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Messages - Skylinehunter

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1
Put it this way the one price fits all sizes smells like dollar photo klub.

15% royalty for none exclusives is a sick joke (like getty/istuck) don't make enough money

Better than 25 cents compensation for an image download while the owner of the company is a billionaire.

2
Shutterstock.com / Re: How are sales going?- Shutterstock
« on: September 06, 2014, 00:16 »
Hey guys, I'm an Istockphoto exclusive and I just happened to see this thread.  Did you guys have a similar experience like me?    Everything was relatively ok and then June was disappointing, July was good, and then all of a sudden August plunged (worse than June) and it got worse till the end, with the past 2 weeks being some of my worst in years.    August is usually up there with March as my best month of the year, and it was shocking for me to see my worst August since 2011.  If you guys got a similar experience, I'm wondering if its a market issue rather than an agency or individual contributor issue.

3
iStockPhoto.com / Re: iStock's Alexa Rank continues to drop
« on: December 20, 2012, 21:52 »
When people come here and start a post that is basically wishing that iStock do badly, and thus wishing that people who rely on iStock income to feed their family and pay their rent and mortgage, also do badly, some people might not look too kindly on those sort of sentiments. If income does decrease at iStock, as you wish, and people who are exclusive there, and quite possibly better and more successful than you at producing images, give up exclusivity, you may well wish for something different when their work floods onto the agencies you use and your sales start to drop.

Yep, I'm sure they would love their sales being trashed because ISP has many good exclusive photographers.  Do they really want more competition even amongst an already saturated market?

4
...with the changes in pricing for exclusive vs. nonexclusive the differences have been enhanced a lot.  You would probably make a minimum of 4x what you make on IS as a nonexclusive, plus more for Vetta/Agency files, plus I think about 50% more for TS and the PP, plus mirrored Getty Images sales, and now the new E+ mirroring which on the face sounds good (we'll have to see how that plays out, I don't know if anything sells there but to me the E+ collection looks better than the Stockbyte collection).  
I have to admit, with DT falling off a cliff, 123RF mainly subs, I dropped FT, stockfresh is dead in the water, veer seems a crock...I'm seriously thinking exclusive is the way to go for me - SS has never exceeded IS for me by any real margin, so these benefits are enticing...just so hard to get my head around submitting only to a company that i regard as incompotent and so bloody greedy

It was a very appealing proposition at one time - at least to me (I was exclusive from 2008 to 2011). I had thought/hoped it would take Getty longer to dismantle everything that was good about iStock for an exclusive than it did.

They are currently on a long march to 20% maximum for everyone on Getty - the latest fun there is moving exclusive plus to Getty in the Stockbyte collection (and possibly into Thinkstock as well given that a portion of Stockbyte is already there) and all of Stockbyte to iStock. The latter further dilutes earnings for real iStock contributors and the former pays you a flat 20% with no RCs (in other words all your sales there decrease your ability to earn a higher percentage for your sales on iStock). I won't reiterate the long list of things that has changed in the last two years that have materially altered the picture for exclusives, but I think the big problem with your plan is that what you sign up for today won't be the same in 6 months, 1 year, and on out. Very likely even if the business grows, the payouts to contributors will continue to shrink (as a percentage of the take). The bite from that will really be apparent as the continuing decline in volume of sales can't be made up for by jacking up prices yet again.

Having just made the transition back to independent from exclusive (June 2011 to now; I was previously independent from 2004 to 2008) I would just note that it's not an easy transition to make. Possible, but hard.

I am an Istockphoto exclusive.  When I see some proof that I could make nearly as much being nonexclusive as an exclusive on Istockphoto (I'm talking at least an average return per image of at least a few dollars a month), or at least without a serious income hit, I would be happy to consider it. Yes it may be more safe to have photos on multiple websites, but I am not willing to take a huge hit in income.  Even then though, the coordination needed to upload hundreds of images to several sites and track all their sales is a bit too much for me, vs being able to track all sales on one site (this was a major issue for me before I went exclusive many years ago.)

