30 Aug 2007 Microstock Under an Alias?
The better microstock agencies require photo ID to become an approved contributor. This ensures your account is registered in your name. However, there are no rules against using a legitimate alias or derivative of your name. Here are some of the reasons I’ve come across.
Microstock is something that can be done part time or full time. It’s likely that the majority of microstock contributors have other careers that generate the bulk of their income. Separating your careers by using an alias can provide much needed clarity in your identity.
The most famous example of this is ultra-successful microstocker Yuri Arcurs, who uses this alias to separate his microstock business from his academic career. It works. There are over 70,000 entries in Google for “Yuri Arcurs” but only 21 for his full name.
The clients who booked yesterday just rang to cancel. They Google’d your name and discovered you sell photos on the Internet for a dollar while you’re charging them thousands to photograph their event. Here’s some quick and easy responses:
“The photos I sell online are available to the public and sell hundreds of times. If I do a good job I can earn more per photo with microstock than I’m charging you.”
“Good luck finding a photographer who’ll charge one dollar per photo after spending a day shooting your event.”
“Sign this model release and your photos will cost you a dollar too.”
Some photographers have reputations to protect:
Established photographers known for high quality work may sell “lesser” photos as microstock anonymously. While this may have worked in the past, microstock is quickly becoming a market where only the highest quality photos are successful.
Microstock is an appealing market to the struggling photographic artist, who may not want commercial images coming back to haunt them once they’ve established a reputation.
Many photographers are holding on to the belief that microstock is destroying the commercial photography market. Using an alias is an effective way for a photographer to avoid unwanted social pressure from their peers.
Microstock can be a business. A business can own assets and photos are an asset. One advantage of having your microstock portfolio owned by a business is that you can sell it. Registering your microstock accounts under a business name, while technically not an alias, is another way to legitimately separate your name from your microstock.
Ron Chapple has created the brand iofoto to, among other things, manage his microstock portfolios. In this case I know it’s not his intention, but if Chapple so chose he could neatly sell iofoto as an established business with photos as assets and ongoing revenue from royalties.
What About You?
Do you have your accounts in your own name, the name of a business or an alias?