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Author Topic: Sales on Shutterstock - not growing over the last 2 years?  (Read 30698 times)

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« Reply #50 on: August 23, 2010, 06:35 »
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Contrary to many people, I think shutterstock has a great search algorithm.  I think there is nothing more frustrating than on other sites where you upload a pile of photos you put a lot of work into, they end up on page 10 of the search results and never see the light of day.

On shutterstock, new images are put on page one when they get a few sales, as well as previously proven best sellers.  If the new image is really great it will stay on top with the best sellers.  If the image wasn't so hot, it won't last long on the top and will sift to the bottom.  I think the shutterstock method at least gives new images a chance.


« Reply #51 on: August 23, 2010, 10:07 »
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Shutterstock simply killed the microstock market by starting subscription system with very low earnings for photographers, the others agencies have done exactly the same stupidity few time after, that's all. Today Alamy have also 25c royalties pictures...
Only istock seems to be a real agency, that's the only one who double your earnings/year when you regularly  uploading new files.

lisafx

« Reply #52 on: August 23, 2010, 10:22 »
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Shutterstock simply killed the microstock market by starting subscription system with very low earnings for photographers

Wasn't Shutterstock the second microstock agency EVER?  After Istock?  How can they have "killed the market" when they were one of the very first models to create the market?

« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2010, 10:39 »
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Quote
Wasn't Shutterstock the second microstock agency EVER?  After Istock?  How can they have "killed the market" when they were one of the very first models to create the market?
Microstocks market is live till the 70's, shutterstock was simply one of the first established on web. If earnings don't grow anymore, the model is already obsolete.

« Reply #54 on: August 23, 2010, 10:59 »
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Shutterstock simply killed the microstock market by starting subscription system with very low earnings for photographers, the others agencies have done exactly the same stupidity few time after, that's all. Today Alamy have also 25c royalties pictures...
Only istock seems to be a real agency, that's the only one who double your earnings/year when you regularly  uploading new files.

Sub agencies were around for years before SS. Previously though they were always wholly-owned content, as indeed was SS until it had the bright idea to open it's doors to contributors. SS hasn't 'killed the microstock market' anyway __ for most independent contributors it is their first or second largest earning agency. The problem we have now is massive over-supply which, if anything, suggests contributors are actually earning more than their efforts are really worth. We are probably experiencing a 'correction' at the moment which is likely to end up with many contributors finding it not worth their time & effort to continue.

rubyroo

« Reply #55 on: August 23, 2010, 11:09 »
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Shutterstock makes up for the low commission by bringing in a high volume of sales - and it also sells On Demand and Extended Licences, as well as increasing the commission to the photographer at various stages as their individual sales grow.  The way they operate makes it worthwhile, IMO.

Other agencies who are jumping on the 25c 'bandwagon' seem not to realise that there are compensating factors for photographers with Shutterstock, and until they understand that, I think they will find that many photographers won't join up and many will leave when they realise their sales are so low.

« Reply #56 on: August 23, 2010, 11:16 »
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Quote
Other agencies who are jumping on the 25c 'bandwagon' seem not to realise that there are compensating factors for photographers with Shutterstock, and until they understand that, I think they will find that many photographers won't join up and many will leave when they realise their sales are so low.
Yes, it's true!

Quote
The problem we have now is massive over-supply which, if anything, suggests contributors are actually earning more than their efforts are really worth. We are probably experiencing a 'correction' at the moment which is likely to end up with many contributors finding it not worth their time & effort to continue.
Absolutely, but do you think it's only to the contributors to change something?

« Reply #57 on: August 23, 2010, 13:38 »
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Contrary to many people, I think shutterstock has a great search algorithm.  I think there is nothing more frustrating than on other sites where you upload a pile of photos you put a lot of work into, they end up on page 10 of the search results and never see the light of day.

On shutterstock, new images are put on page one when they get a few sales, as well as previously proven best sellers.  If the new image is really great it will stay on top with the best sellers.  If the image wasn't so hot, it won't last long on the top and will sift to the bottom.  I think the shutterstock method at least gives new images a chance.

Agree agree. Also like so many said Shutterstock is equal standing for all old and new contributor with no download information to bias buyers group think. So image stand on sellability. Not because I am Mr Big seller with big sale . You like my picture or you don't. So instant sale because it is what buyer want.
No surprise contrarian report sales drop but sales up for others , even new people.
Fair level field .

