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Messages - Fredex

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General - Stock Video / Re: how about iS exclusive
« on: May 24, 2017, 14:36 »
I don't think IS has ever been worth going exclusive with because even though my sales there are consistently high the extra royalty rate wouldn't make the earnings more than also uploading elsewhere. Typically Shutterstock and Fotolia sales pay more than the extra I would get if I were exclusive to iStock. Even less worth it now since you have to work your way up through the rates as exclusive and the base rate isn't much higher.

Besides from that the lack of day to day reporting of sales on iStock and having to import a text file into a spreadsheet half way through the next month to see what sold last month makes it very difficult to tell what files are popular. Whereas if you upload to other sites you can easily see what is selling and what isn't and create more content based on that information

Searched for something just to check my content wasn't on there and the thumbnails that came up were all hosted at Shutterstock and indeed reverse image searching found them there still for sale.

Number of images that came up for that search on freestock was 41 whereas on SS it's over 416,000...

Not sure why they'd randomly give away a small number of their images on a site for free when it doesn't have any obvious way of driving traffic to SS. Adding poorly selling images there for free alongside adverts for better images hosted at SS I could understand but I didn't see the word Shutterstock once outside the image thumbnail url.

3 / Re: easiest way to disambiguate?
« on: May 14, 2017, 04:03 »
There aren't any other options. You'd think transitioning to ESP they would have scrapped that ridiculous system but no. At least I don't need to choose from any of the woefully inadequate categories anymore though...

What I do to speed things up a bit in DeepMeta is add a blank image along with the batch. Then tick the keywords in one file, copy and paste them to the blank one, strip out anything not common to the whole batch and paste them back across all the files from that one.

Saves a lot of time repeatedly ticking common words. Doesn't work flawlessly anymore though and a few words for some reason don't get replaced with the ticked version but I reported the issue and hopefully it will be fixed in time. Still quicker than doing it all manually though and I usually only have to 'disambiguate' a couple words per image rather than a dozen.

If there's a word you use a lot in your metadata that you notice always needs to be 'disambiguated' to something else for ESP ie 'render' has to be changed to 'computer graphic' then add that to the metadata to start with too. Other than in cases where the word suggestions are horribly unrelated it probably won't make a difference on other stock sites and saves time in the long run.

I've found submitting faster than it used to be actually and review times aren't weeks anymore so if something good came out of all this nonsense it's that.

DepositPhotos / Re: DeposhitPhoto - New rejection reason
« on: May 03, 2017, 17:41 »
They've never rejected anything for me besides 3 images where they randomly said 'The image is not suitable for commercial use' despite accepting the rest of the batch of related images.

Sales are still pathetic there though and I haven't even been able to upload anything in a week because both FTP and the file uploader fail on 90% of the batch. Not sure why I still bother.

Dreamstime are just awfully petty about closing accounts and deleting content. They will enforce the 6 month wait thing even if you deliberately violate every rule they have. I changed all the titles of the remaining content I had there to links to find the content at other sites and a message advising users not to buy from Dreamstime then linked the images to support to show them what I had done...

...they still made me wait 6 months and didn't even change the image titles.
Yeah sounds like they're the petty ones.

They drove me to stoop to their level. If I had wanted to go exclusive with another site they would have basically blocked me from doing so for 6 months... for what reason? None of the content had a chance of selling in that time because I'd replaced the keywords with rubbish (not that any of them had sold before that anyway). All it did was waste their server space to keep it online. There was not a single reason to enforce that 6 month contract besides pettiness.

I did try to be reasonable but support ignored me totally and the forum moderators deleted my posts for no obvious reason. I still never got an answer as to why they over-sharpen the preview images so they look awful. I attributed that to the total lack of sales on content that had sold elsewhere but it seems if you even question the practices of DT on their forums they ban you.

