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This year we sent a couple of guys around the world to meet some of the Envato community, including Italian microstocker Ollyi, who is the #2 over on PhotoDune.

Anyhow thought you guys might like to see the trailer we just put out which features a couple of shots of him! Plus I haven't been to these forums in forever :-)

There will be a full Envato Story video on Ollyi next month, so stay tuned!

PhotoDune / 1 Million Photos on PhotoDune
« on: February 28, 2012, 20:44 »
It's been seven months since we launched PhotoDune out of private beta, and I'm excited to announce today that we have now passed a million photos on PhotoDune.

When we set out to create PhotoDune, our intention was always to build a viable option for purchasing photos for our existing buying community. A big part of that goal is having enough depth for buyers to find what they need. While there's nothing specifically magic about a million photos, it feels like a solid indicator that our library is getting to a good size.

Sales on the site have grown since I last posted in November, but the growth hasn't kept pace with the breakneck library expansion. This of course means there's been some sales dilution. This is a normal part of growing a photo library, and not an unexpected one. From here our next focuses are on image quality, more development of the marketplace featureset and lots of sales growth. I'd also expect a slowdown in library growth rate as we certainly aren't planning on making a run on any of the big photo libraries for sheer size!

I'd like to thank all the photographers who've had the confidence in us to upload over the last seven months. It's been an enlightening experience building this marketplace, and I'm looking forward this year to applying a lot of our learnings from PhotoDune back on the rest of our network of marketplaces.

As many of you know PhotoDune is just one of nine Envato Marketplaces and while we've seen some good growth, it's still a tiny fraction of the overall ecosystem. We're close to pushing past 1.5 million members which is pretty amazing since it was only four months ago that we passed a million. Sales growth across our network of marketplaces also continues to climb really, really fast. With PhotoDune having a firm spot in the line-up, it's a stronger group of marketplaces than ever before!

Thank you again to all our photographers who've helped make PhotoDune a success! We'll be working hard to improve and deliver more and better value back to you in the coming months and years! We really appreciate your faith in us!

Envato / PhotoDune 50% Credit Back Promo is ... Back in january
« on: January 02, 2012, 18:53 »
Hey folks, we're starting to ramp up again after the Christmas/NY vacation, hope all you MSG'ers had a lovely new years!

I'm stopping by just to mention that as of a few minutes ago we've announced another month of our successful November promo where we gave 50% credit back to buyers who purchased through PhotoDune. You can see the announcement here:

Anyhow I'll be back with more updates later in the month once I've caught up with the deluge of email in my inbox :( Meantime hope things in microstock land are going well!

Envato / PhotoDune Non-ex Rate Increase from 25% to 33%
« on: November 21, 2011, 15:25 »
Hello MSG'ers!

A few months ago when we launched PhotoDune, I promised here that we would be discussing our non-exclusive rates after the three month mark had passed. And I'm happy to announce that the Envato board met, and came to a decision to increase the non-exclusive rates up from 25% to 33%. This will go into effect on December 1st and will be across all of the nine Envato Marketplaces, which includes of course PhotoDune. This will be the fourth rate increase and first non-exclusive rate change in our five year history!

As I've mentioned previously our marketplaces are heavily slanted towards exclusive content. In fact less than 5% of our sales come from non-exclusive authors. Since we believe that any rate we offer one marketplace should be the same across all the marketplaces, this influences the size of the increment.

This bump will mean that photo contributors will be earning about a third more off each sale, and you should really be able to feel the difference in your monthly earnings on PhotoDune and our other marketplaces.

You can read about the full announcement over on Envato Notes (our community blog)

PhotoDune Sales, Items and General Update

Gunnar reminded me the other day that last month I missed out on giving an update about our progress. PhotoDune has continued to zip along and the stats keep getting bigger. I'm still in awe of how many photos are out there in the world of microstock photography!

We now have over 400,000 photos up for sale, with the last three months adding 40k, 70k and 100k new photos respectively. So a good solid trend seems to be occurring with contributions growing very quickly.

We now have around 500 authors with at least one sale, and our top author Yuri has just passed his 5000th sale. In fact, in case you didnt know we have an author ladder where you can see how different authors are stacking up. Its quite fun to watch as the sales have been mounting up -

On the subject of unit sales, the total PhotoDune sales count for our five months is:

  • July Private Beta - 1,760
  • August - 4,191
  • September - 7,369
  • October - 8,793 + 6,396 bundle sales
  • November - 14,908

(For November, I've divided the current number by the number of days passed and then multiplied by 30. So it's extrapolated out on a simple base. I think it may actually be higher as we keep getting bigger with each passing week).
We've been doing lots of marketing for the new site with a successful photo and graphic bundle in October that sold close to $130,000 worth. We also ran a big series of photo effects tutorials over on our Photoshop blog Psdtuts+ showcasing what you can do with PhotoDune images. And right now we're running a promotion where buyers get 50% of their November spend back as marketplace credit to spend again in December.

