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Author Topic: So I made a Microstock Site for Me ...  (Read 27986 times)

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« on: October 13, 2010, 16:24 »
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I decided to use Ktools to create my own microstock site just for curiosities sake. It was fairly easy to implement, but the mysql stuff did spook me a little. Anyway, I was just wondering what you all think of it. I have tested the payment system with Paypal Sandbox, and it seems that everything is working properly. Here is the link if you want to take a look: http://rfstocks.com/

Also, sometimes the site seems slow. Then again, maybe it's just me.


« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 16:31 »
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I think you did a pretty good job of it. It didn't seem slow on my iPad at all. Congrats for taking on the challenge. Hope it goes well.

« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 16:39 »
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I like it!

it is very fast loading and navigation wise on this end.

It sounds like it was simple to do, did u have previous experience doing this?

What does somethig like that cost to do?

Im thinking if its cheep and easy then why not have one?

nick

« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 16:55 »
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I like it!

it is very fast loading and navigation wise on this end.

It sounds like it was simple to do, did u have previous experience doing this?

What does somethig like that cost to do?

Im thinking if its cheep and easy then why not have one?

nick


Yeah, I have a little web design experience. Mostly, all I did though was just change the colors and adjust the CSS code a bit. The php and mysql coding is not really my thing, but that was already done for me anyway. While you do not have to be a genius web designer to use the software, it helps to have some familiarity with it. Ktools will probably help you should you need any assistance. It costs around $215 for the software, $100 a year for updates after the first year (optional), and $100 annually for hosting (varies depending on host you pick). I'm using Inmotion hosting. Be sure the webhost you pick lets you use mysql, or it may not work. And something called PhpMyAdmin is also useful for your webhost to have. Also, I'm not sure how refunds work should you change your mind about the Ktools software. Ktools also provides their own hosting, but it costs more.

Here's who Ktools recommends for hosting: http://www.ktools.net/find.hosting.php
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 16:59 by Whiz »

« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 16:58 »
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You did a terrific job. I also you hit upon a very nice concept in your About Us page... : "RFStocks is a microstock website that sells the photos and illustrations of a single artist."
It led me to thinking that the industry should be ripe for very specialized stock sites. Maybe not just a single artist but perhaps a single concept such as "medical only", "off beat" stock or "very edgy" stock. The nature of that beast is that it must be highly selective to supply what's promised.

And you just may have folks pestering you with money in their hands to make one like yours for them. As I was typing this zenpix posted with your first sales lead!

« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 18:23 »
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I decided to use Ktools to create my own microstock site just for curiosities sake. It was fairly easy to implement, but the mysql stuff did spook me a little. Anyway, I was just wondering what you all think of it. I have tested the payment system with Paypal Sandbox, and it seems that everything is working properly. Here is the link if you want to take a look: http://rfstocks.com/
Ktools photostore has always been the best solution, imho. Good choice, although they tend to have that stereotype Ktools look.
Also, sometimes the site seems slow. Then again, maybe it's just me.
You're probably hosting it yourself and in that case, beware that no hosting plans were created equal. Especially the database should be fast. It makes a lot of difference with how much accounts you share one server machine. Some cheaper hosters dare to put 500 accounts on one machine.

« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 18:28 »
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"RFStocks is a microstock website that sells the photos and illustrations of a single artist."
There is a plugin so you can have several contributors on one site.
It led me to thinking that the industry should be ripe for very specialized stock sites.
I have been talking about this for a while here in private about a similar site that should carry only un-microstockish editorial in a certain niche, but coming above the Google noise is almost impossible. You will have to seek the customers in your niche actively.


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 02:36 »
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Great job! Your personal microstock site is more professional looking than some of the "real" microstock agencies I know

« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 04:47 »
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Amazing!  :o
Wish you the best!

« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 06:07 »
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On the Ktools forum I am maintaining a list of known working Photostores to which I have now added RFStocks. My favourite Ktools stores are Just World Photo and Phovoir-Images, which are very well done sites. You can hardly see they are Ktools derivatives.


Wow!  Just World is really nice.  Good colors and layout.

« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 12:06 »
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Very impressive. How are sales?

« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 12:54 »
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Very impressive. How are sales?


None yet.

alias

« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2010, 14:52 »
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Very impressive.

I wonder theoretically how practical it would be to federate independent sites built using these tools. Whether it would be possible to build a unified search for example.

lisafx

« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 17:42 »
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Whiz, that looks really great!   It loaded perfectly fast for me.  And it seems simple and intuitive for buyers. 

