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Author Topic: Are "low Earner" microstocks worth uploading ?  (Read 6743 times)

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« on: June 06, 2015, 01:21 »
+2
Hi all,
I am quite new in microstock business but even my portfolio is more like mainstream (landscape, holiday, travel) I made it already into the "big earners" with some dozens pictures.

I also learned that uploading and keywording to 12 agencies is a lot of work - so I will use picworkflow soon to reduce my workload.

There comes my question now - there are so many so called "low earner" sites in their portfolio that I ask myself if it's woth the effort registering to them and uploading there too. I would go from 12 to 40+ agencies - but how about my earnings?

I am focussed on landscape/tourism like fotos from the philippines - maybe in next year I can also look into specialising to get more content people look for - but I will maybe upload 200+ pictures a year.
So how about my workload compared to my earnings on those "low earners"?

Ok I can do it and then tell my experiences in 3 years ;) but maybe some of you already have done this and can advise me.

My goal is to earn maybe 250$/month in 3+ years from now.


« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 01:50 »
+12
Hi all,
I am quite new in microstock business but even my portfolio is more like mainstream (landscape, holiday, travel) I made it already into the "big earners" with some dozens pictures.

I also learned that uploading and keywording to 12 agencies is a lot of work - so I will use picworkflow soon to reduce my workload.

There comes my question now - there are so many so called "low earner" sites in their portfolio that I ask myself if it's woth the effort registering to them and uploading there too. I would go from 12 to 40+ agencies - but how about my earnings?

I am focussed on landscape/tourism like fotos from the philippines - maybe in next year I can also look into specialising to get more content people look for - but I will maybe upload 200+ pictures a year.
So how about my workload compared to my earnings on those "low earners"?

Ok I can do it and then tell my experiences in 3 years ;) but maybe some of you already have done this and can advise me.

My goal is to earn maybe 250$/month in 3+ years from now.

I have between 2,000 and 3,000 images uploaded to 13 agencies. Of which three not even made a payout within a year after uploading. So in my opinion those agencies aren't worth uploading to.

Also comparing the royalties they are making, some of them provide around 1% or even less of my total royalties. So I would have to upload to 20 more agencies to make 20% (or less) more in royalties. Again, my personal assessment is it's not worth my time.

I plan to reduce the number of agencies in the mid term rather than find new ones.

« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2015, 03:19 »
+2
Just upload daily or or each week to top tiers. Upload once a month or after 6months to all others.
So, please do not tell about much work for uploading. Go to bed or drink 4 coffee and after that your upload is done.
The most work is to create your photos and add keywords. All agencies read metadata.
If you say uploading is too hard work, you do this part of your job WRONG!

Microstock Poll Results:
Bigstock + Canstock + Veer = similar to 123rf earnings.
Wouldn`t you love to double your 123rf earnings? This is the way how you can do it. This is how i do it.
I have a payout at pixta, at colourbox and others. Why should i miss it. They do not get my best images but up to 80% of all my files.
But.. if you pay for MB uploading you should think twice about it  ;D
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 03:21 by Maximilian »

« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2015, 03:28 »
+1
Similar to Maximilian. Only last time i deleted images from such places like YAY. Other low earners don't deserve daily attention, but why not to collect what they finally generated?

« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 03:30 »
0
-
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 03:41 by Maximilian »

« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2015, 08:36 »
+4
low earners are worthless unless they each make at least 5% of your earnings.

« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2015, 08:58 »
+1
If you're already on 12 then that might be enough.  Like others have said, if uploading is expensive then the low earners won't be worth it, but if it is free then it might be worth the small amount of extra effort.  Nobody else can tell you what is best for you - whether your particular images will sell depends on many unknown factors.  What I do is upload a few hundred images to a new agency and see what happens - if they get decent sales then they go on the regular upload list, if not then I might upload occasionally or probably will just stop.

Based on my experience, I would not bother with Crestock, Panthermedia, Cutcaster, YAY or Veer.  The latter used to be good but nowadays has died unfortunately.  GL no longer takes uploads so that's not an option.  I like featurepics - sales are very slow, but they pay 50% and I do get the occasional payout.  I've signed up for several others but could never be bothered to actually submit anything so have no practical experience.

« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 11:15 »
+3
It depends on the size and performance of your portfolio.
With a large portfolio 1% of income is becoming quite significant.
If you are making a couple hundreds $ per month uploading to low earners is not worth it.

« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2015, 19:10 »
+20
In the past, many of us gave our images to 'low earners' because they were new, and we hoped they'd grow into serious competition to the big agencies while holding some sort of line on price.   That didn't happen - the small agencies stayed small, didn't differentiate themselves in meaningful ways, and in fact competed mainly on price.  Some of them are now the worst offenders, with deceptive giveaway programs and shadowy 'partner' networks.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 08:53 by stockastic »

« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2015, 20:19 »
+3
In the past, many of us gave our images to 'low earners' because they were new, and we hoped they'd grow into meaningful competition to the big agencies while holding some sort of line on price.   That didn't happen - the small agencies stayed small, didn't differentiate themselves in meaningful ways, and in fact competed mainly on price.  Some of them are now the worst offenders, with deceptive giveaway programs and shadowy 'partner' networks.

I agree with the above and have come to view non earners to be loose ends. Some of those loose ends have dozens of dubious "partner sites" with bizarre pricing, account/copyright names removed, insufficient thumb nails... and more.  I've begun removing material from sites that fit that description. 

« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2015, 22:17 »
+8
I say if you have less than 5-10k images it is a waste of time uploading to the little sites.  You may never make payout,  but if you do have a few sales, they end up keeping 100% if you don't get to payout.  Even if you have big strong port some sites will only earn maybe $50-100 per year.  Not worth the time uploading.

« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2015, 04:15 »
+2
No.

« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2015, 11:20 »
0
I think Bigstock and Canstock are. Personally, I don't know why Bigstock is under low earners. I do better than than Istock, Dreamstime and 123RF. It's No. 3 for me behind Shutterstock and Fotolia.

« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2015, 14:25 »
+1
I wouldn't consider contributing to a site that I didn't expect to make a payout every month.  RM or sites that pay $100's per sale would be different but none of the microstock sites.  There is no way the effort is worth it to get a payout once a year.

Tror

« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2015, 15:37 »
+1
I wouldn't consider contributing to a site that I didn't expect to make a payout every month.  RM or sites that pay $100's per sale would be different but none of the microstock sites.  There is no way the effort is worth it to get a payout once a year.

Yes it is. Some of those sites got very successful (e.g. Canva) and WE HAVE TO STRENGTHEN COMPETITION.

« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2015, 17:02 »
+1
 
I wouldn't consider contributing to a site that I didn't expect to make a payout every month.  RM or sites that pay $100's per sale would be different but none of the microstock sites.  There is no way the effort is worth it to get a payout once a year.

If we only submitted to places we would definitely get monthly payouts, we'd submit nowhere.

I think it matters how much you intend to submit over the next year and several years. Of course you can't predict how the industry or your interests in it will change but why invest time and energy submitting to only a few places and then realize you've been leaving money on the table all this time?  If uploading is low cost (in money and time away from something else you need to do), cut back; if not, take the risk.

FWIW, we are on all sites with numbers on the survey. In 13 months, we've had (or have now earned) payouts from 7 of them. Of course, SS payouts are frequent but still not definitely every month. Pond5 payouts are nearly monthly but they have a low threshold. Otherwise, we haven't yet qualified for more than one payout from anywhere else on the list. Once we hit payment from Deposit, I am likely to pull images. I am not sending new uploads there at the moment.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 17:11 by Stock Wife »

« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2015, 02:33 »
+8
I wouldn't consider contributing to a site that I didn't expect to make a payout every month.  RM or sites that pay $100's per sale would be different but none of the microstock sites.  There is no way the effort is worth it to get a payout once a year.

That is most likely due to you being used to consider it "normal" to upload through a proprietary software, click on every second keyword to define its specific meaning for the term, upload new model releases with each single image etc. That kind of "effort" indeed isn't worth my time, even when I get paid more regularly.

There are agencies which make it a matter of minutes to upload 20, 50 or 100 images at once. For those I don't see why I wouldn't send my files to them. There are others which make it a bit more complicated but none come even close to iStock.

The only condition to me is that there must be a realistic expectation to "eventually" get paid and not just collect one or two dollars a month for a $100 payout limit. Otherwise I basically would be submitting my images for free as I would never get a chance to cash out my money. And my personal limit to this expectation is to be able to reach payout level at least once a year.

« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2015, 03:53 »
+4
I was considering dropping all the low earners that seems as though they would never reach payout, and then suddenly one of them surprised me and became my third best earner two months in a row. So, it might be worthwhile to hang on to some potential earners.

« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2015, 07:10 »
+2
I wouldn't consider contributing to a site that I didn't expect to make a payout every month.  RM or sites that pay $100's per sale would be different but none of the microstock sites.  There is no way the effort is worth it to get a payout once a year.

