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Author Topic: SS grace period of 6 months  (Read 11105 times)

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« on: October 08, 2016, 13:22 »
+6
Hi all,

Some people claim that SS gives something like a grace period of couple of months (6?) to new contributors by making their pictures sell no matter what, with good numbers. So as to create an illusion of extremely easy and profitable business with them. I kind of didn't believe this and still have some reservations as to this theory, however, my own statistics of 1.5 years' experience with SS basically supports this claim:


(greyed area - uploads, red line - downloads, blue boxes - revenue)

As you can see, my upload rate was always quite stable, without much interruptions. Basically, in these 1.5 years my port increased almost 600%, and while the very first 6 months my revenue increase rate followed uploads, as of 7th month everything just fell to the levels of the first 4th-5th months where it stays until nowadays, no matter how many material I upload.

Of course, there's always the fact of insane increase of their library (almost 1 million per week!) which dillutes everything, but back in mid-2015 their library was also increasing significantly each month (300K-500K per week?).

From the very beginning SS was my Top-1 earner, hence all the motivation. But it's clearly loosing steam very quickly, and the problem is that none of other agencies can make up this loss (even Fotolia's recent increases are still a matter of statistics, not a real substitute to SS).

Oh, and my only 4 or 5 ELs so far sold with SS were made in those first 6 months...Not a single EL since then (i'm still opted in).

Some food for thought.


« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2016, 13:47 »
+3
My experience with SS is also 1,5 years old. I'm uploading as slow as possible (had about 100 photos online after the first 3 months and now just over 400), but overall my income still grows (slowly and September not to count) ;) So I wouldn't really stick with the grace period theory. Not sure why your numbers are stuck at the same level :(

« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2016, 14:17 »
+1
Thanks, Lana. Neither am I sure as to why. Although I'm not yet ready to share my port here for any evaluation, I'm confident it's a good quality port, sufficiently diversified as to the subjects provided, and as large now (1000+) as to return at least as much as I did in my 6th month which is still my best so far (November 2015). I'm just puzzled and not sure whether and how to continue enlarging my port at SS.

« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2016, 15:10 »
0
Are you contributing to other agencies? Do your Fotolia sales grow?

Why don't you look for critique directly at SS forum if you don't want to share your work here? The truth is out there ;D

Shelma1

« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2016, 15:14 »
+2
Grace period, definitely. When I was new there a few years ago I was very excited by my instant sales. My port took a few years longer than yours to even out, but this year my income there is dropping rather than growing, despite adding new images regularly. And I see newbie stuff selling over mine all the time. If you look at most popular you'll usually see a bunch of newbie images clumped together on page 1 along with the cream that's risen to the top. ;)

« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2016, 15:21 »
+4
Well, they lowered the payout threshold for a reason.
Looking long term more and more contributers will experience a downward decline in earnings as the library balloons and the number of contributers continues to increase. Look at long tome contributers that were , not making a living, but were pulling in severeal hundred $a month easy peasy. Their earnings have been drastically reduced and will stagnat at best or continue slowly downwards.
This is the reality of this business, and confributers are the losers/su kers here.

« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2016, 16:34 »
0
Are you contributing to other agencies? Do your Fotolia sales grow?

Fotolia. Yes, I do. As noted in my original post, FT does indeed pick up slowly in recent weeks (see the projection for October in last bar on the graph below), but overall it has a similar trend with SS, peaking in Feb-Apr 2016 and then stagnating suspiciously ever since (I had almost identical number of downloads in four consecutive months this year, isn't it abnormal with increasing port?). It's still roughly 50% of what SS generates for me. In other words, with stagnant SS and very slowly increasing FT, I don't feel the right feedback from what and how I upload. But that's not the point of my original post. It's about the anomaly in sales/revenue of SS.



Why don't you look for critique directly at SS forum if you don't want to share your work here? The truth is out there ;D

As far as critique of my port is concerned, that's not my objective now, as I'm more or less confident in quality and content of my port by comparing it with others'. Same goes for keywording as it's done very precisely and targeted (no spam, no irrelevant words, etc.)

My only guess is that SS is stagnant in my case despite constantly increasing port is due to a combination of (potentially) sweeter conditions for newbies + insanely increasing library of the agency.

« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2016, 17:11 »
+2
Are you contributing to other agencies? Do your Fotolia sales grow?

Fotolia. Yes, I do. As noted in my original post, FT does indeed pick up slowly in recent weeks (see the projection for October in last bar on the graph below), but overall it has a similar trend with SS, peaking in Feb-Apr 2016 and then stagnating suspiciously ever since (I had almost identical number of downloads in four consecutive months this year, isn't it abnormal with increasing port?). It's still roughly 50% of what SS generates for me. In other words, with stagnant SS and very slowly increasing FT, I don't feel the right feedback from what and how I upload. But that's not the point of my original post. It's about the anomaly in sales/revenue of SS.



