Jump to content
  • 0

Falling revenue


Sultanpepa
 Share

Question

Last year Alamy warned us that they expected our returns to diminish which they duly have. It's quite obvious to me that Alamy had some facts at their disposal which they were pretty certain of to make that prediction. One might speculate that they new some of their (high content users) customers were leaving for pastures new. They might also have known that they were about to slash pricing. Whatever the facts are it will be a big disappointment for many contributors like myself to see sales remain relatively stable but see revenue plummet like a stone. I know that many are especially unhappy at the almost comical (although no one's laughing) remuneration for newspaper uses.  Whilst were being spoon fed $4.91 gross this news paper is probably making annual profits in the millions. This race to the bottom makes stock photography less interesting and more of a chore every year and little offerings like earlier payouts and if you're lucky, getting five stars instead of three is fooling no one. Why anyone these days would get into supplying stock images is beyond me. Rant over.

Edited by Sultanpepa
  • Sad 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0

Contributors' experiences obviously differ a great deal. My 2019 gross revenue is up over 30% from last year. I don't sell to UK newspapers (although I'm in the scheme), which must make a difference. I'm seeing a drop in the number of $$$ sales but more mid $$ licenses this year, which has helped compensate. My average price per image is currently $49, up slightly from $47 in 2018. This number hasn't changed significantly for the past few years. Number of sales is also up 30% from last year, so revenue is actually fairly consistent for me.

Edited by John Mitchell
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
3 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Contributors' experiences obviously differ a great deal. My 2019 gross revenue is up over 30% from last year. I don't sell to UK newspapers (although I'm in the scheme), which must make a difference. I'm seeing a drop in the number of $$$ sales but more mid $$ licenses this year, which has helped compensate. My average price per image is currently $49, up slightly from $47 in 2018. This number hasn't changed significantly for the past few years. Number of sales is also up 30% from last year, so revenue is actually fairly consistent.

Hi John,

What would you say has kept your success? Do you believe you've increased uploaded content and seen sales increase because of it?

Your gallery has quite a lot of editorial shots. How are those doing for you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
33 minutes ago, AlexG said:

Hi John,

What would you say has kept your success? Do you believe you've increased uploaded content and seen sales increase because of it?

Your gallery has quite a lot of editorial shots. How are those doing for you?

 

Tough questions to answer. I'm not really sure why my sales increased this year. Continuing to upload new images has certainly helped as a number of my recent images have licensed. However, I still depend on older repeat-sellers to keep me afloat. Almost all my Alamy sales are editorial. I like to think that having most of my images exclusive to Alamy has boosted sales this year, but I have no proof to back up that theory. It's all very unpredictable these days. Who knows what next year will bring...

 

P.S. As far as revenue goes, I think that a lot depends on who licenses your images. Many of my sales are to book and magazine publishers. They tend to pay better than most other editorial markets, especially newspapers.

Edited by John Mitchell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I will say that I am very concerned, my number of licenses to date in 2019 (I do not nor do I allow any agent of mine to "Sell my images" Alamy licenses them) just passed my highest number of annual image licenses and still have a month to go , but the revenue from those licenses is only my fourth highest.  In the early 00's my average license was over $400.00 USD per image (PI) and now I would guess that it is around $40.00 PI in 2019.  As all who have read my posts over the years know, I am a huge fan of Alamy and support Alamy as much as I can, but my issue should be addressed.

 

My Question to Alamy is "Why can you not handle exclusive rare images in a better fashion?"  Keeping in mind that I am not talking about a Christmas market in Kabul, Hamburg or lunch in Liverpool (Sorry Edo and I am still a fan of yours).  I am talking about images that are historically important and Alamy currently has a huge number of them from other contributors available for license.

 

I started in the Photo Agency business in 1978 and have worked with most of the major Photo Agencies, as well a few major libraries over the decades and I have never worked with a better agency or library than Alamy.  For those who have been in the business for decades, there are two main considerations: % of fees and fees.  I have said many times that I am not a stock photographer, I am a retired news and corporate photographer with thousands of historically important chromes shot for magazines over the decades and I would like to put many more of them on Alamy and have Alamy handle the licensing of them long after I am gone.

 

Please also do not take what I have written as any sort of call to arms or disrespect of any Alamy contributor or employee and I also understand that the business of licensing archival images has changed.

