Monday, 30 April 2007

500 DL at iStock

Well I finally made 500 DL at istock today not that I will be going exclusive there.

It took me a while to get this as I gave up with iStock due to the number of rejections I was getting. However, my workflow has now improved and after I saw both the number of DL increasing, and the $ per DL increasing, I thought it was about time to start uploading again. It is now up to my second/third best producing microsite (with half the pictures).

Hopefully the next milestock wont take so long.

Here is the photo that brought me up to the 500 which incidently is my top seller (at 58). Thank you everyone who has bought this or rated it (or any of my other photos).


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Monday, 23 April 2007

Payrise at Shutterstock, but .....


Shutterstock have announces their long signaled payrise for the year. As expected by many, the payrise was 5c per image representing a 20% increase on the previous payout. The payrise takes effect from 1 May.

But ...

The payrise only applies to those accounts where total sales is greater than $500. My guess is a vast majority of their photographers haven't reached this target so it will be costing them nothing. However, it does reward those who have earned them a reasonable sum.

While it could have been better, it is reasonable fair (would have been better to see 30c and 35c for the big earners). IN a sense it is a teired systems as used by some of the other sites (Fotolia and Istock)


Sunday, 22 April 2007

New features at LuckyOliver - the Slideshow

stock photos, royalty free stock photography, photo search stock photos, royalty free stock photography, photo search
LuckyOliver is starting to add some of the new features they promised at the beginning that they said would set them apart from the competition.

The first is "the slideshow". A premium placement section (like the paid ads in google searchs). The bonus for the photog is that you can set your own price and you get 50% commission. The downside is it is only avaliable to those with over 100 sales and in the future it will cost to get this placement (it is free for the first 90 days).

I can see pros and cons for this and at this stage, I would question why you would pay to get placement on a site where sales are still slow. But for 1 token (lots of people have these already so why not use them) getting premium placement might drive the sales?

To read the full details, have a look at this link.

They have also launched a forum. Nothing new - most sites have one but theirs is different, they call it the odditorium. The difference is it has no subforums but a search feature that works on keywords. I think this is good as I find it annoying to hve to look into several subforums just to find the new posts.

Have a look here.
stock photos, royalty free stock photography, photo search

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Another article on Corbis

While Corbis doesn't do microstock yet, I keep posting these articles as it is clear they are on a big press offensive trying to get their name out there. They have just changed CEO and it keeps being reported they will be starting microstock shortly. I imaging that once they strat, they will start with a bang.

As always, Extracts from the article with a full link at the bottom:

A Photo Trove, a Mounting Challenge
Published: April 10, 2007

“Think about how visual the world is,” said Barbara Coffey, a senior research analyst at Kaufman Brothers in New York who follows the stock photography market. “We have pictures on our cellphones. If I can get a reasonably clear picture and the rights are cleared and I pay $2 for it, then why would I pay Corbis $200?”

The rise of the microstock companies has been of particular concern to Corbis. For all its new lines of business, the company still gets some 88 percent of its revenues from image licenses, yet commands only about 11 percent of that market. Getty Images dominates the market with a 40 percent share.

Getty, which has grown quickly since its start in 1995 with the backing of its wealthy co-founder, Mark Getty, has a foothold in microstock thanks to iStockPhoto, which it bought last year for $50 million.

Mr. Shenk said Corbis would announce its plans for the microstock business sometime this quarter. As for the question of how a high-end company enters that business without cannibalizing its more expensive products, Mr. Shenk said the idea was to find a new kind of customer, people who would never envision buying pictures from a Corbis or Getty.

In that vein, Mr. Shenk said Corbis would make its service as easy to use as the iTunes store of Apple and hinted that Corbis would also be following the crowdsourcing model.

“More interesting and innovative things are happening on the pages of Flickr these days than on Corbis and Getty,” said Mr. Shenk, referring to the photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo. “If we can use this type of opportunity to find the next great group of Corbis photographers, that also makes it a great opportunity for us.”


