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Author Topic: should I give up on SS next?  (Read 10763 times)

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« on: June 30, 2010, 16:27 »
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As I continue to micro-manage my tiny portfolio, try to maximize it's meager earnings, and decide whether to continue with this microstock insanity...

I've already dropped FT because... well you all know the reasons.   Graphic Leftovers is actually making an occasional sale netting me $2.60, that's cool.  IS and DT make some sales too, at varying prices - sometimes 20 cents, but sometimes $3.  A few of my photos have accumulated enough sales that their price has gone up. That's cool too.

SS on the other hand is road kill in the sun.  My photos are niche things, not blockbusters, and at 25 cents, you have to make a lot of sales for it to make sense.  I make about the same number of sub sales as always, but enhanced and on-demand sales have totally dried up, and I think that says a lot about SS's direction.

I know others are still big on SS but for me, it's going nowhere, and I no longer think it makes sense to put the same portfolio on sites where the prices are so different.   I am thinking that these worthless subscriptions sales are now just me competing with myself on other sites - and losing that competion - and I might as well close SS next, and focus on DT, IS and GL.  

Is anyone else feeling that SS is now nothing but subs, and no longer a good place to be?
 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 16:45 by stockastic »


« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 16:59 »
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I make about the same number of sub sales as always, but enhanced and on-demand sales have totally dried up, and I think that says a lot about SS's direction.

Actually, I think that says a lot about YOUR direction. ;)

For me, being with SS is very rewarding and my sales continue to increase with over 700 photos online.
This month will be the 2nd BME.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 17:09 »
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I'm having a disappointing month but, by no means, plan on evacuating.  I'm failing to reach my goals primarily because of the slowdown in OD sales.  That happens, I guess.  July or August could get me right back to targeted numbers.  I sort of enjoy the give and take of "making it."   :P

Xalanx

« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 17:11 »
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I make about the same number of sub sales as always, but enhanced and on-demand sales have totally dried up, and I think that says a lot about SS's direction.

Actually, I think that says a lot about YOUR direction. ;)

Correct.

lisafx

« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 17:55 »
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I have honestly never heard anyone in microstock who isn't going exclusive at Istock even contemplate quitting Shutterstock.  If you aren't making sales there then you probably aren't going to be in this for the long term. 

I would suggest considering istock exclusivity if you don't want to sell subs, but with the kind of sales volume you are talking about it may be quite awhile before you qualify. 

« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2010, 18:14 »
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Try StockFresh!  ;D

« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2010, 18:24 »
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I don't think anyone got my point.  I make sales at SS just like the others, and I'm satisfied with the number of sales I'm getting.  But at SS a sale nets me only 25 cents, and the number of sales isn't large enough to compensate.  So it seems I'm basically offering the photos for 25 cents at SS and at considerably higher (though varying ) prices elsewhere.   Why compete with myself like this?

ap

« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 18:39 »
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in that case, put all your eggs into the BigStock basket since they only offer credit sales.


seriously though, you should consider zoonar. not only are they paying you for your approved uploads, but once you're there, you can decide the pricing tier for your photos, micro, mid and macro. and there are no subs.

other than that, you may be missing the point about ss, that they actually have downloads.

« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2010, 18:52 »
+1
I don't think anyone got my point.  I make sales at SS just like the others, and I'm satisfied with the number of sales I'm getting.  But at SS a sale nets me only 25 cents, and the number of sales isn't large enough to compensate.  So it seems I'm basically offering the photos for 25 cents at SS and at considerably higher (though varying ) prices elsewhere.   Why compete with myself like this?

why dont you upload more and break the 500$ and then the others.. patience and work!

« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2010, 19:16 »
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Forget about me, specifically.   The question boils down to this:  increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.    Aren't we hurting ourselves by offering the same photos for 25 cents one place, versus higher prices elsewhere? 

« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2010, 19:31 »
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Forget about me, specifically.   The question boils down to this:  increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.    Aren't we hurting ourselves by offering the same photos for 25 cents one place, versus higher prices elsewhere? 

I get you but I guess SS brings quite a few bucks so we need to keep up, then I guess we would go to another place :P

« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2010, 19:41 »
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Forget about me, specifically. The question boils down to this: increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.  

ODs are fading away FOR YOU. Other people may be having a completely different experience. For example, their ODs may be increasing every month. You are trying to project your experience on to the microstock field as a whole and that's just not gonna work. :-\

« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2010, 19:43 »
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I'm still having good sales at SS, even in the summer slump.  Yesterday, in fact, was one of my top 3 or 4 days on SS.  Subs are a fact of life now.  But at SS I'm at the .38 level now so those sub sales are higher than the sub sales at other sites.  Still having strong OD sales as well, so your lack of them isn't widespread.  

