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Author Topic: Shutterstock manipulating earning potential - Can they do this really?  (Read 20884 times)

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« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2014, 13:42 »
+2
This theory originates from Susan who has posted world time charts, sales and points where she claims her port is turned off for 12 hours at a time. I don't see, watching the computer as proof, and it could just as well be that they only do processing at certain times, not when the country in question is most active. It's her theory, based on personal observations.

I wouldn't even say that this couldn't be true. But then for totally different reasons: There are photographers whose style is just "typical" for a certain region, be it Europe, Asia or North America. Then the search engine would learn "European buyers are not downloading these images" and as a consequence would sort them down. It wouldn't be something personal nor meant to keep someone from earning as much as they could, it would be because buyers in parts of the worlds just don't buy that kind of stuff.

There definitely is regionalization of content and search results. It's very hard to manage and master but given how much effort Shutterstock puts into mastering their search engine, I wouldn't be surprised if they are doing it better than other places.


« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2014, 13:57 »
+4
... Why woudn't SS want to sell as much as possible and keep their customers happy? What would SS benefit from doing this?...

Actaully you are quite off the mark there. SS sells subscriptions - the less you download after that, the better for them. Less downloads actually means higher profit for SS.

Of course this all have to be kept between reasonable boundaries, because if someone hardly uses his/her sub quota it probably means they are not interested or do not like the site, and they won't buy another subscription. But still: SS is not interested in maximizing downloads at all.

EmberMike

« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2014, 14:19 »
+1
...SS is not interested in maximizing downloads at all.

True, but that doesn't mean they'd make efforts to minimize downloads, either.

« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2014, 14:20 »
+2
... Why woudn't SS want to sell as much as possible and keep their customers happy? What would SS benefit from doing this?...

Actaully you are quite off the mark there. SS sells subscriptions - the less you download after that, the better for them. Less downloads actually means higher profit for SS.

That would have been true some years ago. But now they also sell ODs and other things.

« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2014, 14:57 »
-2
... Why woudn't SS want to sell as much as possible and keep their customers happy? What would SS benefit from doing this?...

Actaully you are quite off the mark there. SS sells subscriptions - the less you download after that, the better for them. Less downloads actually means higher profit for SS.

That would have been true some years ago. But now they also sell ODs and other things.

OD is still a package, not pay as you go, and the vast majority of dls are subs.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2014, 15:14 »
+7
My port is turned off 24/7.... ;)

« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2014, 15:40 »
+1
The sale there definitely have a trend. There is about a 8 week cycle where sales dip very low then peak after 4 weeks and then dip for another 4 weeks. The 6 month trending graph they display has always shown this. The low to high differential is significant. I'm not sure what they do, but they do it on a regular basis.

EmberMike

« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2014, 15:58 »
+3

You know what, I'm seeing it now, too. After looking at my stats, it appears that on the 3rd waxing crescent moon phase of the year, DLs are shut off. Also on alternating waning gibbous moon phases.

Some unique planetary alignment events also coincide with BDEs. And a meteor shower later this month should be expected to boost sales.

;)

« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2014, 17:46 »
+2


Paste of message here:
Thats just it! did not want to share this but since you mentioned it: you hit the nail. Friend of my wife who many consider an analytical computer guru had a look at some agencies searches and after only half hour he came to the conclusion certain searches are controlled as far as earnings, i.e. at certain intervals you are allowed to earn at full potential etc, then you are cut-off.
If true this raise a huge moral/ethical question. Person in question is not just anybody, he has worked with corps like Adobe, Google and twitter,  Mind you, I hardly needed anybody to tell me something is badly worng, one day you can have like 20 ODs, 6 SODs and some ELs, next day you get like 50 subs. Even bhy the law of average, this can not hold true.

 
first, how did this 'analyst' make any conclujsions after a 1/2 search?  and how did they obtain the proprietary info from multiple agencies in order to be able to do so

what law of averages are you referring to?  in ms sales we're not dealing with a normal distreibution, or even the sort of time series you can plot from publicly traded stocks, currencies, etc - for MS, millions of images are sold every day, so we'd actually expect results to vary pretty wildly for any individual portfolio.  if anything an individual's results will follow a poisson distribution, where there is a finite probability of getting zero results on any given day
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 21:22 by cascoly »

« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2014, 18:36 »
+3
What does "earn at full potential" mean. If all of my images that had applicable keywords showed up first in every search then I would be earning at my full potential perhaps? Maybe they do like DT and rotate portfolios up and down. Maybe they skew the search results based on where you are located and where the searcher is located.  If they are pushing other portfolios down some of the time then maybe your images are earning over their full potential. If they really wanted to manipulate earnings potential they would just do it across the board all the time and the results would be more like the gbalex conspiracy than the christian conspiracy.

