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Author Topic: Will it be sensible to join istock now?  (Read 3643 times)

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« on: February 09, 2013, 17:30 »
I am thinking of joining istock. I am reading the threads in various forums including MSG and at istock as well. Some people at istock say, it is perfectly fine while the members here are offering different views. So, that creates a situation which keeps new members away from istock.

What is the advice of seniors here. Should I wait further or I should join istock now?


  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 17:40 »
No one else can tell you. They do seem to be the Evil Empire at the moment, but that honour does tend to move around over time.
There are a lot of haters here, and with reason; I don't however regard it as in any way a personal relationship, and ATM I'm staying there.

« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 17:47 »
go ahead, they have 15% waiting for you, tomorrow might be 10%, go go go ;D

« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 19:11 »
On the other hand, I made more last year with 30+ images on IS @ 15% than 300 images @ 50% on 123..   :o

« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 19:26 »
If you would like to contribute your hard-earned money to a company that is non-communicative, doesn't respect the work of their contributors and doesn't care about the contributors themselves, then by all means join iStock.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 19:30 by jsmithzz »

« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 19:32 »
heywoody, Performance of your 36 images on istock is impressive. 200 downloads. That's a good number (I  may not know what is real good).

My portfolio numbers are:
Dreamstime 6
Depositephotos 44
Fotolia 7
123rf 18
bigstock 6
Canstock 0

Regardless to say, I am yet to see any sale. So, I may be partially blind to what is good and how it performs. I have to rely on the advice of members here.

My main focus right now is to build portfolio with atleast 100+ images to go.  I am uploading 20+ images per week. Dreamstime allows me 23 per week. So, my target is to fill sites to review with 23 images. It takes close to one week to get the accepted content to go fully online.

I am still undecided to go on istock. I dont know whether I am missing the bus or just by luck avoiding the journey to neverland.

« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 21:00 »
If you would like to contribute your hard-earned money to a company that is non-communicative, doesn't respect the work of their contributors and doesn't care about the contributors themselves, then by all means join iStock.

I wouldn't disagree with any of this.  However, business is about spending as little as possible to make a much as possible and I don't believe any site actually cares about its contributors - IS and FT are just a lot more blatant whereas SS, for example, understand that alienating people is not good business.  Still, if you are selling it seems sensible to sell where you get the best return.  I completely understand that those depending on this for a living and who are very exposed at IS because of the google deal need to limit that exposure as much as possible.

« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 22:10 »
I think you'd learn a lot by getting your work accepted at the top 4 sites. Once you have 500 images online at those you can start to think about whether you want to stay at any of them long term. Think of it as a free training course - your time is obviously what you put in, so no cash, but still an investment.

« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 23:05 »
I depends on how deeply you plan to get involved in microstock photography.  If you have a long range plan to work toward significant income, diversity is probably a good idea.  If you want to enjoy selling  photos on-line and have limited time to spend it may be better to go exclusive a t iStock or somewhere else.  At least at IStock, being exclusive pays far more.  As mentioned by others, this business is starting to be run more like a business, in other words the short term bottom line being more important than long term contributor relations.  The issues at iStock have been poorly handled but I think there are and will  be significant issues at every agency as mergers and buyouts inevitably occur. There are certainly many excellent contributors but in the view of the agencies, there are dozens if not hundred of times more potential future contributors  willing to be "milked" for quite a while.  Supply is outrageously high and going up rapidly, only a foolish business does not realize that.

« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 02:53 »
If you are in microstock for the money, it wouldn't be wise to skip one of the biggest market places. I see SS is missing in your list as well, I think you need to try both IS and SS yourself to figure out what works best for you. You will learn lots of technical stuff on the way helping your own development as well.

If you have a problem with having your images distributed all over the internet at low prices, the whole microstock market isn't the right thing for you anyways.  ;)

« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 03:11 »
He's limiting his uploads according to what the lowest limit is - what's the weekly allowance on iStock for a newbie?

I stopped recommending that anybody should join iS when I compared their new member upload limits with the performance of my new files there. It seemed to me that it has been structured so that it is almost impossible for anybody to build a big enough portfolio and enough sales to get to the exclusive qualification level in any sort of reasonable time unless they are a Yuri or a Sean.

