I tweeted this morning about yesterday’s blog post “February News” and Craig L., the owner of RevoStock took issue with a number of things I said… So, let’s set the record straight.
His first comment was with regard to my claim that their Google ranking was below ClipCanvas and the Envato Marketplace. I have to admit that my last Google search for “Stock Footage” was a few weeks ago which is when I noticed they had slipped and made a note of it for a future blog post. Doing as he asked, I searched again today and RevoStock was on the front page, both in the search results and in Google Adwords. It’s possible that they changed their Adword campaign to move up to the front page after reading my post, but for them to be on the front page in search results means the changes they made to their SEO had to have occurred some time ago. Google search rankings wildly fluctuate at times, especially with popular searches as each business is constantly tweaking their site to improve. Before stating their ratings had slipped based on data from a few weeks ago, I should have done another search to see if that was still the case. So I’ll give RevoStock that one… I was wrong.
However, go to the web sites where potential RevoStock customers are and you won’t find any advertising… CreativeCow, GreyScale Gorrilla, Mograph.net, etc… Nor in any magazines that I have looked through. Other than a good Google ranking and giving away free clips to people who don’t buy (they just collect free clips), what are they doing to attract sales? Why are sales growing on Pond5, ShutterStock, iStock, ClipCanvas and other sites while they are falling on RevoStock? I don’t use/buy After Effects templates, but RevoStock is known as the number one site for AE templates. And from what I gather talking to AE template sellers, their sales are steady or growing. My own unofficial and non-scientific tracking also shows that to be the case (stock footage sales dropping, AE template sales growing).
He also took issue with my statement about exclusivity and some producers I called out by name. He said one or two of them had already been brought to their attention by another artist and they were looking into it. And he invited me to rat out those that I find. Which is fine, but it’s not really my job to police their site. A few hours refreshing the home page and checking various “exclusives” against clips on Pond5, ClipCanvas, ShutterStock and iStock by one of their employees should be enough to figure out who the big offenders are. And what prompted me to post what I did in my blog was an unanswered post in their forums. Apparently they’re monitoring Twitter chatter about RevoStock, but why are they ignoring their own forums? And he said they’d look at each contributor individually to decide how far they’d go. I can understand that, but those artists I mentioned have sizable collections which Revo would prefer (I’m sure) not to be without. So I imagine they’ll just get a slap on the wrist, which I think sends the wrong message.
I’ve had a few emails from Craig over the past couple of years and he’s a very passionate individual. He believes strongly in his site and has a lot of pride in RevoStock. If I were him, I would too. In the past he has done a great job of communicating with artists and providing features requested by artists to improve the site. Only Pond5 has had (past tense) a better reparte’ with artists. Still, I wish they’d monitor their forums a little more, even if it’s not Craig, someone on his staff should be going through them every day. It’s not like more than a half dozen message are posted there daily.
He called my claims “blatantly false” and to a degree he’s absolutely correct… which is why am I answering him publicly so that I can admit my mistakes. I’ve left the comment about Google in the original post, but I’ve changed it with a “strike-through” font. But while I’ll admit from the tone of his message that he (as owner) and RevoStock take the issue of fraud seriously, there was nothing to indicate that my impression of leniency with what I feel are blatant acts of theft is false. We’ll see what actually happens. When I run across clips that are mismarked as exclusive, I’ll report them. But as I said, that shouldn’t be my job to find them.
Let me finish with this… RevoStock is one of the good guys… They have a healthy respect for artists, they have communicated well with artists, and for the most part they treat artists more like partners than sites like iStock, Fotolia, etc… My frustration with them comes from a lack of sales on their part and from a perception of them being lethargic. At one time they were the number 1 Stock Footage seller on the Internet, having practically invented the market. But Pond5 has that position now and upstarts like ClipCanvas are also moving quickly up the ladder.
RevoStock reminds me of those companies that hit the top, get comfortable and stop thinking/working like a contender. Rather than battling it out, they play defense in the hopes of not losing much ground. They are slow to adapt to changes in the industry (they added support for Alpha clips almost two years after Pond5 did). And they fail to promote some of the features which make them still a premiere site for artists today (it’s great when you add a feature that allows artists to share revenue on asset sales, but why aren’t you promoting that more? And where’s the support that was promised for allowing models to share revenue with artists?)
I am rooting for RevoStock, I want to see them succeed. Because their success is also my success as an artist who is part of the site. But I see a site that is just running on auto-pilot. Lackluster sales, lack of advertising, essentially sleeping at the wheel until someone like me comes along and pokes them with a stick. 🙂
So far, every time Craig has told me things will get better, they do… at least for a little while. He is a man of his word and he’s on the case… and things will get better, I truly believe that. I just hope they don’t fall asleep again because I still have my stick.