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Author Topic: New MicroStock site concept -- need feedback  (Read 25363 times)

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« Reply #50 on: March 27, 2011, 20:40 »
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I'm not sure what you're improving upon here.  I mean, the existing sites market to all kinds of buyers, including apparel makers and cards and everything.  You haven't said anything about groundbreaking site ideas or how the site would be different for buyers.  Contributors are (relatively) easy to get - all you need to do is offer a high royalty rate, but if you can't back that up with buyers, it means nothing.  Or offer payment for uploads, but even that doesn't drag them in anymore.

There are plenty of alternatives out there.  I can google all day long and find microstock sites.  I'm not seeing anything different here.  And since you still keep the majority, you can still change things to benefit you in the end.  No surprise there.  Good luck if you have something hidden in your back pocket.

Who would you propose be the majority owner, if not the founder and the guy sticking his neck out?

I realize that there are a lot of microstock sites out there...and though I do have some ideas that I haven't disclosed (and won't until site is live), I also realize that there are no guarantees -- especially when it comes to business! 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 20:47 by eStockArt »


« Reply #51 on: March 27, 2011, 21:30 »
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Quote
From Sean:
So, your concept is socialist micro?  Seriously, you can't go in saying 'I'm here to reward the regular guy', because, to be honest, the 'big guys' are big because they make what sells.  For starters, just stick with the idea of a very modest, at least 50%, royalty for everyone.  Not that that will matter.  There are those who offer more that fail because the buyers aren't there.

There are plenty of "small and medium-sized contributors" who have images that sell...but it's tough when the "big guys" have flooded the site with thousands of images and everyone else gets pushed back in the search just from the shear volume.

I'm not sure why you imagine this would be any different.  Yuri comes in with 30K images, they sell, probably like they do on the other sites, he gets to "own" a majority of the minority of the "company", and the "regular guys" get what they normally get.

Sorry, I'm all for looking for new ideas that are different, but I'm not sure what the OP is trying to get here from us, or really, what he's offering that's any different.

« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2011, 22:03 »
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This business is not about the average contributors. It's about the talented contributors. The buyers like them the most.

If you can figure out a way to get Black Diamond / Diamond Exclusives and Independents then you might have something.

If you can't do that then it doesn't matter how you structure your business. You will be selling the same thing everyone else is selling. You need a compelling reason for buyers to change their buying habits.

« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2011, 00:05 »
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Since I am a newbie to the site, it's been difficult to quickly get a feel for the culture of the microstock contributor...but I am starting to get a feel for it -- and the desires of the group.

After jumping around on the site, trying to get a better overview of everything, I happened to run across the Contributors Collective.  I think a couple of you may have even mentioned it in this thread...and I was puzzled because I did not know what it was.  But after reading up on it, it seems you, as a community have already started the ball rolling on something very very similar to what I have in mind.

So with that, I have no inclination to pursue my project.  However, with my background as buyer and contributor -- as well as vast experience in printing, promotional products & fulfillment, I would very much like to remain a part of the community and perhaps get involved in the Collective from that angle...if it's something the group would be interested in.

If anyone cares to comment further, that's fine....but at this point I am going to consider this matter closed, and I am going to venture over to the other thread and see how this all pans out.

Thanks again, for the valuable feedback.

lisafx

« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2011, 17:24 »
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After jumping around on the site, trying to get a better overview of everything, I happened to run across the Contributors Collective.  I think a couple of you may have even mentioned it in this thread...and I was puzzled because I did not know what it was.  But after reading up on it, it seems you, as a community have already started the ball rolling on something very very similar to what I have in mind.

So with that, I have no inclination to pursue my project.  However, with my background as buyer and contributor -- as well as vast experience in printing, promotional products & fulfillment, I would very much like to remain a part of the community and perhaps get involved in the Collective from that angle...if it's something the group would be interested in.


I certainly hope you do stick around here.  As a designer and buyer, as well as artist, you bring a lot to the table and to the discussions.  We have too few designers/buyers on these forums, and it is a very useful perspective. 