Why don't you look for critique directly at SS forum if you don't want to share your work here? The truth is out there ;D

As far as critique of my port is concerned, that's not my objective now, as I'm more or less confident in quality and content of my port by comparing it with others'. Same goes for keywording as it's done very precisely and targeted (no spam, no irrelevant words, etc.)

My only guess is that SS is stagnant in my case despite constantly increasing port is due to a combination of (potentially) sweeter conditions for newbies + insanely increasing library of the agency.

So, given that you have sales with multiple agencies showing the same pattern I'd suggest that it actually supports the idea that there isn't a grace period with Shutterstock.

What is more likely IMHO is a combination of a massive increase in available images combined with an industry wide stagnation or decrease in demand for those images.

Simple supply and demand. No need for agency manipulation of your sales required.

« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2016, 17:17 »
+2
From my experience, I don't see any grace period. I've anticipated it after 6 months, but nothing changed. I've been at SS for close to 2 years now and sales hasn't decreased. Not every image is going to sell and images that do sell need to gain momentum quickly or they will start falling down the search results.

Every portfolio is different obviously. I know you're not ready to share your portfolio, but it was easily found on Google, so you might as well share it. You have a lot of travel photography, which is one of the most difficult segments to compete in.

« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2016, 03:01 »
0
Maybe its interesting to speculate though in the end there's not much you can do about it except decide whether its worth your time to upload. My belief is that search algoritms are changing more than in the past so I cling onto the hope they will swing in my favour. All I can do is strive to continually improve my work and upload to the places I think I will maximise returns

gyllens

« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2016, 03:41 »
+3
Grace period? selling no matter what?  funny I've never heard about that. The only way they could try to make that happen is of course to give preference in search to new members content and thereby demoting pushing back old members established files.
Well if this is true its a pretty nasty way of treating older members since its bound to have a direct slope on their earnings.

I hardly ever go to the SS forum but I remember its been lots of posts from long time members regarding falling sales and apparently for no reason at all and this could explain quite a bit of it.

« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2016, 10:44 »
+1
unfortunately, it looks like only images with spamming titles are popular now.

not quality, diversity or anything like that.

this is number 1 problem on shutterstock and they need to solve it as quickly as possible.


« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2016, 10:46 »
+1
Hi all,

Some people claim that SS gives something like a grace period of couple of months (6?) to new contributors by making their pictures sell no matter what, with good numbers. So as to create an illusion of extremely easy and profitable business with them. I kind of didn't believe this and still have some reservations as to this theory, however, my own statistics of 1.5 years' experience with SS basically supports this claim:


(greyed area - uploads, red line - downloads, blue boxes - revenue)

As you can see, my upload rate was always quite stable, without much interruptions. Basically, in these 1.5 years my port increased almost 600%, and while the very first 6 months my revenue increase rate followed uploads, as of 7th month everything just fell to the levels of the first 4th-5th months where it stays until nowadays, no matter how many material I upload.

Of course, there's always the fact of insane increase of their library (almost 1 million per week!) which dillutes everything, but back in mid-2015 their library was also increasing significantly each month (300K-500K per week?).

From the very beginning SS was my Top-1 earner, hence all the motivation. But it's clearly loosing steam very quickly, and the problem is that none of other agencies can make up this loss (even Fotolia's recent increases are still a matter of statistics, not a real substitute to SS).

Oh, and my only 4 or 5 ELs so far sold with SS were made in those first 6 months...Not a single EL since then (i'm still opted in).

Some food for thought.

Thanks for posting this because I was thinking about slowing down uploading to SS as well.

 Grace period of course.
I have a Referred Contributor for a couple of months now. Of course he has a much smaller port than I have. As the number of images he sold are mirrored on my earnings page I can see what's happening.

Interestingly there is an repeated up and down. I will say that days when I sell fewer images than average he sells quite well and days when i sell quite well he sells a bit less.

Nevertheless over the entire period I can see the number of  images sold are not proportial to the port size. I will say that the number of images the referred contributor sells in relation to his port size is much larger than what I sell now.


gyllens

« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2016, 12:23 »
+1
Well Nica its just pointless uploading anything if it goes down the pockets of new recruits and spammers. I have also noticed extremely bad keywording but this "grace period" actually explain lots of weird happenings such as very good takings one day and the next down to bread lines? and that way they would of course nurse the 0.25 members instead of 0.38 saving enormous royalty. Very nice!

« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2016, 13:32 »
+6
I don't think there's a conspiracy. New images will have a better position in the search and as time goes by they will tend to sink, displaced by newer material.
Also, look at the maths: If you upload 50 images a week, then in the second week you double what you had in the first week, and your income doubles, in the third week you add another 50 and your portfolio grows by a third, along with your earnings. by the 25th week, adding 50 more images only increases your portfolio by 4% - and at the same time your early images are starting to fade down the search. So you hit a plateau, where adding more images at a steady rate doesn't have much impact on your overall portfolio size and the time-benefit of new images is countered by the fall in search ranking of the earliest images.
The plateau effect is noticeable on SS because they have quite a rapid rate of sales, but we used to see the same thing happening on iStock and DT in the days when they were doing better for individual contributors.
So it's all a perfectly natural mathematical effect, no "grace period" involved.

« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2016, 13:38 »
0
That^ what he said

« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2016, 14:17 »
+1
baldrick is spot on. but by all means people stop uploading. better for me


« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2016, 14:35 »
0
Also, look at the maths: If you upload 50 images a week, then in the second week you double what you had in the first week, and your income doubles, in the third week you add another 50 and your portfolio grows by a third, along with your earnings. by the 25th week, adding 50 more images only increases your portfolio by 4% - and at the same time your early images are starting to fade down the search. So you hit a plateau, where adding more images at a steady rate doesn't have much impact on your overall portfolio size and the time-benefit of new images is countered by the fall in search ranking of the earliest images.

Very interesting, thanks for this explanation.

However, I'm still a bit suspicious about the fact that this math hits plateau exactly at 25th weeks point (6 months), and in such a drastic way (in my example at least). Besides, your math theory fits only the revenue part of my sales, but not the download number. In fact, if you look on the graph below (same as original, but without uploads, to better feel the revenue/downloads scale), except for an unusual spike in Oct 2015, my downloads (red line) gradually rose for another 6 months (or 12 months of growth in total) as I kept regularly uploading, while the revenue hit "plateau" just in the middle of this period (except for marginally increasing post-March after being upgraded to the next tier):



Normally, following your explanation, I would expect a drop in downloads number as well if the older stuff gets faded and lost in search.

All in all, if true, then I should normally just stop uploading now and just get whatever SS has for me until the point when sales completely stop due to the whole port sinking in the search. And, the only way to maintain your sales and/or increase them (apart from producing highly exclusive and original material - which is not everybody can do) is to keep uploading many many more assets to keep up with the fading rate of older stuff (and ever increasing overall library of SS)?

« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 14:38 by beketoff »

Shelma1

« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2016, 14:45 »
+1
I agree that a port will eventually plateau, but I also believe SS promotes new contributors' work over older contributors'. Just a glance at a most popular search in a category will show a bunch of images from one series of one contributor on page 1 of the search, and the contributor in question will be new. I think they do it to encourage people to stick around and keep uploading. We all benefit from it at the beginning. I see it in my own port...old work uploaded when I was new sold immediately, became popular and still sells today, while recent work (though better than the old work, in my opinion) goes nowhere. So in addition to the relative slowdown of portfolio growth over time, you also suffer from the newer people's work being promoted, as yours was when you first joined. (I see it on Fotolia, too. I'm "new" there, and my new work is selling there but going nowhere on SS, where I'm "old.")

gyllens

« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2016, 14:47 »
0
I don't think there's a conspiracy. New images will have a better position in the search and as time goes by they will tend to sink, displaced by newer material.
Also, look at the maths: If you upload 50 images a week, then in the second week you double what you had in the first week, and your income doubles, in the third week you add another 50 and your portfolio grows by a third, along with your earnings. by the 25th week, adding 50 more images only increases your portfolio by 4% - and at the same time your early images are starting to fade down the search. So you hit a plateau, where adding more images at a steady rate doesn't have much impact on your overall portfolio size and the time-benefit of new images is countered by the fall in search ranking of the earliest images.
The plateau effect is noticeable on SS because they have quite a rapid rate of sales, but we used to see the same thing happening on iStock and DT in the days when they were doing better for individual contributors.
So it's all a perfectly natural mathematical effect, no "grace period" involved.

No there is no conspiracy but your maths only work if your fresh uploads gain immediate exposure. As it is now and I agree with many contributors that new files are not getting any exposure at all never mind sales.
Oh well we have to wait and see. I keep seeing sales of eleven year old pictures. Gosh! theyre not even good.

Shelma1

« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2016, 15:22 »
+3
...and as I'm working in one particular area, I check to see most popular for this search term, and page one has completely changed since an hour ago...it now features FIFTY images from one new contributor...fully half the popular images on page one were forced off the page by this flood of one new contributor's images. Incredible.

Edited to add: I checked through page 12 of most popular, and every page is dominated by this one contributor's images, all uploaded and approved today, even though most have nothing to do with the search term in question. After page 12 I gave up looking because it was too depressing. Some "real" page one results have now been pushed back to page 12 and worse.

Edited again to add: Not knowing these search terms would be flooded with hundreds of images today, I'd submitted three this afternoon. Just to see if my stuff would also show up on page 1 of most popular (which would mean things aren't weighted towards new contributors, but everyone gets on page 1 at first) I checked again. Sure enough, the new contributor's images still almost filled the first pages. I gave up looking for my new images when I got to page 30...after thousands of images that had no relevance to the search terms. I tried adding one more term that would narrow the results significantly, and there it was...so it's searchable. Just completely buried.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 18:46 by Shelma1 »

« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2016, 16:01 »
+3
Looking for patterns or making assumptions based on a sample size of 1 is beyond useless and borderline insane...

