Phil

Symbiostock

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Phil    20

Anyone tried Symbioistock?  Described as an open-source WordPress theme with networked databases to sell images.

 

http://rising.blackstar.com/a-photo-agency-managed-by-the-crowd.html#more-17873

 

I noticed one caveat that it says it won't work in most "entry level" server environments due to "unique functions".  Whatever that means... 

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JohnB    74

I've not tried it. To me it just looks like a good way to help others sell their images.

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Phil    20

The Symbiostock search appears to have two basic modes.

 

Search my site only: Click Image Categories in the main menu bar. Choose the category from the submenu OR use the search bar at the top. If you use the search bar, you will get results from my site AND other Symbiostock members' sites. See next bullet.

Search my site AND other Symbiostock members: Enter your search term in the Search bar at the top. Search terms that match images on MY site will appear first. Images from other Symbiostock members's sites will follow, IF search term matches images at other sites.

 

 

As long as you have images that meet the search criteria yours will appear 1st - then others.   If you have no matches I assume the others in the network will be shown.   Not sure I see a down side if it works the same among all in the network.

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Brian Yarvin    253

I checked it out and have to wonder what's going to drive customers to the sites? Without a serious promotional campaign and good customer service to keep them there, it's just more photos on the web.

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Phil    20

I checked it out and have to wonder what's going to drive customers to the sites? Without a serious promotional campaign and good customer service to keep them there, it's just more photos on the web.

 

Agree.  Assuming Google indexes the images anyone who uses their own web site to sell images still needs promotion and customer service.

 

But given the above for those that wish to use their own web site to self-market and sell images the possibilities seem intriguing if there's some critical mass of networked Symbiostock web sites.

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John Mitchell    1,956

I checked it out and have to wonder what's going to drive customers to the sites? Without a serious promotional campaign and good customer service to keep them there, it's just more photos on the web.

 

I got the same impression. Photo buyers already have a mind-boggling number of images, agencies, portals, etc. to choose from on the Web.

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Christine    9

Hi, I am a member of the Symbiostock Network. 

The idea is that we each keep 100% of what we earn from our images rather than have agencies share whatever they feel fit with us and reduce it every time they get the urge, or do deals with our images of which we do not have any say.

The network - yes we will be showing potential clients work from other people as well as ourselves but it works both ways, my work appears on my network members plus other peoples results, if they keywords they enter are ones that I have promoted because I specialise in that sort of image.  It is very new, the first versions of the software were released in late March, we hope to be out of Beta shortly but even now members are getting sales and the directory of members is growing as more members join.

 

We know we will have to do some work to get clients but as least we are working 100% for ourselves, not other people's pockets :)

 

Entry level server - certain hosts such as 1&1 and GoDaddy have caused the developer a lot of headaches due to their restrictions, we found that ISP's such as Bluehost and Justhost are much more successfull.  I imagine as it gets more popular then members will probably go to dedicated servers

 

So far all the development discussions have taken place at the microstockgroup(dot)com forum where we have our own Symbiostock area, you are welcome to come and visit and join us if you wish

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Christine    9

Users can create their own prices and EULA's, and many of us do not mention RF 

 

 

Edit:   I have just added a link to my site so I am not quite so "anonymouse" :)

Edited by Christine
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I have created my own website with Symbiostock as I couldnt find anything to my liking, Ktools, Smugmug, Photoshelter, whatever, it was all paid subscriptions, or asking for commission or paying 300 dollar to use the software. Symbiostock is free open source, you can build whatever you want around it. If you want to sell RM, sell RM. If you want to sell editorial, sell editorial. You can do whatever you want. 

 

Here is a write up http://semmickphoto.com/2013/06/10/symbiostock-fair-trade-image-licenses/

 

Here is a fair review of the project http://blog.melchersystem.com/2013/05/08/crowd-managed-photo-agency

 

You can try it out, or not. I was skeptical as well, but as soon as I tried it, I was sold. And if you dont want to partake in the network, its a great tool to set up your own website with little knowledge and no cost. Plus the SEO of Symbiostock seems to compete with the agencies out there. People already reporting images placed above the stock agencies and people also reporting sales. 

 

At least there is a group of artist taking control after the so manieth price cut

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JohnB    74

That where my lost reputation point is. :D

 

Has anyone here sold any images through this system?

