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Topics - djpadavona

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Symbiostock - Technical Support / Image Pages with No Images
« on: September 18, 2013, 08:39 »
Edit: Deleted the images which failed to generate a Preview Image

I've tried both FTP upload, and form upload. Neither generates a preview image. Any ideas? I'm pretty much at the limit of my patience trying to get images to upload properly under this theme.

Here's another Symbiostock network promotion article I put together this morning, with a focus on sources of food photography -


I encourage more people to start writing quick posts like this. It took me no more than 20 minutes to put together. Start by promoting your work, then mix in the work of a few network friends, and create a post that might be helpful to designers/bloggers looking for affordable photos in a category. And once you've written it, make sure you post it to a few social networks to get it some attention.

Other topics can include hot-button topics such as the way X agency treats its contributors...and by the way here are 5 artist direct download sites so you can support your fellow artists rather than X agency. Whatever encourages you to write, go for it.

As always my door is open if anyone has questions on writing promo pieces like this. Just shoot me a PM or post a reply here.

Symbiostock - Development Area / Pages - Browsing Bug
« on: July 28, 2013, 10:55 »
I've noticed for the last few versions of Symbiostock that there is a bug when browsing through pages of Categories and Search Results. Images on page 1 of the results often show up again on pages 2, 3, etc, while some images simply get skipped.

I may be wrong, but it appears to me that a random number is being applied to the results to give customers a slightly different sort each time they search. That's good. But I think the randomness is being applied on each page, rather than created once per visit. This would cause some images to show up multiple times as the random number changes its search/category position, and others to be skipped.

If this is the case, my suggestion is to apply the random seeding at the initial category or search query, and not per page. If this is too difficult, maybe drop it altogether? Either way, it looks bad to see the same images popping up on multiple pages.

Symbiostock - SEO & Marketing / Baseball Focus Blog Post
« on: July 27, 2013, 13:12 »
Where can I download awesome baseball images? Well, this article will tell you -


General Stock Discussion / I Think I'm Done
« on: July 11, 2013, 13:56 »
This has been coming on for a few years now. I think I've had it with stock altogether. The relationships with these agencies is abysmal. In the last 2 years I have had my commissions cut by iStock twice, and now with the new pricing program I barely make 50 cents per download. Bigstock turned most of my on demand sales into very low paying subs, and 123RF made a similar move. Fotolia made so many anti-contributor moves that I removed my portfolio 18 months ago and haven't considered ever doing business with them again.

Who's next? SS? DT? Should I even care?

On one hand I could keep my ports up and let the money continue to flow in at a reduced rate every month as commissions keep getting slashed. But I'm pretty much getting raped every month. I don't see the agencies I supply images to working hard enough on my behalf to justify keeping 70%, 80% or more of the profit.

Sure this is just a rant, but I'm pretty serious about it. My heart isn't in it. I feel like I'm getting swindled. I certainly can't say I enjoy "shooting stock." So maybe it is time to just be done with it and let somebody else take the abuse.

A lot of people told me a few years ago, "Just walk away from it for a while." Well I did. From January until April of this year, I barely ever checked my sales. Stopped shooting stock altogether. Only made a few posts here. Then I came back after spring and made one last go of it, and I realize now that I simply detest most of these agencies and don't find anything about stock to be interesting or enjoyable. And the commission cuts just keep coming, and coming.

Thoughts? Anyone feel the same?

Symbiostock - SEO & Marketing / New Ranking Factors from MOZ
« on: July 09, 2013, 21:31 »

MOZ has put together its latest ranking factors using correlation analysis. I'm no SEO expert, but I really think these should be used very cautiously if not taken with a grain of salt. Google's ranking factors are always changing (though it is reasonable to believe certain themes stay constant). Trying to backwards engineer their factors is an impossible task.

The most promising correlation is MOZ's proprietary "Page Authority." But since it is proprietary, MOZ isn't going to tell you what goes into it. So I'm not exactly sure what to do with the information.

I have a MOZ / Opensiteexplore account. I check my Authority numbers now and then just to ensure they are improving. I suppose it is good information to consider.

