First, the statement: I am not pretending to play a role of an expert in Social Networks marketing. I am far of being there. In fact, I was always quite afraid of getting public in any means all my life. Only the need to get some free traffic to our new software services pushed me to the world of Social Networks a couple of years ago. Well, I found it’s a fun, I learned a lot, and I am quite a fast learner.
First thing I learned was that 95% of guys who call them “Social Networking Guru / New Media Expert” know very little of what they claim is their primary domain of knowledge. Other guys who do not call them “Social Marketing Guru” know much more, but do not try to make their living of that. So next time you meet yet another “Social Media Engineer” get prepared.
With the time I got my own understanding of what works and what does not work on social landscape.
I am not going to tell you in this post what social networks you should get and how to get there. Let’s assume you already got this prior knowledge of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other top social marketing tools. If not, Google for that – there are tons of info describing the basics.
Let me show you first what you should NOT do with any network.
Do not put it on “auto-pilot”, even if you can.
There are so many services around Twitter(mostly) and some other tools that offer you “1,000 real followers a day”, and even for free… DO NOT DO THAT. It’s all wrong. If you do that your Twitter account will look similar to this one:
This Texas guy promised to give us his cameras reviews, photography tips and other handful photography information. And what we got? Endless BBQ set ads without a bit of a useful info on photography.
Obviously the auto-quotes, commercial offers and shameless advertising will turn off the quality followers. Personally I unfollow anyone who starts spam me with auto-quoting once an hour. Why is that? Because I do not have time to read this crap on Twitter and I want to free the space and time for some quality tweets by people who do care about their followers/readers and therefore they carefully select their subjects & their info.
Caring about your followers is the key of success on any social network.
Now, do you see that the guy in the above screen shot follows about 9,000 people and is followed by a similar amount of people? Are they all real people who actually read his tweets?
Of course not.
Why I am so sure?
Well, here is a small hint – he got just 1 tweet… And quite sure that it was not the “E=MC^2” discovery.
Going social you are looking for the readers. Twitter calls them followers. This should be your main target. This way you can influence others, be heard and probably promote your product, portfolio or your personal brand online.
But go gently.
No tweets + auto-pilot with ‘auto-approve’ for the new followers gets you nowhere. You end up with a zombie Twitter account which is connected to other auto-zombies.
Robots can not read. Human can. Target human.
New release 1.9.4/1.9.3 fixes an annoying issue when in some cases the thumbnails of stock photos were not displayed.
This issue appeared on Windows only, when the browsed folder
a) had non-latin letters in it’s name
b) was located on a non-default drive (i.e. not on C:)
The new version is available for immediate download. Any existing application should offer auto-upgrading to the new release.
Shannon Fagan, a well known digital artist and a stock photography guru is now a part of ASMP initiative.
I believe that ASMP is very lucky having Mr. Fagan on board. A gifted artist, a technology enthusiast and a new media adept, Shannon brings to ASMP his experise in stock photography and online media worlds. I am very happy to both ASMP and Shannon. It’s a good match and we all will definitely benefit of it.
Official press release
ASMP Announces Fagan to Lead Stock Imaging Initiatives
The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has announced that Shannon Fagan, former President of the Stock Artists Alliance, has been named Chair of their newly established Stock Imaging License Committee and will lead several stock imaging initiatives for ASMP. Fagan will contribute his considerable expertise as an industry analyst, strategic photo business expert and highly-regarded photographer to moderating a new stock photo listserv community that ASMP has launched. He will also be a regular contributing writer to ASMP’s Strictly Business Blog as well as a speaker at the upcoming Strictly Business 3 conferences in early 2011.
ASMP President Richard Kelly of Richard Kelly Photography in Pittsburgh said, “We are pleased that Shannon is now part of the ASMP community of professionals and we look forward to his leadership on this important issue.” Fagan added, “There have been significant evolutions in the past 5 to 6 years in stock photography. It is my hope that exploring and sharing new business models related to the sale and licensing of stock photography will be helpful to ASMP’s members as they navigate through the industry changes.” An award-winning top stock shooter, Fagan has in-depth knowledge of the stock photography industry, both from personal experience, and from his role helping other photographers develop their businesses.
ASMP is the leader in promoting photographers’ rights, providing education in better business practices, producing business publications for photographers, and helping to connect purchasers with professional photographers. ASMP, founded in 1944, has nearly 7,000 members and 39 chapters across the country and its members include many of the world’s foremost photographers.