 

Chuck Nacke

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I didn't exceed half (yes, half) of last year's gross until last week. Volume is also down about 30%. Three figures is a distant memory. I've had a lot less to upload in the last year or two, but it's not down to that, as I've never sold many images in the year they were taken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I'm not going to mention the name but a long-time Alamy and forum contributor mentioned that they had many thousands of RAWS from the last few years but couldn't get any motivation to process them for Alamy. Just didn't see the point. Did I think anybody would be interested in doing it in return for 50%? My answer was a clear 'No' I didn't think that anybody would be interested. 

 

That is what we have come to. 

 

This won't be popular and mentioning it before has always got the famous Alamy/RAF aeronautical team airborne.

 

I think Alamy needs to start doing what other agencies/portals do and provide actual real incentives to its most successful contributors through commission payments. Even Getty is starting to offer differential commission rates for it all RF contributors ( a measly 25% compared to 20% but you get my point).

 

If a contributor is in the top 100 for all time sales ( or whatever) don't they deserve incentives to keep going? Or have been regularly contributing for ten years ( or whatever)? Or reward some other sort of behaviour and achievement that Alamy wants to encourage and recognise.

 

Good for the troops to have a morale boost and also something to aim towards.

 

For starters anyone with over 65,669 images surely merits a pat on the back 😁

 

Edited by geogphotos
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
20 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

For starters anyone with over 65,669 images surely merits a pat on the back 😁

 

 

I had a quick look around the office but couldn't see you... so I'll have to send to a 'virtual' pat on the back!

 

 

Like it or not, I think the problem is that Alamy still have to compete with the microstock agencies and while contributors on Alamy want to see $$ and $$$ sales, microstock contributors are happy with $0.25

Edited by Matt Ashmore
  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
5 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

Like it or not, I think the problem is that Alamy still have to compete with the microstock agencies and while contributors on Alamy want to see $$ and $$$ sales, microstock contributors are happy with $0.25

 

I think it's probably more a matter of their being resigned to two-bit sales than being happy with them.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
6 hours ago, geogphotos said:

For starters anyone with over 65,669 images surely merits a pat on the back 😁

 

 

For sure. I'm amazed that you're still standing and able to receive a pat on the back. I've been submitting fairly consistently since 2007, and I haven't even reached 8000 images.

 

The type of incentives that you mention always sound good on the surface, but in practice they have a nasty habit of causing division, envy, feelings of being discriminated against, etc. among the ranks. Personally, I don't like reward systems much. They tend to turn humans into salivating Pavlovian dogs. 🐕

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
53 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

For sure. I'm amazed that you're still standing and able to receive a pat on the back. I've been submitting fairly consistently since 2007, and I haven't even reached 8000 images.

 

The type of incentives that you mention always sound good on the surface, but in practice they have a nasty habit of causing division, envy, feelings of being discriminated against, etc. among the ranks. Personally, I don't like reward systems much. They tend to turn humans into salivating Pavlovian dogs. 🐕

 

Five stars for QC success is just the sort of thing. I am still on three stars am not feeling overlooked or persecuted.

 

To me it makes sense for a business to reward those who are 1) making it money and 2)saving it money and 3)supplying content that it wants more of. As long as everything is objective and clear.

 

There is already a difference in commission for exclusive/non-exclusive though arguable that this has any focused purpose. Also the difference for distributor sales for those who sign up to it. So a certain degree of differentiation already exists within the system.

 

Students get zero commission incentives, there are occasional prizes, and generous offers to help individuals - so the system can and does cope.

Edited by geogphotos
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
9 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I didn't exceed half (yes, half) of last year's gross until last week. Volume is also down about 30%. Three figures is a distant memory. I've had a lot less to upload in the last year or two, but it's not down to that, as I've never sold many images in the year they were taken.

 

Bummer. That happened to me in 2015. My income dropped almost 50% from 2014. It then recovered somewhat in 2016 and more or less levelled off until spiking this year. I'm fully aware that sales/income could easily take another downturn next year, but hopefully not. Unfortunately, given the way things are, falling revenue is now a bit like falling rain -- i.e. there isn't a heck of a lot we can do about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
13 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Bummer. That happened to me in 2015. My income dropped almost 50% from 2014. It then recovered somewhat in 2016 and more or less levelled off until spiking this year. I'm fully aware that sales/income could easily take another downturn next year, but hopefully not. Unfortunately, given the way things are, falling revenue is now a bit like falling rain -- i.e. there isn't a heck of a lot we can do about it.

 

Similar here mine dropped off in 2017 and 2018 by 70%.  Just starting to recover a bit this year.

 

Allan

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

From what I see, and know, Alamy has lost quite a number of contributors over the last few years and that is likely to continue because the rewards just aren't there. Whether that matters I am not in a position to know, but it might even if it is not immediately apparent. 

