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Messages - PowerDroid

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123RF / Re: Anyone had their payment this month?
« on: April 06, 2010, 13:50 »
You have to meet the minimum balance threshold, which I think is $50.  I was paid on March 15, so they did make March payments if your balance met the minimum.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Spring Break = Sales slowdown?
« on: April 05, 2010, 20:10 »
Last year April was my worst month... not in terms of revenue but in decline from previous month.  Sales went south leading into Easter weekend and remained low for about two weeks following, which I attributed to vacations.  (My elementary school aged kids are off the entire week after Easter.)  This year seems to be a repeat of last year so far.  I'm probably off my March numbers by about a third so far.  Trying to comfort myself with the fact that last year May recovered nicely from a lousy April... hoping that repeats this year.

(Last year May and June were good, then July was flat to June.)

Computer Hardware / Re: Using a Laptop for Image Processing?
« on: April 05, 2010, 06:30 »
I use a Macbook Pro, which I've found to be pretty great.  I got it about half-way through my time in microstock and have not noticed a change in acceptance rates.  But I do find myself cranking up brightness all the way and adjusting the angle of the screen back and forth to do my best to check for banding and other strange effects that might have resulted from overzealous Photoshop trickery.

99 downloads on Mar 10, 2010.  Included 7 ODDs and 0 ELs, port size around 900.  Not BDE, which would have been April 8... 92 downloads including 5 ODDs and 3 ELs for a total of $124.68 (also on that day a referred subscription, but that revenue is received later).

Firstly it is considered by most people to be boastful and inappropriate to keep banging on about how much money you are making.
Thank you for the lesson in manners.  But I've never frequented this or any other forum expecting to find people minding their p's and q's and taken offense when someone violates the laws of decorum.  I visit forums to find interesting information.  And when people share their revenue numbers -- I don't care what Miss Manners would say about it -- I find it enlightening and often inspiring.  You might turn up your nose at a thread called "How much money did you make last month is microstock?" but I bet you would read it.

Secondly, I have no particular interest in knowing how much money you or anyone else is making.

And I have no particular interest in the mating habits of wombats, but I am thrilled those pages are out there for the people who DO care about such things.  I just don't care to frequent them, but I'm happy the info is there for those who enjoy it.

And while I don't find much interest in whether someone made 35% at SS last month or 12% at BS, you make a good case for the people who do care about those stats.  Frankly, I think Leaf's ranking system does a better job of that type of thing, but to each his own.

My mistake, I'm wrong.  iStock is the best.  They rule.  That's why they're #2 on the poll... Shutterstock users are just lying. ;)

People who don't make much at iStock will rate it poorly.  It's easier to get accepted and quickly start selling at Shutterstock, which is why it's number 1.  But the whole argument here is that those who can master iStock will realize greater earning potential there.  Unfortunately it seems those who are doing so are in the minority.

IS *could* be the best if they didn't have strict upload limits
or maybe not: their rpi is so good just because they're picky
They are the BEST for those reasons.

- Their upload limits encourage everyone to submit their BEST shots
- Their quality is BEST because their standards are so high
- Their position in the market is BEST because their customers appreciate the high good stuff : garbage ratio.
- They have the BEST potential for smart microstockers who understand all of the above and produce high quality work to meet high standards

(And no, I'm not an IS cheerleader... they still frustrate me when they reject more than 40% of my work, though typically when I look back at the rejections I end up agreeing with them.  It inspires me to keep getting better.)

I have a hard time getting stuff in at IS (35-40% usually) and I'm not going to do what feels like a half-ass edit to make IS take it.  I want the image to look the best it can so it sells.  I don't think slightly undersaturated, slightly undersharp, slightly low contrast is a good image.

Is this how you would describe the IS catalog?  My impression was always that it was a technically more solid catalog than the other sites.  I've had a few instances where an IS reviewer would bounce and image back to me highlighting a certain spot with a flaw in it and allow me to correct it, while other sites let the shots with flaws sail on through. 

What's the opinion of you other IS vets out there?  IS exclusives?

