Views, uploads, downloads...

posted on 4th of june, 2009

For some reasons I was involved in discussions about recent changes on DT search engine and views counter. Recently Ken Cole write an article about the subject. Read it here: Are High View Counts an Indicator of Success. You can also check discussion thread on message boards. I don't want to spam the thread with such a long article so I will place it here.

Now, after a week of rethinking my position I would like to write about how I finally changed my mind and to share my final thoughts on the subject, which probably will not hurt anyone. I would like to contribute and help beginners to clear some confusion about this. If you are interested, please read thoroughly. Some thoughts pulled out from context may be misinterpreted.

What happened?

Recently, many contributors noticed that view counter on their portfolio stop counting. Soon, and as usual, the thread on message board was started on the topic. Some guessing about system error preceded and then Achilles explains that there are some mostly positive changes to the DT work flow which will probably affect users in different ways, and claiming that the system is now more fair. This triggers more discussion which I was part of. Opinions differs, and like/hate was almost deuce.
Some users saw the views drops, some have sales drops, but some have sales raised, which indicated that changes are not only down flow.
One of the changes was that guest views are not counted anymore, you can see only authenticated users views. This causes new contributors small portfolios to rest at the same numbers for days which looks like exposure drop.
I was pretty convinced (and also stubborn) that views are important in sense of feedback (not overall success) for image performance and ability to improve one's work. While some agreed and some not, my opinion was that numbers can show if image was acceptable or not, based on views and downloads number. 10000 views without downloads indicates that something is wrong with the image. No views points to bad keywording etc. As it is now views are counted only from authenticated users, so counting is going slow or not going at all. Above mentioned feedback is then obsolete. I agree that anyway the numbers will raise, on slower rate, but if you are beginner you can't calculate anything with two zeros.
The new problem was that some opinions were misinterpreted so I opposed pears while someone else defends apples.
My main point was only FEEDBACK based on some numbers greater then zero. Those numbers started to raise right after your first upload so you have something to catch on and decide if you are on the right track. If you are beginner with small portfolio, and yu want to learn from your work you need to give it more time.
I will repeat that I never said that views, and specially views counter affect sales because it doesn't. Also I never said that anything associated to views is guarantee for microstock success.
My only idea was that I don't like to be blind, and not seeing ANY result of my uploads, not even views, and that I don't have anything to confirm interest for my images until I build, lets say, 300 images portfolio. Lots of work may go in wrong direction.

After some time I reconsider all pros and contras so I would like to share the conclusion for all beginners (as I am myself).


Like first, some important common sense facts:
1. Dreamstime will never do something that will drop your sales. Every sale is shared between DT and contributor so it is insane to believe that they will do anything to drop their revenue. We must keep in mind that DT team actions are in good intentions and benefit to both sides. If they notice some downgrade in their solutions they will certainly correct problems as soon as possible.
2. Dreamstime favors the quality over quantity in both technical and conceptual sense. Quality images that sales well on level 5 are better and more profitable then low quality or poor concept that just take space and don't sale at all or sale poorly. For both images the same work need to be done so the choice is obvious.
3. There are many successful contributors all over the place and their opinion counts very strongly. We, newbies should listen to them as they have experience, they understand trends and buyers habits. They already were where we are now, so they can understand. We are still to come to their path eventually. Anyone who earns money here is doing the work right. That counts DT agency too.
4. If we don't sell we cannot blame the system. The system is here for everyone and we need to use it the best we can, believing that the system is the best possible at the moment.
5. Delays, system errors, no shows, missing stats, late updates, occasional strange DT site behavior and everything else should not be reason for concern. Many good and competent people care about this. There is a great solution oriented support at DT. Also there is a great and helpful community. You are not alone.

Having all that in mind I got myself to reconcile with the new situation. DT team work hard for their own success. They cannot achieve success without sharing it with contributors. As I believed, that darn total views counter was important to get the idea of the right direction if you are newbie. People who work for us and share this space claims that we can live without that particular kind of feedback. Ok, I agree, accepted.

Even I lost happiness of seeing some numbers (famous views counter) climbing in my portfolio, I will not get discouraged by it's absence and live with zeros. Counter is still there only it is not so aggressive as before. Until this counter starts to move there are other things to which I will turn on to advance. Here is my list.

1. Worship quality - the base of success. I didn't upload more then 50 images I took recently because I already know what the rejection reason would be. I guess that could be counted as my personal advance. Strong self criticism spares both my and DT time. Learning from others, from rejections, from books...and lots of shooting.
2. Build portfolio - many (if not all) successful contributors claims that building portfolio is the most important thing you need to concentrate on at start, so I'll respectfully take their advice as long as they are willing to help. They say: keep building and don't look back. Forget about views number, sales number, rejections number, estimate pending time number, total revenue number, your profile ID number, social security number :) and any other number except number of accepted uploads. I am still not sure what value that number should be, but I guess I will figure out on the journey. And luckily I will figure out that there is no limit, no certain point. At some time, as said, the more fresh air will come and some other numbers will show. This may be beginning of success.
3. Be persistent and patient - I will not make excuses for no sell nor I will blame DT or the changes they do in the system. No one here is against me then myself. I will deal with what has been given and adopt to anything that superior them me consider useful. I was wrong about missing guest counts as they were just false reason for my good feeling. Much more can be learned from mistakes. Like first, rejections. The second, searching the DT database. Plenty of image there. I found some with many views but low sales. Bad concept? Composition? Subject? I can learn from others mistakes. But also I can learn from others success. Images that sell well are guideline. There are so many different numbers in others portfolios that cannot be substituted by my own views count.

