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Messages - PowerDroid

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CanStockPhoto.com / Re: CanStockPhoto Sales Picking Up!
« on: April 29, 2010, 09:21 »
good for you but I would suggest that its just a random piece of good luck.

I suggest that it's not random or luck but a trend.  CanStockPhoto has been on a slow and steady rise for me for the past few months as well.  Averaging about $6/day on a port of about 800 images.

art, prints, and galleries are where the money is.

Got it.  That's why you're spending all your time in the art, prints and galleries forum.  

I'm here because microstock does very well for me and I like to learn from others who take this seriously.  I'm still baffled why so many microstock haters hang out here and complain.  Seems like a lot of wasted time and energy.

Optimism only goes so far unless you're one of the few who coast through life on pure luck.

What a jaded view to think that optimism = luck.  I'm optimistic becuase I've worked hard, reached my goals, and all the evidence I've collected so far points to more work equaling more results.  Luck doesn't enter into it.

When I decided to try microstock, I did my homework.  I checked out all the sites, figured out what were the lucrative subjects, what was oversaturated and what topics were underrepresented.  I developed what I believe is a unique style.  And I set a quota... a few hours a day and a few uploads every night.  I'm right where my goal line says I should be right now, and my trend line is pretty straight and upward.  But if I were struggling to hit my goals, you can bet I would have moved on to a different pursuit, and wouldn't be hanging around here moaning about it and ridiculing others for chasing their failed dreams.  What a silly waste of time that would be.

Now please don't tell me you guys think "nattering nabobs of negativism" came from the Pythons.

I knew it was a politician, but not which one.  Turns out it's Spiro Agnew:

Correct, Spiro Agnew - the man who had to resign as Vice President to face corruption charges - the man who Nixon himself privately referred to as an "@sshole".  The "negativism" being mocked by Agnew was the steadily growing feeling that the Vietnam war was a mistake and a disaster.  That view turned out to be "realism".

A bit more trivia... Agnew didn't come up with the phrase himself... rather, it was his speechwriter William Safire, who went on to be a respected conservative columnist.  I was too young to hear it being used first-hand... instead I heard it in college and have loved the phrase ever since.  I dish it out when surrounded by people being way too glum.

No connections to the Pythons, of course, aside from being from the same era.  Holy Grail is probably my favorite comedy of all time... just introduced my ten-year-old son to it a few weeks ago and I was thrilled to find that he loved it.  He and I were quoting the movie for days.

nattering nabobs of negativism...

Don't try to tell me you're old enough to remember the source of that classic quote!   :D

You must return here with a shrubbery or else you will never pass through this wood alive!

One that looks nice... and not too expensive.

Dreamstime.com / Re: Is Dreamstime dying?
« on: April 22, 2010, 15:47 »
Since I started this thread, DT is slightly improving so I should start another one. ;) ;D
Here we go, my numbers are:
In my last 100 sales, 57 were credits and 43 subs (mix of them) (same period last year 64 credits and 36 subs)
1 credit - 15
2 credits - 0
3 credits - 9
4 credits - 11
5 credits - 6
6 credits - 0
7 credits - 7
8 credits - 2
9 credits - 1
10 credits - 2
11 credits - 3
16 credits - 1

Very interesting exercise.... I just looked at my last 100 sales at DT, and here's how they break down...

In my last 100 sales, 75 were credits and 25 subs (mix of them) but haven't looked into same period in 2009 yet to compare...
1 credit - 21
2 credits - 2
3 credits - 15
4 credits - 4
5 credits - 9
6 credits - 1
7 credits - 7
8 credits - 1
9 credits - 5
10 credits - 5
11 credits - 4
12 credits - 1

+1, what steve (cascoly) said.

Add to his argument:

- When the world emerges from the current recession, more businesses will form and need to advertise, and those who have been quiet will jump back into full marketing gear, and the need for images will increase dramatically.

- As the undeveloped, or underdeveloped, world sees growth in their small business sectors, those businesses will also look for the most cost-effective ways to advertise and will become big users of microstock.

To macrosaur and the other nattering nabobs of negativism... why do you spend so much of your energies concerning yourself with something you see as dead or dying?  You present yourselves as astute business people, but how smart is it so spend so much of your time and energy kicking what you see as a dead horse, when you could be making more money elsewhere?  

CanStockPhoto.com / Re: My first FotoSearch Regular - $19.80
« on: April 21, 2010, 14:06 »
I've never seen a Fotosearch Medium, but I've had a bunch of Fotosearch XLarge downloads for $19.80 each.

Also I've recently seen some called XLarge with varying prices such as $21.12, $26.76, $27.12, $29.18, $29.55.  No indication of why the prices are all over the map.

If supply drops and demand remains/increases then contributor value goes up.

I think we're saying the same thing.  SS and other agencies need to keep quality contributors happy.  So cutting commissions would be exactly the wrong thing to do.

Contributors are not powerless. They just haven't been pushed hard enough to push back or go away. I'm guessing both will happen at some point and then contributors will have better leverage.