Have you thought about going into business setting these sites up for other people?  Hint, hint.... :)

« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 18:44 »
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Great idea.
The best is that you can put a link to your site on your profile page on DT, IS... than sell your images cheaper and get 100% commission.
Don't understand why "big guns" don't do it. They are known and I'm sure that many buyers go directly to their portfolios. Another good points: acceptance ratio is 100% and not upload limits ;D

« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 18:54 »
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Very nice.  A bit expensive though.

I've been flirting with IFP3 for many months, their sample sites look so good, but it is even more expensive.
http://www.ifp3.com/index.cfm

« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2010, 21:04 »
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Very nice.  A bit expensive though.

those look about the right prices to me, don't try to compete by undercutting at microstock prices. The best you can hope for is to attract traffic from google images for a hard to find subject. do let us all know how the sales go - experience tells me there won't be that many, but then I didn't do that much promotion either.

and yeah stick an affiliate link on that "There were no photos found" search results page to a microstock site (SS or FT would be my choices). you'll never be able to cover all the bases.

if you can modify the site, change the title tag on each image page so that is it more than just the image title e.g. "radishes" becomes "stock photo of radishes" or "radishes | rf stock photos"

good luck

« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2010, 05:38 »
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I meant expensive to set up the site (software + hosting).

« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 05:47 »
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Very nice.  A bit expensive though.

I've been flirting with IFP3 for many months, their sample sites look so good, but it is even more expensive.
http://www.ifp3.com/index.cfm


Expensive?  $250?  How much work would it take to write all that software?

« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2010, 06:37 »
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Hello Whiz,

I too have one of those sites in my collection ( www.royaltyfreesportphotos.com ) though mine is more mid-stock-ish.

Not that I really spend any time there!  :-[  but the only feed back I get from buyers is there isn't enough stock, never mind if the pic they needed was there or not.  So my tip,
open it to your friends and get as many pics as possible and you might have a chance.

Good luck.   JC

« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2010, 13:57 »
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Hi,
 Yes it is nice and work fast looks simple so you got all the right tools.

« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2010, 21:14 »
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Expensive?  $250?  How much work would it take to write all that software?
There is a lot of good software selling for around US$60-80.

« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2010, 17:52 »
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On the various freelancer sites and classified listings there are often ads from people wanting to hire coders and designers to do customized ktools installations and modifications. The fact that the product has a hinterland and is also supported by 3rd party and independent coders means that it is potentially a better solution than sites designed from scratch. At least there are people out there who know how it works, the database architecture etc.

It certainly looks like a great choice for events and wedding photographers, charities etc

But I was curious whether anyone here has any ideas or information about the scalability of solutions built around ktools.

« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2010, 19:19 »
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I have a KTools installation running since a few years, and hired someone knowledgeable to tweak it to my wishes. From the conversations we had over those tweaks, I learned a few things:

1. It's not as customizable as you might think it is (Probable cause: my wishes were just incompatible with Ktools)
2. The structure of all php filles for KTools has become too much of a collection of "security fixes" to make them easy to tweak. Not so much poorly written, but amended a few too many times, mostly for security reasons. (Changing one option requires the modification of quite a lot of php files)


I since learned to tweak code a bit, and had a successful go at implementing a few tweaks myself, but it is -indeed- a nightmare, and not something I'm looking forward to do again.

Not sure if it's already implemented, but there is (was) talk about hashing the most important bits of code, encrypting it (or whatever, that's where they lost me), making further tweaks even more difficult, but creating a very secure system

I like the concept, and the features. It has potential. However, I don't find the current KTools very user friendly. Also, if you don't host the site yourself, the costs of storing the high-res images can be quite an unwelcome surprise.

The success of the KTools potential resides primarily with the quantity of resources and time available to market it properly. Once you got your installation up and running, the real work is only just beginning.

« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2010, 02:44 »
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Thanks corepics. Interesting post.

I wanted to have a read of the ktools support forums - always a good way of getting a sense of the sorts of issues which people are having. But we have to buy the product in order to even read the forum. They say that is to prevent spam - but given that they are programmers I feel certain they could have made it readable.

I suppose yearly support is pretty much essential in terms of keeping the site secure with fixes etc ?

if you don't host the site yourself, the costs of storing the high-res images can be quite an unwelcome surprise.