I have no doubt they could manipulate sales all sorts of ways. The question is why would they bother for the most part? It would make sense to encourage new photographers to get them hooked, and possibly to push lower paying sales a bit, but that would also tend to move them to higher paying sales more quickly, so only a short term fix. I think they have so many tweaks to their searches going on all the time based on the buyers location, previous sales history, seller location, previous purchases with the same keyword etc. etc. and they are probably tweaking it all the time that any simplistic explanation is going to miss the mark. Ultimately the thing they really don't want to do is have the buyers go elsewhere. (something that IS probably should consider).

« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2014, 18:53 »
0
they are manipulating with similar images. i have some images with zero downloads whole month then i sell 3 images par day. they know excatly what  to offer to customer to buy.

 in 2014 new images are more imporatant  than old one.

Ron

« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2014, 19:59 »
0

 ... Can't argue with the quality of his work, ...

Absolutely +1

Ron

« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2014, 20:04 »
0
This theory originates from Susan who has posted world time charts, sales and points where she claims her port is turned off for 12 hours at a time. I don't see, watching the computer as proof, and it could just as well be that they only do processing at certain times, not when the country in question is most active. It's her theory, based on personal observations.

I wouldn't even say that this couldn't be true. But then for totally different reasons: There are photographers whose style is just "typical" for a certain region, be it Europe, Asia or North America. Then the search engine would learn "European buyers are not downloading these images" and as a consequence would sort them down. It wouldn't be something personal nor meant to keep someone from earning as much as they could, it would be because buyers in parts of the worlds just don't buy that kind of stuff.

There definitely is regionalization of content and search results. It's very hard to manage and master but given how much effort Shutterstock puts into mastering their search engine, I wouldn't be surprised if they are doing it better than other places.
Have you seen Susan's images? I think they are really high quality amazing images. I am sure there is a need on global scale for such images. I dont think that there is a zone that doesnt have use for that type of her images.

And SS has mentioned there is a geographical element involved in how the search works, but I dont think that that is a reason why she sees a gap in sales for her images in certain time zones.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2014, 20:57 »
+2
And mine is off most of the time and turned on at random for short periods.  :)

My port is turned off 24/7.... ;)

In case someone has distorted or is trying to misrepresent, what I wrote, I have said nothing about anyone's photos, or claims, except that it's their theory to start with, not someone else who is being quoted as the source.

I am reading some alarming claims on another forum that the very recent (apparently) change to the SS search facility is turning on and off photographers portfolios during the day to limit their ports exposure and subsequently their earnings, thereby controlling a photographers success.

Response from me, removed.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 23:57 by Uncle Pete »

« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2014, 23:45 »
+3

You know what, I'm seeing it now, too. After looking at my stats, it appears that on the 3rd waxing crescent moon phase of the year, DLs are shut off. Also on alternating waning gibbous moon phases.

Some unique planetary alignment events also coincide with BDEs. And a meteor shower later this month should be expected to boost sales.

;)

Yeh, I noticed that too; it's just harder to extract that sort of thing with my simple forth order DSP filter on my oldish Cray. Not until I hacked the mainframe at the NSA, and reworked it to properly analyze my 2 downloads a day, could I get to bottom of this.

« Reply #40 on: April 05, 2014, 08:46 »
0
I could see this happening if a site (stock or POD) relied on a membership fees or I guess was having trouble attracting new contributors.  Every happy seller tells their friends the good news and brings in more contributors. 


Dook

« Reply #41 on: April 05, 2014, 09:22 »
+1
I see lack of sales between 5PM and 8PM CET. I thought this was because working hours are over in Europe and they just barely started in US.


« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2014, 13:17 »
+4
The search manipulation is not conspiracy theory, is just a fact. It is happening. Not everybody is affected indeed and that's why it is hard to believe. But those who are suffering from it can tell you. I am one of them, I used to have very good sales until the first of what SS called an "improvement" of the search algorithms, that caused a sudden drop of -35% in my sales, in April 2012. The second "improvement" took another -35% of my sales in April 2013 and that was overnight as well.
Top contributors, Chris among them, are reporting huge drops in March-April as well.