Any thoughts on this from the more experienced SEO experts?

Symbiostock - Technical Support / 2.5.5 URL Problems
« on: July 09, 2013, 20:56 »
Since I did the 2.5.5 upgrade, I no longer have "clean" URLs, which are critical to SEO. For instance, here is what the URL to one of my images used to be:


and here is what it has become:


Another example. My blog "page of posts" used to be:

and now it has become:


My Permalink settings are still correct (Post Name only). But this just looks garbled.

What's going on?

Hey everyone,

I'm looking for a new zoom lens for my Canon. In particular, something that is easy to walk around with and versatile with its ranges. I love my 70-200 IS 2.8 but it's not something I enjoy carrying around on vacation, and I want a wider angle anyhow.

The lens has to produce images sharp enough for stock. Suggestions welcome!   :D


Happy Independence Day!

Here's a quick 600-700 word article I wrote this morning for my Symbiostock blog:


The article features 4 artist/category choices in my network. If I didn't feature your site yet, I will in the future. I just took a quick glance at my partners, took note of some of their strengths, and gave them the spotlight. I look forward to doing more in the coming weeks and months.

This is an example of what we should be doing more of. When writing articles, you want to serve yourself by serving others.

Solve a problem -
"Where can I get stock photos at a decent price?"
"How can I support artists instead of agencies?"
"Who has a good collection of 'Widget' stock photos?"

The goal is to get articles like this noticed by potential customers, or anyone interested in the artist community. When articles create a buzz and get shared in social communities, search engines take notice and the links inside of the article (and of course the website hosting the article) get more respect from the search engines.

The more articles we write, the more awareness we raise for the Symbiostock network and the more domain authority we build for our URL's. Part of your domain building should be article creation. Since you are working within a Wordpress theme, it couldn't be easier.

If you don't feel comfortable writing an article, I might have time to "guest blog" an article for you. In the meantime, get writing and start to produce shareable material. 

Bug? I upgraded to 2.4.9 and new Published Images no longer show up in categories or in search. I've tried a few different images, no luck. Everything was fine today with uploads until I did the upgrade. Just an FYI.

Symbiostock - General / Organic Search to Sales Ratio
« on: July 01, 2013, 10:21 »
Hey everyone,

While our Warmpicture project ultimately failed to deliver what we were expecting, I thought it would be useful to share some statistics that should apply to our individual Symbiostock sites.

Using Google Analytics - between January 1 and July 1 of 2013, on average our Organic Search results converted into a Sale 1 in 245 times. This looks reasonable to me. I average 1 sale per about 100+ Views at DT, where buyers are specifically looking for stock and should have a higher conversion rate.

These stats reflect some really good contributors (and me to bring down the average  :P).

Should they apply to our Symbiostock sites? I think so. I would argue that we might have a slightly lower conversion rate due to the required registration. But it shouldn't be too different. So if you want 1 sale per week as a goal, you want to work yourself up into the search results so that you get 250 organic hits per week.

This doesn't count referral traffic, direct traffic, etc. There are other ways to get sales besides Organic Search. But I thought the information might be interesting to everyone who has a new site and is starting to watch their traffic in Analytics.

Anyone with Symbiostock sales have any thoughts on this? Leo?

Symbiostock - General / Required Registration
« on: May 30, 2013, 11:49 »
I know this has been brought up before, and there are people on both sides of the argument. I don't like requiring user registration to purchase an image. It is going to reduce sales.

I went through the process to test my site, and wow, it was a PITA. It took a long time just to get the email once I signed up. As a customer, I can tell you that I would have given up by now and bought my images elsewhere. People will come to you through Google Images looking to buy one image, probably not to become a long term customer. Just let them make their purchase, and move along.

I'd like to see the user registration requirement as an OPTION. That way if anyone is steadfast on having the requirement, they can have it.

Anyone have thoughts on the max # of network connections to have? I'm around 10 now and I am starting to get concerned about page loading times.

Not sure what happened, but going up to the new 2.2.7 version of Symbio knocked out all of my network connections. If you were in my network, post your link and I will attempt to add you back.

