21 Nov 2011 PhotoDune Review

PhotoDune logoPhotoDune has now been online for four months. Having just announced an increase of non-exclusive royalties from 25% to 33%, it seems a good time to do a formal review.

In the short time the latest Envato marketplace has been online, we’ve seen a lot of positive signs:

  • The collection size at PhotoDune is growing quickly, already above 400,000.
  • Top contributors have been publicly saying great things about the early sales at PhotoDune, including Andres Rodriguez, Pressmaster and CandyBox Images.
  • The public sales stats of top contributors on PhotoDune is demonstrating impressive sales performance for such a young microstock agency.
  • And perhaps best of all, the CEO of the company, Collis Ta’eed, has been spending a lot of time communicating directly with microstock contributors both on PhotoDune’s own forum and Tyler’s MSG forum.

So let’s take a closer look at PhotoDune.

What’s Different About PhotoDune?

There’s no shortage of things that set PhotoDune apart from a regular microstock startup, and also distinguish it from the established agencies.

The primary difference is the background of the company, having successfully grown eight other digital asset marketplaces over the past five years. This experience not only gives Envato a head start with the technology experience, but brings a large existing customer base right in to PhotoDune.   Envato membership passed 1 million members in September, most of whom are buyers with registered payment details.

The team has also used some original ideas to differentiate the agency from established microstock agencies.   First, the previews are huge!   They’re heavily watermarked to make them un-usable, but buyers get a very detailed view of the image before making their buying decision. Second, extended licenses are priced based on the size purchased.   This original idea is based on direct buyer feedback and helps open up the market for extended usage while still generating higher prices for uses that require bigger files.

PhotoDune Details

Web Address photodune.net
Google Pagerank 6
Alexa Rank 6,642
Portfolio size 400,000
Minimum Image Size 2000 x 2000 pixels
Vectors No, see GraphicRiver
Footage No, see VideoHive
Licenses Royalty Free, Extended License
Compensation 33% non-exclusive, 50% – 70% exclusive
Pricing $1 – $9 based on size.
Payment Methods PayPal and MoneyBookers (Skrill)
Payout Threshold $50 for PayPal, Moneybookers & Payoneer, or $500 for bank transfer
Referral Program Buyer only, 30% of first purchase or cash deposit
Application Process 10 question test
Exclusivity Optional image exclusivity
Upload Methods Web and FTP, or hard drive for large collections
IPTC Data extraction Yes
Delete images? Yes, immediately and individually
Currencies US dollars
Languages English
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Founded 2011

Pros and Cons

PhotoDune has great sales volume for a such a new entry.   Leveraging their existing buyer base and technical competence has given them a huge advantage which they’ve successfully converted into consistent and growing sales volume.

Submission is not the best, but far from the worst and the Envato team are making constant improvements. Uploading your existing portfolio requires the usual laborious submission work, similar to most mid-tier agencies.

A low commission rate was a mark against PhotoDune at 25%, but now that it’s 33%, it’s much easier to swallow.

Prices are not the highest at PhotoDune. We contributors tend to prefer new agencies that don’t undercut existing ones, as much as we realize that makes it difficult for the new agencies. The largest size at PhotoDune is only $9, which is much lower than at the top microstock agencies, but not as low as many new entrants.

Some contributors have taken issue with the low price of extended licenses when sold at smaller sizes, but given the limited things people can do with such small sizes, we’re not actually giving away as much as some make it out to be.   It’s at least a positive thing that Envato have listened to their buyers and made the original move of pricing extended licenses by size.

The Verdict

It’s pretty easy to upload to PhotoDune and sales are better than at any new startup microstock agency since, well, they’re probably more lucrative than any other microstock agency was after just six months.

Their reputation for listening to contributors is also second-to-none, so while making the difficult “balance between agency sustainability, buyers needs and contributor needs”, they seem to be keeping everyone happy so far.

So it’s a pretty easy decision for most serious microstock contributors. PhotoDune will clearly be a worthwhile addition to your distribution workflow.

You can sign up with PhotoDune here.

  • Federico
    Posted at 03:04h, 25 November Reply

    mmmm… I’m photodune non-exclusive, and right now my last sale is stil 25%. probably the increase in royalty is not for all 😉 (I’m in the top 50 contributors on photodune)

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 11:41h, 28 November Reply

      The new royalty rate doesn’t take effect until December 1st. A few more days to wait.

      • Federico
        Posted at 12:10h, 30 November Reply

        thanx Lee

  • ep stockphoto
    Posted at 11:48h, 25 November Reply

    Hello friends,
    we are just uploading our collection to photodune after reading your two reviews. The site looks really good and we really like the interface and easy process of submitting images after ftp batch upload. great profile page for contributors too.

    ep stockphoto team

  • Teus
    Posted at 08:45h, 26 November Reply

    royalty is still 25% there is no mention of 33% like you do on their website.

    “Selling Non-Exclusively: 25%
    If you are choosing to sell the same content as you are selling on another marketplace or on your own site then you fall into the non-exclusive group. Non-exclusive authors receive 25% of each sale they make on the Envato Marketplaces.”

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 11:43h, 28 November Reply

      December 1st is when it starts. Until then, it’s still 25%.

  • Zbynek Burival
    Posted at 10:09h, 26 November Reply

    I dont say 25% is much but its MUCH more then offer well established (and very greedish) agencies like IStock or Fotolia. Im not sure about Shutterstock but definitey its not over 30%, I also saw analysis saying its under 20%.

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