Again, I think we're on the same page.  But I'm using this argument to say that ultimately commissions can't fall too much -- or if they do they will have to rebound -- because the agencies can't afford to have the best contributors stop uploading.

Yes, people around the world will be more competitive as access to broadband improves and computer hardware and software gets into every home in every nook and cranny of the Earth.  They will have access to the same tools as you, except for one... your creative mind.

In the early days of microstock, you didn't need to have brilliant or original ideas to succeed.  Any isolated apple or business handshake shot would sell.  But if your work is uninspired and doesn't stand out from the crowd today, you're watching your sales plummet, and rightfully so... worse yet, there's no way you will survive tomorrow.   As the playing field becomes more and more flat, it will be more and more apparent who the true artists are... they will continue to rise to the top, whether in the U.S., India, Ethiopia, etc.    

And yes, we could see commissions fall, but also keep in mind that as world economies open up and your competitors grow in numbers, so will your customers.   Small business will sprout everywhere, and the demand for quality, creative images will only increase.  If you think this is a volume business today, just wait for tomorrow.  But these expanding markets will have unique needs, so the smartest among us will be watching these emerging markets and adapting our styles and subject matter to serve these new customers.

That's my glass-half-full view, anyway.  You can pick it apart, but I believe those who complain about the changing world are the ones left behind... those with the positive attitudes will see through the clouds to new opportunities and reap the rewards.  Choose your side wisely.

Dreamstime.com / Re: Is Dreamstime dying?
« on: April 20, 2010, 16:03 »
Are we still talking about Dreamstime dying?  NO WAY!

Mar 1-20, I averaged $20.60/day on DT... about $.024 per image per day.

Apr 1-20, I've averaged $19.60/day on DT... about $.021 per image per day.

That looks like a dip, but April started with Easter and many people have had spring break for some part of the month.

If this is dying, keep on dying, Dreamstime!


... Sounds like unprofitible contributors are already jumping ship and focusing on other areas.

Contributors are getting tired of getting their T&C getting regularly changed to their disadvantage.

And I think a lot of people dove into micro to help pay the bills to weather the economy. When things pick back up and people are back to work are they really going to spend as much time on micro to make pocket change? And even if sales pick up and agencies make more you can bet that they'll cut commissions again.

I think there's a few holes in this theory... if contributors start dropping like flies, will the agencies be able to afford to cut commissions across the board?  The law of supply and demand would suggest not.  If what you're really suggesting is a leveling out of the contributor base (growth slows to zero), then reduced commissions on the big sites seems plausible, but if you're thinking that the amount of contributors will fall by a significant percentage, the agencies will start to fear for their futures and cutting commissions would be against their interests.

I see a rebounding economy as a very good thing for contributors, and they'll increase their output.  As more money is available and small businesses flourish, we'll see much more spending on microstock.  And even the big buyers will have increased budgets, but now that they've discovered microstock during the lean years, they'll continue to buy here instead of returning to macro.  That genie is out of the bottle.

I fully agree with all the speculation that we're in a race to the bottom.  But I don't necessarily believe that the bottom is free.  Maybe images will be offered free on some sites, but there will be models for the contributing artists to be paid somehow, either through advertising or agencies paying for contributions up-front.  And the market will level out at a point at which skilled artists will be content with the financial payout, or they'll bolt, which will affect the supply and demand equation and the remaining artists will make more, which would draw more artists in, and the cycle would go on indefinitely.  It just won't ever hit zero.

It just doesn't make sense that masses of people will spend any energy on creating images for zero payout.  Sure, there will be hobbyists and enthusiasts who don't expect anything more than the thrill of sharing their stuff, but with few exceptions, the quality of work generated by a non-paid audience won't satisfy the business world.

As the human story moves forward, we will be communicating visually more and more, and that will increase the demand for effective images.  A crowd-sourced base of contributors working for free won't cut it.  There will always be a demand for talented visual artists -- photographers, illustrators, etc. -- and the best will continue to be compensated well, if not in microstock then via some other model (and no, that won't be macro or RM... those days are gone).   Now is not the time to be scared and cower in the corner.  If you want to be a survivor, get excited about the opportunities coming and be ready to pounce on them.

... microstock is NOT a job/business (for the microstocker) - it is a competition.


Business IS competition.

Unless someone inherited his/her parents' business, most successful business people earned their success by beating their competitors.  They did something better... offered better products, had better service, better prices, etc.  But make no mistake, it was a competition, and they won and profited from it.   These same rules govern who wins and loses in microstock. 

Sorry, guys, but this is how capitalism works.  When you were in the minority with the skills and the means to take and sell photos, capitalism worked well for you... supply and demand was on your side and you were happy capitalists.  Today, however, technology has allowed many others to practice your craft, and new marketplaces have been set up to allow them to profit from it.  With these changes, the laws of supply and demand have shifted and you have much more competition. Suddenly you think the world has turned against you, when really it is only capitalism running its natural course. 

Some veterans contend that there's no more money to be made here, and maybe that's their reality, but it's not mine.  You have to evolve to survive and thrive in any changing marketplace.  If you refuse to do so, you deserve the results... but if you accept that the rules have changed and look for ways to serve today's and tomorrow's customers, you can do very well for yourself.  It's your choice.

