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Author Topic: Selling Direct - Your Thoughts on Licensing with Regard to the Future  (Read 5310 times)

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Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« on: March 15, 2016, 22:04 »
0
I have a question for the sell-direct-experienced people, so I can make a proper decision in the software I've been working on.

An elephant experiences the world different than a mouse, and an ant experiences the world differently than both of those. Each one practically dwells in its own universe.

I've found the same to be true of selling direct, VS selling via agencies. We are like the mice or ants, with our own advantages, unique and wonderful. But trying to be another creature is full of folly. There are a few in this industry who are very very experienced in selling direct. Others are experienced enough to know what is practical. I'd love to have your guidance here.

I find many questions converge on the OPTIONS and the related LICENSING system, especially when one considers the future of downloadables in general. I don't go on assumption, but rather everything should have a sound purpose.

The more experienced the sell-direct opinions given, the better.

Essentially there a few ways we can go:





The Simple System:
  • One product = One Download. No size choices.
  • One license page that all products refer to.
  • One price, no confusion.
This is my favorite because general sell-direct users are not lawyers, do not have easy access to lawyers. Its simplest to design for, simplest to expand on, and its simplest for users to follow. I also don't think (personally) size choices are necessary anymore. I also feel it is the most honest.

Best of all, its most appropriate for a "product-agnostic" system, where users might want to sell other downloadables, like 3d models, mp3s, or books.





The Multi-License/Options System
  • Multiple Options / Sizes / File Types.
  • Multiple Licenses.
  • Multiple Prices, Based on Options.
My least favorite. It forces average sell-direct artists to become something they usually are not: Legal experts. Its hard to design for, hard to expand on, and hard for the webmaster AND his/her customer to follow. It offers too many options, bogging down the process of sale. Also, I wouldn't call it an "honest" system when executed by sell-direct people who cannot enforce licensing (much less design it properly).





Yet I find the insistence is on the second one, by most people, especially photographers.

To be perfectly honest, there are only two reasons I would design the second option:
  • Sell-direct experts insist on it for reasons I have not yet considered.
  • Keeping up with the competition, who include it.
Otherwise, I see little rationale in including it.
The software I am designing is so far well-aimed, except for this issue which is highly subjective.

Please give your opinions, and give your experience / case examples where its possible.
Another thing to consider: Our future is a highly downloadable one, with the advent of 3d printing, gaming, virtual reality, books, and more.

I think our traditional licensing system is based on ideas that are expiring. Please give your comments on this as well, and how licensing should be approached future-oriented.



POLL

Once I've gotten some feedback and isolate a few possibilities, I will post those options as a poll and keep the thread active for a month or so, so I can arrive at the best solution.


farbled

« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 22:17 »
+1
My current sell direct site is one size, one price. I found it too cumbersome otherwise and besides, photo quality is such nowadays that even buying a small size photo can be blown up. Its too hard to police usage and I have better things to spend that time on. I don't really consider myself in competition with any agency. They have their customers and I have mine. Different worlds altogether.

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2016, 22:34 »
0
My current sell direct site is one size, one price. I found it too cumbersome otherwise and besides, photo quality is such nowadays that even buying a small size photo can be blown up. Its too hard to police usage and I have better things to spend that time on. I don't really consider myself in competition with any agency. They have their customers and I have mine. Different worlds altogether.

Insight appreciated! Your site is very easy to follow as well.

« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2016, 23:19 »
+1
Leo, I have experience licensing directly via my Photoshelter account and license mostly RM and higher end RF images, so I need those options. Licensing images directly at a higher price point works for me, since I don't see how I can compete with big agencies on price nor can I get the volume needed to make licensing microstock myself worthwhile. Perhaps I'm the mouse in your example rather than the ant, but for me one-size-fits-all licensing doesn't work.

