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Steve Bower

What has SS done to cause drastic decrease in OD, EL & S&O Downloads

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12 minutes ago, peace baby said:

Lot's of people do like photography as a hobby. Evidently some people want to share their hobby for free.

However, maintaining + distributing a large collection of photos online to a wide audience is not cheap. There current model is useful for getting attention but unless the owners are filthy rich and generous there's got to be a plan for monetizing this in the long term.

A chef spends his time and money to cook food and give it away for free on a busy city street. He feels good about himself for helping out his fellow man. People now start catering businesses using said free food to make profits for themselves at almost no cost. Its just a hobby, so its all good.

Alot of these free images are very good. they have honest value. Far better than amateur shots on SS. Choosing to throw that value away just so others can exploit it is naive and lowers the value of our work and its future. Our choices are important.

I'm sure the whole purpose of that site is to gain massive web traffic for future advertising leverage and profit for themselves while everything else burns.

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11 minutes ago, peace baby said:

I'm not noticing ads or affiliate links.

Initial thought that came to me is it's probably only the subject matter that people like to shoot for fun. When I looked I found I was wrong. I see staged business meeting photos with models. Seems other photo businesses are giving large photos away there as a way to advertise their own site with full res images. 

My bad, sort of. UnSplash is not as monetized yet as the other big one but there are ads for SquareSpace on the landing page as well as the individual download pages of all the images. Perhaps it''s a SquareSpace creation? P on the other hand has a Carbon Ad feed as well as sponsored content from AS and others. There are also many smaller versions of the same thing where individuals and small groups are also giving away their work (some of it very very good) and monetizing their traffic with AdWords.

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I think it really boils down to finding the right niche and thinking of new ideas and concepts. The buyers of stock images are mainly using our content for web based use and not print. This is why, in my opinion, the majority of sales are subs,. Although, my sales income is showing 50% more for ODs than Subs. I also had an EL this week.  20 of my images generate 80% of my income, and SS still sells 3 times more than any other agency. There really is no way of understanding the complexities of what and why and how this business works. So in the meantime just get on with uploading good quality high cv images and keep going and hopefully find some images that fly.

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29 minutes ago, Jason Dudley said:

Choosing to throw that value away just so others can exploit it is naive and lowers the value of our work and its future.

It seems some pro photographers see it as an advertisement vehicle that is more effective than social media. https://www.dpreview.com/opinion/9312839751/what-i-ve-learned-after-sharing-my-photos-for-free-on-unsplash-for-4-years

However, I'm not really trying to position myself to be a pro photographer. I'm just hoping for a little extra cash here and there.

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49 minutes ago, Foodio said:

 but there are ads for SquareSpace on the landing page as well as the individual download pages of all the images. 

Interesting. In chrome I don't see anything at all. I don't think I have any ad block on. I do see the small sponsored by message in safari on the home page only.
 

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13 minutes ago, peace baby said:

Interesting. In chrome I don't see anything at all. I don't think I have any ad block on. I do see the small sponsored by message in safari on the home page only.
 

That is interesting. Chrome/Android here. Landing page, lower right hand corner of their slider/banner image. Download page (all images I have tested) pop up with a "say thanks" attribution reminder and a SquareSpace link. 

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29 minutes ago, peace baby said:

It seems some pro photographers see it as an advertisement vehicle that is more effective than social media. https://www.dpreview.com/opinion/9312839751/what-i-ve-learned-after-sharing-my-photos-for-free-on-unsplash-for-4-years

However, I'm not really trying to position myself to be a pro photographer. I'm just hoping for a little extra cash here and there.

The view stats on the site are padded and dont reflect actual real interest in your work. Every image that returns as a search result on a page of thumbnails counts as a view for said images... even if the viewer is quickly scrolling past them searching for something else. The more broad a topic your image is about, the more searches it will return in. They design things to make the contributors feel super stoked about themselves and keep adding more free content.

I think any promotion that leads to paying work on such a platform would be a small percentage. Most traffic will just leech images and move on.

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Quote

I think any promotion that leads to paying work on such a platform would be a small percentage. Most traffic will just leech images and move on.

