Wednesday, October 7, 2009

About my most viewed photos

This blog entry is about those photos that attract viewers only. Currently I have two really disappointing photos. One is my most viewed photo at all agencies where it has got accepted. And one is the photo with the highest number of views in the past two months. It seems like both of them present an interesting idea, and they both have really good keywords also. They even come up early in search results somehow (surprisingly because I thought search results are influenced by the number of image downloads). Finally they also look promising in icon sizes. But they still could not earn a single download. After all, I decided to present them here, and share some of my ideas why did these photos are not among my best earners as their view count would suggest.

The first one is my all time winner of the most viewed photo awards:
This photo is about an old sniper scope (and you can buy it at Fotolia, ShutterStock, StockXpert and DreamsTime). It was so heavily used it shows heavy wear. I believe this wear is not the main cause of the non buyers. This is one of my images with some distracting shadows that shows the deficiencies of my earliest isolation techniques. However I don't think this could be the full reason behind the small sales potential. In the same series of shots I have got really successful earners also, and they all share the shadow problems you can see above. For example the photo about the isolated gun is highly successful even though you can clearly see these problems on it. I guess the main problem with this photo that people has preconceptions. This scope was used only by real snipers. Meanwhile my photos about telescopes for hunters are the ones people want as sniper scopes if I am not mistaken. You can see a scope used exclusively for hunting on the right. The surprise that this photo has significantly less views but already has several sales (if you are still not convinced you can still buy the hunting scope on the right on these links: Fotolia, ShutterStock, StockXpert, Dreamstime). So it seems like people don't like the photos that does not match their preconceptions of an object.

The second shot is my most viewed photo in the past two months:

Red parfume bottle: buy at ShutterStock, Dreamstime, StockXpert

Oxeye daisy in a tin: buy at ShutterStock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, StockXpert, iStockPhoto
This photo is part of a less downloaded series (you can see some of its members on the sides of this paragraph). It presents an open perfume bottle and oxeye daisy decoration (you can purchase it from Fotolia, ShutterStock, Dreamstime, StockXpert). This photo is one of my favorites. The contrast between the sharp blossom and the slightly out of focus red perfume bottle beautifully presents the idea "gentle care". This shot however still did not catch up with downloads. I see three main problems here, first there is a quite sharp edge between the leaves and the white background. Secondly the leaves in the background might be distracting entirely. Finally the buyers want the bottle sharper than it is currently. This last reason came when I first seen the photo on the left sold on ShutterStock. However I don't think it is the strongest one, because the shallow depth of field might even help a little to emphasize the gentleness of the photo.

Feel free to comment if you can think of any further reason about why my viewers turning back before they would buy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Prediction results for september

I have discovered the tool of Yuri Arcurs that can predict your monthly earnings based on the sales you had so far. This tool uses historical data of Arcurs. I started to use the tool and compare it to the linear prediction in my previous blog entry here. Now that I have reached the end of the first full month with logged predictions, here are the basic statistical details:

Arcurs's predictionLinear prediction
Standard deviation$12.53$16.01

As you can see there are not too many changes in the data if you compare them to the previously published ones (E.g. minimum and maximum values did not change, they were all reached by the 10th of the month). It still shows that the linear prediction is not that different.

Below you can also see the chart showing the relations between the current earnings and the two predictions.

As you can see I have stopped collecting the data after 27th of Sept, because I don't think anyone would need any prediction on their earnings so late in the month.

Here is how close the two predictions get to the real number ($55.91):

Arcurs's predictionLinear prediction
Median difference
Average difference
Closest match
Maximum difference

So on the first 5 days of the month Arcurs's prediction gives more precise numbers (+86% overprediction instead of the linear's 106%). However this advantage disappears soon in the last 7 days of my measurements there were several predictions over $7 from Arcurs's tool meanwhile the linear prediction have had less than $5 as its error. The smallest error in the last seven days was $0.34 (or 0.5%) with the linear prediction and $1.91 ( or 3.2%) with Arcur's tool. So if you are as eager as I am for new numbers (and your portfolio's profile is similar to mine or has small amount of sales during a day), than I suggest you to use Arcurs's tool in the early days. Arcurs were predicting consequently closer numbers to the final result - the 10 predictions I made during the first 5 days have had more than $11 advantage for Arcurs on average. Then after 5-7 days you can switch to the linear prediction algorithm. At least that's what I will do till my earnings don't start to get different. (e.g. if my total earnings reach several hundreds of dollars a month).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Statistics of September

Updated with the number of views and analysis.

September was BME on Fotolia, Dreamstime and StockXpert for me. And this was the first time I have earned more than $50 from all the sites in a single month. I have had 132 downloads with no more than 280 images online. I have got 21 new accepted images. Since I have started this is one of the least productive months of mine. Even though I slowed down submissions there was an increase on monthly total earnings at all agencies save ShutterStock. Shutterstock started to produce more countable income with 3-4 downloads every day. Fotolia is getting interesting because since April I always earn more there.

Here you can find the details for my report:
AgencyPortfolio sizeDownloadsEarnings ($)ChangeViews
2 sub, 4 OD, 1 EL
Dreamstime1993 sub, 4 OD
101 sub
iStockPhoto434 OD
StockXpert26511 sub, 2 OD

My multi-site view/download figure is 88 views/download in the month (79 views/download all time). Dreamstime and StockXpert here still contributes a lot. Even though Fotolia has increased the earnings significantly its views/download figure is still around 200... It seems like Fotolia and maybe iStockPhoto counts the number of views of a photo differently.

As I already reported it on my previous statistics page the only agency that I can count on is ShutterStock. This has not jet changed, but in case Fotolia holds on to its steady growth for the coming months then it will be my second agency to provide useful income. As you have seen from this month figures the others are still heavily jumping back and forth, so I cannot count on them too much right now. However, surprisingly StockXpert reached second place with the same amount of downloads that we have seen in last month. I start to believe that StockXpert buyers like my images more than the other fluctuating agencies. Of course I came too late to StockXpert, because according to other blogs and forums their merger just starts to show its results. So I am still really interested how do my overall sales figure will turn up at the end of the coming months there. For the record here are the details of September: StockXpert PPD 2, StockXpert Sub 5, Sub 4 and finally Jupiterimages Unlimited sub 2.

I also changed my upload strategy for iStockPhoto because others report sales comparable to ShutterStock there. And I also have surprisingly high rpi there. So now I started to submit all of the photos I have managed to get accepted somewhere. Previously it seemed like they don't like my work, however the newly submitted photos have a quite high acceptance rate for me. The earnings figures however did not change too much.

At the end of this blog entry I put the my total earnings comparison after the end of September. Since I have started at the different agencies at different times I have scaled the earnings down to an average day on each agency. On this figure you can see how much StockXpert gained even in a single month. Also iStockPhoto started to drop a place which is probably because the small amount of photos I have uploaded so far (the new uploads does not seem to catch downloads so fast).

So here is my current agency ranking:
  1. ShutterStock (-)
  2. StockXpert (was 3rd in Aug)
  3. iStockPhoto (was 2nd in Aug)
  4. Fotolia (-)
  5. Dreamstime (-)