Monday, October 20, 2008

Microstock: Comments on Fotolia


This post has sat in my drafts long enough -- time to bang it out. Mostly, I'm just trying to outline my experiences with Fotolia and give a little bit of comparison with Dreamstime.

All my Fotolia related posts are here and my Dreamstime related posts are here.

The first big plus for Fotolia is speed of review. At Fotolia, review time is measured in hours, and at Dreamstime, it is measured in days (and honestly it feels like weeks). Typically Fotolia has my images reviewed within 8 business hours of when I submit them, although I submitted a batch this morning and they didn't get reviewed today (I expect them first thing tomorrow). BIG improvement!

One downside is the lack of an FTP upload... err, they have it, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to log in. And I'm a computer scientist! But, their flash uploader is very easy to use and fast, so no problem there.

Also, Fotolia initially rejected a few of my images (pretty much silently, actually). They require all images to be >= 4 MP unlike 3 MP at Dreamstime. Easily fixed by widening my crop slightly or in some cases just upsampling a little bit.

Keywording at Fotolia is a MUCH bigger hassle. For one thing, they accept multi-word keywords, which forced me to go back through all my images and re-keyword them (although I had to do it anyway because Bibble was lopping off parts of my longer lines). Along with that, it is just not a very convenient system, and once you submit an image for review, you can't change anything until it gets through review! Once you get used to the system it isn't as bad, but it still takes longer to finalize submissions.

The increased speed of review is a huge win though, since it really lets you keep a feeling of momentum. A day to wait isn't too bad... a week is horrendous.

Finally, there's lots of rumors flying around the web that Fotolia is overly picky compared to the other sites, and I've seen a little bit of that. I've had a few images rejected at Fotolia which I thought were definitely acceptable (and even sold one at Dreamstime!) but overall, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be.

Finally, one benefit of Fotolia is you can cash out at any time (with a $1 fee if under $50) instead of needing to wait until $100 at Dreamstime. Although, I tried checking it out at Fotolia and it gave me an error that I had less than $50... So maybe that's not as much of a benefit as I thought it was.

Overall, I like Fotolia -- not sure if I'd say I like it better than Dreamstime, although my portfolio on Fotolia is outselling my Dreamstime portfolio at a 3:2 ratio. I've sold three images at Fotolia... I'll let you do the math!

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