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Please consider making Download numbers private

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cobalt
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Eingestellt Tue Dec 6, 2011 5:32PM
Hi everyone,


I´d like to make a suggestion that I think will help both the istock collection and the artists longterm.

I would like to ask for the option to have download numbers and my total download number on the artist page set to private.

istock has over 100 000 artists and many new artists are coming in every year. I believe this is wondeful and there still is so much content missing that there is enough room for many more people, especially as only a small number of those coming in will eventually do stock regularly. But the open plattform is a fantastic opportunity and I hope istock will always have very reasonable admittance criteria so that we always get enough fresh blood.

However, we are all here to make money. And because stock has to be produced on a very, very tight budget to get your investment back, of course everyone would love to have a crystal ball to predict what will sell. Well, in fact - the crystal ball is right there - just look at the download numbers! Any file with a red or blue flame is just screaming out "copy me, copy me - I will make you rich". 

 Not everyone copies intentionally, but just take a look at BM and you see how many of the blue flames are right next to the "inspired" ones.

 Of course, we are all exposed to the media and very few images are truly unique, but coming up with a new series is very hard work and it is extremely frustrating to do a search a year later, to see that all your bestsellers have found "fans". 

BM obviously needs to have a good proportion of new images. With the RC system even a newbie has the chance to compete with the established pros. The clock is reset every year. In principle, this is a very good idea, it really does encourage new artists to come in.

But unfortunately some people try to be "cost effective" by just copying the bestsellers, often in excellent quality, and of course save themselves a lot of time for experimenting and testing new ideas and concepts. The established artists are then forced to reinvent their own bestsellers, to make sure they always have something coming up in BM.

This is a vicious cycle that leads to many duplicates in the collection.

In other business areas you apply for patents to protect your ideas and development time, but with stock it is very difficult to get genuine image protection.

However, Getty themselves and all the other Getty agencies (Thinkstock, photos, jupiter, punchstock) and many other competing agencies, also micros, never show download numbers and their customers seem to be just fine with it.


On a regular basis I do test searches on both istock and getty, but on getty I have never seen any images that would suggest someone is trying to copy my getty bestsellers. The reason is obvious: nobody knows which one of my files is worth copying!

 So - please consider to give us the option to hide our business results from the public. Maybe some artists want to show their numbers, that is why I am suggesting an option only.

 The fuzzy numbers unfortunately are not enough, any file that has downloads, especially more than 10 in the first 6 months - is a visible bestseller, worth copying. 


I know that it would have to be done gradually to minimize any complaints from buyers, but i do believe buyers can be educated that it is also in their interest to have less duplicats on the site and more creative choices. 


Also the buyers are getting very high quality files at excellent prices and since this is all RF they never have the guarentuee that they are the only one using the image.


Our files are now being distributed over several sites - Vetta via Getty, and many exclusives and all non exclusives have their portfolios also on thinkstock and photos.com - so what is the download number really telling you with so many sales channels?? You can still offer a search by "popularity", but that does not have to be an exact version of total download numbers - it could be a mix of all time bestsellers, with bestsellers of the last 12 months for instance. 


Wouldn´t it be wiser to think longterm, give the successful artists more protection for their work and encourage everyone to be creatively inspired - not financially?


Thank you for reading until here smile.


 

(Edited on 2011-12-06 17:41:07 by cobalt)
lucentius
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Wed Dec 7, 2011 2:21AM
I support cobalt's suggestion. A contributor 'looking for inspiration' could always sort by 'most popular' and achieve the same result, but at least iStock would be signalling that it prefers fresh content and new ways of looking at old topics. The Getty inspired 'authenticity' project is interesting but will make little impact (too much overlap with the 50 billion images snapped every day on the planet). The public image of the site will be drawn from the quality of the main collection; allowing it to become stale with content full of cloned cliches isn't good in the long term.
cobalt
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Eingestellt Thu Dec 8, 2011 11:15PM

If you look at artists portfolios on Getty, IMO they are often more creative and do unusual things than on istock. Many times you can see how a portfolio develops, someone will start out doing "normal" portraits or stock and gradually the portfolio blossoms into something very unique and special.

 They don´t seem to have so many portfolios copying each other. Of course Getty also has strict editors, but they also seem to accept more creative content, even with bad lighting or things that are clearly overfiltered. Not so many series, many portfolios sem to be more based on unusual single images. 