Please forgive my ignorance here. Are the images literally stored in the MySQL database or does the database only reference their location ? The reason for my question being .. I am wondering whether it is feasible to distribute the storage of the images - even perhaps using a service like Amazon S3 for example. (Not that S3 is necessarily any less costly than conventional hosted storage) ?

Fotonaut

« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2010, 02:54 »
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Images are not hosted in MySQL, but in a folder. Support for Amazon web services and external FTP storage is planned for the long overdue PhotoStore v4 release: http://www.ktools.net/ps4demo/drive/

RT


« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2010, 04:36 »
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@Whiz

Could I ask why you chose this route rather than using a site like Photoshelter, Zenfolio or Smugmug

Nice site by the way.

« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2010, 11:57 »
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The site looks great Whiz,

 Way ahead of the crowd on this one I think. I hope this is the direction we will see more of as time passes. Please let us know how it goes over the first year, I would be very interested to hear more.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2010, 12:00 »
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RT - (even though you didn't direct the question to me) my own reservation about most of the pro accounts (ZenFolio, SmugMug etc.) is that they control the transactions.  You pay for annual membership ($100-$150 for most) and about 15% of sales, less costs (printing), less credit card fees.  Then you wait for cheques or paypals when you reach a certain balance.  So, you are trusting that they are honest and that they won't go bankrupt.  I think it was SmugMug's forum where I pros were raging on about the withholding taxes (surprise, surprise).

I don't think these options permit huge files like Vectors either.

I use a $50 SmugMug account to show clients their photos, but I disable purchasing and downloading.  You can't set your own prices with this level of account - just their set price.  To set prices you have to go pro (double or triple the annual fee).  You pay for the PhotoStore from KTools up front and have no recurring fees unless you host with them or upgrade your software down the road.  

For me the $50 proofing is worth every penny.   I am also pretty close to getting a pro account - partly for digital downloads, but also for working events like soccer tournaments and hockey tournaments where I don't really care about the print quality and that it is manufactured in a U.S. lab.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 12:02 by Pixart »

« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2010, 15:29 »
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work of beauty, wish you the best....way to go for us all!
/lena

« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2010, 16:38 »
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Your site looks good.

I have been experimenting with the self-hosting idea for a while.  I set up a KTOOLS site like yours some time ago but kept running into a problem.  My hosting company changed policies on scripting a couple of times to improve security.  Each time they did it killed my site and even with KTOOLS support it was very difficult to figure out how to fix things.  The last time, when I couldn't get my site up for several weeks, I gave up.  I don't have time to become a programmer.

I went to SmugMug and I've been happy with that so far.  I use my own main site as a lead-in to my SmugMug store (using a "buy photos" link).  You can see how it works for me at www.azcaptured.com

The hard part now seems to be finding a way to inform customers so they can find the site.

Good luck!

« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2010, 22:56 »
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@Whiz

Could I ask why you chose this route rather than using a site like Photoshelter, Zenfolio or Smugmug

Nice site by the way.


Mostly, I was just curious to see how complicated it would be to manage something like this myself. So far so good. And even if I do not make many sales, at least I can use the site as a backup depot for my images.


alias

« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2010, 02:57 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?

« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2010, 00:12 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?

I'd support something like this.

« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2010, 01:55 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?

I'd support something like this.

Thank you Whiz for showing your nice site...look what you have started now... :) 

Thanks Alias, I definitely like that idea. In other words...the hub would not need to carry any images,  it could basically be a search engine hooked up to our sites. Search results would show thumbnails and images residing on our servers. One or two person would need to be paid to administer the hub. Quality guidelines, rules,  price schemes, type of licenses and contractual terms would need to be established and accepted by all wanting his site hooked up to the hub. The buyer would have the choice to either search images from the hub or thereafter search an individual independent site.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 02:12 by cybernesco »

« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2010, 02:55 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?

I'd support something like this.

Thank you Whiz for showing your nice site...look what you have started now... :) 

Thanks Alias, I definitely like that idea. In other words...the hub would not need to carry any images,  it could basically be a search engine hooked up to our sites. Search results would show thumbnails and images residing on our servers. One or two person would need to be paid to administer the hub. Quality guidelines, rules,  price schemes, type of licenses and contractual terms would need to be established and accepted by all wanting his site hooked up to the hub. The buyer would have the choice to either search images from the hub or thereafter search an individual independent site.

sounds like an angency to me

« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2010, 03:08 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?

