July 2010 Sales Report

Better late than never…

July 2010
Agency Clips Sold Portfolio Size
Pond5 62 (+1) 1047 (+10)
RevoStock 2 (-5) 299 (+16)
ShutterStock 6 (+5) 139 (+1)
ClipCanvas 0 (-1) 209 (+5)
MediaStock 0 (+0) 78 (+0)
Can Stock 1 (+0) 44 (+0)
iStock 0 (+0) 16 (+0)
Fotolia 0 4 (+0)

I had a very busy summer with family outings and a few consulting jobs.  So I wasn’t paying attention too much as to what was going on.  Other than the summer slump was in full effect. Even though I sold 1 more clip on Pond5 than in June, my sales dollars were down considerably.  It was a miserable month sales-wise.

The right place at the right time…

Sometimes in your life you just happen to be at the right place at the right time.  That happened to me yesterday… twice.

It was another hot day in Topeka and I needed to get out of the house.  So I loaded up my camera equipment in the car and went for a drive. By pure luck, I ran across the police just starting to surround a house.  I quickly pulled over and got as closed as I could with my camera.  It was a hostage situation which lasted almost two hours with a stand-off between police and a guy who was holding “himself”  hostage.  About 50 to 60 officers including S.W.A.T. and some heavy duty armored vehicles eventually had the whole area surrounded.  While I was there only one other news agency sent a camera and the person using it was, um, well, an idiot.  So I ended up with the only decent footage and photos of the whole thing. During the whole crisis I was able to position myself in the best place for taking pictures because I was able to listen to what the police were doing on using a 99 cent  police scanner app I got for my iPhone.

When it was over, I decided to head to a local park to get some photos and footage.  While there, I was listening to the police scanner app and heard about a train wreck.  I quickly raced to the scene and again was first on the scene with a camera.  A reporter from the paper showed up with a little “point & shoot” camera and eventually a news crew showed up over an hour later when it was getting dark.  So again, I got the only decent photos and video of the accident scene.  I was able to get there quickly thanks to the GPS in my iPhone.

I never leave my home without my camera.  I don’t always load up my good tripod and other accessories, but I always have my camera and two primary lenses.  And the silent hero yesterday was my iPhone.  Without my police scanner app and GPS things would have turned out way differently.

Train derailment near Silverlake, KS Topeka Respose Team vehicle blocking off a street during a crisis.

June 2010 Sales Report

I HATE THE SUMMER SLUMP!  My clip sales are way down overall, even on Pond5, and my revenue per clip is also down.  RevoStock is actually up a little bit.   I didn’t submit nearly as many clips in June as I should have, but I did manage to produce a lot more.  It’s just a lot of work to process everything. Oh, and my AC issues I mentioned previously caught up to me…  My computer overheated and the motherboard took a dive.  So I have the added expense of replacing my motherboard, processor and video card in June.

One of the reasons for not getting as much edited is because I decided to head out at night and see what was around to shoot video of.  There’s actually not a lot of night stock video since most stock shooters don’t have a camera which can shoot good video at night.  Armed with my precious Canon T2i, I ventured out and managed to shoot about 60 pretty good clips and maybe another 30 that could work after some tweaking.

June 2010
Agency Clips Sold Portfolio Size
Pond5 61 (-26) 1037 (+28)
RevoStock 7 (+3) 283 (+22)
ShutterStock 1 (-3) 138 (+7)
ClipCanvas 1 (-4) 204 (+18)
MediaStock 0 (+0) 78 (+0)
Can Stock 1 (+1) 44 (+6)
iStock 0 (+0) 16 (+0)
Fotolia 0 4 (+0)

I’m guessing that the free credits that Pond5 gave away a couple of months ago have mostly dried up.  Most artists I know are also reporting much lower sales on Pond5 as well.  Dollar-wise, June was down 38% from May.  And unfortunately, Pond5 has gone back to ignoring artists in the forums again.  And numerous reported bugs on the web site have been ignored for weeks now.  One of the owners, whom I think is their main programmer, had a baby recently, so I can certainly understand if he wants to spend all of his time with is wife and child.  But you’d think some of the others would step up.  The curator has also been behind in reviewing clips, but a couple of new artists mailed in hard drives with hundreds of new clips on them, so that’s what gummed up the works.  They’re about a week to 10 days behind right now.  And, as usual, my big mouth has caused some issues.  Because I bitch on the Pond5 forums and give my honest opinion, such as in this blog entry, most of my clips have been removed from the “Curator Selects” bin which is what feeds the home page.  And they’re no longer going to add any of my newer clips to the bin. Such is the price you pay for freedom of speech.