To join ASMP’s new stock photography listserv, go to http://www.asmp.org/stock
Selling stock images? Got your own web site where you sell your photos or prints and want customers to easily find your images?
Want to sell more and faster? Great!
So here is your choice:
Get free ProStockMaster software (Mac & Win), which will find you the relevant keywords, offers on-the-fly keywords translation, and inserts the keywords directly into your JPEG files, all this free of charge. Add here free distribution of stock imagery to 9 microstock and stock photography agencies.
Buy a $249 piece of software which do the keywording only.
The choice is yours. I bet that the majority of microstocks will decline your uploads if you use A2Z keywording software due to the annoying number of redundant keywords this software generates for each image. A2Z offers a special $199 price if you buy it in 2010, so please hurry.
Official press release
A2Z Keywording Launches Keyword Perfect™ 2.0 Image Tagging Studio to Ensure Photography Professionals Are Never at a Loss for Words
In Keyword Perfect, Independent Photographers Now Have an Efficient, Intuitive Tool that Generates Dozens of Accurate, Searchable Tags; Casts the Widest Possible Sales Net for Stock Houses and Image Buyers
Tivoli, NY (PRWEB) October 18, 2010
A2Z Keywording, specialists in the practice of professional image keywording, today announced the launch of Keyword Perfect™ 2.0, a highly efficient sales tool that enables photographers, stock photo agencies, archivists and other imaging professionals to tag their photo libraries using a comprehensive dictionary of searchable keywords, ensuring that their images are as accessible as possible to potential buyers. First developed as the in-house engine around A2Z Keywording’s successful keywording service, Keyword Perfect is now available to pro photographers as a means to quickly input relevant tags and, with a minimum of keystrokes, generate dozens of associated keywords that make their work more likely to be identified by stock agencies and other image buyers.
Attendees of the PhotoPlus Expo (Oct. 28-30, 2010, New York) are invited to visit the A2K Keywording booth (#177) to view demonstrations of Keyword Perfect and obtain trial versions of the software.
With an easily mastered user interface running on top of a powerful platform that includes A2Z Keywording’s proprietary keyword dictionary and thesaurus, Keyword Perfect imports digital images into its workspace and displays them in a convenient filmstrip pane. Users can then keyword each image by selecting any number of pre-defined and/or user-generated tags, representing not only the image’s physical contents, but also its less tangible elements such as time of day, photo style, concept, emotion and activity. The keyword engine then reads each assigned tag and adds a number of logically associated keywords, eliminating significant input time while ensuring that the images are thoroughly and accurately identifiable to discerning image buyers.
“After all the time, effort, and emotion that goes into creating great images, properly editing them and preparing them for the market, photographers still need to ensure that their images will be seen by potential buyers, regardless of how broad or specific a search those buyers might conduct,” said Alexander Zane, president of A2Z Keywording. “The only way to ensure maximum success is to tag each image comprehensively, but no photographer wants to spend precious hours manually keywording or fumbling with a dictionary and thesaurus. With Keyword Perfect, we took the system we used to produce accurate keyword matrices for as many as 200,000 images per year and made it available to everyone. We’re confident that the results will be a true revelation to both veteran photographers and those new to image tagging.”
As more photographers make their work available to image buyers and additional content floods the marketplace, it is absolutely vital to properly keyword images to ensure they are searchable by the most appropriate audience. To increase the accuracy of Keyword Perfect, A2Z Keywording developed a powerful set of automated checks that guide users through a structured review of their work to catch oversights or inconsistencies. This feature, comprising more than 300 individual checks, helps avoid the human errors that are common in manual keywording. And since Keyword Perfect manages keywords in a central dictionary and reviews all work in a structured process, it delivers an unsurpassed level of consistency.
“A2Z Keywording has long provided a critical service to stock houses like ours by keywording large batches of images quickly and accurately, and I admit that I’ve been somewhat envious of their capabilities in the past,” said Monika Mosch, managing director of the stock agency goZOOMA. “With Keyword Perfect, anyone who relies on high keyword quality can achieve professional results in less than half the time it would take to input manually. The software is powerful, yet easy to work with; clearly A2Z Keywording has honed this product to meet the specific requirements of both photographers and image consumers who search through large volumes of stock images.”
Pricing, Availability and System Requirements
Starting today, Keyword Perfect is available for purchase at http://www.keywordperfect.com (http://www.keywordperfect.com) at a list price of $249.00. A special introductory launch price of $199.00 is available through Dec. 31, 2010 and a free trial version is available.