I am sure the Contributor's Collective would love to hear any input you have to offer.  Your idea about marketing to apparel makers and other producers of printed products is very smart, and although I am sure Sean is right that printers shop the existing micros, I don't know that they have been specifically targeted as a buying demographic.  Probably huge potential there. 

« Reply #55 on: March 28, 2011, 17:45 »
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After jumping around on the site, trying to get a better overview of everything, I happened to run across the Contributors Collective.  I think a couple of you may have even mentioned it in this thread...and I was puzzled because I did not know what it was.  But after reading up on it, it seems you, as a community have already started the ball rolling on something very very similar to what I have in mind.

So with that, I have no inclination to pursue my project.  However, with my background as buyer and contributor -- as well as vast experience in printing, promotional products & fulfillment, I would very much like to remain a part of the community and perhaps get involved in the Collective from that angle...if it's something the group would be interested in.


I certainly hope you do stick around here.  As a designer and buyer, as well as artist, you bring a lot to the table and to the discussions.  We have too few designers/buyers on these forums, and it is a very useful perspective.  

I am sure the Contributor's Collective would love to hear any input you have to offer.  Your idea about marketing to apparel makers and other producers of printed products is very smart, and although I am sure Sean is right that printers shop the existing micros, I don't know that they have been specifically targeted as a buying demographic.  Probably huge potential there.  

Yes...I'll be sticking around.  And if for some reason the Contributor's Collective doesn't pan out -- I may jump back in.  But it's apparent that with the "digging around" I did that my project is not significantly different than others doing the same thing.  But...my angle of producing products in accordance with contributors and/or microstock images is something to be explored.

The most potential for the promotional print market lies with the vector artist.  And while I do not know the culture of the microstock contributor well as of yet, I definitely know the promo print buyer and suppliers.  There is no loyalty in this industry.  Most buyers go strictly on price, which forces the printer to "give away" artwork/design services.  I do not have any industry data, but I would almost guarantee that 75% or more of microstock vector sales end up on a t-shirt or other promo product somewhere, and the artist never sees the $100 license fee.  The promo market is way to cut-throat; you simply cannot afford to add $100 to the order, unless you are doing something like 500 shirts or more.  Most mom-pop shops print 50 to 100 pcs at a time.  They are buying the image for $20 bucks and printing 50 shirts...and they dare you to try and catch them doing it.

Fortunately for my business, we have a great in-house illustrator as well as a couple of freelance guys we use.  I can pay them to produce custom art for less than the $100 license.  If this were reduced to $40, vector artists would see their earnings skyrocket...I guarantee it.

With my cross-merchandising project; whether it's done in accordance with the Collective or through my own portal, we will guarantee the artist at least $40 every single time we produce a promotional product order.  Your images are already being used for these products, you are just not being compensated.  Large orders (500 or more)....would significantly increase the earnings.  

Vector artists are not the only ones who can benefit though. With new, higher-quality digital printing capabilities, short-run full-color t-shirts are becoming more popular.  There will need to be vector art (text, other graphics) added to them though -- but that can be done pretty simply.

If there are some photographers out there interested, I can lay out some of the types of images you would need to have available for this project.  Just let me know!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 17:47 by eStockArt »

« Reply #56 on: March 28, 2011, 17:48 »
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So instead of charging $150 for an EL and maybe missing some, you want to charge $40 and still miss some?

« Reply #57 on: March 28, 2011, 23:15 »
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So instead of charging $150 for an EL and maybe missing some, you want to charge $40 and still miss some?

 You are ignoring the fact that there are thousands of people every day buying vectors from microstocks at the standard rate, then getting t-shirts (or other products) printed. The vector artists are not missing "maybe some," they are missing "most."  If the EL is lowered to a sustainable figure, then the buyer will be compelled to pay it.  I would like to say that the promotional products industry is all about integrity, but unfortunately, there are too many people that will just take what they can get.  I know you'll probably come back and ask why they would pay $40 if they're not willing to pay $150. And I'll answer that by saying that they won't pay the $150 because to the small mom-pop print shop, that could represent almost their whole profit -- which would be about $200 on a 50 pc order.  However, if you make it $40, they will consider this "worth it."  They're first inclination is to make enough money to be able to eat, and integrity follows after that.  While many of us won't put a price on integrity, there are many that will.

