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Author Topic: SS continues to deteriorate  (Read 6226 times)

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Shelma1

« on: August 29, 2019, 10:14 »
+4
My apologies if this article has been posted previously.

The company reported anemic revenue growth figures, and revenue growth deceleration is becoming a major problem.
Enterprise revenue growth has fallen off a cliff and actually shrunk this quarter after being a prior source of optimism.
The $1.2B company has $260M in cash, but the business is struggling.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4288413-shutterstock-continues-deteriorate


« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2019, 10:38 »
+12
 it's to late for Similar Content Policy dear Shutterstock. You have been years behind

« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2019, 15:07 »
+4
I hadn't seen that and was curious about who the writer was (as in whether they had any particular ax to grind). I think that SeekingAlpha offers bloggers on financial topics a platform for their articles, so this doesn't represent a consensus of analyst views on SS but just this guy's take. His description of himself (no name)

"Long-term focus, with some exceptions. Professional experience in health care, enterprise technology, media. I'm a self-taught investor. I started investing my own money in 2010 and have outperformed the S&P 500 by an average of 5% per year since then. Other individual investors have done far better. My biggest mistakes aren't any major dogs, but passing on big-name winners like Apple, Google, Priceline, others. "

I don't disagree with what he's saying, but he doesn't appear to have many followers. Here's a link to Seeking Alpha's guide to using blogs to increase your subscribers (I didn't bother to figure out what their "Marketplace" is or how much subscribers pay)

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4156779-marketplace-success-tips-best-practices-using-blog-posts

SSTK closed at $35.79 today, so apparently the blogger's negative views didn't tank the stock price :)

« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2019, 07:21 »
+4
So, here are my two cents about what is SS doing. It's my own interpretation from what I have seen, the evidence is, of course, hard to find, but it may be close to the reality, way more than all the radical statements I have seen here.

Basically, they started something like two years ago now a war on portfolio size, that was quickly followed by most of the main stock agencies.

Why so? Competing: with other microstock websites of course, but also with free websites. By doing so, their goal was to get as much content as possible to become kind of universal. You have any request? We have the solution, unlike IS, DT, etc. or unlike Pixabay.

The second part of the plan, I guess, was to setup an algorithm that could exclude, almost immediately, all the rubbish. That could explain why they have made that many changes to the algorithm, at least till the end of 2018. I got the feeling it became less radical after.

The results? Well, they are a bit complicated to see for the moment. As far as I remember, the last results were showing a 30% increase of the portfolio for a 3% increase of the revenue.

That being said, on the long term run, the strategy is not that stupid, the only issue will be for SS, eventually, to get rid of all the "rubbish" content that is pretty costly in terms of server space while not generating anything. It's as well a good opportunity to get rid of a part of the reviewing process that has been handled by completely incompetent people. An example: I tried recently to resubmit files that were rejected in 2015 for their quality, big surprise: not only they got accepted, but even more, they are among my best performers this year. Conclusion: the heavy process that was existing in 2015 was not only a pain in the ass for me, but as well for SS, given they had to pay the guys, and they lost some sales opportunities.

Then, why didn't it work, at least not for the moment? At the contrary of most of the people here, I don't think it's because of similar content. All the agencies now are accepting similar content! I recently uploaded by mistake the same batch twice, it got accepted everywhere... except Bigstock that flagged a few pictures as similar. Yes, even Adobe didn't see anything. So, judging by the differences of financial results from all the agencies, there is something else.

To me, that something else is pretty clear: if Shutterstock is failing, it's because there is a heavy competition in the agencies' world. If we look at the market, in fact, there hasn't been a lot of agencies that closed down/got bought over the past years, meaning there are still heavy fights on the market.

The future? Well, it's hard to say. It seems SS is trying to revert their acceptance strategy. It may be a good thing about similar content, but I got as well the feeling they became again completely stupid on other issues, especially for the commercial licenses (like the infamous "Focus: The main subject of this image is not in focus." for panoramas that were completely sharp).

About the big picture, the global financial situation will have an impact, if the recession gets confirmed. In the microstock market, there will be casualties. Either some major platforms will simply shut down (my forecast: 123RF will be among the first) or will be bought and merged by other platforms (my forecast: DT will be bought, even though I wouldn't be surprised if Getty were to sell IS).