WarrenPrice

« Reply #58 on: August 23, 2010, 14:14 »
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I've halfheartedly followed this thread, thinking that it doesn't really apply to me.  I'm so new that I'm still growing in SS and, in microstock in general.  What I might offer, however, is that I'm certainly not the only one.  Someone had mentioned that the new folks would like get discouraged and find that it isn't worth the time and effort.  That could be true.  I can speak only for myself.  I'm not ready to cash in ... or would that be cash out.  This business is just now starting to look like a way to make a few buck while having fun.  Besides, my hard disk and archaic film portfolio are filled with possibilities, possibilities that are just setting there gathering dust.

Maybe Shutterstock, and microstock in general, are aware of that.  Maybe buyers are aware, and willing to consider less quality for many of the projects that are appearing more and more as internet ads than in slick magazine quality work. 

I won't pretend to have the knowledge of those making their living here.  And, I don't want to get SJLocke stirred up.   ::)
But, I am here for the long haul, especially since my sales are still climbing.   8)

« Reply #59 on: August 23, 2010, 15:22 »
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Actually, it's just became clear to me, from all that was said here, there seems to be a very good explanation.
Shutterstock pays 25c (?) per download to new and low-selling contributors.
The best-selling ones and older ones with many sales are paid 38 per download.
Now, if I was looking for ANY (including slightly scummy) way to increase my profits, I would realize that 25c is about 65% of the 38c payout and would try to serve the customers mostly 25c images, thus increasing my profits. I would throw in a few real best-sellers in the search results so it won't be all crap, but many customers are satisfied with low quality images anyway, so it wouldn't be a big issue.

Here - Shutterstock getting their increase in profits, most customers are OK with mediocre images, the only ones that are getting screwed are hard working photographers with big high quality portfolios! The ones that helped making Shutterstock into what it is today. Ironic, isn't it?

Ha. That explains ugly stuff in the "best sellers" search. That explains leveling off the profits for old portfolios. That explains Shutterstock reporting that they are doing well. That explains new people seeing good increase in sales.

Disclaimer - this is just my theory, I don't have any official confirmation of this (and I don't think I'd ever get one), but I am pretty convinced that that's the case. See, my formal education is Ph.D. in Physics, I can tell a good theory when I see one:)

About 6 months ago I noticed a substantial drop in sales for images that had 1000 to 2800 sales each.  Those images used to get downloaded in numbers every day and now I am lucky if they are downloaded a few times a week!

Something has changed!

lisafx

« Reply #60 on: August 23, 2010, 17:26 »
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Agree agree. Also like so many said Shutterstock is equal standing for all old and new contributor with no download information to bias buyers group think. So image stand on sellability. Not because I am Mr Big seller with big sale . You like my picture or you don't. So instant sale because it is what buyer want.
No surprise contrarian report sales drop but sales up for others , even new people.
Fair level field .

Agree with Lefty here.  It is a very level playing field for all.  And I think most contributors appreciate it.  The sites that stack the deck have certainly earned a lot of ill will with many contributors.  OTOH, nobody seems to feel they are getting a raw deal at SS.   

« Reply #61 on: August 23, 2010, 17:40 »
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To all feeling the need to defend Shutterstock or badmouth it: it doesn't really matter, if they are "good" or "bad". The fact is (and I gave the numbers earlier) - my sales didn't grow there for the past 2 years, in spite of substantially increasing the portfolio.
They did grow proportionally to the number of uploaded images on other agencies, like FT and Istock.
That's a fact. SS may or may not have a good search algorithm, subscription may be good or bad thing, they could be good or bad to contributors, whatever your opinion is.
But sales on SS stopped growing in (second half of?) 2008 for big portfolios. I was trying to figure out why.
Maybe it's a result of losing market share. Maybe it's a result of trying to increase profits (as I speculated earlier). Maybe it's because their library is growing too fast and has a lot of redundant images in it.
Whatever it is, currently Fotolia and Istock are doing much better for me. And no matter what emotions we may have about this agency or the other, it's the sales that matter in the end.
 

lisafx

« Reply #62 on: August 23, 2010, 17:52 »
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But sales on SS stopped growing in (second half of?) 2008 for big portfolios. I was trying to figure out why.
Maybe it's a result of losing market share. Maybe it's a result of trying to increase profits (as I speculated earlier). Maybe it's because their library is growing too fast and has a lot of redundant images in it.
Whatever it is, currently Fotolia and Istock are doing much better for me. And no matter what emotions we may have about this agency or the other, it's the sales that matter in the end.
 

Elena, I think we all got the point of your thread.  We have been discussing exactly those phenomena you mentioned for three pages now.  