Get 50-100 portfolios that show this exact same phenomenon (and not stretched to 8 months, 7, 9) and then we're talking...

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2016, 22:55 »
+1
Is it just me that's seeing something completely different when looking at that chart? I'm not seeing a suspicious drop from one month to the next, I'm seeing a gradual month on month increase that just happens to have two months where you got lucky.

I mean if the grace period is intended to provide sales that make people want to stay and upload more stuff... why did they wait until months 5 and 6 to start giving you some decent sales?

« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2016, 01:30 »
0
Is it just me that's seeing something completely different when looking at that chart? I'm not seeing a suspicious drop from one month to the next, I'm seeing a gradual month on month increase that just happens to have two months where you got lucky.

I mean if the grace period is intended to provide sales that make people want to stay and upload more stuff... why did they wait until months 5 and 6 to start giving you some decent sales?

The gradual increase you're talking about indeed take place with regard to the downloads number over the period of the first 12 months, along with increase of my port, which I pointed out to appear contradictory to the "plateau" effect mentioned here. And even then this downloads increase peaked out in May and until this day is in a free fall.

The decent sales in terms of revenue you mention took place exactly within the first 6 months, so perfectly fine with the assumption. The subsequent revenue growth is flat at best if you average it over the period less the two spikes at the very beginning; besides, two or three high revenue bars which are on par with the 4th and 5th months are, in my opinion, greatly due to the significantly larger port by that time and perhaps very busy months for the industry overall.

Anyway, I think it's hard to ignore the fact, at least based on my example, that there's something artificial in the SS's system, and the usual business rule whereby the harder you work (=the more frequently you upload quality material) the more you earn, doesn't seem to be working anymore.


SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2016, 01:39 »
+5
Ignore the fact that one person has a reasonably steady growth in sales (with a couple of spikes) while consistently uploading more content? How on Earth does that indicate artificial sales? As for the more you upload the more you earn... that's what's happening in your chart. You've been uploading plenty of stuff and your sales have been steadily growing. The only exceptions are recently where you've been uploading less than you normally do... or at least your downloads are levelling out.

I'm with increasingdifficulty... people see far too many patterns that don't really mean anything. Correlation not causation is one thing, but seeing a correlation in one person's figures and determining that there's something crazy going on on a site-wide basis... is entirely different. 

« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2016, 02:49 »
+4
Ignore the fact that one person has a reasonably steady growth in sales (with a couple of spikes) while consistently uploading more content? How on Earth does that indicate artificial sales? As for the more you upload the more you earn... that's what's happening in your chart. You've been uploading plenty of stuff and your sales have been steadily growing. The only exceptions are recently where you've been uploading less than you normally do... or at least your downloads are levelling out.

I'm with increasingdifficulty... people see far too many patterns that don't really mean anything. Correlation not causation is one thing, but seeing a correlation in one person's figures and determining that there's something crazy going on on a site-wide basis... is entirely different.
I blame Bill Gates people discover they can generate some nice graphs and use some statistical functions on Excel and they think they are statisticans

gyllens

« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2016, 03:03 »
+1
Ignore the fact that one person has a reasonably steady growth in sales (with a couple of spikes) while consistently uploading more content? How on Earth does that indicate artificial sales? As for the more you upload the more you earn... that's what's happening in your chart. You've been uploading plenty of stuff and your sales have been steadily growing. The only exceptions are recently where you've been uploading less than you normally do... or at least your downloads are levelling out.

I'm with increasingdifficulty... people see far too many patterns that don't really mean anything. Correlation not causation is one thing, but seeing a correlation in one person's figures and determining that there's something crazy going on on a site-wide basis... is entirely different.

There you are. The harder you work and so on. No and it hasn't applied for quite some time now. Shelma-1 observation is spot on! of course they fill up the entire first one or two pages with new members files and they go for 0.25c. I mean fair enough its no conspiracy since its called business but you dont exactly have to be a genius to see whats going on.
Commercial and high quality files are getting burried in such deep waters I doubt they will ever see the light again.


« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2016, 03:13 »
0
pauws, doesnt mean that what they see for their port isnt true, but i agree, to take one result and then assume it is true for everyone is silly

« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2016, 03:19 »
+1
pauws, doesnt mean that what they see for their port isnt true, but i agree, to take one result and then assume it is true for everyone is silly
It may be true but its the extraordinary leaps of faith people are prepared to make based on so little evidence that amazes me. Unfortunately the reliable stats we have about the industry are negligible. What we do know is that the number of images on shutterstock is growing faster than income generated...therefore ON AVERAGE income per image will go down. Some particularly talented people may buck the trend and some will suffer more than others and for every change in the algorithm there will be winners and losers. Whose to say that the previous high incomes were any more "fair" than others getting the sales as presumably buyers only buy files that meet their needs.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 03:37 by Pauws99 »

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2016, 03:47 »
0
pauws, doesnt mean that what they see for their port isnt true, but i agree, to take one result and then assume it is true for everyone is silly

I wrote an amazing reply, but it disappeared for some reason. Still... nobody is arguing with the guy's stats, we have no reason not to believe that they're 100% accurate. But I have to doubt what he's 'seeing' if it's based on anything other than the facts. The facts being that he's had steadily increasing sales with a couple of positive spikes in earnings for two months in a row. I'm not seeing any evidence of artificial sales, some giant conspiracy from the inner sanctums of the Shutterstock continuum, or anything even slightly dodgy.

