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Author Topic: Just when you thought It couldn't get worse.  (Read 30178 times)

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« Reply #50 on: July 14, 2016, 11:05 »
+1

The simple truth is that the tools are now available to almost anyone who wants to record music or take professional quality pictures. That was not the case 20-30 years ago when the so called veterans started and there was virtually no competition compared to today.



You are joking right? or is this just your complete inexperience talking? The competition was much more fierce 20-30 years ago than today.

The entry into selling stock today and being a "professional" is one image accepted, and my cat can do that with her tail tied in a knot.

Back then rejection was completely normal, not like the entitled shooter of today with everything accepted and no editing in place. To get into any agency back then you really had to have your game on, or else get rejected. What did you do?  You kept going on and getting better until you go accepted because the competition was based on merit and ability.

That is not to say the work is any better back then or today, there has always been some really great shooters and there still is. The only difference between 20-30 years ago and the current times is the overall quality has actually dropped immensely on average. Most of what is on any microstock site today is mediocre at best. They sure as 5hit might have 80 Million +++ images, but considering most of it is crap says a lot.

Back in the good old days if you got 10% acceptance on any agency your were doing well, now if you are getting one image rejected it's an ordeal that fills pages of "support" on forums from the "pros".
The nature of the competition has changed once it was it getting images accepted by the agencies now it is directly in the hands of the customer who actually is often far less concerned about technical quality than photographers. Its a business not a photographic or artistic competition . In terms of images available vs sales the ratio I suspect is vastly higher than it once was therefore competition is "higher".  Experience and knowledge comes from other sources as well being a photographer.


« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2016, 11:12 »
0
the customer who actually is often far less concerned about technical quality

ding ! WRONG ANSWER.
if this is so, the rejections of old contributors with
- poor composition
- wrong wb
- LCV
would not be so abundant.

read my lips again...

DOUBLE STANDARD !
one standard for relatives and friends of the reviewers and shareholders cousin.
another standard for the rest of the world.

« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2016, 11:16 »
+6
Couple of comments based on what I see. I'm not a huge player although I've been with SS a long time (since 2004 with a hiatus for 3 years from 2008-11 while I was exclusive at iStock). I do this part time and my portfolio is essentially following my life around. Places I go, my home, garden and me.

My best month ever at SS was just shy of $1K and as I mentioned in an earlier thread about changes over the last couple of years, the biggie is that the money is decreasing even though the downloads are holding. For June, downloads were up 4% over 2015, but $$ were down 36% - almost all relating to SODs all but vanishing.

What I have noticed is that new work for me is selling, a very pleasant surprise. It can't be that they're just turning off things for those at the 38cent level (not saying that it's not happening; just that it's not that broad).

Last year we did a big remodel and I took tons of pictures (and blogged about it). Although I uploaded a handful of images at the end of last year, I've been working through more of those this year - plus a few from a Spring trip to Kauai. What has been pleasing - even though I know remodeling is a good topic for sales - is that these new images have been selling and are getting good search position in a category with over 20K images (depends on what you search for as to exactly the number).

My older best sellers are still showing up in the daily sales (which is good; not complaining, just noting it). There was a day last month (I'd check details, but the site is just gonzo today and I can't get it to load) where nearly a third of the day's sales was from new remodeling images uploaded in the last few months.

I don't know what SS is up to - although I am very concerned that they're trashing their long term future in the rush to make things look good short term to keep Wall Street happy - but it isn't as simple as turning off search position for the 38 cent tier.

« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2016, 11:20 »
0
the customer who actually is often far less concerned about technical quality

ding ! WRONG ANSWER.
if this is so, the rejections of old contributors with
- poor composition
- wrong wb
- LCV
would not be so abundant.

read my lips again...

DOUBLE STANDARD !
one standard for relatives and friends of the reviewers and shareholders cousin.
another standard for the rest of the world.
Not saying you are wrong in that respect that's a different point.

« Reply #54 on: July 14, 2016, 11:23 »
+1
Couple of comments based on what I see. I'm not a huge player although I've been with SS a long time (since 2004 with a hiatus for 3 years from 2008-11 while I was exclusive at iStock). I do this part time and my portfolio is essentially following my life around. Places I go, my home, garden and me.

My best month ever at SS was just shy of $1K and as I mentioned in an earlier thread about changes over the last couple of years, the biggie is that the money is decreasing even though the downloads are holding. For June, downloads were up 4% over 2015, but $$ were down 36% - almost all relating to SODs all but vanishing.

