Using BlackBox for microstock
At one point I pulled all my videos and photos from microstocks and started my career on Blackbox, a stock footage platform that allows producers, editors, and title and keyword writers to meet and split the earnings that the videos sold in microstocks generate.
I have been using this service for 3 years now. BlackBox is the best platform of its kind, although there are others. Some are even quite innovative, such as wirestock.io, which uses artificial intelligence for keyword analysis. But Blackbox is bigger and better.
How BlackBox works
I pay the platform 15% of the gross of each sale, but what I get back in return is far greater. First of all, I have become part of their community on Facebook, made of thousands of professionals in the business of:
- video productions
I established collaborations with some of them, not only in the stock footage industry.
On BlackBox, I have the chance to work as a metadata curator (a person who writes titles and keywords) for other producers.
Actually, I am lucky enough to have a wife who is a keywording consultant. Her name is Alessandra Agri (email@example.com) and I owe my current skills to her.
The analysis and research of keywords comes from a set of knowledge that is acquired over time, like the use of complex and little known tools for search engine optimization (SEO). It’s not easy: some strategies involve the use of misspelled, grammatically incorrect words.
Keywording is a job requiring a lot of patience. It's not a copy and paste job, which is the shortest way to end up on the last page of results. For stock footage, if you want to make money, you will need to appear at the top of searches, and the strategy to do so requires study and work.
The cons of BlackBox
To tell the truth, the first experience I had with BlackBox was quite bad. I had found several inconsistencies and things that bothered me, such as:
- not being able to change your keywords once uploaded
- the ban on deleting a video unless previously allowed
BlackBox was something potentially useful, perhaps the solution I was looking for, but I really couldn't stand many things, and therefore, I had abandoned the idea of being part of their community.
Months later, I reconsidered it and, tired of wasting so much time with agencies, I decided to use BlackBox.
Thanks to BlackBox, today I can say that:
- Some of my clips were used in an American movie that will be out shortly
- I have met people who share my passion for filming from all over the world
- I have had the opportunity to work with videographers in the fashion industry.
BlackBox allows uploading to 4 agencies (Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Pond5 and Vimeo Stock) in a single click. You pay 15 percent gross of each sale, but through BlackBox, we sell something almost every day: myself as a content creator and my wife as a keyworder.
I also give her a hand with keywords when there is a lot of work. Sometimes it happens to have hundreds of videos queued. But she is now a metadata machine: she produces keywords even when she talks to people. Once in front of a wonderful view here on Lake Maggiore, she looks at me and says:
Marco, what do you think of stock footage of this panorama with that sailing boat in vertical format for social media?
BlackBox opens up many possibilities for those who want to do things right and seriously.
The results achieved on BlackBox
Today on BlackBox we have reached 14,000 clips. We ask for 25% on each sale (the standard rate provided by BlackBox is 20%, but by being part of a list of recommended curators we can ask for more).
Whoever entrusts us with their stock footage must give us high quality videos:
- fluid movements
- perfect editing
Otherwise, it's just a waste of time.
We earn $5 or $6 net for each sale, more for extended licenses.
Thanks to the experience gained with BlackBox, we are working on the description of content even outside the platform. We ask for 2 euros per clip, because professionalism should be paid a fair price.
Our keywording work involves writing at least 49 keywords. We use tools that scan the market and find the most trendy keywords, and the results are sometimes surprising.
We have discovered that in the last few months, there are a lot of customers looking for the keyword "horizontal". This is because there is awareness among those who buy that the vertical footage is in great demand and consequently it is ranked high in the results shown by the agencies. So customers sometimes decide to see (or not to see) vertical clips among the results that they want to see.
This is my job today. I am no longer a flight attendant and have become a content creator for the stock footage industry. I write keywords for others, and I am a videographer. With this, I support my family.