Tuesday, 10 April 2007

iStock to sell images to mobile phones

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iStock have just announced a new deal to sell photos as wall paper on mobile phones. The plan is for a pilot scheme in the UK with 5000 photos but to roll it out worldwide with their full library.

No work yet on how much they will be sold for but I assume it will be the same as a small photo - $1.

I have always thought this is a huge market ready to be exploited.

Extract from article (full link below):

iStockphoto and AMUSE launch UK Mobile deal
April 10, 2007

Calgary, Alberta – iStockphoto®, the world’s most visited stock imagery and video site, has selected AMUSE Entertainment Group B.V. to take its stock photography images into the mobile sector. The pilot phase of the program will be launched in the UK and will allow mobile users to download wallpapers from a selection of 5,000 of iStockphoto’s quality images. Images will be found within a dedicated mobile storefront accessed through the iStockphoto website, and marketed and promoted jointly by iStock and AMUSE. Images will be made available to UK mobile phone subscribers on the 3, Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone networks and will be delivered via mBlox, the world’s largest mobile transaction network.
“People want their gadgets to feel uniquely theirs, including their mobile phones,” said Garth Johnson, vice president of business development at iStockphoto.



Thursday, 5 April 2007

Interview with iStock CEO

Another article, this time an interview with istock CEO Bruce Livingstone. Talks about how it all started (from photo sharing site) and what the new batch of competition is going to do to istock(ironically from photo sharing sites like Flickr).

Extracts of the article are below with a link to the full article at the bottom:

iStockphoto sees new rivals everywhere
CEO Bruce Livingstone is bracing for online competitors to do to him what he did to the traditional stock-art market.
Stephen Shankland Staff Writer, CNET
Published: April 4, 2007, 4:00 AM PDT

iStockphoto Chief Executive Officer Bruce Livingstone thinks of his company as Web 1.5.
The site, where members can sell their photos or graphics as "stock art," employs the Web 2.0 idea of user-generated content. But
Livingstone founded iStockphoto in 2000 when the Web 1.0 e-commerce idea still prevailed. The company resembles eBay: when a customer buys an image, iStockphoto charges the seller a commission.
iStockphoto survived the dot-com bust by selling stock art for dramatically lower prices--as little as a buck a pop--and became profitable at the end of 2002. At present, 35,000 members upload about 30,000 images each week and customers download one every 2.5 seconds. A year ago, Getty Images, the dominant seller of stock art, acquired iStockphoto for $50 million.
Other "microstock" companies including
Fotolia, Dreamstime and Shutterstock remain rivals, and photo-sharing sites pose a new threat. A revamped Zoomr will let photographers sell their images and keep 90 percent of the proceeds, compared with just 20 percent to 40 percent for iStockphoto. And there's talk that Yahoo's photo-sharing juggernaut, Flickr, might move into stock art.


Article on Microstock vs Macrostock

This is a very long article from the Business 2.0 Magazine

It is quite interesting as it gives background to the macro sties (Getty and Corbis) and the microsites (Fotolia, Shutterstock and Dreamstime). It details the issues the macro sties face, how they are addressing it and why micro sites wont kill of the macro sites.

I have only pasted in extracts so a link to the full article is below:

Photo wars: A $2 billion business gets rough
The giants of the stock photo business--Getty Images and Corbis--are being challenged by a flock of tiny "microstock" agencies. And it's become a game that almost anyone can play, reports Business 2.0 Magazine.

By Robert Levine, Business 2.0 Magazine
April 4 2007: 9:15 AM EDT

Tscheltzoff is the president of Fotolia, one of a new breed of so-called microstock houses--born of the Internet and Web 2.0--that are challenging the giants and could soon start cutting into their market share.
While the big two offer exclusives on great photos at prices that range from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000 apiece, these startups sell pretty good pictures for a good deal less--often just a dollar or two. Unlike Getty and Corbis, which compete fiercely to work with the top artists, the microstock firms get most of their photos the way Wikipedia gets its entries, by "crowdsourcing" work from interested amateurs or beginning pros.

Although Fotolia sold 4 million images last year, it doesn't offer the quality or the exclusivity that ad agency art directors demand, so it can't charge premium rates.

