Thursday, 24 January 2013

Exclusivity - Is it Worth it?

A question you've asked yourself at some point - I know I did.

My decision was that, no, it probably isn't.

I originally considered becoming an exclusive contributor on iStock, purely because it's the biggest microstock site. The pros? Well, for starters, I'm quite impatient, so I liked the idea of a quicker review time (I hate waiting 10 days to find out that they don't like a photograph I've taken)! As well as this, I must admit the idea of earning a bigger percentage of each sale and greater exposure sounded rather nice too...

The reason I didn't go for it in the end, and the reason I recommend you don't either, is that you seriously reduce the exposure that your photos get, which certainly isn't good when you don't have time to upload photos every week. Since making my decision, I've seen a rapid increase in sales on a lot of other sites (particularly on SS, who don't even offer exclusivity), so I feel as though I've made the right decision.

Another reason, should this not be enough for you, is that committing your entire portfolio to one site is effectively like putting all of your eggs in one basket - if the basket crashes to the floor, you've lost all your eggs (that's how I've interpreted the simile anyway, correct me if I'm wrong!). There has been a lot of talk about this on the forums in relation to iStock, whose recent changes in pricing structure and site design (the loss of the zoom function, in particular) has meant that a lot of contributors aren't seeing the sale that they were a few months ago. I too have noticed a decline in sales there, though probably to a lesser extent than those with thousands of photos on there...

So, what should you do instead? Well, simply upload wherever you can, it can't hurt! Have a look here to see where I recommend you spend your time and, if you only submit to one site, please make sure it's Shutterstock - they are by far my biggest earner these days and I'd be earning a lot more if I took more photos (which I will do soon, I promise!).

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