What I have noticed is that new work for me is selling, a very pleasant surprise. It can't be that they're just turning off things for those at the 38cent level (not saying that it's not happening; just that it's not that broad).

Last year we did a big remodel and I took tons of pictures (and blogged about it). Although I uploaded a handful of images at the end of last year, I've been working through more of those this year - plus a few from a Spring trip to Kauai. What has been pleasing - even though I know remodeling is a good topic for sales - is that these new images have been selling and are getting good search position in a category with over 20K images (depends on what you search for as to exactly the number).

My older best sellers are still showing up in the daily sales (which is good; not complaining, just noting it). There was a day last month (I'd check details, but the site is just gonzo today and I can't get it to load) where nearly a third of the day's sales was from new remodeling images uploaded in the last few months.

I don't know what SS is up to - although I am very concerned that they're trashing their long term future in the rush to make things look good short term to keep Wall Street happy - but it isn't as simple as turning off search position for the 38 cent tier.
Rational post as ever ;-). Thanks.

Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #55 on: July 14, 2016, 11:27 »
+1

The simple truth is that the tools are now available to almost anyone who wants to record music or take professional quality pictures. That was not the case 20-30 years ago when the so called veterans started and there was virtually no competition compared to today.



You are joking right? or is this just your complete inexperience talking? The competition was much more fierce 20-30 years ago than today.

The entry into selling stock today and being a "professional" is one image accepted, and my cat can do that with her tail tied in a knot.

Back then rejection was completely normal, not like the entitled shooter of today with everything accepted and no editing in place. To get into any agency back then you really had to have your game on, or else get rejected. What did you do?  You kept going on and getting better until you go accepted because the competition was based on merit and ability.

That is not to say the work is any better back then or today, there has always been some really great shooters and there still is. The only difference between 20-30 years ago and the current times is the overall quality has actually dropped immensely on average. Most of what is on any microstock site today is mediocre at best. They sure as 5hit might have 80 Million +++ images, but considering most of it is crap says a lot.

Back in the good old days if you got 10% acceptance on any agency your were doing well, now if you are getting one image rejected it's an ordeal that fills pages of "support" on forums from the "pros".
The nature of the competition has changed once it was it getting images accepted by the agencies now it is directly in the hands of the customer who actually is often far less concerned about technical quality than photographers. Its a business not a photographic or artistic competition . In terms of images available vs sales the ratio I suspect is vastly higher than it once was therefore competition is "higher".  Experience and knowledge comes from other sources as well being a photographer.

I agree, the nature of competition has changed. But I still find it easy today compared to the past. Serious buyers of photography have perhaps become more sophisticated as they have more options and creating good quality work regardless of your genre is key to success, which in many ways is nothing new. But the so called social media and bloggers are as you mentioned less concerned about quality and there is a market for that as well, which is where microstock finds it's place. My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

I think one of the biggest mistakes from a lot of microstock shooters is that they actually don't understand "stock photography". And that is where the nature of competition has changed, if you understand "stock photography" then the nature of the game is easier.

« Reply #56 on: July 14, 2016, 11:33 »
+2
What I have noticed is that new work for me is selling, a very pleasant surprise. It can't be that they're just turning off things for those at the 38cent level (not saying that it's not happening; just that it's not that broad).
.................

I don't know what SS is up to - although I am very concerned that they're trashing their long term future in the rush to make things look good short term to keep Wall Street happy - but it isn't as simple as turning off search position for the 38 cent tier.

As for your first point Jo Ann, I have to agree that I also don't buy into the switching off of Top Tier contributors conspiracy theory, but I do think there is a stock rotation going on that may have a really negative effect if you are unlucky enough to be rotated down.

As for your second point above, I share your concerns and fear they are trashing the long-term stability for short-term returns.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 11:40 by KuriousKat »

« Reply #57 on: July 14, 2016, 11:40 »
+1
My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

In order for the agencies to stay profitable they will need suppliers. If they don't nurture the suppliers, they will eventually be left with a library of dated, sub-standard images. If they want to remain in the game, they need to start taking a longer view to protect their position.