Of course istock has lots of creative artists, but I think at some point, if you really make a living from it you have to "defend" your niche and always make sure you supply images in a similar style before someone else takes over. How much time do you have left to try something completely new? I do it as well, the mantra is becoming reshoot, upload repeat and too little of really new shootings. 

If you do any search by age, the content is fresh, but the ideas are often vey, very similar to the blue flames of that search. 


If I do a any kind of search on getty, I see a lot more unusual images. Again, just my very personal opnion. 

(Edited on 2011-12-08 23:22:45 by cobalt)
FrankRamspott
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Illustration downloadsMitglied ist ein KontrolleurExklusivExklusiver iStock Grafiker
Eingestellt Fri Dec 9, 2011 1:19AM

I really understand your suggestion. But I'm not sure it would address the problem. If you do a search by Best Match you will get the more successfully images nevertheless.


The other side is that I probably never had started to selling images here on iStockphoto, if there wouldn't have been this feature to seeing the download numbers. That was an enormous incentive for me that this whole microstock system really could work for me as a contributor, even with such low pricing. And for the whole company it's important to find new talented contributors every day, especially the exclusive ones. 


I also do not like copycats, but that's competition. In every business there's the same competition. You simply have to be better than the copycats. Recently Amazon "copied" the iPad and calls it KindleFire... Somehow they seems to know that the iPad is crazy successful
cobalt
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Eingestellt Fri Dec 9, 2011 8:46AM
In traditional business you have patents and other means to protect your work, otherwise it is impossible to invest money into research.  And no business publishes the details of how much everything in his warehouse sells. No online or normal retail shop could survive if they had to post live sales stats of all their products. Some shops will give you the "Top 10" hot items, but never, ever will they give you all their sales data. istock doesn´t give us their sales data either, as much as we would love to see it. wink

 istock is no longer a "micro" agency, prices have risen all over the market. That you can make serious money with istock is no longer a secret. Anyone interested in stock can learn this from a google search and all the blog posts.


I know that you can never stop the competition, I don´t want to, it is part of life. But our download numbers are our most personal business assets and I really think it is doing damage to my business that everyone can see them. 


Especially now with Thinkstock etc..the numbers no longer hold value for the buyer, an exclusive file with zero downloads can have over a 100 downloads on partner sites. With independent material you anyway don´t know how often it has been sold.


So - the only people left to benefit from the numbers are the copycats. 


Getty only has a BM and search by file age, but no search by downloads. They don´t seem to have a problem attracting customers or talent. Neither does our biggest "micro" competitor.


I know the copying will not stop instantly when the numbers are gone, but I believe it would send a very important message "Do your own thing - be creative" 

(Edited on 2011-12-09 19:54:22 by cobalt)
sjlocke
Member is a Black Diamond contributor and has more than 200,000 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Illustration downloadsExklusivExklusiver iStock GrafikerExklusiver iStockphoto-Videoanbieter
Eingestellt Fri Dec 9, 2011 8:51AM

Posted By fr73:
The other side is that I probably never had started to selling images here on iStockphoto, if there wouldn't have been this feature to seeing the download numbers. That was an enormous incentive for me that this whole microstock system really could work for me as a contributor, even with such low pricing. And for the whole company it's important to find new talented contributors every day, especially the exclusive ones.


Even more of an argument for hiding our numbers.
vesperstock
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloads
Eingestellt Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:37AM
Removing access to data is never useful. I honestly think hiding numbers completely will result in more unsaleable work being uploaded. So, share as much as possible and have confidence in the quality of your work. If it's easy to do, you won't be the only person doing it. That's the nature of microstock as a business model.
meadowmouse
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:47PM

the inspectors are there to filter out 'unusable' work - and they have refused things I've sent in because istock didn't have a need for it.    But I agree - there will never be images that are isolated - whether they are good sellers or not.  


There was that girl blowing the dandelion - it's not a unique subject.  It was just that that particular picture hit the spot - and if someone sunk so low to go copy that photo - that would really say something about them. I understnad the fear of being copied and losing money because of it.  But I don't think that hiding the numbers is the answer - I think it's up to each person's individual ethics.  And that can't be mandated by the company... 
cobalt
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Eingestellt Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:26PM

But why should I be made to suffer financially, if other contributors have "bad ethics"?