 

I might have a go myself on the "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" principle. :D

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Christine    9

Have you just looked at the opening page or the network itself, the beauty of it is that you can adapt things to how you want.  It is free and open source, it is evolving and nothing is set in stone.

 

 

JohnB - yes, some have sold images already,

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Andrew, you can sell whatever license you want. If someone says RF thats probably for THEIR site. Thats the beauty of it, you can do what you want. 

 

You said shame its only for RF, its not. Me and Christine explained that, but it seems you want it to be RF so you can knock it. 

 

Its your choice, its out there, ignore if its not for you.  ;)

 

Cheers. 

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OK, I give up with this thread. There are obviously people out there that don't like the facts taken from the website being quoted at them.

 

I don't see why I should keep getting my reputation hit for that. 

 

And for that reason, I am out (and out of the forum).

Edited by Andrew Spiers
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I checked it out and have to wonder what's going to drive customers to the sites? Without a serious promotional campaign and good customer service to keep them there, it's just more photos on the web.

 

This is key. It's all very well having a wonderfully interlinked network of independent traders but what's driving the traffic to the sites? This is why Alamy/Getty/Corbis are all fighting for market share. He who controls the client base makes the sales. No traffic = no sales, no matter how cheap or pretty the pictures.

 

Plus, this appears to be microstock only?? From the symbiostock front page:

 

"Symbiostock, as its name implies, creates a symbiotic relationship among microstock professionals"

 

J

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Sheila Smart    189

I thought I would check it out until....microstock...aaaaaaagh!  Yes, I know, I know, that's the way it is these days;  no one wants to pay a fair and reasonable rate for images when they can pay pennies for image downloads.  And, risking a red minus on my views, its purely because many photographers are willing to accept the devaluation of their work (and hence mine) for a couple of dollars.  What is of concern is that in a recent article regarding microstocks, the author placed Alamy amongst microstock libraries rather than macrostock.  Now that is a worry!

 

Sheila

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I thought I would check it out until....microstock...aaaaaaagh!  Yes, I know, I know, that's the way it is these days;  no one wants to pay a fair and reasonable rate for images when they can pay pennies for image downloads.  And, risking a red minus on my views, its purely because many photographers are willing to accept the devaluation of their work (and hence mine) for a couple of dollars.  What is of concern is that in a recent article regarding microstocks, the author placed Alamy amongst microstock libraries rather than macrostock.  Now that is a worry!

 

Sheila

 

Sheila, I think some (even quite experienced) photographers conflate "Royalty Free" and "Microstock". 

 

Any road up, FWIW, I'm going to get on board with Symbiostock as it does seem to be easily customisable and will allow me to charge what I think is appropriate for the licences I choose to sell. My only loss due to "commission" will be the charges for my domain name and Wordpress site hosting. And I can be my own QC system (a blessing and a curse of course).

 

I see the collaborative, co-operative, "symbiotic" environment of Symbiostock as a good thing. I like the "fair trade" idea and all that that concept implies for contributor and buyer although I'd probably use another term instead of "fair trade". But see? That's the beauty of it - I can use another term and not be tied to some agency's idea of what's "best" for me. Whilst I'm not an open source fanboi, I do like the open source concept in general and support it when I can. So what also appeals to me here, is that Symbiostock melds an open source theme with what is verging on an open source photographic community. Leo Blanchette, the developer of the Symbiostock, is to be applauded for putting this on track.

 

Casting around, it looks like SEO is already doing well within the Symbio network. Certainly better than what I get from PhotoShelter.

 

Am I being naïve? Maybe. Will it go tits up? Possibly, though I doubt it. But what have I got to lose? I'm really at the start of my stock photography journey (*yuck*) and haven't committed a huge portfolio of images anywhere yet; so I'm still at the "learning my lesson" and adaptable stage so I can't do too much damage. Maybe it'll not work out. Maybe it'll be huge.

 

One thing I do know is that I'm fed up of giving agencies the thick end of _my_ wedge. 

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NYCat    972

Russell, I took a look at your images and the ones beginning D83 are not showing. I thought that problem was fixed. I actually could see the others that were reported but can't see these. I use Safari on a Mac.

