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Author Topic: Statistics shows IS is falling  (Read 17779 times)

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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2010, 05:39 »
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So they should ignore the fact that the biggest site that does have lots of exclusive contributors and buyers that do value exclusive images is in trouble and just cater for their current customers? 

I like that they have kept it simple and I don't want to see them follow the way DT or any other site do it but I really think there is an opportunity now and I wish they would try higher priced exclusive images.  They have made one big change with pay per download and that has worked well, why limit themselves to the cheap end of the market?

You can't directly compare IS and SS __ their business models are at opposite ends of the spectrum and are targeted at different market sectors. SS would have to offer me at least 4x more commission for exclusivity to be any realistic incentive. Forget about it. It's never going to happen.


« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2010, 09:11 »
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^^^I don't think Getty/istock will leave shutterstock's market alone, just look at thinkstock, isn't that direct competition to SS?  Limiting themselves to the low price end of the market that is getting more competitive doesn't seem like the best option to me.  And as they have been successful with PPD, I don't think it is beyond them to work out a way to sell exclusive images that benefits them and us.

lisafx

« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2010, 14:34 »
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Well, perhaps one of the biggest selling points Shutterstock has going for it is that it DOESN'T have all the complicated different pricing.  Rather than competing with all the others by doing the same things, they may be better off competing via their simplicity.  

Surely there are buyers that value a site where everything costs the same... ?

Istock's confusing price tiers and inequal treatment of contributors is causing its demise.  It should be used as a cautionary tale, not something to urge other sites to emulate.   :P
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 14:37 by lisafx »

helix7

« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2010, 10:37 »
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Well, perhaps one of the biggest selling points Shutterstock has going for it is that it DOESN'T have all the complicated different pricing.  Rather than competing with all the others by doing the same things, they may be better off competing via their simplicity.  

Surely there are buyers that value a site where everything costs the same... ?

Istock's confusing price tiers and inequal treatment of contributors is causing its demise.  It should be used as a cautionary tale, not something to urge other sites to emulate.   :P

Agree 100%. Sell images by subscription, on-demand, size, whatever. But be consistent in pricing. The minute you start getting into different pricing for images based on exclusivity, it puts buyers off. And I think we haven't even seen the backlash from this strategy yet. Buyers are only starting to grumble about the pricing at iStock. As they become more aware of the better options out there, I think we'll start to see more reaction to the iStock method.

This is one of the many reasons I don't buy images at iStock anymore. The royalty change certainly is a factor, but I was moving away from buying at iStock for my design business as much as possible prior to the royalty cut because of the prices. Generally they are too high, and the varying tiers (exclusive, non, e+, vetta, agency) makes the whole shopping experience frustrating.

iStock should be the example of what not do do rather than something to emulate. The company is not properly serving buyers or contributors, and adopting any of iStock's methods would be foolish, in my opinion.

« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2010, 10:45 »
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Agree 100%. Sell images by subscription, on-demand, size, whatever. But be consistent in pricing. The minute you start getting into different pricing for images based on exclusivity, it puts buyers off. And I think we haven't even seen the backlash from this strategy yet. Buyers are only starting to grumble about the pricing at iStock. As they become more aware of the better options out there, I think we'll start to see more reaction to the iStock method.

This is one of the many reasons I don't buy images at iStock anymore. The royalty change certainly is a factor, but I was moving away from buying at iStock for my design business as much as possible prior to the royalty cut because of the prices. Generally they are too high, and the varying tiers (exclusive, non, e+, vetta, agency) makes the whole shopping experience frustrating.

iStock should be the example of what not do do rather than something to emulate. The company is not properly serving buyers or contributors, and adopting any of iStock's methods would be foolish, in my opinion.

I have no intention of defending Istock, but they are not the only ones with a complicated pricing structure.

At both FT and DT the prices for different images can vary wildly based on their levels systems (image based at DT, contributor based at FT). And at FT you have the additional effect of their Infinite Collection.