« Reply #58 on: July 14, 2016, 11:45 »
0
"I agree, the nature of competition has changed. But I still find it easy today compared to the past. Serious buyers of photography have perhaps become more sophisticated as they have more options and creating good quality work regardless of your genre is key to success, which in many ways is nothing new. But the so called social media and bloggers are as you mentioned less concerned about quality and there is a market for that as well, which is where microstock finds it's place. My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

I think one of the biggest mistakes from a lot of microstock shooters is that they actually don't understand "stock photography". And that is where the nature of competition has changed, if you understand "stock photography" then the nature of the game is easier." I pretty much agree except that I think Mid and macro sites will decline fast so there may not be so much of a market. I think slow decline is a reality but not the doom so widely predicted.

Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #59 on: July 14, 2016, 11:47 »
+1
KuriousKat as per your two replies above they are tied into the same thing I am suggesting. Long term/Short term  and fuelling suppliers. The current subscription model and royalties do not enable this to happen. That is why I am suggesting that many of the contributors that more or less have the prerequisites of 20-30 years ago will move and upgrade to midstock and macro stock. I am not with Stocksy, but the model is great, decent pricing for imagery and decent royalties. Getty is similar but the royalties are lower but the difference I feel is they sell more and usually for a higher price.

Getty said it long ago, it's not sustainable in the current model and I agreed with them then and still do.

« Reply #60 on: July 14, 2016, 12:03 »
0
the customer who actually is often far less concerned about technical quality

ding ! WRONG ANSWER.
if this is so, the rejections of old contributors with
- poor composition
- wrong wb
- LCV
would not be so abundant.

read my lips again...

DOUBLE STANDARD !
one standard for relatives and friends of the reviewers and shareholders cousin.
another standard for the rest of the world.
Not saying you are wrong in that respect that's a different point.

thank you !
i like to think we are all rooting for the same team , not us vs them.

but the short term gains outlook of ss presently ,
it's working into the jaws of the shareholders planning to short the stock soon
to take profit and run.

« Reply #61 on: July 14, 2016, 12:05 »
+1
My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

In order for the agencies to stay profitable they will need suppliers. If they don't nurture the suppliers, they will eventually be left with a library of dated, sub-standard images. If they want to remain in the game, they need to start taking a longer view to protect their position.

yes, but the major shareholders are NOT interested in long term
.
if you are in the game to short the stocks and take profit, you really don't care if ss
becomes another istock case.

« Reply #62 on: July 14, 2016, 12:07 »
0
My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

true true. even if ss decides to be a social media, they still make money.

maybe the silver lining is a nudge for experienced contributors to start looking elsewhere
..
and maybe someone will come in to give us a midstock and macro site
that is viable for everyone
not just an elite few who owns the company.

ie. we have all long been having our head in the poophole
thinking ss or nothing.
maybe it's time we face reality , like pauliewalnut says,
if you don't like it, leave !!!


if enough old timers leave,
the millions growing daily will not be that amazing looking.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #63 on: July 14, 2016, 12:40 »
+2
My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

In order for the agencies to stay profitable they will need suppliers. If they don't nurture the suppliers, they will eventually be left with a library of dated, sub-standard images. If they want to remain in the game, they need to start taking a longer view to protect their position.

True, but how long will it take to get to that point where things get stale? Doesn't seem like we're even close. At what point do contributors as a whole stop submitting because it just isn't worth it? As it is now things seem to keep getting worse for contributors but SS is reporting record library growth.

« Reply #64 on: July 14, 2016, 12:50 »
+1
True, but how long will it take to get to that point where things get stale? Doesn't seem like we're even close. At what point do contributors as a whole stop submitting because it just isn't worth it? As it is now things seem to keep getting worse for contributors but SS is reporting record library growth.

consider it a divorce...
but most of us don't know whether to pack up and leave...
because the most likely place now is the street, sleeping under a bridge,
a cardboard box for bed, etc..
or stay home in a warm bed , big house...and continue to be abused !

« Reply #65 on: July 14, 2016, 13:05 »
+2
My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

In order for the agencies to stay profitable they will need suppliers. If they don't nurture the suppliers, they will eventually be left with a library of dated, sub-standard images. If they want to remain in the game, they need to start taking a longer view to protect their position.

True, but how long will it take to get to that point where things get stale? Doesn't seem like we're even close. At what point do contributors as a whole stop submitting because it just isn't worth it? As it is now things seem to keep getting worse for contributors but SS is reporting record library growth.

Contributors will stop submitting when it isn't worth it. Simple economic rules will have stock agencies aiming for that sweet spot of high income and low payout.

