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Messages - chromaco

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Image Sleuth / Re: Oh dear Canstock tut tut
« on: January 26, 2017, 10:39 »
Thanks Dallas... gotta love those girls sports!

@justanotherphotographer - Thanks again for the heads up!

I miss the old days when illustrators would chime in and contribute everyday. I learned a lot from you guys. I wish you all the best with whatever you are doing now.

Image Sleuth / Re: Oh dear Canstock tut tut
« on: January 25, 2017, 13:27 »
Seems like lots of my counterparts have moved on. Kind of wondered where you guys all went.

I haven't stopped creating images I'm just more particular about what I do with them. The second half of my portfolio is only available on my own sites. I hate uploading and have found that I prefer 1 sale at $14.75 over 52 sales at $0.28. 51 less people to give my images away for free. It seems that if people pay a decent amount for an image they are far less likely to want to give it to other people for free.
Sales at the micros are continually dropping but my sites are covering the difference. Making roughly the same amount now as 3 years ago. Haven't uploaded anywhere in over a year.

I heard creative market is good but they didn't like my style.

Image Sleuth / Re: Oh dear Canstock tut tut
« on: January 25, 2017, 13:14 »
Update: Heard back from Canstock. They wanted some timestamp info. I actually have those files on Canstock too but the image of the "eyes" was in unfinished and I didn't know it. Sometimes Canstock gets a bad rap but I've had nothing but a good experience with them. They have always been among my better selling sites. Still are.

Update: Canstock dealt with it. Feel a bit bad for the contributor, I'm sure he was just trying to feed his family but it was fairly obvious where the images came from. Ironic that he chose to give away an image that he knew he didn't originate. Oh well.

Image Sleuth / Re: Oh dear Canstock tut tut
« on: January 25, 2017, 12:09 »
Yeah... well I've pretty much stopped uploading to any micros because of stuff like this. I'm having better results elsewhere.

To you illustrators that have been around for a while. (say 2012 or earlier) Just wondering... if you are still uploading new images is it because you find that it is still worth it or because you don't have any better options?

Image Sleuth / Re: Oh dear Canstock tut tut
« on: January 25, 2017, 11:32 »
Yep, Those eyes are inspired by my image. I've reached out to Canstock. Thanks for the heads up.

General Stock Discussion / Re: PayPal Upgrade
« on: September 14, 2015, 12:51 »
I just spent about 45 minutes on the line with Paypal Tech support about my legacy sites. They told me this has to do with browsers and not so much the sites themselves. Modern browsers will work and outdated browsers may not. I wasn't completely convinced so I took it one step further and had tech support run a test purchase in sandbox mode. Sandbox mode is already upgraded so any purchases made in sandbox will represent what will happen after the change. His test purchase on my legacy site ran fine with no error messages so he assures me that there will be no problems on October 1st. The files were delivered and the download e-mails all came across correctly.

Might be worth running a test on your own sites in sandbox mode just for piece of mind.

Based on my conversations with Paypal and Bluehost I'm 70% confident my legacy sites will still work on Oct 1st. Still I don't like to leave things to chance so I am building backup sites via grfx and hopefully new symbiostock* as well so I can transfer over if I need to.

*If anyone has experience with Vectors on the new symbiostock could you chime in and let me know how it is working for you? I have grfx sites but I would like to hedge my bets with a second platform as well. I tried to set up a symbiostock site this weekend and it looks great for photos but I couldn't figure out how to get the eps files to work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Selling Stock Direct / Bluehost phishing email!
« on: May 23, 2015, 19:19 »
Looks legit but it isn't!  Call them directly instead clicking on any links!
Regarding a 4012 error.
Just a heads up.

Newbie Discussion / Re: Hello! Newbie Introduction
« on: May 04, 2015, 13:56 »
Welcome. Would you be willing to post links to the blogs that say microstock is easy?  I find it hard to believe anyone believes this anymore. Although I wouldn't exactly categorize keywording as difficult it certainly isn't fun or quick as you have already found out. You can make money. Even good money but not overnight and not easily. If you are going to go down this road you should commit to it for at least a few months or better yet a year or more. Otherwise you are just wasting your time.