6 / Re: New stuff doesn't sell..
« on: May 02, 2017, 10:51 »
The strange thing is that even old images that were never popular are selling better than new content which is far better quality. I had one terrible image that I'd forgotten about totally sell for the first time after sitting online for almost 2 years without a single sale yet new batches don't see anywhere near the amount of sales they used to.

It suggests to me that it's not just the huge influx of images burying uploads but also that buyers aren't actually using the new search as much as they used to. I can't blame them for that because you have to wade through so many sub-par images to find what you want since Shutterstock lowered the acceptance rate to 1/10.

I think everyone would benefit from SS bringing back an 'undiscovered' search... one that actually works this time. If things continue the way they are all those new contributors Shutterstock spent so much effort in trying to reel in are going to give up because of lack of sales, older contributors are going to stop uploading new content and buyers are going to look elsewhere to sites with better searches.

Dreamstime are just awfully petty about closing accounts and deleting content. They will enforce the 6 month wait thing even if you deliberately violate every rule they have. I changed all the titles of the remaining content I had there to links to find the content at other sites and a message advising users not to buy from Dreamstime then linked the images to support to show them what I had done...

...they still made me wait 6 months and didn't even change the image titles.

123RF / Re: 0 sales
« on: April 29, 2017, 11:23 »
Last time I submitted a batch I had 70 images rejected in 74. Before that, I'd had a total of 4 images rejected in one year. It seems as though they are making big changes or getting into some kind of trouble storing images? Anyway, after that rejected batch, not a single sale for a month. Go figure.

I got my first non trademark related rejections there recently (they reject images with the Singapore flag but I always just upload the whole batch of flags everywhere as it's easier to just let the agencies sort it out as some accept them... and I don't possibly see how a national flag can have a copyright).

About 6 images out of a batch of 220 they rejected for being 'too dark' despite the other 214 images having exactly the same grunge style overlay applied and therefore being just as dark. Given that this is an agency who have previously accepted the same batch of images duplicated three times due to a submission error that somehow cloned them all it did make me think that something has changed. The way they've always just accepted everything previously made me think no one was really even looking at the images. I don't think this has anything to do with the decline in sales though.

123RF / Re: 0 sales
« on: April 26, 2017, 06:29 »
123 has been steadily dropping month by month since December. I saw almost 50% of the amount SS earns that month but this month is about 10% which is back to what I was seeing 2 years ago. I was getting close to the next pay tier too but unless it dramatically picks up I doubt that's going to happen any time soon now.

1. Varies from site to site. Shutterstock you can just reupload it immediately and get a different result. Some clearly check previous rejections against newly submitted content and will just auto reject the new upload. I suspect this is a combination of a bot automatically checking the image size, thumbnail or name but perhaps the moderators look at the most recent rejections too. In the case of Fotolia if an image is rejected (even if for the wrong reasons) reuploading it immediately never seems to work but if it's a couple months later it sometimes does. Best bet is to open a ticket about it as I've usually had them accepted when re-reviewed. iStock used to be a nightmare since contacting support was really the only way of getting a rejected image online (and they'd reject anything that looked even remotely similar in the thumbnail if submitted in one batch) but recently they just seem to be accepting everything without fail. If you are getting 'similar image' rejections then upload the images separately after the first lot have already been accepted.

2. Depositphotos I still submit to for some reason but the sales are literally like 1% of some of the bigger ones and with the constant FTP failures and site upload failures I don't know why I still bother. Dreamstime I personally gave up on because the image preview quality was dreadful and definitely hurting sales, support is awful, forum moderators are worse and you have to wait 6 months before removing your whole portfolio. Alamy is a total pain to submit to as you have to add totally unnecessary data that other sites don't use like splitting keywords into separate fields based on importance. They are different to the other sites on that list too as they are far more catered towards occasional big RM sales than frequent small RF sales so it could be years before you see any sales there with typical stock content. Probably best saved for really high quality content that is exclusive to them (no one is going to pay $200 for an image that is $2 elsewhere). Pond5 and Canstock had slightly worse submission systems than the other sites and I didn't see any sales after trying them for a couple months with a couple hundred images. I've heard that Pond5 really only sells well on footage.

