Friday, October 30, 2015

Finally some Good News in these Gloomy Days of Microstock Industry

Extremely heavy competition among contributors, sales drop despite heavy uploading, tricky stock agencies manipulating our royalties, and the devaluation of our stock vectors and photos have been among all the bad news we have had in the past 2 years. We are demoralized by all these and got very fed up. Every other time when a stock agency wrote to us, we will be expecting for another cut. Not this time, though :)

First, ever since Adobe has taken over Fotolia, good news have been limping over and over again for contributors. Adobe raised our royalty ranking to one level higher for everyone - a very generous move. This is a big increase to our overall earning. Apart from that, Adobe has "cut ties" with the ludicrous DPC (DollarPhotoClub). I have also been witnessing an increase of Extended License and total number of sales at Fotolia too. I really hope this trend can continue for a longer period of time. 

Secondly today, IStock-Getty is giving us a raise to our subscription royalties rate. Although, I really don't like the idea  of "mini-subscriptions", but a raise, is nevertheless, still a raise. Furthermore, a credit sales download at iStock only yield us about $1.60. Given that iStock is now "forcing" buyers to commit to 10 or 25 downloads a month which yield $1.00 per mini subscription download, it may actually result in a higher total revenue at the end of the day.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How to select Open Path and Unfilled Path in Adobe Illustrator CC

We used to have a plug-in to select open path at But it is no longer working in Adobe Illustrator CC because the plug-in is not updated to accommodate the latest version of Adobe Illustrator.

However, I have found another alternative for this purpose. You can use the Javascript (this is not a plug-in) from to select open path and unfilled path in Adobe Illustrator CC. The good thing about using this script is that it will not get outdated :)

Simply download the script and paste it into your Adobe Illustrator CC folder Presets/en_US/Scripts. Restart your Illustrator and you will be able to use it under Files > Scripts > ExtendedSelect

Many thanks to Arid Ocean Maps for this wonderful scripts.

Monday, January 26, 2015

6 Reasons Why Microstock Earning Will be Down in 2015

Microstock sales has been on a declining trend since the middle of 2014. It looks like this dreadful trend will continue to 2015 and more. Below are 5 reasons why this downtrend will continue.

1. The strengthening of US dollar against Euro and other currencies may seems to be positive thing at first. But in reality, buyers are taking a major hit. European, being the biggest buyers of microstock is having a tough time as Euro has hit 11 year low vs the USD. This means, buyers will be buying less stock images because it is much more expensive now. So far, my number of sales has gone down by about 30%.

2. More and more well establish stock factories are producing amazing number of qualities images everyday. To be honest, I am not sure if they could actually cover up the expenses to produce these images given the golden era is over, but this intense competition is not a good thing for lone ranger like us.

3. Another bad news would be iStock HQ is being moved from Canada to USA now. This means, we will have to pay 30% tax to US government if the purchase is being made from USA. Moving forward, I predict my earning will be at least 10% less from iStock now.

4. Stock agencies are getting more and more sneaky by manipulating numbers and playing with their system to benefit themselves more than us, the contributors. Cutting royalties, and introducing confusing sales packages and partners site are some examples of such manipulations.

5. Microstock is now being treated as commodities. The prices are getting hammered due to stock agencies pricing war. Nobody win in this situation, except the buyers. 

6. Smaller agencies such as CanStockPhoto, Crestock, GraphicLeftovers, and GraphicRiver are starting to feel the pressure with lack of regular sales. Inactivity is the scariest thing for Internet business. Check out all the 0 sales for new vectors at GraphicRiver It is very demoralizing to see such sight. With the weakening of smaller agencies, bigger agencies will soon take even more control. This is not a good thing.

As a conclusion, I predict 2015 will be a pretty bad year for us. There will be a lot of contributors giving up this year. It may no longer be worthy to be a stock vector artist now. In 2009, you can make $100/month. In 2015, you can only make $10/month with the same images.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Resolutions

1. Believe in God a little more.
2. Be generous.
3. Be nice.
4. Be calm.
5. Be moderate.
6. Be creative.
7. ... and have more sex.

Yes, as simple as that :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Am I Too Late to Sell Vector Graphics now?

That's one hell of a question. But, every old birds in the microstock industry will tell you that it is never too late. However, 10 times tougher you must expect (with Yoda voice).

Contributors used to sell hundreds of downloads for a simple set of 16 vector icons during 2008 era. One such simple set of icons can generate you thousands of dollars over a short period of time. Today, a big set of 100 - 500 vector of icons can only generate you $10 dollar a month. Though, this is just my hypothesis, but I believe many can agree and more would agree soon.

Too many people contributing too many high quality works causes the meltdown. The supply is overshadowing the demands. Do you want to know who you are competing with? Take a look at this.

Searching for the keyword "icon set" at Shutterstock.
Searching for the keyword "silhouette" at Shutterstock.
Searching for the keyword "animal cartoon" at Shutterstock.
Searching for the keyword "labels" at Shutterstock.

Are you up to the challenge? Can you produce such quality and quantity? If you think you do, then it is not too late for you. And all is not lost. There are contributors who are still be able generate a comfortable side income from this with less quality works. You must be able to hit the right niche and continue to be committed to it.

If you really want to give it a try, then I recommend you to try the below 3 agencies first due higher volume of downloads and acceptance rate.

Shutterstock (must try first)

The golden era of microstock is definitely over, but that doesn't mean you cannot create your own golden era if you start now.