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Author Topic: "Feed the Beast"  (Read 3491 times)

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« on: March 29, 2009, 23:44 »
I have seen this phrase, "Feed the Beast" a lot in reference to Shutterstock.  What exactly does this mean?  I just was accepted to submit photographs to SS in the middle of last month.  I upload to many other microstock agencies, but have never had more sales than with SS.

In order for my sales to continue, does "Feed the Beast" mean I must continue to provide new images on a daily basis?  If uploads stop, do the sales continue or dry up?  In the short time I've been uploading, I've noticed whenever I upload my sales seem to creep up, but if I stop, then go right back down, somethimes even to ZERO...

I'd love if a vetran could shine a little light on this subject.  In addition, are there microstock sites which people feel do not need fresh images added on a regular basis to have sales?


« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 00:13 »
It's peoples way saying if you stop uploading photos your sales start to drop off, at some agencies the rate of drop off is quite steep. shutterstock boost the number of times your recent images show up to their subscribers (subscribers like to see fresh new images) so you tend to see a peak of downloads at shutterstock then they drop away over time. but that's a great way of seeing some fast initial income to offset the cost of the photo, then incomes over the long term from other agencies can be all profit

I think uploading new images has no effect on the ones already online (well actually that might not be entirely true with some sites that rank your rejection rate and adjust their searches accordingly). There is no need feel obliged to upload new work to keep your existing images selling, the sales will gradually drop off regardless. I think it was yuri that said images have a half life of 2 years (so you still get 50% after 2 years); I have 5 and 6 year old images still making sales at istock but not at the rate they used to sell.

I wrote an article which sort out outlines my results,

« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2009, 02:56 »
As the size of my portfolio has increased, this effect is not as noticeable.  I took two weeks off from uploading last month and it was near a BME.  I don't really see what the problem is, if sales go down when you stop uploading, they increase when you do.  It evens itself out.  The other sites are more steady but sometimes istock change their best match and new images go to the top of the search and it is more like shutterstock.


« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2009, 09:16 »
Agree with the excellent responses above.  "Feed the beast" is not as necessary as you grow your portfolio. 

But I also have found that the optimal amount to feed the beast isn't all that much.  You don't have to submit every day, or even every week.   If I upload a few new images a week or 20 or so a month that seems to be enough to keep the regular downloads coming in. 

Of course this is in a portfolio with several thousand images already.  If you are just starting you may find that uploading 5-10 quality images a week is necessary.  Still, easier to come up with a few good ones per week than per day :)

« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 09:24 »
I agree with the comments above that as your portfolio grows the beast loses its appetite. I'm just under 1000 images at SS, with hardly any uploading over the last 2 months, however it will be an excellent month for me. This data might be a bit skewed because I had 4 ELs this month, but I don't expect sales to tail off now when I don't upload compared to when I had 500 or less images online.

« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 09:57 »
I also feel that there is a new kind of buyer at SS.  In the not-too-distant past they were a subscription only site, buyers would look at the fresh uploads every day and pick their quota.  Now I have a feeling that somewhere between 10-20% of their buyers (I should start a poll in April!) are On Demand buyers who want the BEST photo for their project, and do a more specific search.  Older photos seem to sell just a little bit better in the past few months.

« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 10:05 »
I have over a 1000 images and at this stage only need to 'feed the beast' a few images a week to keep sales up really high.   If I stop uploading for a month or more then I do see quite a difference in dls.  This month is by far my BME and I have uploaded about 20 images this month.


« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 10:42 »
@sgcallaway...what was the size of your original upload?

I have been building my portfolio with the objective of uploading to SS.  I have less than two hundred and thought I would start small and use the "feed the beast" philosophy to add a few images each week.  For this to work, should I wait until I have at least two hundred before applying?

Thanks for all and any advice?

« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 11:12 »
Wow!  Thanks so much everyone for all your insight and thoughtful responses.  I'm learning lots! ;D  I need to figure out how to add my portfolio info to my signature.  I'll see what I can find out. 

WarrenPrice  SS has been amazing to me, I started with DT where I've only built up to 123 images and then tried FT, BS and some other small sites.  I'd read how great SS was, but not to submit your original 10 images without first getting the "hang" of things with other agencies fist.  So, I waited an just recently started uploading there.  Currently, I think I only have 58 images uploaded, but shockingly (to me) I've had 86 downloads!   I usually get at least 1/day.  This out paces any of my other agencies so far!  I'd have to say, I don't think it honestly matters how many photos you start out with here.  I think if SS accepts them, most likely they are going to sell!

Best of luck to you!!!

« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 11:49 »
I sold more per image in my portfolio with SS during my first month than any time since.  They have a new artists lightbox on the front page and I think some might of gone in there.  It gets harder to increase earnings there after a few months and the other sites gain momentum.

« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2009, 12:01 »
That's true, it took me 6 months of uploading before I got as many dls in a month as I did in my first month. Even now I probably only get about 50% more dls, but make much more money because of earning 38c per dl instead of 25c and also plenty of OD and EL sales.

I sold more per image in my portfolio with SS during my first month than any time since.  They have a new artists lightbox on the front page and I think some might of gone in there.  It gets harder to increase earnings there after a few months and the other sites gain momentum.


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