« Reply #66 on: July 14, 2016, 13:32 »
+5
OK, sales are down. What is your solution? complaining alone isn't going to solve anything, it never does and it never will.

Nobody is entitled to anything. Millennials are not entitled to a job because they have a degree. The veterans are not entitled to better sales because they were there first. "The World is Flat" is a great book detailing the leveling of the playing due to ease of access to education & technology.

No matter how good we are, we can always improve and gain different perspectives. Competition is one of the great constants of life. Just recently, some Amazon seller was complaining about how Chinese sellers are producing similar products and destroying her sales. The other day, a woman told me how a guy dumped her to date another woman. And just yesterday, we had to reject 5 designers because we made an offer to a more talented designer.

There are solutions to competition. Work hard, come up with new ideas, learn new skills, keep up with market trends, or enter new markets. And yes, I subscribe to my own advice.


« Reply #67 on: July 14, 2016, 13:41 »
+1
OK, sales are down. What is your solution? complaining alone isn't going to solve anything, it never does and it never will.

Nobody is entitled to anything. Millennials are not entitled to a job because they have a degree. The veterans are not entitled to better sales because they were there first. "The World is Flat" is a great book detailing the leveling of the playing due to ease of access to education & technology.

No matter how good we are, we can always improve and gain different perspectives. Competition is one of the great constants of life. Just recently, some Amazon seller was complaining about how Chinese sellers are producing similar products and destroying her sales. The other day, a woman told me how a guy dumped her to date another woman. And just yesterday, we had to reject 5 designers because we made an offer to a more talented designer.

There are solutions to competition. Work hard, come up with new ideas, learn new skills, keep up with market trends, or enter new markets. And yes, I subscribe to my own advice.

well said.
there is also another saying that says, "the wise don't look at an impasse as the end,
but more of a motivational push off the cliff to see an opportunity".
i remember awhile back when the whole world was in turmoil over the twin towers,
and everyone packed up to return home.
at that time, i made the most money because it left a big hole in the supplier of the
skill i majored in. i ended up getting the contracts of those ppl who packed up and
went home to USA.

yes, i think we all have been desensitized to a comfort level to accept
what little there is left. as the peanuts meant for monkeys
become bread crumbs,  we become beggars from once we were monkeys..
and we are happy just to lie under the table to catch whatever scraps that fall off the table.

eventually, we have to come to realise that there is no next worse thing to happen
except to lick off the spit from the floor.

« Reply #68 on: July 14, 2016, 14:06 »
+2
OK, sales are down. What is your solution? complaining alone isn't going to solve anything, it never does and it never will.

Nobody is entitled to anything. Millennials are not entitled to a job because they have a degree. The veterans are not entitled to better sales because they were there first. "The World is Flat" is a great book detailing the leveling of the playing due to ease of access to education & technology.

No matter how good we are, we can always improve and gain different perspectives. Competition is one of the great constants of life. Just recently, some Amazon seller was complaining about how Chinese sellers are producing similar products and destroying her sales. The other day, a woman told me how a guy dumped her to date another woman. And just yesterday, we had to reject 5 designers because we made an offer to a more talented designer.

There are solutions to competition. Work hard, come up with new ideas, learn new skills, keep up with market trends, or enter new markets. And yes, I subscribe to my own advice.

So true!

Besides, for me, May was a massive BME. June, a massive second best.
AND the first 2 weeks of July are much better than the average: I got almost daily, either ELs (even more than 1) or large SODs (even more than 1) or clip sales (even more than 1) or even combinations of the above.  ;D

Whatever SS did, may they continue to do more of the same, because that really works very well for me!
 :P
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 20:38 by Zero Talent »

« Reply #69 on: July 14, 2016, 14:08 »
+2
It could be a sign of things to come, or it could just be the market adjusting itself. I've definitely had concerns about the long term sustainability this year, but things will probably just shift again like they've done before. Who knows? I guess, in the end, I'll still have all the images, so I can just sell them out of the back of a van. Time to look at the classifieds to find a van.  ;D

« Reply #70 on: July 14, 2016, 14:28 »
+4
There are solutions to competition. Work hard, come up with new ideas, learn new skills, keep up with market trends, or enter new markets. And yes, I subscribe to my own advice.

As previously stated, I too subscribe to this advice. How are you finding it? I find that I am working harder, learning more skill, striving to develop new ideas, uploading better and more diverse work, but I'm still buried in the search.

