Who says the more the better...?


This is a proposal to improve the quality of the service, hence the reputation of Dreamstime, the satisfaction of the community, the profit for all.

This originates from the observation that images are being added with exponential rate, i.e. 100.000 every two weeks or so. At this rate, we might get close to 5.000.000 by the end of the year and so on...

I absolutely recognize the need to supply more, new and better images all the time and motivate new members to join. However, this will also inevitably lead to the following


- For the buyers: it will be more difficult (time consuming) to search what is needed although the chances to find it is higher

- For the sellers: lower chances to be found, hence lower earnings.

- for dreamstime: more images means more earnings, no matter whose images those are, but not for long. Soon buyers will switch to competing, better searchable and focused providers. Sellers will do so too because they won't sell enough.


Keep only best accepted images! Discard second choice accepted images. How can one figure out which is best, which is worse? Answer: The statistics associated to that image, i.e. number of views/downloads in a given time. For example, if one image was never downloaded during a time of say two years which was on line, or viewed at least say 100 times, well probably that is not good enough for the stock market and can be discarded.

Ways of implementing the solution

Dreamstime could add a counter, i.e. expiry date, to each image showing the time elapsed since it is on-line. After a given time period, it will be automatically removed if it didn't satisfy the given requirements (e.g. minimum download/views). Further advantage: an unsure buyer might be motivated to buy before the expired date, otherwise he will miss the last chance.

Until this solution is not implemented by dreamstime, individual sellers might start deleting voluntarily from their own portfolio those images which they know they don't sell. By doing so they are also making more visible those images which have higher potential to sell and increasing their reputation by increasing the quality of their portfolio, in the end, paradoxically, resulting in more sales for themselves and for all.

Mario Curcio

Photo credits: Mario Curcio.

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January 30, 2009


I agree with you completely. At some point buyers will drown in the vastness of possibilities. I think deleting non-selling files after eg 2 years would be fair enough, they have had their chance.
A for deleting those images myself, I will certainly consider that. But it is a bit of a prisonners dilemma...

July 14, 2008


Eventually a cleaning of the main database will be done, but this was delayed a lot with the help of our search engine, the Dreamfinder, using our proprietary search algorithm. This allows buyers to find great images for subjects that we have lots of images on. It also allows buyers to search specific subjects and license images uploaded 3 years ago, even if they didn't have any downloads until now. Yes, an image uploaded 3 years ago can still sell. Donating some to the free images section may make you lose a couple of sales on the next years but will increase your portfolio's exposure.
Overall, this is a good suggestion but something we were carefuly prepared about. The proof is the fact that we gave a BME to most photographers in June, while accepting the most images in our market, since the beginning of the year. While others provided a slowdown due to summer, we gave a BME. What better proof that this worse-case scenario doesn't apply to us?
Thanks for the suggestion nevertheless.

July 14, 2008


I was trying to estimate the number of expected downloads for the future, based on sales of previous months and the amount of pictures I have on line and expect to have on line in the future. Let's not consider that in time my pictures may become better as I may become a better photographer :) So do others if they stick around. In time everybody becomes better.

So it turns out that in order just to maintain your sales level and assuming Dreamstime business is not growing signifficantly, one needs to grow the portofolio at a similar pace as the total amount of pictures online grows. This grim situation is even without considering that competition may show up with new sites which will decrease Dreamstime percentage of the total market. How much can the total market grow?

What I expect that in relative short time maybe a year or two this whole microstock business will become so saturated that even hobbyists, who do not expect real compensation commensurate with their efforts will stop contributing.

July 13, 2008


Interesting theory, I agree that an expiration date would be counter productive. In my experience I have found that if an image is not selling well, but is still getting a decent amount of views, I usually go back and check to see if there is a way I can improve the key wording or title. Many times it has helped.

July 13, 2008


I have a couple of images that had no downloads after a year. I donated them to the free section. Since doing that, I have had a lot more traffic to my portfolio. That is also another suggestion.
Also, I disagree with you on the time limit for a sale. Just because you took a photograph or created an illustration does not mean that someone wants it now, or in the near future. It may be months or years before the person or people seeking that image are in need or desire for it. They may being be creating comps during the span of that year with that image and plan on purchasing the rights, but if you remove before then, well, they won't be able to will they?

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