I'd support something like this.

Thank you Whiz for showing your nice site...look what you have started now... :) 

Thanks Alias, I definitely like that idea. In other words...the hub would not need to carry any images,  it could basically be a search engine hooked up to our sites. Search results would show thumbnails and images residing on our servers. One or two person would need to be paid to administer the hub. Quality guidelines, rules,  price schemes, type of licenses and contractual terms would need to be established and accepted by all wanting his site hooked up to the hub. The buyer would have the choice to either search images from the hub or thereafter search an individual independent site.

sounds like an angency to me

Pie in the sky.

« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2010, 03:32 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?

I'd support something like this.

Thank you Whiz for showing your nice site...look what you have started now... :) 

Thanks Alias, I definitely like that idea. In other words...the hub would not need to carry any images,  it could basically be a search engine hooked up to our sites. Search results would show thumbnails and images residing on our servers. One or two person would need to be paid to administer the hub. Quality guidelines, rules,  price schemes, type of licenses and contractual terms would need to be established and accepted by all wanting his site hooked up to the hub. The buyer would have the choice to either search images from the hub or thereafter search an individual independent site.

sounds like an angency to me

But the difference is each independant would be responsible to host their images themselves or through a third party server. As well each independant would be part owner and responsible to maintain and administer the hub.

« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2010, 04:37 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?


http://cyclo.ps/

« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2010, 05:10 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?


http://cyclo.ps/


Yeah you got it..... but the difference is each independant would be responsible to host their own images themselves or through third party hosting services NOT THROUGH WELL KNOWN MICROSTOCK AGENCIES. As well each independant would be part owner and responsible to maintain and administer the hub NOT THROUGH A THIRD PARTY WEBSITE.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 05:15 by cybernesco »

« Reply #42 on: October 20, 2010, 05:21 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?


http://cyclo.ps/


Yeah you got it..... but the difference is each independant would be responsible to host their own images themselves or through third party hosting services NOT THROUGH WELL KNOWN MICROSTOCK AGENCIES. As well each independant would be part owner and responsible to maintain and administer the hub NOT THROUGH A THIRD PARTY WEBSITE.


Nightmare.

RT


« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2010, 05:23 »
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@Whiz

Could I ask why you chose this route rather than using a site like Photoshelter, Zenfolio or Smugmug

Nice site by the way.


Mostly, I was just curious to see how complicated it would be to manage something like this myself. So far so good. And even if I do not make many sales, at least I can use the site as a backup depot for my images.

Thanks

@Pixart, Thanks for your reply too.

« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2010, 06:04 »
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Is there a way for independent stock sites to work together as peers in order to drive traffic? A directory of sites would be a beginning but lists are not so useful. A hub needs to provide search across multiple independent sites. One site which takes people to other sites.

There would need to be agreed standards from go. The independent peer sites perhaps all submitting their updated keywords, links, comp links, to an agreed format and structure. The hub would be a database of that data. And to be completely cell like perhaps everyone in the guild also puts that search box on their own site as part of the agreement. Then everyone is linked to everyone else. Any ideas ?


http://cyclo.ps/


Yeah you got it..... but the difference is each independant would be responsible to host their own images themselves or through third party hosting services NOT THROUGH WELL KNOWN MICROSTOCK AGENCIES. As well each independant would be part owner and responsible to maintain and administer the hub NOT THROUGH A THIRD PARTY WEBSITE.


Nightmare.


Brainstorming.

« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2010, 11:42 »
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If anyone wants to try the idea without coding, this is exactly what PhotoDeck was built for (disclaimer: I'm the founder).

For 9.99 a month you get full e-commerce with unprecendented control over the pricing (so you can have more complex pricing than Microstock or RF), it integrates directly with your PayPal account -- and we take no commission.

We also have a more expensive PRO option where you have much more freedom in the visual customization and where you can deliver commissioned work too.

Like Whiz, you'll have to promote your site yourself, though.

www.photodeck.com


Although I think what your site does ROCKS, I do find your prices a little out of whack.  I realize though that you do not generate additional income from commissions or relationships with partners (i.e. kickbacks from labs) though like the other sites we have mentioned.

I haven't looked too deeply, but here's some concerns (I am only speaking of the lite plan which is in allignment with Zen & Smug Pro pricing):  

- $120/year includes only 10Gb of storage which will be gone in a blink.