— PC Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista recommends utilizing a quad-core processor. Minimum 2 GB RAM, recommended 3 GB.
–Apple Requirements: Intel Macintosh 2.5 GHz dual core CPU with 2GB minimum RAM (4GB is recommended) running Mac OS 10.5.x (Leopard).
–Minimum 15-inch monitor.
About A2Z Keywording
A2Z Keywording are specialists in the practice of professional image keywording, having created keywording databases for stock photography agencies and publishing companies for more than a decade. With the release of Keyword Perfect 2.0 in 2010, A2Z Keywording has expanded its presence in the stock photo industry by offering individual users the same comprehensive and efficient keywording engine that has driven its business for more than 15 years.
Using a proven methodology, A2Z Keywording’s service and technology transcribe virtually every detail of a given image – not just its personal subject and object, but the unique emotions, concepts and photographic styles that give the image its character and make it stand out in a crowded marketplace. Companies who have worked with A2Z Keywording include Meredith Publishing; Reader’s Digest; Images.com; Direct Stock; Hemera Inc.; American Showcase; Solus Images; Corbis; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Chelsea House Publishers.
For more information, visit http://www.a2zkeywording.com (http://www.a2zkeywording.com) and http://www.keywordperfect.com (http://www.keywordperfect.com).
Matter Communications for A2Z Keywording
Interesting news directly from DevianART press person: Fotolia and DeviantART join forces.
Angelo Sotira, CEO of deviantART describes his decision
Mr. Sotira’ main drivers:
- A large percentage of members of deviantART use stock, make commercial stock, or make free stock available to the community; sometimes all three. deviantART needs to focus that intelligence to birth the ideal resource for this core activity for our community.
- Special deviant collections that become a go-to environment for art directors and illustrators looking to break out from the standard stuff (exposes their work to the marketplace)
- Better artist splits when stock gets licensed;
- Great pricing for members, particularly when they use stock for developing talent and not for commercial projects;
- Building more advanced search that raises the bar for accessing stock;
- Simple-to-read licenses that really let you know what you can and can’t do;
- And delivering soup-to-nuts resources — not just visually, but that work culturally for a worldwide membership.
Official press release
October 13, 2010 – Los Angeles – Fotolia LLC and deviantART, Inc. announced today their plans to blend the international microstock business of Fotolia.com with deviantART’s worldwide social network of artists by launching the “deviantART Stock Project with Fotolia.” This new offering is part of deviantART’s plans to establish an integrated commercial stock offering within its network and serves Fotolia’s goal of expanding its footprint in the U.S..
DeviantART is currently home to 15 million members around the world and represents the largest online aggregation of microstock users. The Stock Project marks the first time a microstock provider is tapping the power of community for greater distribution and participation.
“DeviantART is the purest of all artist communities throughout the world. It works on democratic philosophy that complements our goals with Fotolia. We believe that the stock industry should be an open even-playing field for all artists and not set up elitist barriers to entry. We see a lot of synergies with how deviantART has democratized art and created a safe and welcoming environment,” said Oleg Tscheltzoff, founder and CEO of Fotolia. “The success of deviantART goes far beyond its impressive member base. When you take a look at the site you can see a community working together to make things happen for artists. The culture of sharing and learning is a natural magnet.”
“Our community uses microstock in high volumes. We wanted to introduce a solution with affordable purchase options, simple licensing terms and without heavy subscription costs. But it was more important to have a partner like Fotolia that understands the importance as a business of developing community as resource,” said Angelo Sotira, founder and CEO of deviantART. “We talked with all the major stock houses and Fotolia was the only partner for us. They offer an extensive collection of commercial stock assets and expertise; They consistently offer the best prices for stock and the best split for artists who want to contribute to the stock catalog; and Fotolia has a strong international presence that serves our global membership.”
The initial offering will increase the amount of stock already available on deviantART.com and provide members with commercial tools to facilitate an image-licensing program. The fully integrated product, expected next year, will provide members with seamless on-site access to microstock assets and create a unique deviantART collection from the community’s resources.
About deviantART, Inc.
DeviantART was created to entertain, inspire, and empower the artist in all of us. Founded in August 2000, deviantART is the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts with over 15 million registered members, attracting 35 million unique visitors per month and serving up 2 billion page views. As a community destination, deviantART is a platform that allows emerging and established artists to exhibit, promote, and share their works within a peer community dedicated to the arts. The site’s vibrant community environment receives more than 140,000 daily uploads of original art works ranging from traditional media, such as painting and sculpture, to digital art, pixel art, films and anime. Visit: www.deviantART.com.