So, SS, in this game, is definitely not on the verge of collapsing. That being said, fewer agencies may not be such good news for the contributors, as there will be less bargain power facing platforms that will be in an almost monopolistic situation.

« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2019, 11:33 »
+1
Since I have read things like this in this forum, ........ If you do not know English well, do not use irony..... or in my comments, recommend that you do not use the google translator, because my intention to participate in this forum is not valued,...... I decided to leave the comments for the usual four others and simply read, as 99% of the users of this forum do.


That said, I entered here probably the last time, because I liked your approach. I simply want to add, that today, it is more expensive for the websites to delete the files. The price of keeping them in the server is null for the storage capacity of these days. Deleting files is laborious and costs money.

« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2019, 13:13 »
+3
Since I have read things like this in this forum, ........ If you do not know English well, do not use irony..... or in my comments, recommend that you do not use the google translator, because my intention to participate in this forum is not valued,...... I decided to leave the comments for the usual four others and simply read, as 99% of the users of this forum do.


That said, I entered here probably the last time, because I liked your approach. I simply want to add, that today, it is more expensive for the websites to delete the files. The price of keeping them in the server is null for the storage capacity of these days. Deleting files is laborious and costs money.

Deleting files could be fast and easy if they simply delete unsold files after ___ years. 

« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2019, 13:44 »
0
Since I have read things like this in this forum, ........ If you do not know English well, do not use irony..... or in my comments, recommend that you do not use the google translator, because my intention to participate in this forum is not valued,...... I decided to leave the comments for the usual four others and simply read, as 99% of the users of this forum do.


That said, I entered here probably the last time, because I liked your approach. I simply want to add, that today, it is more expensive for the websites to delete the files. The price of keeping them in the server is null for the storage capacity of these days. Deleting files is laborious and costs money.

Deleting files could be fast and easy if they simply delete unsold files after ___ years. 

Isn't that something Dreamstime tried a few years ago? They dropped that approach so I assume it didn't work.

« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2019, 13:54 »
+1
Why should they delete products that payed people to curate and stored for a long time? Further why should upset people that spend time to shoot, upload keyowrk and list them?

Bulk sales, lowest prices and resolutions seems a better idea. Guess this already happened?
After all, deleting all unsold would actually reduce marketplaces to a big reset point.


« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2019, 13:56 »
+6
Regarding Dreamstime:  That's because most their files never sell these days.  They were also using the unsold - delete ploy to get people to donate to their "free" section.   

« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2019, 14:01 »
+2
Why should they delete products that payed people to curate and stored for a long time? Further why should upset people that spend time to shoot, upload keyowrk and list them?

Bulk sales, lowest prices and resolutions seems a better idea. Guess this already happened?
After all, deleting all unsold would actually reduce marketplaces to a big reset point.

Why.. to get rid of insanely redundant low quality material that frustrates buyers.  If it hasn't sold in 10 years I say trash it.

« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2019, 14:05 »
0
By the technical or artistic side, you are totally correct @trek

But an agency is a company, accountants that counts products and assets. And they love to see and show numbers grow. Perhaps i am wrong though

:)

« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2019, 14:07 »
+3
By the technical or artistic side, you are totally correct @trek

But an agency is a company, accountants that counts products and assets. And they love to see and show numbers grow. Perhaps i am wrong though

:)

I think your right.  I think they want to brag about a billion image library (even if it's half crap).

« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2019, 15:05 »
0
This is bad new... SS was my first company for long time, i hope they can recovery soon

« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2019, 15:41 »
+1
Seven years ago, many high quality images were not sold. Today, high quality images are not sold. Quality is a subjective concept in this business. Some blogs highlighted the image rather than the article and its owner is clear about what an image that accompanies an article or an image that cancels the article means.

Garbage for some, heritage for companies, that will sell the images of 2019 with a 100% benefit in a few years. Fashion, market analysis, historical or documentary photos as archival assets that were uploaded in 2019 in the future. A city with the changed profile, the costumes of the models, everything is saleable in the future.


I do not recommend deleting images from your portfolios that you have not sold. In addition, it helps to highlight other images.

Adobe believes that all its users are professionals with professional photography programs, maybe they should update their requirements. Similar concepts in a vertical and horizontal image, I do not think it is appropriate. But each agency has its interests and they study every point of their business and my ideas may not be their idea.