- Only one price profile available (cannot set advanced prices for say a stock masterpiece that took 100 hours to create, or portrait sessions of corporate client vs a single mom with twins)

- No password protection (galleries) so it cannot even be considered for client proofing - I don't know about your country, but privacy laws here are pretty intense and you should even consider offering this automatically to protect yourself from potential law suits.  

- What does "Offer easy download of image files to your client"mean?  If I am reading these Faqs correcly, digital downloads are not even available with the $9.99 account that you brought to our attention and to sell stock photos, we would all need $24.99 accounts.  In other words, for $9.99 you will host our microstock portfolios, and clients can pay for the images through our own papyal cart on your site but they cannot download them?   Or why is there no check beside "offer easy download of image files to your client" under this category?

- No referral program?  (Maybe you do, I didn't look to deep).  I wasn't sure if I was going Zen or Smug at the time, but Holgs gave his referral info here and I signed up on Smugmug.  These sites don't offer much at all for referrals, but $5 is enough for most of us to put a banner on blogs/websites and having a $5 or $50 credit at renewal will keep a lot of people around.  I will likely leave Smug for a Zen pro account, but if I have a $50 referral credits at Smug it would likely convince me to buy a pro account there.  

But - you do offer ftp which is pretty important.

And please, could you disclose to me:  Why do you and other sites of this nature not make contact information available?  I buy from the Internet very frequently, and I would never pass my credit card details onto a site that is so vague.  
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 11:46 by Pixart »

« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2010, 12:53 »
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If anyone wants to try the idea without coding, this is exactly what PhotoDeck was built for (disclaimer: I'm the founder).

For 9.99 a month you get full e-commerce with unprecendented control over the pricing (so you can have more complex pricing than Microstock or RF), it integrates directly with your PayPal account -- and we take no commission.

We also have a more expensive PRO option where you have much more freedom in the visual customization and where you can deliver commissioned work too.

Like Whiz, you'll have to promote your site yourself, though.

www.photodeck.com


Although I think what your site does ROCKS, I do find your prices a little out of whack.  I realize though that you do not generate additional income from commissions or relationships with partners (i.e. kickbacks from labs) though like the other sites we have mentioned.

I haven't looked too deeply, but here's some concerns (I am only speaking of the lite plan which is in allignment with Zen & Smug Pro pricing):  

- $120/year includes only 10Gb of storage which will be gone in a blink.


That's between 1000 and 2000 high-res JPGs, more storage is available, I think at a reasonable price.

Quote
- Only one price profile available (cannot set advanced prices for say a stock masterpiece that took 100 hours to create, or portrait sessions of corporate client vs a single mom with twins)


You can have as many as you want in the PRO plan. This being said, the pricing module is _extremely_ flexible, so you can define options and sub-options within a single pricing profile, so that you don't even really need multiple pricing profiles.

I can't stress that enough. It took me less than an hour to implement a full PLUS-compliant RM pricing model, from my account and with no coding - i.e. any of our members could have done it too.

Quote
- No password protection (galleries) so it cannot even be considered for client proofing - I don't know about your country, but privacy laws here are pretty intense and you should even consider offering this automatically to protect yourself from potential law suits.  


Client proofing is what the PRO plan is for - it gives not only private galleries but a full commission delivery platform. LITE is mostly for public stock.

Quote
- What does "Offer easy download of image files to your client"mean?  If I am reading these Faqs correcly, digital downloads are not even available with the $9.99 account that you brought to our attention and to sell stock photos, we would all need $24.99 accounts.  In other words, for $9.99 you will host our microstock portfolios, and clients can pay for the images through our own papyal cart on your site but they cannot download them?   Or why is there no check beside "offer easy download of image files to your client" under this category?


OK, we need to make that clearer, thanks for the heads up. This refers to the delivery of commissions, where the client does not have to go through the cart. But of course, you can automate the payment and delivery with the LITE plan too. Once the payment is made to your Paypal account (the money does not go through us), the client receives a link to download the file immediately, also with the LITE plan. Wouldn't be very practical otherwise, would it? :)

Quote
- No referral program?  (Maybe you do, I didn't look to deep).  I wasn't sure if I was going Zen or Smug at the time, but Holgs gave his referral info here and I signed up on Smugmug.  These sites don't offer much at all for referrals, but $5 is enough for most of us to put a banner on blogs/websites and having a $5 or $50 credit at renewal will keep a lot of people around.  I will likely leave Smug for a Zen pro account, but if I have a $50 referral credits at Smug it would likely convince me to buy a pro account there.  

