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Author Topic: Selling images direct without CMS or Ktools  (Read 13386 times)

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« on: October 27, 2012, 19:22 »
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Just curious if any of you out there that sell direct don't have some sort of 3rd party system to sell your images.  I can't afford to purchase any of the CMSs and everytime I think about it in my head it ends up more complicated than I want it to be.

Would like to know any experiences and examples you would like to share.  I would like to get started on it and launch the first of the year.

Thanks,

Anita


« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 19:54 »
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I tried a couple like opencart, zencart or oscommerce.

All of them are geared towards physical products and have to be customized to handle file downloads.

I was trying to set up a shop for my footage (less files, less preview files, less hassle).

It took me weeks and weeks to get them to work I wanted to and still discovering bugs (cross browser compatibility issues etc.).

Support is sporadic and depending on other non-profit forum members (you get what you pay for...).

Let me know if you come across a solution that's easy to customize.   ;)

« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 20:13 »
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I had ZenCart too awhile back and found it to be finiky for digital downloads.  I started to write it down on paper earlier and it's just as complicated on paper as it is in my head.  Prolly biting off more than I can chew.  Now I would have absolutely no problem selling physical items as I intend to start doing that next year as well for some stoooopid reason digital has me more baffled.

Once I get it all down on paper then I'll start fiddling with building the physical section on my site just to see if there's a way to streamline it.

Course then there are all the * web browsers to consider ya just had to remind me about that didn't you  ;)

I'll let ya know how I get on with it.

« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2012, 21:03 »
+1
You don't need a cart, even a hosted one. You can use paypal to put a link on your page that lets the buyer send you payment for the image, you just include some kind of reference to the image (file name, description) as part of the data in that link and paypal will perform the transaction.

What paypal won't do is fullfill the digital download for you - the buyer will get a receipt with the details you specified in the link, but the actual file delivery is up to you. (and buyers won't like it if they have to wait for you to email the file the next day)

I use this method to allow buyers to purchase a license to use some images I'm sharing freely with a creative commons license without an attribution. So in this case the buyer already has the full resolution file direct from the site, they are just buying the documentation that says they can use it without the usual CC credit requirements.

Whatever the solution you come up with it needs automatically generate these links for you, unless you have just a few 'image packages' the time involved in manually adding links for each photo and checking they work is prohibitive.

There are several opensource solutions out there, I've written more at http://www.microstockinsider.com/guides/photo-cms-content-management-systems , but like the other posts in this thread warn, you'll spend a lot of time 'tweaking' and learning - that experience / knowledge is probably the valuable part of the exercise, the sales probably won't be worth it - feel free to prove me wrong!

THP Creative

  • THP Creative

« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 22:47 »
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Perhaps a silly question, but has anyone tried using wordpress with a woocart add-on? I'm pretty sure that allows digital downloads in some form, but perhaps like microstockinsider mentioned, it may be too labour intensive, im not sure.

Anyone tried a wordpress-related solution with an ecommerce add-on?

(forgive me if even asking this question is too naive - i've not tried either ktools or any other solution, but its something ive got on the drawing board for down the track)

« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 03:31 »
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Ah I'm used to tweaking.  I've been building sites on my own for over 10 years.  Course this will be my first foray into downloadable images.  The delivery system is the one thing that I need to figure out and research.  I'll check out the link you gave tomorrow halloween was a busy night.

Thanks :)

I've never used Word Press but that would definitely be interesting to know.

RacePhoto

« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 11:42 »
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Ah I'm used to tweaking.  I've been building sites on my own for over 10 years.  Course this will be my first foray into downloadable images.  The delivery system is the one thing that I need to figure out and research.  I'll check out the link you gave tomorrow halloween was a busy night.

Thanks :)

I've never used Word Press but that would definitely be interesting to know.

Just adding a Me Too. PayPal words for products, and has email notification when someone buys, but doesn't work for file downloads. If someone had a simple and functional File Download link creation, when someone pays for a license, that would be all we need.

After that, anyone can add their own stock code, to any page. It could be a script that reads the file name, and creates the link for the buyer. Also the second part, is that link is only valid for a designated period of time. You don't want it forever or... well you know what kind of things can happen?  ;)

It doesn't seem that impossible or complicated? And consider that I don't know php, so that's easy for me to say.

« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 13:28 »
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I was thinking along those lines too.  I've done some work with php and mysql in the past but my knowledge about it now is really outta date.  I have no problems building that section of the site at all.  The delivery method is going to be the real kicker and requires a lot of research.