 

Is there always going to be an endless fresh stream of new stock photographers arriving or do we ever arrive at a point where for Alamy it would be advantageous to retain and support the ones that it has? 


There is only so much cake to go around.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

My year coincides with the UK tax year.

So far my sales are up 10% but revenue is down 25% over the same period as last year. My images are also up by just under 10%, this could have been a lot more but there is just no motivation. Alamy cannot keep reducing the prices and commission and expect to retain all its contributors. If it wasn't for the fact that I have gone non exclusive and now supply 2 other agencies with any new images, I wouldn't  bother at all.

There is now a realisation that the end of the road is near and my time would be better spent in photography for my own pleasure rather than for stock. I will give it to the end of my year and then probably stop uploading and let whatever images I have wither on the vine. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Ditto. Image numbers up, sales volume up, revenue slowed considerably.

I've adjusted accordingly. Neither stock nor news have ever been a dominant part of my overall photo business or revenue, but they were a reliable add-on, and enjoyable for some time. They no longer are, other types of photography are more profitable, enjoyable and more rewarding overall. They may carry more risks (dealing with clients directly is not always fun) I suppose that's how it goes, the trend is hard to ignore unless you put your blinkers on and pretend it's not happening. Shame, really. But life goes on. Elsewhere. 

Edited by imageplotter
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Crazy Idea:  Could Alamy create another group of images, let's say "Legacy"  These images would be tightly controlled and licensed and would all be exclusive to Alamy.

I just spent hour looking at some wonderful images, old but relevant to current news or events.

 

Just an idea?

 

Chuck Nacke

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
22 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

Five stars for QC success is just the sort of thing. I am still on three stars am not feeling overlooked or persecuted.

 

To me it makes sense for a business to reward those who are 1) making it money and 2)saving it money and 3)supplying content that it wants more of. As long as everything is objective and clear.

 

There is already a difference in commission for exclusive/non-exclusive though arguable that this has any focused purpose. Also the difference for distributor sales for those who sign up to it. So a certain degree of differentiation already exists within the system.

 

Students get zero commission incentives, there are occasional prizes, and generous offers to help individuals - so the system can and does cope.

 

You're correct, there are rewards already built into the system. The new five-star QC designation is a good example. Actually, it's a reward for both contributors and QC workers, who won't have to check as many images. Alamy's ranking system appears to be somewhat reward-based as well in that zoomed and previously licensed images do better in search results. Perhaps establishing commission bands based on total number of sales is something Alamy should consider. Some of the micros do this --  e.g. after you've made a certain number of downloads, your earnings go up. In Alamy's case, even small increments of a couple of % might provide some incentive for contributors and help compensate for falling income.

Edited by John Mitchell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 29/11/2019 at 18:51, geogphotos said:

 

Five stars for QC success is just the sort of thing. I am still on three stars am not feeling overlooked or persecuted.

 

To me it makes sense for a business to reward those who are 1) making it money and 2)saving it money and 3)supplying content that it wants more of. As long as everything is objective and clear.

 

There is already a difference in commission for exclusive/non-exclusive though arguable that this has any focused purpose. Also the difference for distributor sales for those who sign up to it. So a certain degree of differentiation already exists within the system.

 

Students get zero commission incentives, there are occasional prizes, and generous offers to help individuals - so the system can and does cope.

 

If 5*'s were a reward I might be prepared to agree if it was rolled out fairly but it hasn't been. There are many people who haven't been given those extra stars that have never had a QC failure whilst some who have been given them have quite openly said they have failed more than once. So, far from being an incentive it leaves many angry and Alamy don't even seem to care. If they did they would have told us their intentions beforehand. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 29/11/2019 at 12:18, geogphotos said:

I'm not going to mention the name but a long-time Alamy and forum contributor mentioned that they had many thousands of RAWS from the last few years but couldn't get any motivation to process them for Alamy. Just didn't see the point. Did I think anybody would be interested in doing it in return for 50%? My answer was a clear 'No' I didn't think that anybody would be interested. 

 

I'd do it with the condition that they would also be uploaded to micros. Seems like a good deal. Get me in touch :) 

Motivation is what I don't lack despite less than desirable results on Alamy. For instance, Nov gave me 10 downloads for $4.50 net each. Danger zone!

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I think incentives make sense. Most of the other agencies pay you a higher rate once you surpass different milestones. One starts off easy, bumping you up at just $500 in earnings to a higher rate, with another incremental bump or two on the way, but once you hit $10K in earnings, there are no more incentives. A few offer a higher commission and, most important, a better search position for exclusive images, even if you are not an exclusive photographer. Others have incentives by the photo, with the rate going up for each image the more often it is licensed.

