+1.5 Million Views on Unsplash, Here is What Happened
I wasn't expecting to go viral in 24 hours, but it happened
Less than a week ago, I decided to upload a few pictures to Unsplash.
I wasn’t expecting much. Everything on Unsplash is free, and you have no way to monetize your content. I guess I was just curious to see how some of my shots could perform. Who knows, maybe I would have ended up seeing some of them on Medium.
After uploading seven pictures to the website and waiting a few hours, I got an email saying that three of those pictures made it to the Unsplash Editorial feed. That’s the equivalent of being curated.
One of my shots was even on the Unsplash homepage for a few hours.
I was shocked but happy.
It was the boost in motivation I needed as I was feeling quite insecure about my photography lately.
But, as a marketer, I was curious to measure how this much exposure could translate into business.
I mean, we hear all the gurus saying that you have to give stuff away for free to get anything in return. You keep hearing that giving away stuff will always pay off. That the universe listens to your intentions. This kind of stuff.
Well, here it is, let me tell you what more than 4,000 downloads and more than 1.5 million views got me: nothing.
When I say nothing, I mean nothing literally. Not even a SINGLE visit to my website.
It might be different for other people. I’ve heard that some photographers on Unsplash got tons of backlinks to their websites, shootouts on Twitter and Instagram, and even got clients.
But are these testimonies real, or are they paid by Unsplash to push photographers to provide high-quality content for free?
I honestly have no idea. But I have to say that I am quite floored by the disproportion between the exposure I got and the absolute absence of any return.
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