Are you expecting some sort of definitive answer here?  Obviously none of us can give that to you and I expect you already understand that.  All anyone here has to offer is their opinion. Feel free to pick and choose the ones you feel are most useful to you. :)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 17:53 by lisafx »

« Reply #63 on: August 23, 2010, 18:46 »
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Agree agree. Also like so many said Shutterstock is equal standing for all old and new contributor with no download information to bias buyers group think. So image stand on sellability. Not because I am Mr Big seller with big sale . You like my picture or you don't. So instant sale because it is what buyer want.
No surprise contrarian report sales drop but sales up for others , even new people.
Fair level field .

Agree with Lefty here.  It is a very level playing field for all.  And I think most contributors appreciate it.  The sites that stack the deck have certainly earned a lot of ill will with many contributors.  OTOH, nobody seems to feel they are getting a raw deal at SS.   

Lisafx, sorry if I do not understand "stack the deck" meaning. But nobody seems to feel they get raw deal at SS
because like some notables here many times said too, it's not 25 cents or $2 or 50% commission or xxx % or cents per download we care. Only we care is at the end of the day how many dollars and cents go into my cumulative earnings.
Shutterstock , maybe significant drop for many, or maybe significant increase for others,
still in the end give 1) level playing field for all
2) no bias with stacking deck (if that is your meaning to mine understanding) with number of downloads info
3) others invisible bias we cannot see.

No surprise even though per download money is small for Shutterstock, the takehome money is still
the best in the market for contributors , old or new. So no surprise Shutterstock will get me and others like me
and maybe you ,etc from old school , to continue to give Shutterstock the priority  of new work
IN SPITE OF what others say how much higher Fotolia or Istock pay per download.

Again hope my writing make sense.

« Reply #64 on: August 23, 2010, 19:51 »
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But sales on SS stopped growing in (second half of?) 2008 for big portfolios. I was trying to figure out why.
Maybe it's a result of losing market share. Maybe it's a result of trying to increase profits (as I speculated earlier). Maybe it's because their library is growing too fast and has a lot of redundant images in it.
Whatever it is, currently Fotolia and Istock are doing much better for me. And no matter what emotions we may have about this agency or the other, it's the sales that matter in the end.
 

Elena, I think we all got the point of your thread.  We have been discussing exactly those phenomena you mentioned for three pages now.  

Are you expecting some sort of definitive answer here?  Obviously none of us can give that to you and I expect you already understand that.  All anyone here has to offer is their opinion. Feel free to pick and choose the ones you feel are most useful to you. :)

Yes Lisa, I know quite a few people got the point :-), and again thank you all for your responses and opinions.  My last response was aimed at some people that didn't, I know I should have included quotations, but I guess I was too lazy to do that:)
I was also hoping that Shutterstock people may help to clarify things, but I guess this has to be on their forum to to get a reply.

« Reply #65 on: August 24, 2010, 03:59 »
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Maybe it's because their library is growing too fast and has a lot of redundant images in it.
Whatever it is, currently Fotolia and Istock are doing much better for me. And no matter what emotions we may have about this agency or the other, it's the sales that matter in the end.

Yes, we do get your point, but surely you can figure this one out for yourself? My own figures for March 2008-10 are very similar to yours, taking into account that I upload fewer images per year and therefore the % increase in my port is smaller.

It's a combination of many issues. SS has the lowest hurdle of entry and no upload limit so inevitably there is the most competition there (quite frankly it is ridiculous what they accept). IS has thankfully insulated us from those who churn out millions of near-identical images that clutter up the searches. FT has grown hugely for me too __ but from a relatively low base. I'm not even sure that FT had introduced subscriptions in March 2008? FT have been aggressively marketing themselves over the last couple of years in order to grab themselves a decent chunk of the market (with considerable success). Subscribers certainly have more choice now than they did in March 2008. Subscriptions are also a relatively high-cost purchase and nowadays, what with the economy and all, there may simply be fewer customers who have the need for volumes of images. Despite all of these issues SS have still maintained their share of the money when it comes to my total earnings. In Aug 2008 they generated 28% of my earnings, in Aug 2009 it was 26% and this month they are projected to generate 29%.

« Reply #66 on: August 24, 2010, 10:08 »
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Besides, my hard disk and archaic film portfolio are filled with possibilities, possibilities that are just setting there gathering dust.

Maybe Shutterstock, and microstock in general, are aware of that.  Maybe buyers are aware, and willing to consider less quality for many of the projects that are appearing more and more as internet ads than in slick magazine quality work.

That's exactly what Shutterstock said at the beginning - something along the lines of "make cash from all those old pictures on your hard drive" was splashed all over their home page. But things have moved on a long way from there. Unless your drive and neg files are full of work shot to a high standard you are not likely to get it on (getting perfectly clean negative scans is a hassle, too).


RacePhoto

« Reply #67 on: August 31, 2010, 17:51 »
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I was also hoping that Shutterstock people may help to clarify things, but I guess this has to be on their forum to to get a reply.