Yes. I believe the individual in the blog referenced a couple mentions per 3 thousand downloads. Yet, unless they are lying, seem happy about the experience.

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3 hours ago, Jason Dudley said:

Stock photo sales are crashing everywhere. Research yourself about where creators are getting photo content now. Its literally a feeding frenzy over at Unsplash for completely free full res images and alot of the quality is actually good. The site creators treat the contributors great in a free and open community to polish their egos with millions of views/downloads in order to manipulate them to give their property away for free. The site gets constant growth in traffic and positive media publicity while the photo industry goes down the drain thanks to the mindless sheep being led to slaughter. Images that cost time and money to create being given away for free does not create future value and is not sustainable. Consumers now think they deserve photos for free. Free commercial use of unreleased images of people and trademarked property. When the lawsuits start flying, it will all fall apart but the damage is already done in the minds of the buyers and the perceived value of an image. And its all because of the choices made by the photographers themselves.

A brilliant post, Jason!

This kind of vanity - you call it "polishing an ego" - is the reason for Mark Zuckerberg being one of the richest individuals on this planet. Anything that people share on one of his platforms is free for him and helps to increase his prosperity. And they enthusiastically all fead this machine to present themselves in the brightest light. And maybe complain afterwards how it is possible that some people are incredibly rich while others become poorer and poorer. I will never understand that! Bathing in fame, enjoying the popularity wile spending the night under the bridge? Is this the future?

But, besides of that fact - back to the topic: Does anyone of us have "a real contract" with shutterstock? Does anyone of us know anything about agreements between shutterstock and purchasers? Do we know what they are negotiating? Do we know what purchasers are allowed to do with an SOD image bought for 1 US$? No! So maybe special purchasers might pay only a tiny amount for images that used to bring reasonable money years ago. I don't know. But I face the problem too. Too few ODs, ELs and SODs compared to the past.

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1 hour ago, Foodio said:

Perhaps it''s a SquareSpace creation?

It seems to be a couple of random people in Montreal. The video channel that Jason posted also have a video interview with one of the founders. He mentions needing to figure out a way to monetize it and suggests the photographers would like some money too.

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21 hours ago, Allen.G said:

Compared to when?  I remember when SOD's used to regularly pay about or more than EL's.  Now I get lots more SOD's, but much much less than what it used to get in commission.

 

Yes I guess I need to ask compared to when also, I didn't get much from SODs and don't recall them regularly paying more than ELs? I guess I missed that time. When was that? Maybe back to what content and who? I didn't go look but if your SODs were much higher and now they have dropped, I'd believe you. In my case I'm getting more SO, less EL and, yes, they are lower than ELs.

I looked back 4-5 years, most of my SOs are $3.62, some approached ELs, and I see one for 33 cents in 2014 ?

I did find one higher than $28. Once again, maybe it's that your work lends itself better to SOs and higher rates than my portfolio. SO was introduced in 2011 which is when I was adding more Editorial. I'd have to go through every month from then till now to see what got the downloads, but a superficial look indicates it is NOT my Editorial.

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There is an obvious development concerning Single & other downloads in my stats. The amount of SODs has distinctly increased from year to year. In the first half of 2018 I've had a lot more SODs than in complete 2014.

But: The average income (RPD) per SOD download has decreased dramatically.

2014: ø 13,13 US$ per SOD download

2015: ø 12,17 US$ per SOD download

2016: ø 13,19 US$ per SOD download

2017: ø 7,36 US$ per SOD download

2018: ø 4,14 US$ per SOD download so far

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16 hours ago, Jason Dudley said:

Stock photo sales are crashing everywhere. Research yourself about where creators are getting photo content now. Its literally a feeding frenzy over at Unsplash for completely free full res images and alot of the quality is actually good. The site creators treat the contributors great in a free and open community to polish their egos with millions of views/downloads in order to manipulate them to give their property away for free. The site gets constant growth in traffic and positive media publicity while the photo industry goes down the drain thanks to the mindless sheep being led to slaughter. Images that cost time and money to create being given away for free does not create future value and is not sustainable. Consumers now think they deserve photos for free. Free commercial use of unreleased images of people and trademarked property. When the lawsuits start flying, it will all fall apart but the damage is already done in the minds of the buyers and the perceived value of an image. And its all because of the choices made by the photographers themselves.