Honestly I'm not sure how to add anybody in 2.2.7 as the Networks tab is totally different than before. Help wanted?  :-\

It's probably right under my nose and I missed it. Where I can set the max number of Featured Images to display? I see the recommendation is 6. I have roughly 5 pct of my portfolio set to Featured, but I only want to display one line of them.

Selling Stock Direct / Warmpicture Project Finished
« on: February 18, 2013, 17:40 »
As I have been getting a lot of interest from contributors wanting to join Warmpicture lately, I wanted to announce that unfortunately I will be closing the site down in the near future.

The last 2 years have been extremely frustrating, culminating with the Google Images reorganization from last month which took away over 70% of our organic traffic. Ultimately there are no excuses. I did my best, but I was in over my head trying to run an agency on my own. We made a little money for contributors but in the end it just wasn't enough to be worthwhile.

My goal was to establish a solid sales base, and then open the doors to more contributors. Unfortunately I never achieved that goal. I wish everyone luck in their own ventures. I truly hoped to make a difference for all of us, but the project fell way short of expectations.

Selling Stock Direct / Take Advantage of the Moment
« on: January 21, 2013, 17:21 »
There have never been darker days for contributors in microstock. With the recent Google-Getty fiasco, and 123RF slashing commissions, it seems we are at an important juncture. Either we stand up for the value of our artistry now, or we let microstock agencies ruin this industry for us.

I posted in the iStock D-Day thread, and also in the Link Exchange thread, that I wrote an article on this topic for Warmpicture. At the end of the article, I included a Call-To-Action for image purchasers who want to see agencies taken to task for how artists have been treated, while their own prices kept going higher. It includes a list to all of our websites.

This is a good first step. I can promote this article to our Facebook following (600+ and growing fast) and Twitter (2000+). Many of our connections are our direct audience - graphic designers and bloggers. They need to know what is happening, and that there is an opportunity to purchase images direct from us, the same way that they can buy produce from the local farmer's market and tell Wal-Mart to shove it.

But it won't make a big difference.

What is required is a continual effort. Since many of you have websites, I assume you have blogs too. You certainly should. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about artist exploitation.

In my view, each article should lay out the facts as we know them, and inspire our buyers (many are  fellow artists) to change allegiance. It should have a clear Call-To-Action, and a link list (or at least a link to a link list).

Eventually when someone searches Google for a source of stock images, they start to see a few articles talking about the treatment of artists, and alternative websites. One article doesn't make a difference. But many will. Word spreads. Buyers realize they can get the same images less expensively elsewhere, and directly support their fellow artists. All the while they get to tell "Wal-Mart" to shove it.

Let's use this thread to list articles which promote our efforts, and why we choose to sell direct rather than through an agency. List them as you write them. Push it through social media. In time, we can get this ball rolling.

Veer / Dashboard Issues?
« on: July 15, 2012, 14:03 »
I haven't been able to access my Veer Dashboard in almost a week. I've tried from different computers, and even from different networks. If I go to "Workspace", it's fine. But if I click on Dashboard the wheels just spin until I get a Timeout Expired message.

Anyone experiencing similar issues?

Off Topic / Leaving MSG
« on: April 23, 2011, 18:25 »
The last few weeks I have spent far more time defending myself from attacks than I have in multiple years at MSG.  I knew that as soon as I started the collective, I would become a target.  I didn't think it would get so personal, but that was probably me being a Pollyanna. 

The MSG forums have unfortunately become a haven for complaining...complaining about reviewers, complaining about other contributors, complaining about agencies...  I see fewer and fewer posts where contributors are helping each other, or saying anything positive.

I won't be participating on the forums any longer.  There is still value to be had in Tyler's excellent blog, and I hope to participate there.  For those of you who still wish to keep in contact, please do so through email.

Selling Stock Direct / KTools Checkout - Analytics
« on: April 22, 2011, 13:03 »
Does anyone know what URL to use in Google Analytics to add a Goal for "Checking Out" their cart?  I've been able to create a Goal of Adding an Item to the Cart, but wasn't sure about the next step.

