Free File of the …

The first week of February I was fortunate to have a clip selected as the Free File of the Week on RevoStock… or so I thought.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/8451486[/vimeo]

They selected one of my more recent clips and an animation which took me a lot time to set up and render as I was just learning to use Cinema 4D dynamics at the time.  But, I figured that it was a worthwhile sacrifice if it brought more exposure to my portfolio.  While the clip was fairly popular and received nearly 200 downloads during the week, the views on the rest of my portfolio barely moved.  Vultures swarmed in to download the clip, but ignored the rest of my portfolio.

So for me, on a personal level, having my clip selected as the free file on RevoStock did nothing.  Even though I promoted the heck out of it on Twitter and various mailing lists (I even got several people to sign up on RevoStock just to download it).  In the end, what counts is sales, and I got no sales that week.

RevoStock and other sites that offer free files will argue that it brings more buyers to their site, but none of them have yet to produce any hard facts which support that claim.  After discussing it with numerous other artists, I concluded that offering free files may sign up a lot of new people to a site, but most of them are after the free file and don’t actually ever buy anything.  One thing I know for sure… It’s highly unlikely that my clip that was offered as the free file will ever actually sell on Revo now that everyone who wanted it got it for free.

Still, I don’t regret it.  It was a lesson I needed to learn.  No more offering free files for me.  Unless, of course, RevoStock or other agencies want to compensate me for offering up a file for free.  After all, if they are truly generating new sales as a result of giving my file away then they shouldn’t have a problem compensating me in some fashion… right?  Perhaps paying me for 1 download or even paying me 1% for each download (so I’d get a full share at 100 downloads, etc..).  Is that too much to ask?

Another issue is file selection…  During the Christmas holiday buying season Pond5 gave away a generic looping snow background…  My own generic snow loops have traditionally been my best sellers during the Christmas buying season and it killed those sales…  While I still sold some of them, even during the freebie period, my sales didn’t match last year or the year before.  RevoStock made the same mistake the week after they used my clip… They gave away a Valentine background animation, and a couple of artists told me it killed their regular sales of valentine animations that week.  Stock agencies need to think about what they are giving away.  If you want to give away a Christmas clip, do it in March or the middle of summer.  Never give away a clip that pertains to any kind of current buyer trend.

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