Over 2 million people prefer Fotolia, LLC for affordable, royalty-free images, graphics and HD videos. With the introduction of the Infinite Collection, Fotolia became the first worldwide microstock organization to offer both crowd-sourced and professional images on one site. Founded in New York City in 2004, Fotolia spans the globe with websites in 11 languages and offices in 13 countries. With over 10,000,000 images to choose from, find it on Fotolia: www.fotolia.com
iSyndica, an online microstock distribution service, recently announced it’s closure. Despite their prices that were considered high by the microstock contributing community, iSyndica service attracted many serious microstock photographers, vector artists and videographers. With the service shutdown all the contributors’ portfolios, their associated metadata and the sales stats will be permanently lost. iSyndica is scheduled to shutdown on October 10 2010.
If you have an iSyndica account I suggest you to download all the dump files that iSyndica offers (see iSyndica’ answers below). Probably we can help you to utilize this information with your portfolio. If such an option is of your interest drop a comment here. The more interest we see the bigger is the chance we’ll make it happens.
Would not it be great just to ‘export’ your online portfolio with all it’s metadata and the associated sales stats and use it with ProStockMaster/Pixamba software? With a little help from iSyndica team we probably could do that too.
Since the latest iSyndica’ announcement I am getting many emails from the iSyndica customers. The most frequent questions are:
– Will you guys support custom FTP?
Yes we will. This feature is currently in the development and will be a part of our next major release, which is scheduled for October 2010.
– Do you plan adding more agencies?
Yes we do, and a few of them are already in the pipeline.
– Will you support video and vectors upload?
Yes we will, from mid-November 2010.
Here is he original closure announcement like it looks on iSyndica web site http://www.isyndica.com at the moment of writing (Sept 28 2010):
iSyndica is closing
We wish to thank all of you for your support over the past 2 years. Unfortunately, we have, for many reasons, decided to discontinue the service, with an effective last day set to October 10, 2010.
We have compiled the list of Q&As below to help you understand our handling of the situation. Further contact will also be made on a one-to-one basis within your iSyndica account and by e-mail.
How long will the service remain available?
Service will remain available and operational until October 10, 2010 at 23:59:59 UTC. However, effective immediately, you will no longer be able to place orders for credits or storage, or change your subscription. Note that FTP uploads will no longer be allowed as the FTP server will now be used to allow you to provide you access to backup information as well as letting you dump a backup of your catalog that you may re-download to your computer.
Will I get a refund?
Yes. On October 10, 2010, your subscription and credit balance will be tabulated to provide you with a pro-rated refund. Information will be made available in your account detail pages and you will further be contacted to arrange for the refund.
Will you pay my affiliate balance?
Yes. Your affiliate credits will be paid out as part of your final refund.
Will there be any payout limit?
No. There will be no payout limit: we will honor our obligations in full and refund you all that is owed to you.
What happens to my files online?
You can download your files from your account individually, or use a custom FTP connector to export them to a server under your control. If you run out of credits for this operation, please contact us and we will arrange for an export of your files.
After October 10, 2010, all files will be deleted permanently from iSyndica.
Can I download a backup of my file catalog?
Yes. If you do not have an external FTP server available, you can use iSyndica’s FTP to syndicate any file you wish to backup there, then download them to your computer. Visit your FTP account settings to get your login information and configure a generic FTP connector on your Channel List. Then syndicate all the files you wish to download. Once syndication is complete, simply connect using your favorite FTP client and download your files.
Can I get a data dump of my metadata?
Yes. Also on your FTP account, you will find a tab-delimited dump of all your metadata, keyed from the name of the files you uploaded. The file is named Metadata.tab.txt.
Can I get a data dump of my syndication history?
Yes. Also on your FTP account, you will find a tab-delimited dump of all your item syndication, keyed from the name of the files you uploaded and target agency to which you sent the file. The file is named Syndication.tab.txt.
Can I get a data dump of my reporting data?
Yes. Also on your FTP account, you will find a tab-delimited dump of all your reporting data that you may import in Excel or any spreadsheet program. This dump will contain additional information that was not made available on your general report summary, such as image references on each agency (with link to the display page for the item), license type, etc. The file is named Reporting.tab.txt.
What about my private information?
