Free image experiment

posted on 28th of april, 2009

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?

Comments (10)

Comment by Kittycat on May 05, 2009

Good for you. I gave one of my most popular images as a free image once. In had 1594 free dl's and I sold only 20. Furthermore who really knows what people do with these images. I will never donate another thing for free. Amazing how cheap people can be.

Comment by Amyemilia on April 29, 2009

I think you should still write your post, Foto! As I agree with you - I will continue to donate when it makes sense. The "free sample" is one of the oldest business generating tactics ever.

Comment by Fotogeek on April 29, 2009

Amy, I was planning to write a blog about this too. Not anymore.
I had the same experience with my two free pics from my portfolio.
After offering them for free, I got a few good sales after a stagnating period.
My conclusion was that I will keep giving pictures for free based on the old adage: the more you give the more you get.

Comment by Amyemilia on April 29, 2009

Lady, all you have to do is copy the image number and then go to the green Free Images tab at the top of the page and there is a place to donate images.

Thanks to all of you for commenting.

Comment by Ladyminnie on April 29, 2009

I also have some photos like that
let me see if I can try to find out how to palce it in free section

Comment by Littledesire on April 29, 2009

I still don't have files older that 1 year but I'll try it out soon :)

Comment by Fultonsphoto on April 29, 2009

I have tried this on another site and have had no discernible sales from my free offerings, however have had multiple downloads of these free images. I am of the opinion that the free image selection will be the first port of call for many buyers and I am also of the opinion that if enough of us give our images away for free there will be more than enough variety on offer to allow the majority of buyers to choose from these images, but there will always still be sales for really good images for the buyer that is not concerned with spending a little to gain a lot more in terms of quality. In short, for me it has not helped, and I believe overall it does not help the majority of contributes with their sales.

Comment by Creativei on April 29, 2009

Well I have similar experiment, but I guess you do get sales, as your portfolio is exposed to new people and you get homepage placement with those images for few days, so it works.

Comment by Freedomphotos on April 28, 2009

An interesting experiment, makes one wonder if free images is the first port of call for prospective buyers. However, I am happy to say that of my meagre 11 images, I have sold a total of 5, so not really sure what that is saying. Thanks for your thoughts though.

Comment by Billysiew on April 28, 2009

I had experienced the same..
People just like something free! including me. :)

Comments (10)

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Photo credits: Amy Nicolai.

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