RevoStock – Stock Footage, Audio, A.E. Projects and F.C. Projects

I’m reading through old posts today and it occurs to me that I’ve been pretty hard on RevoStock and it might seem like I don’t like them or recommend them… which couldn’t be farther from the truth.  So, I’ll take some time to review RevoStock, both the good and the bad.

RevoStock sells Stock Footage, Audio files (music and sound effects), After Effects Projects and Final Cut  Projects.  They offer a 45% commision on non-exclusive items and 60% for exclusive items (you can make individual items exclusive).  Which, while not the best/highest rates in the industry, it does put them in the top sites for revenue sharing (iStock, ShutterStock, Fotolia, etc.. being at the bottom).  While I can understand the reason for wanting exclusive content, they simply don’t sell enough volume to make it worthwhile. At least not in Stock Footage.  They might in AE/FC projects or Audio.  And RevoStock lets artist set their own prices for items they sell.  But for some strange reason, they have an upper limit which means if you have a unique piece of editorial footage worth lots of money, you’re better off waiting to submit to Revo until after things slow down elsewhere.

RevoStock has been spending a lot of money and effort on site improvements over the past year.  They were among the first sites to support embedded meta-data in QuickTime .MOV clips.  And they’ve added support for clips with Alpha channels (PNG or Animation encoded clips).  Most recently they’ve added support for revenue sharing between artists which promotes collaboration (more about that shortly).  And while the site is still one of the slowest to use, they have made big improvements on speeding things up.  Most importantly, like Pond5, they support the artist community and treat artists like partners and not indentured servants (*cough* iStock *cough*).

Unfortunately, in order to sell anything on RevoStock you have to go through a stupid quiz process to show them your L33T enough to join their group.  It’s not a difficult quiz as they make you read a few pages of info then simply quiz you on that info.  It’s just a real PITA to go through.  I am selling AE projects and Audio on Pond5, but it’s not likely I’ll sell them on Revo simply because I think the quiz process is ridiculous and I’m not going to do it again (I had to for Stock Footage).  The process does not weed out anyone who doesn’t want to sell there and even if you pass the quiz and get approved, you still have every single submitted item being reviewed for approval.  RevoStock is just snobbish and the quiz process helps them to feel superior (which, based on their low volume of sales is not warranted).  However, once you get past the quiz process and get approved to sell, they do treat artists well, as I’ve stated before.

Once you are accepted and you upload your items to the site, it’s a simple matter of adding title, description, keywords, etc.. to each item and submitting it for review.  RevoStock recently added the ability to copy data from one item to another, so if you upload a lot of similar items, you can get through the submit process pretty quickly.  After that the review process can take from a few days to a few weeks depending on how many uploads they have to go through.  So far it appears there is just a single reviewer for footage, so at times she gets behind and it can take weeks to get items reviewed and online.  The reviewer is very nice and unlike many other sites, you get a detailed reason when something is rejected.  That gives you an opportunity to correct any issues the reviewer finds.  Unfortunately, they reject a lot of stuff for reasons that make no sense.  I shot video of a yacht race from the deck of a boat.  My clip was rejected for being hand-held (which it wasn’t but even with a tripod on the boat deck, there was a bit of swaying).  The clip was accepted on Pond5 and sold numerous times.  I’ve also had clips rejected for harsh sunlight that have also sold numerous times on Pond5 and ShutterStock where they were accepted.  I have no problem with rejections for technical issues or because a given subject is oversaturated on the site, but reviewers should not make decisions based on what they think will sell.  Because in WAY TOO MANY cases, they are wrong and the stuff sells on other sites.  I think their lack of vision is one of the reasons why they lag behind on the number of clips available and the low sales volume compared to other sites.

RevoStock recently added the ability for artist to collaborate on a project and share the revenue.  So, I could use footage from one of my friends (with permission), add some CG elements and upload it to RevoStock.  Then I can designate that a specified percentage of each sale be given to the other artist.  So if I sell a clip for $40 and give 50% to the collaborating artist, we’ll each get $9 added to our revenue (at 45% commission).  This is a huge deal and could promote a lot of cooperation between artists… Maybe even increase the number of exclusive items on Revo if artists choose to only sell collaborative works through Revo.

On the home page of RevoStock you can see the recently sold items.  So occasionally, when I’m working in my office all day, I’ll check the sales every 15 or 20 minutes to note how many items are sold that day.  Upon occasion, that number comes out to be less than the total number of sales I personally have on Pond5 for the same day.  Additionally, every single clip I have on Pond5 that has sold at least once has been submitted to RevoStock.  While a few have been rejected on Revo, most have not and while several of my clips sell almost daily on Pond5, they rarely sell on Revo.  Even when the price on Revo is lower.  That leads me to believe that buyers are not shopping around for pricing and buying clips wherever they find them cheaper.  And the same buyers are usually not buying from both Revo and Pond5.  I imagine that most sales on Revo come from buyers with corporate accounts there which makes it their number one place to buy.  Not to mention that every single buyer who has contacted me directly has done so through Pond5 (Discovery Network, Weather Channel, etc…).

Still, it’s worth it to support RevoStock and upload to them, for no other reason than their friendly partnership with artists.  Some of my friends do have good months there with lots of sales, but nobody I know has ever had RevoStock as their top seller for a month.  And while I’ve had what I would consider a few good months of sales with them, I’ve never even made half the revenue on RevoStock as I have on Pond5 for any given month.  But, again, I love their friendly attitude and their constant improvements to the site, so I keep uploading and hoping things will improve.

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