Let’s talk about RevoStock

Back in mid November I was sent an email from the owner of another microstock related web site.  In this email was the results of a survey taken from 44 RevoStock producers with 1000 stock footage clips or more in their portfolios.  I knew from my own experience that RevoStock sales were WAY down, but the results of this survey shocked me.  And I tweeted it.  A few weeks later, RevoStock decided to respond to the tweet on their web site.  They didn’t bother to notify me of their post, I just discovered it today.

After reading Craig’s response, I immediately emailed a link to the author of the survey.  I’d just post the email I got along with the author’s name, but Craig decided to get all legal in his response, so I’ll leave it up to the author to decide if she/he wants to reveal her/him self.  However, if the data in the survey is false, it’s the first time this person has sent me false information, so I’d be totally shocked. Of course, Craig has also never lied to me and has been very candid with me upon occasion, so it’s one of those rock/hard place situations.

Let me toss out my opinion on this whole thing based on my own experience…

RevoStock is one of those sites that authors REALLY want to (and should) support. They are one of the few sites that actually maintains an open dialog with their artists and have continued to update their site based on feedback from both buyers and artists. They are “the good guys” in Microstock. They’re not out to take advantage of anyone (buyers or artists).

RevoStock has been around a very long time, and despite my own personal experience with dismal sales there, they’re not in danger of closing down or going out of business.  They are really known as THE place to buy After Effects templates and from what I have seen on their “recently sold” as well as email chats with several AE template authors, they sell a crap ton of AE templates. And they offer buyers a lot of unique advantages over other Stock Footage sites…  The ability to down-rez stock clips (and some times for a lower price) and the ability to buy bundles with significant savings. So the “recent sold” ticker does “move” every day, but typically quite a bit slower than the AE ticker.

I have a very small portfolio on RevoStock (340-ish clips) compared to my portfolio on Pond5, ShutterStock and ClipCanvas.  So my little bit of clips in RevoStock’s huge offering is a drop in the bucket. I would expect my sales to be smaller than those other sites.  But even on Videohive where I have like 4 video clips, I sell at least 2 or 3 a month.  I’ve gone month’s on Revo with zero sales.

Also, I recently did some research on Stock Footage marketing and RevoStock doesn’t do much that I can find.  They’re on the front page of Google when you search for “stock footage”, but as of a few minutes ago they were 6th on the right side ads. And not on the first page in the regular web search. On the 30 or so film making related web sites I visit on a regular basis they are no where to be found. And when I recently spend a day at Barnes and Noble reading through film making related magazines, they were also absent.  Craig has assured me that RevoStock is spending money on advertising Stock Footage, but when I search for it, I can’t find it.

Contrast that with Shutterstock… They hired a new person to head up the stock footage division and they’ve declared all out war on Pond5, the leader of the Microstock Footage industry. The only place they’re being outspent on advertising right now is Google adwords.  Every site I visit having to do with film making or stock footage that has Google ads is covered with ads from Pond5. But Shutterstock has been spending a lot of money on traditional paid advertising…  Magazines, web banners, co-promotions with partners, etc…  And it’s paid off.  My portfolio on Shutterstock is currently just over 100 clips, but they have outsold RevoStock by about 20 to 1 so far this year.  Ever since the new SS guy took over, my footage sales have increased over 500% there.  By far the best performance of any site this year, so far.

While I haven’t done any kind of survey myself, I do keep in touch with a small group of dedicated Stock Footage artists with portfolios ranging from a few hundred like myself to several thousand clips.  And in direct private conversations, they have told me their sales on RevoStock are down.  Not ridiculous like 81%, but typically in the 5% to 15% range.  With sales steadily declining over the course of the year.  Given the lack of marketplace presence that I can see plus declining sales (my own and those whom I know directly) lead me to believe that RevoStock is doing poorly with Stock Footage sales.

That said, it’s entirely possible that overall RevoStock stock footage sales could still be up over last year. More and more people are getting into the microstock game with the false assumption that there’s riches which means RevoStock has MANY MANY MANY more clips this year than they did last year which has resulted in more sales this year than last year.  However, as more clips are added by more new artists, the percentage of clips artists have in the overall RevoStock portfolio has dropped which means individuals are making less money while RevoStock is making more. Good news for Revo, bad news for most stock contributors because the smaller our portfolios are in compared to the overall availability, the less we’ll make.  They only way to combat it is to submit more clips and grow our portfolios.

Still, the fact that a site like Shutterstock, which has more stock footage clips than RevoStock, is selling more of my own clips than Revo is and my portfolio there is smaller leads me to believe that Shutterstock is doing more to sell footage than Revo is. They are doing more to grow their customer base. And that’s a problem for Revo (and other sites).

Still, as I said earlier.  If you are a stock footage producer, RevoStock is a site you definitely want to be on.  And once you’re there and have a chance to interact with Craig and his staff,  you’ll be rooting for them to succeed.  Especially if you’re used to dealing with iStock, Getty, the old Shutterstock, or even the current mess going on at Pond5 right now.

ps. The end of November and so far in December my sales on RevoStock have jumped. I don’t know why, but I like it.

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