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Author Topic: do you audit your agencies?  (Read 2250 times)

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« on: May 12, 2018, 23:26 »
+1
Curious...

Do you audit the agencies you submit to? In most cases - you have to take their word for how many sales you get, etc, because there are no type of 3rd party analytics you can use on those sites.

So do you ever say have yourself or a friend place an order for an image or video, to see whether you actually get credit for that sale? (In other words, if you do a random test - and you get a sale, chances are the agency is legit. But if you do a random test - and nothing shows up - maybe you aren't getting credited with everything?)


« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 23:51 »
0
Very good idea. I have always wonder if some of the small sites are honest.

« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 00:31 »
+2
Very good idea. I have always wonder if some of the small sites are honest.
I wonder about all of them!

« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 01:49 »
+1
Don't buy your own stuff you could be booted for that.

ShadySue

« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2018, 04:46 »
0
I did it once (got a friend to buy something) from a POD site, very recently, but that was because of a 'perfect storm' of circumstances. The sale showed up.

For an agency, you could prove a negative, but not a positive on one sale. Probably even the worst offender wouldn't 'hide' more than 10% of sales, probably less than that. Or maybe they think that with RF and many contributors spreading their net widely, they can more easily get off with it, as it's easier to hide. Or maybe they're all honest.

RAW

« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2018, 06:46 »
0
I remember many years ago (when the industry was new). Most agencies included in their Terms of Business the ability for contibutors to audit their books on demand. You usually had to give them a few days notice and then you could go to their offices and take a look at their books.

How times have changed!

« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2018, 08:10 »
0
Don't buy your own stuff you could be booted for that.

Why would they boot you for that? Are some agencies afraid that you'd find out you weren't been credited? It makes no sense...

« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2018, 08:15 »
+1
Don't buy your own stuff you could be booted for that.

Why would they boot you for that? Are some agencies afraid that you'd find out you weren't been credited? It makes no sense...

It's in their terms.
From SS
Shutterstock has the right to refuse to establish an account or to close any existing account, for fraud, intellectual property infringement, violation of a third party's rights including those of privacy or publicity, artificially inflating downloads,

« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2018, 08:33 »
0
Don't buy your own stuff you could be booted for that.

Why would they boot you for that? Are some agencies afraid that you'd find out you weren't been credited? It makes no sense...
Its about gaming the system  whether it makes any sense is academic its their rule just like many of their other rules.


« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2018, 08:36 »
0
Purchasing your own product - or having a friend "purchase" your own product to test the integrity of the system is not artificially inflating downloads. It's a real download.

But regardless - it is rather interesting. Sounds like some companies are afraid they'd be found out for not crediting all sales.

Don't buy your own stuff you could be booted for that.

Why would they boot you for that? Are some agencies afraid that you'd find out you weren't been credited? It makes no sense...

It's in their terms.
From SS
Shutterstock has the right to refuse to establish an account or to close any existing account, for fraud, intellectual property infringement, violation of a third party's rights including those of privacy or publicity, artificially inflating downloads,

« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2018, 08:53 »
0
You can buy a monthly package of 750 images for 0.16 each in UK currency...I'll leave you to work out the implications ;-).

niktol

« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 10:06 »
0

So do you ever say have yourself or a friend place an order for an image or video, to see whether you actually get credit for that sale? (In other words, if you do a random test - and you get a sale, chances are the agency is legit. But if you do a random test - and nothing shows up - maybe you aren't getting credited with everything?)

I didn't "have" anyone to do mystery shopping for me, but I knew a few people who bought something of mine. It always checked out. 

« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2018, 10:13 »
+1
Of course it COULD happen, but reasonable people don't risk their multi-million-dollar business doing this. Yes, there are plenty of unreasonable people in the business world, but it's just as likely that someone charges a cent extra for your gas, puts two chocolates on the receipt when you only bought one, puts an extra minute on your phone bill etc. etc.

