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Twenty Five Cents - really?


Question

I am used to the occasional 'affiliate sales' coming in at a few dollars, but I sold a shot yesterday for $0.25:

 

Country: Worldwide
Usage: Editorial, Single use across website and/or digital publication such as E-book or PDF, any size, any placement, in perpetuity.
Media: Website, app and social media
55 MB
5374 x 3583 pixels
2 MB compressed
Start: 22 January 2021
Duration: In perpetuity

 

Worldwide, 55meg, any size, any placement, in perpetuity - twenty five cents - got to be an error surely?

 

Anyone had anything similar?

 

Chris Craggs

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43 minutes ago, Cal said:

 

If the claims of selling hundreds of times more images there than here, and making in a day there what takes months to make here are true though I honestly can't blame people. Principles don't pay the bills, and I've often been tempted and intrigued by the claims that despite selling for 25C or less on MS the images sell constantly (where the hell is the market though?) which makes up for the tiny prices.

 

As of now I have resisted temptation mainly through stubbornness that I don't want to sell my work for a pittance and so far I'm doing not too badly here. However if this was my main job I would be less willing to be so stubborn about it and I think only someone from a position of privilege without the ability to empathise for others could really decry anyone for that. Not saying that's you, but just generally that I think it should be seen and debated from all angles.

 

 

I think that you have this the wrong way around. If it was your main job you would not be willing to consider supporting micro stock. Look back at the history on iStock which was all about the designers 'dirty little secret'. Photography was regarded as nothing but a basic, simple to produce raw material for clever designers to use. 

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1 hour ago, meanderingemu said:

 

 

so why do they come here then?  this is what i don't get.  Why waste time and energy cultivating your images for Alamy's market if it takes you months to make what you do in a day at MS site? 

Because I thought it was worth trying. Without uploading some of my files to Alamy I have no way of knowing if it works (for me) or not. 

 

There's an independent forum at Microstockgroup.com that's not affiliated to any agency. There's an annual poll there where people vote for the agencies that make.them.more money. Go and have a look.

 

1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

This forum is for Alamy contributors not debate about other agencies. 

 

I was not the one who referred first to that other agency. My point is that if we were.going to talk about them we should make a fair comparison. Not all sales there are for 0.10 and so far I (can't speak for.others) feel it's a lot more probable to sell an image for $$$ there than here.

 

I don't blame Alamy and I really would like their business model to prevail. I just don't see how that would be possible.

 

And yes...when that other agency lowered the commissions they pay to their contributors I froze my portfolio for a while and thought about stop contributing. And then I started submitting to Alamy to try my luck. But as someone said in this thread...principles don't pay my bills and we are in the middle of a pandemic where most of.my other projects are not viable.

 

1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

I suspect that Alamy is competing with Getty for market share rather than attempting to become a micro stock site. 

How is the Alamy market different than the market of all those microstock agencies? What's their added value and how can they avoid competing with those agencies?

 

 

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4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

People who want to support micro stock have been putting forward these same non-arguments for around 20 years now. Ultimately it is pointless to try and discuss it with them. The fact is they want to submit to micro stock and want to - between themselves - come up with justifications about how inevitable it is. It started off with excitement about the wonderful new world micro stock would create that would get rid of the stuffy old professionals who were stuck in the past, and now it is a sort of morphed into a twisted self-fulfilling argument about inevitable forces, 'evolution', and technology.  It makes it more easy for them somehow. 

 

But the simple fact has always been there. Contributing to the 'race to the bottom' by supplying exploitative micro stock businesses is a personal choice. 

 

The mystery is why they come to Alamy and moan about low fees. 

For once I agree 100% with Ian.

In my opinion, what he wrote is well said and completely true.

 

Chuck

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3 hours ago, Kamira said:

Because I thought it was worth trying. Without uploading some of my files to Alamy I have no way of knowing if it works (for me) or not. 

