Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Race to the Bottom

Just received the new PDN PhotoSource Stock Directory, which includes a feature titled, "Micro Machines, Stock producers boost volume, efficiency and quality in hopes of making microstock pay." Note the "in hopes of". It chronicles the current microstock environment, the only portion of the stock (and the photo industry at large) industry expected to grow in the next few years, and states that "...photographers are turning to microstock more than ever, even though the microstock business model is daunting. Prices are lower - much lower than in the RF sector." As more producers turn in that direction, the quantity and quality will only continue to improve, driving prices down further as supply continues to outpace demand. The article mentions that Yuri Acurs, one of the MS success stories, gets 5 times the industry average of $1 per image in sales per month. Wow! A whopping $5 per image per month... I'm reminded of the documentary I saw a few years ago about the seasonal changes from wet to drought conditions in the Serengeti, and how prey and predators inevitably end up at the same shrinking watering hole as the drought takes hold... Before I leave this happy place, I've got a bone with the PDN folks I want to mention, which is their "Reviews" section of the stock directory. Since the "reviews" are the same superlative puff written by the advertisers themselves, it's a little disingenuous to call the section that. ...Now... I'm off to find some water!

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