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Author Topic: So I made a Microstock Site for Me ...  (Read 26571 times)

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« 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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
@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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
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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.


 

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