I did some looking awhile back to see if there was a script but all I could find was a script someone was selling for $10 which I didn't want to do because how do I know it would actually work for me in the way I needed it to work? 

« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 13:56 »
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It would take some time, but if I had the knowledge, I would definitely build a custom solution. I don't, so spending the money on a prepackaged solution was the best option. It paid for itself pretty quickly though.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 14:05 »
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It would take some time, but if I had the knowledge, I would definitely build a custom solution. I don't, so spending the money on a prepackaged solution was the best option. It paid for itself pretty quickly though.

By "prepackaged" are you talking about the $10 package that Anita mentioned?

Did it work well ... without modification?>

« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 14:15 »
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By "prepackaged" are you talking about the $10 package that Anita mentioned?

Did it work well ... without modification?>

Nope, Ktools.

« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2012, 14:59 »
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How long did it take you to modify the basic site?

« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2012, 20:19 »
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PayPal actually has something for digital goods.  I just have to wait until later to actually dive into and look at it.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2012, 20:25 »
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PayPal actually has something for digital goods.  I just have to wait until later to actually dive into and look at it.

It would seem they must have that capability.  There are lots of posts about our images being sold on eBay.  There must be a download/payment system?
Or, are they selling prints and posters of our digital images?

Now, I'm confusing myself ... again.   :P

« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2012, 21:22 »
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I just downloaded a 64 page pdf file from PayPal about integration into a site.  Not sure if this is what I need or not but I will be going through it to make sure.

« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2012, 18:44 »
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Anita, about a hundred years ago my wife and I created a niche stock site and used PayPal IPN to power it. We used PHP with a MySQL backend. It worked just fine. Feel free to PM me and I'll help as much as I can.

« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2012, 05:57 »
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wordpress: http://www.cidepix.com/
CMS account: http://www.vectorella.com/

wordpress store front end is pretty good but I want people to visit my CMS account store because it is easier to upload and manage.. once you start to get serious about your own site, wordpress is useless because you realize that bulk upload and edit features are EVERYTHING..

If you don't have proper bulk upload functionality, having your own store will be a pain in the ass.. :) Otherwise wordpress store is equally good..

It is the FREE getshopped plug-in with paid gold cart add-on for $45.. I actually have search functionality which I disabled myself.. watermark is created by "marekki's watermark plugin" http://www.wp-watermark.com/download I don't update it because it really is not practical..

I am considering ktools for my wordpress store and quite happy with my CMS account store.. If ktools can convince me that they will be worth paying more than CMS account I will get ktools, if not, I might get another CMS account for that site as well..

for me to buy ktools for my wordpress store they have to improve:
1- search functionality
2- bulk upload
3- product page and download buttons (as they look ugly compared to CMS account templates) and the looks are important

also, CMS account is unbranded, ktools is not.. why pay $69 for something you already paid $300 to purchase? having an unbranded store is a MUST.. but paying $69 to remove a single sentence does not sound right.. otherwise I am fine with their price and they have all the rights to ask whatever price they want for "their" product..

anyway I am following their improvements thanks to MSG, and will pay for the store when and If they are ready to receive it :) I don't want to ask them many questions and have a headache after I paid.. All the headaches must be healed before I pay..
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 20:45 by cidepix »

« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2012, 09:59 »
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If you want just stupid proof solution without big investment, try ejunkie.com - it is not good for huge collections though.

Other option might be KTools or Photoshelter (paid) or CopperMine gallery (free but needs some tweaking).

If you want to do it yourself it could be done via PayPal Express Checkout. Do not read whole Paypal manual and rather google something like "implementing paypal payments" - there are dozen fool-proof tutorials and PHP codes. In short - you need paypal business account. Then you just need 3 functions - one to send info to paypal, one to receive payment confirmation from paypal and third to create unique download link.

« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2012, 13:25 »
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Thanks for all the information.  I know I do not have all the space to upload my entire port so I would have to figure out which images I would start out with first of if I could actually do it at all.  It seems harder to deal with than say physical goods.   I'll probably take some more time to think about it.

Thanks again.

RacePhoto

« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2012, 14:57 »
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If you want just stupid proof solution without big investment, try ejunkie.com - it is not good for huge collections though.

Other option might be KTools or Photoshelter (paid) or CopperMine gallery (free but needs some tweaking).