That is most likely due to you being used to consider it "normal" to upload through a proprietary software, click on every second keyword to define its specific meaning for the term, upload new model releases with each single image etc. That kind of "effort" indeed isn't worth my time, even when I get paid more regularly.

There are agencies which make it a matter of minutes to upload 20, 50 or 100 images at once. For those I don't see why I wouldn't send my files to them. There are others which make it a bit more complicated but none come even close to iStock.

The only condition to me is that there must be a realistic expectation to "eventually" get paid and not just collect one or two dollars a month for a $100 payout limit. Otherwise I basically would be submitting my images for free as I would never get a chance to cash out my money. And my personal limit to this expectation is to be able to reach payout level at least once a year.
If I'm uploading to a site I need to know what is going on on that site.  If I upload to 20 sites I need to know what partners each has, best practices for each site, what's changing within the terms for each site.  It's a lot more involved than just uploading and forgetting about it.  The time to upload is only a very small part of the equation.  I used to be on many sites so I know what is involved in keeping up with that.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 07:13 by tickstock »

« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2015, 02:22 »
+6
It partly depends how easy they are to upload to and you may find you do well on some - I upload to some if I have time but always prioritise getting stuff on the higher earners.

« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2015, 06:37 »
0
I generally add to the big four as I go along, and about half a dozen of middle tier at the start of the month.

I added a few more after seeing a table on the Backyard Silver blog. Basically, I looked at the table and added to my list any new agencies that were easy to upload to. Too early to say how they do though.

http://www.backyardsilver.com/2014/11/stock-agencies-support/

« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2015, 09:40 »
+1
I say if you have less than 5-10k images it is a waste of time uploading to the little sites.  You may never make payout,  but if you do have a few sales, they end up keeping 100% if you don't get to payout.  Even if you have big strong port some sites will only earn maybe $50-100 per year.  Not worth the time uploading.

Agree 1000%... PixelBytes knows.  If you use batch uploading software or services, then you may as well submit everywhere.  There's not much loss of time, especially if you have unlimited bandwidth and high upload speeds.  But don't waste your time ftp-ing and submitting all of these files manually until your porfolio is rather large.  Maybe once a year I will throw my portfolio at a newer or smaller agency where I think I can pick up an extra $50-100 / month, but sometimes that much doesn't even pan out.  It's like gambling, except your time is the risk.  There is no financial loss to try a new marketplace. 

« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2015, 09:47 »
+2
I say if you have less than 5-10k images it is a waste of time uploading to the little sites.  You may never make payout,  but if you do have a few sales, they end up keeping 100% if you don't get to payout.  Even if you have big strong port some sites will only earn maybe $50-100 per year.  Not worth the time uploading.

Agree 1000%... PixelBytes knows.  If you use batch uploading software or services, then you may as well submit everywhere.  There's not much loss of time, especially if you have unlimited bandwidth and high upload speeds.  But don't waste your time ftp-ing and submitting all of these files manually until your porfolio is rather large.  Maybe once a year I will throw my portfolio at a newer or smaller agency where I think I can pick up an extra $50-100 / month, but sometimes that much doesn't even pan out.  It's like gambling, except your time is the risk.  There is no financial loss to try a new marketplace.
Of course there is financial risk.  Lots of those small sites are sketchy with opaque reporting and dodgy partners.  Remember albumo or DP?  Or somewhere like Stockbo that was only entering the business to sell it off to the highest bidder once they got enough content.  If you are uploading to many sites you have to be vigilant or you might get burned or you might get burned even if you are vigilant.  How many people read and understand the terms of agreement on all 20 or 30 sites?  I know not many do considering how many people are clueless about the terms for the top few sites.

« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2015, 17:00 »
+12
You guys who feel you might as well give you photos to everyone, everywhere, should consider that some of these small sites will fail, possibly putting their owners in a serious financial bind.  I think it's only a matter of time before one of these 'low earners' goes dark overnight, and the owner stops responding.  And he might be facing an enormous temptation to quietly sell a portable hard drive containing all your images to someone even less ethical than himself.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 13:09 by stockastic »

« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2015, 17:28 »
+4
You guys who feel you might as well give you photos to everyone, everywhere, should consider that some of these small sites will fail, possibly putting their owners in a serious financial bind.  I think it's only a matter of time before one of these 'low earners' dark overnight, and the owner stops responding.  And he might be facing an enormous temptation to quietly sell a portable hard drive containing all your images to someone even less ethical than himself.

This is my biggest worry about "supporting start ups". It really can be a double edged sword.


 

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