General Stock Discussion / Re: April 2015 Earnings
« on: May 01, 2015, 18:03 »
Great month from Toonvectors!  These guys are usually pretty solid for me but sales about doubled in relatively week month. I don't usually participate in sales threads but these guys deserved a shout out. 70% commissions and now competing with dreamstime and 123 in commissions. These guys are worth looking into if you are an illustrator.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 26, 2015, 23:53 »
Leo has agreed to remove the grfx message from the latest update. The current update will result in a site that was exactly like it has been for over a year. No functional changes have been made to Leo's legacy theme by any recent updates. He has also agreed to maintain his legacy theme for those of us that would prefer not to change our existing sites. Future updates to the legacy theme will have branding removed and legacy sites will no longer carry the Symbio name. They will continue to function precisely as they have done for the last year.

It should be very easy for Robin to release a version of the legacy theme that he would control the updates for. Anyone who would like to go this route and have Robin be responsible for their updates and future support should let Robin know so that he can release and support his own version. The process for this should be as easy as switching out the themes.

Anyone who would like to convert to the new symbiostock from the grfx supported legacy theme will be able to do so at any time including future legacy updates.

Functionality and support for legacy sites will happen under the grfx umbrella but legacy sites will have zero affiliation with grfx other than support.

In other words if you choose to do nothing, your sites will continue to work as they always have and continue to be supported.

You can get ahold of Leo at www.grfx.co. He will help you sort it out.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 25, 2015, 20:30 »
I am so tired of the hints and the guesses and the games.  It's like a bad divorce. You get the house, I get the car and nobody wins. 

The unspoken implication seems to be that nothing would stop anyone from uploading photos to Leo's version but photographers would not be part of the universal search and there is no built in function for model releases.

Robin has said that his version will support a variety of file types including jpg, tiff, ping and a few more but no word on any kind of universal search.

And pity the poor artist who works in multiple media.  I guess they are forced to split their portfolio or look elsewhere for a solution.

You really have four choices here.
1) If you are unhappy with your site and want to go it alone. Pick a converter and upgrade to any theme you like.
2) If you are unhappy with your site and want a universal search choose the option that works for your files. I also believe I read that Robin's version will eventually handle video. For multi-media I would recommend holding off of anything until the new symbiostock is ready. From what I understand this may be the best choice.
3) If you are happy with your site. Don't do anything and wait for a bit. There is no indication that legacy sites will stop working anytime soon. This is the option that I am choosing.
4) If you are an illustrator, consider the grfx hosted option or free plugin and create an additional site without the worry of losing any SEO juice. This is also what I have chosen.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 25, 2015, 19:57 »
I just checked all three of my sites. None of them required a captcha to login.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 25, 2015, 19:24 »
It sounds like both converters work for both media. Leos is done and is working. As far as I can tell Robin's is in beta. Leo's version is not allowed to create a universal search for photos. I was under the impression that Robin's was not supposed to support illustrators but from what I'm reading elsewhere that impression is not apparently an exactly accurate interpretation of the final contract. So in short although Leo was supposed to get the illustrators and Robin was supposed to get the photographers I believe people who choose the new symbiostock will be able to send both media types. Grfx will only take illustrations in its eventual universal search.

So the real question is what you really want for the future. If you want to go it alone either converter will most likely work for you. If you want a universal search you will want to weigh and consider which approach will best serve your images.

This information is what I have collected personally by reading all three forums and few conversations with Leo. I have not spoken to Robin regarding any of this so please be aware that while I am trying to enlighten the situation my information might not be entirely accurate. If anything I am saying is incorrect please feel free to correct me and I will edit this post.

Edited to remove what I have decided was a biased and poorly chosen set of words.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 25, 2015, 08:14 »
Well forum skills have never really been his strong suit have they? At least he is consistent in that regard. I freaked out last night when I read this too. I still have three legacy sites that work for me. Leo has assured me that he is willing to help legacy owners if they need it.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 25, 2015, 08:00 »
I can't comment on that because I dont know what caused the dissolution. Obviously Leo wanted out bad enough that he was willing to give up 3 years worth of branding and relationships.