5
This may be a little late, but:

quality and consistency is very important (especially to bring a picture up to the nitpicky standards of microstock companies), at a low enough price is important too because images aren't guaranteed to sell. 

6
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Sales in iStock
« on: February 15, 2012, 23:06 »
looka t the good side ,it can only get better (hope?)

I'm not sure about that.  Just because it's already very bad, doesn't mean it won't get worse.   I have a portfolio of over 1500 on Istock, and 500 on 123RF.   My revenue so far in February on 123RF is $34, beating my revenue from Istock, which is a miserable $33.   That's about one-third of what I made this time last year on Istock.  Buyers have probably realized that Istock is very overpriced.   On 123RF, I get a 50% commission, so buyers have paid $68.   On Istock, I get a 16% commission, so buyers have paid $206 for about the same number of photos.  I've completely stopped uploading to Istock, and eventually will have my entire portfolio there duplicated on other sites.  Gradually, their selection will become relatively poorer, and buyers will have even less reason to go there.   Their attempt at making a huge profit margin is just not economically viable.   If they attempt to cut their prices to make themselves competitive, and still pay me only a 16% commission, I will just delete all my photos from there.   Why should I sell my photos for a dime on Istock, if I can always get 35 cents at Dreamstime or 123RF?

The only way Istock can remain viable is to cut their margin, and I'm not sure they have the foresight to do that.

I hate to be an a**hole but if that is typical for 1500 images (non-exclusive), I'd rather stay exclusive on Istockphoto.

7
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Sales have tanked big time
« on: December 17, 2011, 15:28 »
If you read the monthly sales threads carefully you will find out, that it are mainly diamond/gold contris who arent uploading a lot that are reporting decreasing royalites - but I am very sure that there is the same number of cintributors who are uploading regulary and a lot and are doing extremely well.

I gave an example of Lise Gagne, the #1 stock photographer on Istockphoto, and how her sales have seemingly decreased by 25 to 50% DESPITE her uploading possibly more than 1000 images a year.

If you are uploading new images but your existing images are going down in sales, its like going up a down escalator.

8
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Sales have tanked big time
« on: December 17, 2011, 15:24 »
... but you are wrong, the succes is coming ONLY from the images I uploaded in 2011. More than 65 % (!!!) of my royalites made this year are coming from images uploaded in 2011.

What you fail to mention is that you have increased your portfolio size by 138% (!!!) in 2011.

More specifically you've done 138% more work in the last 10 months than you had previously achieved in the preceeding 3.3 years combined. Hardly surprising that you are experiencing growth.

Let's see how long you can keep it up for __ you'll need to upload nearly 2500 new images in 2012 and 6000 in 2013. Good luck with that.

And this is another problem about this idea:  it defeats the main advantage of stock photography:  Residual Income.   If you have to upload a certain amount a year just to keep sales, let alone increase them, its not residual anymore and how is that any better than doing for hire photography?

9
My question is for those that do, how much do you sell in Shutterstock and Dreamstime?

Do you have many images that sell at least 10 times a month?

Do you have images that sell more than 20 downloads a month?  If so, how high?


And travel photography may also include city photography, which is more specifically what I do, like city skylines and architecture.

10
iStockPhoto.com / Re: How do you feel about IStock?
« on: December 17, 2011, 01:31 »

Of course it's different.  My point is that from the perspective of a person looking for an image, he/she can go to a high price agency, low price agency, or find something for free.  These options all compete with one another.  The images you're trying to sell are in direct competition with many similar images that are easily obtained for free.   It looked like this conversation was turning into a complaint against low-cost selling or even free collections, and I was pointing out that there's a competitive need for approaches like this.  If microstock is going to survive, it has to wake up to this reality and do things like offer sets of images very cheap or even free as hooks to lure in people who would otherwise just steal.

Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't think there is any contradiction in offering a few select free images on DT and complaining about .07 or .09 royalties on Istock. 

