010, 02:20 »
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Oddly, there were better searches in the old Trad-agencies Transparancy files working with a bloody old typewriter and an 19 centuary old computer.

I don't think it's odd. In-house keywording and presumably much smaller collections, with tens or hundreds of thousands of photos, rather than millions. But buyer expectations were probably much lower, too. I wonder if they got offered a choice of 100 slides to pick from on a given topic, rather then thousands, and had to make do with the closest match. I wasn't involved then so I can only guess how it worked. I know agencies sent out printed catalogues - were they the new files for that year? - can you imagine how big the catalogue for just one month would be at any of the agencies now. The printing costs would be absurd.

Maybe it's worth remembering that back in the 1970s and 1980s about 99% of advertisers thought it was marvellous if you could dig out an Adverkit line drawing of a Champagne glass with bubbles to drop into their black and white adverts. Only a handful of major companies were dealing with colour adverts and photographs.


****
Both are working now. Did anyone get normal DLs this afternoon and evening?

You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.
I just tried searching IE and it worked fine, too (other than all the images looking VERY different from how they appear in FF!).

I had no sales at all until late in the day, then half-a-dozen turned up in a rush.

******
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 02:24 by BaldricksTrousers »

« Reply #271 on: August 22, 2010, 02:36 »
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Maybe one of the reasons I complain is because I really do rely on Microstock to pay my bills.  

I've always regarded this as an uncertain job, so I look to develop other markets and other revenue streams alongside it. With photos I'm aiming to move into gallery sales and with money I've scraped together in other ways (I'm quite a distance below your level) I'm buying a rental property. Out of the combined incomes I look to save as much as possible to reinvest. Hopefully, by the time stock dies the more long-term earnings that it is allowing me to create will easily substitute for it.

I assume that someone where you are, who is cautious enough not to put "all your eggs in one basket", will also be insuring herself against future earnings uncertainty.

« Reply #272 on: August 22, 2010, 11:46 »
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Right.  I funnel a large portion of my earnings into a combination of stocks and Treasury Inflation Protected securities.  So over time, the money grows even if microstock completely fails. 

« Reply #273 on: August 22, 2010, 12:36 »
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Come on, Lisa is not the sole bread earner in the house. She has a husband, too.

Maybe one of the reasons I complain is because I really do rely on Microstock to pay my bills.  

I've always regarded this as an uncertain job, so I look to develop other markets and other revenue streams alongside it. With photos I'm aiming to move into gallery sales and with money I've scraped together in other ways (I'm quite a distance below your level) I'm buying a rental property. Out of the combined incomes I look to save as much as possible to reinvest. Hopefully, by the time stock dies the more long-term earnings that it is allowing me to create will easily substitute for it.

I assume that someone where you are, who is cautious enough not to put "all your eggs in one basket", will also be insuring herself against future earnings uncertainty.

« Reply #274 on: August 22, 2010, 12:55 »
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When I said two search-engines, as default, it wasnt my idea, that was the idea of a friend of mine who is total computer wizard and who has been working with Adobe (Thomas Knoll) on a number of programs, i.e. one of the very best!

He explained: a search-engine is the making or breaking and in an industry which accepts thousands of applicants and millions of keywords all the time with one type of search and one CV. As the number of images, keywords grow the less effective the search, its an impossibility to maintain. Further, you cant build a CV and maintain an effective search based on generics.

Yap, I did some math begin of 2006 when sites were far below 1 million. With a linear set of of 40 keywords, any search engine will break down. It's pure math. I predicted sites would anticipate with a weighed keyword system, which would extend the relevancy algorithm till 10 or 50M items. As it turned out, the sites didn't change their concept at all. Just CanStockPhoto's Duncan tried it in 2007 and he was scorned away. What they do now is patching and patching with D/L, views, best match, but they've lost it.
Quote
Search algorithm breakdown

Now imagine this: the linear isolated keyword search won't be around that much longer. No doubt image agencies will follow along the Fotolia path sooner or later. With the advent of 1,000,000+ images and hundreds or thousands of similarly tagged images returned on a search quest, search algorithms based upon linear equal-weighted keywords are mathematically bound to break down.

Therefore, it would be wise if a photographer started to tag in order of relevance already now, as an investment in his adaptation to future search algorithm strategies of agency sites. It would be a tantalizing job to re-tag a large portfolio, but new images can as well be tagged this way.

This was written in 2006, when DT had 300,000 images...


 

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