Don't tell anybody, but we're testing a referral program right now - won't be long ;)

Quote
But - you do offer ftp which is pretty important.


We also have integration with LightRoom and Photo Mechanic.

Quote
And please, could you disclose to me:  Why do you and other sites of this nature not make contact information available?  I buy from the Internet very frequently, and I would never pass my credit card details onto a site that is so vague.  


Ok, that's good feedback too. All the info is on our website, perhaps not where you looked:

http://www.photodeck.com/legal/

Another of our strengths is the design: you can build your own theme with WYSISYG tools, without coding. It goes way beyond theme customization that companies normally offer. And you can then also export your own design as a WordPress theme.

Regarding the prices, you get what you pay for. We believe we offer great value for the price, but of course, that does not mean that everybody needs that value or can afford it. We're more expensive than Smugmug or Zenfolio, but our target market is different. In fact, we're more affordable than the other companies in our market that offer similar products, especially considering we take 0 commission.

If you're happy with the cheap alternatives, I see no reason why you should move to PhotoDeck. But if you're looking for something completely geared towards the working pro, and build with stock in mind, then welcome to have a closer look and I don't think you'll find us expensive anymore - our 14-day free trial is with no string attached, we don't ask for your credit card information ;)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 15:12 by jfmphoto »

« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2010, 15:21 »
0
Hey jfm, thanks for the reply.  I know my tone sounded hostile, please know it wasn't intended that way. 

I see your contact info under legal now, but I would only normally look for it under the contact page.   

And storage I was thinking in megapixels, not megabytes.  Why I make this same mistake time and time again is beyond me. 

Compared to another form of electronic delivery, e-junkie for example (I know, I know - apples and bananas) for $10 per month they allow only 20 products, and 100 mb of storage, and 200 transactions - if you compare to a service like that, your flat fees are very attractive.  You photoguys really shouldn't restrict yourself to only photo files  ;) 


alias

« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2010, 13:22 »
0
jfmphoto

Feature suggestion - search. Users add keywords for each image. Also field for 5 priority keywords. Keywords also picked up from metadata. Then users can opt in to being part of the search.

Then you create a landing page with its own url and identity which is the search engine for all images in all the opted-in portfolios you host. Users encouraged to promote the search via social media etc. Results of search from all the different portfolios.

All of the portfolios together are more useful and more likely to be found by buyers then any of the portfolios alone.

« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2010, 13:51 »
0
jfmphoto

Feature suggestion - search. Users add keywords for each image. Also field for 5 priority keywords. Keywords also picked up from metadata. Then users can opt in to being part of the search.

Then you create a landing page with its own url and identity which is the search engine for all images in all the opted-in portfolios you host. Users encouraged to promote the search via social media etc. Results of search from all the different portfolios.

All of the portfolios together are more useful and more likely to be found by buyers then any of the portfolios alone.

Alias,

Thanks for the suggestion. We do have powerful search already, but it is across a single site.

Can't tell much yet about how we will address "collectives" with multiple photographers, but we do have some cool plans...... stay tuned.

« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2010, 10:34 »
0
Just because we are on this topic... I was trying to look up Tyler's blog from memory and I plugged in http://www.simplephoto.com/.  It took me to another site like Photodeck - but they charge a flat fee plus commission (lowest plan is $10 per month plus 15%).

« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2010, 19:05 »
0
Pixart,
As far as I understand, they don't do the printing+shipping themselves. And apparently they don't sell digital files, is that's what one wants.

« Reply #53 on: November 14, 2010, 19:28 »
0
Great thread and congrats to all the people building a store for their own work. Here's mine using Ktools:

http://www.mystockvectors.com/

« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2010, 19:57 »
0
Great thread and congrats to all the people building a store for their own work. Here's mine using Ktools:

http://www.mystockvectors.com/


Hey nice site! I would love to hear that your site is doing well! Then maybe more artists can have their own and get away from the agencies ripping us off.

« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2010, 10:24 »
0
Hey nice site! I would love to hear that your site is doing well! Then maybe more artists can have their own and get away from the agencies ripping us off.

It's only a few weeks old, so it is too early to tell. I had a few sales from some quick modifications to some existing files. I figure the promoting will take some time.

« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2010, 12:30 »
0
cthoman,
Real nice site, better looking than a lot of the big sites. Made me want to buy something :D

« Reply #57 on: November 15, 2010, 13:59 »
0
cthoman,
Real nice site, better looking than a lot of the big sites. Made me want to buy something :D

Thanks. I'm hoping it goes well.

« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2010, 01:49 »
0
nice site, and your portfolio is big and strong enough to get buyers.

would you mind to share how much it may cost to set up the site like these? i saw the ktools photostore is US249, so it is a one time payment? the rest of basic cost is monthly server fee?

Great thread and congrats to all the people building a store for their own work. Here's mine using Ktools:

http://www.mystockvectors.com/

« Reply #59 on: November 16, 2010, 10:32 »
0
nice site, and your portfolio is big and strong enough to get buyers.

would you mind to share how much it may cost to set up the site like these? i saw the ktools photostore is US249, so it is a one time payment? the rest of basic cost is monthly server fee?

Thanks. Yeah, just hosting costs and the software. I'm sure there will eventually be software updates or add-ons that I want to purchase, but that is it for now.

« Reply #60 on: January 15, 2011, 20:14 »
0
...And I now have my site up.  I decided to go with a theme of sorts.  There is some general stock there, but I wanted to concentrate on warm weather themes, food, etc.

http://warmpicture.com

I need to greatly expand the collection if I want to keep the eyes I attract.  I just don't think 200 images cuts the mustard. I'm pushing out new images this week, and will have 500 images by the end of summer.

It's a lot of work to put something like this together, even with KTools doing the heavy lifting.  But like others I feel a need to move in this direction, and away from the agencies.

FWIW my prices are more in line with Alamy than the micros.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 22:45 by djpadavona »

« Reply #61 on: January 15, 2011, 22:49 »
0
Well, here is ours:
www.elenaphoto.com/store
Also on KTools. My computer genius husband had to fix some bugs in their software:-), but other than that seems to work fine.

RacePhoto

« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2011, 23:05 »
0
Well, here is ours:
www.elenaphoto.com/store
Also on KTools. My computer genius husband had to fix some bugs in their software:-), but other than that seems to work fine.


Good for both of you, or make that everyone who's breaking out of the chains. I just looked and like them all.

As someone else has pointed out, the most difficult part of a sales site, any kind, isn't making it, but getting people to find it. Best wishes to all. I have a site that is supposed to sell a product. Now and then I dabble with it, every once in awhile I get an order. I don't know how anyone finds it?

Now what's the inside tip, what did Hubby have to fix? :)

Keep this up and I may finance the upstart CrapStock site! ;)

Does the software do the resizing from original? Say I wanted to offer a Websize as the base price, and make it 640 x 480 (or 640 longest side) Does KTools do that? Then the software sets the other sizes by a selection in the code?

I enjoyed looking at the different price levels and size pricing. That's one of the most difficult parts for me to decide. I don't want to be a price cutter, and don't want to over charge and drive people away. Maybe I worry too much, but I don't wish to undercut the marketplace the way Subs have to Micro.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 23:52 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2011, 23:29 »
0
Great job Elena.  I love the look of your site.  Who would have thought someone with your image making talents could make a slick looking site?  Ok...everyone did.   8)

Fotonaut

« Reply #64 on: January 16, 2011, 04:19 »
0
Does the software do the resizing from original? Say I wanted to offer a Websize as the base price, and make it 640 x 480 (or 640 longest side) Does KTools do that? Then the software sets the other sizes by a selection in the code?
The Ktools software does resizing. I would not go for Ktools now, though. The current version (3) is old, and a new version (4) is in the works (though it has been for four years). It is a total rewrite, so the transition will require a new setup.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Good New For You
« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2011, 06:15 »
0
As someone else has pointed out, the most difficult part of a sales site, any kind, isn't making it, but getting people to find it. Best wishes to all. I have a site that is supposed to sell a product. Now and then I dabble with it, every once in awhile I get an order. I don't know how anyone finds it?


The one thing that's interesting about Ktools is it looks like they got some of the SEO right.

The fact that they're using the title in the URL (www.yoursite.com/stock-photo-red-roses.html) makes a huge difference on how Google indexes and ranks the site. This is partly why Google loves blogs. Google then looks for content (URL, title, description, etc). Indexing, content, and search keyword trends are what primarily drive traffic. What people do after they get to your site will then depend on the navigation and images.