I have a few freebies on DT.  They are very old images that have not sold anywhere, and each of them links to much better content in my active portfolio, which gives me exposure.   

The pitiful <.10 royalties on Istock are for the main collection of images, including best sellers, new content, etc.  And unlike donating free images, we have no choice at all, short of removing our entire portfolios.  It's insulting. 

What are you talking about?  I've never gotten a royalty as low as that, the lowest has been in Thinkstock (about $0.38)

11
Assuming an equal amount of your images were on every website, can you estimate how much royalties per image you get on average on every website combined?  (royalty $$$ divided by downloads)

Example: $1000 a month on 500 downloads = $2.00 a download


And also, if you feel inclined, how much $$$ in royalties per image in the combined collection?  (royalties divided by # of images in the collection when you add all websites, assuming you had equal amounts of images on each website)  Example:  $1000 a month on a collection of 750 images = $1.33 an image.

12
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Sales have tanked big time
« on: December 17, 2011, 00:21 »
...I'd like to point out that it is still feasible that they may not actually be getting hit hard financially because best match matches may simply be shifting searches through to other contributors that may not be active on any internet forums hence we really are left in the dark as to how good or bad their sales really are - i find this frustrating...
That's true, there are several people that used to post a lot here but stopped after they went exclusive.  Until they come here and tell us they are also experiencing a sales slump, I'm not convinced that things are as gloomy with istock as some here would like.

There's also the fact that more and more contributors have joined istock and we might be suffering from dilution but istock could still be doing OK overall.  It looks like they have lost a lot of business to SS but they might be doing well enough to give them the impression that their strategy is working.

If things were really as bad as they seem, wouldn't they be doing more about it?

I noticed that Lisegagne, the star Istockphoto contributor, passed the 1 million sales mark in May 2010.  She crossed the 500,000 mark three years before, which means that her images must have been selling at least 166,000 times (and due to growth being exponential, more like 200,000 times.)  

Well, her Istockphoto page still shows her at 1,100,000+, which means that at the very least, she has yet to cross the 1,200,000 mark, despite 1.6 years since she crossed the 1 million mark, which suggests that her sales have slowed down (at least 20% but perhaps more likely more), despite her having 7,808 images (I remember her having something like 5,900 images around two years ago.  Of course, it probably doesn't bother her that much to go from perhaps $1 million a year to perhaps $500,000 to $700,000 a year, but its still a noticeable decrease.

13
Subscription prices and royalties don't bother me.  I really don't care how much I make for one sale; it's the total that interests me.
How could lowering prices result in making more money? It happens all the time in business. Would Dunkin' Donuts make more money if they were charging $10 for one doughnut?

Low prices make possible things which cannot happen when prices are high. New kinds of customers enter the market.

Consider a designer who is thinking about using an image she finds on iStock. She downloads a comp and works on it in PShop to see if it will work in her design, maybe isolating it or whaterver. If it does work, she buys it and starts working on the full size image, doing to it what she did with the comp. But if she has a subscription to SS, she just downloads the full size image and starts working on it. She doesn't have to do the same work twice.

This may not seem like much of a difference, but it is a big difference to designers. If I can download 20 images from SS for the same price one image costs me on IS, it will enable me to work in new ways. And I may end up buying more images than ever. This is really what's happening.

As I see it, if your image is good and superior enough, people would pay the money to buy your image.

Back in December 2009, my images sold almost 400 times and made $673 (I was exclusive at the time), and when Istockphoto raised prices for Exclusive Photographers  (around 60%), my sales didn't go down, they went UP, and gather that I did upload 100 images between December 2009 and January 2010, but in March 2010, my royalties shot up to $1900 on 645 image downloads, thus my # of downloads went up between 40% and 60% and my average royalty per image went from $1.68 to $2.94, about a 75% increase.  At the very least, sales didn't go down as prices went up, and the combination of the same sales and a price increase means a lot more royalty revenue.