Symbiostock / Re: Legacy Symbiostock updates
« on: April 25, 2015, 07:38 »
I don't really understand how it came about but obviously the two of them could not agree on the future of symbiostock. The way I understand it is this. Leo gets the software he had been developing to upgrade the original theme for the last year or so and Robin gets the name. Both entities can build off of legacy programming but Leo is contractually obligated not to offer future services to photographers. So this is what I would recommend. If you are legacy site owner and it breaks or you are having problems I think Leo is more than happy to help. If you are an illustrator looking to move forward GRFX is your branch. If you are a photographer looking to move forward then Robin will probably be who you need to deal with.

Hi Stacy. Leo said he would be happy to walk you through it. It should be seemless and another site owner went through the process on his own yesterday without an issue. However, if you are like me nothing ever goes completely right. Usually because I don't follow the directions. Regardless Leo is here to help. I'll send you a pm with his contact info.

Although I still have three symbiostock sites and probably will for quite a while I couldn't agree more. They are now completely different even if they share the same genesis. They should be treated that way. Nevertheless there are illustrators out there with legacy sites. They needed to be made aware that there is an option for them to upgrade as well.

Photographers will not find it useful since it does not support property/model releases.

Is this the only reason why it's not for photographers?

Then I don't understand.

Because Releases normally do not need to be shown to the end customer, they are there to protect the photographer. Agencies demand to see Releases because they do not trust photographers to have them done correctly.
But when you are selling direct, there is no agency - hence no need to upload and manage releases anywhere (still the need to have them on file somewhere in your home or office, but that does not affect the website you're selling through).
The only thing a customer will be interested in is to see whether MR / PR is available for a specific photo. A little check box when uploading a photo, a little text to show the customer.

What am I missing?

It looks like your not missing anything. Here is grfx workflow:
  • Upload image.
  • Uploaded image is processed manually or by server queue.
  • Metadata is extracted, turned into a stock image based on presets/defaults.
  • (Optional) you modify prices / licenses of image.
  • Image becomes available as a specialized woocommerce product.
grfx itself is highly intentioned toward graphic artists and illustrators, but of course its open source and freely usable...
Our illustrator services are optional of course. We keep a market advantage by employing open source on the same philosophy as Blender 3d or Wordpress itself.
I cannot stress it enough though - our position in indi-stock is of biggest relevance here. We simply are not serving microstockers. Bringing your work into grfx in itself makes it indi-stock. You've just started your climb out of a dying trend.  8)

still confused -- if lack of model releases is the only thing keeping out photographers, why couldn't grfx be used by photographers who don't USE releases?

This is not the only reason. There is an agreement. GRFX is for Illustrators. New Symbiostock is for Photographers. If you read between the lines it is fairly clear.

Off Topic / Re: Google favoring mobile-friendly websites!
« on: April 23, 2015, 17:01 »
The way I read the e-mail I got regarding my original site built in 2009 was that ONLY mobile searches would be affected by the downgrade. But I am not confident in this enough to bank on it. And yes people do buy from their phones because I get e-mails from customers who can't figure out how to get their images on their phone. It doesn't matter if I prefer to use a computer, there are a lot of people who do use their phones/pads and I really don't want to lose those customers because I refuse to adapt. FWIW those people are usually the end user who find the image via a google search, purchase it,  and then send it to their printer.


How do you envision the future landscape for the indies?
If a photographer has also some illustrations, should he set up one site on grfx.com and another with photos only on Symbiostock?

Hi Les. My own experience has determined that multiple personal sites are very beneficial if you do it correctly. I current have 7 and every one of the sites over 90 days old are out performing all of the lower tier micros and about half of the middle tier. But you can't just dump your images on each site. You should have multiple sites with different focus and...(I can't stress this enough) unique content for each site.
So yes I think multiple sites are a good idea.
So if you are looking to build a illustration site the grfx free plugin added to a theme of your choice would be a great solution. That's what I just did. Except for the domain name from godaddy it didn't cost me a thing. Blue host already allows for multiple domains in the hosting plan and I already had a theme I liked.