I can't see why anybody would want to slave to get half or more of 20 or 30 uploads a month accepted, so that they had 100 files online and 50 sales at the end of a year.

It looks to me as if the door is effectively shut to new contributors at iStock but I could be misinterpreting things. Maybe newbies get 20 or 30 sales a year from every file accepted, so they are up to 1,000 sales by the end of a year. I certainly don't get figures like that. Mine are more like one sale per file per year (frightning, really!) and I only get a reasonable-looking return because I have thousands of files already there. Of course, I've never chased the most popular genres because I'd rather do my own thing than copy what other people have done.

« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 03:16 »
It just occured to me that by making it so difficult, iStock will build up a gigantic number of newbies among whom gazillions of downloads will be spread with the newbies having to wait years to claim their payout, if they ever get there. It's a great way of introducing an effective zero-percent commission (which I'm sure is a cherished ideal/target in the Getty CFOs department).

« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 04:13 »
It looks to me as if the door is effectively shut to new contributors at iStock but I could be misinterpreting things.

You could say that for years already. But limiting the uploads (I think it's 18/week for newbies right now) doesn't look too hard to me. I doubt that any newbie can come up with 70 good stock images per month. Limiting the upload slots also helps to focus on getting up to speed with technical stuff and think about saleability of your images.

On the other hand, if you're good in what you do, you could upload about 900 images in your first year. Even getting only 60% accepted it would allow you to build a significant portfolio size to gather downloads.

Obviously the "newbies never reach payout level" would be valid even more for many sites that just don't have enough buyers to get significant amounts of sales for anyone, even those uploading hundreds of images. I would guess all agencies are having thousands of accounts holding lots of images and royalties even though the contributor has given up on microstock long time ago.

« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 04:40 »
Many years ago I put an analysis of the percentages reaching various levels up in an iStock thread (in the days when lots of stuff was allowed) and it was deleted almost instantly, so I presume it was right and considered a secret. It was based on the data DT used to provide, which allowed you to find out exactly how many contributors had achieved any chosen number of downloads. It's a statistical curve, of course, pretty much an inverse exponential (if I remember the terms correctly), so it probably applied just as well to iS as to DT and something like 80-90% of contributors had not reached a payout. And I figured that for ever 10 or 20 who finally scrabbled up to the payout, another 80 or 90 signed up, keeping the overall percentages the same.  Limiting uploads and tweaks to the search could be used to adjust the curve a bit.

Someone who was good at maths could work out from that curve exactly what percentage of commissions due will remain unpaid for different minimum payout levels. And I'm certain that all the major agencies have someone good at maths in their finance departments.

I didn't know they were allowing that many uploads. Wasn't it down around 5 or 6 a week at one time?

It is years ago (when my sales were a lot better than they are now)  that I decided the door was shut and it was wasting people's time to advise them to push on it, it's nothing to do with the more recent shenanigans.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 04:43 by BaldricksTrousers »

« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2013, 12:26 »
.... My portfolio numbers are:
Dreamstime 6
Depositephotos 44
Fotolia 7
123rf 18
bigstock 6
Canstock 0 ....

You know, with around 400 less than stellar performing images, I consider mid and low tier sites just not worth bothering with (have given 123 a shot but as I'm above payout now will disable everything at the end of the month).  As someone mentioned, you need to look at SS as well as IS - if they are a bit tougher in terms of reviews it will make you up your game and at least they have the customer volumes that give whatever you upload a good chance of selling. 

« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2013, 18:40 »
Thanks Dear All for your opinions and advice. I certainly appreciate your time and efforts to help me.

I will try to get approved at istock in next few days. I will not upload anything there until I see situation is improving with them.  If the situation improves with them, I will be ready with the batches of images.

For learning point of view, It will be worth of learning why it rejects my images or why it accepts for reviewing an application to join them. I will limit my quest to that level for now. Nobody knows the future. Readiness is the key.


  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2013, 18:47 »
Great attitude, good plan.
Good luck whatever you eventually decide.


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