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iStock Contributor Experience

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I was recently accepted as an iStock contributor after trying to branch out beyond Shutterstock to see how things go. In your experience, what is the contributor experience like at iStock? Do they hold the same technical standards as Shutterstock (ie. would "noise," "focus," etc. mean the same things there as they do here)? Are their Editorial guidelines the same or similar? How are your sales at iStock relative to Shutterstock?

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IS is picky about potential private property. I don't remember exactly, but IS also wants a model release on the back of the man. In terms of noise, they are less picky. I sell for the same small subscriptions, but unlike the shutter, large sales are more common. But this is my experience. I had no sales on the shatter for almost a year 30-60 $

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at iS it is ten times easier to get photos accepted than at SS in a general sense, no fuss about "noise" or "chromatic crap", none of that nonsense. except for as Evgenija said, forget any image that has "accidental" people in them, even at a great distance turning their back towad you. they won't accept it. also any recognizable buildings are usually difficult to put through. they may ask you for map of the area and to "explain" the nature of the building and what not. I never bothered though. not worth the effort. I absolutely hate their keywording. it flags words for you that you enter in lower case. once you change it to capital, it accepts it, and of course changes it back to all lower case! wow! way to go! makes lots of sense. they are rather picky with editorials. I pushed a few through, but they can reject them for the craziest reasons. I don't bother with editorials there any more. other than that they are easy going bunch.

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iS has absolutely no quality standards whatsoever. I have hardly ever seen a rejection there. I use it as a base to dump some of my trashiest pictures. And they take everything, even pictures taken on 6400 ISO and bad exposure which, amazingly enough, sell too.

As for sales, for the month of June, I made more with 20 downloads on iS than with 58 on SS. So there's that too. 

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8 hours ago, balajisrinivasan said:

As for sales, for the month of June, I made more with 20 downloads on iS than with 58 on SS. So there's that too. 

well. that's not too difficult with the new 10 cent payouts at SS. but for me June was still a hair better here than at iS. mind you, I have about 30% more images here. so it's not a huge achievement. I guess July will be more even. I am having a very bad month here at ss now.

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I find the keywording at iS so maddening that I have given up. (Wirestock has dumped them as well, that tells you something)

Also they have the strangest rules about editorial - the moment it looks remotely like a newsworthy picture, you can't submit it unless you are a working news photographer and signed up as such with Getty. Even if it is just a sign on a shop window. Stupid.

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I stock has its issues. You can paid as little as a penny for a download. Also, you have to wait at least a month to see your downloads. I’ve seen downloads reported two months after the fact. Technical issues are constant, and their key wording setup is the worst I’ve seen. Let’s face it, stock isn’t great anywhere, but this ten cent nonsense at shutterstock is insulting. 

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Does anyone know what happens if you leave some keywords in red, because they are necessary keywords, but not found in their asinine system? Do they just end up getting ignored, or will the image still be found under that search term?

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1 hour ago, Milo J said:

Does anyone know what happens if you leave some keywords in red, because they are necessary keywords, but not found in their asinine system? Do they just end up getting ignored, or will the image still be found under that search term?

I do not know the answer to this, but often wondering about the same! I usually leave 4-5-6 words "in red". Insisting ("rebelling" is you wish) that the way I have it is good as I put it. And I find that my (even the "early") photos are found there based on very few keywords. H.ll! they turn the Latin or scientific name of plants back into the common English name. Now, how stupid is that? Why did I bother searching the Latin name at the first place?? To have it there if someone is looking for the plant based on that! Don't overwrite something good with bad! Yeah. Their key-wording leaves something to desire for sure. The one I hate most is when it revises "background" to "Backgrounds". Wow. That's such an improvement boy!

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1 hour ago, Milo J said:

Does anyone know what happens if you leave some keywords in red, because they are necessary keywords, but not found in their asinine system? Do they just end up getting ignored, or will the image still be found under that search term?

I read on their facebook forum that red words are still included in search.

Also, my understanding is that their keywords cover a few search terms, so when they change "ocean" to "sea", both search terms are covered from a buyer perspective, they obviously have a mapping system, thus probably works for plant latin names too.

 

I am new on there, a bit frustrating waiting to see what my 21 downloads for July will be, which photos and how much, but then its something to look forward to! At least SS and IS have reasonable volumes, the others might be higher RPD but sales are few and far between for me (DT, AS, AL)

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1 hour ago, Milo J said:

Does anyone know what happens if you leave some keywords in red, because they are necessary keywords, but not found in their asinine system? Do they just end up getting ignored, or will the image still be found under that search term?

