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Author Topic: What's Your Experience With Photos+  (Read 11319 times)

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« on: July 22, 2011, 13:16 »
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Three months ago iStock launched Photos+. Initially there were some predictions that the increased prices would be offset by lower sales. Has that happened? Maybe the number of units licensed are down somewhat, but revenue is still growing due to the higher prices. What's your experience? Is this benefiting non-exclusive photographers?


« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2011, 13:43 »
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Three months ago iStock launched Photos+. Initially there were some predictions that the increased prices would be offset by lower sales. Has that happened? Maybe the number of units licensed are down somewhat, but revenue is still growing due to the higher prices. What's your experience? Is this benefiting non-exclusive photographers?

Well, I can't tell you about P+ because I'm exclusive, but the exclusive equivalent E+ has worked pretty well for me -- short-term at least. Tossing lots of files into E+ has boosted revenue a bunch but at the cost of reduced downloads, as you would expect from basic price-demand theory. The net money effect is positive, yes, but the slower unit sales suggest that, without some kind of compensatory best match boost, E+ files will decay faster. The effect on earnings over the life of a file seems near-impossible to assess.

« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 15:09 »
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I think P+ has worked well for me, but it's really impossible to quantify as I've been independent (again) for a month and a half and sales were already in poor shape relative to 2010 for the months prior to the switch. When I looked at June sales, the drop in income for me compared to May was just about the percentage by which my royalty rate dropped. What that meant was that the image prices (P+ is the same as standard exclusive files) were pretty close to the same.

If you had a stable environment, it'd be easier to make assessments of the effects of changes.  Even if downloads have dropped in 6 months, how do I know whether that's due to P+ or something else (like more best match changes; the prior promise that it'd be stable after best match 2.0 has evaporated entirely)?

« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2011, 15:34 »
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I anticipate an upcoming article on the "+" collections :) .

« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 16:19 »
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unfortunately it was brought in at the time of some major best match changes so for me it is now hard to know how much of my still being serisously down in earnings is because of best match or people not willling to pay the extra, or whether I would be worse off if I hadnt put stuff in Photo+

« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2011, 16:59 »
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I anticipate an upcoming article on the "+" collections :) .

Better start saving your pennies so you can read it then!

« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2011, 17:16 »
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Three months ago iStock launched Photos+. Initially there were some predictions that the increased prices would be offset by lower sales. Has that happened? Maybe the number of units licensed are down somewhat, but revenue is still growing due to the higher prices. What's your experience? Is this benefiting non-exclusive photographers?
To be honest Jim my sales at IS are hemorrhaging so quickly it is difficult to see any direct effect of P+. The increased revenue is disguising the drop in sales somewhat but I don't think that buyers are avoiding P+ specifically. My very best selling images (which are P+) have actually accelerated in DL's/month for example. The multiple best match changes and seasonal variation are far greater factors. My sales indicate buyers are simply going elsewhere in significant numbers. IS has dropped from 40% of my revenue 2 years ago to just 25% now. In contrast SS has gone from 22% two years ago to 41% today mainly due to an astonishing growth in PPD sales.

RacePhoto

« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2011, 20:20 »
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unfortunately it was brought in at the time of some major best match changes so for me it is now hard to know how much of my still being serisously down in earnings is because of best match or people not willling to pay the extra, or whether I would be worse off if I hadnt put stuff in Photo+

Wow a negative best match change again. That's three years and counting, with every time, a negative impact on everyone!

Don't believe me?

This is why I rarely post in the IS general discussion forums. I sometimes stop in there to read what is going on like the recent Best Match search changes. I mainly stick to the other forums that are less volatile. I was apparent very early on that you can get into trouble fairly quickly if you didn't agree with the management...
  February 21, 2008

No? How about 2007 then?

SS has been very steadily growing for me without a lot of new uploads. It has nosed out iStock several times the last few months. IStock has been in steep decline for me for over a year starting with the disamb torture and probably even more because of the changes in the "best match" sorts. My best keywords on iStock are now ineffective in all but the "age" and "downloads" sorts. Somebody there seems to be stacking the deck against us independents in my opinion.

