31 May 2007 Microstock Referral Program Progress

I wanted to follow up my review of microstock referral programs with a progress report. The review showed that there was a lot of variety in the details of the programs across all the microstock websites reviewed. My experiences so far have been equally varied.

Let’s take a look at the numbers so far.

Website Departures Arrivals Conversion Earnings
iStockphoto 123 ? 2 $20
ShutterStock 129 ? 4 $42.45
Dreamstime 93 ? 2
Fotolia 117 ? 2
BigStockPhoto 105 97 6
CanStockPhoto 115 ? 1
123rf 63 48 0
StockXpert 51 19 0
LuckyOliver 68 ? 4 $4
  • Departures – number of times the referral link on my website has been clicked (not a perfect measure)
  • Arrivals – number of referred visitors arrived as recorded by the receiving website
  • Conversion – number of referred visitors who registered on the receiving website
  • Earnings – amount of referral income since starting this blog in March 2007 until now

A family member has just completed his university study of photography. He had been interested in what we were doing with microstock, and we finally convinced him to give it a go. Looking over his shoulder at his computer, I directed him here to my blog and had him click the referral links and create accounts at each website. Now, he’s a great photographer, but doesn’t yet have a large portfolio, and much of what he does have are not electronic. Therefore, he wasn’t accepted on all the websites, but it’s interesting to see which websites showed him as a referral and which didn’t!

Let’s have a quick look at each one:

iStockphoto – Two buyer referrals. Not bad for a blog targeting contributors. I had low expectations for this one, but it’s already my second highest earner!

ShutterStock – I love this referral program! High conversion rate, transparent reporting and actually performs!

Dreamstime – Disappointing reporting, disappointing conversion and disappointing earningsl. Room for improvement.

Fotolia – Great reporting, disappointing conversion, and no earnings yet.

BigStockPhoto – Actually reports received referrals, and seeminly very accurately. Great conversion, but yet to see any earnings. I presume I’m waiting for referred contributors to reach 75 approved photos for my one-time $5 referral bonus.

CanStockPhoto – Hard to know what’s happening here. Limited reporting and no results to show.

123rf – Reports all details but so far no conversions or earnings.

StockXpert – Excellent reporting, everything except identifying registration. Terrible conversion rate. Nothing yet.

LuckyOliver – Only reporting is when you get paid for a referred registration, but it seems to be working. Very happy here.

I’m pleased with my humble beginnings in microstock referral programs and I look forward to seeing which ones grow with the blog. I’m collecting monthly earning data and once I have a few months collected I’ll post a chart.

I’ve spoken with others who blog in the microstock space, and they’re reporting better results. Once my traffic is a little higher I’ll start tweaking to see if I can positively impact the performance of the programs. Fun times ahead!

Do you use the referral programs? How do your experiences compare to mine?

  • Photonomikon
    Posted at 18:22h, 28 December Reply

    The only referral program I use is Shutterstock’s, although I operate on all 12 most important microstock sites.
    The SS one works very well, but unfortunately I haven’t tried to catch new referrals since 2005. I have 4 referrals out of which only 2 guys are active but one of these 2 has a very nice portfolio so I’m getting a steady trickle from him.

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