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Author Topic: September: The Start Of The Sales Sham  (Read 2251 times)

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« on: December 17, 2012, 03:26 »
+5
I find it interesting how all of a sudden sales fell off a cliff for most people when they rolled out the site changes at the beginning of September.

But why did sales fall off a cliff? Well, because in part they flooded the site with more Getty Agency content than any buyer could ever need and pushed lots of iStock best sellers and E+ files to the bottom of the heap.

So I think it's clear what happened really. The best match didn't break and the buyers didn't all run away so quickly all of a sudden come September.

What happened was Getty saw that we are coming into the high selling season on iStock. So they felt what better way to make more sales on high priced Getty content (with only 20% contributor payouts) than by pushing all the popular selling iStock images out of the way and to the back of the best match and move all the Getty stuff right up front on iStock.

At the same time, all of the top selling E+ iStock content was supposed to be moved over to Getty since around the end of the summer if I recall correctly. But alas there was site problems all of a sudden with the content migration onto Getty and the iStock content didn't get moved over to the main Getty site really until the high selling season was nearly over. Interesting coincidence there too.

Now all of a sudden iStock is finally starting to acknowledge a best match mix problem as countless contributors point out issues along with screen shots showing examples of how the best match is so heavily weighted against iStock contributor content.

Again, very serendipitous timing though with their tweaks to the best match the other day to try and appease iStock contributors, but given the fact that the high selling season is now over. In fact, the best match tweak came out only once we are into December, one of the worst months for sales of the year.

Is the timing of all of this perhaps only coincidence?

Meanwhile most iStock contributors were scratching their heads wondering how iStock could possibly roll out all these site changes and allow the site to get screwed up as we came into the high selling season. The truth is they didn't screw up the site at the beginning of September. They merely screwed iStock contributors out of their rightful selling opportunity during the high selling months and Getty came out the winner instead.

I also find it interesting how Getty content on iStock comes up at the top of the best match results and how E+ content on Getty comes up so low in the Getty search results.

I guess what we are seeing is how little value iStock contributors really have to Getty and how they are only really interested in using the iStock site traffic mainly to sell more Getty content via iStock while iStock contributors get cannibalized by the lack of sales on iStock's own content.

I also imagine September through November were good sales months for Getty contributors with lots of Agency collection pictures on iStock.

Now it makes more sense why the HQ admins say that sales have been meeting "their" expectations. They are speaking of Getty as a whole.

All of this will also help improve Getty's bottom line for next year as many iStock contributors miss their RC targets and end up falling down on their royalty rates.

I would love to think none of this is true. But I think a lot of the evidence is their to support all of this.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 04:29 by iStop »


ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 04:26 »
+1
What you say may have some truth to it, but my sales are also way down, and I don't have any content which competes with any of the 'shiny happy people in studios' ingested stuff. However, those producing content in that genre must be feeling even more of a pinch, because even if as good/better and cheaper, how would buyers find it, since we're told buyers use one search term and don't really use the other search features, which may include the price slider. And we're further told that most searchers only look at one or two pages (though it wasn't clarified whether that was a page of 20 or a page of 200.)

I do however seem to be at the wrong end of both types of best match. Some BMs favour old files, where I only have new, and vice versa. I do notice that in several searches, my files with 0 dls are way above others I have with several; and some particular recentish uploads with a download were immediately punished by disappearing without trace. But also last week, among my few sales was one with a first sale at 4 years old, which sank rapidly when uploaded and at least a couple more older files with few previous downloads, which just shows how best match can really hammer files which were, in fact, sellable.

Also, historically, December was usually one of my best months (except 2010) - and last year, it was my top earner (including a good-value GI sale). That's extremely unlikely to be the case this year, when surprisingly my best month is February.

I find their explanation about the 'professional keyworders at Getty who are keywording to a standard full time' hysterical as certain Getty searches are infected with wrong tagging, and some of my files being migrated over there seem to acquire wrong keywords and I can't seem to do anything about them.

Odd that we were told a long time ago that we shouldn't keyword geographic locations on generic studio shots that could be taken anywhere, yet now that sort of shot is overwhelming several geograpical locations. Now it seems that official word is that that's OK - as we had never, AFAIK, been privy to that information, it looks like the keyword team has been forcefully trumped by the ingestion.

That said, on following a link someone had posted and seeing some 'pharmacy' files keyworded Majorca, the images don't look like any pharmacy around here, and it's so long since I've been to Majorca, maybe they've changed over there and actually look like that, so maybe not totally irrelevant. But not to the degree that they should overwhelm a  location search.

Also, the huge ingestion has just happened over the last couple of weeks, not since early September (there were always 'collections' dropping in, but not at such a huge rate).
And it looks like they're not gathering many sales (partly because they've only been up for a couple of weeks), even though they only need very few sales to balance loss of several E or non-E sales.

OTOH, they have said they'll look into the keyword/best match in January, which indicates that they don't see that the current best match is a problem, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Why wouldn't they do it now and test it over the quiet period?
Oh, sorry; they all take ten or so days off over the holiday, and there's little evidence that they do any testing.