It would be more accurate to say that I had lower sales in June as I went scuba diving. I mean... I did go scuba diving and I did have a drop in sales... the statistics don't lie! 

My original reply was better than this one, but this will have to do. I need to get to the chip shop.   

« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2016, 06:57 »
+1
Well, some of the comments become quite personalized here, questioning even the validity of my reading of my own stats or my assumptions, so I won't engage into this kind of debate. I just want to point out that my original post was a mere assumption and a call for discussion, rather than anything else.

And secondly, I think it's difficult to argue against the fact some people raised here that new contributors' material is placed on top of the search whereas established contributors very often (if not always?) get buried among dozens or hundreds of pages. This fact alone may support the idea that earnings/downloads at SS are directly or indirectly regulated by the agency. The question of 6 months or 3 months or 12 months etc. may be irrelevant after all. It's more about how SS wants to (artificially) help one group of contributors at expense of another, rather than precise timing and duration when this happens. "6 months grace period" was just based on reading of my own stats and hearing this on multiple occasions from others on this forum, and may vary from one contributor to another.

« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2016, 07:10 »
+5
No, new contributors aren't placed higher in search, but new IMAGES might be. You either sort by popular, new, or best match.

Unless your images have gained lots of sales so they appear on top when searching for popular they won't be seen after a while since "new" images will be replaced. It's quite natural and straight forward. No mysteries or conspiracies there.

Solutions: create unique images with little competition and you stay "new" longer. Common subjects will be replaced by other authors quite quickly, unless yours are the very best.

Best match means a combination of sales and other hidden algorithms (probably how many purchases were made using that exact keyword search etc.)

With millions of new images coming in, you can't expect anything else. You're not the only author in the ecosystem.

You have to either:

1. Be the best.
2. Be unique.
3. Upload in great numbers every month.

Best to combine all three of course.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 08:28 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2016, 08:11 »
0
Bull. I did not sell anything there for about three months, then it picked up.

« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2016, 10:42 »
+1
"And secondly, I think it's difficult to argue against the fact some people raised here that new contributors' material is placed on top of the search whereas established contributors very often (if not always?) get buried among dozens or hundreds of pages. " Actually its very easy to argue that this is not a fact. I believe it is estimated they have 100,000 contributors this assertion is based on a self selecting sample of say 20 people. To me that's not a level of proof that qualifies as a fact. Whilst an interesting discussion to me the key point is theres nothing you can do about it other than decide you want to continue to submit or not.

gyllens

« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2016, 12:06 »
+3
Well, some of the comments become quite personalized here, questioning even the validity of my reading of my own stats or my assumptions, so I won't engage into this kind of debate. I just want to point out that my original post was a mere assumption and a call for discussion, rather than anything else.

And secondly, I think it's difficult to argue against the fact some people raised here that new contributors' material is placed on top of the search whereas established contributors very often (if not always?) get buried among dozens or hundreds of pages. This fact alone may support the idea that earnings/downloads at SS are directly or indirectly regulated by the agency. The question of 6 months or 3 months or 12 months etc. may be irrelevant after all. It's more about how SS wants to (artificially) help one group of contributors at expense of another, rather than precise timing and duration when this happens. "6 months grace period" was just based on reading of my own stats and hearing this on multiple occasions from others on this forum, and may vary from one contributor to another.


Look I fully agree with you and its no a secret that some agencies help a group at the expense of others. Take dreamstime who basically admit everything has to be fair for ALL members and there is no reward for hard work. SS is basically doing the same and in order to keep new people they will dangle a carrott as a bait. The people here who are trying to find any logic or dismiss this fact are probably low to medium earners with average sized portfolios and are yet to experience this with perhaps a few exceptions.
I speak to " factories" with over 100K files portfolios and they are in the same boat so we are NOT imagining this.

Another thing FT/Adobe no matter what must have some influence on some members. Personally my earnings at FT have trebbled since the merger.

However SS keeps them coming new members with more files. Why? well the more files more equity more assets. Its self explanatory.

« Reply #35 on: October 10, 2016, 13:07 »
+2

......