Nothing in my behavior has been changed (upload volume, quality etc) and both huge drop in sales took place overnight, so it is not me, it's them. I know it is hard to believe for those from you who didn't see anything but normal fluctuations in their sales over the years but trust me, if this will happen to you, you will know.

lisafx

« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2014, 14:17 »
+3
The search manipulation is not conspiracy theory, is just a fact. It is happening. Not everybody is affected indeed and that's why it is hard to believe. But those who are suffering from it can tell you. I am one of them, I used to have very good sales until the first of what SS called an "improvement" of the search algorithms, that caused a sudden drop of -35% in my sales, in April 2012. The second "improvement" took another -35% of my sales in April 2013 and that was overnight as well.
Top contributors, Chris among them, are reporting huge drops in March-April as well.

Nothing in my behavior has been changed (upload volume, quality etc) and both huge drop in sales took place overnight, so it is not me, it's them. I know it is hard to believe for those from you who didn't see anything but normal fluctuations in their sales over the years but trust me, if this will happen to you, you will know.

I have been saying the same thing. 

Do I think it's some conspiracy directed at me personally or that it's done with malice?  NO.  I had wondered if it was just high selling expensive artists, but enough of them have not experienced the same thing that it pretty much dispelled that idea. 

At this point, I can't say what it is in the algorithm changes that have affected my sales or why it's happened.  One possible reason could be the new emphasis on location of the photographer.  I have always done VERY well selling in Europe.  My models are not typical perfect shiny "American" looking, but just regular people.  Judging from the sites that report where sales come from, roughly half my sales (and in-actions) are from outside the US.  If my images are less prominent in Europe now, then that might account for some of the drop. 

To repeat, I can only guess at the reasons. Who T-F knows, really?   I just know it has happened very much as Adigrosu described above and it is a big hit to my income.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 14:20 by lisafx »

« Reply #44 on: April 05, 2014, 14:19 »
+3
The search manipulation is not conspiracy theory, is just a fact. It is happening. Not everybody is affected indeed and that's why it is hard to believe. But those who are suffering from it can tell you. I am one of them, I used to have very good sales until the first of what SS called an "improvement" of the search algorithms, that caused a sudden drop of -35% in my sales, in April 2012. The second "improvement" took another -35% of my sales in April 2013 and that was overnight as well.
Top contributors, Chris among them, are reporting huge drops in March-April as well.

Nothing in my behavior has been changed (upload volume, quality etc) and both huge drop in sales took place overnight, so it is not me, it's them. I know it is hard to believe for those from you who didn't see anything but normal fluctuations in their sales over the years but trust me, if this will happen to you, you will know.

Well you would be one who knows with that awesome port. I feel the same as you.  When there is a change to the algorithm one thing is inevitable....some will win and some will lose.  I don't know whats going on but my sales have become so erratic in the last few months.  For example, yesterday (FRIDAY) I made $9 on SS and $13 the day before.  I used to make $20-50 a day, so I am seeing a decline too.  I just assume that during the next change perhaps I'll benefit. Since I can't control it, I just keep working at creating new content.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #45 on: April 05, 2014, 18:32 »
0
I am reading some alarming claims on another forum that the very recent (apparently) change to the SS search facility is turning on and off photographers portfolios during the day to limit their ports exposure and subsequently their earnings, thereby controlling a photographers success.

My answer removed.

It's all about them and matching the customers needs.

Let me put it another way:  Hey folks, we're all getting searched equally.


The search manipulation is not conspiracy theory, is just a fact. It is happening. Not everybody is affected indeed and that's why it is hard to believe. But those who are suffering from it can tell you. I am one of them, I used to have very good sales until the first of what SS called an "improvement" of the search algorithms, that caused a sudden drop of -35% in my sales, in April 2012. The second "improvement" took another -35% of my sales in April 2013 and that was overnight as well.
Top contributors, Chris among them, are reporting huge drops in March-April as well.

Nothing in my behavior has been changed (upload volume, quality etc) and both huge drop in sales took place overnight, so it is not me, it's them. I know it is hard to believe for those from you who didn't see anything but normal fluctuations in their sales over the years but trust me, if this will happen to you, you will know.