« Reply #58 on: March 29, 2011, 05:47 »
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I got it now.  You want to lower prices to try and find the sweet spot where you feel gains will outweigh losses.

« Reply #59 on: March 29, 2011, 09:58 »
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Yes...I'll be sticking around.  And if for some reason the Contributor's Collective doesn't pan out -- I may jump back in.  

There is room for both.  If you believe in this project, go for it.  And there potentially 2 contributor collectives...Jeancliclac is working on one too.

« Reply #60 on: March 29, 2011, 11:36 »
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There is room for both.  If you believe in this project, go for it.  And there potentially 2 contributor collectives...Jeancliclac is working on one too.

I tend to agree. If you believe in the idea, then go for it. There's the contributor collective, but there are also several systems out there too like Clustershot, Photodeck, Avid Images, and Photoshelter. All of them are more contributor orientated which is nice to have. I'd probably try more of those out, but they don't offer support for vectors. There's always going to be competition out there, but it's nice to have competition that favors the contributors.

Microbius

« Reply #61 on: March 29, 2011, 13:57 »
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So instead of charging $150 for an EL and maybe missing some, you want to charge $40 and still miss some?

 You are ignoring the fact that there are thousands of people every day buying vectors from microstocks at the standard rate, then getting t-shirts (or other products) printed. The vector artists are not missing "maybe some," they are missing "most."  If the EL is lowered to a sustainable figure, then the buyer will be compelled to pay it.  I would like to say that the promotional products industry is all about integrity, but unfortunately, there are too many people that will just take what they can get.  I know you'll probably come back and ask why they would pay $40 if they're not willing to pay $150. And I'll answer that by saying that they won't pay the $150 because to the small mom-pop print shop, that could represent almost their whole profit -- which would be about $200 on a 50 pc order.  However, if you make it $40, they will consider this "worth it."  They're first inclination is to make enough money to be able to eat, and integrity follows after that.  While many of us won't put a price on integrity, there are many that will.
You've lost me now.
If they think they can get away with it and have no moral objection to not paying for the correct license it doesn't matter how low the price is for the right license, they will always pay for the cheapest one.
You'll just be lowering the commission we get from EL sales without generating any new sales to compensate for the lower price.

« Reply #62 on: March 29, 2011, 16:27 »
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You've lost me now.
If they think they can get away with it and have no moral objection to not paying for the correct license it doesn't matter how low the price is for the right license, they will always pay for the cheapest one.
You'll just be lowering the commission we get from EL sales without generating any new sales to compensate for the lower price.

No, I can see where Todd is coming from. As you probably remember in the 1980's Mrs Thatch reduced the highest rate of UK income tax down to 40% (from about 60% if I remember correctly). It was an economic experiment suggested by her advisers and it worked. Tax revenues actually increased as significantly fewer high earners sought tax avoidance measures.

Microbius

« Reply #63 on: March 30, 2011, 02:54 »
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You've lost me now.
If they think they can get away with it and have no moral objection to not paying for the correct license it doesn't matter how low the price is for the right license, they will always pay for the cheapest one.
You'll just be lowering the commission we get from EL sales without generating any new sales to compensate for the lower price.

No, I can see where Todd is coming from. As you probably remember in the 1980's Mrs Thatch reduced the highest rate of UK income tax down to 40% (from about 60% if I remember correctly). It was an economic experiment suggested by her advisers and it worked. Tax revenues actually increased as significantly fewer high earners sought tax avoidance measures.

But I would argue that the reason it worked is that the rate paid to the UK treasury suddenly became more favorable than the rate many high earners were paying overseas, so it simply made sense to pay the lower rate in the UK. What I don't believe happened is that they thought "we could get away with paying less, but lets be nice and pay our dues". The buyer will always want to pay the least they can get away, it's how prices are set in market.

« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2011, 05:31 »
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I'm sure one day someone will come up with the solution and we will all use a site that pays better commissions




Crossing my fingers :)


Google is ultimately an advertising agency. Everything that Google does is about driving traffic. Mostly they give stuff away. So are you hoping they will let you give away your pictures in exchange for some share of the ad revenue ? Who would be the advertisers on a free images site ?

No wait - hasn't the free images idea already been done. Isn't the best known now part of and presumably driving traffic for .... ?

« Reply #65 on: March 30, 2011, 06:20 »
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I'm sure one day someone will come up with the solution and we will all use a site that pays better commissions




Crossing my fingers :)


Google is ultimately an advertising agency. Everything that Google does is about driving traffic. Mostly they give stuff away. So are you hoping they will let you give away your pictures in exchange for some share of the ad revenue ? Who would be the advertisers on a free images site ?

No wait - hasn't the free images idea already been done. Isn't the best known now part of and presumably driving traffic for .... ?


I know, I'm just a big fan of Google and was hoping they could set up an agency that paid a fair share to its contributors. Surely they could wipe out the competition if they ever did. But as you say, they survive by giving stuff away, and I'm not interested in that scenario, of course.

« Reply #66 on: March 30, 2011, 07:01 »
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I think google could have a row of licensed images in their google images searches.  They could then link to a site with a bigger choice of licensed images.  Not many people are going to be interested in paying for a license for an image but with their huge traffic, I think it would work.

It would be even easier for microsoft to do this with bing, as Bill Gates owns Corbis and Veer.  I'm surprised this hasn't happened already.

Microbius

« Reply #67 on: March 30, 2011, 09:34 »
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I know, I'm just a big fan of Google and was hoping they could set up an agency that paid a fair share to its contributors. Surely they could wipe out the competition if they ever did. But as you say, they survive by giving stuff away, and I'm not interested in that scenario, of course.

Trust me, if Google ever set up an agency it will probably make the Getty board look like Mother Teresa, last time I checked they weren't even paying the artists that customize the logo for them.

« Reply #68 on: March 30, 2011, 09:52 »
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I think google could have a row of licensed images in their google images searches.  They could then link to a site with a bigger choice of licensed images.  Not many people are going to be interested in paying for a license for an image but with their huge traffic, I think it would work.

It would be even easier for microsoft to do this with bing, as Bill Gates owns Corbis and Veer.  I'm surprised this hasn't happened already.

You mean some image specific version of paid search ? Certainly they are not interested in anything which cannot be done with algorithms.

This is a bit off thread but I sometimes use Image Search as a way of searching for none image content. Let me explain:

I am good at search - but sometimes I am searching for something and there is so much spam, marketing and superfluous SEO manipulated content etc that I go over to image search instead. I often find that the site with the most relevant image is the one which will have the content I am looking for. Obviously this is only sometimes applicable.

I could see them doing something like TinEye but with the addition of a find similar option.

I also increasingly use Twitter for search.

« Reply #69 on: March 30, 2011, 16:07 »
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You've lost me now.
If they think they can get away with it and have no moral objection to not paying for the correct license it doesn't matter how low the price is for the right license, they will always pay for the cheapest one.
You'll just be lowering the commission we get from EL sales without generating any new sales to compensate for the lower price.

My point is that if the client can afford it, he will pay it.  He cannot afford $100 - $150 every time he wants to use a M'stock image for an order.  The orders are just profitable enough to do that.  And...he's not going to turn down a paying customer.  

I could be all wet, and all of you vector artists are seeing many EL's going into your pocket.  If so, then I've really misread it.  But I think I am right.  I seriously doubt if many of you (vector artists) are seeing much in the way of EL's...but please let me know.