This isn't about complaining, although sometimes it does help to get it off your chest, it's about trying to gauge what others are experiencing and trying to establish a sense of whether everyone is reporting the same issues, similar issues or if this is unique to me.

My work ethic hasn't changed, and my last photoshoot cost me $2400. I'm worker harder than ever and investing more time and money into my business but, from 1st July 2016, my sales fell off a cliff. Not a gradual decline due to increased competition - I could accept it if my Shutterstock sales dropped from a daily average of 100 downloads to 90 to 80, etc. - that has been the pattern for the last couple of years.

From 1st July 2016, my daily sales have dropped to 40%of my daily average of June 2016 - literally overnight. Can someone please explain that without telling me I should work harder? If the issue was just about the quality of my work, I would be seeing similar declines across all the sites I contribute to, but this sudden change, at least for me, is unique to Shutterstock.









« Reply #72 on: July 14, 2016, 15:37 »
0
There are solutions to competition. Work hard, come up with new ideas, learn new skills, keep up with market trends, or enter new markets. And yes, I subscribe to my own advice.

As previously stated, I too subscribe to this advice. How are you finding it? I find that I am working harder, learning more skill, striving to develop new ideas, uploading better and more diverse work, but I'm still buried in the search.

This isn't about complaining, although sometimes it does help to get it off your chest, it's about trying to gauge what others are experiencing and trying to establish a sense of whether everyone is reporting the same issues, similar issues or if this is unique to me.

My work ethic hasn't changed, and my last photoshoot cost me $2400. I'm worker harder than ever and investing more time and money into my business but, from 1st July 2016, my sales fell off a cliff. Not a gradual decline due to increased competition - I could accept it if my Shutterstock sales dropped from a daily average of 100 downloads to 90 to 80, etc. - that has been the pattern for the last couple of years.

From 1st July 2016, my daily sales have dropped to 40%of my daily average of June 2016 - literally overnight. Can someone please explain that without telling me I should work harder? If the issue was just about the quality of my work, I would be seeing similar declines across all the sites I contribute to, but this sudden change, at least for me, is unique to Shutterstock.

I find that it works for me. I can't say it'll work for everyone since everyone has a different portfolio, but I know it works for me. I know that a lot of people work hard, but are not producing results. My guess is that one part is not coming together and it's usually commercial value or keywording.

Someone posted a SS tracking website before he took it down not too long ago. When you look at the top 100 selling images, the most popular images on that list were related to business, marketing, family, technology and concepts that are currently trending, like feminism and empowerment. Those are the type of images that sell well.

If you have quality work and you believe it will sell, then maybe keywording needs improvement. That's one of the most critical mistakes that many contributors make. They don't think it through and see it as a chore, so they don't put their best effort forward. I don't believe my work is amazing, but I know that my keywording is top notch because of my knowledge in SEO and marketing.

I'm always thinking about new concepts and there are new emerging concepts everyday. Some are temporary, some are permanent. A fellow contributor here recently made a killing on Brexit, because he was first and had quality work. Even saw his work on a news site I regularly visit. If you're first to market and you have quality work, not even copy cats can displace you.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 15:44 by Minsc »

« Reply #73 on: July 14, 2016, 15:53 »
+7
Wait... so if the talented newbies are much better than us old farts - then why is it our OLD images that keep selling?

« Reply #74 on: July 14, 2016, 15:59 »
+3
My prediction is microstock will always be a money maker for the agencies themselves, but will slowly but surely become less and less profitable for the contributor, and the contributors who have their game on will migrate to the midstock and macro stock sites.

In order for the agencies to stay profitable they will need suppliers. If they don't nurture the suppliers, they will eventually be left with a library of dated, sub-standard images. If they want to remain in the game, they need to start taking a longer view to protect their position.

True, but how long will it take to get to that point where things get stale? Doesn't seem like we're even close. At what point do contributors as a whole stop submitting because it just isn't worth it? As it is now things seem to keep getting worse for contributors but SS is reporting record library growth.

I think it is already happening many premium contributors are  out. It is a matter of where you live. Right now if you live in London or New York you have a very difficult time being a solo micro contributor. It is a waste of your time ....better direct you energy to other more profitable paths. If you are based in Bangkok or Kiev that's a different thing. So microstock is heavily under the laws of globalization and world competition. I live in Europe and I tell every photographer that I met to stay away from micro even macro. The times to be here making money are over. That's it people might like it or not but very very few are going to survive on this the next 3 years.


 

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