Let me help (opinion) as someone who isn't with SS and not on their forums.

2008 you 10,000 images, SS 3 million images. Now You 10,000 images SS 12 million images.

Sales on SS could be up, but sales per contributor are diluted because of competition and diversity. Buyers have more choices from new offerings, fresh material, taken with better equipment.

No matter that you may have the best images and may have had them two years ago. Now the competition is raising the bar and creating equal or better material. You can't expect the same old shots to sell at the same rate forever, especially considering four times the content competition!

That would be my best guess down to simple math and freshness.

CCK

« Reply #68 on: November 11, 2010, 04:44 »
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Did anyone else notice a sudden rise in sales at Shutterstock this month? It is only the 11th and I'm at double my best month ever. At the same time sales at ather acencies are slower than usual (as they have been for the last months).

lagereek

« Reply #69 on: November 11, 2010, 05:10 »
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Same within the main core of the Getty-RM, where since 1998, earnings have "hit the wall" and that was in the film days. I dont think a large sucessful port all of a sudden can "hit the wall" just like that.
Must be a number of reasons, gazillions of new contributors, bad searches, bad placements in bad search-engines, lousy reviewing, etc, etc, in the end it all becomes too much. Lately we have had some examples of just that.

lisafx

« Reply #70 on: November 11, 2010, 08:50 »
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Did anyone else notice a sudden rise in sales at Shutterstock this month? It is only the 11th and I'm at double my best month ever. At the same time sales at ather acencies are slower than usual (as they have been for the last months).

Steady as she goes here.  No unusual bump. 

« Reply #71 on: November 11, 2010, 10:00 »
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Did anyone else notice a sudden rise in sales at Shutterstock this month? It is only the 11th and I'm at double my best month ever. At the same time sales at ather acencies are slower than usual (as they have been for the last months).

Not just this month but for several weeks now mainly due to growing PPD and EL sales. I've had BME's for the last two months and am currently on target for a third. With sales static or slowing at Istockphoto SS appears to have taken over as my #1 earning agency.

« Reply #72 on: November 11, 2010, 10:49 »
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SS has always been my best earner... and the past 2 months, including this month, have been great. This year has been a banner year with a payout every month starting with Feb. and increasing each month...ty-ss

« Reply #73 on: November 11, 2010, 13:30 »
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Things are finally picking up for me... Last month was finally able to get above the plateau. Hope this trend continues:)

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #74 on: November 14, 2010, 16:05 »
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I have been slowly stopping to shoot for micro and looking for more avenues as there is no sign of possibilities to grow sales within the agencies we used to so submit images to. My income has grown but it has grown because I have more distributors, and I will be shooting for the traditional market, at least 80% of my work will go there. It has been a very frustrating year in microstock, but yet exciting in the rest of the stock industry.

Maybe because you're cannibalizing your own sales.  Looking at your latest in IS, it looks like you're just reshooting groups on white, girls with phones, business people.  So, people buy the newer one, or the older one, but they don't need both.

What are you doing differently for the "traditional" market, and where?  My Getty sales are less than encouraging, as well, the contributor side of the workflow (stats, sales data) is very unhelpful.

Yeah that's partly true ..... I'm leaving the different stuff for traditional places or premium collections. I have tried uploading different topics in micro and there is simply too much supply and not enough demand anymore so I am just shooting to mantain sales while I try to make the other avenues as profitable as micro once was for me.
A really good image even if it's "Different" will sell 12 times at the most on a day in shutterstock just after uploading, I use to see 48 dls in a day for a good image.

Good point by sjlocke. Also I remember sjlocke say somewhere too it is not Shutterstock not growing over time, it is seller's piece ofpie is smaller
because more supply by new contributors with better idea. Or maybe another Istock quote , the drop of sales for specific contributor is not
indication that agency sales is bad , only the contributor share of commission is in decrease.

Yeah all true, and it could be easily mended by making adjustments but all the agencies are scared of making the first step  as they think they will loose market share ..... I think it will benefit everyone, higher prices = higher budgets = better quality images.

They all fail miserably at their insepction policy, that's the absolute biggest problem. The mostly maltrained granpas who are told to freak out and push the big red button at seeing weird and wonderfull things like shadows, surely won't go around selecting anything by easthetical or style standards. : ) That's a scary alien world to those ppl. So all the images with horribly inapt models, crap and-or dull lighting, just visually and contentwise repulsive litter that makes a real creative's eyes bleed gets thru if it happens to have no noise or smthng like that... and that's most of the images, probably 70%. The guys at certain places would have hard time raising prices for the more artsypantsy in such a junkyard enviroment : )


 

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