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Author Topic: Does submitting images to middle and lower tier sites actually reduce income?  (Read 3021 times)

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oliverjw

  • Microstock Newbie

« on: January 31, 2013, 16:31 »
+2
Okay - so I recently decided that I would start trying to earn some money to support my hobby and allow me to upgrade my equipment and maybe pay for a couple of classes over at RMSP in the future.  I have been concentrating on building up my portfolio up at iStock and have recently been submitting images to Fotolia, Dreamstime because of all this stuff about iStock/Getty/Google/Microsoft/EndofWorld came to my attention in the forums honestly scared the ever loving bejesus out of me and I dont want to put all of my eggs in a single basket.

I was debating on applying to the middle tier stock agencies but am worried about the potential of cannibalizing my sales at the top tier sites.  Is this actually a valid concern if I am submitting largely the same images across all of the sites, or is it really more about just getting your stuff up on as many sites as humanly possible?  My current RPI at iStock is about 0.17 (only have 1 month of data though) which isn't quite what I was hoping for - but then again - I am still learning what stock photography actually is (I dont really have an eye for it yet). 

Thanks again for anyones help.


« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 17:04 »
0
I don't think anyone really knows.  You'll get lots of opinions.

I'd say the issue is more the erosion of prices.  It makes no sense to submit to small new agencies that are only trying to compete on price. 

« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 17:11 »
0
Who in the top tier is giving you such a great deal that you can't get a better deal with the lower ranked sites?

P.S. My top two sites this month aren't ranked on the chart, so you never really know.

tab62

« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 17:11 »
0
Yes, Maybe, No.   


Some site pay over 50% commission thus a good thing to have your images on their site and others pay very low commission thus maybe not upload to them. But then what about the top tier paying from 16 to 20% isn't that hurting your bottom line?

« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 17:42 »
+3
I dont think anyone really knows.
Personally I doubt it would affect anything.
With the millions of images in a site I would imagine that 99% of a buyers needs are met by the one site and so would think most buyers have 1, maybe 2 accounts and that is all they use.  I would guess the majority of buyers on the middle/lower tiered sites are quite happy using that site and would not see a need to go to the top tier sites very often. My guess is that it is predominately different customers at different sites.
(I also think that if your images are that unique that buyers are going to searching through all the sites to specifically find yours those images should be RM.)

CD123

« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 18:11 »
+3
What Phil said +
IMO it is only contributors with oversize egos who believe that a buyer will, after finding his/her image between the millions of others, go to the trouble to shop around to find his or her (extremely valuable and obviously totally unique ;)) image cheaper somewhere else (and with prices what they are, to possibly save 5 or 10 cents). Maybe the top 3% contributors in the world have to worry about that.

You have a 1000 in 1 chance of making much more money by contributing to more sites, than you will ever have on loosing (any) money. 

« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 18:30 »
0
I agree with the others.  Nobody really knows, but most buyers probably only have accounts on one or two sites and are not gong to spend their time searching multiple sites to save a few pennies so the more you are on the better.

To your list I would add SS, BS and CS.  If you're bothered by low RPDL I would skip DP and especially 123 with their recent royalty cuts.  The other low earners probably won't make you much until you have a lot of images unless they're really good.

oliverjw

  • Microstock Newbie

« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 20:50 »
0
All of that makes a hell of a lot of sense.  Thanks to all of you for taking the time to respond to my question - it really helps a newbie like me who is just getting his feet wet.

I had read somewhere that most designers used 2-3 sites however, most tended to be loyal to only one.  It would make sense since time is money that a designer will have a single go to site and not spend too much time shopping around for a lower cost image from elsewhere.  Its not like I go to Bing if Google search fails to return a result I want, so why would a designer do anything differently?

I will be sure to post how I do at some point once I have evaluated my numbers once I get past the point of being excited when I make a sale.  :-)


« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 13:04 »
0
I am new here, but would have to agree with what others have said. 
I sometimes wonder how much revenue I have lost out on because I early on constrained myself to some of the top sites.  I still have a lot of expansion to do, but its also interesting to note that some of the "low earners" are the ones that give me payouts every month, while a few mid and top tier do not.  I guess the bigger the fish net the better.

CD123

« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 13:30 »
0
I am new here, but would have to agree with what others have said. 
I sometimes wonder how much revenue I have lost out on because I early on constrained myself to some of the top sites.  I still have a lot of expansion to do, but its also interesting to note that some of the "low earners" are the ones that give me payouts every month, while a few mid and top tier do not.  I guess the bigger the fish net the better.
Every month, I get payout from at least one of the smaller ones. Thus they equal one big one for me. If you are one of the big fish with 5000-10000 images, it might not be worth your trouble, but till you get there, I think most will benefit from that wider net you are talking about.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 13:51 »
0
Oliverjw

I'm a strong proponent of spreading your images around many sites. Although it is hard to spot direct cause and effect, I have continued to grow my revenue at the big sites (and maintain a similar amount of earnings per online file) even though I have added smaller sites during the past 2 years. I publish my earnings each month on my blog and I did a big analysis of 2012 performance in early January. I think that analysis of earnings per file does demonstrate that adding images to new sites doesn't much impact earnings of the initial ones.

