MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: Good Piece - Article From British Journal of Photography  (Read 5079 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

rinderart

« on: July 03, 2011, 20:11 »
0
Just passing it along.

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/opinion/2072022/stockpiling-trouble-stock-industry-ate

admin edit: gave the thread a more descriptive subject
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 20:41 by leaf »


Noodles

« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 20:51 »
0
Very good piece. 

Quote
"The differentiators for success are as follows: highly distinctive imagery reflecting a clear and compelling aesthetic vision, marketing savvy, sharp business skills, adaptability and persistence. Todays professional photographer must deliver nothing less. BJP"

and why I remain an istock exclusive (buyer and contributor) in the belief that quality always sells and istock seem more focused on this than any other MS company. Just wish they could do it properly!

« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 21:34 »
0
thanks for the link.  someone also linked that in another thread and this paragraph caught my eye

Quote
The Stock Artists Alliances ongoing Investigative Shopping Project revealed these hidden, often layered, sub-distribution arrangements. Photographers who had been puzzled by surprisingly low licence fees now had an explanation; many had been unaware that the revenues they received were often a meagre single-digit share of the licence fee, rather than their contracted royalty rate. When asked directly about these practices and the lack of transparency, the company line was always the same: these deals are essentially none of your business.

SAAs study also suggested a troubling degree of accounting errors, as most of our investigative buys failed to be reported to artists until we contacted the company after a year or more of waiting. In 2007, a controller-turned-whistleblower gave SAA internal accounting documents, alleging that one major library owed several million dollars to contributors in back royalties. The company was dismissive of the accusations but SAA contacted hundreds of artists and substantiated the claims, leading to much of the monies owed being paid.

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/opinion/2072022/stockpiling-trouble-stock-industry-ate#ixzz1R6EKR2hn
Subscribe to BJP and save money. Click here to save 29% today.


With all these third party sites and fourth and fifth party sites I can hardly believe that some sales won't go missing here and there. And it looks like the SAA proved that to be true (in the past anyhow).  One thing the internet and microstock (at least at the outset) has brought to the stock industry is a very transparent reporting system.  Since sales are reported live, to the minute (or at least hour), if my buddy designer purchases one of my images on iStock and let's me know - I can quickly check to make sure the sale is reported correctly.  With 10's of thousands of photographers watching their sales, sites that mis-report sales are very quickly 'outed'. 

That was until recently however, now third party sales are the popular kid on the block (at least for the agencies).  Some of these third parties just report sales at the end of the month in a bulk report (no individual image sales info).. we have absolutely no way of know if the report is correct or way off base.  Microstock started out very easy to follow and control.  It is become less so - perhaps that is a sign of 'maturity', unfortunately.

« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 21:51 »
0
I wonder when some shady company like Getty will open up its own reseller sites so that they can skim another % from the sale before it gets to the photographer. If site A sells a file  for site B and takes 50% and then site B takes 50% the photographer only gets 25% - now try the math with Istock level of % ages or with 3 or more reseller sites and pretty much the $ is all gone before we get it.

Noodles

« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 23:24 »
0
It certainly is not only Getty who rip people off. I was just checking on the price of a new 32gig iphone4 and there is a difference of $300 between the US Apple site and the Australian! There is no logic to why it should cost so much more in Australia. Just big corps milking us dry as per usual.

lagereek

« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 00:37 »
0
Getty, throughout the 80s and 90s, used to be associated with quality within the RM. Today however, they have not got anything more to offer then just an ordinary agency or site. Its a matter of quantity not quality.

OTOH,  the average buyer or the majority of buyers of todays stock are not quality concious, cant really judge the quality of a pic, so any old rubbish will do.

« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 01:52 »
0
Very good piece. 

Quote
"The differentiators for success are as follows: highly distinctive imagery reflecting a clear and compelling aesthetic vision, marketing savvy, sharp business skills, adaptability and persistence. Todays professional photographer must deliver nothing less. BJP"

and why I remain an istock exclusive (buyer and contributor) in the belief that quality always sells and istock seem more focused on this than any other MS company. Just wish they could do it properly!
I just don't think this is right any more.  Istock accept lots of images that would be rejected by SS and DT now.  Standards have changed a lot.  DT and FT are also getting rid of all images that don't sell after a period of time.  There are people that have gone non-exclusive and are finding a lot of their portfolio from istock is being rejected by other sites. 

I don't see the problem with lower quality images.  It's highly subjective, some images that we don't think are "quality" will sell well.  The ones that don't, end up at the end of the search.  Reviewers often make bad decisions that cost us and the sites money.  If the low quality non-selling images end up on page 100 of a search and are deleted after a period of time, how is that bad for buyers?

lagereek

« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 01:59 »
0
Very good piece. 