I would prioritise starting with Shutterstock, Fotolia and iStock. 123 was seeing good sales but has dropped a lot recently for me but it is also very quick to submit to since you don't have to select categories or anything and they rarely ever seem to reject content so it is worth using. One time the site bugged out and duplicated the 200 images I had uploaded three times... they still accepted all of them regardless and left me to pick through the duplicates and remove them. Bigstock is simple enough too, maybe about 10% of Shutterstock earnings per month.

3. I use Xpiks to keyword and submit content to multiple sites so you don't need to try to remember where you've submitted files to and where you haven't. Just do it all at once. You can then rename the folder 'uploaded' or keep things in a folder called 'to upload' but generally if I've keyworded something I've also uploaded it so it isn't an issue. On most sites you can leave the content in the editor without submitting for at least a month before it gets deleted and some have no time limit so you can always upload it all now and then actually go and submit it a handful of images at a time over a couple weeks if you want. After adding the metadata in Xpiks drop the files into DeepMeta since iStock is awkward and doesn't use regular FTP programs and requires a lot of tedious box checking to 'disambiguate' keywords. I drop in a blank file or two with each batch to paste keywords to, strip them down to the ones common to all the images and then paste them into them. Saves some time re-checking the same keywords over and over for similar images.

4. I don't think editing is a problem anywhere unless you are uploading editorial content. You are almost always going to get a better image that will sell more with some adjustments to the RAW image rather than just going with a jpg right out of the camera. Things like not removing dust spots from the image can get it rejected too so I can't imagine any site saying no editing fullstop. What they don't want is the same image a hundred times with different filters applied or horribly over-sharpened images. I have heard complaints of some sites rejecting black and white versions but your best bet is probably just not to upload the B&W and the original colour version at the same time and not to upload a black and white version for absolutely everything - some images aren't going to benefit from it. If you upload the black and white versions a couple weeks or maybe a month later you might find they increase the sales on the older colour content too by directing people there from the related images.

That's a good rule of thumb in general. If you got 50 great photos of some animal or other all of which you think are different enough and could sell in their own right then it's not a great idea to just dump the whole batch online at the same time as most will just get buried in the results or won't get looked at because there are too many. Upload 10 a week over the course of a month and you're constantly keeping content in the new search results and getting more exposure.

I find auto rarely produces optimal results unless the lighting conditions are perfect. I like to take a shot on auto, check what settings the camera used for that image and then use that as a baseline and adjust from there. Auto has a nasty tendency of wacking the ISO up way higher than needed and giving grainy shots that could be avoided - at least on my camera.

I tried out a couple 100 range pocket sized cameras as my mother wanted something simple. The Sony Cybershot I think was the first one and that was awful, 20MP was clearly way too high for the small sensor. Unusable images in anything other than bright sunlight and even then poor. Got a Canon something or other instead, same sort of price, and that is better but very few of the images would be stock worthy compared to a DSLR. The image sensor is just too small. I think to get something decent you really need to shell out the same kind of money as you would on a DSLR base at least.

11 / Re: Leaving iStock
« on: April 26, 2017, 05:17 »
Thanks for the replies...time to say adios to iStock and try something new, maybe shutterstock

If you were on iStock exclusively then that's your first mistake right there. The extra royalties aren't worth what you get from uploading to several sites.

I can't give up on iStock as much as they annoy me as it makes up easily 30% of my earnings. Best to just dump files in DeepMeta when you're done with them, wait until you've got a hundred or so to work with and then do the tedious box ticking with a few beers so it doesn't drive you insane. What is there to manage once the images are online anyway? Just forget about them and accept that some kind of money is coming in from something even if you don't know what. Better to be earning that money and not know why than to have beautifully detailed and prompt sales reports... but no sales.

Adobe Stock / Re: Fotolia Ranking Significance
« on: April 26, 2017, 05:03 »
Nope. Does nothing at all. I'm an Emerald. Sales are horrible there for me.

