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Why going exclusive does not work at microstock

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Guys, read it!

Here is the latest post by Shutterstock CEO and the Founder Jon Oringer: http://jonoringer.com/tag/microstock/

By keeping things simple, not favoring exclusive images, and iterating on metrics like search success, we feel like we will be more and more successful for both our buyers and our sellers over the long term.

I can not agree anymore. The future belong to non-exclusive contributors.

iStock exclusivity does not pay back. Old dinosaurs like Getty Images who do not understand the digital reality have to adopt the change – or die.

Shutterstock IPO: checked!

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Today is a great day for Shutterstock.

The company becomes a public company on the New York Stock Exchange: check out NASDAQ:SSTK.

So now each one of us can grab a share of the Shutterstock success 🙂 (please do not see it as a financial advise)

Congratulations Shutterstock! Jon and the team – you did it, and did it well!

Shutterstock introduces single image sales

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Shutterstock, who came to the microstock market as a first agency to offer microstock subscriptions, joins iStock, Fotolia and Dreamstime by offering single images sales. The recent announcement on Shutterbuzz states that current royalty rates for subscription-based packages are not going to change. As per the new product which ‘is being tested in the certain markets’ the planned royalty rates are based on the contributor’s life-time earnings on Shutterstock:

  • up to $500 – 20% payout rate
  • $500 – $3,000 – 25%
  • $3,000 – $10,000 – 28%
  • over $10,000 – 30%

Shutterstock is an owner of BigStockPhoto.com, re-branded as BIGSTOCK sometime ago. BIGSTOCK, which deploys a traditional credits-based microstock model, was purchased by Shutterstock to complete their subscriptions offering. For the last few months in addition to the credits packages BIGSTOCK also offers immediate purchase of a single image. The single download prices start from $2.99.

BIGSTOCK single image sales

BIGSTOCK single image sales

It looks like Shutterstock was closely following BIGSTOCK in this initiative and now they are doing a similar move.

All in all this is good news for the microstock artists. I believe that the contributors like me will be happy to increase their earnings effortlessly, by selling the same microstock collection on Shutterstock in a different way, so let’s wish Shutterstock good luck with their new baby.

 

Sell photos with LightBurner.com – new FREE online microstock content distribution service

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I am glad to invite you to try LightBurner Beta, our new free microstock content distribution and analytical service.

LightBurner customers can submit images to the following pre-integrated microstock photography agencies:

Microstock Photography Agencies Supported by LightBurner

Microstock Photography Agencies Supported by LightBurner

Also you can define unlimited Custom FTP Channels, delivering your images wherever you want to, for instance your blog’ FTP server or your backup FTP site.

I plan to have at least 20-25 pre-integrated microstocks supported in December yet. Your suggestions for more destination are warmly welcome.

LightBurner Portfolio

LightBurner Portfolio

The famous keywords suggestions + translations, first introduced in ProStockMaster in 2006 (wow, 4 years ago – who can believe it), is now a part of LightBurner too.
Other interesting features include built-in search in your portfolio, Similar Media area, cataloging by Lightboxes, Folders and Categories, notes on images and sales balance for each channel. Of course, LightBurner reads IPTC for any uploaded JPEG, so you get your files with all the metadata – searchable and cataloged, at your fingertips.

Easy Multilingual Keywording With Auto-Suggestion

Easy Multilingual Keywording With Auto-Suggestion

The service is still far from being completed, however I believe that existing functions work quite well and have a great value to any microstock contributor. More agencies and more features will come in the next weeks. Without getting into the details, you can expect nice surprises in your LightBurner account.

How to get started

  • register for a free account. In a few moments you will get a Welcome email with your credentials, including SFTP access.
  • upload your files by SFTP (FileZilla will do)
  • login and go to My Account -> My Portfolio -> Channels/Edit and select your sales channels / agencies
  • select what files go where. Multiple options available, including “Assign” X files to Y channels, “Edit” of multiple files or simple drag-n-drop a file to a channel

Actually, that’s it. The distribution is automatic, so you do not have to do a thing.