It is also hard to predict which file sell on which sites - my best seller on Shutterstock, is not a great seller on Dreamstime, say, and vice versa.

Steve

« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 13:58 »
0
my personal stats talking to image buyers is very low - i.e. still in line with "nobody knows for sure" above - but those few buyers I ever talked to had between mentioned using between 1 and 3 sites (e.g. one of my neighbours uses Fotolia and Dreamstime).

So it seems that selling in 10-20 different sites we sell to different groups of buyers most of the time... But again, this isn't proven.

« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2013, 14:48 »
0
hi oliverjw,

At the beginning I did upload all my images to many agencies. But now I understand it's not worth it (but it's different for all). And now I'm concentrating only on SS,IS(GoogleDrive deal a big pain for all contributors),FT,BS,DT,CS. I'm doing only 3d images

gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2013, 15:14 »
0
does demonstrate that adding images to new sites doesn't much impact earnings of the initial ones.

It is also hard to predict which file sell on which sites - my best seller on Shutterstock, is not a great seller on Dreamstime, say, and vice versa.

Steve

excellent point. each site does seem to have a certain style and thus must attract designers who fit that type.  I sell Aussie outback pics at 123 and nowhere else. I also have an architect image that SS and iS rejected but sells well at 123. health and beauty does better at SS than anywhere else (for me)... you get the point!


EmberMike

« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2013, 15:46 »
0
...I was debating on applying to the middle tier stock agencies but am worried about the potential of cannibalizing my sales at the top tier sites...

What defines Top Tier, Middle, etc., at least in the terms used here at MSG to rank the sites, "Top" doesn't always mean "best paying". It isn't really cannibalizing to work with the lower tier sites if they pay better per sale. Is it cannibalizing if I submit to GL (a low tier site) and make $3.60 per sale when I'm making less than that per sale at istock? I don't think so.

Matter of fact, you'll find that there are often far better deals out there than what the top tier sites offer. I'd even go so far as to say that in most cases, we'd all make a lot more money if we did "cannibalize" says from the top tier sites by getting more sales at some of the lower tier sites that pay better per sale.

« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2013, 15:53 »
0
What defines Top Tier, Middle, etc., at least in the terms used here at MSG to rank the sites, "Top" doesn't always mean "best paying". It isn't really cannibalizing to work with the lower tier sites if they pay better per sale. Is it cannibalizing if I submit to GL (a low tier site) and make $3.60 per sale when I'm making less than that per sale at istock? I don't think so.

Matter of fact, you'll find that there are often far better deals out there than what the top tier sites offer. I'd even go so far as to say that in most cases, we'd all make a lot more money if we did "cannibalize" says from the top tier sites by getting more sales at some of the lower tier sites that pay better per sale.

So, I'll mark you down in the "pro-cannibalism" camp.  ;D

EmberMike

« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2013, 16:02 »
0
So, I'll mark you down in the "pro-cannibalism" camp.  ;D

Yes, all for it. Tastes like chicken.

;)



« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2013, 19:26 »
0
i'll deal with any site that
1. is relatively painless to submit to
2. pays reasonably with reasonable sales

for istock fails on both counts, but i keep about 10 other accounts open

portfolios are far too varied to make any general statement

the only experimental evidence i have for multiple sites comes from selling maps & comics on amazon and ebay, where multiple listings of the same item can sell at very different prices (even on the same site) -- buyers can be lazy and dont always find the lowest price

oliverjw

  • Microstock Newbie

« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 14:16 »
0
Thanks again for all of the advice everyone.  It is incredibly helpful for a newbie like me.  I am in the process of applying to several other agencies and will spend february standardizing my keyword structure in lightroom (should massively reduce the amount of time I spend key wording).  Thankfully my image library is super small and I am generally only able to put up images that I shot a month or so earlier. 

I think if my end game is to provide a financial means to upgrade my equipment, then there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't cast as wide a net as possible - especially if the prevailing thought is that designers are largely loyal to a single site and do not shop around.  Even if they do - then it is possible to get equal income from other agencies as compared to IS which has an incredibly low RPD in comparison to almost all other agencies that I have looked at so far.

Additionally, I have already noted the differences between acceptance criteria at different agencies.  For example - FT denied 38 of 40 submitted files that were accepted by IS, while DT accepted 38 of 40 including several that IS didn't accept as well.  I can see that I have quite a bit to learn.

Thanks again for all of your advice and help.  It is really great to know that this community exists and is so willing to share their thoughts and opinions.


 

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