I think "complicated" alone is not the issue, but probably they are pushing too much expensive content to the front of searches...

« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2010, 11:14 »
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...SS customers don't value exclusivity of images so would not be prepared to pay more for them...
So they should ignore the fact that the biggest site that does have lots of exclusive contributors and buyers that do value exclusive images is in trouble and just cater for their current customers? 

I don't believe buyers value "exclusive images" at all, and I don't think iStock thinks that, either. That's why they will not offer image exclusivity.

For a buyer, there is nothing "exclusive" at all about iStock's exclusive images. They are being used everywhere.

The thing that "artist exclusivity" gives iStock is the claim that it has locked-in a large proportion of the top echelon of microstockers. That persuades buyers that the widest range of high-quality images is available at iStock. That is what their pricing premium is built on. It's nothing to do with a particular photo being exclusive to them.

If the idea got out that there are equally good artists with the same sort of image volume at the top of the other sites, iStock's business model would crumble.

« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2010, 11:46 »
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What I don't seem to understand is why all of you think you are smarter then IS (or the rest of them) to know what is best for them ? they have been doing this for years and are worth well over 1B $  I guess they are doing SOMETHING right...

nruboc

« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2010, 11:48 »
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What I don't seem to understand is why all of you think you are smarter then IS (or the rest of them) to know what is best for them ? they have been doing this for years and are worth well over 1B $  I guess they are doing SOMETHING right...

Well, if you consider screwing the contributors as doing something right, then yes, they are doing SOMETHING right

« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2010, 11:53 »
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What I don't seem to understand is why all of you think you are smarter then IS (or the rest of them) to know what is best for them ? they have been doing this for years and are worth well over 1B $  I guess they are doing SOMETHING right...

That's a good point, and I'm sure they have thought these changes through. It just doesn't appear that they have from my perspective.

« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2010, 12:35 »
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At both FT and DT the prices for different images can vary wildly based on their levels systems (image based at DT, contributor based at FT). And at FT you have the additional effect of their Infinite Collection.

I buy from Dreamstime BECAUSE of their tiered pricing. I can sort photos by number of downloads and find great level 1 images that aren't on every piece of advertising in the world already. So I get more unique imagery for a lower price.

« Reply #35 on: October 04, 2010, 12:51 »
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Or maybe I pissed off someone on SS and they started to push down my images in search results and you pissed off someone on IS?   :-) Anyhow, I can not find any rational explanation:)

Yes Elena, this something what comes into my mind many times. Search engine placement, that can be the most probable reason for such discrepancies.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your stats, I need every incentives for not to stop new uploads to IS.

They don't make it easy to upload to them, too! Every time there is time to upload to Istock we struggle with the disambiguation and the need to go through the files one by one, sometimes ridiculous requirements for model releases and such (and then the files get rejected because the term "human face" apparently is not applicable for a close up portrait of a human (face)). I don't know if we could keep up uploading if we didn't still see some growth there. At least with SS uploading is still a breeze so we just throw files up there because we already have them.
I know how disappointing it can be to see no visible results of 2-3 years work on some agencies. I do have very strong suspicions that their search engines get manually adjusted somehow. You still do amazing work, you latest stuff should be selling at least as well as your old images. Yes there is more competition, but there is not THAT MUCH more competition these days. We got maybe 10 strong new players in the last couple of years (in photography), it would dilute your sales but not to the point of no growth at all.

« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2010, 14:35 »
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What I don't seem to understand is why all of you think you are smarter then IS (or the rest of them) to know what is best for them ? they have been doing this for years and are worth well over 1B $  I guess they are doing SOMETHING right...


I don't think anyone claims to be smarter by criticizing something a company does. And it a very common business mistake for companies in a growing market to assume that they grew because of their genius business decisions and get very puzzled when things suddenly take a turn for the worse. You can't argue with the growth and the results, but sometimes there are external factors that are more responsible for the growth - as in microstock as a whole has grown tremendously, in part helped by the recession and downturn in ad spending.

