21 Nov 2011 PhotoDune 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.
|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|
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.
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.