 

 

OK, i understand that, but you have images uploaded last month, eleven years after joining.    this wouldn't  be worth my effort to make in a couple of month what you make in a day elsewhere. I know the places that didn't deliver for me i stopped making any upload efforts.   

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35 minutes ago, meanderingemu said:

 

OK, i understand that, but you have images uploaded last month, eleven years after joining.    this wouldn't  be worth my effort to make in a couple of month what you make in a day elsewhere. I know the places that didn't deliver for me i stopped making any upload efforts.   

Yes, I joined 11 years ago but I don't know why I never uploaded to Alamy until June 2020. Right after that other agency lowered their commissions.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Kamira said:

Yes, I joined 11 years ago but I don't know why I never uploaded to Alamy until June 2020. Right after that other agency lowered their commissions.

 

 

That’s probably not a long enough time to know whether it will work for you or not here then as some of your sales won’t even have been reported yet. 
 

I have usages from last autumn which only just got cleared recently and known usages from last year that haven’t even been reported yet. It can take several months from the image being downloaded to you having money in your account. You may be on month 7 but that’s barely enough time for regular sales to start kicking in. 

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29 minutes ago, Cal said:

That’s probably not a long enough time to know whether it will work for you or not here then as some of your sales won’t even have been reported yet. 
 

I have usages from last autumn which only just got cleared recently and known usages from last year that haven’t even been reported yet. It can take several months from the image being downloaded to you having money in your account. You may be on month 7 but that’s barely enough time for regular sales to start kicking in. 

Thanks. I'll give it more time.

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8 hours ago, Kamira said:

Thanks. I'll give it more time.

 

 

If I were a buyer I might be tempted by the same images of yours at the other site you referred to - available at a much lower price than I would have to pay at Alamy for exactly the same image. 

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10 hours ago, Kamira said:

Yes, I joined 11 years ago but I don't know why I never uploaded to Alamy until June 2020. Right after that other agency lowered their commissions.

 

 

ok makes sense

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9 hours ago, Kamira said:

Thanks. I'll give it more time.

 

one quick thing i notice, you seem to be using a non optimal Caption format for Alamy which may affect your sales here is one example Image ID: 2DB75TB

"The Elephant House coffee house at Edinburgh, famous for being one of the places where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Pott"

 

You are not using the full 150 characters allowed, and truncating the end of the description, in this case not getting optimal placement for someone looking for "Harry Potter",  Many words i would also consider less likely to be search hits are used in there if you are low on characters.  

I think this is another weakness of using a same approach for all.  Each site has different optimisation process, if the goal is to optimise sale it should lead to an adapted approach.  

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3 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

If I were a buyer I might be tempted by the same images of yours at the other site you referred to - available at a much lower price than I would have to pay at Alamy for exactly the same image. 

Of course. That's true.

 

But,.in general, you are not competing only with yourself. Unless your image is of an extremely specific subject (and then its market will be limited) you will be competing with thousands of images that might not be the same as yours but similar enough to be useful to illustrate the same concept.

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39 minutes ago, Kamira said:

Of course. That's true.

 

But,.in general, you are not competing only with yourself. Unless your image is of an extremely specific subject (and then its market will be limited) you will be competing with thousands of images that might not be the same as yours but similar enough to be useful to illustrate the same concept.

 

Inadvertently I have ended up in a 'competing with myself' situation though not involving a micro stock site ( or at least it isn't supposed to be micro stock). I quite often see searches on Alamy turning up at the other place as low value sales. I have stopped submitting to the other agency as a consequence.

 

The only point I would make is that no assessment of Alamy's ability to sell can be made if  exactly the same images are available elsewhere at much lower prices. 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, Kamira said:

Of course. That's true.

 

But,.in general, you are not competing only with yourself. Unless your image is of an extremely specific subject (and then its market will be limited) you will be competing with thousands of images that might not be the same as yours but similar enough to be useful to illustrate the same concept.

 

Someone who had been an image buyer described their process: first look for free on Flickr or similar sites, then look at the microstock sites, then look at sites that are aiming higher.  Outside these forums, someone who did media for clients say that she wasn't going to Alamy these days because it was too expensive.  She took another look and decided that Alamy's prices were now lower enough to keep in mind.  

