24 Apr 2008 MostPhotos

MostPhotos logoMostPhotos has been making a little noise in the microstock market lately, so I decided to take a closer look. What I discovered is that they’re not your ordinary microstock agency.

Defining themselves as “the democratic stock agency”, they’re intentionally different. There’s no image review process, photos are rated by other contributors, and they offer a new kind of exclusivity. Read on for more details.

MostPhotos Background

MostPhotos started life as a Swedish stock photo agency in 2005 but recently switched to English and launched globally. There is still a heavy Scandinavian presence around the site’s users and language, and I understand all of their current marketing budget is spent in that part of the world.

Details

Web Address www.mostphotos.com
Google Pagerank 3
Google Backlinks 51
Alexa Rank 621,591
Image Stats None provided
Minimum Image Size 4 megapixels
Vectors No
Footage No
Licenses Royalty Free, Editorial and Exclusive (buyout)
Compensation 50% or 70% for exclusive buyout
Pricing €25 for Royalty Free, set your own price for Exclusive Buyout
Payment Methods PayPal, Moneybookers or bank transfer (€2 fee)
Payout Threshold None, request payout at any balance
Referral Program Pays €1 for each sale by referred buyers and contributors
Application Process No application, just submit
Exclusivity Exclusive Buyout only – see below
Upload Methods HTML upload form, FTP
IPTC Data Yes
Currencies Euro
Languages English, Swedish
Headquarters Västerås, Sweden

Cool Features

No Reviews – submitted photos are automatically accepted and instantly made available for sale. Any images not meeting the legal guidelines can be reported and will be removed by administrators.

Peer Ratings – you can earn points for rating other contributors’ photos. The authority of your ratings rises with your quantity of points. This gives photos a ‘MostPhotos Index’ value, or MPI, designed to replace a review system and empower democratic contributor self-regulation. MPI has a small effect on search order results, but much less that buyer views and sales.

Aside from saving the cost of reviewers, this strategy permits photos into the collection that aren’t what’s typically considered ‘stock’. According to management this is already successful as buyers are starting to seek out more ‘real’ images.

But there are downsides to this strategy. Contributors upset at low ratings occasionally retaliate by returning low ratings to the offending contributor’s entire portfolio. This makes contributors play safe and only give out high ratings. MPI monitors for inconsistencies such as these retaliations and adjusts the authority value of offenders accordingly. You can also block other contributors by name so they can’t rate any more of your photos.

A New Exclusivity – you have the option to sell photos with an exclusive buyout license at a price of your choice. How this differs from exclusive buyouts at other agencies is that the photo cannot be previously sold or listed for sale in any other place. The buyer isn’t buying the copyright, but contributors are agreeing that there are no other license holders for the photo and that it will not be sold again.

Request Comment – you can request other site members review your photos. The more points you’ve earned, the more photos you can put up for critique.

Free Backup – at any time you can download your own images from MostPhotos at full size and without watermarks. This serves as a free backup service in case you lose your original files.

Verdict

The controversial MPI system is intended to serve as a democratic quality control system, but receives more attention from upset contributors who are the recipients of unjustified negative reviews. It also aids images that are more artistic than commercial, as they appeal more to photographers than photo buyers. Still, if buyers are indeed looking for less perfect stock images, this will strategy will give MostPhotos a competitive advantage.

Other microstockers already contributing to MostPhotos are reporting weak sales which is consistent with the age of the agency, but also consistent with their higher than usual €25 price tag. However, the high 50% commission will help make contributing more attractive to microstockers.

MostPhotos encourages contributors to add as many keywords as they can. Combined with a no-review policy, this will make it difficult for buyers to find what they’re seeking. I cannot understand this strategy, and I’m not sure if it’s a sign of market naivety their part or my misinterpretation on mine.

When considering a new agency I always look to see which top microstockers are contributing – none are active at MostPhotos. Many new agencies incentivize top performers to contribute, but to my knowledge MostPhotos haven’t used this strategy.

There are many things to like about MostPhotos and I’m keen to see how their strategies work out. However, with the closure of one of the more prominent microstock agencies still in fresh memory, I find myself less inclined to invest the time to contribute my entire portfolio. I’m going to upload some images as a test batch and keep watching. If MostPhotos can support their strategies with buyer growth I’ll happily add them to my list.

15 Comments
  • allievn
    Posted at 13:12h, 24 April Reply

    The mostphotos.com site has a fault;
    You can not register; it kicks out all aplications because you are too young.
    I put in dates of birth from my date (1965) to 1900,
    Still did not work, too young???

  • Rasmus
    Posted at 22:27h, 24 April Reply

    Personally, I’m not so sure about the model as presented here. To me, it looks like it puts too much power into the hands of the users. A well-organized clique could easily boost each other’s search rankings or even negatively affect competitors. And with no inspection process, there is bound to be endless amounts of useless photos (either technically bad or legally questionable – who checks for model releases for instance?), which might scare off and frustrate potential buyers. I wish the Swedes the best of luck, but reserve the right to say I told you so.

  • allievn
    Posted at 10:56h, 25 April Reply

    Problem on 2008-04-24 has been fixed, I was able to register,
    Thank you
    allievn

  • pdtnc
    Posted at 04:27h, 07 September Reply

    Just signed up (obviously with your link and added your name to the referrer box too), I see MP is on the rise in the Polls at MSG so with the easy upload procedure it should be easy to get my portfolio online and can’t hurt to try things out. 🙂

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 13:39h, 07 September Reply

      Thanks Adrian. I’ll be watching for the results.

      -Lee

  • pdtnc
    Posted at 05:32h, 07 September Reply

    Oh, btw, i borrowed your mostohotos.png too 😉 Hope that was OK 🙂

  • Gary
    Posted at 13:48h, 01 October Reply

    No hurt to give a try. I have used the fileZilla(free ftp software) to ftp upload over 4000 images in few days very easily. If I can get 2 sales a month it would beat some of my other sites. I did not see any downside yet. I will give an update when I get a sale.

    You may see my images at http://www.mostphotos.com/gary718.

    Thanks,

    Gary

  • Luis Santos
    Posted at 17:35h, 09 June Reply

    any news ideias from this agency? continue not worth? thanks

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 17:38h, 09 June Reply

      They continue to innovate with new features and tweaks to their business model, but I’m yet to hear news of consistent sales from those who contribute to MostPhotos.

  • Jamie
    Posted at 10:34h, 02 May Reply

    I just signed up at Most Photos, and I have my entire portfolio of around 800+ images uploaded within 2 days. Their upload system is extremely easy, only thing I don’t like is they don’t approve photos, they just let anyone upload anything they want, so if you are searching for something to buy, it might get a little crowded.

  • Eric B
    Posted at 22:31h, 04 May Reply

    MostPhotos now accepts vector files. But you must enter the tags yourself.

  • Eric
    Posted at 09:51h, 26 February Reply

    Are you sure other users can “retaliate” for low ratings you might give? Low ratings don’t show up for anyone from my observation. Only the good ratings. I might be wrong.

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 20:33h, 26 February Reply

      Maybe, and it’s possible this changed in the time since this review was written in April 2008.

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