Anyway, I think it's hard to ignore the fact, at least based on my example, that there's something artificial in the SS's system, and the usual business rule whereby the harder you work (=the more frequently you upload quality material) the more you earn, doesn't seem to be working anymore.

one data point doesn't make a trend much less a targeted effort by SS -- my income from SS shows no plateau, with a small but steady increase over 8 years -- individual months vary greatly but overall trend is up

baldrick's example is really a best case -- it assumes all uploads are of equal quality & demand, that your % of total images available remains  the same, that the market for your niche remains the same, etc, etc

you need to take all these possibilities into account before a conspiracy becomes even remotely credible

« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2016, 13:12 »
+1
everybody should quit ss honestly  8)


« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2016, 15:54 »
+1
Quote
The people here who are trying to find any logic or dismiss this fact are probably low to medium earners with average sized portfolios and are yet to experience this with perhaps a few exceptions.

Well, I've had 127,000 sales, I don't know if that makes me a "low to medium earner" or not. I still think that the mathematics of it provides a reasonable explanation of what happens - and will cause image factories to "see it", too.
Of course, it is possible that there is some slight push included in the search algorithm according to the length of time since a member joined - or even depending on the average age of the images in a portfolio. That shouldn't be hard to program in. But even if there is, so what? It still affects everybody equally, it's not discriminatory, like a rejection I got 10 years ago from iStock with an accompanying note saying the inspector's mate had a similar image and wouldn't like to have mine competing with it.

« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2016, 15:59 »
+2
"The people here who are trying to find any logic or dismiss this fact are probably low to medium earners with average sized portfolios and are yet to experience this with perhaps a few exceptions." Another assumption based on zero evidence

« Reply #39 on: October 10, 2016, 16:29 »
+3
I don't know how anyone can claim something as a fact when it isn't. It's a fact that your sales hasn't grown, but it's not a fact for others.

This isn't the first or second time someone claim there is a conspiracy going on. None of the conspiracy theories had any ounce of truth based on my experience with SS. I've seen consistent growth in the last 2 years, with a sales drop around December and picks back up in January. There is no grace period and there is no favoritism of new content.

You can't just upload and expect sales anymore. It's like every website expect to be ranked in the first page of Google Search for a particular keyword when there are 1 billion websites on the internet. Your titles and keywords are more important than ever when there are so many images on SS. I said this almost 2 years ago and it's even truer today. You must have exceptional metadata to have it discoverable.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 18:57 by Minsc »

« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2016, 02:32 »
0
I don't know how anyone can claim something as a fact when it isn't. It's a fact that your sales hasn't grown, but it's not a fact for others.
This isn't the first or second time someone claim there is a conspiracy going on.

Well, you contradict yourself, by admitting that people have raised this theory before me. If they did that, they had certain grounds for that, be it a math (graph) or just pure intuition based on anything else. So I'm not the only one on here. However, again, I'm not counting how many people are in each camp, just to be clear.

Your titles and keywords are more important than ever when there are so many images on SS. I said this almost 2 years ago and it's even truer today. You must have exceptional metadata to have it discoverable.

What if my titles and keywords, being indeed important, are already exceptional and of high quality? I spend similar time to keyword my assets as to develop them from RAW knowing this, and still the underlying issue of my OP remains there? Your solution to success doesn't appear to be valid. (By the way, the quality of my keywording wasn't that good during the first 6 months, and still my material enjoyed a greater success, nothing like afterwards, with better quality of assets including better and richer metadata. Just in a span of 1.5 years time. Try figure that out.).

« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2016, 02:51 »
+3
If you really believe you are wasting your time the answer is to stop unloading there and find sites that work for you. Those of us who do OK on SS will carry on. I guess the debate will go on...there's pretty much always some theory on here on some kind of sales limitations such as the "cap" on earnings. I would just say no matter how many times something is repeated doesn't make it more or less true.

gyllens

« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2016, 04:10 »
+1
There is NO conspiracy here. its entirely the agencies prerogative to change and wheel and deal whatever they see fit and there will always be negative and positive outcomes. Thats business and we all know that but somewhere one have to start using ones own intelligence based on not just one observation but hundreds of almost identical observations not just here but even in non public private forums run by photographers.
I personally could easily live well on my SS income alone so on that score no complaints here.

Along comes the OP and inform us about a "grace" period and selling no matter what. Well that sounds very much like the "Robin Hood" taxation system in some of the richer countries namely to make the well off pay more tax in order to make the poorer pay less. Fine! I got no problems with that but this is business and I'm afraid in business these morals do not apply. In our business hard work and graft combined with skill and excellence should be encouraged and rewarded not the opposite. If so then something has gone very very wrong. Now surely as photographers you have to agree on this.




lemonyellow

« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2016, 05:51 »
+1
More than a grace period for new contributors, I believe there used to be a grace period for new uploads.

At present, new uploads are not selling in my experience.

But that may change at every moment, since Shutterstock tweak their search results all the time - this is a fact since they officially admit doing.

« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2016, 05:57 »
0
(By the way, the quality of my keywording wasn't that good during the first 6 months, and still my material enjoyed a greater success, nothing like afterwards, with better quality of assets including better and richer metadata. Just in a span of 1.5 years time. Try figure that out.).