 

If you've got cheap images up elsewhere, the buyers may not see the same images at Alamy.    Or they can do a Google image search to find out if they can find a cheaper offer of the same image.

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If I had a sale here for 0.25 cents I would dropped Alamy immediately. I was encouraged by others on this forum to upload with a good key-wording and not expect sales in the first year. On this forum I often see 'Alamy is different than micro stock' and 25 cents would be a prove that it is not. Luckily my first sales here started well, good few mid sales $$ Fingers crossed for encouraging sales for every new starter here 

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2 minutes ago, Pawel Piotr said:

If I had a sale here for 0.25 cents I would dropped Alamy immediately. I was encouraged by others on this forum to upload with a good key-wording and not expect sales in the first year. On this forum I often see 'Alamy is different than micro stock' and 25 cents would be a prove that it is not. Luckily my first sales here started well, good few mid sales $$ Fingers crossed for encouraging sales for every new starter here 

 

 

I don't understand your reasoning. Alamy is in the same market as all its competitors. Unlike micro stock the vast majority of Alamy sales are not at 25 cents. 

 

Now that you have some good sales why would you stop contributing over one or two 25 cent sales? 

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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

I don't understand your reasoning. Alamy is in the same market as all its competitors. Unlike micro stock the vast majority of Alamy sales are not at 25 cents. 

 

Now that you have some good sales why would you stop contributing over one or two 25 cent sales? 

My reaonsing is simple. 0.25 as a first sale would be very discouraging. On Alamy it is common that you have to wait for this first one some time while on other stock agencies it is common that first sales come straight away. I would like to think about Alamy differently and from my short experience with different stock agencies I (6 moths on 4 different ones) I am aware Alamy is different - slow yet worth it. The experience would be different if 0.25, then I would rather think - slow and not worth my time. After all from all 4 agencies after 6 months the amount of $ I've gained is very similar. The only difference is that here I sold only few images and around hundreds another ones. 

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7 hours ago, Pawel Piotr said:

My reaonsing is simple. 0.25 as a first sale would be very discouraging. On Alamy it is common that you have to wait for this first one some time while on other stock agencies it is common that first sales come straight away. I would like to think about Alamy differently and from my short experience with different stock agencies I (6 moths on 4 different ones) I am aware Alamy is different - slow yet worth it. The experience would be different if 0.25, then I would rather think - slow and not worth my time. After all from all 4 agencies after 6 months the amount of $ I've gained is very similar. The only difference is that here I sold only few images and around hundreds another ones. 

 

 

Yes it is certainly much more encouraging when you get the $$$ sales, and in the past $$$$ sales. 

 

We just have to take the penny sales 'on the chin'.

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I remember many years ago when Alamy started the occasional micro priced image concept - At first, I thought, "Why get 50 cents or a dollar for an occasional sale here when you can get thousands elsewhere that add up?" but quickly realized that wasn't a helpful analogy when Alamy licensed 2 images from the same studio shoot - one for a dollar and one for $250 - obviously the $250 made up for a lack of hundreds of piddly sales. Ultimately, I realized that the $1 sale, while distressing, did not take away from the $250 sale.  

 

It's a shame that micro prices are putting so much downward pressure on the market and that free sites are putting pressure on micro sites (look at the other A's decision to pay suppliers ahead of time to put a chunk of their images into a free section). Just last month I earned 52 and 41 cents from 2 sales from G, which isn't supposed to be micro, and which is a direct competitor to Alamy (for years many publications and sites have been licensing images from both Alamy & G for the same articles, calendars, etc.). My images ended up there through a site that was supposed to be licensing images for $250 & up. It's all discouraging, but even with a rash of low value sales here last year, my average license here is higher than elsewhere. That doesn't mean there weren't years when piddly prices elsewhere didn't add up to more than I earned here, but we all need to decide for ourselves which business model makes the most sense for us.  

