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Paul Mayall

Competing with 50.500,000 + images and still making the odd sale

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I am impressed with Alamy's fast growth in the numbers game and their confidence in claiming they have the largest online collection.

 

It seems that many here with collections of a few thousand still make sales with Alamy including myself, (well done).

 

How long will it be before the smaller collections  be totally swallowed up and lost in the masses with Alamy's policy of  take all images providing they are technically perfect.

 

I like Alamy as a supplier of images,  however i fear that the day may come when the smaller contributors will disappear because of not being seen, allowing Alamy partners with massive collections to completely take over.

 

I understand that we must grow,  but why so fast. ( is it greed ) or to be the biggest kid on the block?

 

In a nutshell good for Alamy,  not good for the average contributor.

 

 

Paul.

 

 

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Very few images are competing against 50m others. Some searches still bring up only a handful of results - if you photograph things other people aren't doing, the size of the whole collection doesn't matter so much.

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Beat the aggregators at their own game. Photographers should produce a better, self edited, better keyworded, high technical quality collection of images. You will make sales.

 

I think 50 million images, or aggregators, make very little difference if photographers are willing to meet the competition head on.

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Very true!!  find a niche, a really good niche and you can do very well with just, 1000 files. No problem.

Very few images are competing against 50m others. Some searches still bring up only a handful of results - if you photograph things other people aren't doing, the size of the whole collection doesn't matter so much.

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Philippe, I tend to agree with you on this but everytime I think about weeding out my own crap images, some of that crap (or dross) sells.

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Very true!!  find a niche, a really good niche and you can do very well with just, 1000 files. No problem.

Very few images are competing against 50m others. Some searches still bring up only a handful of results - if you photograph things other people aren't doing, the size of the whole collection doesn't matter so much.

 

 

I certainly find this to be true. My "niche" images do very well on Alamy, with regular monthly sales. However, my more general shots -- for which there is much more competition -- don't do well at all, with only the occasional sale.

 

I think Paul's question is valid one, though. How long before even the remaining "really good niches" get buried in the landslide?

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As long as my images pop up in the first five pages of search results, I really don't care how many competitive images there are.

.........

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Sounds like a plan.

 

I come up in a good place on smart, specific searches. I'm buried in a general location search like New York City (with 1,5 million images), but who would be making a dumb search like that?

 

Ruff ruff! Oh oh, sounds like an Edopoo.

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Philippe, I tend to agree with you on this but everytime I think about weeding out my own crap images, some of that crap (or dross) sells.

 

Which begs another question, how might Alamy become better alchemists and turn more of that "dross" into gold? If they don't, their massive collection is going to continue to get more and more bottom-heavy.

Edited by John Mitchell

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The trick is to try and evolve yourself, though it isn't easy turning a supertanker on inland waterways.

 

 

A most artful metaphor. 

 

My wallet misses my time with Tony Stone . . . and 14 years it was.  B)

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Maybe a new thing in Alamy Measures to highlight images that have been on file for years with views but no zooms, to help culling.

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Maybe a new thing in Alamy Measures to highlight images that have been on file for years with views but no zooms, to help culling.

 

Don't see how that would help, since many sales result without ever having been zoomed?

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Oh I give in.

 

Alamy loves aggregators, so why not simply sign up with one or two? Avoid all the angst of trying to figure out what handful of pictures haven't been taken yet and might be needed. Alamy still gets your work. So it's a win win situation.

 

I make more sales with just a handful of images - nothing very special - than all my 1400 here, 800 of which are highly ranked.

 

1990 all over again. But it probably won't last, so now is the time to get in.

 

________________________________________________________________________________

 

Here: para 7. This was written a few years ago, and there will be many more agencies doing this now, including one or two more traditional specialist ones.

 

http://tomgrillblog.blogspot.co.uk/2009_11_01_archive.html

 

It is also a mistake to think this system is only for 'commercial' work.  Pictures usually need to be available for commercial use, but there is a huge uptake from the editorial sector and everyhing in between.  And there are also aggregators of specifically editorial content, although these networks tend to be more restricted.  If Alamy lost a couple of zeros from its number of images, but kept the same network, it too might count as one.

 

Interesting. Thanks for sharing your secrets. However, I'm confused. How is an aggregator different from a "portal" -- i.e. an "agency" that is really just a conduit to a lot of other agencies? I'm signed up with one of those (distribution to Alamy is one of their options, which I've declined) and haven't had much luck. Is an aggregator just a search site linked to a network of stock agencies rather than a "real" agency to which you physically (electronically these days) submit images?

Edited by John Mitchell

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Just as contributors need to think about the quality of their own portfolio, Alamy could probably think more about quality of its collection rather than quantity. Get rid of excessive similars and the collection would be down to 40 million, that's just a start.

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"There are many agencies that do a bit of distributing of mainly editorial work, but that is not the same thing."

 

I think the sentence above sums up my situation well. Also, almost all of my images are RM, and I don't even know what a "potboiler" is.

 

BTW, this thread will probably disappear on Monday. But it has been informative. Thanks again.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Interesting thread.  I am new here - just submitted my first 4 two days ago - still waiting for QC.  But after reading this thread I have zero hopes of ever making any sales through the website :(  Guess I better shop around online for other options.  Congrats to the long timers who have had great success!

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we have to start by being ourselves: trying to follow a formula, or listening to someone like me telling you how to do it, isn't likely to get you far.  

 

Agreed Robert:
 
However a warning, "being ourselves" is probably the most difficult part of the process. Difficult for baggage carrying old pros like myself, or for eager newcomers anxious to please.
 
As to bottom heavy, that is the way the Alamy system is supposed to work. Most requested images at the top, and obscure normally unsaleable at the bottom. If a client cannot find a suitable image on the first page, then they have the option of continuing their search and finding their unusual image nearer the bottom.
 
Bottom heavy is a good thing for the client, as long as the best images are at the top of the search order. Number 1 need, and the most important need, for the client is to find the image they are looking for. The number 2 need is to find that image as quickly as possible. Alamy system does both things.
Edited by Bill Brooks

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What constitutes "best"?

 

 

Best is the current trend.  In the 1980s it was money.  In the late 2000s it was frugality.

 

At least that's my interpretation...and why I upload what I upload.  Trends come and go....the best I can do is photograph the world around me, submit those images, and let the world move on.

 

Sometimes it takes a few years for the world to look in the mirror and re-asses which is why Alamy's collection is the way it is.  The trends will rise and fall and those "bottom heavy" images will suddenly rise to the top for no apparent reason.

 

In another thread I mentioned one of my favorite images for this month is this one....

 

E7M215.jpg
 
A friend who is retired mentioned to me that it's only like that on weekends.  My response was "I was thinking how nice it would be to be retired and have the ability to go up during the week and spend more time photographing it. I would say "some day" but by the time I retire it will probably be regulated access because of too many people doing exactly what's in the photo - getting out and enjoying nature."
 
This image may not be very popular today but it displays various issues that we are blindly oblivious to that we won't recognize for a few years.
Edited by Ed Endicott
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What constitutes "best"?

 

The one the client is looking for -- or the closest one to it -- IMO. It might be on page one of the search results or it might be hidden away at the bottom of the pile.

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Philippe, I tend to agree with you on this but everytime I think about weeding out my own crap images, some of that crap (or dross) sells.

 

Depends on what you call crap / dross ;)(Looking at the first few pages of your images, you're light-years away from what I call dross ;) )

 

cheers,

Philippe

 

Yes well thats the problem, too many images, too many chefs in the soup. For a buyer, wading through an agency with 40 million images is a nightmare, so many copies, so much dross. I personally know lots of corporate-designers who favor the smaller agencies, less irrelevant material and easy to search.

 

Yhis is why, in the really high-end stock-agencies, images are given their search-ranking by merit, by commercial value, etc. To make sure the buyers find them.

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