Quote
"The differentiators for success are as follows: highly distinctive imagery reflecting a clear and compelling aesthetic vision, marketing savvy, sharp business skills, adaptability and persistence. Todays professional photographer must deliver nothing less. BJP"

and why I remain an istock exclusive (buyer and contributor) in the belief that quality always sells and istock seem more focused on this than any other MS company. Just wish they could do it properly!
I just don't think this is right any more.  Istock accept lots of images that would be rejected by SS and DT now.  Standards have changed a lot.  DT and FT are also getting rid of all images that don't sell after a period of time.  There are people that have gone non-exclusive and are finding a lot of their portfolio from istock is being rejected by other sites. 

I don't see the problem with lower quality images.  It's highly subjective, some images that we don't think are "quality" will sell well.  The ones that don't, end up at the end of the search.  Reviewers often make bad decisions that cost us and the sites money.  If the low quality non-selling images end up on page 100 of a search and are deleted after a period of time, how is that bad for buyers?

True!  the SS and DT, reviewing is nowdays more tougher then IS and as you say, they are even getting rid of shots that doesnt sell over a period. On the whole I think, nowdays the SS and DT, editors are a little bit more graphically educated.

« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 02:23 »
0
It's a mostly reasonable point of view, though it still seems to be infused with the idea that what went wrong was that trad agencies reduced their prices and that if only they had kept charging hundreds for a single editorial use everything would be hunky-dory. The real reason the old system collapsed is all to do with technical/digital innovation, the Internet and the inevitable consequences of competition which always drives mass market prices down to the lowest sustainable level.

She's right about distinctive imagery and business skills being crucial, but she's not talking about microstock and the Vetta collection, she's talking about top pros, like the guy whose bought a couple of helicopters and specialised stabilisation gear to create aerial video clips that he can sell for a high price (I suspect he is the source of the filler clips that are constantly used on Al Jazeera).

« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 02:39 »
0
the average buyer or the majority of buyers of todays stock are not quality concious, cant really judge the quality of a pic, so any old rubbish will do.

Exactly. Like brides who have their relatives shoot the wedding and are happy with the results. As long as the faces are visible and it brings back memories the rest doesn't matter very much - and she will never know what might have been possible if she had got a good wedding pro to take the shots.

Most microstock pictures - even the old cruddy ones - are better than the expectations of most users and anything that meets expectations will achieve customer satisfaction. To a large degree, microstock quality standards are just the new filter designed to keep collections down to a manageable size. We are required to submit images that will produce flawless 3m high posters but how often is an image bought for use at that size? I'd lay odds that a 2MP image is sufficient for more than 99% of the usage microstock images get.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2011, 03:01 »
0


Quote
"The differentiators for success are as follows: highly distinctive imagery reflecting a clear and compelling aesthetic vision, marketing savvy, sharp business skills, adaptability and persistence. Todays professional photographer must deliver nothing less. BJP"

if they wrote that for microstock, it's total bullsh*t. I can't beleive there still are people in the world stuck at that banal nonsense level. A big portion of the bestsellers are simply repulsive junk aesthetically, visually or even conceptually, and theres nothing distictive about them: they could have come from hundreds of phtotgraphers. If the name wasn't there, most of the time the only way you could recognize them is from the models. Btw, dealing in large numbers means most of the clients are 'the plebs', and the plebs has no taste whatsoever... what do they like to consume in large quantities? Jerry Springer, cheeseburger, big gulp cola...

« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2011, 03:24 »
0
It's a mostly reasonable point of view, though it still seems to be infused with the idea that what went wrong was that trad agencies reduced their prices and that if only they had kept charging hundreds for a single editorial use everything would be hunky-dory. The real reason the old system collapsed is all to do with technical/digital innovation, the Internet and the inevitable consequences of competition which always drives mass market prices down to the lowest sustainable level.

--snip--


The main thing that happened was that what was previously a closed club became exposed to open competition. Its also a big reason why the SAA itself had to close its doors - they refused to accept the principle that the industry is now open to new entrants and that there aren't any gatekeepers other than success or failure at producing images. Instead of accepting that changes were there to stay: RF & microstock, and accepting the new entrants, they tried what many failing unions have unsuccessfully tried - a closed door policy. If they'd accepted that their industry had changed - both through RF and microstock and tried to influence those changes, they'd still be a going concern, and probably have membership numbers they'd never previously have dreamed of. Furthermore, they'd still be serving a useful purpose for stock photographers.  