If you want to do it yourself it could be done via PayPal Express Checkout. Do not read whole Paypal manual and rather google something like "implementing paypal payments" - there are dozen fool-proof tutorials and PHP codes. In short - you need paypal business account. Then you just need 3 functions - one to send info to paypal, one to receive payment confirmation from paypal and third to create unique download link.

Where do I find that. If I could add that to every photo on a site, that would suffice. third to create unique download link.

This is the kind of simple script that I'd want to be able to cut and paste below a f n image. Then enter the photo ID data and there it is. I realize that for someone with 7000 images, it's not going to work, but for a special page with 25, where I add one or two a week, it's not slave labor.  ;D

So anyone have this code with the Three Functions? I already have a PayPal business account.

For selling some items that I deliver (hobby stuff) I just cut and paste the section and change the item number and if I want the price, it's all in one template.

I don't see what it wouldn;t work for photos. (except I don't have one working example to copy and alter)

So anyone have one of these for file download link and is there a time limit so someone can't buy it once and distribute the link to 10,000 people?

« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2012, 18:57 »
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I don't think I'm going to go ahead an do this.  Tangible goods are easier to deal with than digital.

My guess as to making a unique download link would have to be something that's database driven with some mysql code to where it changes per user per download.  I'm not a coder and I've only used php and mysql a few years ago and wrote my own stuff but nothing like this.  Some kind of automatic page redirect or the generated link for the end user to click on seems viable but as far as writing code goes I'm not smart enough to do it.

« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2012, 12:04 »
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Just curious if any of you out there that sell direct don't have some sort of 3rd party system to sell your images.  I can't afford to purchase any of the CMSs and everytime I think about it in my head it ends up more complicated than I want it to be.



Anita -

The first thing I would say is that if you think the price for Photoshelter or KTools is too high, then you probably should give up on the idea immediately. Anyone who has the KTools package and has bothered to look at the number of PHP and database files which go into the overall store knows how much works went into it. $200-$300 is hardly a high price to pay for that much work being done for you.

The next option is doing it yourself. Are you a strong web programmer, capable of integrating a shopping cart, etc? If so, then take a look at these two sites:

http://www.danheller.com/
http://www.terragalleria.com/

Heller's is completely home grown. Nobody seems to be impressed with his design, but he sure makes a lot of money licensing images. I think QTLuong's site is also home grown.

Obviously neither of these sites look like "stock sites." But they are. And it proves that you don't have to look like Getty Images or Shutterstock to make sales. In many ways, I like the Heller and QTLuong designs because they integrate a lot of text and "stories" around the pictures. Not only is this good for SEO, it is awesome for customer engagement. People are more likely to link to a story/blog than they are to some random stock image.

RacePhoto

« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2012, 14:53 »
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Dan Heller site which looks quite functional, but here's the license portion #2

"Images are delivered after payment is submitted.
I will manually email the image to you after you submit payment. Your card will not be charged until your image is emailed to you. This is almost always within a 24-hour timeframe. "

I can do that with the hosting store I already have for free. People pay, I email them a link. That's not the point. What if I'm on the road for a few days, everything stops dead and the customers get to sit and wait? Not right.

Only thing I'd like is the code so if someone pays, it can be verified, and create a link for them to download. Then after 72 hours (as an example) the link goes dead. I don't need to buy a whole store for that. I just need the part that does the license and download link.

1) collect fee
2) verify payment
3) create and send a link

The rest can be handled from the website with HTML or PHP.

« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2012, 17:21 »
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If someone had a simple and functional File Download link creation, when someone pays for a license, that would be all we need.

After that, anyone can add their own stock code, to any page. It could be a script that reads the file name, and creates the link for the buyer. Also the second part, is that link is only valid for a designated period of time. You don't want it forever or... well you know what kind of things can happen?  ;)

It doesn't seem that impossible or complicated? And consider that I don't know php, so that's easy for me to say.


i do that for selling photo collections using clickbank -- when they pay they get a link that's customized for  the item they bought.  my thank-you page then uses the code to figure out which files to let them download.

really easy to set up - use ASP and html forms
http://cascoly.com/clickbank/photography.asp

since the images are a small subset, it doesnt get much traffic, and i spend more time working on my smugmug site

« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 17:26 »
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PayPal actually has something for digital goods.  I just have to wait until later to actually dive into and look at it.

It would seem they must have that capability.  There are lots of posts about our images being sold on eBay.  There must be a download/payment system?
Or, are they selling prints and posters of our digital images?

Now, I'm confusing myself ... again.   :P

ebay hasnt allowed digital downloads for several years - you have to provide a physical product


 

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