Monday, September 15, 2008

Who downloads these images?

This was in response to a question on Shutterstock about who downloads images and why. Most of this holds true for other stock sites as well, though shutterstock with it's subscription plan seems to pull a lot more downloads down than the others.

So who is downloading the images and how are they finding them?

First, you have the "newest" crowd. They look through categories sorted by "newest" and grab what they see that they like that might be useful at some point. That's why you get some downloads right after you upload something but those downloads taper off after more new stuff is in that category. Most of the people downloading here have a subscription, so they have downloads to spare.

Then you have the "most popular" crowd. They look through categories also, but they're sorted to view by "most popular". If your image gets a lot of downloads when it's new, it may fall into this category, and then it gets a resurgence of downloads and can stay in the "most popular" group for a specific category for a while... "popular" seems to be defined by the system as a combination of how recently it was uploaded and how many downloads it's had. Most of these people also have a subscription, so they have downloads to spare.

Then, finally, you come to the "I need it" crowd. This is where you get your Extended License (EL's $28) sales and your On Demand (from a few dollars on up) sales. This is where someone actually needs a picture of a wedding ring or an elk or an illustration of a coffee cup (for example). Someone is searching and looking through the images for what they need. So you'll get sales from images that haven't been downloaded in a while. You also have regular subscription sales here, too. These people can also be sorted by newest or most popular, but it's going to be based on the keywords and this is where keywords and the size of your portfolio will make or break you.

Now with all of these, some people will come and get x image from you but also take a moment to look and see what else you've got in your portfolio (particularly with the subscription model) and might snag a few other images they find neat.

That's my $0.02 -- if anyone has other experiences, I'd love to hear it.

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