In the last couple weeks I have examined my portfolio and designated several images as free. They were all more than 1 year old, and had no downloads. I've been surprised at the result. For example, the image to the right had less than 50 views after having been in the portfolio more than a year. I designated it as FREE just today. As of this writing, it already has 10 uploads and 140 views.
The Paestum image is one of several in my portfolio. I decided to make this one free because it had the fewest views (37) and 0 downloads. Now, less than 5 hours after it moved to the free section, it already 5 downloads and 58 views.
This image of old medicine bottles was donated 7 days ago. It already has 96 downloads and 217 views!
The view counter resets to zero when you move an image to FREE so I know that these are all new.
I have read that donating free images may improve your sales because when a free image is displayed, other selections from your for-sale portfolio are displayed. I don't know if that is true or not. Coincidently, today I have had two decent sales.
I am ambivalent about this experience. It is frustrating to see photographs "fly off the shelf" after languishing for a year without a download. There is almost no difference between free and $.20 or $.30. I'm OK with offering free items, but why the huge difference?
What do you think?