Here on MSG we've gotten some great feedback (as well as some healthy criticism!) and in case you hadn't seen I thought I'd share a couple of quotes from MSG photographers:

"... I am very pleased with PDune. They are the most innovative of all the newer sites. They're creatively and aggressively marketing their image collection." - LisaFX (Full Comment -

"... PhotoDune has done me proud, especially for a new agency. Thanks to that bundle, they're my third biggest earner for the year despite having only five months of earnings, and my ninth biggest earner since I started with microstock. Nobody has come out of the gate with numbers like that." - Disorderly (Full Comment -

So hooray for some kind words from Lisa and Disorderly :-)

Stuff We're Still Working On

Of course we're still n00bs in the world of stock photography and we have *tons* of stuff to learn. Right now some of the things we are working on, or are planning to work on are:

  • Our reviewers are getting slammed again thanks to the consistent increases in submissions. Just when we thought we were on top of the content, it's amped up all over again. Our valiant Microstock Solutions team is wrestling with the queue as we speak, and I'm certain we'll get it back down in short order.
  • We had a spate of upload problems about a week ago due in part to PhotoDune, but largely due to the rest of the marketplaces growing as well. It's been another huge year at Envato, and the platform just keeps levelling up in size. Unfortunately the upload and performance problems were timed with an upgrade to our support system which was a case of super bad timing. So while the support team was busy learning our new system, we hit them with a whole bunch of authors wondering what was happening with uploads. Thankfully the problems are mostly resolved and Drew and his support team pulled some big days and are in control of support again
  • I've been seeing a lot of feedback about the way we handle model releases. This is clearly an area we need to work on and is going to need some attention in the new year.

And of course we're always working on more marketing to drive the site along and sell our awesome pool of content. Recently one of our team (Fuad, who is actually my Dad!) went to the Microstock Expo ( and polled some of the contributors attending the conference about what was most important for a new agency. The near unanimous response was that marketing of images trumped everything else. This has really cemented in our minds that marketing is the most important thing we can be doing for PhotoDune. Happily it's one of our strengths :)

We're really proud to have jumped into the big world of stock photography, and we're extremely excited by the results so far. We hope that this non-exclusive rate bump will reward those of you who have already chosen to upload with PhotoDune and that we'll be able to continue to deliver good returns to you. Thank you to you guys for giving us a try, we really appreciate your time and input.

Envato / PhotoDune / GraphicRiver Bundle - $128,000 of sales
« on: October 28, 2011, 00:05 »
I completely forgot to come and report back about our big PhotoDune/GraphicRiver bundle that we ran earlier in October. I think I mentioned it a month ago that we were about to run it.

As you may recall, we split all our bundles 50% with authors, and the authors then split their half according to the ticket price of their items. So things worth more, get a larger cut.

Well the "Graphic Designer Bundle" which featured 42 photos and a whole heap of stuff from GraphicRiver, sold $128,000 in the space of 5 days.

Each photo that was included netted its contributor between $630 and $880 depending on the size that was included. There were about 30 different contributors who had photos in the bundle. You can see the photos and contributors here: I think overall it was pretty successful!

We run bundles every 2 months, but with different marketing spins. For example the next one is for game developers so is all audio, Unity3D, low poly 3d models etc. However some time next year I'd anticipate that photos will make another appearance in a bundle, and of course every year on our birthday we put out a birthday bundle which is a sampler of all our sites.

Anyhow, just thought people might be interested to know how the bundles work, and how much they can pay :-)

Envato / PhotoDune 50% Credit Back on all Photo Purchases in Nov
« on: October 26, 2011, 21:24 »
We're slowly but steadily ramping our promotion for PhotoDune, including our biggest promotion to date which I'm just launching now. Every buyer who spends money on PhotoDune in November gets 50% of their spend back as Credit in December to spend again. Contributors get their usual commissions on all purchases. So we should hopefully get a bit of a spike in sales!

Also we're publishing a whole heap of tutorials about Photo Effects over on Psdtuts using photos from PhotoDune. Some of them are pretty cool, check them out at My favourite so far is this one

Anyhow, lots more to come :-)

Envato / PhotoDune September Stats & Update
« on: October 03, 2011, 01:47 »
Last month I got lots of good feedback about posting up some stats and updates, so here goes again!

Things Going Well!

  • Sales continue to grow. In July (private beta) we had 1700, in August we had 4200 and in September we posted up 7200 sales! I'm sure the big guys will still get a chuckle out of our numbers, but I must admit I'm pretty excited! And we've had a lot of good feedback from our buyers about the quality of images which is great!
  • Last month we had 150 authors with at least 1 sale, this month we've almost doubled that number up to 265 authors who've had a sale!
  • New items per day have swelled up into the thousands, and should increase more (see below about the rate limit change!)
  • Last month I noted reviewing as something that needed more work. Well thanks to the hard work of Jarel our review manager and his fantastic team at MicrostockSolutions (MSS), we have really amped up our review capabilities and team size, and are now getting through three times as many files a day.
  • We seem to be establishing some early trends on what our buying audience is interested in. Check out our Popular Files ( page. Solarseven really seems to have nailed our market, and image for image outsells everyone on PhotoDune by an enormous margin! He ranks #10 on our Top Authors for PhotoDune (, despite having a portfolio of just 235 images! A good lesson on how to do well on PhotoDune it would appear!