People have claimed that Vetta gets preference, others say exclusives, then the next one says, old files are being pushed to the front. A week later someone says, new files get a boost and non-exclusives get priority because it costs IS less to sell those.

I blame the great fuzzy wuzzy and Canada.  ;) It's just as logical as claiming that the new best match hurts everyone, or the somehow it favors everyone except whatever I am.

I suspect it's constantly changing and sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts but it's always in a flux.

« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 20:40 »
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My portfolio is small so my experience is probably statistically insignificant however I have seen a slight increase in RPI since May.  My overall downloads have declined since a high this year in May so income has declined.  I still get steady Photo+ downloads so I'm not inclined to attribute the drop in DL's to that but you never know about the image that didn't sell and the reasons why.  The drop in sales is more likely changes in best match, seasonal ebb and flow, along with a good run with some Easter/Mother's Day images that have tapered off and just that I'm a very small fish in a really big pond.

lagereek

« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2011, 00:22 »
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Yep!  with a stable best match, it would have been easy to tell but as it is now its impossible. For independants, revenues are down anyway with or without P+.

Ive got a feeling that IS, simply needed the best of Independants for six months in order to tie them over or something.

« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2011, 02:45 »
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Actually, I did an experiment. I selected two similar photos, made one regular and another +. You will be surprised by the result. Try it and then let's compare notes.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2011, 17:23 »
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I would say that there is a noticeable improvement. I can't recall exactly when it started, but I think I used most of my allocation in the first couple of weeks. Here are the past 4 months numbers (July isn't complete obviously)

Month    Downloads   Revenue
April            69            $82
May             68            $77
June            64            $94
July             50             $74

I think that it is showing a definite increase in the revenue per download and assuming July finishes OK, then June and July showed the most increase. I do notice that at least 40% of the images that sell are Photo+ and I get more money per download on those.

The final stat is a bit self fulfilling as I chose images that sell well, but with that in mind, it is hard to see why it should not be better.

Steve

lisafx

« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 17:34 »
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Like others, my sales at Istock are down to pitiful levels.  Really shockingly low.  But P+ has managed to boost my income and keep it fairly level with where it was before the sales nosedived. 

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2011, 02:34 »
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All sales at IS are constantly going down for me since end of 2010.
Photo+ is not enough to counteract, yet positive. I didn't notice any negative effect due to higher price.

lagereek

« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2011, 09:18 »
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There is no doubt, the agency will never recover, never regain, not even close to its former glory. Buyers have left and they wont come back. Now weather IS, is making money or not is totally irrelevant for us, since any independant will never see any of it. A few chosen are the earners and the funny part is:  they have almost identical ports, lifestyles with models, etc.

Slovenian

« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2011, 09:34 »
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I just hope it's not gonna get worse for them, because none of us independents want ppl like Lise, SJlocke at other agencies. As long as they're contained there's still a chance for us to make half decent money ;) . I'm not bothered that my earnings at IS are pathetic, remaining stagnant instead for rising, SS makes up the loss there ;)

lagereek

« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2011, 13:56 »
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SS and DT, makes up for it AND more,  thats why Im contemplating on maybe getting out of IS, altogether, saving lots of irritation and wasting time uploading new stuff.

« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2011, 14:06 »
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SS and DT, makes up for it AND more,  thats why Im contemplating on maybe getting out of IS, altogether, saving lots of irritation and wasting time uploading new stuff.

ahahah days ago you told on IS forum that you do 500$ on a day! :P

lagereek

« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2011, 14:56 »
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SS and DT, makes up for it AND more,  thats why Im contemplating on maybe getting out of IS, altogether, saving lots of irritation and wasting time uploading new stuff.

ahahah days ago you told on IS forum that you do 500$ on a day! :P

Thats right but I said " on a bad day, "all in all" counting all the micros, Im an indie you know!  if you quote, you must get it right.

« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2011, 16:19 »
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I just hope it's not gonna get worse for them, because none of us independents want ppl like Lise, SJlocke at other agencies. As long as they're contained there's still a chance for us to make half decent money ;) . I'm not bothered that my earnings at IS are pathetic, remaining stagnant instead for rising, SS makes up the loss there ;)

I don't think that is going to happen. If you keep in mind that Getty buying istock was ALWAYS about gathering the cream of the crop and moving them over to Getty, and throwing the chaff away, you can see that all their moves so far are right on. Lise, sjlocke and others at the top will fit right into the Getty world. Contributors with small portfolios or anybody not immersing themselves in all-things-istock are useless to them and they would really prefer that you just take your toys and move to another sandbox (along with the small-time buyers too, apparently). I'm convinced that at some point soon istock will go bye-bye. If you stay and you don't make the cut to Getty, you go to Thinkstock.

One day I read that IS is rejecting everything, which would make sense. If you are newbie to photography, you're going to have a tough time getting in. If you are already at sjlocke level, you have a good shot of not getting rejections. Then recently I have read a thread where people are now saying EVERYTHING is getting accepted at IS. Which also makes sense...now they might be looking to build up the ThinkStock library, which is where all but the Getty material will go.

That's my two cents, anyway. Maybe I will be wrong, that's been known to happen.  ;)

« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2011, 16:53 »
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It boosted my average $/download significantly. I put all my best-earning stuff into P+ and expected 80% of dls to come from P+. At first, I was getting only 60%, that went on for a while, then a best match shift increased it to 80%, and more recently there seems to be a surge in sales of files with zero dls.
With P+ my earnings seem to be holding up, though the long slow slide in sales volume continues.

Slovenian

« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2011, 17:04 »
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I just hope it's not gonna get worse for them, because none of us independents want ppl like Lise, SJlocke at other agencies. As long as they're contained there's still a chance for us to make half decent money ;) . I'm not bothered that my earnings at IS are pathetic, remaining stagnant instead for rising, SS makes up the loss there ;)

I don't think that is going to happen. If you keep in mind that Getty buying istock was ALWAYS about gathering the cream of the crop and moving them over to Getty, and throwing the chaff away, you can see that all their moves so far are right on. Lise, sjlocke and others at the top will fit right into the Getty world. Contributors with small portfolios or anybody not immersing themselves in all-things-istock are useless to them and they would really prefer that you just take your toys and move to another sandbox (along with the small-time buyers too, apparently). I'm convinced that at some point soon istock will go bye-bye. If you stay and you don't make the cut to Getty, you go to Thinkstock.

One day I read that IS is rejecting everything, which would make sense. If you are newbie to photography, you're going to have a tough time getting in. If you are already at sjlocke level, you have a good shot of not getting rejections. Then recently I have read a thread where people are now saying EVERYTHING is getting accepted at IS. Which also makes sense...now they might be looking to build up the ThinkStock library, which is where all but the Getty material will go.

That's my two cents, anyway. Maybe I will be wrong, that's been known to happen.  ;)

That's an interesting view ;) . It could just happen, however I like the status quo and with all the trouble with PP sites the move isn't gonna happen soon. It could also explain why they are not making a new site since this one is obviously totally buggy and can't handle the traffic and meet industry standards really (for quite a long time now).

lagereek

« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2011, 01:26 »
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NO WAY!  Getty did NOT buy IS, to get some cream of the crop, they never do. Getty bought IS, in order to have full controle over them and later to either bury them or incorporate them in some sort of thing. Thats the way Getty have been operating since early 90s. Getty will ONLY buy to either hold them back or to bulldoze their way in.
I myself was sitting at a round table discussion at Stones in Camden-Town, London with plenty of other photographers at the time Getty bought Stones and believe me Getty didnt give a toss about some creame photographers, all they cared about was how to kill competition but NOT with top notch shooters or images. A shrt while later they stumbled on the Image-Bank.
Therse two buy-ups, was what put Getty on the map, without them, they wouldnt have a pot to piss in. It was in the days of Mark-Getty.

Having said this I can assure you, these guys! at least they did things in style, clever and with visions. The Getty/IS, guys of today?  not exactly of the same caliber.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 03:36 by lagereek »

« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2011, 04:08 »
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IS awful. The worst month in almost 2 years without stopping to upload images ... I have stopped rising. Before his rise was complicated offsetting gains, but now ...

Slovenian

« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2011, 04:17 »
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^^Are you using google translate? ;D

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2011, 04:38 »
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IS awful. The worst month in almost 2 years without stopping to upload images ... I have stopped rising. Before his rise was complicated offsetting gains, but now ...
Don't necessariy panic. It may be the notorious 'summer slump'. You may rise again.