So, my fellow beginners and newbies, this is how I changed my mind and stop insisting on silly views counter column. Now I understand that I was wrong and that some steps should be done before and instead of whining about missing numbers. Don't worry if your portfolio is a sleeping beauty. This doesn't mean that it will not work. There is a risk of loosing patience and giving up. We should believe those that say that one day it just happens. Like in any strong business in the world, hard work and persistence is needed at the beginning. No one is failure proof. Those who survive initiation will pick the fruits at the end. Maybe I will not be there, who knows, but I feel better to be on the same side with successful people then whine and complain with the others.

For the last sentence... there is one you all heard before: Run Forest, run!

Comments (14)

Comment by Joezachs on May 08, 2010

An old post, but still worth the information.

Comment by Bookemdanno on June 30, 2009

Excellent post, Alexhor. I was wondering why my views had virtually stopped and you've cleared up any misconceptions I may have had. Very well put together and helpful. You have helped me to have a more reasonable mindset about how to approach beginning in stock photography. Thanks.

Comment by Amyemilia on June 12, 2009

Alex, I appreciate this blog very much. I'm still struggling with acceptance ratios but instead of getting rejected repeatedly, I decided to stop and learn for a while. Like you, I've self-rejected many shots lately. Once I finish reading a couple books, I'll start trying again. And I'm thinking about buying and learning Photoshop (I use Paint Shop Pro now).

Comment by Kasienka on June 06, 2009

Indeed since a few days I thought that nobody is even looking at my photos. Thanks a lot for your post! And... I fully agree: Run Forest, run! ;-)

Comment by Defun on June 05, 2009

I feel better,thank you.

Comment by Alexhor on June 05, 2009

@Rockywaters, counter is still there, don't worry. It just selects the more important users. We will like this one as well.

Comment by Rockywaters on June 05, 2009

Being a newbie I still liked knowing that my images were being looked at... the feedback was a bit encouraging. I liked the Views counter.

Comment by Matabraham on June 04, 2009

I had been following the discussion on the message boards and Iam glad all that has reached a logical conclusion. And its great the way you have analysed and presented it here...The time and effort you have spent is well spent and useful to all!

Comment by Bradcalkins on June 04, 2009

As with all things, there is no free lunch. You have to work hard if you want to edge out a huge collection of other people working hard too!

Comment by Conceptualcreations on June 04, 2009

I have read the arguments and by those arguments excessive views and no downloads could lead a buyer to believe there is something wrong with a photograph. The truth is, as a buyer on several accounts here, I don't look at numbers but only choose shots that fit my needs best. No, I don't go through 1200 pages of choices, but if I don't find what I'm looking for in the first few pages, I keyword something different. There are keywords that will also bring your image up on a few pages of choices. As a contributor here, my port is still small but I work on growing it. I see it the same as an investment in the stock market...the more I invest, the larger my revenue. The only thing standing between us and our success is our own ability to create.

Comment by Zenotri on June 04, 2009

Thank you, you make lot of sense.

Comment by Wildmac on June 04, 2009

As a newbie I'm trying to upload images in lots of different categories as well as focusing on raising the number of images in my portfolio. Old blogs and message boards here all suggest that you need at least 100 images on line for your portfolio to start to get any decent exposure. Trying different styles of images eg. animals, food, people, landscapes, and concepts etc. keeps your day interesting as well helping you to see what works best for you and what sells best for you. We all have our own styles. I think you are totally right about DT and the counter and I'm no longer worrying about any numbers other than reaching that 100 high quality image mark. Sales will come when I sort out what style suits me. In the mean time I am enjoying the ride. Have a great day everyone :0)

Comment by Alexhor on June 04, 2009

Godfer, thanks much for your comment. Your uploads/downloads ratio blown me away (just want to point how valuable your words are). Lots of things to learn from your portfolio.

Comment by Godfer on June 04, 2009

Excellent blog and a great attitude. You will do extremely well here if you follow your own advice. For a newbie you totally get it , more than many people that have been uploading to stock for years. :)

Comments (14)

This article has been read 1475 times. 8 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Elena Ray Microstock Library © Elena Ray, Alain Lacroix, Robert Malota, Papuga2006, Yuri_arcurs.

About me

I am not a pro, but I like digital photography. I still don't have any recognizable direction in photography, so I'm trying, experimenting and learning extensively... My real background is in design and interest in visual arts. Computer aided graphics, 3D modeling, comics etc. Some of this work may be also presented here. My collections: >>Vector illustration - vehicles and transportation >>Vector illustration - business and industy concepts >>llustration - 3D generated characters My latest blog article >>Commitment (Last count: 377 reads) My most read blog articles (3000+ r... [Read more]

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