01 Mar 2009 Microstock Earnings Report February 2009
Crazy results this month! Very high earnings (for me) after yet another month of zero new files added to my microstock portfolios. Dreamstime responded as expected with earnings dropping in line with my lower contributions. But iStockphoto recording a new high for me this month and Shutterstock jumped up above the three month moving average. Perhaps it would have been a good time to resume contributing. It may have resulted in a bigger upswing overall.
iStockphoto Dollar Bin
I’ve had a total of 31 photos added to the iStockphoto dollar bin so far. I won’t miss any of them – they’re old and less-than-impressive snapshots which cannot have been adding to the performance of my portfolio. I have no expectation that they’ll sell even in the dollar bin, so they’ll eventually be removed from my portfolio.
|Agency||Earnings US$||Portfolio Size||Return per Image
- New record earnings at iStockphoto – best performance of any agency ever for me. The recent Best Match algorithm update has made some contributors big winners and others big losers. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.
- My earnings rise at Shutterstock is puzzling given they’re usually the first agency to drop after extended periods of not contributing anything new. But I’m not complaining.
- Dreamstime is at least being honest and demonstrating their disapproval of my lack of new uploads. I’m hoping my earnings will recover to their previous levels when I resume contributing.
- I’m lately amazed at the sheer consistency of StockXpert. Look how straight that line is! Other microstockers have reported not-insignificant drops in earnings at StockXpert, which is not surprising in light of staff being preoccupied with the acquisition.
- CanStockPhoto earned me another $26 this month – not great, but better than some agencies I’m still reporting. If they keep this up I will put them back in the chart.
Total Earnings Chart
I’m adding the previous two years to my total earnings chart this month. This shows the modest growth in my earnings over the past three years (the vertical distance between lines) and the seasonal trends.
For a hobbyist photographer I’m not too disappointed with such a small growth year after year. If I was investing more time, energy and money into microstock I would be concerned. These days I’m investing considerably more time into this blog and other activities compared to microstock photography, and I’m happy with the charts for those endeavors.
Downloads per Image
In the comments of last month’s earnings report, Stephen Strathdee suggested looking at downloads per image per month. I keep portfolio and download data so I created a chart for the previous twelve months:
The obviously insight this chart provides is that my downloads are decreasing rapidly overall, despite some agencies rising in January and February this year. The downward trend is even more marked in the two-year chart. I conclude that if my income isn’t declining in line with this trend (which you can see in the top chart), then the sale price must be rising. That is, rising prices are the only reason I’m not earning less and less in microstock. As I’ve uploaded very little over the past two years, such a trend is to be expected.
Thanks Stephen, that’s indeed a helpful metric.