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"Golden niche" hunting

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Pulsar124
190 posts
<10
Message edited at 08/26/2013, 10:37:39 AM by Pulsar124
We all know that there are some niche microstocks subjects here on DT which pay much (perhaps hunderds of times) more than the bulk of DT photos. My own mini example is my IT (datacenter) photos, which pay 23x more than the rest of my photos (partly because they sell more often, but also because they sell mostly via credits - the buyers are typically small companies). But I also saw photographers here with ~100 photos and thousands of sales - a good sign that that person "hit a golden mine" - found a very profitable narrow niche, specifically on DT. (Other agencies may have different golden niches.)

So here is an idea: we could try to identify such "golden" microstock niches, in an attempt to improve our own sales here. Many niches are not easily reproduceable by other photographers (e.g., art illustrations), but some could very well be obscure, but very profitable niches, which pay a lot for minimum efforts.

And I think the best way to identify such niches is to look for photographers with small portfolios (say, ~100), but disproportionally large number of sales (thousands). (Contributors with very large portfolios will have all kinds of niches covered, so the information will be much harder to extract.) Ideally, such a list should be updates regularly (monthly?).

Here is the technical part: where can one find a full list of DT photographers, with two pieces of data for each - number of photos, and number of sales? Is such a list publicly available? If not, is it possible to at least find the full list of DT contributors (just their DT page links)? With that information, I could do some web data mining on my Linux workstation, and recover the number of photos and number of sales for each photographer. There is nothing illegal about that - all these data is publicly accessible, the only thing missing is the full list of photographers.

So what do you think?

EDIT: This page is the only relevant one I could find on DT website: http://www.dreamstime.com/photographers . It does allow you to search for photographers, but it only has "minimum number of photos" and "minimum number of sales" conditions, and is only restricted to 50 contributors. For my purposes, I'd also need to be able to specify the maximum number of photos, and ideally for more than 50 photographers. Say, I want to search for all photographers with the size of portfolio between 75 and 200, and the number of sales >2000. This is not currently possible on this search page.
Canon 50D, Canon 135mm f2.0L, Canon 70-200mm f4L, Sigma 1...

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Heywoody
595 posts
69
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 10:43:55 AM by Heywoody
If we told you we'd have to kill you :-)

Seriously though, I think that a lot of contributors, especially those mining the golden niches, would be very unhappy if the search you describe were provided.
Vue 7, Daz 3, Wings 3D and the odd photo.

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Pulsar124
190 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 10:49:40 AM by Pulsar124
I think I found the way to get the full list of DT contributors: use the following terms in a google search:

"photographer profile" site:http://www.dreamstime.com

This gave me a list of 44,000 pages - as far as I can tell they are all individual contributor pages.

Does DT have 44,000 contributors now?

Now I have to figure out how to write a script which would use the google list to recover the data (number of photos and sales for each contributor).
Canon 50D, Canon 135mm f2.0L, Canon 70-200mm f4L, Sigma 1...

Uploaded files:108 | Total Sales: 319
Pulsar124
190 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 10:50:58 AM by Pulsar124

Originally posted by Heywoody:
Quoted Message: If we told you we`d have to kill you :-)Seriously though, I think that a lot of contributors, especially those mining the golden niches, would be very unhappy if the search you describe were provided.


I am, for one, perfectly happy to share my little niche secret (datacenters). Besides, all these data is public domain (because google can find it), so no one should expect any privacy in these matters.
Canon 50D, Canon 135mm f2.0L, Canon 70-200mm f4L, Sigma 1...

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Vincentho
86 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 11:36:49 AM by Vincentho
You have to take the year in which the photographer entered the microstock scene into consideration as well, early bird catches the worm, but it is the second mouse who gets the cheese you are going after I believe.

Well, stickman or some called it the puppet man with good concept still sells well in my opinion.


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Pulsar124
190 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 11:57:35 AM by Pulsar124

Originally posted by Vincentho:
Quoted Message: You have to take the year in which the photographer entered the microstock scene into consideration as well, early bird catches the worm, but it is the second mouse who gets the cheese you are going after I believe.Well, stickman or some called it the puppet man with good concept still sells well in my opinion.


Well, if someone sold 100x more per photo than the DT's average, then I don't think the year matters much - there are simply no photographers here who've been here 100x longer than the average photographer.
Canon 50D, Canon 135mm f2.0L, Canon 70-200mm f4L, Sigma 1...