I don't understand the point of removing your SS port... if you're that disappointed, just stop uploading but leave what's there.  Your images at SS are not in competition with your images at the other sites.  They're in competition with the other shots at SS.  If your pics suddenly disappeared, do you think buyers will say, "I guess I have to go to IS to get that shot?"  No, they'll just find other images at SS.  

lisafx

« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2010, 20:04 »
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Forget about me, specifically.   The question boils down to this:  increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.    Aren't we hurting ourselves by offering the same photos for 25 cents one place, versus higher prices elsewhere?  

Um.  We have to talk about you specifically because most of us aren't making .25 on Shutterstock.  They have a tiered system that rewards you when you reach certain goalposts.  

I make .38/download on SS and have for a couple of years now.  

I believe your original question was should you dump Shutterstock.  It appears the answer to the question is:  No, most of us would not do that unless planning to go exclusive elsewhere.  

And to elaborate:  There are only four sites that deliver top money in microstock.  You have already dumped Fotolia, now you want to dump Shutterstock.   That leaves you making less than half what you could be making off the same pictures.  Why even bother with micro at all?

« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2010, 21:59 »
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The real question then is perhaps - do buyers tend to buy from just one site or will they try the same search on multiple sites?

« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2010, 22:53 »
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Forget about me, specifically.   The question boils down to this:  increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.    Aren't we hurting ourselves by offering the same photos for 25 cents one place, versus higher prices elsewhere? 

ods are increasing for me for both new and old images
extended licences are harder to tell, I get a few in a week then nothing for weeks. My feeling but not sure is that for me they are slowly increasing too.

RacePhoto

« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2010, 23:05 »
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Forget about me, specifically.   The question boils down to this:  increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.    Aren't we hurting ourselves by offering the same photos for 25 cents one place, versus higher prices elsewhere? 

If the buyers at SS never go look at IS, you'll never have your hypothetical sale. You can't compete with yourself if the buyers never see the second or third site. Also if your photos are never seen on SS you positively will not have any sales there, no matter what.  :)

If you feel that your pricing demands that you don't sell 25c subs, why not go exclusive and make up the difference? That way you can probably make more than you lose. Of course it will take away your favorite subscription based posts on the BBs. ;)

I hate to set you off with this part, but it's interesting on balance. You drop SS and go exclusive on IS. You in effect get a raise. Then you add Partner Program sales on Thinkstock for 25c a download, compete with yourself again, and make more money than if you had IS and SS as a non-exclusive. That's all about money only, nothing that some people would do. But odd when comparing SS & IS as agencies vs IS and Thinkstock as the same effective marketing situation?

Oh yes, you only upload to one site, only get reviews by one site, only get the same customers that Getty sends you, and you are still competing with yourself!

Back to the beginning, would you rather compete with yourself in two markets, with different customers and buyers, or on one, which is owned by the same corporation?


« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2010, 02:36 »
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My average with SS last month was $0.57 a sale, on demand and EL's are good for me.  They were my highest earning site again last month and I only uploaded a few images.  I don't think many buyers shop around, so it is sensible to either use lots of sites or go exclusive with istock but that would stop me selling RF at higher prices on sites like alamy and I don't want to do that.

« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2010, 03:46 »
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I think you would have to have a very specific and well known "brand" / style to be worried about people not buying your photos on other agencies because they can get them for "cheap" at shutterstock.

Sounds like exclusivity at Istock might be the best option for you. To be independent I think you need to submit to atleast the top 6 to make it worth wild.

« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2010, 04:36 »
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To be honest I have no idea why you bother with microstock at all. You have written nearly 1000 posts here, nearly all of them complaining about microstock in general or how badly you have been treated by the various agencies. Why?

« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2010, 04:44 »
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To be honest I have no idea why you bother with microstock at all. You have written nearly 1000 posts here, nearly all of them complaining about microstock in general or how badly you have been treated by the various agencies. Why?
Maybe it's another incarnation of Perseus etc...  ::)  ;D

« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2010, 05:59 »
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Forget about me, specifically.   The question boils down to this:  increasingly it seems that all the sales at SS are 25 cent subs; ODs are fading away.    Aren't we hurting ourselves by offering the same photos for 25 cents one place, versus higher prices elsewhere? 

