February News

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, without iSyndica around to give me reports, having to gather up all of the data myself from all the sites is a major pain-in-the-ass.  But I’m working on it and will catch up with everything over the coming week.

Here in Kansas it’s been a long cold winter with lots and lots of ice and snow which makes getting out to shoot footage very difficult. As a result, I shot very little in the way of stock since mid December.  Instead, I’ve holed-up in a cozy-warm chair at my computer creating new animations using Cinema 4D and After Effects.  Now that Spring is nearing, I’ve got a long list of things I want to shoot and get online.

About mid December the folks at Pond5 started getting behind in curating new clips and as of this week they are 3 to 4 weeks behind. It’s a bit frustrating because I’m used to 7 days or less on Pond5 and because the way Pond5 works, they really shouldn’t be that far behind.  Let’s face it, Pond5 has no quality standards.  In their major push to be the biggest provider of stock footage on the Internet, they literally approve everything submitted unless there’s a clear cut copyright violation or a technical problem with the submission. You’d think a day or two of just playing “whack-a-mole” with the approve button would get them caught back up.  One of the curators did post there has been a huge uptick in new contributors, but again that’s mostly because word has gotten out that you can upload anything and get away with it.

I’ve preached before about how great Pond5 was for not passing judgement on what may or may not sell like many other sites do, but come on… one contributor uploaded 3,000 clips that were nearly identical.  Seriously?!?  I can understand letting a dozen or maybe even 100 through, but 3,000?  And a lot of the new contributors are up to old tricks of submitting clips from Video Copilot tutorials, Creative Cow tutorials, etc…  The curators at Pond5 (all two of them) can’t be expected to know every tutorial, but at some point some of this stuff has to start looking familiar.

And finally, the Pond5 crew has mostly disappeared again… Ignoring questions and comments in the forums.  It’s been months since any kind of real update to the site and everything is always  “coming soon”.  The rumor mill is that Pond5’s lack of standards, building up huge numbers of online assets and lack of updates on the site is because the company is up for sale.  I seriously hope not.  The loss of Pond5 would be a HUGE blow to the MicroStock Footage community.  RevoStock has given up on selling footage (they’re mostly an AE shop now, more about that shortly), and both ShutterStock and iStock pay less than stellar commissions.  ClipCanvas is growing quickly, but they’re no Pond5 and still have issues of their own to resolve.

Every producer I know who has footage on RevoStock has told me their sales are way down (as are mine).  RevoStock just doesn’t seem to have their heart in it any longer.  They are widely known as an After Effects template shop and AE template sales there appear to still be growing.  Perhaps that’s why you don’t see any advertising by RevoStock for footage anywhere.  They’ve even allowed their Google ranking on stock footage to slide below upstarts like ClipCanvas and (gasp) the Envato marketplace. And they updated the front page recently to include a new tab showing clips that are (supposedly) exclusive to RevoStock.  However, when I was looking through them, I noticed a lot of clips I’ve seen on Pond5, ShutterStock and elsewhere.  So a lot of artists are flat out lying about exclusivity on RevoStock in order to get a higher royalty.  By even having that kind of option, Revo opened themselves up to fraud.  And what’s sad is they don’t really appear to care about it.  “Andre Baget”, “RWM Media”, and “Pixel Girl Media” all have clips marked as exclusive on RevoStock which also show up on Pond5 and other sites.  That’s outright theft… They are stealing from RevoStock and cheating the system which gives priority to exclusive content in searches. But Revo is just looking the other way…  If I started making clips as exclusive, they’d kick my butt off the site (especially after they read this blog post) which is what they should do to those artists.  But even if they do make those artists fix all of their clips, it’s unlikely they’ll do much else.

I was going to upload a bunch of new clips to Revo this month in the hopes of jump starting sales there, but “Sean P” through his little side venture “Wavebreak Media” uploaded over 3,000 clips.  So it’s kind of pointless this month.  And of course, with 3000+ clips, Sean will win February’s $500 prize.

ClipCanvas sales have really picked up for me over the past 4 months, which is a little bit of a surprise.  They’re nearing 150,000 clips online and my portfolio is less than 400 right now. Most of my friends tell me their CC sales are pretty dismal though.  In a phone conversation a few months ago ClipCanvas told me they were going to add support for PNG encoded clips with Alpha, but that still hasn’t happened.  And clip approvals are a bit slow there right now.  And I’m still not happy about CC charging me every time a buyer uses PayPal  to buy one of my clips… especially after they lowered commissions. But I’m trying to get over it.

I’ve decided to give a couple of other sites a try.  I already sell a few models on TurboSquid, but they’re getting a really bad reputation with artists (they’re the iStock of 3D models).  So I am quitting their exclusive “SquidGuild” and I’ll be selling models and stills on “The 3D Studio” after my 1 month waiting period required by TurboSquid.  I’m hedging my bets in case things on TS go south and the folks over at T3DS seem really nice.  The site needs major work though.  It’s simple design reminds me of something I did when I first learned HTML and it’s missing a WHOLE LOT of features.

I was also contacted by the folks over at Stock Media Pro, a new site based in the U.K.  They offered to title, describe and keyword my first 200 uploads.  And since that’s the hardest part of submitting to sites, I figure I’d give it a shot.  So I’ve been uploading a few files a night while I’m sleeping (gotta keep those CPU cycles paying for themselves).  The site looks nice and professional, but it’s far from polished.  When viewing clips you can’t sort them and new clips are added at the END of each list, not the beginning.  So to new visitors it looks like the site is never updated.  I’m uploading 200 of my best clips, but we’ll see what  happens.

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