What evidence do you have that your keywording is better? Your sales went down. They were up when you had "worse" keywording. Did you use nicer words? "Good" or "Bad" keywording is different on each site and has everything to do with how the search engine works, and entering the mind of a buyer, not how "good" the words are.

« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2016, 13:16 »
+3
Well, you contradict yourself, by admitting that people have raised this theory before me. If they did that, they had certain grounds for that, be it a math (graph) or just pure intuition based on anything else. So I'm not the only one on here. However, again, I'm not counting how many people are in each camp, just to be clear.

What if my titles and keywords, being indeed important, are already exceptional and of high quality? I spend similar time to keyword my assets as to develop them from RAW knowing this, and still the underlying issue of my OP remains there? Your solution to success doesn't appear to be valid. (By the way, the quality of my keywording wasn't that good during the first 6 months, and still my material enjoyed a greater success, nothing like afterwards, with better quality of assets including better and richer metadata. Just in a span of 1.5 years time. Try figure that out.).

People repeating the same thing over and over again doesn't make it true. The flat Earth theory worked wonders for centuries until someone proved it was spherical. I guess the only way to disprove the 6 month grace period theory is with a chart. This is my SS earnings chart for the last 20 months. The only dip was December, which is the slowest month of the year.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 13:23 by Minsc »

« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2016, 12:35 »
+1
I think the thing is simpler. The demand of similar images does not grow as fast as SS's database, so that the payouts are distributed to more and more contributors.


« Reply #47 on: October 28, 2016, 02:54 »
+3
Although not strictly about the original topic, but 4 days to go still in October, and I'm pretty shocked with the drop in sales at SS this month: -45%.



The lowest results in 14 months, the largest drop in almost 2 years, without any logic behind the drop. And that's during supposedly the busiest month of the year?! Following this trend, November and December will be even more dreadful, taking into account the looming never-ending holidays and vacations.

Loosing faith in this model faster than I thought.

gyllens

« Reply #48 on: October 28, 2016, 03:49 »
0
Although not strictly about the original topic, but 4 days to go still in October, and I'm pretty shocked with the drop in sales at SS this month: -45%.



The lowest results in 14 months, the largest drop in almost 2 years, without any logic behind the drop. And that's during supposedly the busiest month of the year?! Following this trend, November and December will be even more dreadful, taking into account the looming never-ending holidays and vacations.

Loosing faith in this model faster than I thought.



Well looking for any logic in this business is like looking for logic in the spinning of a roulette wheel. Zip!. For all we know it could be that SS inspite of all reports are losing buyers? which is actually the worst that could happen. Too many files 100 million too long time for buyers to find what they want? who knows?

« Reply #49 on: October 28, 2016, 05:20 »
+1
Unless a miracle happens, I am looking at down about 30% on last October.
:(

« Reply #50 on: October 28, 2016, 11:33 »
+2
everybody should quit ss honestly  8)

Except us.  ;)

« Reply #51 on: October 28, 2016, 17:19 »
0
Back to drawing conclusions from some people's experience sales go down sales go up algorithms change luck happens FWIW my sales are up on last October.

« Reply #52 on: October 28, 2016, 18:48 »
+3
Well, you contradict yourself, by admitting that people have raised this theory before me. If they did that, they had certain grounds for that, be it a math (graph) or just pure intuition based on anything else. So I'm not the only one on here. However, again, I'm not counting how many people are in each camp, just to be clear.

What if my titles and keywords, being indeed important, are already exceptional and of high quality? I spend similar time to keyword my assets as to develop them from RAW knowing this, and still the underlying issue of my OP remains there? Your solution to success doesn't appear to be valid. (By the way, the quality of my keywording wasn't that good during the first 6 months, and still my material enjoyed a greater success, nothing like afterwards, with better quality of assets including better and richer metadata. Just in a span of 1.5 years time. Try figure that out.).

People repeating the same thing over and over again doesn't make it true. The flat Earth theory worked wonders for centuries until someone proved it was spherical. I guess the only way to disprove the 6 month grace period theory is with a chart. This is my SS earnings chart for the last 20 months. The only dip was December, which is the slowest month of the year.

Same here: there was never a 6 months "grace period", never noticed any sales throttling nor any de-prioritization of my files. Years ago, I remember being warned, by "old-timers", about the imminent apocalypse I will be dealing with, after reaching top tier.

I'm still waiting for it.

With normal up and downs, my sales have been growing steadily for the past 4 years or so.
I don't expect a BME, but I'm on track to have an excellent October:

lemonyellow

« Reply #53 on: October 29, 2016, 02:22 »
0
I am unsure whether to complain or rejoice: since my new files - and other people's too, I guess - are completely unseen and unsold, I am actually earning more than ever, with old files selling a lot.

But how long will it last? I don't know what to wish for.

gyllens

« Reply #54 on: October 29, 2016, 02:48 »
+1
So the conclusion of it all is that SS is the heavenly saviour of all micro-stock contributors. The only agency in town that rather put money in the pockets of its members rather then fuelling their own. The answer to all prayers so help us God.