Slovenian

« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2011, 04:52 »
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IS awful. The worst month in almost 2 years without stopping to upload images ... I have stopped rising. Before his rise was complicated offsetting gains, but now ...
Don't necessariy panic. It may be the notorious 'summer slump'. You may rise again.

Are you exclusives in a slump? So far I've mostly hear non-exclusives complaining. I've added more photos than usually, they weren't some BS shots just to fill up the limits and it didn't help. At all!

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2011, 05:42 »
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IS awful. The worst month in almost 2 years without stopping to upload images ... I have stopped rising. Before his rise was complicated offsetting gains, but now ...
Don't necessariy panic. It may be the notorious 'summer slump'. You may rise again.

Are you exclusives in a slump? So far I've mostly hear non-exclusives complaining. I've added more photos than usually, they weren't some BS shots just to fill up the limits and it didn't help. At all!
My first two weeks of July were fairly good (for me), but this past week was awful. I'm hoping it's just the Slump.

lagereek

« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2011, 07:42 »
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Funny this, exclusives always come with this BS, oh! its the summer slump, even worse, ebb and flow. Well its a fantastic agency that has summer slump and ebb and flow, all year around, isnt it?

whats next? earthquake, planecrash, worldwar III ?

« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2011, 08:26 »
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^^Are you using google translate? ;D

when I'm tired ;)

Don't necessariy panic. It may be the notorious 'summer slump'. You may rise again.

Thanks, but only summer in IS? Better month in 123RF (spectacular), and good in FT and Shutter... It is a bad year in IS, but now three months going down in IS. It is no accident. And they have gone down the commissions...
Sometimes I have the feeling to be a masochist :-[

Slovenian

« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2011, 08:31 »
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Make your priorities, I usually don't upload to the low earnears among the big 4, I just do it when I have to much time on my hands. So you could do the same with IS and not lose any sleep over it. They're pathetic anyway, nothing ever works that, I got just half of my retro payments, opened up support (CR?) ticket immediately, didn't get a reply yet. PP is all * up as well, no files getting transferred, no payments in the last 2 weekends after announcement by Adam etc. Calling them a bunch of amateurs would be a praise for them ;)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2011, 09:41 »
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Don't necessariy panic. It may be the notorious 'summer slump'. You may rise again.
Thanks, but only summer in IS? Better month in 123RF (spectacular), and good in FT and Shutter... It is a bad year in IS, but now three months going down in IS. It is no accident. And they have gone down the commissions...
Sometimes I have the feeling to be a masochist :-[
123 RF and Shutterstock seem to be (mainly?) subscription sites, so obviously their sales will be more steady as buyers make sure they get value from their subscriptions. I thought Fotolia was too, but hopping over there, it seems not.
In previous years, most (but not all) iStock subscribers have reported significant dips in sales in July and August. Generally the best months are October and November (from anecdotal evidence on the forums, and from a claim by Kelly Thomson, which wasn't borne out last year).
This year my sales were relatively (to previous years) poor from Jan - April, then rose in May until mid-July.
Who ever knows what's going on? Ebb and flow? Best Match? The Moon in the Seventh Sun?
You just have to do what feels best to you. As you're independent, there can't be much harm in iStock being one of the sites you upload to, but if you don't want to, as Sean would say, that's less competition for the rest of us.  ;)

« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2011, 16:06 »
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Don't necessariy panic. It may be the notorious 'summer slump'. You may rise again.
Thanks, but only summer in IS? Better month in 123RF (spectacular), and good in FT and Shutter... It is a bad year in IS, but now three months going down in IS. It is no accident. And they have gone down the commissions...
Sometimes I have the feeling to be a masochist :-[
123 RF and Shutterstock seem to be (mainly?) subscription sites, so obviously their sales will be more steady as buyers make sure they get value from their subscriptions. I thought Fotolia was too, but hopping over there, it seems not.
In previous years, most (but not all) iStock subscribers have reported significant dips in sales in July and August. Generally the best months are October and November (from anecdotal evidence on the forums, and from a claim by Kelly Thomson, which wasn't borne out last year).
This year my sales were relatively (to previous years) poor from Jan - April, then rose in May until mid-July.
Who ever knows what's going on? Ebb and flow? Best Match? The Moon in the Seventh Sun?
You just have to do what feels best to you. As you're independent, there can't be much harm in iStock being one of the sites you upload to, but if you don't want to, as Sean would say, that's less competition for the rest of us.  ;)

You are right. And that's what I do. Thanks for the tips, really.

