Are High View Counts an Indicator of Success?

posted on 3rd of june, 2009

There have been several message board threads and discussions regarding views. At the moment, there is one fairly intense discussion ongoing because of a change in the way Dreamstime counts views. One of the arguments is that views are important for beginners as an indicator of success, either for a particular image or as meaningful feedback on one's ability as a stock photographer.

I disagree that counting views was and is a meaningful guide for beginners. Logically one might think so but there were so many other factors influencing the view counter, that to dwell on the number of views is to be analyzing misleading information. I sometimes have had new uploads that received a barrage of views, some with several hundreds of views for reasons I could not understand. Sometimes it is explainable by receiving an editorial choice or some sort of milestone recognition, but often the reason is obscure. As it turns out, a number of those have now been donated to the free image library because they were never downloaded in spite of a high view count.

I do understand someone new to the business wanting any kind of feedback they can get when trying to put it all together. I was a newbie myself not long ago. However, my experience has been that counting views to determine images that will ultimate success or to find guidance about where to concentrate similar images is an inaccurate way to learn how to be successful.

The only real indicator of success is actual downloads. This puts new contributors at a disadvantage because it takes considerable time to build up a portfolio and to accumulate downloads. Patience is a virtue I fear is becoming more and more rare. A quicker solution is to take time to study portfolios and individual images that have large amounts of downloads already. Look at the images closely and try to determine what it is about them that has download appeal and commercial viability, not just viewing appeal.

Best wishes and happy shooting! And above all, be patience. Microstock success comes slowly and view counting is but a very small and relatively insignificant part of the business...

Comments (6)

Comment by Joezachs on June 17, 2010