I find that about half of my clients are book and magazine publishers with experience licensing and a good idea of the traditional rates which they expect to pay; they are used to paying based on size e.g. much more for a full page vs. a 1/4 page) and usage, print run, etc. The rest are people who rarely if ever license photos but want them for an invitation, a small business website, blog or a powerpoint presentation and these people are willing to pay mid-to-traditional stock photo licensing fees for the right image.

I've been licensing directly for about 5 years. Photoshelter provides standard RM and RF licensing language. Most buyers contact me through the site and negotiate the use they need, and I reference the appropriate license in my invoice. I work as a freelance writer and photographer, so I'm comfortable negotiating via email or phone. I find that traditional print buyers often contact me even when an image is available for direct download, and sometimes end up paying more than the set price since they have very specific needs and budgets, and they generally quote me their rates, usually in the neighborhood of $200-300 for a quarter page for a month.

I don't license my microstock images from my site.

Not sure if this is helpful to you, but perhaps it explains why many want the "multi-license options system."

I applaud your efforts with symbio and wish you all the best. 

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2016, 00:49 »
+1
wordplanet Thank you very much.

Your comment helps me to understand how others are using / depending on such things in a practical setting. Thank you for the time you spent writing it.

« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 10:44 »
0
wordplanet Thank you very much.

Your comment helps me to understand how others are using / depending on such things in a practical setting. Thank you for the time you spent writing it.

You're welcome. Glad it helped.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2016, 13:29 »
+2
I have both Photoshelter and Photodeck websites with mostly RM licenses. Photoshelter uses the Fotoquote system and uses the traditional multiple selection process to get a price. Photodeck offers a couple different RM options and is totally customizable. I took their PLUS model and changed it to my needs. The buyer really only needs to pick from a handful of types (Advertising, Editorial, Personal Use, etc) and then selects a use duration (1 week, 1 month 1 year, etc).

Of your two models of course the buyers will like the most simple method. This usually is unlimited usage for a small fee. And of course sellers like the second model which is usually limited usage for a higher fee. Problem is with one fee what should it be? $1? $100? $500? Too low and you leave money on the table. Too high and you scare aware buyers.

I'm not interested in unlimited licensing for my personal site. Your option 1 may be fine for agencies selling high volume/low cost but it would be extremely difficult to generate the volume that would be required to be profitable on a personal site. This simple licensing seems to have been created to benefit the buyer and agency with little consideration for the producer. Yesterday I sold a single-use five-year RM license for $450. But I'm mostly targeting commercial buyers who are willing to pay high prices.

Success with either model largely depends on strategy. If you have unique work you only sell through your site buyers are likely to put up with the 2nd model and higher prices. If you sell the same stuff on your site with the same prices as micro why would buyers buy from your site?

The problem with RM is the ton of options that confuses people. I dont think RM is the problem. I think we need to keep the concept of RM and replace the calculator configurator with something user friendly. Maybe just have a search box with "What do you need to use the image for?" and have a smart system guide the user through a couple step process.  If the user answers "Website" then the system moves on to "How long do you need to use it for?". The user adds to cart and checks out.

And I think we need to start heading back to single-use licenses.

Not sure if I answered your questions. Maybe more of a brain dump.

« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 14:16 »
+1
while one price to rule them all is a good goal, in practice it would have disadvantages at both high & low ends

unless the price is very low, bloggers & other websites are unlikely to consider it

if the price is low, you'd be giving away images for use in posters, greeting cards, etc

most of us are going to have difficulty finding any buyers in a direct sales site, since it's so difficult to be found; and google images doesn't make it any easier

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 14:59 »
0
@PaulieWalnuts insight appreciated. More practical reasons based on practical experience, based on actual sales. This is gold in terms of my own decision-making, so thank you for sharing.

@Cascoly also underscoring the previous insights.

Since I'm building this package with minimal interdependency, I can save this part of the system till last, while I wait for more insights to trickle into this thread. In the end, the target will have been hit perfectly, which is what I'm hoping for.


 

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