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.

Microstock News

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.

Microstock Agency Portfolio Growth Chart

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.

Microstock Press

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.

  • Borg
    Posted at 11:52h, 30 November Reply

    Hi Lee!

    Do You know anything about new Moneybookers payouts problem from US microstock agencies!?


  • Han Cheng
    Posted at 22:14h, 30 November Reply

    Fotolia seem to have killed my affiliate. There was no activities from affiliates at all which should have been so.

  • Don Farrall
    Posted at 02:04h, 01 December Reply

    Lee, just a little spelling correction, a simple mistake than many make. It’s Don Farrall, not Farrell.


    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 02:09h, 01 December Reply

      My apologies Don. I’ve corrected the mistake. Thanks for letting me know.


  • rod
    Posted at 22:23h, 01 December Reply


    I have an article about microstock in a Chinese photograph Forum. Can I use the updated chart of agency portfolio growth in that? I’ll give the source in my thread. Thanks.

    – Rod

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 22:34h, 02 December Reply

      Yes, no problem Rod. Thanks for asking.


      • rod
        Posted at 03:34h, 04 December Reply

        Thank you again,Lee!!


  • James
    Posted at 12:49h, 03 December Reply

    Fantastic numbers for a part time gig! Great work as usual Lee! 🙂 My earnings were down 50% this month 🙁

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