25 Nov 2008 Microstock Mash
The growing functionality that enables websites to interact with each other – sharing information and services – is producing some exciting and creative tools. The microstock market is no exception. Here’s a quick summary of some of the tools we’ve seen emerge so far.
One of the earlier websites that took advantage of the wealth of data in a microstock agency was photokeywords.com, now part of Yuri Arcurs’s website. It helps microstock contributors identify keywords for their images based on the existing collection of images. While there are some issues with how this works (keywords are copyright, easy to include non-relevant keywords), it’s a great tool for finding keywords you may have missed and for those less familiar with the English language.
Another website based on the same concept but with more active ongoing development has recently launched at findphotokeywords.com.
picNiche also provides real value from microstock agency data, simply telling you how lucrative a keyword or set of keywords can be. By comparing the quantity of photos which have a particular keyword to the quantity of sales for all those images, an index rating indicates how well images for those keyword/s are serviced at the microstock agency.
Since I wrote the above review, picNiche creator Robert Davies has added an extremely useful ‘suggestion’ function which finds similar keyword terms to the one you’ve just searched, but with a higher index rating. It also now provides a list of of the highest rating recent searched keyword combinations.
iStockcharts.de is a tool created by the German Internet agency 21TORR founded and managed by top exclusive iStockphoto contributor Alexander Hafemann (mlenny on iStock). This website tracks the iStockphoto contributors whose usernames have been entered into the system – almost 16,000 so far. Alex himself is currently number 28!
The website allows the list to be reordered by various metrics which it gathers and calculates based on data gathered from iStockphoto. The default order is total quantity of downloads, so naturally Lise GagnÃ© appears on the top of the list (her account marked as anonymous) with Yuri Arcurs catching up quickly.
The site also shows portfolio size, downloads per day, downloads per file, and total ratings for each portfolio, and the list can be sorted by any of these metrics. It also provides charts of downloads over the previous 30 days and some general statistics about all monitored accounts at the top.
Didier Kobi’s Tools
On his Studio Araminter website, Didier Kobi has created some interesting tools which compare top microstock contributor statistics as well as their images. The comparison chart on the main page shows the top contributors and their photos, plus those of a few not-so-top contributors who requested our accounts be added. It also retains the data each time Didier does an update, so you can go back in time to see how the landscape of what’s selling has changed over time.
This is a great tool to get a sense of what the top contributors are shooting and which of their photos are selling. While it’s often said that tools like this encourage copying of the top selling photos, there’s little point doing so unless you can do it better.
Didier also has a statistics tools which allow you to compare your own performance against that of another microstock contributor, or compare two other contributors. Find this tool via the “my statistics” link in the top-right corner.
LookStat is one of the most exciting microstock mash tools to emerge so far. It aims to empower contributors to extract information they can use from the massive data generated by their microstock portfolios. At the moment the website is early beta, but creator Rahul Pathak has some amazing features planned. See the LookStat blog for an informative commentary on their development.
Already, the system collects data from three of the top microstock agencies and presents earnings charts for various timescales and the top-earning (as distinct from top selling) images for the same time periods. I’ll be writing a formal review of this service as it gets more functionality online.
The three microstock uploading utilities (ProStockMaster, StockPhotoExpress and CushyStock) are software programs rather than websites, but they use some of the same technology to interact with microstock agency websites, namely their APIs, RSS/XML and FTP.
Which Ones do You Use?
Are there any I’ve missed? Which ones do you use?