I think the concern that is having great profits isn't enough and that they risk damaging the business long term by what they're doing. Companies can often get very blinkered in their views - and once you've been around the block a few times and have seen it first hand you recognize the patterns. Not smarter than anyone, just accumulated experiences...

« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2010, 15:10 »
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When a top executive of a billion dollar company openly states that after their latest actions they have no right to expect anybody to trust them any longer, I think it is safe to say that they themselves know they have lost their way.

As for whether they will get away with this and boost their profits next year - very likely they will, but that won't prove their critics wrong because boosting profits at the expense of losing the trust of those you deal with is a dangerous gamble. Not that it will matter to the current owners if they manage to sell it at an inflated price before the pigeons come home to roost. If that happens, it will indeed have been a brilliant move from their, short-term, perspective.

« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2010, 15:22 »
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What I don't seem to understand is why all of you think you are smarter then IS (or the rest of them) to know what is best for them ? they have been doing this for years and are worth well over 1B $  I guess they are doing SOMETHING right...

Because the people actually pulling the strings at Istockphoto are Getty management. You know about them don't you? They're the folk who brought Getty to it's knees a couple of years ago causing the shareholders to sell out cheap to H&F. I wouldn't trust them to run my bath let alone a business. It was their intense greed and unwillingness to adapt to the market and business conditions that lead to their downfall back then and it looks to me that they're up to their old tricks again.

« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2010, 15:39 »
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What I don't seem to understand is why all of you think you are smarter then IS (or the rest of them) to know what is best for them ? they have been doing this for years and are worth well over 1B $  I guess they are doing SOMETHING right...

Because the people actually pulling the strings at Istockphoto are Getty management. You know about them don't you? They're the folk who brought Getty to it's knees a couple of years ago causing the shareholders to sell out cheap to H&F. I wouldn't trust them to run my bath let alone a business. It was their intense greed and unwillingness to adapt to the market and business conditions that lead to their downfall back then and it looks to me that they're up to their old tricks again.

I have to agree with you Gostwyck - from the moment they bought Istock they started to screw things up slowly but surely. Yeah they did bring advertising dollars with one hand, but with the other hand they are slowly killing the business. Like all corporations do. In my opinion, all big corps should be banned - there is something inherently wrong with that institution. They cause too much damage.

« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2010, 16:01 »
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In my opinion, all big corps should be banned - there is something inherently wrong with that institution. They cause too much damage.

I couldn't agree more. You ARE wise. :)

« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2010, 16:26 »
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big corporations have a lot more power these days than most countries. And when the bottom line is all about profit, humans get screwed all the time.

« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2010, 17:04 »
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In my opinion, all big corps should be banned - there is something inherently wrong with that institution. They cause too much damage.

I couldn't agree more. You ARE wise. :)

And I thought this is a MS site, didn't know communism is still that common...
Hell why not ask the government to take over IS like they did with GM ?

The 2 viable options you guys have are simple:
1. Pull out your port.
2. You all seem to know how to run a MS site so well. Why not put your money where your mouth is and open one your selves?

Banning big corporations, what kind of BS is that ?!?!
Who will build youre cars you drive? who will supply you with electricity? phones? Water?

Grow up people

« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2010, 18:24 »
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In my opinion, all big corps should be banned - there is something inherently wrong with that institution. They cause too much damage.

I couldn't agree more. You ARE wise. :)

And I thought this is a MS site, didn't know communism is still that common...
Hell why not ask the government to take over IS like they did with GM ?

The 2 viable options you guys have are simple:
1. Pull out your port.
2. You all seem to know how to run a MS site so well. Why not put your money where your mouth is and open one your selves?

Banning big corporations, what kind of BS is that ?!?!
Who will build youre cars you drive? who will supply you with electricity? phones? Water?

