07 May 2007 LuckyOliver
On April 20 I received an email from the delightful Amy Hooker of Maven Communications. She’s a public relations expert and from the message I presume she’s representing LuckyOliver. She made some kind remarks about my blog and explained how LuckyOliver were breaking new ground with their “midstock” model and gave me an “official invitation” to register.
Well, I’m someone who’s easily flattered, so I decided to take a look at LuckyOliver. I have noticed other microstockers reporting results in the same range as Fotolia and Dreamstime, so they were already on the list. In fact, LuckyOliver are generating more than their fair share of conversation. I’ve read lots of stories and accounts, both positive and not-so-positive, but the thing that sets them apart from ‘most’ other microstock websites is that they’re out there communicating with the community. I’ve seen official posts in forums from LuckyOliver representatives interacting with their contributors beyond their own website. Suffice to say, my curiosity level for LuckyOliver was piqued. Here’s the data:
|Image Stats||Not published|
|Minimum Image Size||1600Ã—1200 pixels|
|Compensation||30%, or 50% for extended license, buy out, and SideShow (see below)|
|Pricing||Scales per size, starting at $1|
|Payment Methods||PayPal, MoneyBookers, Check|
|Payment Delay||Payment made midway through the month following your payment request|
|Referral Program||$5 one-time payment for referred buyers, $1 one-time payment for referred contributors|
|Application Process||Submit three example images for review|
My Comments on LuckyOliver
Well, there’s a lot to say about LuckyOliver, and the place I want to start is their website. They have a slightly cheesy carnival ‘theme’ going on, but who cares. Their website is amazing! It is well designed from a technical point of view as it uses modern web technologies to improve the user experience. It is well designed from the point of view of usability as it is clearly laid out, and information is always where you’d logically expect to find it. I was also very impressed with the tone of the copy that they carry consistently throughout the website. This gives the site an enjoyable personality and blends well with their theme.
LuckyOliver are a new player in the microstock market and are playing the game of catch-up-as-fast-as-we-can. Their blog contains many warts’n’all post about their growing pains which lends a great authenticity to their business. They seem really committed to their contributors and have sincere and high ambitions. I couldn’t help but like this organization.
Where LuckyOliver fall down is their size. This is obviously a mark of a new entrant, and they’re adamant that they’re doing everything they can to get their buying activity up. Still, all the talk in the forums is about how sales are slow.
Their midstock program is also interesting. Contributors who have sold more than 100 photos can add 25% of their portfolio to the SideShow where they can set the selling price of each image. They also give contributors the option to set a buy-out price for exclusive images, in which case the contributor sells ownership of the image and retains 50% of the commission.
They have caught up with all the regular facilities of microstock websites, including IPTC reading, FTP upload, and a user-friendly keyword system. Not only have they caught up, they’ve overtaken with the assertive move of removing categories in favor of keywords, which they term ‘Sticky Words’.
They’re also running a promotion where exclusive images receive a 60% commission. The promotion applies to the first 30,000 images. This is a generous percentage, but it’s hard to see how it will be attractive for a new site with low sales.
I registered at LuckyOliver. I realize that very slow sales means they’ll likely be more work than reward for some time, but I think this site has a better chance of catching the big players than any of the second tier sites I’ve reviewed so far. They’re on the path to be different, and aren’t afraid to try new things and communicate openly.
As for my experience, the account registration was exceptionally smooth and I continued to be impressed with their website. I uploaded my three example images and was approved in 3 hours! And unlike all the other sites that require example images, I didn’t have to re-upload them. So far, so good.
Update April 2008: LuckyOliver has closed