How depressing and stupid of these “photographers”. 

As for sales here, they have TANKED bigtime. Absolutley diabolical. 

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16 hours ago, Jason Dudley said:

Stock photo sales are crashing everywhere. Research yourself about where creators are getting photo content now. Its literally a feeding frenzy over at Unsplash for completely free full res images and alot of the quality is actually good. The site creators treat the contributors great in a free and open community to polish their egos with millions of views/downloads in order to manipulate them to give their property away for free. The site gets constant growth in traffic and positive media publicity while the photo industry goes down the drain thanks to the mindless sheep being led to slaughter. Images that cost time and money to create being given away for free does not create future value and is not sustainable. Consumers now think they deserve photos for free. Free commercial use of unreleased images of people and trademarked property. When the lawsuits start flying, it will all fall apart but the damage is already done in the minds of the buyers and the perceived value of an image. And its all because of the choices made by the photographers themselves.

+ 1

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Theres also the fact that these days *everyone* has a good camera.  Even non-photographers.  So a lot of things they'd previously need to buy they can now simply shoot themselves.

Modern cameras really are very good and have enabled even people with no idea about how to use them to produce good enough images for a purpose.

I suspect stock now is going to move from getting good images of everyday type scenes and objects into getting images of things that aren't everyday accessible.

 

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This month I've got only two small singles and nothing enhanced, but there are more on demand images than usually. Unfortunately, it doesn't help the total earnings to grow up to the sky - the earnings' stats is poor and disappointing... I hope, it's just lazy summer time full of vacations and the situation will become better in September.

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3 hours ago, Richard Whitcombe said:

Theres also the fact that these days *everyone* has a good camera.  Even non-photographers.  So a lot of things they'd previously need to buy they can now simply shoot themselves.

Modern cameras really are very good and have enabled even people with no idea about how to use them to produce good enough images for a purpose.

I suspect stock now is going to move from getting good images of everyday type scenes and objects into getting images of things that aren't everyday accessible.

 

I think a few people here and there have been advocates of what you say for some years. Find things that are not well covered or that are difficult to get access. The same applies for plants, animals, food and anything else. Shooting the same old stuff that's well covered and over produced, easy to get, is a poor investment of time and effort. (and here's where someone will say, but I shot a duck last week and it has sold...) ?

There will always be exceptions, in general shooting over produced subjects is a waste of time. Copying best selling concepts of all time, is chasing missed opportunity. The idea of new uploads should be, move forward with new and needed ideas.

By the end of September there'll be an extra 5 million images on SS to compete with.  Have you uploaded enough to address that otherwise yes, earnings are going to decline.

 

 

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There is however a limit, simply shooting more obscure things can easily mean theres less of a market (things are generally obscure for a reason!).  Getting to exotic places requires money and sometimes specialist gear.  Whether the return on micro is enough to justify it remains to be seen.  Quite possibly midstock might be a better option then.

Micro to me seems to be lots of images of common subject, common places sold for peanuts and submitted by people who will be happy with peanuts or "exposure" for doing so.

 

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Even though my amount of downloads are about the same as last month which was a good month, this month I had zero ODD's which is very strange. In January this year I had less downloads and less images but even so I did get ODD's and all the following months, until this month, august. <_<

What happened? <_<

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On 8/22/2018 at 10:40 AM, Richard Whitcombe said:

There is however a limit, simply shooting more obscure things can easily mean theres less of a market (things are generally obscure for a reason!).  Getting to exotic places requires money and sometimes specialist gear.  Whether the return on micro is enough to justify it remains to be seen.  Quite possibly midstock might be a better option then.

Micro to me seems to be lots of images of common subject, common places sold for peanuts and submitted by people who will be happy with peanuts or "exposure" for doing so.

+1

Personally I've stopped shooting subjects that are too unique or obscure. I have quite a few images that are top of the search in their category yet the commercial demand for those particular subjects just isn't there. I can't help but feel that my time would have been much better spent doing a good job on more commonplace stuff. Just my opinion, but the only money left in this subscription model is in producing popular images of popular subjects. 

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