30 Nov 2008 This Month in Microstock – November 2008
There was no shortage of action in the microstock market this month. The Thanksgiving holiday in the US had its effect on sales, though most of us microstock contributors are bracing ourselves for the bigger drop in December when the seasonal festivities kick in.
Shutterstock passed the 5 million online images milestone right at the start of the month. They took five years to reach 4 million but only four months to reach 5 million after adding more than 300,000 images to the portfolio in the month of October. Right behind Shutterstock, Dreamstime passed the 4 million images milestone this month. Then, iStockphoto added file number 4 million too. Dreamstime recently overtook the total portfolio quantity of iStockphoto who restrict upload quantity more than any other agency. Here’s an updated chart of agency portfolio growth.
Fotolia continues to test the theory that bad news causes less harm when it’s not news at all. On Thursday 27th they adjusted ranking levels, drastically increasing the quantity of sales required to qualify to raise prices and earn higher commissions. As is becoming customary, Fotolia staff were scrambling for information themselves in order to answer questions from a confused and upset contributor base. On an offsite forum Chad Bridwell later explained that sales are now much higher than when the ranking levels were created and contributors were rising throuhg the rankings too quickly, thus making Fotolia comparitively expensive – or more so than they want to be.
Still, while they continue to sell as many photos as they do there’s few ramifications for them in squeezing more out of their contributors. Despite this hard economic reality, some contributors still feel like their microstock agencies owe them something.
CanStockPhoto made an ambiguous announcement about “an acquisition” and becoming and an “affiliate” of Fotosearch.com. I guess nothing came of the promises for a website overhaul and removal of non-selling photos back in February.
My article about Yuri Arcurs the entrepreneur stirred up some heated debate in the comments with Jim Pickerell, Don Farrall, exclusive diamond iStockphoto contributor Pali Rao (peepo), and Yuri himself exploring RPIs in microstock versus traditional stock, image lifespan and the future of stock photography.
PDN’s David Walker wrote an impressive articles on high volume microstock producers titled Micro Machines.
Ellen Boughn explained a key opportunity for microstockers looking to make it big – branding yourself to stand out in the crowd.
I did my first audio interview with microstocker and podcaster David Allen who asked me about my own microstock experience as well as my thoughts on the industry.