Well you would be one who knows with that awesome port. I feel the same as you.  When there is a change to the algorithm one thing is inevitable....some will win and some will lose.  I don't know whats going on but my sales have become so erratic in the last few months.  For example, yesterday (FRIDAY) I made $9 on SS and $13 the day before.  I used to make $20-50 a day, so I am seeing a decline too.  I just assume that during the next change perhaps I'll benefit. Since I can't control it, I just keep working at creating new content.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 23:58 by Uncle Pete »

« Reply #46 on: April 06, 2014, 10:29 »
+1
Only thing I can say is when people talk about "the next change" they are assuming that it's day by day or month by month and not hourly or based on some algorithm and CONSTANTLY changing.

That would explain someone being off for a 12 hour period or appearing to be blocked, and then turned back ON again. Location, demands, servers, buyers business hours, it could be 100 things and we aren't going to know or be able to control that.

Plus for someone to drop and the agency sales to grow, someone has to be getting whatever the person who lost sales, in not longer receiving. It's like the one from the past, where "everyone is lower in the search ranking" which is impossible.

Someone goes down, someone else goes up.

Point is, your sales ("your" being anyone reading this) can go down, but someone else has to be making that DL and their income went up. It's impossible for everyone to be going down. When the agency has record sales and profits.

The why I don't know, but my theory is, the search is always changing, not today or tomorrow or next month. It's always changing, all the time. And the time zone/location could be a major part of it moving for specific areas and people. Depending on what subjects you have the most of?

It's not person, by person, it's the whole system that's in motion and adjusting. No I don't think they turn me on or off or anyone else. I don't think it has anything to do with manipulation of earning potential for US. It's all about them and matching the customers needs.

Let me put it another way:  Hey folks, we're all getting screwed equally.


The search manipulation is not conspiracy theory, is just a fact. It is happening. Not everybody is affected indeed and that's why it is hard to believe. But those who are suffering from it can tell you. I am one of them, I used to have very good sales until the first of what SS called an "improvement" of the search algorithms, that caused a sudden drop of -35% in my sales, in April 2012. The second "improvement" took another -35% of my sales in April 2013 and that was overnight as well.
Top contributors, Chris among them, are reporting huge drops in March-April as well.

Nothing in my behavior has been changed (upload volume, quality etc) and both huge drop in sales took place overnight, so it is not me, it's them. I know it is hard to believe for those from you who didn't see anything but normal fluctuations in their sales over the years but trust me, if this will happen to you, you will know.

Well you would be one who knows with that awesome port. I feel the same as you.  When there is a change to the algorithm one thing is inevitable....some will win and some will lose.  I don't know whats going on but my sales have become so erratic in the last few months.  For example, yesterday (FRIDAY) I made $9 on SS and $13 the day before.  I used to make $20-50 a day, so I am seeing a decline too.  I just assume that during the next change perhaps I'll benefit. Since I can't control it, I just keep working at creating new content.

SS has come out publicly that they change their search algorithm and do experiment.  That part is factual.  How frequent is an unknown. But I don't think it's daily at all.  To get good data it would need to be over a period of time dictated by their sample size. Another unknown.  And one other known fact is what I stated.  My sales "used to be fairly consistent", now they are like a roller coaster.  Why? I am merely speculating that it's due to them tweaking the dials, but I could be wrong.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #47 on: April 06, 2014, 14:00 »
+2
  And one other known fact is what I stated.  My sales "used to be fairly consistent", now they are like a roller coaster.  Why? I am merely speculating that it's due to them tweaking the dials, but I could be wrong.

But it's also interesting that a lot of people on here are constantly reporting BMEs at SS. Obviously, that will normally be the case for newbies, for a certain amount of time, but some aren't newbies.

« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2014, 14:05 »
+1
But it's also interesting that a lot of people on here are constantly reporting BMEs at SS. Obviously, that will normally be the case for newbies, for a certain amount of time, but some aren't newbies.

I think I said this in another thread that it sometimes sounds like people are describing some alien world when they describe their earnings.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #49 on: April 06, 2014, 14:08 »
0
But it's also interesting that a lot of people on here are constantly reporting BMEs at SS. Obviously, that will normally be the case for newbies, for a certain amount of time, but some aren't newbies.

I think I said this in another thread that it sometimes sounds like people are describing some alien world when they describe their earnings.

I did note that with interest, as your statement matches the exerience of the very few people I know personally who sell there. But they have very localised ports and no models, which probably makes a big difference.


 

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