 

One is offering a free year of Adobe CC if you get 300 files accepted during the year (no editorial, very strict on similars, so it's not quite as simple as it seems, especially if you don't upload much and they announce the deal when there are only three month left in the year....) From the "prize" it's easy to guess who the latter is, doesn't really cost them much and while it's not a huge prize, it is incentive. The 99 cents they pay out for a subscription download didn't seem worth the trouble, until I started getting single digit sales here for a few months (including one RM print license for $1.18 (roughly 40 cents to me), and decided the $120 I'd save on my CC subscription was worth the effort and that there was really no downside to putting my images there. I also have been uploading them elsewhere as time permits, so it's a win-win. 

 

If I'm not taking photos for a client, stock helps me to really think about the purpose of what I'm shooting, although some of my most successful images, those that are licensed again and again, are often images I shot for the pure joy of it. My family always thought it was odd that I would be off taking photos of nature and architecture while on vacation, as well as photographs of interesting strangers, and not just family snapshots, until I was off at college and my dad got a few of those rolls of film developed for me. Then he bought me my first 35mm SLR. You have to love photography, or doing this just wouldn't make any sense.

 

Some of the large micros give sweetheart deals to their biggest producers, which certainly makes sense from a business point of view, although there is plenty of griping by those who don't get such treatment, but personally I've never seen the point in begrudging other's success. John, I'm glad you're having a banner year, it keeps my spirits up to hear of other's success. It means that there is hope. 

 

I was really sure that this year was going to be great here but the second half of the year has been my worst ever. I make more in a day on those sites many scoff at than I've made here the past couple of months. I've increased my portfolio by about 15% but can never imagine having tens of thousands of images online, although I have uploaded a couple of hundred in the last couple of months, so I may hit 10,000 before I die. My new images uploaded elsewhere are being licensed right away, so I feel like I'm uploading the kinds of images people need, and I'm uploading similar content here, as well as a fair amount of exclusive content to Alamy, but i'm still waiting for that long tail to wag the dog, which is what I would expect for new content here. 

 

My income here rose steadily and sharply, roughly doubling each year to the next from 2009 through 2015. It seesawed up and down after that, but not by more than about 15% in either direction. Right now 2018 to 2019 is pretty much a straight line, and has been one since July which is disappointing. . 

 

I got one $250 license earlier this year, so I know that they are still out there, and am feeling like it's time to see at least one more of them before the year ends.  @John Mitchell , may I rub your head for luck? 😎

Edited by Marianne
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
15 hours ago, Sultanpepa said:

 

If 5*'s were a reward I might be prepared to agree if it was rolled out fairly but it hasn't been. There are many people who haven't been given those extra stars that have never had a QC failure whilst some who have been given them have quite openly said they have failed more than once. So, far from being an incentive it leaves many angry and Alamy don't even seem to care. If they did they would have told us their intentions beforehand. 

 

Just what do you have to do to get 5 stars. I have only had 1 failure and that was over 2 years ago. Had 80+ passed submissions since yet I have only 3 stars. Where is the reward? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
5 hours ago, BobD said:

 

Just what do you have to do to get 5 stars. I have only had 1 failure and that was over 2 years ago. Had 80+ passed submissions since yet I have only 3 stars. Where is the reward? 

 

My point exactly. Once again Alamy gets it wrong. Will they never learn?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
28 minutes ago, Sultanpepa said:

 

My point exactly. Once again Alamy gets it wrong. Will they never learn?

 It's a bit soon to get annoyed over a policy that only started a couple of days ago. You're not losing anything. I regard it as a convenience, that's all. The major chore is still annotation and that hasn't changed.

5 hours ago, BobD said:

Just what do you have to do to get 5 stars. I have only had 1 failure and that was over 2 years ago. Had 80+ passed submissions since yet I have only 3 stars. Where is the reward? 

 

I don't know the reasoning, but I have 449 subs and no failures for 3 years, and you can see how long I've been submitting, so if you want a difference, there's one.

Edited by spacecadet
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
6 hours ago, BobD said:

 

Just what do you have to do to get 5 stars. I have only had 1 failure and that was over 2 years ago. Had 80+ passed submissions since yet I have only 3 stars. Where is the reward? 

 

according to image manager i have 537 submissions, no failure.  So maybe 80 puts you in the next batch. 

Edited by meanderingemu
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.