As far as grfx hosted, you kind of need to have a very good grasp on your illustration portfolio. You need to know which of your images and or styles sell the best. Those are the images that grfx wants to add firepower to. If you are confident in your best illustrations and know they will sell the hosted option is a great solution. Grfx is about bringing together the very best collection of illustrators and the very best of their illustrations. If this describes you then absolutely get involved with the hosted side of grfx. If you are unsure or just starting to build your illustration port stick with the free plugin so you don't feel like you are paying for something that you aren't benefitting from.

So I woke up to this thread this morning. It's been pretty clear for quite some time that I am a huge advocate of self hosting. For those of you who have been paying attention, myself and a handful of other serious illustrators have been beta testing GRFX for Leo. In the interest of full disclosure, although I am friends with Leo I have no financial involvement with this project whatsoever other than selling my own work.

Now to my point... forgive me Leo but you have done a piss-poor job of explaining GRFX!
This is what it is about.

In short, GRFX is a self hosted option that includes a central search structured specifically to sell raster illustrations, vectors, and 3d illustrations. It has a unique approach based on quality over quantity with a focus on highly optimizing the very best images in an artists portfolio.
Leo has set this all up for a ridiculously low monthly fee.

What you get.
The GRFX image processing plugin that automatically watermarks, resizes, and creates product pages for your images. It also recognizes accompanying files like .eps and can handle add on files like .zip and others.
Your own site hosted for you with a theme, plugins, and sales platform built in.
A theme that is built for specifically for selling illustrations, with stats, sales tracking, woo-commerce tax benefits, sliders, and SEO optimization.
All of your images tied into a central search engine which for immediate future* directs customers to your own site which you keep 100% of the sale. (minus any paypal or other merchant fees)
* Ultimately the central search will perform the sales itself which will allow customers to buy multiple images from different artists at the same time. When this is implemented a small (compared to existing agencies) commission will be assessed. You will still keep 100% of any sales made directly on your own site.
A site that can be set up and running in less than 2 hours. Yes a functional site almost immediately. You can be uploading in less than 1 hour but plan on about 3-4 hours to fill out the pertinent functional information, build slider art, adjust menus, and other aesthetic items.
Tech support and a community to help you build your site, optimize your images, and in general solve any problems you might have.

What you don't have to do
Figure out, search for, and buy a domain name.
Research a hosting provider and deal with any c-panel admin headaches.
Contract and pay for your own hosting.
Find a theme that actually works, find/buy plugins that don't mess up the theme, or do any coding.
Spend hours upon hours trying to figure out why your site doesn't look very good.

Oh and by the way... if you do want to deal with all of these headaches yourself, Leo is offering the GRFX plugin for free. It should work with any woo-commerce capable theme.

If you are an illustrator who does fairly significant sales with any of the micro's this should be something you should seriously consider or at the very least look into.

Yes, the plugin along with woo-commerce also works for physical items like tees, posters etc. And other digital items like zip files and fonts. Lots to like here.

As another option to this plugin, he is also building a plug and play system for those of you who don't want to spend a bunch of time building a site. Maybe he can come in here and clarify but I believe it includes hosting and a central search engine for a small monthly fee. These would still be individual sites which you can control but are all tied together for more of an agency feel. I tested it last night and I was uploading images in about 15 minutes. He is still working on the aesthetic of these hosted sites but I will keep you in the loop as I progress with mine.

I'm planning on doing both options because although I have success with my own sites I really like the idea of pooling resources with other illustrators to create a one stop shop for customers while still maintaining a very high percentage of the sale.

Guys, I just played with this for a bit. Leo has something pretty cool here. If you are an illustrator looking for another option you might want to send him a note. Its still early but it is certainly worth finding out about.

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