I don't make 25 cents for a sub DL at SS, I make .36. But to get there, I had to build my port to a larger size. So to answer your question, no, I'm not hurting myself.

For my specific portfolio, no, I would not leave SS at this point. Last month I had 9 or 10 ODs. In May I had a 28.00 EL. Summer is slow, not a cause for me to jump ship. And my sales are increasing at BigStock (owned by SS) so between those two companies, I'm doing ok.

« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2010, 07:42 »
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Hi Stockastic,
I enjoy your posts and most, most, most of the times I agree with you.
You might even be right about the 0.25 cent download at SS. But that battle has long been lost. There's no point in fighting ghosts.
We have to accept reality and hope that one day SS will feel strong enough to raise prices together with the 0.25 cent payment.

What you need to keep in mind is that not one of those agencies is perfect.
Not one of them.
Best thing to do is to try to work with what we've got.
Shutterstock is one of the best, if not *the* very best.
It should be the last site you would ever think of leaving.
This is why :
Upload process OK - easy enough.
Fast and (most of the times) consistent reviewing.
Super fast server indexing (matter of minutes now).
Good sales, both old and new images - OD's included.
Fair chances for every image. No prioritized treatment unless gained by image itself.
Automated payouts.  Great!
Solid site, no down time, no major glitches.
Huge community, vibrant, something for everyone.
Large number of buyers.
Agency is owned privately. There's no big Getty behind the scenes, no need to ask anyone for permission. Shutterstock is in control of its own future.
No drama, no hassle.

There's more, but I'm going to leave it at that.

It's obvious to me that in spite of some of your posts, you enjoy working for microstock. It's an addiction.
Don't leave Shutterstock.
They're the very top, you won't have many places to go from there.
Good luck :)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 11:47 by Eireann »

lagereek

« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2010, 09:28 »
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To be honest, I dont think you know where you are or in what direction you wanna go, do you?  you dump FT and SS, what makes you so sure IS will accept you as an exclusive.
Theres no room for getting rich over night people, they were left behind long ago.

« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2010, 12:01 »
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Hi Stockastic,
I enjoy your posts and most, most, most of the times I agree with you.


Thanks Eireann.   You seem to be in a minority  :)   I am not sure about the source of all the emotion in some of these other replies, but what the heck, I hope all you folks are having a nice day too.

Actually, I've enjoyed microstock quite a bit.  I started a year and a half ago and to my great surprise I've made about $1200 from a portfolio ranging from 150 images on GL to 66 on IS.   How cool is that?  It's been very educational and very gratifying. I've stopped for the time being, feeling that while the money is fun, it doesn't really justify the effort; and I've also decided that some of these agencies do not - shall we say - have the photographer's best interests at heart, and have a tough time achieving sensible and consistent review standards.   But I've also been thinking about how to better direct my efforts in the future, if I start shooting microstock again, and how I should "vote" with my tiny portfolio.

My plan has always be to start slow and try to learn the business, and if I thought I saw a formula that "clicked", then maybe gear up and really crank out some shots.  I haven't quite seen that plan yet, but I've gained some sense of what subjects will bring in money over the long haul.    The problem is coming up with enough of them, and not spending more on props, objects, and other expenses than the shot would actually bring in.

I come from a software development background.  In that culture, negative opionions flourish, people speak their minds rather bluntly, and no one wastes time posting about what a great company Microsoft is  :)    Here on a microstock forum, some people respond like I've ridiculed their culture or religion.  Sorry guys, I'm used to a peer group with thick skins and a pretty dark sense of humor.


A couple of people here did actually address my question: it is probably not the case that buyers are cross-shopping the sites and finding the same photos for 25 cents one place and $5 elsewhere; but I'm not totally convinced.  I actually could go exclusive at IS at this point, I have enough sales and the requisite acceptance ratio, but I'm not going to do that while sites like Graphic Leftovers are actually gaining some traction.

These microstock agencies got started with small investments, were in the right place at the right time, and are making a ton of money off of your images in a near-perfect "buyer's market" that has driven your prices right too the floor.  Their total disregard for contributors - we're a dime a dozen -  is often very much in evidence.  Over the last year I have not seen SS, for example, do much of anything to significantly improve their presentation or search relevance - they're just running a money machine.  So [email protected] right, I'm not going to be shy about critcising and even ridiculing them - they're big boys, and that's what anonymous internet forums are for.

I actually believe that a better market will emerge in time, with new players, and I'd like to be in on it.  
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 16:52 by stockastic »


 

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