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Monday, December 16, 2013

Was dropping iStock exclusivity worth it? Final words.

Did it work for me? I think it did. Will it work for you? Well it depends.

Let's start with some general concepts that made me go freelance. If you work with only one agency, you keep all your eggs in one basket. I am sure you have heard it already. Your sales depend on how this agency is doing, not on how the entire microstock market is doing. At times this can be a good thing.
How much you make depends also on where your footage is placed in search results. Every agency has their own ways of determining what goes on top. Hopefully it is your footage. With best match algorithms being one of the most guarded microstock secrets, you have no way of positioning your files. There are some clues on how to do it, but you never know for sure. When working with many agencies you have a greater chance of doing it right at least in one place. For example one of my shutterstock top earners has like 40 views at iStock and no sales and it is sitting there for almost two years. 

There may also be a general customer needs profile, different with every agency. I did not want to take any chance with this either.

In one of my previous blog posts you could reed how dropping iStock exclusivity affected my sales at iStock itself. I did not say if the other agencies made up for the loss. With microstock sales varying between the months it is sometimes hard to judge how is your portfolio doing in a bigger picture. The column graphs from my early posts tell the short term, monthly basis story. If you need perspective, my suggestion is to make a spreadsheet with your income for every given month since the beginning of your microstock adventure. Then make the calculation how much did you make for the past year out of each months point of view. This is how it looks for my iStock sales only.

What you do not see in the graph is that my overall income seems to be making up for the iStock loss. It is growing slowly but steadily, just as my portfolio is. This means, that over the last three years I was able to maintain pretty much a steady revenue per image per year. For me this is a good thing.

I hear mixed comments on iStock performance in 2013. I made a tough choice over a year ago. Even though today my portfolio is not doing very well at iStock, I am not bothered. I have others.

When you decide to register with other agencies, be sure to go there through referral links. If you found information on this blog useful, you can use mine by going through the small banners on the left side. Thank you for your support.

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