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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Shutterstock Vector Sales Not Doing Well

Vector graphics earning in Shutterstock had been on increasing trend for a very long time. Contributors were working very hard to produce more and more high quality vectors. The competition was stiff as ever, but we survived. Not this time, though.

Reading posts from everywhere around the Internet, I can see that we've probably hit the peak somewhere in 2013. 2014 is a decline for Shutterstock and it is still declining. Yes, probably only Shutterstock is declining because other agencies have been neutral. Sad, but true.

I am seeing a sharp drop in my sales at Shutterstock just like everyone else. Many have come up with theories such as:
- search algorithm changes by Shutterstock
- server uptime issue
- summer holiday
- tight competition among contributors
- Getty giving away free images
- ... and many more...

Everything above could be true, but I personally don't think of that. I think Shutterstock is losing clients.

Fotolia introduced DPC (I have opt out because I don't like the idea).
IStock introduced subscription model.
DepositPhotos and 123rf are advertising heavily.

All these are hurting Shutterstock sales and we don't see our overall earnings spread evenly because the income of our vector images are getting less and less everyday in other agencies when they "silently" played around with their royalties, ranking system, and buyer packages.

The trend of "race to the bottom" is also worrying one. Agencies are fighting a price war. Contributors and agencies are suffering because of this. Jon Oringer knows this (who would have know better, if not Jon?). If I am Jon, I will probably start diversifying my investment into other new revolutionary ideas.