Obviously they still think of microstock as being made up of amateurs, and that there is a pool of legitimate "professionals". The real coming-of-age isn't about microstock at all - its that the old-guard will increasingly be in the same boat as the rest of us. Some have adapted and are thriving in both forms of the game, others have already failed. Stock photography is still a viable industry - in total its probably earning more now than at any time previously - just that the cake is cut up in a different way, and is now available to far more buyers.

Unfortunately there's also no organisation trying to get artists a greater share of it. Instead we're reading the memoirs from a failed organisation.

« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2011, 04:11 »
0
I agree, Holgs. But the thing that kicked the club door open was the Internet, the follow-on from Windows 95 and the subsequent emergence of cheap digital camera technology, specifically the CF card and the Canon Digital Rebel in 2003. Once all that was in place, the rest was probably inevitable.

« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2011, 04:39 »
0
I agree, Holgs. But the thing that kicked the club door open was the Internet, the follow-on from Windows 95 and the subsequent emergence of cheap digital camera technology, specifically the CF card and the Canon Digital Rebel in 2003. Once all that was in place, the rest was probably inevitable.

In this case yes - though I'm not so sure about win 95... In every industry there's something that will eventually kick down the club doors if they're being used to maintain prices and profits that are excessive. The key is to be ahead of the event and make the best of it instead of getting crushed by the stampede and then complaining about it.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2011, 06:09 »
0
letting the crowd kick the doors down is an awful mistake. Leads to chaos eventually and nothing else, and in the end the dumb crowd that wanted to get rid of that * door will be whining the most about the cesspool they created for themselves. Of course the world is indeed full of idiots who think 'kicking the door down' is democracy and freedom... it's none of that. It's ochlocracy.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 06:25 by lthn »

lagereek

« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2011, 06:20 »
0


Quote
"The differentiators for success are as follows: highly distinctive imagery reflecting a clear and compelling aesthetic vision, marketing savvy, sharp business skills, adaptability and persistence. Todays professional photographer must deliver nothing less. BJP"

if they wrote that for microstock, it's total bullsh*t. I can't beleive there still are people in the world stuck at that banal nonsense level. A big portion of the bestsellers are simply repulsive junk aesthetically, visually or even conceptually, and theres nothing distictive about them: they could have come from hundreds of phtotgraphers. If the name wasn't there, most of the time the only way you could recognize them is from the models. Btw, dealing in large numbers means most of the clients are 'the plebs', and the plebs has no taste whatsoever... what do they like to consume in large quantities? Jerry Springer, cheeseburger, big gulp cola...

Agree!! 100%.  They really wrote that? ( havent had time to read the whole thing yet ). If top pro picture-editors and Im talking highly skilled people sat down and went through todays Micro files and even RM for that matter, Im willing to bet that 70% would go into the dustbin, straight away and on a second glance another 10%.

« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2011, 08:36 »
0
letting the crowd kick the doors down is an awful mistake. Leads to chaos eventually and nothing else, and in the end the dumb crowd that wanted to get rid of that  door will be whining the most about the cesspool they created for themselves. Of course the world is indeed full of idiots who think 'kicking the door down' is democracy and freedom... it's none of that. It's ochlocracy.

Well, ochlocracy works for me, at least as far as stock is concerned.

Apparently ochlocracy is also good for Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, but not for Afghanistan, or so the great leaders of the Western world tell me.


« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2011, 08:41 »
0
Btw, dealing in large numbers means most of the clients are 'the plebs', and the plebs has no taste whatsoever... what do they like to consume in large quantities? Jerry Springer, cheeseburger, big gulp cola...

I always love reading about the disdain some people have for the customers :D. Always makes me wonder why you contribute to microstock.

« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2011, 09:18 »
0
I always love reading about the disdain some people have for the customers :D. Always makes me wonder why you contribute to microstock.

Apparently, Graphic Design Appreciation Day only happens once a year.  ;D

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2011, 09:22 »
0
Btw, dealing in large numbers means most of the clients are 'the plebs', and the plebs has no taste whatsoever... what do they like to consume in large quantities? Jerry Springer, cheeseburger, big gulp cola...

I always love reading about the disdain some people have for the customers :D. Always makes me wonder why you contribute to microstock.

Ppl should only deal business with ones they respect? Yeah thats what capitalism is all about, just look around : ) The whole world would stop.

« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2011, 10:22 »
0
It's a mostly reasonable point of view, though it still seems to be infused with the idea that what went wrong was that trad agencies reduced their prices and that if only they had kept charging hundreds for a single editorial use everything would be hunky-dory. The real reason the old system collapsed is all to do with technical/digital innovation, the Internet and the inevitable consequences of competition which always drives mass market prices down to the lowest sustainable level.

