Microstock Advertising

When my local Borders bookstore had its going out of business sale, I snatched up a bunch of Photoshop magazines. Some of these magazines are imported and typically cost $15 or more but at 50% off they were too good to pass up.

Inside a few of the magazines were a few ads for microstock agencies. What I found disappointing was that the main message of the ads seemed to focus on low, low prices. Seems like most microstock agencies or at least their advertising department seem to think that price is the most important thing to microstock customers.

I have a marketing background so I know where this battle to the bottom would ultimately end up. Its like pushing the dollar menu at fast food restaurants.

You don't see a company like Apple advertising their product as the lowest price. Rather they push the benefits of their products and how their products are better than other companies. Anyone can jump on the lowest price bandwagon but quality, selection and exclusivity is harder for a company to provide and ultimately more important to the customer.

Dreamstime has an opportunity to rise above the bottom feeders offering cheapness by its exclusive contributors. Being exclusive with Dreamstime is like a partnership while offering your work to everyone just makes it a commodity.

I don't think the ads talking about low prices addresses the microstock customer at all. The most important thing to designers I imagine is to quickly find the image they need. They are not looking for to save a few cents on an image they just want the right image. They also want to find a unique image, not one used by everyone and their brother.

Photo credits: Peanutroaster.

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August 24, 2011


Another thought - HP is getting out of the computer business despite being the leading manufacturer. Why? Not as profitable as other parts of their business. They don't want to be a commodity.

August 24, 2011


Ask manufacturers who deal with Walmart what they think of the arrangement. Walmart nearly bankrupted Vlasic pickles with the $5 giant jar of pickles.

August 23, 2011


Apple occupy the opposite end of the markeplace to microstock, microstock is by its nature about value. You still want good quality, but the value is the diving factor. Macrostock agencies are about superior quality no matter what the cost.

You are right in that many buyers appreciate that time is very valuable and are looking for simple solutions - hence shuttestock subscriptions costing $249 a month sell well even if the full quota is not needed they can download full sized images for comp work without caring.

There is a long tail of "unsophisticated" buyers out there who think few dollars is a big deal! There was another agency... the name of which is on the 'crest' of my tongue... who at one time only offered two sizes of image. those images at $5 and $10 worked out better value than DT for equivalent resolutions... but guess what? even though it represented value and simplicity they now have 7 or so different prices ranges like all the other microstock sites because its what some buyers wanted... a $1 tiny low res image.

"selling on price is a road to nowhere" - tell that to walmart!

August 23, 2011


I agree entirely with your thoughts Edward. I am also in marketing and selling on price is a road to nowhere. I suspect the majority of contributors are like me - they are in this business for the long term. We therefore want to market our quality product accordingly.

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