To my microstock is a secondary experience, but very interesting. But I really like photography and enjoy learning with each shot and error. I admire people who devote themselves exclusively to microstock. It must be very hard, especially because it is unstable, and my intuition says continue to increase its will be more. I wish I I'm wrong.

« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2011, 18:24 »
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Make your priorities, I usually don't upload to the low earnears among the big 4, I just do it when I have to much time on my hands. So you could do the same with IS and not lose any sleep over it....

This is exactly what I do. IS is on the bottom of my uploading list, means I upload if I don't have anything better to do. I have uploaded a very few images since then. Why? They sell much-much less then for me as they did in 2007. And they especially do not sell the new uploads. Why to upload then?
I just realized that photo+ thing - I usually don't even log in to IS anymore just once per months to cash out my earnings. So I give it a try.

« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2011, 09:34 »
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My very best selling images (which are P+) have actually accelerated in DL's/month for example.
[/quote]

This is another way that exclusives are getting shafted by P+ and that exclusivity is pointless for anyone thinking about becoming one now. The P+ is a boost in best match placement IMO. so many more independants than exclusives all adding their top sellers to P+ crowds out the best sellers of exclusives.

No job growth in the US, no spending, no wonder buyers are exiting for the cheaper substitutes.

« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2011, 12:03 »
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My very best selling images (which are P+) have actually accelerated in DL's/month for example.

This is another way that exclusives are getting shafted by P+ and that exclusivity is pointless for anyone thinking about becoming one now. The P+ is a boost in best match placement IMO. so many more independants than exclusives all adding their top sellers to P+ crowds out the best sellers of exclusives.

No job growth in the US, no spending, no wonder buyers are exiting for the cheaper substitutes.

Not at all - the more independents put their images as P+, the better for Exclusives - it means the images are no longer cheaper than standard Exclusive prices, so they don't represent so much competition.

Exclusive best sellers can always be upped to E+, if they're good enough, or unique.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 12:05 by Gannet77 »

lisafx

« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2011, 12:24 »
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Not at all - the more independents put their images as P+, the better for Exclusives - it means the images are no longer cheaper than standard Exclusive prices, so they don't represent so much competition.

Exclusive best sellers can always be upped to E+, if they're good enough, or unique.

This was my take on it too.   I don't see how this is a threat to exclusives.  Quite the opposite, for the reason Gannet mentioned.

If there is a best match boost for P+, it must be minimal.  In most searches the vast majority of images in the front are still exclusive.  In fact I had hoped P+ would improve my search positions more than it has. 

Slovenian

« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2011, 08:18 »
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I guess this: Pay-as-you-go download    Sunday August 07, 2011, 08:27 PM    XXXLarge    Regular    7.24 is better than this :o : Pay-as-you-go download    Monday April 18, 2011, 06:26 AM    XXXLarge    Regular    1.75

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2011, 08:33 »
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If there is a best match boost for P+, it must be minimal.  In most searches the vast majority of images in the front are still exclusive.  In fact I had hoped P+ would improve my search positions more than it has. 
The promised best match boost for E+ never happened, and I'm not even sure that they made such a promise for P+ (?).
Knowing what an iStock promise is worth, they'd be better not to make them. Once (or more) bitten, several times shy.

« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2011, 08:57 »
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If there is a best match boost for P+, it must be minimal.  In most searches the vast majority of images in the front are still exclusive.  In fact I had hoped P+ would improve my search positions more than it has. 
The promised best match boost for E+ never happened, and I'm not even sure that they made such a promise for P+ (?).
Knowing what an iStock promise is worth, they'd be better not to make them. Once (or more) bitten, several times shy.

Certain search results in the default price slider order this weekend for me showed P+ file as the first image. If that isnt a boost due to the prices being the same as exclusives, i dont know what is.


 

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