Until it's proven otherwise, I'll continue to believe that IS has the most stringent quality standards.  If your pics were students, it would be like having them apply to Yale and the local community colleges.  If they're good enough to get accepted into Yale, it's extremely likely they'll be let in everywhere else.

I'd rather read about actual sales.

I've never reported dollar amounts. I don't want to get beat up by those making big money saying that I'm a "Small fish" or make newbies think that there is easy money in microstock.

I see what you're saying.  But then again, when I was starting, I would read those earnings reports and feel encouraged that it WAS possible to make decent money at this.  Now I'm doing it, and in fact have surpassed those who have inspired me, but now they've stopped talking.   I don't mind mentioning my numbers -- I've done so on quite a few posts -- but I usually do so with a caveat... it is NOT easy, and involves a significant amount of work, research, and understanding of business/marketing.  Of course, I don't want to give people the bullet to shoot me with, so I don't post links to my ports... I just have to find the balance between inspiring others who are starting out just like I was not too long ago, vs. setting up my own competition.

Relax, it's just second day of this month. Maybe they are busy and will update on weekend.

I didn't mean they haven't reported March... they haven't reported the last several months.

Whatever happened to people reporting earnings?  I used to follow several sites like Microstock Diaries, Pixels Away, Nil to Mil, etc. where experienced microstockers would report their monthly sales, but just about all of them seemed to have stopped at the same time.  Seems like everyone had a few bad months and decided to stop sharing the info.  It was always enlightening to read analysis of what was working and what wasn't, what new approaches they would try, etc.

All this stuff about percentages... 34% at SS, 22% at IS, etc... maybe I should find that interesting, but I don't care.  I'm glad Leaf is tracking which sites seem to be growing or contracting, but beyond that, I'd rather read about actual sales.

IS certainly has a market but it's not mine.

I'm also a buyer.  I think sub-consciously I tend to prefer IS because I know they are extremely picky, and that tells me I will have to look through less garbage to get to what I want.  So as frustrated as I get at IS sometimes for my own rejections, I reward them for their pickiness.

I edit for SS and if iStock likes it, great.  If not, oh well.  

That seems backwards.  I think we'll all agree that iStock has the highest standards.  So doesn't it make sense to aim to meet the toughest standards with everything you do, knowing that if iStock accepts it chances are everyone else will?  I know there's certain types of pics I do that iStock tends not to accept, so to maximize my earning potential, I do less of those things and more of the things that iStock wants and tends to approve.  If you want to aim for the highest revenue possible, you should aim to meet the highest standards possible, and that means aiming to meet iStock's criteria.  That's been my approach lately, and my acceptance rate at IS has been gradually increasing.  And it's clear to me that iStock has the most earning potential.  My port there is 1/4 the size of my SS port, but the revenue generated at each site is about equal.  (Earned just shy of $900 at each in March.)

This might be a better observation: Those who are successful are successful on iStock. Those who aren't, aren't.

This is the comment that most intrigues me... haven't really thought about it before, but it seems to make sense.  Many of the most successful microstockers end up as IS exclusives because they do so well there.  

Could be a song, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere..."

It might be worth a poll... if you make over $X annually in microstock, is IS your #1?

This might be a better observation: Those who are successful are successful on iStock. Those who aren't, aren't.

This is the comment that most intrigues me... haven't really thought about it before, but it seems to make sense.  Many of the most successful microstockers end up as IS exclusives because they do so well there.  

Might be worth a poll... if you make over $X annually in microstock, is IS your #1?

I started in late 2008.  Got into SS right away but it took a year to get accepted into IS and currently my IS port is 1/4 the size of my SS port.  In March, revenues for IS and SS were the same almost to the dollar.  In April and moving forward, I expect IS to be my #1 by an ever-growing margin.

Microstock News / Re: Getty Images to aquire 123RF!!
« on: April 01, 2010, 09:27 »
April Fool's joke or not, I wouldn't shed too many tears over losing 123RF.  I earned just shy of $90 there last month, and that was a BME.  Hardly worth the effort anymore.

Microstock News / Re: Getty Images to aquire 123RF!!
« on: April 01, 2010, 09:05 »
OK, I'll bite... but the link to MicrostockDiaries.com... is there supposed to be a mention of it there?  Is Lee in on the gag too?  If he had something up he must have already taken it down.