Therefore, it is simply the current market. When pirates steal the images of today in two hours and upload them to all agencies in two hours in 100 pirate accounts, it will be a problem greater than the amount of images hosted on a server, patrimony of each agency.

Not only does it not cost them money to store images, but it took their money and time to get them.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2019, 21:10 »
+2
Why should they delete products that payed people to curate and stored for a long time? Further why should upset people that spend time to shoot, upload keyowrk and list them?

Bulk sales, lowest prices and resolutions seems a better idea. Guess this already happened?
After all, deleting all unsold would actually reduce marketplaces to a big reset point.

Why.. to get rid of insanely redundant low quality material that frustrates buyers.  If it hasn't sold in 10 years I say trash it.

Not going to say I really want or believe this, but why not get rid of artists with poor collections, loads of redundant poor selling images and spammed up keywords? Lets say, people who don't make many sales and are just taking up space with poor images that will never sell. Asking because at what point does the remove someone else's work, come down to remove someone else, and maybe remove someone who's here and cares?

« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2019, 01:18 »
+2
Why should they delete products that payed people to curate and stored for a long time? Further why should upset people that spend time to shoot, upload keyowrk and list them?

Bulk sales, lowest prices and resolutions seems a better idea. Guess this already happened?
After all, deleting all unsold would actually reduce marketplaces to a big reset point.

Why.. to get rid of insanely redundant low quality material that frustrates buyers.  If it hasn't sold in 10 years I say trash it.

Not going to say I really want or believe this, but why not get rid of artists with poor collections, loads of redundant poor selling images and spammed up keywords? Lets say, people who don't make many sales and are just taking up space with poor images that will never sell. Asking because at what point does the remove someone else's work, come down to remove someone else, and maybe remove someone who's here and cares?
The problem would be would they remove the "right" people. We already know how inconsistent their reviewing is.

« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2019, 02:59 »
+1
If I got it right "most" people start by uploading poor quality or common themed items and start to grow or get better / more relevant / picky

If I was asked / had to delete half of current port, it would be the half first with minor exclucions.

Actually.... first 3/4 of it...

let's make it 9/10 to be more accurate...

:P

Jokes aside, whatever I "think" as good or curators tend to rate as better than most of my items is never sold until today.

Quote
Therefore, it is simply the current market. When pirates steal the images of today in two hours and upload them to all agencies in two hours in 100 pirate accounts, it will be a problem greater than the amount of images hosted on a server, patrimony of each agency.

Going offtopic, as long as this is SS thread, it would be interesting, how P5 will react to hosting originals that are stolen and listed in other or even free sites as long as they will have to "match" prices.

???

« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 03:05 by georgep7 »


« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2019, 03:34 »
+3
If I got it right "most" people start by uploading poor quality or common themed items and start to grow or get better / more relevant / picky

If I was asked / had to delete half of current port, it would be the half first with minor exclucions.

Actually.... first 3/4 of it...

let's make it 9/10 to be more accurate...

:P

Jokes aside, whatever I "think" as good or curators tend to rate as better than most of my items is never sold until today.

Quote
Therefore, it is simply the current market. When pirates steal the images of today in two hours and upload them to all agencies in two hours in 100 pirate accounts, it will be a problem greater than the amount of images hosted on a server, patrimony of each agency.

Going offtopic, as long as this is SS thread, it would be interesting, how P5 will react to hosting originals that are stolen and listed in other or even free sites as long as they will have to "match" prices.

???
Oddly though I am selling more images from 6-7 years back for the first time than new content. tbh my standards have slipped from the days where 40-50% rejections from shutterstock was fairly common.

« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2019, 07:12 »
+2
Im thinking overall the quality of what i upload to SS now is lower than several years ago.

Years ago they had proper technical checks, standards and stopped similars.  Since they axed that i've been far less selective and uploaded images i previously wouldn't have purely because they made it a numbers game just to be seen.
The stuff is in my view acceptable (technically its fine) but overall the quality on average is lower than previously where i only uploaded a few of the best from a particular shoot.

*Hopefully* they'll go back to stopping similar and applying technical standards consistently then i can do less work uploading!

I think last time anyone from SS commented they said 90% of images on the database have never sold.  That was a few years ago, i suspect that is higher now.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 07:14 by gnirtS »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2019, 22:00 »
+2
Why should they delete products that payed people to curate and stored for a long time? Further why should upset people that spend time to shoot, upload keyowrk and list them?