The dandelion image you refer to and many other files with blue flames or higher have been copied tremendously, both here and on other places. And the artist has lost money because of it, especially if BM pushes newer files including the copies.


Why do you think Getty never shows any download numbers?


After all many best sellers are copied and then uploaded to competitors, thus our collection becomes less unique. Especially with V/A files and all exclusive content I don´t understand why istock advertises to the competition what would be advisable to include in their "higher priced" collections. 


Best selling files should be a closely guarded trade secret, istock never publishes their daily sales numbers - so why do they publish ours?


 
kelvinjay
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:51PM
My personal take on it is that it's potentially useful for clients to see if an image has sold well before. I understand that they may choose to buy or pass over a file if it has more than a handful of sales and especially if they're hoping for something relatively unique. My issue is really just the degree of how detailed you make this sales information to the public.

I think there is a compromise to be had though. I'd be happy with a system that reports the current fuzzy sales up until it hits flames and then once it's over 100 sales I don't see why that's of anyone's concern but the creator of it. I'd happily do away with any public indication of files that have sold more than 100 times, I'd just have it say >100 downloads and remove the higher flame indications.
pastorscott
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:22PM
There are those who advocate stealing to become the artist you are meant to be.
anchev
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloads
Eingestellt Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:28PM
Don't change anything please! Enough things have been changed and bugged and we all suffer from it.

So please leave everything as is. Stop shaking the boat. The weather is bad enough.
aetb
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsExklusiver iStock-Audiokünstler
Eingestellt Wed Feb 8, 2012 10:08PM

In my opinion, competition is great... so like that it alwais get better. I tried to look at what sells like said bellow but found that it was a bit saturated so I decided to create some personal stuff. I might copy stuff one day just because I can... and why not !? ... But honestly, this is borring and I'd prefer to do something better and more creative. Look at my latest images and you'll see... nothing to do with what's on the best seller. Hope my english is comprehensible enough. As a professional photographer / videographer, I was one of the first to use old 8mm look... like 5 years ago, then it's trendy... then I tried to do anamorphic flare philer, then it's more then trendy now. I alwais have to try to be different and new, that's how it is and I love it like that because it puch me to get beter. Now that you're talking about red and blue flaag... I'll take a look... don't even know what it is yet.


I'm so new in this !


and the only reason why I would not people to see my download is because I only have 11 download in total. Yep... very new !


 
aetb
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsExklusiver iStock-Audiokünstler
Eingestellt Wed Feb 8, 2012 10:10PM
Posted By pastorscott:
There are those who advocate stealing to become the artist you are meant to be. smile

well... I can create without copying something... I have my own ideas sometimes and those are the best.
spanglish
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Illustration downloadsExklusivExklusiver iStock GrafikerExklusiver iStockphoto-Videoanbieter
Eingestellt Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:29PM
I am a contributer here, but I am also a client. I do support that we should see how many times a file has been downloaded... I try and stay away from files that have been downloaded more than 100 times, I don't want my client to see the image they chose being used by a competitor... I think it is a benefit for the buyer.
sandiegoa
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:48PM
I agree.  I think the number of DL's per image is an important number to be considered by customers when looking for "fresh" images.  I also think it does help inspire (not copy) other artists.  Keep the numbers. 
DeniseBush
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:32PM
I think it is possible to feel like someone has 'stolen' your idea when in fact they just had the same good idea.
cobalt
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Eingestellt Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:51PM

to spanglish


but what do you do if the file has zero or hardly any downloads on istock but over 100 or many more on thinkstock or photos.com?


I have many files with few or zero downloads that are bestsellers in the partner program. So for you as a customer, the numbers on istock are very misleading, unless the artist has opted out of the pp program.
hsvrs
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsExklusiv
Eingestellt Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:24AM
i started on istock cause i seen the numbers of downloads. its transparent and trustful. why to change. its been always this way. everyone knew that when starting to sale images here.
sjlocke
Member is a Black Diamond contributor and has more than 200,000 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Illustration downloadsExklusivExklusiver iStock GrafikerExklusiver iStockphoto-Videoanbieter
Eingestellt Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:27AM
Because we are all not little kiddies with a point and shoot anymore. This is now real money, real business.
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