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.