 

Paulette

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Christine    9

Russell - thank you.  At last someone gets it.  You can call it whatever you want and price it however you want :)  

It just happens to have originated from  the microstock forum* because that is where Leo was at the time,  so a lot of the original terminology started from that as well but it is evolving, if you have a FAA site you can link to that and quite a few people do.  If you don't want to actually licence images via your Symbiostock you can easily link back to here or whereever - which is somewhat of a waste but possible.

 

If any of you are developers you are very welcome to create a RM plug in, I know more than one of us would be happy to use it

 

Look past the terminolgy on the front page - visit Semmick and my sites and have a look around, follow the links to thers and see what they are doing.  If you wanted you could create a totally separate network purely for RM with higher prices and more restrictive licences

 

* ( http://www.microstockgroup.com/symbiostock/ )  I would suggest that anyone wanting to join in grits their teeth and joins us there as that is where the majority of the help is provided in getting started and, even though we are competing against each other we do help each other out as well.

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You can write it on a plank and hit someone on the head with it, doesnt matter, in their world its only for royalty free microstock. You can tell them you can set your own prices and sell your own license, they still keep saying its royalty free micro stock. Some people are selling their images for 300 dollar. If thats micro, then what is Alamy RF?

 

It began as a project in microstock but it evolves, more and more people are adding features and improving the code every day. Now its for everyone who wants to get paid 100%. If you want to build a network of RM images, just do it. 

 

But stop saying its something its not. Dinosaurs comes to mind.

 

Andrew, you didnt state a fact at all, as you have been explained 3 times it wasnt fact, you throw toys out, delete your comment and leave the forum altogether? What gives.

Edited by Semmick Photo
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scotstock    25

We have a Symbiostock site, and have had a couple of RF sales already.

We plan to upload a few hundred of our RM files, and link them through to Alamy. The reason for this is that we are finding our Symbiostock files ranking high in Google at the moment, whereas Alamy do not seem to be there at all. Does anyone know why Alamy don't rank in Google?

Why not sell RM direct? Because we have tried that through Photoshelter, unsuccesfully. The people who did contact us had no idea what to do, although it was, to us, clearly obvious from the site. We don't know how many left without contacting us.

Will let you know in a few months if our RM sales on Alamy improve :)

Edited by scotstock
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scotstock    25

Just a few more thoughts about Symbiostock and Alamy RM:-

 

1) Leo Blanchette, whose brainchild this is, is offering to set up a site for you:-

 

http://www.microstockgroup.com/symbiostock-technical-support/symbiostock-site-setup-services-get-up-and-running-fast/msg323259/

 

2) By setting up a Symbiostock site, you could bring lots of new buyers into Alamy. We have actually set up two Symbiostock sites, one linked and one not. The linked site is placing much higher in Google than the unlinked site, so it seems that linking is a good idea.

 

3) At present, it seems that Sym is ranking highly in Google, whereas Alamy isn't there at all, in other words Alamy does not depend on Google for sales. This could in fact be a good thing for Alamy, because we don't know what Google may do in the future. Why not take advantage of Sym's high ranking to introduce new customers to Alamy? We are trying to get income coming in from as many different places as possible, and can see the advantages of continuing with Alamy at the same time as selling on our own behalf.

 

4) Leo's offer includes placing 500 files on a site. You would still need to do some work on those files to optimise SEO, and many Alamy contributors have a lot more files than that, but often have quite a few similars. Why not include one representative file from a shoot, and put a message on every Sym page that more can be found on Alamy? We have set up our site ourselves and uploaded and organised over 2000 files in just a few weeks, it's not that difficult. Once you have 500 up and ready, you can add more at your leisure.

 

5) The more people we have linked to the Symbiostock network, the better will our placing be on Google.

 

6) Don't dismiss Symbiostock because it was introduced through the MSG forum, and is currently all RF, and don't be afraid to ask questions there. You will get a lot of help from smart, committed people.

Edited by scotstock
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FCP    6

I'm not a microstock contributor but I have just set up my own Symbiostock website.

 

I actually think it's a brilliant concept and most certainly worth a try. In any case much than complaining about low earnings or decreasing sales at any stock agency.

I hope many more, especially traditional stock shooters, will join the network.

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