Same here also Emerald and sales are almost non existant! I was earning far more three years back. The one and only reason I still stick with Adobe-Ft is because I cant really be bothered deleting or uploading. Theyre just there so to speak.

The key to success is to consistently upload which helps keep your content near the top of the search results. If you have stopped uploading, it's possible your existing content is being pushed back in the search as new, relevant content continues to flow in thus making it more difficult for customers to find your work.


The key to success is to consistently treat content on it's own merits and not assign arbitrary expiration dates to their search viability, in other words, new content isn't necessarily better. If our existing uploads that took our time and money to create and keyword sold well before and then suffer unnecessarily due to Fotolia's search algorithm choices, then yes, it will indeed be difficult for customers to find our work. It also shows a lack of appreciation for our past contributions and trust in the company, unevenly marginalizing those with higher rankings and thus higher royalty %.

It's a short-sighted, greed-driven "keep the contributors on the hamster wheel" approach which also encourages repeated, near duplicate uploading of already saturated topics to "keep up" instead of inspiring innovation and contributing to more lacking subjects.

I'd argue that Fotolia has far better algorithms than other stock sites, certainly way more options than others at any rate and it doesn't prioritise new content above all else since the default search is on relevance. I suspect there is some factor of image age playing a part there but it isn't terrible and it creates a good mix of new and old content since if a buyer consistently sees exactly the same content whenever they search due to the first page being full of 5 year old images with hundreds or thousands of sales it is going to make the site look stagnant and decrease sales overall.

I notice one of my images that was the first in the search for relevance is now second to a newer image that is far lower down on the downloads search and just slightly behind on the popularity search. It is even missing one of the keywords I used to search so it technically should be less 'relevant'. I imagine the view count of the image is responsible as it is a very attractive thumbnail that begs a closer look. I can't complain though... the reason my image got to the top of the search and sells so frequently is because it saw a big spike in views early on.

@OP: Where are you seeing the uses reported for your premium access files? I see premium access files in my iS report, but no uses. What you're seeing is more like RM reporting - are you a Getty RM supplier, and is this what you're talking about? Mine just say "Premium Access - Time Limited" but no usage details.

I've never uploaded anything to Getty directly, never been invited to. The premium access sales are all listed as coming from Getty though yes which is why I was wondering if there was a way to opt out specifically from them.

I imported the txt into Excel and spent some time stripping out all the nonsense fields I didn't need and rearranging them to the point that I could actually read the thing. The field labelled 'Rights: Use Territory/Duration' only ever says 'Limited to terms of the Premium Access agreement' but the field next to it 'Rights Usage' gives some specifics for maybe about 20-30 of the premium access downloads I saw in January. Lots just say Basic or Standard and are actually higher than the others.

They seem to range from specific territory licenses to worldwide, short date ranges to year long ones, editorial only, commercial and editorial, single use, multiseat, print, broadcast, online only, outdoor advertising - all with lengthy and specific descriptions of the allowed usage that I can't imaging Getty would spend even a second bothering to police once it's sold anyway. Most of them are reported twice once with the actual cost and earnings and once with a negative cost and no earning just to be extra confusing.

The thing that's annoying me somewhat is that the terms of that usage seem to have nothing to do with the amount paid.

I see one that says Industry: Publishing. Territory: Worldwide. But with rights for only 'one use per download' with it ending at the end of January. That earned $0.68.

Then I see another with unlimited use for a year for newspaper and online advertising that earned $0.17 - less than just a basic subscription sale would earn. I don't really see what the point in these very specific licenses are when most of them cost about the same as a subscription sale and for a lot of them it looks like a subscription license would have been fine for that purpose. I don't want to leave Istock because the earnings from Thinkstock and Istock itself are on a par with other stock sites despite the low royalties but getting fleeced by Getty like this isn't fun.

