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It's been a good while since I shared any detailed analysis of my microstock earnings, there has been plenty going on over the past couple of years in changing royalties. Putting all the change, discussion, boycotts, rates and price structures to one side then probably the most important consideration for any photographer is what's happening to my revenue?


Agency Earnings Compared

Last time I shared a look at comparative revenue was back at the start of 2012, for the 12 months of Jan to Dec 2011, as an update I've looked at the 12 months to July 2015. A gap of 2.5 years, and a long time in microstock!

A somewhat brief article as unfortunately I have not left myself enough time to write a proper commentary on the subject: Microstock contributors are probably already aware of the thread at microstock group and 'movement' organized by boycottfotolia.org

The issue stems from photographer sentiment that devaluing of their work by Fotolias launch of 'dollar photo club' is something of a 'last straw' considering the license terms, image resolution etc provided. I can't really say I blame them considering Fotolias track record on transparency (or lack thereof).

StockPerformerStockperformer is an online microstock sales analysis tool. It was launched to select photographers at microstockexpo late last year, and is now available for general use. There is a 14 day free trial available. The system provides analysis of your sales on the top 4 agencies, istockphoto, shutterstock, fotolia and dreamstime.

No sooner had I posted last months news update than I opened my inbox and found a press release for picworkflow, I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting picworkflow to be, but I have to say it was with some delight I found it was a direct replacement to isyndica.

picworkflow referral link

Since isyndica closed my microstock uploads have been somewhat on the backbuner, although prostockmaster is free it does not support all the sites I want to upload to, and my previous FTP tool took a dislike to windows7, only $50 for the latest version, but neither get around the fact that my upload speeds are limited to about 300kbps (reasonable ADSL1 speed) not too slow but it takes at least 30 minutes to upload a handful of good sized images to 15 sites. I'm looking for speed NOT work-arounds.

A couple of days ago there was a post on the lookstat blog titled top search keywords for energy, it compared search terms in Google in an attempt to estimate popularity of energy images on microstock sites. Earlier this year I did something similar in a post about seasonal stock images, and at the time I made the point that I wasn't exactly sure how well Google search terms related to searches on microstock sites.

So that set me thinking... (yes, be very afraid) Just exactly how much of a match is google trends/adwords data to what people are searching for at microstock sites? Clearly there will be some relationship, but I'd also guess that there are lots of popular terms that will not have a proportionate number of microstock searches. It's difficult to know how similar the two are. Is it reasonable to assume that popular keywords in Google are more likely to lead to more microstock sales as those keywords make popular subjects hence there will be related businesses in need of such images? As they say "assume makes an ass out of u and me".

Coinciding with iSyndica's announcement of the official launch of their 'promotion service' I thought it was time to share a few preliminary results of my investigation into promotion with 'free stock photos'. Even before I wrote the article microstock photos for free I've had been redistributing some of my images for free on various websites with somewhat inconclusive results.

The following table shows the sites I have uploaded images to, the number of images, image views recorded by those sites and the number of times someone clicked a link to my website. Measurements for the first 4 weeks of September 2009.

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