I've been using Photoshelter and they still haven't gotten the technical part of SEO optimized so getting a good ranking is pretty hard. I may test Ktools.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 06:33 by PaulieWalnuts »

« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2011, 06:55 »
0
...And I now have my site up.  I decided to go with a theme of sorts.  There is some general stock there, but I wanted to concentrate on warm weather themes, food, etc.

http://warmpicture.com



Like the sites - but djpadavona, you've still got some filler text on your "about us" page!

Good stuff though.  Keep us informed as to how you get on!

« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2011, 08:48 »
0
Good catch Gannet.  I knew I had forgotten something!

« Reply #68 on: January 16, 2011, 09:27 »
0
Nice work, everyone! Good to hear, pauliewalnuts, that the SEO is set up correctly on ktools.

Thanks for the heads-up on the rewrite of ktools in the future, fotonaut. But it could take months before that comes about and I think people are anxious now to get things going. ktools' website does say 1 year free upgrades and support, so hopefully if it comes out within a year, the upgrade will be free.

« Reply #69 on: January 16, 2011, 11:17 »
0
The fact that they're using the title in the URL (www.yoursite.com/stock-photo-red-roses.html) makes a huge difference on how Google indexes and ranks the site. This is partly why Google loves blogs. Google then looks for content (URL, title, description, etc). Indexing, content, and search keyword trends are what primarily drive traffic. What people do after they get to your site will then depend on the navigation and images.

I've been using Photoshelter and they still haven't gotten the technical part of SEO optimized so getting a good ranking is pretty hard. I may test Ktools.


Yeah, that was one of the things I liked as well when I was researching. Congrats to everyone on their stores.

Yuri_Arcurs

  • One Crazy PhotoManic MadPerson
« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2011, 16:05 »
0
I decided to use Ktools to create my own microstock site just for curiosities sake. It was fairly easy to implement, but the mysql stuff did spook me a little. Anyway, I was just wondering what you all think of it. I have tested the payment system with Paypal Sandbox, and it seems that everything is working properly. Here is the link if you want to take a look: http://rfstocks.com/

Also, sometimes the site seems slow. Then again, maybe it's just me.


You Rock. Great work!

I am working on a similar idea. :)

« Reply #71 on: January 16, 2011, 21:12 »
0
I decided to use Ktools to create my own microstock site just for curiosities sake. It was fairly easy to implement, but the mysql stuff did spook me a little. Anyway, I was just wondering what you all think of it. I have tested the payment system with Paypal Sandbox, and it seems that everything is working properly. Here is the link if you want to take a look: http://rfstocks.com/

Also, sometimes the site seems slow. Then again, maybe it's just me.


You Rock. Great work!

I am working on a similar idea. :)



Thanks.  :)

« Reply #72 on: January 18, 2011, 06:22 »
0
jfmphoto

Feature suggestion - search. Users add keywords for each image. Also field for 5 priority keywords. Keywords also picked up from metadata. Then users can opt in to being part of the search.

Then you create a landing page with its own url and identity which is the search engine for all images in all the opted-in portfolios you host. Users encouraged to promote the search via social media etc. Results of search from all the different portfolios.

All of the portfolios together are more useful and more likely to be found by buyers then any of the portfolios alone.


We provide a global search on our system, if you go to http://avidimages.com and use the search - it searches all the client sites. We also offer a free plan up to 100 images :)

Interestingly we started with a ktools store about 6 years ago but quickly found it to be a massive pain to set up the way we wanted, so we wrote our own (we produce quite abit of photography in our design agency).
Soon after alot of buddying photographers wanted one but each time they were turned off by the cost attached to building and hosting such a system. A few of these sites down the line we decided to build a low cost system which requires no technical knowledge to run (photogs usually like doing photography, not html) and avidimages.com is the result.

« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2011, 09:58 »
0
Well, here is ours:
www.elenaphoto.com/store
Also on KTools. My computer genius husband had to fix some bugs in their software:-), but other than that seems to work fine.


Now what's the inside tip, what did Hubby have to fix? :)



One of the bugs was in the shopping cart, if you add several items to it including enhanced license the total wasn't what it's supposed to be - one of the items was getting counted twice. We reported that to the Ktools, they said they'll fix in next release.
Another one was not really a bug but a "feature" - it's the way the search gets done, by default their search includes a partial match, for example, if you type "ice" in the search, you'll get images with "office" which doesn't make sense and unacceptable from my point of view. So we fixed that now it shows only full word match.
Stuff like that.


 

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