I'm sure things have always been like this and it's only now that we can see the specific licensing that it looks dodgy and maybe it is too early to say if this is the massive reduction in royalties from sales like this that it looks like. The largest single sale I've seen on Istock was one at about $67 that reported two months after the date of sale from the partner program and I have no idea if that, or the partner program sales ranging from $10-40 I saw at least some of pretty much every month are still possible. In January the highest was less than $3. Edit: just noticed one at $6.36 but that is not Premium Access apparently.

I don't want to start another discussion about the pitiful royalty rates because despite everything January still saw good earnings consistent with previous months but these 'Premium Access' sales are annoying and confusing me.

Like the one with 'extended' rights that earned only $0.15 compared to the 'basic' and 'standard' ones that generally earned two or three times that.

Then I have another that says the usage is 'Editorial rights only for text books interior and cover', something that would probably warrant and EL anywhere else yet also paid only $0.15 and just to be confusing says it has a date limitation up to December this year which implies... that they're going to destroy all the printed books at the end of the year?

I see one television broadcast licensed until November that earned $0.09 but then a couple licensed until only the end of February that earned almost $3 each. At any rate still far lower than you would expect and less than other sites would give you for such usage.

Premium access sales made up a grand total of 14% of January's earnings compared to the old $20, $40 and one time $60 sales that I used to see for what I assumed were extended licenses.

Is there any way to opt out of these ridiculous sale types?

123RF / Re: Rejection have skyrocketed
« on: February 24, 2017, 20:20 »
Due to some bizarre error on the processing page my last batch of 230 images was duplicated three times and yet somehow the reviewer accepted them all leaving me to comb through and remove all the duplicate images manually. I'm not sure they even bother looking when it comes to illustrations.

16 / Re: ESP
« on: February 24, 2017, 19:59 »
I still can't even check how much of a horrific mess the new site undoubtedly is because I haven't been sent a login. Also looks like about 100 images have mysteriously vanished from my portfolio total.

They're good images but some of them look quite desaturated and washed out like they were saved as CYMK or Adobe RGB instead of sRGB. The abstract canvas backgrounds seem like something that could sell quite well but I think a little more saturation would help that.

General Stock Discussion / Re: My goal is this:
« on: January 09, 2017, 20:27 »
The thing to keep in mind is that images you create now might not sell but five years down the line they'll still be earning money for you. I've had images sit online for a year without a sale and then see a a big EL that more than justified the time it took to make. Consider it an investment in the future and not a get rich scheme and you won't be disappointed.

None of my friends can say they didn't go to work for a month and still earned a thousand dollars...

I don't mean to be rude, but I had some copycats recreating that image, so no, I won't put a link. (I am not saying it will be you, can be just anyone reading this).

It is nothing special about it though, I think it was just uploaded in the right time (without planning it) and then made it to popular - first or second for some keywords, and it is still there. Now it does not sell so much, but still sells everyday.

And the reason I think others outdo that for sure: this vector never made it to most popular vectors (regardless of keywords).

I am talking about shutterstock BTW.

It is just luck. My bestseller at FT has made bugger all elsewhere whilst others in the same batch have sold well on IS and SS. My bestsellers there have sold little on FT. Before Istock messed up the site and removed the totals I was amazed to find that one image had earned $200 there and had about 400 sales in 6 months when it hadn't even earned $100 everywhere else combined. Timing, as hard as it is to predict is important but getting an image popular seems like pure chance. I've tried to create similar images to some of my popular ones and they've never managed to come remotely close to the originals. It's one of the reasons not being exclusive is so important I think.

LOL that would not wash in USA. it might work in a " religious country " where women are seen as harlot to be drinking. .. or maybe, just maybe in Ohio (??? mormon country,etc)..
but in a place like NY, etc.. where alcohol or drug are "household basics" it won't work.
in my opinion, that is.

Surely you mean Utah?