As I had mentioned previously, RevoStock has overhauled their pricing and added a new feature which allows artist to bundle clips together and sell the bundle at a discount. I haven’t sold any bundles yet, but I have seen several sold on Revo, so it’s helped out their sales a lot.  I was able to lower prices on a number of clips to match those on Pond5 which resulted in 3 more sales for June over May.  We’ll have to see if things improve overall.  Although I sold  3 more clips, I actually only made a few dollars more.  RevoStock needs to dump their whole exclusivity program and give artists the same 50% as Pond5 and other leading agencies.  With their MUCH lower sales than the top agencies, you’d have to be a complete idiot to sell clips exclusively with them. One problem that still remains with their pricing is the upper end is still limited. A friend of mine took some footage of the gulf disaster early on and sold it exclusively through Pond5 where he could control the price and get top dollar for it.  That’s a lot of sales Revo’s missing out on.  Of course, now that it’s been going on for some time, the footage isn’t worth as much so it’s being uploaded to all of the agencies.

ClipCanvas was a major disappointment in June.  Only one sale.  But, I was finally able to navigate through their horrible web interface for repricing clips and get my portfolio cleaned up.  They are definitely growing faster than any other agency right now as tons of new artists are joining and uploading.  And that’s probably why individual sales numbers are down, because the sales are being spread out over more people.  So, it comes down again to a numbers game.  The more clips you have with an agency, the higher your sales should be.

After a couple of great months with ShutterStock, their back to selling very little.  Although I did get through their model release process so now I can start uploading a lot more model released clips with them.  I hear from people are are selling footage regularly on SS that model released footage is where it’s at.  We’ll see.  Overall, they’ve been short-changing their footage business quite a bit and I think a lot of artists as submitting less with them.

The weather here is finally starting to “smooth out” with fewer storms and more “average days” of temperatures in the 80’s.  So that means lots more shooting outdoor.  I’m doing a couple of model shoots this weekend, but I’m going to head out and shoot a lot more outdoor stuff while the weather’s good.  I expect July will be much like June where I won’t get as much online as I’d like, but I’ll have tons of clips ready for editing  during bad weather days.

Mid June Update

Well, a little after mid-June, but better late than never…

The “summer slump” has officially arrived and sales are down all over the place.  I’ve had zero sales at ClipCanvas and MediaStock this month.  ShutterStock sales are down 80% from last month.  And Pond5 sales are down nearly 30% from last month.  The only bright spot is RevoStock.  They updated their pricing to be much more flexible and I was finally able to match pricing from Pond5, so I’ve sold a little more than double the number of clips over last month.  Of course, RevoStock sales had almost no place to go but up… Still it’s good news during another dismal summer.

Speaking of dismal summer, my air conditioning woes continue.  The room where my computer is located was added on to the house, so it has inadequate ventilation.  And it ends up being the hottest room in the house during the summer.  Unfortunately, we’ve got a full house, so I can’t move my computer any place else.  Which means, for now, I can’t work on my computer during the day.  So, I either have to find other things to do, or work at night and sleep during the day.

Although I can’t run my computer much during the day, I have managed to create about 30 new animations so far this month.  And I’ve been all over Kansas shooting video with my T2i (which I absolutely love).  I’m still not getting as much new stuff online as I should, however.

I am hoping to take a short trip to Houston, TX in the next few days to visit family.  If I am able to make the trip I also plan on meeting a good friend and taking a day or two to drive over to Louisiana and get some footage of the oil spill mess.  If that doesn’t work out, then I’ll be working on some new people clips I’ve been planning for a couple of months.

Oh! I took a DSLR camera class for newbies at a local portrait studio in town.  I didn’t learn much that was new, but what I did learn was very valuable.  And some of the things I “already knew” were confirmed by the expert.  So I’m feeling much better about myself.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a hands on class, but the studio is putting together a small hands on class for July which I’m thinking about taking.