Grow up people

Umm... please don't take offense but it looks like you're one good example of a person completely brainwashed by corporate world.... you really think we won't be able to survive without corps?  Is it corps or commies in your world, with no alternatives? Istock achieved tremendous success as a small startup company, oh my God how did they ever do that?
And really,  I'd much prefer smaller  privately owned companies to build my cars - they would be much safer, more efficient, geez, they'd all be electric or run on some other cool and clean technology by now. My water would be much safer and cleaner, my electric power sustainable, my food nutritious and safe and not causing decease and obesity. The problem with big corps is that first they kill all competition and then they do whatever they want, which is always driven by insatiable  greed.... But wait - this is really capitalism 101, how old are you - 16? you didn't get to take that course in high school yet?

« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2010, 18:39 »
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The problem with big corps is that first they kill all competition and then they do whatever they want, which is always driven by insatiable  greed....

... and of course if the 'big corps' happen to be banks then they wield such almighty financial power that governments are too frightened to regulate them ... so then the banks get really greedy ... and end up gambling all the money away and leaving all of us with the colossal debt that they've generated.

« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2010, 18:56 »
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I think there are some good and bad things to be said about large corporations.

On the good side, there is an economic benefit for everyone involved when there are greater economies of scale - buying and selling more stuff to more people - and also when people are more highly specialized they can be more productive.  For example in a tiny camera company the same person might have to double as both a machinist and an optician but in huge old Canon and Nikon these are highly specialized trades.

On the bad side, corporations once they reach a certain size can become deaf to their customers and suppliers.  They become cumbersome and unprofitable because their employees spend too much time playing internal politics.

In a free market, companies which become too large and cumbersome naturally either fade away, go bankrupt, or they are broken up until their component parts are small and focused enough to be profitable again.

In an UN-free market, very large corporations make up for their lack of profitability by lobbying for governments to prop them up artificially.  These props take many forms but principally they are (1) direct financial subsidies and (2) various regulatory laws which have the effect of squashing competition from smaller, better companies by imposing legal and other barriers which smaller companies cannot afford to surmount.  For example patents are notoriously used by large companies to pummel their upstart competitors.  Also the more complicated that accounting rules become, the harder it is for small companies to do all the paperwork, whereas large companies have huge teams of accountants and massive accounting systems.  Which is why large companies are usually to be found lobbying for more government regulation, behind the scenes.

So large companies cannot "kill" competitors who are smaller, faster, smarter ... unless they get help.

« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2010, 19:22 »
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Istock achieved tremendous success as a small startup company, oh my God how did they ever do that?

By selling something that used to cost $300 for $3.

« Reply #47 on: October 04, 2010, 20:00 »
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Istock achieved tremendous success as a small startup company, oh my God how did they ever do that?

By selling something that used to cost $300 for $3.

To be more accurate they did it by recognizing that with advances in internet and digital technology something that used to cost $300 now costs $3  .... which some people still fail to recognize 10 years down the road...

« Reply #48 on: October 04, 2010, 22:29 »
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Istock achieved tremendous success as a small startup company, oh my God how did they ever do that?

By selling something that used to cost $300 for $3.

To be more accurate they did it by recognizing that with advances in internet and digital technology something that used to cost $300 now costs $3  .... which some people still fail to recognize 10 years down the road...

Wait, this is something of an apples vs oranges argument.
Was the $300 image RM or RF?
The only way to get away with licensing imagery for a few dollars is by selling it over and over and over.
I don't believe that the $300 image was licensed several hundred times over, was it?

« Reply #49 on: October 05, 2010, 06:07 »
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$300 was for a large royalty-free image (a small royalty-free image would have been about $50 and on some libraries the license would have only granted web usage). Successful royalty-free images would have been licensed multiple times though probably not as many times as the most successful microstock images.

Depending on usage (area of page covered and market sector), a rights-managed image would usually have cost well into four figures -- about 2,000 for an image that was to cover a full-page corporate ad or the whole front face of an item of packaging.

Microstock is royalty-free so, as far as I'm concerned, I'm comparing apples with apples.


 

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