--snip--


The main thing that happened was that what was previously a closed club became exposed to open competition. Its also a big reason why the SAA itself had to close its doors - they refused to accept the principle that the industry is now open to new entrants and that there aren't any gatekeepers other than success or failure at producing images. Instead of accepting that changes were there to stay: RF & microstock, and accepting the new entrants, they tried what many failing unions have unsuccessfully tried - a closed door policy. If they'd accepted that their industry had changed - both through RF and microstock and tried to influence those changes, they'd still be a going concern, and probably have membership numbers they'd never previously have dreamed of. Furthermore, they'd still be serving a useful purpose for stock photographers.  

Obviously they still think of microstock as being made up of amateurs, and that there is a pool of legitimate "professionals". The real coming-of-age isn't about microstock at all - its that the old-guard will increasingly be in the same boat as the rest of us. Some have adapted and are thriving in both forms of the game, others have already failed. Stock photography is still a viable industry - in total its probably earning more now than at any time previously - just that the cake is cut up in a different way, and is now available to far more buyers.

Unfortunately there's also no organisation trying to get artists a greater share of it. Instead we're reading the memoirs from a failed organisation.

well said holgs!

« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2011, 10:34 »
0
Big problem:
Quote
According to Picscout, a leading tracking service, nine out of every 10 stock images they found online were unauthorised uses.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2011, 10:54 »
0
It's a mostly reasonable point of view, though it still seems to be infused with the idea that what went wrong was that trad agencies reduced their prices and that if only they had kept charging hundreds for a single editorial use everything would be hunky-dory. The real reason the old system collapsed is all to do with technical/digital innovation, the Internet and the inevitable consequences of competition which always drives mass market prices down to the lowest sustainable level.

--snip--


The main thing that happened was that what was previously a closed club became exposed to open competition. Its also a big reason why the SAA itself had to close its doors - they refused to accept the principle that the industry is now open to new entrants and that there aren't any gatekeepers other than success or failure at producing images. Instead of accepting that changes were there to stay: RF & microstock, and accepting the new entrants, they tried what many failing unions have unsuccessfully tried - a closed door policy. If they'd accepted that their industry had changed - both through RF and microstock and tried to influence those changes, they'd still be a going concern, and probably have membership numbers they'd never previously have dreamed of. Furthermore, they'd still be serving a useful purpose for stock photographers.  

Obviously they still think of microstock as being made up of amateurs, and that there is a pool of legitimate "professionals". The real coming-of-age isn't about microstock at all - its that the old-guard will increasingly be in the same boat as the rest of us. Some have adapted and are thriving in both forms of the game, others have already failed. Stock photography is still a viable industry - in total its probably earning more now than at any time previously - just that the cake is cut up in a different way, and is now available to far more buyers.

Unfortunately there's also no organisation trying to get artists a greater share of it. Instead we're reading the memoirs from a failed organisation.

well said holgs!

Yes indeed; very well said.  It is depressing and I often wonder how many of these threads it will take to convince some (most) of us ME to just throw in the towel.  Sorta like the old weather axiom, "Everybody talks about; no one does anything about it."

« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2011, 11:04 »
0
Big problem:
Quote
According to Picscout, a leading tracking service, nine out of every 10 stock images they found online were unauthorised uses.


Perhaps this will help?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jul/03/us-anti-piracy-extradition-prosecution

« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2011, 11:15 »
0
There's a comment at the end from someone called Mark Stout suggesting that there was something about the business model of microstock that led to Getty cutting royalties for iStock contributors.

I think that's just missing the point. It was the need for cash by H&F (to pay them back for their half billion dollar dividend recapitalization) that led to this. Absent that, the microstock model of 2010 could have continued to be exceedingly profitable for iStock and a large portion of its contributors. There was nothing unsustainable about the iStock end of the business, just Getty and H&F's.

I can only assume Mr. Stout is one of those who see evil in the success of the microstock business model, so he reshapes the actual situation to fit.

Microstock InsiderPhotoDune

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
1 Replies
1150 Views
Last post January 15, 2007, 06:46
by MiguelAngelo
1 Replies
1417 Views
Last post June 10, 2008, 01:42
by Clivia
43 Replies
10026 Views
Last post December 03, 2010, 16:52
by qwerty
1 Replies
1133 Views
Last post September 26, 2009, 16:31
by drnickburton
10 Replies
1084 Views
Last post March 18, 2014, 19:15
by Uncle Pete

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors