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Author Topic: We don't owe these companies anything  (Read 2724 times)

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« on: October 31, 2018, 16:14 »
+31
I sometimes get emails from random companies looking for new contributors. Some new company thinking they can break into the stock business (you can't, unless you have millions of dollars to invest in acquiring an existing company), or they're an existing company looking to expand or branch into a new market. This is about the latter.

I got 2 emails from a guy at a free stock image company (which is looking to expand into paid stock), followed by this third email (his name and the company name have been changed):

Quote
Mike,

This is my third and final attempt to contact you about selling your vectors on "Garbage Stock". It appears like you may be ignoring me... I hope that is not the case.

We are only selecting a few artists right now to join this program. We choose you and your portfolio because it is high-quality and you have a very high earnings potential from the data we are looking at. If we don't get you on board this week, we are going to have to go elsewhere. Please respond let me know if you wanted to be included asap.

Best,
Steve

I ignore these emails because, well, why bother. It's just another dead-end that will earn me nothing. Or, worse, will earn me almost nothing and earn the company a lot.

Now this email struck a nerve because of the attitude of "Steve", apparently being so bothered that I'm ignoring him and his enticing invitation that he sent to just a few people (yeah, right) to join his free-stock company that is now looking to sell images and cash in on their high traffic volume. So, for once, I decided to reply:

Quote
Hi Steve,

I was ignoring you, as I tend to do with the numerous offers I receive to join websites like Garbage Stock, but since you insist on pushing the matter, allow me to explain my choice to ignore your earlier emails.

Garbage Stock has been a haven for rip-offs of my work (and many other artists' work as well) for years. Cheap knock-offs of my designs are available for free on Garbage Stock as I write this. Garbage Stock also freely gives away copyrighted material, designs owned by companies, organizations, and, as mentioned, many other artists. Surely you are aware of this, it doesn't take much searching to find plenty of material on Garbage Stock that you have no right to sell or give away.

Sites like Garbage Stock have no real interest in helping artists, nor do you apparently care about the people who download stuff from your site (people think they're getting a license to use content but it doesn't apply if you had no right to offer than content in the first place).

To be fair, this is a common problem in the stock image industry. However most other companies do far more to combat it, including banning contributors from the site (something it appears Garbage Stock doesn't do, as "artists" found to be ripping off content might only get a few offending images removed from their portfolios, while being allowed to continue contributing content still today).

Lastly, I don't support sites built on a "free" model as the primary focus of distribution. All of that traffic you've built up has been on the backs of artists' free content, and the implied value (or lack thereof) of vectors to be something that should be available for free. Now that you've built up all of that site traffic from free content, you want to cash in. I won't be a part of that, nor will I provide the original work that Garbage Stock "artists" have been ripping off for years and giving away for free.

For all of these reasons, I am unable to support a site like Garbage Stock and I have no interest in being affiliated with the company at all. Garbage Stock has done plenty to damage the stock image business and I have no desire to reward your sh***y business model by contributing my work to your collection.

So yes, I was ignoring you, and trying really hard not to have to send this email to you. But since you appear to have been so hurt by my lack of enthusiasm to be a part of Garbage Stock, I figured I could at least explain why.

Thanks for the offer, but my answer is 'no'.

Mike

I'm posting this just to shed some light on a sentiment that I think has been common in the stock image business for a while and should have been killed off long ago. This idea is one that many of these agencies share, one that basically takes the position that they are offering us something wondrous and special, and we should feel privileged to even be considered as a possible contributor to these agencies.

I think it's about time we call this stuff what it is: a scam. Companies like this one will make it sound like such a wonderful deal, they'll entice you with their website traffic and promises of "earnings potential". But they've built their business on free content, so what kind of earnings potential could they possibly be concerned with when it comes to what the contributor gets?

Sure this is a rant. But I hope it's also a bit of a cautionary tale for anyone here who is maybe somewhat new to this business and gets these emails and offers. There a lot of snakes in the stock image world. You don't owe them anything, not your images, not your support, not even a reply email.

But if you do send them a reply, post it up here, I'd love to read it.  ;)


nobody

« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 16:57 »
+8
and when they finally start selling our images/videos they cut the commissions stating they need more money for marketing! We take a chance on them and they screw us down the road!  >:(

« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2018, 22:12 »
+2
My advice now for new companies is to salary artists. Put their money into artists that they can sell. If they have a plan to make $100k off an artist that they pay $50k (or whatever the numbers), then they have a plan for the future. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like most new companies are going to have an impact anymore or be able to lure pessimistic artists.

« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 01:20 »
+2
hi -

From reading that article - it actually just looks like an automated form letter. Chances are it was written once, and sent to 100's (or 1000's) of artists. I get those 'types' of letters for other stuff I do - just simply because they scraped an e-mail address they found.

As for breaking "in" - you actually "don't" need millions of dollars to start a successful company or 'break into' microstock. You need a unique angle that gets you attention and sales.

« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 01:46 »
+3
My advice now for new companies is to salary artists. Put their money into artists that they can sell. If they have a plan to make $100k off an artist that they pay $50k (or whatever the numbers), then they have a plan for the future. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like most new companies are going to have an impact anymore or be able to lure pessimistic artists.
The way I'd work it is to pay the contributor up front then use their earnings over time to pay back the advance. Not going to happen though. Unless someone comes up with a stunningly innovative site I can't see why anyone would contribute to a new site.

« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 04:51 »
0
Well done Mike!

« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 05:00 »
0
Great answer Mike!

« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 07:41 »
+1
My advice now for new companies is to salary artists. Put their money into artists that they can sell. If they have a plan to make $100k off an artist that they pay $50k (or whatever the numbers), then they have a plan for the future. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like most new companies are going to have an impact anymore or be able to lure pessimistic artists.
The way I'd work it is to pay the contributor up front then use their earnings over time to pay back the advance. Not going to happen though. Unless someone comes up with a stunningly innovative site I can't see why anyone would contribute to a new site.

I got an upfront offer once. In hindsight, I should have taken it, but the market was still on the upswing then. I guess I just see the salary thing as one of the last frontiers. You see these existing agencies trying to discover and experiment with new revenue streams, but there are only so many directions they can go without having artists on staff.

« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 07:52 »
+3
My advice now for new companies is to salary artists. Put their money into artists that they can sell. If they have a plan to make $100k off an artist that they pay $50k (or whatever the numbers), then they have a plan for the future. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like most new companies are going to have an impact anymore or be able to lure pessimistic artists.
The way I'd work it is to pay the contributor up front then use their earnings over time to pay back the advance. Not going to happen though. Unless someone comes up with a stunningly innovative site I can't see why anyone would contribute to a new site.

I got an upfront offer once. In hindsight, I should have taken it, but the market was still on the upswing then. I guess I just see the salary thing as one of the last frontiers. You see these existing agencies trying to discover and experiment with new revenue streams, but there are only so many directions they can go without having artists on staff.
From an agency point of view the commission system is genius. Nearly  all the risk is taken by the contributors hence agencies can limp along on a shoestring selling almost nothing.

« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 08:06 »
+1
Good for you telling them as it is
We can only hope that these rip off sites go down and out of business and hope that the likes of Adobe for RF  and other fair RM agencies find increasing sales

Shelma1

« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 08:15 »
+5
I sometimes get emails from random companies looking for new contributors. Some new company thinking they can break into the stock business (you can't, unless you have millions of dollars to invest in acquiring an existing company), or they're an existing company looking to expand or branch into a new market. This is about the latter.

I got 2 emails from a guy at a free stock image company (which is looking to expand into paid stock), followed by this third email (his name and the company name have been changed):

Quote
Mike,

This is my third and final attempt to contact you about selling your vectors on "Garbage Stock". It appears like you may be ignoring me... I hope that is not the case.

We are only selecting a few artists right now to join this program. We choose you and your portfolio because it is high-quality and you have a very high earnings potential from the data we are looking at. If we don't get you on board this week, we are going to have to go elsewhere. Please respond let me know if you wanted to be included asap.

Best,
Steve

I ignore these emails because, well, why bother. It's just another dead-end that will earn me nothing. Or, worse, will earn me almost nothing and earn the company a lot.

Now this email struck a nerve because of the attitude of "Steve", apparently being so bothered that I'm ignoring him and his enticing invitation that he sent to just a few people (yeah, right) to join his free-stock company that is now looking to sell images and cash in on their high traffic volume. So, for once, I decided to reply:

Quote
Hi Steve,

I was ignoring you, as I tend to do with the numerous offers I receive to join websites like Garbage Stock, but since you insist on pushing the matter, allow me to explain my choice to ignore your earlier emails.

Garbage Stock has been a haven for rip-offs of my work (and many other artists' work as well) for years. Cheap knock-offs of my designs are available for free on Garbage Stock as I write this. Garbage Stock also freely gives away copyrighted material, designs owned by companies, organizations, and, as mentioned, many other artists. Surely you are aware of this, it doesn't take much searching to find plenty of material on Garbage Stock that you have no right to sell or give away.

Sites like Garbage Stock have no real interest in helping artists, nor do you apparently care about the people who download stuff from your site (people think they're getting a license to use content but it doesn't apply if you had no right to offer than content in the first place).

To be fair, this is a common problem in the stock image industry. However most other companies do far more to combat it, including banning contributors from the site (something it appears Garbage Stock doesn't do, as "artists" found to be ripping off content might only get a few offending images removed from their portfolios, while being allowed to continue contributing content still today).

Lastly, I don't support sites built on a "free" model as the primary focus of distribution. All of that traffic you've built up has been on the backs of artists' free content, and the implied value (or lack thereof) of vectors to be something that should be available for free. Now that you've built up all of that site traffic from free content, you want to cash in. I won't be a part of that, nor will I provide the original work that Garbage Stock "artists" have been ripping off for years and giving away for free.

For all of these reasons, I am unable to support a site like Garbage Stock and I have no interest in being affiliated with the company at all. Garbage Stock has done plenty to damage the stock image business and I have no desire to reward your sh***y business model by contributing my work to your collection.

So yes, I was ignoring you, and trying really hard not to have to send this email to you. But since you appear to have been so hurt by my lack of enthusiasm to be a part of Garbage Stock, I figured I could at least explain why.

Thanks for the offer, but my answer is 'no'.

Mike

I'm posting this just to shed some light on a sentiment that I think has been common in the stock image business for a while and should have been killed off long ago. This idea is one that many of these agencies share, one that basically takes the position that they are offering us something wondrous and special, and we should feel privileged to even be considered as a possible contributor to these agencies.

I think it's about time we call this stuff what it is: a scam. Companies like this one will make it sound like such a wonderful deal, they'll entice you with their website traffic and promises of "earnings potential". But they've built their business on free content, so what kind of earnings potential could they possibly be concerned with when it comes to what the contributor gets?

Sure this is a rant. But I hope it's also a bit of a cautionary tale for anyone here who is maybe somewhat new to this business and gets these emails and offers. There a lot of snakes in the stock image world. You don't owe them anything, not your images, not your support, not even a reply email.

But if you do send them a reply, post it up here, I'd love to read it.  ;)


You're so polite. I believe I used a lot of very foul language when contacted by one of them. I'd post it here, but it would just be series of **********

« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 17:38 »
0
From an agency point of view the commission system is genius. Nearly  all the risk is taken by the contributors hence agencies can limp along on a shoestring selling almost nothing.

Commission is great for all sorts of things. Screw fixed costs, especially when your just starting and sales are low.

derek

    This user is banned.
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2018, 03:07 »
0
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!

« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2018, 03:15 »
+2
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2018, 13:10 »
+3
Not too surprisingly, I have not yet received a reply to my email.  ;D


« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2018, 13:31 »
0
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dreamstime and Deposit also.

derek

    This user is banned.
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2018, 07:27 »
0
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!


« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2018, 08:00 »
0
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!
So I take it when you say "we" you actually mean everyone else? Or do you consider Istock one of the good guys?

derek

    This user is banned.
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2018, 08:32 »
+1
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!
So I take it when you say "we" you actually mean everyone else? Or do you consider Istock one of the good guys?

Hahaha!  no agency are " good guys"  thats not business, thats not comme il faut, in business! but you should still leave your port, its earning something isnt it?

« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2018, 09:04 »
0
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!
So I take it when you say "we" you actually mean everyone else? Or do you consider Istock one of the good guys?

Hahaha!  no agency are " good guys"  thats not business, thats not comme il faut, in business! but you should still leave your port, its earning something isnt it?
Absolutely but then I don't suggest boycotting sites

nobody

« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2018, 09:12 »
+4
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!
So I take it when you say "we" you actually mean everyone else? Or do you consider Istock one of the good guys?

Hahaha!  no agency are " good guys"  thats not business, thats not comme il faut, in business! but you should still leave your port, its earning something isnt it?
Absolutely but then I don't suggest boycotting sites
  Here is how a boycott works-- one person leaves and 10 other contributors replace them  8)

« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2018, 10:24 »
+4
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!
So I take it when you say "we" you actually mean everyone else? Or do you consider Istock one of the good guys?

Hahaha!  no agency are " good guys"  thats not business, thats not comme il faut, in business! but you should still leave your port, its earning something isnt it?
Absolutely but then I don't suggest boycotting sites
  Here is how a boycott works-- one person leaves and 10 other contributors replace them  8)

Actually boycotting did work extremely well with the Dollar Photo Club

« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2018, 11:11 »
+3
Actually boycotting did work extremely well with the Dollar Photo Club

iStock never really recovered or regained its glory after people left either. None of it is a death sentence, but it seems like there are impacts and repercussions.

derek

    This user is banned.
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2018, 13:11 »
+1
Great post Mike!...I have even had agencies offering to buy the whole portfolio, only a few months back some clown obviously from some agency!...its all BS from the beginning to the end!

I tell you people and on this point i do agree with people like Laurin etc, etc. This business will just go further and further down the toilet until we start boycotting certain agencies who are the ultimate destroyers of this business!
You could make a start by pulling your port from Shutterstock.

Dont pull your port at Istock! rather let it hang in there and earn some money!...better you get something then nothing isnt it!
So I take it when you say "we" you actually mean everyone else? Or do you consider Istock one of the good guys?

Hahaha!  no agency are " good guys"  thats not business, thats not comme il faut, in business! but you should still leave your port, its earning something isnt it?
Absolutely but then I don't suggest boycotting sites
  Here is how a boycott works-- one person leaves and 10 other contributors replace them  8)

Actually boycotting did work extremely well with the Dollar Photo Club

Exactly!!  although these newbies wasnt around then!

ShadySue

« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2018, 14:10 »
+1
Actually boycotting did work extremely well with the Dollar Photo Club

iStock never really recovered or regained its glory after people left either. None of it is a death sentence, but it seems like there are impacts and repercussions.

I'm not sure that the boycott had any direct effect on iS. Getty did a brilliant hatchet job on them, without help from contributors, by ignoring all concerns.


 

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