I heard from someone else on this forum that the keywords highlighted in red are not added and consequently, are not used in the searches. Yea - I agree that it's absolutely ridiculous. Some of these words may be highly significant. Previously, I was just ignoring the fact that some of my keywords were being highlighted in red - hoping that they would get through.

Later on, I learned that there is a way to get those flagged words through by using that program Deepmeta or whatever it's called. There's an option in there for getting all of the words through. 

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For a long period of time, I used an alternative user name on iStock which I assumed was just going to be used on the forums over there. I don't think I realised initially that that name was going to be used on the credit line for my photos that were purchased and published. I wasn't quite happy to see  that name on one of my photos on a website. I would have preferred that my real name was used instead.

So sometime back, I went through some process at iStock to get the name registered on there changed to my real name. I got an automated message informing me that I would get an e-mail from them about the name change and also instructions to me not to upload any more photos in the meantime while this change was being processed. Well it has been many months and I still haven't received that e-mail. And consequently, it also been many months since Ive submitted any photos there (due to their instructions.) I wonder how much potential revenue Ive lost because of this. 

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18 minutes ago, Patrick Cooper said:

For a long period of time, I used an alternative user name on iStock which I assumed was just going to be used on the forums over there. I don't think I realised initially that that name was going to be used on the credit line for my photos that were purchased and published. I wasn't quite happy to see  that name on one of my photos on a website. I would have preferred that my real name was used instead.

So sometime back, I went through some process at iStock to get the name registered on there changed to my real name. I got an automated message informing me that I would get an e-mail from them about the name change and also instructions to me not to upload any more photos in the meantime while this change was being processed. Well it has been many months and I still haven't received that e-mail. And consequently, it also been many months since Ive submitted any photos there (due to their instructions.) I wonder how much potential revenue Ive lost because of this. 

I had the opposite. I don't want my full name to be shown with my photos, but my Alsias, but when I registered I just filled out the form and entered my name not seeing (or noticing) any separate field for "username", so my account and photos showed up under my real name. I requested a username change and never heard back from them. It took months till I noticed that my name had been changed after all and I never got an e-mail notification about it, so don't give up hope!

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40 minutes ago, Firn said:

I had the opposite. I don't want my full name to be shown with my photos, but my Alsias, but when I registered I just filled out the form and entered my name not seeing (or noticing) any separate field for "username", so my account and photos showed up under my real name. I requested a username change and never heard back from them. It took months till I noticed that my name had been changed after all and I never got an e-mail notification about it, so don't give up hope!

Normally, I wouldn't mind using an alias for my photos but in my case, I chose a user name that I would only use on online forums. This particular name does sound a bit silly when used in a credit line for a published photo. 

Out of curiosity, how do you confirm that the name change has been successful? Do you simply log in and find out? I think my real name is displayed regardless on the website from what I recall. Though I rarely log in there anyway as the whole thing is a mess. 

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2 minutes ago, Patrick Cooper said:

Out of curiosity, how do you confirm that the name change has been successful? Do you simply log in and find out? I think my real name is displayed regardless on the website from what I recall. Though I rarely log in there anyway as the whole thing is a mess. 

On the ESP User info tab it shows your iSTOCK portfolio name which is what appears when your image is published

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8 hours ago, TD Dolci said:

I stock has its issues. You can paid as little as a penny for a download. Also, you have to wait at least a month to see your downloads. I’ve seen downloads reported two months after the fact. Technical issues are constant, and their key wording setup is the worst I’ve seen. Let’s face it, stock isn’t great anywhere, but this ten cent nonsense at shutterstock is insulting. 

Agree - it’s not funny uploading here and at IS any more. Selling here for 10 cent and often (much) less at IS is depressing ..! 😰
And IS have the worst uploading system and a totally insane intransparent system on the market. It feels like it’s been made in the Middle Ages. Shutterstock has the best and most transparent and well-functioning system where you - in contrast to IS - quickly can keep track of everything. Really a great effort from SS. 👍

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Sometime last year I uploaded about 300 photos (some of which were best sellers) to see how they did. The downloads came but just pennies for your troubles. As others mentioned, they have 2 extremely annoying features that make uploading there a complete waste of time:

 

1. Any photo with a human being seems to require a model release, whether it's an arm, a person in a bokeh background, the back of a head, etc. It will all be rejected.

 

2. The stupid keyword guessing game is beyond dumb whose function seems hellbent on wasting contributors' time. Enter "girl" and it wants to have you choose "girls". Enter "friend" and it wants you to choose "group of friends".   No thanks. 

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IS\GI - yesterday. This drain is not worth it to deal with.... It is necessary to deal with what has the potential for growth, and not tcm,which is in the process of fading... Personal opinion...

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