February 2010 Sales Stats and News

February was a busy month for me on the home front and I missed a couple of goals, but overall I think things were better.  I increased my portfolio on all sites and my sales were a little up.  MotionDrops put itself up for sale, so I’m dropping them until that plays out.  And I finally decided to start uploading to Fotolia again, although I’m downsizing my clips because of their low subscription prices.

February 2010
Agency Clips Sold Portfolio Size
Pond5 61 (+19) 887 (+34)
ShutterStock 4 (+2) 103 (+19)
RevoStock 3 (+1) 211 (+21)
Can Stock 1 21  (+9)
ClipCanvas 0 66 (+28)
iStock 0 7 (+7)
Fotolia 0 2 (+2)

I managed to sell at least 1 clip each day that Pond5 reported sales… that’s a first.  And over all, it’s the second highest number of clips I’ve ever sold there in one month.  I missed my goal of 900 clips online by the end of February.  I’m going to try very hard to reach 1000 clips by the end of March, but a trip to Michigan for 10 days might get in the way. ShutterStock sales are also on the rise… I’m not sure if it’s because I uploaded more there in February than the previous 6 months combined.  I passed my goal of 100 clips online at ShutterStock and next I’m shooting for 150 clips by the end of March.  RevoStock still puzzles me.. I did manage to sell 1 more clip than January, but every single one of my best selling clips on Pond5 have been uploaded to RevoStock and still my sales there are poor.  It’s very disheartening.  I don’t have a goal for Revo in March, it depresses me to even log into the site at the moment.  I’m really working hard to get a decent size portfolio on ClipCanvas, I hope to crack 100 clips by the end of the month.  No sales yet, but I’m hopeful.  I just wish there was some way to see some stats on the site.  And iStock finally started approving clips I uploaded.  It takes about 3 to 5 weeks for them to approve clips since I’m non-exclusive.

I pitched a major fit on Pond5 about their disappearance from the forums again.  I go through this with them all of the time.  As usual, someone shows up, apologizes, gets involved in a few threads and then ultimately disappears again.  Although, Marcus has been adding a number of new features to the site lately.  At my request, you can not get an affiliate link on each of your clip pages if you want to link directly to a clip in Twitter or a blog.  They also added the ability for you to add a search engine for your clips on your own web site.  It requires some PhP programming knowledge on your part (or whomever manages your site).  One artist has done a pretty impressive job of integrating it with his site.  Marcus is also working on getting oEmbed to work for WordPress blogs.  As much as I whine in their forums about stuff, one this is for certain… They SELL FOOTAGE.  Most artists I know did very well in February with several up over 50% from their January sales.  From what I can tell, only iStock has sold more footage than Pond5 and that’s only because iStock automatically downsizes your footage.  Most artists I know who got tons of sales on iStock reported it was downsized SD or 720p footage and not the 1080p originals.  If Pond5 would just hurry up and implement automatic re-sizing, I think they could beat iStock in sales.

RevoStock has been working hard behind the scenes to improve the site.  But so far I  haven’t seen any improvement in sales.  In a moment of ultimate analism I tracked every footage sale for a week and found they averaged 20 clips a day in sales for that week.  That is unbelievably low compared to other sites.  A couple of friends of mine had banner months in February selling close to 100 clips each, so it’s not all bad news for everyone.  But most artists I know share my grief.  I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but sales seem to fall off when RevoStock stopped being super active on Twitter…  During the few months where I was selling well there, they were tweeting almost daily.  In other news, there are several discussions in the Revo forums concerning requested changes.  I highly recommend you check them out.  Revo’s been great at communicating with artists on the topics (hello, Pond5 are you hearing this?).  We’ll have to see how it goes.  You can read my previous blog from a couple weeks ago about my experience with having the free file of the week.

ClipCanvas has made a few visible site changes.  They got rid of the login from the top of the home page (I wish they’d bring it back) and changed a few  graphics.  No new features for artists yet.  They are nice people, but they lack of a lot of features from the bigger sites.  Especially missing are stats.  I have no idea if any of my clips have ever been viewed and a few friends have sold clips there, but there’s no way to see what has sold.  While I still haven’t sold anything, I am still enthusiastic for the site (for now) and I’m planning on some major uploading there in March.  Just like January, ClipCanvas was pretty dominate in the Twitterverse, tweeting almost daily.

ShutterStock was a bit of a shocker for me… I really wanted to get 100 clips online there, so I started uploading a lot of newer stuff there.  And surprise, I started getting sales again.  I had heard that their search engine favors newer items and a couple of my sales were new clips I’d uploaded in February… so maybe there is something to that rumor.  Since I’ve lost a lot of enthusiasm for Revo, I’m going to spend a little more time this month uploading to ShutterStock.  As always, ShutterStock was number 1 in the Twitterverse with thousands of automatic tweets a day and their multiple daily tweets highlighting various submitters or blogs related to MicroStock.  I am still very unhappy with their low commissions, but my cold heart is starting to melt a little towards them.

And I started uploading to Fotolia again, although since they allow subscribers to download HD clips for a few bucks, I took some advice and I’m downsizing my uploads to either SD for valuable stuff and 720p for stuff that’s less valuable.  I’m holding off for a little while on uploads though… I’m reading a lot of reports from artists who haven’t been paid in months, and hundreds of  artists who have left (or are leaving) Fotolia because they’re using currency exchange rates to rip artists off.  It’ll be interesting to see how that drags out.

And iSyndica significantly lowered their prices.  On the lower end it used to cost roughly 25 cents per footage upload which was quite expensive.  That’s down to 10 cents per upload now.  So for a dollar you can upload 10 clips to 1 site or 1 clip to 10 sites.  Quite a deal.  They’ve also significantly improved their analytics, which were already great.  But I really don’t like the new “batches” feature.  Sadly there’s no way to turn it off.  But there is a way around it, so it’s not all bad.  I didn’t do as much uploading in February as I did in January, but I still got a lot done thanks to iSyndica.

I finally got a vDSLR that I could afford…  I bought the new Canon EOS Rebel T2i earlier in the week and I’m having a ball learning its features.  I’m headed to Detroit in a little over a week to visit the in-laws and I’m taking both my cameras with me.  The wife has graciously agreed to allow me too spend 90% of my time there shooting footage.  So I expect a huge burst of uploads at the end of March into April.  I’ll also have a review of the T2i up within a few days, probably on the iSyndica site to start with.

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