30 Mar 2009 Microstock is Up

A common question in recent times has been whether microstock will suffer or thrive as a result of the slowing global economy. Within the context of seasonal trends (March is always a great month for microstock) the question has been answered, at least for now.

Microstock photographers are reporting record earnings across all top agencies. Microstock agencies themselves are reporting rising sales and breaking daily revenue records this month. The fundamental market indicators are all pointing up.

Microstockers are Up

Top microstocker Andres Rodriguez has broken his daily record twice this month already and is on target to break his monthly earnings record. Many microstockers are reporting new records at various top microstock agencies over at Microstock Group. My own earnings are at an all-time high despite not uploading for almost four months.

Microstock Agencies are Up

Serban Enache, CEO & Founder of Dreamstime, says this month has seen new records set in downloads, total sales revenue and payments to photographers, but that this is common of every month.

Data from iStockcharts.de, a service which monitors sales volumes and other metrics of selected iStockphoto accounts, shows a modest increase in sales for the month of March. New accounts likely account for a portion of this growth, though most accounts of significant volume are already monitored.

The Seasonal Influence

This chart shows my previous three years of earnings. As you can see, March is always higher than February.

Total Microstock Earnings Chart

However, take into account the fact that I haven’t uploaded for almost four months, and note the results for February 2009 against previous years. Could this be indicating that microstock is indeed thriving in this economic climate? I wonder how my results would be different if I had shot and uploaded this month.

It’s Not Up for Everyone

Some exclusive iStockphoto contributors have reported dropping sales volumes since the last Best Match search algorithm update. Not all, but some. It’s offset by many contributors both exclusive and non-exclusive reporting record highs with the agency. Again, the data from iStockcharts.de shows it’s the typical shuffle of fortune which comes with algorithm updates. The percentage gain/loss column has a mixture of red and green. The difference for exclusive iStockphoto contributors is that they have total exposure (for their Royalty Free content) to the algorithm updates, for better or worse.

How are Your Microstock Earnings?

Did you break any earnings records in March? Do you think the indicators show microstock is resisting the global economic slowdown, or is it just seasonal?

  • Mark Stahl
    Posted at 10:47h, 30 March Reply

    Best month ever, also best day ever. Also, best Saturday and Sunday sales ever.

  • Marek
    Posted at 11:24h, 30 March Reply

    I expect about 14% more in total earnings in March in comparison to February. However …

    Taking into account that March is 10% longer than February and my portfolio is still growing in size about 8-9% every month, the March performance is actually lower than February.

    Some of my smaller players (FT, BSP, SXP, RF123) have BME in March, but bigger players (IS, DT) are slower, SS up to my expectations.

    Just for reference – my portfolio size: from 600+ in IS to 1000 in SS after 16 months in microstock.

  • Komar
    Posted at 11:42h, 30 March Reply

    My sales have increased significantly in most places for both February and March. It does seem logical that as belts are tightened there will be more buyers looking for alternative, more economical picture sources. I’m sure a lot of people will discover microstock during this recession.

  • Scott Krycia
    Posted at 15:30h, 30 March Reply

    My sales compared for March 08 & March 09 are up, over 410%. March is my best month ever. I did re-keyword my entire portfolio on Istock. I believe that part of my sales boost is from that.

  • Duncan
    Posted at 16:48h, 30 March Reply

    My feb sales were about 22% up on my previous best month. And it looks for certain that March will be a new BME albeit only by a little bit…. But then I must add that I have consistently added to my ports. And I have tried to improve my quality. I am satisfied with the progress made – the trend has been steadily upward since I started in Microstock 2 years ago….

  • MikLav
    Posted at 19:40h, 30 March Reply

    February was my BME (total and SS); March beaten it (BME total, SS and FL, and DT almost made it too) – but I uploaded more in the last 3 months than I used to…

    • MikLav
      Posted at 15:56h, 31 March Reply

      [update] March is my BME on Dreamstime too – made it last day 🙂

  • Orson
    Posted at 05:05h, 01 April Reply

    March was good – I get BME on Dreamstime.
    When I compare March with March 2007 (100%), then March 2008 was 290% and March 2009 was 415%, so it is better and better (and I’m submitting same amount of images).

  • pdtnc
    Posted at 18:17h, 03 April Reply


    Just looking into the downward slide a little, I’d say its a definite.

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