In a Manhattan Starbucks, a continent and a sensibility removed from the Corbis and Getty offices, Tscheltzoff is describing how Fotolia is trying to play David to the industry Goliaths. The company offers 2.2 million images taken by 25,000 photographers, but it employs only 18 people--all but three of whom work from home.
"We IM and talk on Skype," says Tscheltzoff, a Frenchman who splits his time between New York City and Paris. When he needs to take a meeting, he says with a sweep of his hand, "this is my office." Today's rent is a small iced coffee, which he sips as he explains how his business works.
As he describes it, the microstock model is the picture of efficiency. Submissions pour in electronically from photographers, who get 50 percent or more of the proceeds of each sale. The company has few inventory concerns, no shipping issues, and hardly any operating costs. The business broke even after eight months, Tscheltzoff says. (He won't reveal much more, except that annual sales are less than $10 million.) The biggest expense is marketing: selling the company to both prospective contributors and potential customers.
"If you don't have buyers, you don't get photos," he says. "And if you don't have photos, you don't get buyers."
Other microstock sites--there are several large ones and dozens of smaller entries--tell a similar story, although the details differ. Jon Oringer, founder and CEO of Shutterstock, based in New York City, sells low-cost photos by subscription--25 photos a day for $199 per month or $1,999 per year.

Let's make one thing clear: These aren't necessarily arty photographs. Most microstock images are provided by amateurs looking for extra pocket money--many of Shutterstock's photographers make $200 to $300 a month--and at best they shoot the kind of pictures top art directors refer to dismissively as "stocky."
"The creatives won't choose the microstock photos because they're not tasteful," says Josette Lata, former head of art buying at JWT. "If it's a photo of a mother and a baby, you don't want them both looking at the camera and smiling."
But even stocky pictures have their uses--magazines trying to save money on images that will run small, Fortune 500 firms putting out internal newsletters, and, above all, bloggers and website designers. That's where microstock could really hurt Getty and Corbis.

In February, during the company's earnings call, Corbis announced that it will build its own microstock site. In an interview with Business 2.0, Corbis president Gary Shenk insists that the company has nothing to fear from its tiny competitors. It just makes sense for Corbis to get a foothold in that business.


Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Sign up to Stockxpert now and receive 5 free credits

Quite simple really.
If you aren't signed up to Stockxpert yet, do so now and you get five free credits.
This is a great way for designers to try out the site.

I am not sure how long this offer lasts so click on the link and if you see the promotion, then it is still on:

Total number of photos on the Microstock sites


I haven't provided the total number of photos on line recently so thought I would provide an update.

From a desingers point of view (they are the ones that buy the photos so are very improtant), the number of photos is very important, after the quality of the photos on the site. From a submitters point of view, we want what the the designers want but we also want to have a bigger share of the total online photos (ie. if you have 10% of the photos on the site, you should earn more than if you just have 0.1% of the photos online).

Therefore, it is intersting to compare the number of photos on each site. So here gos. These are from the last time I looked but give you an indication:

Fotolia 2,820,839
shutterstock 1,671,459
istockphoto 1,576,000
dreamtime 1,093,949
bigstockphoto 997,000
123RF 700,000
StockXpert 478,000
Featurepics 229,550

Well, as you can see Fotolia is the biggest, but there total number is disputed as it may include rejected images. shutterstock claims to be the biggest and Fotolia hasn't said anything to dispute this.

dreamtime made it to the 1 million recently and bigstockphoto is nearly there to.

I am earning more from StockXpert than their total numbers suggest so number of photos cant be used as a direct proxy for earnings.

As an interesting comparison, the macrostock site Alamy has over 8 million images.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Canon leads digital camera sales

I find camera rivally both interesting and pointless (who cares what brand you have, as long as it takes good pictures). However, as a canon user, in both DSLR (20D) and point and shot (ixus 55), I will brag about the following statistics.

Of major interest though is that Canon has almost 50% of the DSLR market (most microstock users use DSLR cameras due to higher quality and more control). Nikon comes in second with 33% to leave the other 6 or so companies with about 15% between them (not much).