Look at Netflix, they raised prices about up to 60% and they only lost 4% of their customers, thus they made a lot more money as a result.  Of course though, their customer base growth has stalled.

If people are that desparate for low prices, either it shows more concern about the economy or that designers are getting paid less and less for their work.

BTW, once someone requested an image directly from me (that was not on my online collection) that was an Istockphoto customer, I sold them the image for $50 and they had no issue paying it.  

Perhaps Istockphoto exclusives are also moving more to Gettyimages?  I once had a Getty image sale (because Vetta collection images are also put on Getty Images) that netted me $250 in royalties earlier this year.

14
BUT yes "You can not change what is. Just deal with it"- i agree.

The same could be said about outsourced labor and people working for cents in third world countries.

15
My sales have dropped about 25% to 38% (depending on the month) this year compared to last year.  Last year was really great so this year's sales drop didn't sting that much.  Still, I'm still trying to figure how much of a sting it would really be, at least at first.  And then I have to evaluate the long term viability of microstock photography.

How do you guys deal with so many images?   Are there services that help you prepare or upload lots of images?

16
You can not change what is. Just deal with it. Exclusives at IS should try to get accepted at SS. You do not have to put images for sale, just get accepted. I believe most may get a shock. Many if they put up their best ten by downloads would not get in. Standards have lifted.

I cannot afford a potential 75% decrease in my sales (due to many of my sales being from images that rank at the top) just for going nonexclusive, and the unpredictable time to upload hundreds of images to at least 4 other websites (which could be tens to hundreds of hours).  I don't have another job and I have bills to pay.  I thus can't take such a decision lightly.

BTW I need an answer about the noise issue.  Is SS still extra picky about noise?

17
To Be Honest, I always wondered why Istockphoto was still #1 the way that there's a cult / yes men like culture there of being blindly positive and not questioning "dear leader", but it seemed to me like the exclusives at Istockphoto were making a lot more money three years ago.

My other issue with Shutterstock is that at least back then, more than three years ago, Shutterstock had these stringent noise standards (of near zero noise but cannot look overfiltered) that I felt was hard to meet.  Istockphoto had a more lenient policy on noise.  Is it still like that in shutterstock?

My third issue was about tracking the hundreds of images on several websites, how do you all here that are non-exclusive do it?

18
One of the reasons why I went exclusive on Istockphoto more than 3 years ago was I was tired of getting paid peanuts for my image sales.  Now I see that Shutterstock may be stealing customers from Istockphoto, and I'm thinking why would this be a good thing?

I'm in the gold level on Istockphoto (probably not after this month) and I make about $0.42 to something like $7.8 an image sale, but more like at least $3.5 a sale on average.  Shutterstock only pays like $0.25 to $0.38 a sale.  I know that the on-demand images pay more, but I don't know if they are anywhere as popular as the subscription sales.  It would take more than 10 times the sales that I have on Istockphoto for Shutterstock to match my exclusive Istockphoto sales, and I doubt even half of that is possible.  Is selling full size images for even $0.38 a sale a good thing?  I know there are other websites like Dreamstime that pay more (and especially in royalty rates) but for the photography I do, it doesn't look like Dreamstime has anywhere the level of sales volume compared to IS or SS.

I feel that if Shutterstock stays #1 and further weakens other websites like Istockphoto, that would further dilute and cheapen the stock photography market and seriously damage the ability to produce stock photography for microstock as well as hurt many stock photography careers out there.  I guess microstock did that to traditional stock, but Istockphoto raised prices slowly but surely, and made it more viable to invest in produce stock photography for microstock.  Shutterstock doesn't care with keeping its rock bottom compensation rates. 

19
BTW, I'm an exclusive Istockphoto contributor and I'm considering going independent again.

However, I need an answer from all of you here who are independent.

How much do you get per picture per month on average across all your websites?

On Istockphoto, I had around 470 images in October and November that made:

$3.24 an image in October
$2.66 an image in November

If going independent for me will drastically lower this figure, it would make stock photography unsustainable for me.

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