Time is usually better spent making new stock items.  ;)

That being said, I have never missed a purchase that I know happened.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 10:16 by increasingdifficulty »

niktol

« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2018, 10:17 »
0
You can buy a monthly package of 750 images for 0.16 each in UK currency...I'll leave you to work out the implications ;-).

I guess it wouldn't be wise to spend it all on one portfolio then :). Unless it's someone you know and don't like  8)

« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2018, 11:06 »
0
Requesting an audit implies a lack of trust.  Why stay with any agency you don't trust?  Request an audit on your way out the door.

niktol

« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2018, 11:15 »
0
Requesting an audit implies a lack of trust.  Why stay with any agency you don't trust?

Money.

Request an audit on your way out the door.

Tax agencies can walk out the door any minute they like.

« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2018, 07:45 »
+4
This discussion has been had here before. The answer is the same. In order for an agency, which employs many people, to steal from contributors, everyone in the accounting department would have to be in on it. If not, as soon as one of them uncovered a discrepancy in the numbers the cat would be out of the bag.

Now ask yourself, does it make sense that an agency that already takes up to 85% of the sale, paying contributors literally pennies, would go to that amount of trouble just to take a few pennies more by not reporting the occasional sale when they could very easily, and legally, announce a royalty cut?

The next time you see an exciting announcement from an agency on how they're going to drive sales by lowering your cut of the proceeds, that's their way of stealing from you.


niktol

« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2018, 10:20 »
0


Now ask yourself, does it make sense that an agency that already takes up to 85% of the sale, paying contributors literally pennies, would go to that amount of trouble just to take a few pennies more by not reporting the occasional sale when they could very easily, and legally, announce a royalty cut?


15 remaining % on this scale is still lotsa lotsa pennies. But you are right, there is no reason to do it illegally. All you have to do is work outside the business model that pays to contributors. Do barter.

ShadySue

« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2018, 11:02 »
0


Now ask yourself, does it make sense that an agency that already takes up to 85% of the sale, paying contributors literally pennies, would go to that amount of trouble just to take a few pennies more by not reporting the occasional sale when they could very easily, and legally, announce a royalty cut?


15 remaining % on this scale is still lotsa lotsa pennies. But you are right, there is no reason to do it illegally. All you have to do is work outside the business model that pays to contributors. Do barter.
Or premium access.

« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2018, 12:27 »
0
But my question and I am sure some of you have had the same thoughts. I have maybe 1200-2000 images on some of these small sites and never get a sale for many years. These sites for the most part don't go out of business. How do they stay in business? Many of these small sites are in non-US countries.  My same images sell very well on the big sites. What a great business model for someone to start an auditing business for a small fee to photographers. I for one would pay a small yearly fee as I have always thought that non payment could happen very easily in this industry. ..... W. Scott McGill

« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2018, 13:07 »
0
I do not think that any of the stock agencies would steal downloads on purpose, but with how buggy some of the stock companies web sites have been, I would not have been surprised is not all sales were recored properly.

I've had a few instances where I knew a client was buying one of my videos and they all showed up in my sales. Just last month I had a client buy one of my clips from pond5. The sale didn't show up at first and I was getting nervous, but it did show up after a couple of days. Hopefully that was the original client's sale and not a second person buying the same video.

The reason the stock companies don't want you buying your own photos or footage...I remember on istock in the early days, because of how the Best Match search worked, some people would buy their own images as soon as they went live. It would give that image a big boost in the search results. It turned from people buying their own images to people forming gangs that would buy each other's images.



« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2018, 15:56 »
0

The reason the stock companies don't want you buying your own photos or footage...I remember on istock in the early days, because of how the Best Match search worked, some people would buy their own images as soon as they went live. It would give that image a big boost in the search results. It turned from people buying their own images to people forming gangs that would buy each other's images.

The reason is more serious than just search boosting. As Pauws99 said, you can make a profit at the agencies' expense.

For example, you can buy images from say, SS, at $0.27 each. And if you're receiving $0.33 per download. Then you will gain $0.06 every time you (or someone helping you) download your own image. They can't let this happen.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 18:25 by flywing »


 

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