Your information will be erased from the system before we even close our hosting account, to ensure your privacy. We will not sell your email address or anything. By all means, feel free to change your agency login information – it is a good practice to change your password ever once in a while.
What about my Amazon or Paypal subscription?
Within a few hours, all payment subscriptions will be permanently canceled. You will no longer be charged for anything. You may receive a notification e-mail from Amazon or Paypal (respectively) informing you of the cancellation.
Who do I contact if I have further questions?
Please send an e-mail to our support group and we will do our best to address your inquiry.
What the classical economy says?
If you have an over-supply and a constant demand you have to limit your supply adjusting it to the demand.
A microstock agency can do it in two ways:
1) carefully select only best images
2) reduce the suppliers’ commissions, allowing many contributors to leave and thus reducing the supply stream. It also regulates the load on inspectors, so an agency can save costs employing less inspectors. Both things increase the company’s margins and the final profit, if the revenues remain at the same level.
Economically thinking this is the right thing to do when you are absolutely sure that your customers will keep buying from you.
It looks like Kelly Thompson is sure they will, whatever iStock does.
I would not be so sure though, and here is why.
The TrendsMicro creative market marketing research clearly shows that an average stock photography buyer find and license imagery from 3-4 sources simultaneously. The competition is tight and content is similar if not the same in the leading agencies. On this saturated market differentiation is the key, however the last move of iStock is far of this understanding. Kelly Thompson thinks profit, and in the short term such a move can indeed increase iStock profit.
Did he think about the long term too?
I assumed that at least iStock will try to find the way to keep their best contributors happy. I expected that the top-selling microstock contributors will get some privileges in the new commissions structure, a reasonable “VIP” approach, which would make happy at least that 10% who make 80% of the agency’ revenues.
However, look at this:
“I have read carefully, and basically what I see is that the 5% bump I was expecting sometime in the next year when I finally hit Diamond is actually going to be a 5% pay cut starting January 1st”
dgilder, commenting on Thompson’s announcement at iStock forum.
You can keep reading the original forum post by iStockphoto CEO discovering other contributors’ reactions. I also recommend this post as a good intro to the long and unclear iStock statement in the forum post.
Компания Canon открывает новый фотоконкурс для фотографов-любителей: “За что мы любим футбол”. Зарегестрироваться можно на сайте фотоконкурса, а здесь находится альбом снимков с прошлого фотоконкурса.
Главный приз: поездка на Super XLV в город Dallas, Texas, а также поездка на церемонию 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame в Canton, OH. А кроме того, Canon T2i с объективом 18-55 и фот-принтер Pixma в подарок.
Другие призы включают:
Второе место: фотоаппарат Canon PowerShot SX 210 IS и фото-принтер Pixma MG5220, и еще $250 gift certificate в магазин музея the Hall of Fame.
Третье место: фотоаппарат Canon PowerShot Digital ELPH SD1400 IS и фото-принтер CP800 Photo Printer, плюс $100 gift certificateв магазин музея the Hall of Fame.
А судьи кто? Archie Manning, ветеран лиги NFL и Peter Read Miller из журнала “Sports Illustrated”
Работы на фотоконкурс можно присылать до 1-ого декабря 2010. К сожалению, конкурс открыт только для граждан USA.
Canon comes with the new photo contest for amateur photographers: Why do you love football? The official contest page is here and here is the last contest gallery
Grand prize: a trip to Super XLV in Dallas, Texas and also a trip to the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies in Canton, OH to see their winning photo unveiled at the Hall of Fame. And also Canon T2i + 18-55 kit
And there are more!
First Place in each category will receive a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with 18-55 IS lens kit and Pixma MG8120 Photo Printer and a $500 gift certificate to the Hall of Fame Museum Store.
Second Place in each category will receive a Canon PowerShot SX 210 IS and Pixma MG5220 Photo Printer and a $250 gift certificate to the Hall of Fame Museum Store.
Third Place in each category will receive a Canon PowerShot Digital ELPH SD1400 IS and CP800 Photo Printer and a $100 gift certificate to the Hall of Fame Museum Store.
Judges: Archie Manning, the NFL veteran and Peter Read Miller of “Sports Illustrated”
The contest is open till December 1-st. Unfortunately, US citizens only.
New version 1.9.2 fixes following issues:
– Windows: thumbnails for files with non-Latin characters in the file path are not displayed
– Mac: Stock Agencies window pop-us each time the application starts
– Mac: GUI skin automatically changed after the installation