Microstock News / Re: Getty Images to aquire 123RF!!
« on: April 01, 2010, 08:58 »
Good one.  But if it were true, would anyone really notice a difference if 123 just got shut down?  Most of us took a big revenue hit when StockXpert was acquired and killed.  But 123?  A better prank would have been: "Getty in talks to acquire Shutterstock," but maybe that would seem too outlandish and spotted  as an April Fool's joke right away.

BME at all the sites that matter (SS, IS, FT, DT)... and a couple that don't (CanStockPhoto, 123).  BigStock pretty stagnant.  I've stopped uploading to CRE and VEER and saw flat sales there compared to the last several months.  A few sales at Graphic Leftovers right after uploading my port there, but nothing for the past few weeks.  Waiting to see on that one. 

Most interesting tidbit... My IS port is about 1/4 the size of my SS port yet yielded the same amount of revenue, almost to the dollar.  I'm uploading my IS limit of 20 per week, but it it will never equal my SS port size at that rate, but should quickly and handily surpass it in sales.

Hey that's my picture!
The smilie faces used by 123rf on the above link is one of mine.

I'm about to do a huge DERAIL...

About those smiley faces... are you, or anyone else with yellow smileys in your port, concerned about copyright aspects of that iconic image?   Apparently it's a hotly contested image right now (here's just one example for further reading ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4984138.stm ) and I think some of the sites are playing cautious and not letting new smileys in and sometimes going through and removing old ones from ports.  Anyone else seeing this happen?

Sorry for the derailment... now back to your regularly scheduled thread...

I think your figure for a good  3d/vector artist fulltimer at 80k is totally pie in the sky.

I'd say it depends on the artist's ability to read the market and create images that are in demand... creating a unique style and consistently staying a few steps ahead of the competition.  If the artist is doing rainbows and flowers, 10k is probably a stretch... but if the artist focuses on things with real commercial value, something several multiples of that should be very doable.

Dreamstime.com / Re: Is Dreamstime dying?
« on: March 29, 2010, 15:00 »
I look through their photos and I try to take photos of those images that I think would sell well though that agency. It is still good to know a little bit of everything, it can only help you it can't hurt you.

I've found that while certain styles or subject matter sell slightly better on one site over another, by and large a good seller one one site will at worst be a decent seller on another.  (One thing I keep in mind is that many FT buyers tend to be European, so subject matter that is uniquely American may not be big sellers on FT.)   

However, overanalysis of this stuff CAN be counterproductive if it's hurting your productivity of new images.  Just generate what you feel are marketable images, upload them to all the sites, and accept that results may vary slightly from site to site.  I'm all for researching the market and against "feed the beast" mentality... but too much overthinking and too little actual creation of new pics won't help you meet your goals.

Dreamstime.com / Re: Is Dreamstime dying?
« on: March 29, 2010, 13:49 »
I still don't see the point in all the "details"  ???  We get paid like authors; if Tom Clancy gets paid $million from writing a book, does he care how much came from the sales of hardbacks and how much from paperbacks?

As long as my sales at DT continue to rise as they have since subs changes, I think I would be foolish to worry about exactly how each sales was made. I would be better off spending my time trying to make better images :D

Here's someone doing something right.  Hard to question the logic of someone whose numbers are this good... by that I mean ratio of uploads to sales... check out his rank info.  Clearly he gets it that time is better spent giving customers more of what they want vs. wasting time trying to figure out how they bought it.

Quantity vs. quality?  I think you're missing the point (but cthoman gets it as usual).

A keen understanding of the principles of marketing will get you further in microstock than either professional training as a photographer/artist... or endless hours of "feeding the beast" nonsense.  

Adequate skills + the ability to study a market, figure out what sells or doesn't, areas being underserved or oversaturated, and a unique selling proposition (what will make you stand out?) = the formula for success.  

There are far, far more talented artists in this business than me, but one of the first things I did was accept my limitations, and focus my efforts in areas where I saw opportunity and where my limited skills were good enough to do the job.  So far I'm more than happy with the results.

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