Shutterstock never was my main microstock source of income, but they gave a decisive push to this bizarre new situation where stock images sold for free or nearly (a few cents) cover the best part of the market.
In this new age microstock is no more a gratifying source of revenue. What to do?
Alright, set aside the dreams, forget earning more, let’s just contain the collapse.
A quick analysis of my situation showed that the my ‘best’ agencies were – in that order – Adobe, Alamy, Istock and Shutterstock. Other minor agencies (Dreamstime, Pond5 etc.) were almost negligible as they provided just very occasional income.
In the light of that I changed my strategy, which proved to be a fortunate move: in some way I thus managed not only to contain the dreary “Shutterstock-effect” but also to stay stable at the previous level.
What did I do, exactly?
- Diversify the offer:
I didn’t want to compete with myself anymore. My new goal was to offer my best images only to my best vendors to avoid selling them ludicrously cheap.
I drastically chopped the images with the best selling potential off the small agencies. Not an easy job, there was a lot of them, but it worked out fine.
Yet I keep uploading regularly a few generic images (food, landscapes, animals, nature…) to Dreamstime and Canstock, my best choice among the smaller ones, as they still pay $ rather than cents.
- I clenched my teeth and closed my Istock account (where for a pretty long time I haven’t being uploading anyway), even though they provided a regular pretty good income. A matter of dignity, actually: most of the images there were given away even cheaper than at Shutterstock (!), though not many of us screamed about that…
- I left only a few hundreds really ugly images on my Shutterstock account, deleting one by one all the others with evil satisfaction. The best of the uglies is this, utterly topical at lockdown times 😀
Nevertheless every now and then something gets sold even there: since last summer I made almost 3 dollars! (I’m considering buying a Rolls… 😀 )
As a result quite unsurprisingly the minor agencies are selling much less for me but my sales at Alamy and Adobe jumped nicely up thus compensating the burial of my Istock account and the loss of my huge (LOL) Shutterstock income.
In this way I’m not earning much more than before, but changing my tactics produced a very nice side effect: I feel now really better 🙂
However this is just an intermediate step: I’m still looking for further opportunities that comply better with the new rules of the game. They are there, they always are, it’s just a matter of finding them.
And let see what makes Adobe now, the news are a bit uncomfortable … the game is changing again, but okay I can play 🙂