Older members with bigger portfolios who are experiencing a drop in earnings and skewed search algorithms are simply imagining this or they have lost their creativity to produce.

Yes its all in our heads :)

lemonyellow

« Reply #55 on: October 29, 2016, 03:14 »
0
No, I am just telling my experience: my earnings are still growing constantly at SS at present, but less than I would like to. [Edit: the cause is of course what Pauws99 is saying in the next post]

This doesn't mean that I am not worried: the skewed search algorithms and many problems with uploads disappearing from the search or going nowhere (neither approved nor rejected) are real - not in our heads - and a concern for the future performance of my port at SS.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2016, 03:18 by lemonyellow »

« Reply #56 on: October 29, 2016, 03:15 »
+2
Nope the conclusion is supply growth  is outstripping demand growth SS like everyone one else is becoming less attractive for contributors but still making $$$ for itself. No evil criminal mastermind creating hyper complicated strategies to target certain contributors for random reasons required.


« Reply #57 on: October 30, 2016, 13:16 »
+1
Nope the conclusion is supply growth  is outstripping demand growth SS like everyone one else is becoming less attractive for contributors but still making $$$ for itself. No evil criminal mastermind creating hyper complicated strategies to target certain contributors for random reasons required.

You are right. 100 million files, 100,000 new a week, most are the same subjects and concepts that are already on every site and being done better many times then old files from 2008. Plus more new every week.

What fun is that when we can have deep dark secret conspiracys and claim that stockholders make this happen, and somehow things aren't fair or we are being cheated.

New users do get a boost. New files get a boost. This is not secret. After some time, the new files drop down. Watch your own new uploads and they are most popular, after a week or two they go to their rightful place. This is for old and new users.

After some time, new users loose the search advantage. It's not because they make less, it's because SS wants to encourage new people by giving them better placement in searchs. Then it goes away and we're all even.

You can't force somebody to buy a file they don't want, just because it's first. How absurd is that for people to claim buyesrs are that foolish and led so easy.

SS doesn't have to cheat or manipulate sales to make more money. They do that every quarter. We are the ones making less every year. Supply is outstripping demand. Old timers were competing against 100 times less competition, 100 times less choice and competition. People made a living from shooting with a P&S in the kitchen window light. Times have changed. It's not going to ever be the way it was, anywhere.

Competition is up, income will go down. Especially when IS will soon be paying .03 for sub download.

PureArt

  • UK
« Reply #58 on: October 30, 2016, 13:31 »
+1
SS pays $0.25 to the newcomers and $0.38 to the old contributors. It is 52% more profitable to sell newbie's pics. Now tell me that there is no reason to show newbie's pics higher in search results.

No, they (at SS) are not "Robin Hoods", they do not pay for nothing from their pockets. (By the way, Robin Hood also did not pay from his pockets, as far as I know British folklore.) They just show newbie's pics to the customers more often so those pics have more chances to be sold.

« Reply #59 on: October 30, 2016, 14:55 »
0
"You can't force somebody to buy a file they don't want, just because it's first. How absurd is that for people to claim buyesrs are that foolish and led so easy." That is so true not even the mighty Shutterstock can force people to buy a file they don't want. That simple fact seems to be so easily forgotten. If the "newbies" file equally fulfills the buyers needs who can say its "not fair" its at the front of the queue.

gyllens

« Reply #60 on: October 31, 2016, 10:08 »
0
Nope the conclusion is supply growth  is outstripping demand growth SS like everyone one else is becoming less attractive for contributors but still making $$$ for itself. No evil criminal mastermind creating hyper complicated strategies to target certain contributors for random reasons required.

You are right. 100 million files, 100,000 new a week, most are the same subjects and concepts that are already on every site and being done better many times then old files from 2008. Plus more new every week.

What fun is that when we can have deep dark secret conspiracys and claim that stockholders make this happen, and somehow things aren't fair or we are being cheated.

New users do get a boost. New files get a boost. This is not secret. After some time, the new files drop down. Watch your own new uploads and they are most popular, after a week or two they go to their rightful place. This is for old and new users.

After some time, new users loose the search advantage. It's not because they make less, it's because SS wants to encourage new people by giving them better placement in searchs. Then it goes away and we're all even.

You can't force somebody to buy a file they don't want, just because it's first. How absurd is that for people to claim buyesrs are that foolish and led so easy.

SS doesn't have to cheat or manipulate sales to make more money. They do that every quarter. We are the ones making less every year. Supply is outstripping demand. Old timers were competing against 100 times less competition, 100 times less choice and competition. People made a living from shooting with a P&S in the kitchen window light. Times have changed. It's not going to ever be the way it was, anywhere.

Competition is up, income will go down. Especially when IS will soon be paying .03 for sub download.


I heard that!  doom and gloom is all we can look foward to.  Nice job.


 

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