Things We Need to Work/Think On!

  • Uploading with Model Releases - We've had some complaints about our upload process when model releases are involved. We've fixed a few bugs, but there are some underlying differences in how we do things on PhotoDune. I need to figure out if it's a case of getting out better info about our process, or changing it. Either ways - it needs work! :-)
  • We've had quite a bit of discussion about our non-exclusive rates here on MSG, and that's still something on the discussion table over here, so no word just yet!

... And Two Big Changes:

(1) Extended License pricing increase
Here on Microstockgroup we've had a lot of people voice their concern about our Extended License pricing. This is a combination of a low pricing multiple, and a different approach to ext. licensing. Along with that feedback, we contacted a number of top authors to gauge their input before further reviewing it.

As you may have realised we offer extended licenses of different image sizes. This is different from most marketplaces which offer just the largest size with an extended license. Personally I think it's kind of neat to have many tiers because different customers have different needs. Someone wanting to sell the photo on a postcard for instance needs a large print-ready resolution photo. Whereas someone making an iPhone app will just need a 640x960 size.

For our extended license pricing we apply a multiple to the regular image price. Previously that multiple was 5x, we've now revised it upwards to 8x.

This means if you need an extended license on the largest size we offer you are paying around $72 - which is fairly standard for the industry. However if you are a buyer looking for just the small size you are paying upwards of just $8. Of course for that price you get a *tiny* sized image!

I think that some photographers may still groan at offering *any* sort of extended license for $8, and of course we still have a simple opt-out for extended licensing. However personally I think with this revision it fits better into the industry standards while continuing to offer something new to buyers.

As you will find, we're big fans of gathering information and then making decisions. So we will continue to gauge this new price point to see how it performs, and then will revisit the decision in a couple of months.

(2) Increasing from 50 submissions p/day to 250 p/day

We previously had an artificial submission limit of 50 photos per day to ensure we didn't crumble under the load of resources and reviewing. Two months in and we're feeling more confident and we've now increased that limit way up to 250 images per day. I imagine this is going to yield a much faster library growth, and of course is a bit more pleasant for photographers as an upload experience!

Of course this also means we are opening the floodgates to some extent, so we'll be watching closely our review times to make sure we don't move the bottleneck somewhere new :-)

And Next Month

Next month we kick off a really cool GraphicRiver/PhotoDune bundle which will feature a lot of our current photographers. As you may know we share revenue on our bundles at a 50-50 split regardless of exclusivity. Bundles are very popular with our buyers and have sold up to $200,000 worth in a matter of days. But primarily they are a way for us to drive new buyers to check out contributor content. So I'm pretty excited about this bundle as it will showcase some of the best PhotoDune content to our massive pool of buyers!

Onwards and upwards!

Hope you all had a good month as well!

Envato / PhotoDune August Stats and Update
« on: September 01, 2011, 19:53 »
Hello Microstockgrouper's  :)

I thought I'd stop in and report on how PhotoDune is going. I wrote up some stuff for our own PD forums and thought MSG might like to see it too!

In previous threads there has been a lot of questions raised over our pricing and rates, and as I've mentioned we're planning to re-evaluate both after a few months of being live. In the meantime, here's how PhotoDune is going!

Things Going Well

  • Sales are climbing, our first month out of private beta saw sales increase more than double, from 1700 sales to 4200 sales for the month. Small still, but a good trajectory!
  • We've passed 150 authors with approved items on the site, you can see the list ordered by sales here on our Top Authors page - Yuri is still dominating, that guy is a machine! And MSG's Leaf is up at #7  ;D
  • The library has been growing by about 750 a day which in the wider world of microstock is not much, but for us just starting is lots!
  • We had some performance problems in the upload queue, but after a lot of hard work, we seem to have solved them making uploads much smoother
  • We hit 750,000 pageviews last month, almost double the prior month!
  • Search traffic is zooming upwards with 2000 visits a day flowing in already

And one that I'm sure Leaf in particular will be interested in: sent over 1000 visits!

Things We Need to Work On

  • Interestingly extended license sales are super tiny, despite the low pricing. This is interesting because the main driver of the low pricing is higher sales, so as I mentioned above this will go into our retro discussions when we hit the first quarter mark
  • We're learning fast about how fast items pile up for review :-) Right now our review queue sits at about 5000 with 2000 being processed per day, meaning an average of about 2.5 working days to get a file approved. This is pretty so-so and we're working to improve this!
  • We have a bunch of search and interface improvements that are still slowly rolling out. Of course this is something that will continue to the end of time really :-)

And finally we're starting to ramp up our marketing push slowly but surely, so I hope I'll be able to stop in next month and report more stats for anyone here interested  ;)

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