123RF / Re: Can't login to 123RF
« on: April 18, 2010, 12:09 »
I know I chimed in earlier, but just to put things in perspective... it seems we're all stressing a bit too much over a site that will probably earn most of us under a dollar today.  Aren't there bigger things to worry about than whether we'll make our dollar at 123RF today?  Just sayin'.

123RF / Re: Can't login to 123RF
« on: April 18, 2010, 07:42 »
Same problems here this morning.  I contacted tech support, but I can't imagine I'm the only one.  Will report back with the answer I receive.

Bigstock.com / Re: Rise of Bigstock?
« on: April 17, 2010, 07:41 »
For me, it's been the Rise of Canstock.

So far this month...

123 ~ $3/day
BigStock ~ $4/day
CAN ~ $5/day

Of course, Canstock's good showing is due mainly to those "Fotosearch Regular" downloads of $20 or $30 each, which happen now about once or twice a week.

TBH I don't really give a flying isuck if they take my images.  Yes, I'd make more money and yes, that's the point but when 95% of your job stress comes from one thing and you can successfully avoid that one thing you may want to do that.

Sorry if you've taken any of the comments personally.  You started a blog called Nil to Mil with the stated goal of reaching a million dollars in microstock.  Many people watched your progress with keen interest and naturally found it odd that you would turn a blind eye to, what is for most successful microstockers, the top agency for earning potential.  Yes, it is probably the cause of most of our stress -- their upload process is painful and acceptance ratios can be brutal -- but to give up on them for these reasons is like saying it's difficult to get Wal Mart to sell your widgets so you've convinced yourself to be happy selling them in mom and pop shops or on street corners.  You can't get to "Mil" that way.  But if you're doing this for enjoyment and not to maximize your income, then you're right, do what you enjoy.  Who needs extra stress these days?


I hate to say it but the fewer microstock photographers there are, the better my sales will be.  It's actually kind of idiotic to post things that make people want to do this job more.

If this is how you feel, you might want to change the tagline of your blog: "NiltoMil is a microstock blog for photographers looking to make money with their photos and learn more about the stock photography industry."   Maybe something like "Please don't do what I do... we don't need more competition!"  ;)

Of course, there's always Flickr.  You can put up very small versions of your pics with watermarks on them, and encourage people to contact you to obtain the full size non-watermarked version.  I get asked multiple times a week, and I quote them a price that is similar to what they might pay at an agency.  I probably make about $50 a month doing this.  Plus I send them my referral link to Shutterstock, and earn another $10 - $50 a month through referrals.  Also, about once a month, my Flickr exposure leads to some custom work, in which a buyer wants an image edited a certain way, text added, or new pics done from scratch, so I earn an additional few hundred a month doing that as well.

Because photographers don't need middlemen?

That's a bit like saying an inventor doesn't need Wal-Mart.  He can get by just fine hawking his widget on street corners.  He can keep 100% of his sales!  Yipee!

An incredibly naive notion.  Anyone with business sense understands the value of selling through an agency and how far back you'd be starting if you decided to just sell on your own.  It's nice to think you can keep (close to) 100% of the revenue from a sale, but how are you going to attract customers in the first place?  The agencies provide many services to us, some better than others, and some are more worth the chunks they take from our sales than others.  But unless you're a "name brand" with a lot of customers who chomp at the bit for you to post more images they can buy, you are better off in the agency model.

That's my two cents... or .36 cents after agency commissions.

Featurepics.com / Re: Made me laugh...then close my account
« on: April 11, 2010, 22:47 »
Your comment about iStock seemed to be in line with your other posts on the subject... explaining why you don't see the point in submitting to IS.  Sarcasm or not, you really should put the effort into building an iStock portfolio... that strategy, more so than anything else, will help you get from Nil to Mil.

Featurepics.com / Re: Made me laugh...then close my account
« on: April 11, 2010, 21:05 »
I need to go learn iStock so I can make an extra $0.50 a month to make up for the loss of this site.


If you learned iStock you should make much, much more than an extra $.50 a month.  Sharply_Done recently said it best... those who are successful at microstock, are successful at iStock.  Those who aren't, aren't.  Any ms veterans out there disagree?  Anyone doing this full time disagree?

General Stock Discussion / Re: Spring Break = Sales slowdown?
« on: April 08, 2010, 12:50 »
Anyone else seeing a quick rebound to the Easter slump?

I had a pretty awful first five or six days of April, but the last few days have been roaring back.

Today will be my BDE thanks in large part to 3 ELs at SS!  But even without those, this would be a strong day... back to where the great days of March left off.

The good old days = the date the complainer started in microstock, through the date that the individual's growth trend hit its peak.

The bad new days = the date the individual's growth trend hit its peak, through today, due to:
a) the buyers' appetites for "business handshakes" and "everything isolated on white" finally being satiated
b) all those criminal microstock sites sticking it to them! (we knew when we signed those agreements that changes might be made that could adversely affect us, but we didn't think you'd do it!)
c) you signing up

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