Bulk sales, lowest prices and resolutions seems a better idea. Guess this already happened?
After all, deleting all unsold would actually reduce marketplaces to a big reset point.

Why.. to get rid of insanely redundant low quality material that frustrates buyers.  If it hasn't sold in 10 years I say trash it.

Not going to say I really want or believe this, but why not get rid of artists with poor collections, loads of redundant poor selling images and spammed up keywords? Lets say, people who don't make many sales and are just taking up space with poor images that will never sell. Asking because at what point does the remove someone else's work, come down to remove someone else, and maybe remove someone who's here and cares?
The problem would be would they remove the "right" people. We already know how inconsistent their reviewing is.

Thank you for understand the bottom line. Who decides which of us is allowed to stay or who is removed. If the reviews are so terribly inconsistent, who would decide which images stay and what's removed? Who decides what's relevant or who should be allowed to upload?

The mistake was lowering standards, building numbers for the sake of "we have more images". I don't think there's a way to reverse the past, but there is a way to build for the future. That would be, image standards, selective content and quality over volume.

Or just keep going the same direction, let the buyers decide and accept with soft review. I still don't know how this new hard line on similar images is going to turn out. Right now there has been an over compensation.

Along the lines of the other opinions and history, my best selling are from the early years, most of the time. A couple are from after the standards changed, when I uploaded previous rejections that I thought had potential. Some have sold, some the reviews were right.

Do we want to let the buyers decide, or let the reviewers decide what the buyers will see? If one chooses to trust the reviews, then there's no way to complain when we disagree. If we want the buyers to have the final decision, then we can't complain so much about Crapstock that doesn't get filtered.

Personally I think the agency, whatever one wishes to step up, should set their own quality and subject standards and stick with that. But then again, we see a fear of failure, where agencies try to please everyone and allow too many sub-standard subjects and marginal quality.
 

« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2019, 03:35 »
+2
Whatever contributors think the key to this industry is satisfying buyers. If an agency can actually achieve a step change in search quality putting relevant high quality images in front of buyers consistently  they will "win". Some claim to with their AI enhanced search engines...I just don't believe that. The cost of quality control to achieve this at microstock prices is prohibitive I think.

« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2019, 04:47 »
+1
super slow strato month....you cannot build a business if they ad one million crap images every weeks. it's clear. offer is hundreds times more than demand. is a normal economic consideration. sure you cannot work 24 to struggle and keep a minimum acceptable earning.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2019, 10:03 »
+1
Whatever contributors think the key to this industry is satisfying buyers. If an agency can actually achieve a step change in search quality putting relevant high quality images in front of buyers consistently  they will "win". Some claim to with their AI enhanced search engines...I just don't believe that. The cost of quality control to achieve this at microstock prices is prohibitive I think.

That hits the target. Also as far as we've seen, the AI is "still learning", AKA a failure and pretty much a hardy laugh.

The offshore reviews or contracted or whatever they are doing, is also a failure. Inconsistent rejections for minor technical issues, or completely wrong interpretations, while images that never should have passed were being accepted in the thousands. Also what appears to be a weak attempt to curb theft or spam. So now we get the whiplash effect of over regulation so stringent that legitimate variations are being rejected.

Once the investors spotted the issues with duplicates, spam and theft, the crap hit the wall. And that's where we are currently, over reaction, instead of thoughtful moderation and adjustments.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2019, 10:12 »
+6
The following makes for depressing reading...but as always, there's light at the end of the tunnel....

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2019/09/03/declining-earnings-in-microstock-veterans-pov/


« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2019, 10:35 »
+8
The following makes for depressing reading...but as always, there's light at the end of the tunnel....

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2019/09/03/declining-earnings-in-microstock-veterans-pov/

I'd hate to burst your bubble... you say in your article "you have to face the fact that the good old days are long gone by at least 3-5 years, maybe even longer" and as an industry veteran I can say "maybe even longer", the slide really began circa 2007 for the industry as a whole. The industry shift to microstock was the warning shot across the bow. It's a sad day when you have to sell 30 photos at Adobe or SS or IS and even GI just to pay for your monthly Cloud Subscription and note that is before taxes.



 

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