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Bradcalkins
2544 posts
84
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 12:04:09 PM by Bradcalkins
This is kind of like researching the stock market for stocks that have sold well in the past - there is little guarantee of future performance. There is a site out there that allows searching of keywords and tell you if it is a Niche or not (apparently Datacenter IS a niche). But if you check out the graph you can see that it was really a niche back in 2011, and the number of images is rapidly growing to fill the niche: Datacenter Niche

Therein lies the problem - it is possible to identify a niche that was successful for someone after the fact, but I highly doubt it is possible to capitalize on it much yourself. You can likely ruin the niche for the original person by flooding the subject, but you are unlikely to truly profit on it. And it isn't so often as much that you have a niche, but rather you nailed a specific keyword search result at the right time - hard to reproduce after the fact. In the case of your datacenter shot, a key issue is likely that few are able to get a property release to take such a shot on private property for commercial reuse... *I think you are far better to try to find niches that HAVEN'T yet been successful. * It doesn't have to be successful for ANYONE yet, to be successful for you. Plus, it won't piss of the people with successful niches that you are trying to undermine. You are right that it is public data, but calling out people's small successes is bad form, in my mind - mostly because it is not likely to benefit anyone else anyways. High DPI for an image, doesn't tell you if it still sells much now, for example.

Up your game, seek out niches, but why try to undermine your own efforts to get good sellers while the niche is still there? Keep in mind that Dreamstime doesn't benefit from having a huge number of images to fill out a small niche, either. They make more too if a few good sellers dominate the niche, than if a huge number of level 1's and 2's are available. Better to sell an image for $20 and split the revenue with you than sell it for $5 and keep 70% if the total number of sales is the same.

A truly small niche can only be well served by a relatively small number of RF images. The point of stock is to get repeat sales. If one person can find a niche and get 2-3 sales a month that will be a successful image for them on DT. But if there are suddenly 500 shots to share those few sales, who benefits from that? Spend your time finding niches to create future best sellers for yourself, not diluting ones that were profitable in the past!
Olympus OM-D EM-1: 12-40mm f/2.8, 75mm f1.8, 25mm f1.4, 50-2...

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Pulsar124
190 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 12:14:41 PM by Pulsar124

Originally posted by Bradcalkins:
Quoted Message: This is kind of like researching the stock market for stocks that have sold well in the past - there is little guarantee of future performance. There is a site out there that allows searching of keywords and tell you if it is a Niche or not (apparently Datacenter IS a niche). But if you check out the graph you can see that it was really a niche back in 2011, and the number of images is rapidly growing to fill the niche: Datacenter NicheTherein lies the problem - it is possible to identify a niche that was successful for someone after the fact, but I highly doubt it is possible to capitalize on it much yourself. You can likely ruin the niche for the original person by flooding the subject, but you are unlikely to truly profit on it. And it isn`t so often as much that you have a niche, but rather you nailed a specific keyword search result at the right time - hard to reproduce after the fact. In the case of your datacenter shot, a key issue is likely that few are able to get a property release to take such a shot on private property for commercial reuse... *I think you are far better to try to find niches that HAVEN`T yet been successful. * It doesn`t have to be successful for ANYONE yet, to be successful for you. Plus, it won`t piss of the people with successful niches that you are trying to undermine. You are right that it is public data, but calling out people`s small successes is bad form, in my mind - mostly because it is not likely to benefit anyone else anyways. High DPI for an image, doesn`t tell you if it still sells much now, for example.Up your game, seek out niches, but why try to undermine your own efforts to get good sellers while the niche is still there? Keep in mind that Dreamstime doesn`t benefit from having a huge number of images to fill out a small niche, either. They make more too if a few good sellers dominate the niche, than if a huge number of level 1`s and 2`s are available. Better to sell an image for $20 and split the revenue with you than sell it for $5 and keep 70% if the total number of sales is the same.A truly small niche can only be well served by a relatively small number of RF images. The point of stock is to get repeat sales. If one person can find a niche and get 2-3 sales a month that will be a successful image for them on DT. But if there are suddenly 500 shots to share those few sales, who benefits from that? Spend your time finding niches to create future best sellers for yourself, not diluting ones that were profitable in the past!


Good points!

