ESP and sales on iStockPhoto

Like many of you, I have struggled with the move to the Getty ESP, being unable to access the site at all for almost 2 or 3 weeks in February. I mentioned earlier that when I compared the tax forms I got from Getty with my own records of earnings taken each month from the site, it turned out I had earned perhaps $200 more in the year than I expected, and I’m glad to say that has continued into 2017 in the ESP earnings statements. Although I know you can download the stats and get a picture of which images have sold and for how much (which is driving some people wild as it shows sub 2c sales for some people) I tend to keep things high level and concentrate on the overall earnings. January was great with $452, but I thought that they had included some of December’s partner earnings in that total, so I tended to discount it a bit. However, when I checked yesterday, I see that February has come in with $450 – very nice indeed.

With my active use of StockSubmitter, I now find that I can easily adjust my keywords to fit with the controlled Getty vocabulary (and the system remembers my choices so each new image takes less time than the previous ones), and so all my shots are going to iStock as soon as I take them. In the past, I used to wait until I got round to using DeepMeta or qHero and often didn’t submit everything because it was just too hard. I’m not sure I’m going to go back and find the missing ones, but making sure all new ones get a chance to increase these earnings is my new priority.

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12 Responses

  1. AlessandraRC says:

    I’m with you that we should concentrate on the big picture and istock has been very close to SS for me in sales (amount earned) but I also think that they have made a fool of themselves lately with so many mistakes in the royalty statements, and delayed statements. It is hard to trust that they can get their act together. I’m waiting, and observing.

  2. admin says:

    Yes, the biggest question in all this is whether buyers move to other sites to search for images. If most of them have accounts and stay with iStock, then they will buy an image from there. I read the Washington Post iPad edition and they ALWAYS use iStock photos to illustrate articles. So if you are not there with your image and think the buyer will search you out – forget about it and forget about that sale. So is 6c better than nothing for that one image?

  3. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve, I am wondering if those fractions of a cent are really correctly posted. I am deducing this from the text below, extracted from one of their apologetic e-mails:

    “Low Volume of Subscription Transactions
    Up until cut-over, we were calculating subscriptions using a flat rate but the new model, where you earn your true royalty percentage, requires that we calculate the price per file for each download within the subscription term. That price cannot be calculated until the subscription term ends, which can be at any time in the month.”

    When I looked up my February statement for the first time there were several of those very low royalties (like sometimes 2c for a file) but when I look at it now I see that most of those were substituted with the real royalty. My earnings from Jan jumped by three dollars with those corrections.

    I don’t know if I am correct, but this is how I have understood the mess that is happening there. It is not as bad as it looks at first.

  4. AlessandraRC says:

    Which kinds of pics does the Washington Post iPad Edition use? Editorial?

  5. admin says:

    They use all sorts – in fact, when you think about it, all images can be used for editorial purposes and so they have access to both creative and editorial libraries depending on what they want to illustrate. So editorial is a restriction placed on commercial users not to use that image to promote a product rather than a designation for editorial users…

  6. admin says:

    Hi Alessandra
    Just saw your other comment about the iStock pricing. That is good to know (and makes sense). I guess my overall message about my way of working is to see whether the agency makes sense for me overall, and worry less about individual pricing within the agency.

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks for article as always. Yeah messy transition bit sales seem unaffected which is important part. So you think Stocksubmitter is easier/better than qHero? I use both but easier for me to streamline to Stocksubmitter. Then only library I upload separately will be SS. Even then though perhaps that’s worth moving to Stocksubmitter uploaded?

  8. admin says:

    Hi Chris

    I’m 100% stock submitter now and I have it set to do 15 stock sites plus VideoBlocks for video. It does a great job with video as well, correctly putting the descriptions and keywords in there on SS, Pind 5, Adobe and VB.

    I just find it more intuitive to sort the order of the keywords (for Adobe) then click the iStock button and sort any missing controlled vocabulary words at the same time. Because it remembers my choices, each time I go to iStock I get fewer and fewer new words.

    You can also select multiple images that may not all have the same keywords and sort the order there and do the iStock stuff, and the program is clever enough to just make the changes appropriate to each image, which is a great time saver as well.


  9. AlessandraRC says:

    I agree with you, Steve. Istock works out very well for me. Despite the global outrage about their royalties, I have experienced quite the contrary. As they are good at negotiating higher priced licenses, I tend to earn, per lowland more there than at SS.

  10. Ian W says:

    Hi Steve,

    Personally iStock is by a long way the lowest RPI $0.44 for Feb. Some sites such as 123rf are over $2.00, SS I think comes in at around a steady $1.00. Feb earnings included licenses sold at 0.002 a fifth of one cent. I had nearly forty sales at less than ten cents in Feb.

    While a do agree with you that subscription buyers do not shop around, the Google Image search buyers do. I dropped Deposit Photos and noticed an overall increase in higher value sales at other sites.

    I intend to stick it out for another few month to let the dust settle but if I still see large numbers of sales for a couple of cents or even less then I will delete my account. It would not take many sales to transfer to 123rf, adobe etc to more than offset the loss of iStock sales.


  11. admin says:

    Hi Ian
    I’ve always found it very hard to see if a buyer moves from agency to agency. I agree that a Google Images buyer may go to where the image is, but then why don’t I get more sales on my own stock site, which ranks pretty well in Google Images? I have this feeling that most buyers stick with their agency, but I can’t prove it. As a result, I tend to stick with agencies. I may stop uploading (I’ve done that with a number), but I haven’t even deleted my old images.

  12. AlessandraRC says:

    Ian W Pls check your february earnings at istock again. All of may fraction of a cent earnings have disappeared from it.

I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!