No wonder we all have our own theories and conspiracy theories.
Malice or incompetence, or a combination of both - who knows?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 06:27 by ShadySue »

« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 04:42 »
0
I think every one has their own experience as to what might be their own best selling months, probably also based in part on the nature of their own content.

But KK had once posted something in the forums before he left saying the 3 best selling months for iStock contributors are September through November, which ties in with all my theories on the basis of timing above.

He had posted that around the same time he posted all those famous quotes about how its not all about the money for the contributors and how iStockers do it just for the fun, along with that great quote in an interview he gave where he said that iStock contributors are happy if they make enough just to buy a lens cap. I guess it's no wonder why he didn't last more than a year in that job. Sorry to sidetrack here.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 04:48 »
0
But KK had once posted something in the forums before he left saying the 3 best selling months for iStock contributors are September through November, which ties in with all my theories on the basis of timing above.

No, he said, "historically HALF of our annual credit usage take place in the last four months of the year."
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=252322&page=1
Mind you, he followed that up by saying: "If that holds true, most of you should see your current redeemed credit total approximately double by the end of the year.", which even that year didn't hold true for many iStockers.

« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 05:07 »
0
I find it interesting how all of a sudden sales fell off a cliff for most people when they rolled out the site changes at the beginning of September.

Is that true? My sales didn't 'fall off a cliff' or anything close to it. My sales have just been gradually ebbing away for the last couple of years with income tending to be down 10-30% each month, when compared to the previous year. The only change to that was when they introduced P+ which gave a temporary blip upwards for earnings ... before the slide continued inexorably downwards.

aspp

« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 05:32 »
0
Is that true? My sales didn't 'fall off a cliff' or anything close to it. My sales have just been gradually ebbing away for the last couple of years

Is it possible that your content tends not to be in competition currently with much of the imported stuff - which is perhaps typically lifestyle, work and business related.

I think that the Getty vision is that the work which they want at the front of the search will be at the front of the search. Everything else is there to fill up any gaps in the search.

I may be wrong but I believe that is also the vision for E+ (and maybe P+ sooner or later) at Getty Images - ie that it is there to fill up holes in the search. Side by side with content they would rather sell it may not rank well - perhaps unless it performs well.

This is a guess.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 05:44 »
0
Is that true? My sales didn't 'fall off a cliff' or anything close to it. My sales have just been gradually ebbing away for the last couple of years

Is it possible that your content tends not to be in competition currently with much of the imported stuff - which is perhaps typically lifestyle, work and business related.

I think that the Getty vision is that the work which they want at the front of the search will be at the front of the search. Everything else is there to fill up any gaps in the search.

I may be wrong but I believe that is also the vision for E+ (and maybe P+ sooner or later) at Getty Images - ie that it is there to fill up holes in the search. Side by side with content they would rather sell it may not rank well - perhaps unless it performs well.

This is a guess.

So when iStock has filled up the gaps in Getty and Getty has filled up the gaps in iStock, what then?

I don't see that the ingested studio stuff is filling a gap in iStock - there's tons of that stuff already.

aspp

« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 06:09 »
0
I don't see that the ingested studio stuff is filling a gap in iStock - there's tons of that stuff already.

Very funny. Ho ho ho! The other way around. The old IS stuff would at this point there to fill up gaps not served by Agency content.

So when iStock has filled up the gaps in Getty and Getty has filled up the gaps in iStock, what then?

I guess that bit by bit they bring in all the stuff from all of the other agencies and little libraries they have been buying up over recent years. Although in some cases I think really that it is access to markets and customers that they have been buying. I don't think that there is a "then what" with Getty. Rather I think it will permanently be an unfinished project.


« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 06:12 »
0
Is it possible that your content tends not to be in competition currently with much of the imported stuff - which is perhaps typically lifestyle, work and business related.

I think that the Getty vision is that the work which they want at the front of the search will be at the front of the search. Everything else is there to fill up any gaps in the search.

I may be wrong but I believe that is also the vision for E+ (and maybe P+ sooner or later) at Getty Images - ie that it is there to fill up holes in the search. Side by side with content they would rather sell it may not rank well - perhaps unless it performs well.

This is a guess.

Good point, now you mention it, I don't do lifestyle, work or business so have never been particularly concerned by the Agency imports. I work in niche subjects too so don't get as badly swamped by thousands of other images in the searches.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 06:28 »
+1
I've found one of the places on the iStock forum where we were told by Ethan, then working with Team Keywords, NOT to put location tags on generic studio shots:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=186681&page=1
(4th post down)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 06:41 »
0
I'm still quite regularly finding files showing up in searches which, when I go to wiki them, don't show the words in their wikiable keywords at all.
I've already mentioned Sunderbans, and wonder if somehow the system is mapping it to Suntan or suntanning, but without telling you (e.g. 'did you mean ...'). But I've seen it in other searches to a lesser degree.
However, I'm veering off into 'what's wrong with the search'.


 

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