Thursday, July 10, 2008

stockxpert sucks, dreamstime rules

How I've come to hate stockxpert

I used to love their site. Everything was perfect until I decided it would be best for me to get the subscription. Then the site became a nightmare to use. Now I'm just counting the days until my subscription is over.

It all started when I decided to research further into other micro stock photography sites. It looked like stockxpert was the best one, and really I was just looking for confirmation because I had already paid for the subscription. But after wrapping up my research, I found dreamstime. At first impression, I thought dreamstime was a pretty small time operation. What I think is hurting dreamstime's business is their confusing pricing plans. Like everything is separated into levels. So they subjectively rate your images and give it a level, and then you can download depending on up to what level you bought? How does the size factor in? Are credits involved? Ditch the levels. Use credits only. If the image is very good, then make it cost more credits. And if you want higher quality images, increase the credits required. I have been using their site for close to 2 weeks now and I have no idea how the levels work still. Is Level 1 more valuable than Level 3? Or is it vice versa. How does $20 translate to a image at a certain level at certain resolution? Its just horribly confusing. Their front page is very amateurish and confusing. And add the confusing name, I was wondering if I should even look further into their site. But its a good thing I did. They have the same images but are better because:

Vector files costs extra with stockxpert
-Vector files don't cost extra on dreamstime. Say you wanted to download a cover for your document. Stockxpert will let you download the image at a very high resolution, but in all reality, the vector files are infinitely better always, and stockxpert will want you to buy it for $15 even if you have the subscription, unlike dreamstime. If you have the subscription, you can download any resolution or even the vector file. A huge plus.

You cannot download some (sometimes the best ones) with your stockxpert subscription.
-You have to pay the per image fee even if you have the subscription. The reason I ended up with both dreamstime and stockxpert subscriptions is stockxpert's own fault. I had 10 images that were not covered under subscription. I was able to download on dreamstime the 9 out of the 10 same images I couldn't download on stockxpert. I'm sure that stockxpert has some images that dreamstime doesn't have and vice versa, but majority of the images are the same, and dreamstime is not going to change you extra for the image that you have your heart set on.

Stockxpert goes out of their way to make it inconvenient for you to download after you've paid for your subscription.
-They make you type in a CAPTCHA which is purposely buggy (its a theory of mine). Yeah you heard that right. They purposely make the captcha fail if you download maximum you're allowed to download. Your account gets flagged, and you have to clean up your cookies before you download the image. You can also push refresh before you do the captcha to get around this "bug". If I pay for up to 25 images a day, I'm going to get 25 images a day. And since they've even made it harder for me, hinting that I shouldn't do it, it makes me want to do it more out of spite. To download 25 images in my lightbox, it takes me at a minimum 10 minutes. It used to take me an hour because of the CAPTCHA failing every time and I couldn't figure out a better way other than clearing my cookies. Dreamstime to begin with has nothing like CAPTCHA and their Lightbox actually makese sense. You can just choose the lightbox, then just say I want to download all of these, and just choose the highest resolution for all of them, and that's it. You get a zip file. You can't ask for anything more streamlined. Stockxpert makes it harder for you on purpose because they don't want you to download images after you've already paid. Dreamstime makes it easy for you to download images so you can get as much out of the subscription.

Dreamstime has better prices on subscription and single images
-There is only one price for a monthly option on stockxpert which is around $220 (25 pics a day), whereas dreamtime will let you download 10 a day for ~$90 a month. If you wanted 25 a day, I think it costs like $180 or $190. I've seen images cost as much as $15 on stockxpert whereas dreamstime, I think they only go up to like $6. Don't quote me on that one. I may just be confused with their "levels". But its a huge difference for the subscriptions. So for $90, you can get the highest quality images, and vector files for your brochure covers (up to 300 images/files) for your entire company. That's a pretty sweet deal. And in my opinion, any company or organization is missing out if they are not willing to pay $90 to put another level of professionalism by using dreamstime.

Dreamstime charges you a download when you actually download an image. Stockxpert charges you when you come to the download page without actually having downloaded. 1 out of 25 times, in the process of getting my images for the day, I actually forget to click to actually download after I've done the captcha, managed the lightbox, etc. But I still get charged. Pretty shady.

In conclusion, Stockxpert is out there to make money for itself and the sellers, by making inconvieniencing paying customers by implementing some questionable tactics. I will be glad when my membership is over. I look forward to a day without having to use their "buggy" CAPTCHA. Just a few more weeks...

In stockxpert's defense, their prices do seem right. Dreamstime's prices seem like the prices are too cheap. If I was a photographer, it would seem a little unfair that the customer has only paid $90 for 300 of my best images and illustrations. And out of the $90, I would only get $60. I would always be muttering the phrase, "What happened to the glory days when I used to make $100-500 per image?". But as a customer, with dreamstime out there, I would never choose stockxpert over dreamstime. I hate the fact that stockxpert makes me feel like they are trying to prevent me from downloading what I should be able to do which is download 25 images a day, every day after I've paid them subscription (along with additional dollars i've spent on their site for pics not covered under the subscription). They should know that after paying money up front like that, some customers like myself will be downloading images they need now and all the images they'll need in the future. If the price is too cheap, then charge more so you don't have to worry about implementing tactics to discourage downloading.

Minor update: So it looks like vector files on stockxpert are covered under your subscription. Possibly (maybe its a glitch, or maybe they changed it, or it could be its always been this way). I never bothered to click on the vector file as it didn't have the "sub" graphic. But I accidentally clicked on it today, and it let me download it under my subscrption. Interesting.

1 comment:

  1. STOCKXPERT really pissed me off! After purchasing a year subscription, I used to download vector files, But now i can't even get one! Stupid site! They get your money and then you get nothing :(