Ohio is relatively laid back (by American standards) but Utah limits alcohol to 3.2% unless bars have hugely expensive and difficult to obtain licenses and only one shop in a chain can sell proper beer, wine, spirits etc. So there's only one Walmart in the whole of Utah that can sell wine and I seem to recall there are only around 70 liquor stores state wide. Lots of bars also don't let you have more than one drink on the table at a time and will literally stand there and wait for you to finish the dregs of the last beer before putting the next one down. Basically: I hate that state. Nice canyons, awful beer.

Adobe Stock / Re: 23 cent sales in January
« on: January 09, 2017, 19:32 »
Sales there seem to have dropped a lot recently. A lot more $0.25 sales than usual but that alone isn't the reason for the decrease in earnings.

Ask for that amount and you know you'll get nothing. Keep it under six figures and a big company like that might just settle to keep it out of the press but all an insane amount like that does is give Chipotle some free publicity and make them look like the good guys.

but I find $1 per image per year to be a good minimum estimate.

I don't want to knock what you're doing, and who am I to question it if you're happy doing what you're doing... but is it worth it, for $1 a year? I don't know how long these images take you, but if it's one hour each, and $50 an hour is a half decent rate for an illustrator... are you happy knowing that you won't really make a return for fifty years? By which time we're probably all living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland brought about by our robot overlords.

I don't know if I could do that... sit and create something knowing that it's going to bring me in less than 10 cents a month. But like I say, if it's ok with you, then it's ok with me!   

You have a point, however I do 3D renders so the process is fairly automated. Actual creation time of the models for the images can be as short as a couple hours of work or maybe a day or two for more complex things. That time can then yield hundreds of images which each take usually between 10 minutes and an hour to render, all the while I can work on other stuff... or frankly just sleep. To be honest I usually create about five images an hour whilst just watching Netflix... laziness is my aim in life.

I can then often turn each render into several more unique images that would take the buyer hours to make by compositing or modifying them in Photoshop, a lot of which I've automated with scripts. I've had images which took five minutes to create that earned $100 within a couple months of uploading. The reason I estimate only $1 is just because I upload so many images. I do a lot of images using flags so it's easy to build up large numbers of images with little work, some of which never sell since the countries are so obscure but then I had a $60 EL on Istock out of the blue on an image of a waving Costa Rican flag so it's worth doing them all.

In terms of vector illustration or photography it is a low profit per image, yes... however the work is also far less. I reckon another two years of doing this and my annual income should be as much as I would get working full time in 3D modelling, which is a bitch of an industry to find work in. I've built up a portfolio of over 8000 images in just over a year of half assing it... so basically my aim is to get to a living wage off this and then I can work on making games.

It would be fun to create some content as great as yours but frankly it seems like a lot of work and I'm lazy... though some concept images of robot overlords enslaving humanity sounds like it would be interesting to make.

He did say $100, but if one download is $1, then 100 downloads does equal $100... so it's a valid point. It's not like he asked "how many vectors would I need to make $100 a month if each of them had a maximum of just one download".

And you may doubt that anyone could make $100 with just one image, but i'm pretty sure some people do. Although, they probably haven't got just one image... they'll have a bunch of images, but one or more of them make $100 a month.

I've generally found that if I divide total earnings across all sites by the number of images it comes out to between $1-2 per image. Of course some images are never downloaded whilst others have made $60 off one sale and others have earned $100 off only three sales whilst images that have sold 100 times have only earned half that but I find $1 per image per year to be a good minimum estimate. I know that figure is going to vary wildly from person to person and depending on what you upload and how much though.

However uploading a hundred colour variants of basic images that anyone could modify from the original in 30 seconds is not a sensible strategy and it's only going to lower that baseline estimate for you. It's one of the reasons I've never bothered getting into creating vectors. I can't compete with others without compromising my integrity. If I do colour variants of rasters it's because it would take the buyer enough time and enough knowledge of the software to modify that it is justified but if it is just a simple vector I think you're better off sticking to a black and white version and one, maybe two colour variants... not two dozen. That only results in dividing your sales and ensuring nothing will ever become popular. A handful of popular images can earn more in a year than a thousand other images...

Double post.

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