Also of interest is the DSLR market is growing at 30% per annum. Huge growth in at a time when everyone wants small products (just look at how thin and small mobiles are now).

Canon leads in digital camera shipments in 2006, according to IDC
Canon Inc., Tokyo, Japan, took the top market share in global digital camera shipments in 2006, and Samsung Electronics, Seoul, South Korea, jumped to fifth place from ninth a year ago, Framington, Mass.-based researcher IDC said.
Canon shipped 19.7 million digital cameras in 2006, accounting for 18.7 percent of the overall market. Canon's shipments jumped 23.3 percent from 2005, accoridng to IDC.
Industrywide digital camera shipments in 2006 rose 14.5 percent to 106 million units from a year earlier, driven by the strong popularity of DSLR models geared toward photo enthusiasts and professionals and growing demand in emerging markets, IDC said. DSLR shipments grew 39 percent to 5 million units last year.
Sony Corp., Tokyo, Japan, was No. 2 in the market with a 15.8 percent share, up from 15.2 percent in 2005, benefiting from its entry into the DSLR market, according to IDC. Eastman Kodak Co., the only U.S. company among the top five digital camera makers, ranked third with 10 percent, a drop from its 14.2 percent share a year earlier. Japan-based Olympus Corp., which came in fourth, trimmed its share to 8.6 percent from 9.8 percent in 2005.
"The big winner in 2006 was Samsung, who displaced Nikon and became the fifth-largest seller of digital cameras in the world," said Christopher Chute, an IDC analyst.
Samsung expanded its market share to 7.8 percent in 2006, a huge jump from the 3.8 percent it had a year earlier. Its shipments more than doubled, IDC said.
Nikon Corp., Tokyo, Japan, the world's second-biggest maker of professional cameras after Canon, ranked No. 6 in the overall digital camera market with a 7.6 percent market share in 2006.
Canon also dominated the growing DSLR market, securing a 46.7 percent share in 2006, with its shipments rising 30.7 percent from a year earlier. But its share was trimmed from the 49.5 percent it had in 2006 amid increased competition from rivals. Nikon secured the No. 2 position in DSLRs with a 33 percent market share. Its shipments jumped 35.9 percent. Sony, which bought the DSLR unit of Konica Minolta Holdings shipped 326,240 DSLRs in 2006, accounting for 6.2 percent of the market.

Dreamstime - promotion for competition winner

Dreamstime have negotiated a new way to promote their website which is going to have major advantages for the monthly winner of their competition - a 2 page spread in a digital magazine with a circulation of 90,000!!!

press release is below:

Starting next month you can be recognized as a published photographer and a Dreamstime competition winner! You'll be given a two-page spread in FlipNews to showcase your winning photographs together with a short description of yourself and hyperlinks to your Dreamstime portfolio page. FlipNews is a digital format magazine which is distributed world-wide to over 90,000 subscribed readers.

Their IT and web-savvy readers includes those interested in creating FlipBooks and e-Book publishing; and in improving photography skills and writing skills. They are also likely consumers of computer hardware and software; and purchasers of images and graphics for publication content. Assignment will be launched one month in advance. This prize is bi-monthly and will be awarded to the first place of the assignment. Photographers can win it only once, so if you have previously won it, the second place will be featured instead.

Full link

Royalty Free Images

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Microstock photo results for March 2007

March was a best ever month, with record receipts at 4 sites and second best at 2 others.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

23% shutterstock 2nd BEM
19% dreamtime BEM (best ever month)
8% Fotolia 2nd BEM
21% istockphoto (BEM)
4% bigstockphoto
4% 123RF
17% StockXpert (BEM)
1% Featurepics
0% Canstock
0% Galastock
4% LuckyOliver (BEM)

shutterstock had another great month but the surprise was how much StockXpert and dreamtime caught up. istockphoto also put in a solid performance as the rest of my backlog of photos went up there.
The best thing is that the increases are not due to mearly having more photos on line but also due to an increase in downloads (DL) and a general increase in the payout per DL. I will try and put some numbers togehter on this for another blog shortly.