I’m working on a new blog entry for iSyndica which is a follow-up to my initial T2i/550D review.  Now that I have practical experience with it, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.  I also promised them a review of an iPhone app or two which I haven’t completed yet, so I’m going to try and get those done as soon as I get back from my trip.

May 2010 Sales Report

May was a surprising month with sales doing very well  for the first 10 or 12 days, then slowing down considerably and finally making a steady charge the last week for an overall up month.  I didn’t get as much uploaded as I would have liked, but I finally did break the 1000 clips barrier on Pond5.

I went with my family to the Henry Doorly Zoo and their Wildlife Refuge Safari in Omaha, NE where I was hoping to get a lot of great footage because they don’t have commercial restrictions on images… but alas things conspired against me.  I did manage to get a lot of great still shots, some of which are online, but very little usable footage.  The crowds were big for a non-holiday weekend and there was no place to set up my tripod.  When I did, it got knocked down several times (thankfully my camera wasn’t on it) and the cross support even got broken (thankfully, I was able to solidly repair it).

I am also having a problem with my computer… the hot part of summer is here and the room where my computer is gets up to 90 degrees even with our air conditioning running full blast.  It’s just a poorly ventilated room and I can’t move my computer anywhere else as we have a full house all summer.  So I have to do my editing and such at night which means I sleep during the day and miss a lot of opportunities to go out shooting video.

May 2010
Agency Clips Sold Portfolio Size
Pond5 87 (+10) 1009 (+47)
RevoStock 4 (+0) 261 (+18)
ShutterStock 3 (-4) 131 (+4)
ClipCanvas 5 (+5) 186 (+41)
MediaStock 0 (-4) 78 (+0)
Can Stock 0 (+0) 38 (+8)
iStock 0 (+0) 16 (+2)
Fotolia 0 4 (+0)

Pond5 started off where April ended with lots and lots of sales pouring in.  Much of it I sure was coming from the huge $25,000 credit give-away, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (what the heck does that mean?).  Towards the middle of the month sales dropped pretty suddenly and started to trickle in, but over the last week they picked back up into a nice steady stream that just barely put me over the top on the last day for another BEST MONTH EVER (that’s four consecutive months if you’re counting).  I could hardly believe it, but I topped my previous month’s sales by almost $50.  We’re headed into the slow part of the year, so I expect this will be my last BME for a little while.  But I must say, Pond5 knows how to sell footage and they do it better than any other site on the Internet.  And I had to do a mad dash of editing and uploading the last few days of May, but I managed to get 1,009 clips online, so I can finally lay that goal to rest and start working on  10,000 clips.

RevoStock was ho-hum as usual.  I matched April’s sales with just 4 clips.  The good news is that RevoStock finally lifted their pricing restriction of lowballing a small percentage of your portfolio.  I guess they realize that Pond5 and other sites were killing them on low-cost animation sales.  You can now price HD as low as $10.  I sell most of my animation at $25 on Pond5, so I matched those prices on Revo.  We’ll see if it starts bringing in any additional sales this month.  They are also allowing you to bundle clips together for a set price.  So, you could put four $25 clips into a “Media Bin” and price the whole bin for a dollar amount or percentage off ($75 or 25% off, for example).  That should be interesting and I’ve created several discount bins as a test.

ShutterStock went back to slow sales for me.  Just 3 clips and not enough to make payout at the end of May, so it rolled over.  Although, I didn’t upload very much to ShutterStock in May and I’m starting to think that the more you upload, the more attention you get which could account for my good sales in March and April when I was doing steady uploading.  I will be testing out that theory in June, believe me.

ClipCanvas changed their pricing scheme to allow for more pricing options.  I repriced all of my clips (which was a nightmare, their clip editing system is horrible) and managed to get 5 sales there which is fantastic.  I’m really hoping they take off.  MediaStock sales were non-existent for me in May and from watching their site, sales seem to have dropped quite a bit.  It could be their busy with all the site updates and not doing as much marketing as they did previously…  we’ll see how it goes.

The summers of 2008 and 2009 were very slow with sales dropping by as much as 50%, so I’m going into this summer with that expectation.  Hopefully this will be a nice busy summer, but I’m not going to count on it.  Better to be surprised than disappointed.