14 Apr 2008 YAYmicro
The last thing most microstock contributors want is more microstock agencies. But sometimes one comes along which puts all its energy into creating a strategy that pleases everyone. Impossible, right? Well YAYmicro comes as close as any I’ve seen.
YAYmicro are currently seeking contributions in preparation for their launch to buyers in June. I need to be really impressed to write a review prior to an agency proving its ability to achieve high sales, let alone before they launch. I’ve actually already had quite a few email conversations with YAYmicro management about their strategy and then more in preparation for this review. I even convinced them to buy an ad button here to increase their exposure to contributors! But what impressed me about YAYmicro management was their strategy. They have the fundamental understanding of people that are often observed in ultra-successful businesses of other markets, specifically: openness, simplicity, high ambition, preparation, and a solid connection to reality.
So what makes their strategy so impressive? Here’s my own list:
- Commissions at 50% – not so low you feel you’re getting a poor deal, but not so high that the agency can’t afford to grow and promote
- Function over form – the website is deliciously simple, no fuss, logically organized and fast loading
- Prices and sizes that consider the market – web sized images are €1 for low-budget buyers while large images are high enough to make it worthwhile for contributors at €10
- Subscriptions with high commission and size limits – contributor royalty is €1 for subscription sales which are restricted to medium size
- All logical facilities are already there – FTP upload, IPTC reading, and Vector support are fully operational at launch
- They’re lean and fast – the organization itself has a small team excluding their reviewers, so changes happen fast and overheads are low
- They give – 3% of their post-commission income will be contributed to Kiva.org
- They’re including Editorial licenses
YAYmicro comes out of the microstock hotbed that is Scandinavia, specifically Oslo in Norway. The three primary entrepreneurs all left Scanpix – Scandinavia’s largest image agency – to start the venture. They’ve already sourced funding from the Norwegian government.
|Minimum Image Size
|Royalty Free, Editorial
|50% or €1 for subscription sales
|€1, €5 & €10 or subscription (€150)
|PayPal & Moneybookers. €30 payout threshold
|not yet tested, but payments are sent shortly after they’re requested
|Yes, pays €0.10 per each sale of referred contributors for five years
|None, just start contributing
|FTP, Flash uploader, Java uploader, HTML form, CD or DVD or Hard Drive
|Yes, immediately and individually
The YAYmicro mission is “to be the best creative and editorial microstock agency in terms of quality, turn-over, reputation and satisfaction”. There’s nothing on their website to distract them from core business and achieving their mission.
Image reviewers are full-time staff working from the same office, not members from “the community”. As can be experienced at other microstock agencies, this results in vastly more consistent inspections and less frustration for contributors.
Many contributors will be pleased with the absence of upload quotas, the five different upload methods and subscriptions being limited to small and medium sizes. While not ‘features’, they’re definitely ‘cool’ from the contributor perspective.
Their website performs extremely well now while they have little traffic. We’ll have to wait to see see what resources they assign to it once they start receiving submissions en masse, add buyer traffic and start serving millions of thumbnails.
As they haven’t yet launched to buyers there’s no way to compare their sales performance, but in this special case I’ll come back and update this review after six months when I have some data to analyze.
Contributing images to an unproven agency is always a risk. It usually takes a lot to convince contributors to upload their portfolios prior to the existence of any evidence of success. In this case, I personally am impressed with both the strategy and execution of YAYmicro and I’ll be contributing my portfolio as soon as possible.
I don’t give my portfolio or my recommendations lightly, and it’s only after conversations with YayMicro management that I’m sufficiently confident to participate. I’m looking forward to being impressed again in June when they launch to buyers.