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For 2020, you can find numerous microstock websites on the Internet. In fact, basic, large marketplaces have several that can provide more than 1 million files, whether it’s vector pictures, video footage or 3D animation. I think you all know what sites we are talking about. My company has gone from 0 to 10,000 files in our library, with a variety of content and formats, at every stage of our development we have faced all sorts of challenges, difficulties and problems, from fraud and piracy to violation of licensed agreements, theft of ideas and dumping of prices. Today we will talk about one of them, namely why your content should not be sold on the microstock websites for 1 dollar or 33 cents. I will say right away that we started our way on microstocks after we first launched our content shop, and we have something to compare.

Don’t sell cheaply. Appreciate the time.
Appreciate yourself!

Have you analyzed your library? Which files generate the most revenue? It’s good if it’s like that. But unfortunately, not all microstocks can show you effective analytics of your sales. Okay, how much time do you spend on production content that’s sold at N-number times? Is it profitable to invest one day of your life in shooting high-quality, promotional 10 video footage or photos, of which will be sold perhaps once a month, at best for 29 dollars? This is a question that every “stocker” has to answer to himself.

How much you can earn
on microstocks websites in 2020?

There are a lot of questions and even more articles on how much you can earn on the drain in 2015, in 2016….in 2020. I will answer at once – I know companies that earned 12-15 thousand dollars a month. We had to earn a maximum of 2000-3000 dollars per month, while on our own websites we earn much more. In our video course  “How to create your own marketplace“, I talked about the right techniques, methods, schemes as possible to achieve good sales on your websites. But that’s not what this is about. We need to find out why you as an author should not devalue your work and who benefits from selling content for 33 cents or $1. We have faced this problem as well. As a content producer, a person has very different inner feelings when creates first product/collection and when your library has a lot of content, and  you think what to do with it…. When you have one footage, an image, a photo or one video collection, you worship it… A sense of self-importance and pride in creating something new will overwhelm you.

You didn’t steal, you didn’t buy cheaper to sell more expensively, you created your product from scratch….!!! 

It’s a very sacred feeling that can take you to the next level!  When you have a library with at least 1000 files you realize that the content should bring money, and it would be very good that all these files are sold as well as in the past, the very first your collection or photo…. This logic is thought by the owners of large micro-stocks, marketplaces… With only one exception. They consider the content not the content itself, the files, but the Users themselves, the Authors of this content. After 1 million files and several million dollars of payouts to the authors, there, in fact, already lost understanding of how many files anyone has, look only at financial indicators (because you need to report to shareholders, investors).

It is no longer particularly important whether food photography is or drone-shooting, animated typefaces or vector mock-up logos, only money is important. The price of management, content storage is increasing to store 4K files in such quantities – a relatively expensive pleasure. They look at the ratios of the author’s files to his financial performance. And if you make good content, and you sell for example 80% of what you have, other authors even the 10th part can sell with great, great difficulty. And imagine that there are quite a lot of such authors. For example, 50% of all authors of the site. Then you, as Owner of such a large “library”, will look for solutions how to increase sales for all authors, not just for premium bestsellers – Subscriptions are one of them.

Subscription came to us from SaaS Business, Software as Service – and it has a big and correct meaning if you provide the product as a service. If you use the same tool in your work, such as Photoshop, or Adobe Premiere, then paying $29 a month is easy. Content is not a tool, a service, but a product that is used almost once… There’s a subscription that makes sense if the file library is embedded in the tool you’re using, like today’s Photoshop and Adobe stock, but unfortunately for such a miracle charged not one fee, but two. For software and for content as a subscription, where the latter brings more disadvantages to authors than advantages to the owners of the site.


What will the content author get?What will the owner of the website get?
Reducing sales revenue.Increase sales of other authors who were not sold at all.
Increase the hour. Now you need to create content many times moreIncrease the amount of content. A measure of persuasion for investors.
Completely loses exclusivity. It is in line with other authors who can make low-quality content.Solves the problem of piracy. When you can pay $1 for a product, it removes the ability to steal it.
The ability to withdraw money on a subscription, even when the user does not use the files, does not actually download or forgot to disable the subscription.


You can still find a lot of pros and cons. In fact, there are a variety of subscriptions, with monthly payments, membership, or simply depending on download. We will write about subscription formats later in our blog, in the category of “microstock myths.” Now we need to consider another important element, namely the final client. A customer who buys your content by subscription will treat you for no more than $1. He will forget your “brand” seller page on the microstock site and will look for other authors among millions of the same. This simple psychology, what comes to a person cheaply always, will be valued less. What comes simply, effortlessly, will have a very low value. For example, the hard drive with files burned – I will not even search or ask to download it – I do not feel sorry…

Who benefits from selling subscriptions?

Selling content by subscription is beneficial primarily to large sites with a library of 100,000 files, while 100K is not, it is better to create different kinds of collections and bundles, recombining content under a different sauce and customer requests. I know for sure from my own experience that such a model will bring much more sales than penny subscriptions. In addition to large marketplaces with 1 million files, from time to time there are small microstocks that try to immediately work on the model of the marketplace, providing their platform for sales to other authors. I know sites that from the first day of entering the market, immediately collapsed prices for 3D animation and motion graphics, selling steep backgrounds at once on 1 dollar. It’s been two years since then, and we’ve seen that this site is no longer working. It’s called “Eat YOURSELF” when you think you can go into the market immediately dumping prices taking a number of customers from a common pie, maybe tactically for 1-3 months it will be the right model, but strategically it’s killing your market. On the one hand, when customers get used to paying you $1, you won’t get paid anymore. And surely there will come a moment that perhaps a lot of money on 1 dollar will create for you a certain comfort, and you will inevitably want more … This is the usual nature of man… And when, as you think, you will make cool content and want to sell it not for 1 dollar, but for 30-50 – none of your customers will buy it. Because, first, they will already have a habit of buying cheap, and secondly, they will identify your brand/site as the one where you can buy everything for 1 dollar.

Your client will find you!

There will always be people who will be willing to pay for quality and brand, reach for high brands and there will be those who follow the crowd will be chasing trends and low-grade goods. Don’t devalue your work yourself, no matter 18 years of age or 38, have the courage and strength to wait for your sales at your price! And you will be pleasantly surprised by the result. If you want high enough sales – build a brand and sell on their websites. In my course “How to create my own online business, monetizing my creativity” I teach all the techniques that I used in my own marketplaces. That’s my way!

Wishes from Vienna,

Alexander Kuiava – Visual Artist, Content Producer. CEO of Austrian video production studio LIME ART GROUP and co-founder of Nektar Digital. The author own techniques for developing video mapping projection shows and a teacher at the Frontskill – School of  New Media Art. Digital entrepreneur and social investor.