And if you are not...what do you think the end-user is doing with the vector?  After all, you only really need vector art for screen printing -- and this type of printing is used for promotional products (t-shirts, caps, mugs, mousepads, magnets, golf towels, key chains, banners, etc), and signage.  (You can get by with digital/raster images for: offset (flyers, brochures, etc), flexography (magazines, stickers, decals, boxes, etc), gravure (magazines, publications,etc)...and so on)

So let's say a guy buys your image of a Pig wearing a chef hat, and puts it on his sign.  Well...it turned out so good that he decides he wants to use it on his menus.  Then, he decides that his waitresses will look good in t-shirts...and so on, and so on.  And all you got was $20 when he downloaded the image to use for signs.  (Actually, $4-$5 was your cut). Vectors last forever...and you can't stop it.

You've got to remember...your images are going to all different types of people:  print shops, graphic dept's (other artists), business owners, individuals

And on top of all this, the EL is not even clearly pushed on IS or other MS sites.  This needs to be the "rule," not the exception.  
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 16:13 by eStockArt »

« Reply #70 on: March 30, 2011, 16:11 »
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I got it now.  You want to lower prices to try and find the sweet spot where you feel gains will outweigh losses.

Yes, and I am pretty confident that $40 - $50 range will significantly increase earnings for the artists.  But you got me to thinking, perhaps some sort of scale would work better.  Starting with EL at $40 for "this," then increasing from there based on the use.  After all, photographic images are priced on a scale...X-small all the way up to XL.  Fortunately, for the Photographer, the image itself can be controlled.  Unfortunately for the vector artist, you cannot control it.  You have to rely on the integrity of the buyer.  But give them more choices and some flexibility, and I truly believe earnings will increase.

« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2011, 16:18 »
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There is room for both.  If you believe in this project, go for it.  And there potentially 2 contributor collectives...Jeancliclac is working on one too.

I tend to agree. If you believe in the idea, then go for it. There's the contributor collective, but there are also several systems out there too like Clustershot, Photodeck, Avid Images, and Photoshelter. All of them are more contributor orientated which is nice to have. I'd probably try more of those out, but they don't offer support for vectors. There's always going to be competition out there, but it's nice to have competition that favors the contributors.

Well, I've received a lot of PM's suggesting I stay in the game with this idea, so I may just do that.  Perhaps my project would focus (no pun intended) more on vectors rather than photography, at least from the outset.

« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2011, 16:27 »
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"So let's say a guy buys your image of a Pig wearing a chef hat, and puts it on his sign.  Well...it turned out so good that he decides he wants to use it on his menus.  Then, he decides that his waitresses will look good in t-shirts...and so on, and so on.  And all you got was $20 when he downloaded the image to use for signs.  (Actually, $4-$5 was your cut). Vectors last forever...and you can't stop it."

Now I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make.  All those uses are covered under the regular license.

« Reply #73 on: March 30, 2011, 16:49 »
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I don't get many EL's.  I used to get more from fotolia but they have slowed down.  Istock and Dreamstime occasionally have some EL's but I'm sure they should sell more.  Shutterstock sell more for me than the other sites but I only make $28 commission.  If you could sell more for $40 and give me at least $28 commission, I would be interested.

« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2011, 17:14 »
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"So let's say a guy buys your image of a Pig wearing a chef hat, and puts it on his sign.  Well...it turned out so good that he decides he wants to use it on his menus.  Then, he decides that his waitresses will look good in t-shirts...and so on, and so on.  And all you got was $20 when he downloaded the image to use for signs.  (Actually, $4-$5 was your cut). Vectors last forever...and you can't stop it."

Now I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make.  All those uses are covered under the regular license.

T-shirt use requires an EL...that's my point.  You are not going to get paid for it because he bought it to use on a sign (or menus)...and he liked it so much he decides to use it on shirts.  He's not going to log back in and buy the EL.  But...if the EL was $40 and there was a marketing push that shows client what the EL is actually for, then there's a good chance he might say "hey, I might want to get t-shirts too, so I'll go ahead and get the EL."

Also, with cross-merchandising, he can buy the shirts right there on the site, and the Artist is automatically paid.  No EL to purchase.


 

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