Photos Sales Statistics

Photos Sales Statistics

Your files statuses are updated accordingly: red square (undistributed) is replaced by yellow (partially distributed) and then by green (fully distributed). You will have to hit Refresh from time to time to see these statuses changes.

A few notes:

  • All the original uploaded files are removed after 3 days
  • Shutterstock delivery is over FTP, stats / balance can not be displayed due to submitters accounts blocking with a captcha
  • At the moment LightBurner supports JPEGs only, no other formats and no model releases
  • Later on ProStockMaster will work directly with your LightBurner account, thus saving you traffic, costs and time by uploading media just once
  • The last but not the least: bugs happen. Please be patient, and report them! Contact: support(at)pixamba.com, david(at)pixamba.com or via LightBurner’ online form

FTP uploads to any microstock and stock photography agency by replacing Shutterstock

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Did you know that if you do not work with Shutterstock microsotck agency you can use “Shutterstock FTP” credentials uploading to any FTP-enabled stock photography agency instead?

Just keep in mind that what is shown as “Shutterstock” in PSM microstock software is in fact your trusted “ABC” stock photos agency.

Doing that is simple: go to “Upload->Stock Agencies->Shutterstock” and replace Shutterstock FTP server name with the name of the FTP server for “ABC” stock photography site, adding your FTP credentials for that stock imagery agency or stock content distributor.

From now on, each time you upload to “Shutterstock” the file actually goes to “ABC-stock”.

Keyphrases handling by various stock photo agencies

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So here is the trick that Terry pointed me out a few months ago and Jorgen confirmed the same issue for some more agencies:
IPTC keyphrases interpreting differs between various stock agencies.

It means that if you index your image with a keyphrase like blue water, it will be retrieved OK from IPTC data on e.g. iStockphoto, but will become two keywords blue and water on e.g. Shutterstock. If you will try another trick by doble-qouting your keyphrase (note that PSM is a rare applications which allows you doing that without any problem) and your original keyphrase becomes to be “blue water”, Shutterstock will show it correctly as a blue water keyphrase, but iStockphoto will not show it at all (BTW, why is that iStockphoto.com?)

FIXED – Uploads to ShutterStock fail

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UPDATE: The issue is fixed. The new version 1.2.2 is available for download. You can upgrade your software by following the upgrade notes listed here: http://www.prostockmaster.com/upgrade.htm
I also fixed a minor issue with some gibberish which was sometimes inserted in the generated keywords list and made the version update verification procedure a bit more reliable.
In short, get the new version and enjoy!

-David

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Due to the recent changes at ShutterStock web site there is a new issue with ShutterStock uploads. At the moment the files uploaded with ProStockMaster do not appear on the web site, so please do not upload your work to ShutterStock until the fix is available.

This issue will be fixed during the next few days. Hope the update version will be ready for download before the weekend. Those of you who use version 1.2.1 will be informed automatically on ProStockMaster’ start that the new update is available. If you have an older version please go to “Help->Software Updates…” menu and verify periodically if the update is already available.

I am negotiating with the few sites to establish and use a dedicated stable API that will eliminate such unpleasant situations in the future (some of them already have such API). As usual, these things take time. Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding

Mac package update

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The Mac packaging is updated!
Now Mac version is packaged with native Mac bundler and finally ProStockMaster on Mac is delivered and installed like any other native Mac application.
I like Mac look & feel: http://www.prostockmaster.com/images/mac_main_screen.jpg – really cool Mac-native GUI.

Finally: Payment, price and the unlimited version

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I just finished today testing of all the payment stuff. The payment processor is going to be PayPal and the product price will be EURO 39. / $49.
All the payments are processed on PayPal site and at the end the payer receives software activation code generated by ProStockMaster site. I hope you guys will excuse me if I will not accept GBP and AUD at least at this phase. PayPal also accepts credit cards, so it should handle 99% of payment options this way.

I am also adding an affiliate program, so anyone who want to promote ProStockMaster will get 25% sales commission on any sale of the software to his/her referred buyer.

At the moment I need 2-3 more days to add “lock/unlock” functionality to the software, so a person who has downloaded ProStockMaster can pay, get his activation code and enter it in the app without a need to re-download the software. I think at the end of this week all this stuff will be ready.

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