 

I think that discussing other sites in relation to why we have chosen to put our images on Alamy isn't antithetical to being on an Alamy supported forum. A frank and open discussion about why the OP, while understandably distressed about the 25 cent sale, should not let it sour them on Alamy is important as we negotiate our way through a time of shrinking prices, a pandemic, and much uncertainty in the marketplace.

 

Alamy actively reached out to micro suppliers so it's really not fair for us to bash them for being here. Better to try to convince them why Alamy's model is better. 

 

The micros had a good run for a while, but their business model was unsustainable over the long run for photographers. Meanwhile, despite upheavals in the market and some disappointments, Alamy's suppliers have remained loyal. That says a lot. So, I'd encourage the OP to look at the recent 25 cent sale as a minor annoyance and hold on until a $$$ sale comes along. Or a string of $$ sales. 

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I have only just started my stock 'journey' by uploading here. Prior to that i used another company but can't easily get on to their site from here in China. So far no sales and very few views which I appreciate is down to my limited range of images although a lot will be unique. If I got a very small sale I would be happy, it's an acorn, a start for me but I can see the frustration of others. If you want to make lots of money it's not a help. 
Last year I entered 2 photo competitions in China, first in Shenzhen where I lived and got to the finals, netting me around £100. Next I moved to Jiaxing and entered 3 in their city competition getting 2nd,12th and 13th with 3 photos winning double the other competition amount. In doing so I was recognised by the head of foreign affairs and an article on Chinadaily site followed. Again it's acorns, slowly growing and spreading my photos around.
I suppose what I am trying to say is every little helps because you never know where it will lead, stay positive.
Of course if every sale was 25c then that's different.

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10 hours ago, Kamira said:

 

Needs updating, although probably still relevant 2 1/2 years on that most buyers on here don't search elsewhere.

 

I've had the same image licensed on SS for 10cents and on here for $100. As James has mentioned, it comes down to much more than just pricing-points when buyers decide to shop somewhere for the same commodity. 

Edited by Brasilnut
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10 hours ago, Kamira said:

 

I have wanted to post a link to this article for a while but have upset enough of the red arrow wielding locals on here that I couldn't really be bothered.

Alex always has interesting articles on the general state of the stock industry (and while I have been typing he's replied)

 

I haven't bothered to submit to MS sites due to the crazy AI QC process and the paltry commission since the summer and just concentrate on Alamy. At least they are trying to do the right thing by me and I think that deserves my stupid little bit of support. 

 

I initially tried the idea of picking particular images for different sites in the hope that a bit of s**t would stick somewhere. In some cases it worked, certain images seemed to prove popular on some sites and kind of went a bit viral so they have licensed a lot.

The problem was I kept looking at the 'what images have sold thread' on different sites and worrying that I was doing something wrong with keywords and captions because I was sure my picture of a duck on a lake was better than that one. 

 

In the end this is just a hobby and recently I have gone back to what I enjoyed which was actually taking pictures. Sure if I get a license it beefs up my day but not quite as much as chimping and that warm glow that I nailed that shot just as I wanted.

 

Disclaimer: The sentiments of this post may change when I need a new lens and realize to do that I need to take more pictures of back lit businessmen shaking hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Martin L
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I would have thought that Kamira's experience tends to disprove the hypothesis that having the same images on micro stock doesn't have much impact on Alamy sales. Maybe I misunderstood but I thought that he was complaining about the lack of sales here. 

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3 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I would have thought that Kamira's experience tends to disprove the hypothesis that having the same images on micro stock doesn't have much impact on Alamy sales. Maybe I misunderstood but I thought that he was complaining about the lack of sales here. 

 

Yes he was claiming about lack of sales but that does not prove any hypothesis. We all know the rate of MS licenses and Alamy licenses are not comparable

Like Alex I have had image license on here for $$ and pennies on MS (not anymore as it has been removed from MS) which tends to disprove your disprove and goes along with James's theory in the article

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