Shutterstock has just launched a contributor lightboxes tool which they’re calling Catalog Manager.Â You can access it via logging in to the submission site.
The tool has two purposes:
One: Earnings by Lightbox
By grouping individual files into lightboxes you can see the combined earnings of all the files together, just like at Dreamstime.Â This is useful for analyzing our own portfolios by any different metric.Â Unfortunately that’s it.Â The tool stops short of providing more useful measures such as how long the files have been online or downloads per day – critical factors if we are to really understand how our photos are performing.
Two: Promote your Lightboxes
The lightboxes, or “Catalogs” can be promoted via a link which automatically integrates your affiliate code, much like the Twitter and Facebook integrations that Shutterstock pioneered. Promoting catalogs in this way is the same as the My.Fotolia service launched in 2007 and shut down last year due to lack of participation and traffic.
Where Are They Going with This?
The announcement, full of spin at a level usually reserved for customers, touts this feature as unique. That may have been true for the promotion part as Fotolia shut down their version last year, but it’s really no different to creating a lightbox at any other agency and adding your affiliate code to the link. And it’s not true for the earnings-by-lightbox part as Dreamstime have had that functionality for years.
Most of the new functionality benefits Shutterstock much more than it benefits contributors. Personally I can understand that – we’re all here to maximize our own profits – but I object to it being marketed to me as the “most requested” function along with near-deceptive claims about their affiliate program.Â There’s a very long list of contributor functionality higher on the priority list than this, and affiliate programs with ongoing referral payments are many times more lucrative than Shutterstock’s one-time payout.
The video also highlights the nice drag and drop functionality. If used on the release matching page, that technology would save contributors considerable submission costs.
So while this new update is very welcome, it’s not unique, and actually quite overdue.Â It’s a big disappointment after the original and useful Keyword Trends Tool launched in July.
Posted October 6th, 2011 by Lee Torrens