Selling Stock Direct / KTools Popularity Sort
« on: April 16, 2011, 17:29 »
Has anybody created a customized Popularity sort?  I haven't figured out where the Popularity is being determined, and if it is hard coded within the KTools server.  Just trying to figure out a way to do a sort so that you don't get a "bunching" of similar images uploaded on the same day.  It would be nice to add a random element to the algorithm.

General - Top Sites / Website Advocating Stealing RF Images
« on: April 10, 2011, 21:20 »

This is amazing.  Almost everyone in the thread is completely behind the concept of stealing images rather than paying for them.  Unfortunately their plan works - find an image you want on IS or wherever, then use Tineye to find it in use elsewhere and steal it from the site.

I had to stop myself from registering and flaming the bejeezus out of them.

Selling Stock Direct / KTools Contributor Add-on Problems
« on: March 20, 2011, 11:34 »

If you are still following these threads on MSG, we continue to have issues with the contributor uploading process at my website.  I know you did some fixes for me last week, but the problems continue.

I have seen various instances where images do not process properly.  I had 2 images a few days ago uploaded by a contributor which were listed as 1x0 pixels, but the thumbnails looked fine.  Another contributor this morning had a problem where after uploading and clicking "import", the system created duplicates of a few images and put an "i_" in front of the image names.  She was definitely using the Java uploader.

A few of my contributors have 2000+ images to upload, so they really cannot be running into these issues.  

Any ideas?

Dan Padavona

Selling Stock Direct / Contributor's Collective
« on: March 14, 2011, 12:33 »
I have converted my KTools personal stock agency into a Contributor's Collective.  For the past few years there has been much talk about forming a contributor run agency, but no one has stepped forward to make it happen.  I believe with our commissions are being slashed, and the other problems pervading some of the major micros, it is time to take matters into our own hands and look for something better.

My immediate goal is not to be an agency large enough to be ranked as a "Middle Tier" or "Low Earner."  Rather my goal is to produce more RPI/month for a small number of contributors than a Low Earner would.  Until we are generating sufficient traffic to make it worthwhile to open up the contributor's collective to everyone, it makes more sense to keep the list of contributors fairly small at first.

I am inviting any photographer with a track record of success in microstock to join the collective and upload immediately.  No firm numbers necessary.  As soon as we get a requisite amount of images, we will temporarily close the door to new contributors until our traffic catches up, and demand is meeting supply.

Costs - None.  I am paying out of pocket for all the software, hosting, and eventually advertising.

Commissions - 80% to start.  We will eventually decide as a group how to balance advertising and commissions.

Vectors? - Not yet.  Just photos or raster art for now.  I need to change some settings to eventually allow vectors.

Reviews? - Never.  Your track record of success already tells us that you know what you are doing.  Eventually we will let the buyers decide by culling the database of images which never sell.  But this is a long way down the road, and we will decide as a group how this should be handled. 

If you are interested in contributing, or helping in any way (ideas, advice, blogging, etc), please post or PM me.

Selling Stock Direct / The Indie Alliance
« on: February 24, 2011, 13:41 »
*** Edited to include link ***

Per the suggestions put forth by Elena and Lisa to form an alliance of independent microstock sellers, touched on in this thread:

I propose that we form this alliance immediately.  What I have in mind is a webpage (which I can host) which includes a list of independent sites, and a brief description of what the site has to offer.  For instance:

DJPadavona's Image Emporium - specializing in images of warm weather scenics, American sports, isolated apples, and the female walrus in its natural habitat.

What I think we could use -

1)  A Designer.  If someone wants to jazz up the page and make it look snazzy, I'm sure they can do better than me.  Also interesting would be a way of randomizing the order of the list, so the same people aren't always first or last.

2)  A few "Street Team" members.  These people would be in charge of getting the word out.  Maybe target Twitter, and every time someone complains about an agency, be ready to show them "other options."

I really don't think anything else is needed to get this started.  I'd love to hear any other ideas which incorporate our existing websites.  Maybe Leaf can set up something through MSG to promote the indies?

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