Anyway, my main driver was not greed, but mere curiosity - how on earth some people with tiny portfolios manage to get thousands of sales? Even if one cannot directly benefit from this information (by flooding the niche), you can always do an analysis of these success stories to come up with a strategy to discover your own niche.
Canon 50D, Canon 135mm f2.0L, Canon 70-200mm f4L, Sigma 1...

Uploaded files:108 | Total Sales: 319
Bogdanzagan
288 posts
78
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 12:23:46 PM by Bogdanzagan
You can easily delete your non selling photos and remain only with top sellers... I have this in mind.

I contribute to a dozen of agencies and what sells very well else where here does not sell at all... and vice versa, here I sell artworks that does not sell any where else.

Keep in mind that DT is a unique agency, among the very first ones and have a different audience and public.

I still try to figure a strategy for the DT but I'm aware that my content is created with other agencies in mind and it's not suited much for DT.

I can make all kinds of comparisons but this is not the place and wouldn't be nice do DT to do this. And the true fact is that they still pay me for my sales, so any income is more than welcomed, especially if at some point you want to make a living out of selling stock (which I believe more and more that will happen for me next year).
Photography I use Nikon 105mm F2.8G, Nikon 35mm F1.8G, Nikon...

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Marion429
4 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 12:35:59 PM by Marion429
What I would like to see is a list of images needed. What is searched for and not able to be filled by the DT photographers. I am not sure where we would find that information but it would be helpful for photographers to inspire new ideas for creating images.
Nikon

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Bradcalkins
2544 posts
84
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 12:49:04 PM by Bradcalkins

Originally posted by Marion429:
Quoted Message: What I would like to see is a list of images needed. What is searched for and not able to be filled by the DT photographers. I am not sure where we would find that information but it would be helpful for photographers to inspire new ideas for creating images.


There is an area on the main page where 'latest searches' are listed. You can click on those and see how well they are filled. DT did post some unfilled niches a while back Most searched few results, and it is instructive to see what had no results (i.e. lots of search terms). Also worth noting that there is a reason some searches have no results :)
Olympus OM-D EM-1: 12-40mm f/2.8, 75mm f1.8, 25mm f1.4, 50-2...

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Lauriey
364 posts
81
Message posted at 08/26/2013, 16:47:50 PM by Lauriey
I'm not quite a '100 images 1000 sales' person but I have 98 images with over 500 sales. Not to shabby. Part of it is time, I have only slowly grown my portfolio so while I have 98 images I have been around for over 3 years now.

Another thing is they may be good at keywording as well. I had taken part in other online sales prior to joining DT which included tagging images/products.
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Lehmanphotos
139 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/27/2013, 12:12:26 PM by Lehmanphotos
This is an interesting post, something I've wondered about from time to time. Some good responses here.

I suspect that the "golden niche" is a combination of many factors. Fulfilling the topics most searched for with fewest results would be a good start.

There are probably several obscure topics with eager buyers that are being serviced by only a few photographers. Those are going to be difficult topics to discover. 3 or 4 photographers of various sales levels may be intermittently supplying the buyers. The photographers could be unaware that they are tapped into any niche themselves.

Combining excellent keywords, consistently good photos, and a diversity of subjects is the only way we can tap into any niche, so I'll keep working in that direction!
Canon 50D and assorted lenses.

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Nikon4004
2518 posts
66
Message posted at 08/27/2013, 17:31:14 PM by Nikon4004
One of the main things is to shoot what you do and get it perfect. Even if there are other image in the files like it, if yours are better, you'll get the sales
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Pulsar124
190 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/27/2013, 18:13:09 PM by Pulsar124
My datacenter photos are far from perfect, and they sell 23x more than the rest of my photos. Niche factor can be much more important than perfection, in photo quality or keywording.
Canon 50D, Canon 135mm f2.0L, Canon 70-200mm f4L, Sigma 1...

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Lisafx
835 posts
<10
Message posted at 08/28/2013, 12:31:17 PM by Lisafx
IMO the reason popular subjects sell better than niches is because they are really what is in demand.

Yes, there are probably some people who have discovered small niche areas and are meeting those needs and doing well at it. Unfortunately though, if those niches are discovered and exploited by a lot of people, then they won't really be worthwhile anymore, as there is likely only a limited demand for such images. Then all you've accomplished is taking away some other contributor's revenue stream, without gaining much for anybody else in the process.

I think Marion429 is on the right track by wondering what are buyers searching for and NOT finding. Hanging out in the buyer request forum is a great way to uncover your own niche without destroying somebody else's. :)
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