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Author Topic: Is iS dead now?  (Read 5565 times)

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« on: January 03, 2015, 04:52 »
+10
I'm into the eighth day without a sale, my previous record for the whole of the last 11 years was two or three consecutive days. I see some people are reporting sales in the New Year, so there are some coming through (I'd started wondering if they weren't going to bother continuing with real-time - almost - reporting) but has the tap been turned off for independent contributors?


« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 05:20 »
+8
No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage!

« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2015, 06:59 »
+3
Slow, but not dead.  I've been having a trickle of sales over the holiday, except for a couple of days.

December as a whole was pretty poor for me though, worst month since, like, 2009... not good.

« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2015, 07:04 »
+5
No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage!

Beautiful plumage, yes....but his wings have been clipped and he's being stocked by 5 Raptors in a nearby Pond.

ShadySue

« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 08:38 »
+4
I'm into the eighth day without a sale, my previous record for the whole of the last 11 years was two or three consecutive days. I see some people are reporting sales in the New Year, so there are some coming through (I'd started wondering if they weren't going to bother continuing with real-time - almost - reporting) but has the tap been turned off for independent contributors?
Pretty much moribund.
But don't worry, exclusives aren't getting any more love.
Last month was my worst December since 2007: credit sales dls 45% down, $$ 25% down on Dec 2013.

« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2015, 08:45 »
+2
Slow, but not dead.  I've been having a trickle of sales over the holiday, except for a couple of days.

December as a whole was pretty poor for me though, worst month since, like, 2009... not good.
That about says it for me too. Worst year for me since about 2008.

« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2015, 09:05 »
+12
last year I made about $7500 on IS. This year it is $4500 with about 500 new submissions.  It's dying a slow, miserable death in my opinion. Not dead yet, but getting there, and getting there fast.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2015, 09:22 »
+6
buyers are leaving IS and moving to SS, it doesn't change anything in the end unless you're IS exclusive.




« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2015, 09:28 »
+3
And who is the king now? I still can't understand what happened to that big agency... For me they died in 2013. I left in Jan.2014 and now here's another proof I did not loose much and that was good decision.

« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2015, 09:54 »
0
Got my first sale of the year now - but in the first three days last year I had 22.

« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2015, 10:12 »
+26
And who is the king now? I still can't understand what happened to that big agency... For me they died in 2013. I left in Jan.2014 and now here's another proof I did not loose much and that was good decision.

Great that you can leave. Many of us would love to be able to do that.

As far as what's happening, I believe it's a series of things.

1. Constant tweaking of the system to milk contributors for more revenue, but it ends up affecting the buying experience - so buyers leave and contributors, like you, stop uploading or close accounts

2. Acquisition by Getty & venture capitalists have one thing in mind.....make ME money and don't SPEND a dime on anything that won't turn a dime instantly. This is perhaps the biggest contributing factor to Istock's demise of all factors as I view this as the parent root cause of many (if not most) trickle down series of issues.
   a. Don't spend money on systems upgrades
   b. Don't spend money on talent to properly fix the system
   c. Milk contributors for everything we can
   d. Make back door deals to pump up revenue (Google deal) at the expense of contributors...make us a bundle, give the contributor  enough for a gum ball.
   e. Change the search to milk exclusives; we can't pay them this much, we need to get exclusives down to 20% and pretend we care about them so we pad our ROI coffers.
   f. Let's create this credit system and make impossible tiers that will hold most exclusives and independents in a lower paying tier. Let's demotivate them and beat them down into submissive puppets. Oh did I mention that RF 123 also saw the value in sh!tt!ng on contributors and felt compelled to implement a similar system, thus controlling contributor revenue and padding their own pockets at our expense....TERRIFIC IDEA ISTOCK, you have helped other agencies learn how to screw contributors.

   g. They keep playing with pricing and have alienated buyers who now have to pay a lot more for the "cheap seat images" they were used to paying. This hurt the micro stock model they were trying to reinvent due to Shutterstock (see #3) and some buyers became vocal on Twitter and Facebook and left. This is all about revenue over the customer and when you do that you WILL LOSE CUSTOMERS and they did.

3. News flash: Shutterstock is the MS leader. We must compete with them.  Ok let's get rid of the strict acceptance policy and let in anything so we can build a collection the size of Shutterstock. No way we can compete unless we also have a bazillion images.  So a flood of content populates their collection, much of it garbage. And this combined with the pricing increases was a double blow to buyers; more lower quality images to sift through but at higher prices. Now the buying experience is worsened.  Buyers leave.

5. Nearly every time they make a system change it fails. The system is slow and clunky.

6. Their controlled vocabulary key wording system is so limited that good content cannot be found because they disallow so many common words or allow them but with completely different meanings, so you have to exclude it and
    a. add it in later (a lot of extra work)
    b. Don't add it and accept the negative impact on your work

I guess I could go on but I see these kinds of things as killing the company instead of developing a strong strategy, funding it and sticking with it.  Instead they seem to fling mud on the wall and see what sticks, and "we will go with that". 

This is what happens when you have big companies and venture capitalists take over a once profitable company...in many cases it's done at the demise of the company itself.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 10:22 by Mantis »

« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2015, 10:40 »
+12
My photo friend is IS exlusive, since 2006.
He used to earn in gold times 3500 - 4500 $/month.
5000+ photos.
Last year was from month to month worse.
November was bad, he earned 860 $,
December was terrible, he earned only 580 $.
 :(





« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2015, 10:49 »
+12
Three items that seem to have fallen out of their luggage in their rush to catch the gravy train:

1) Serving the Customer
2) Nurturing the Supplier
3) Trusting the Product

You could probably say that about the many western companies presently being eaten alive by Asian, African and South American entrepreneurs.

« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2015, 10:53 »
+3
My photo friend is IS exlusive, since 2006.
He used to earn in gold times 3500 - 4500 $/month.
5000+ photos.
Last year was from month to month worse.
November was bad, he earned 860 $,
December was terrible, he earned only 580 $.
 :(

WOW! And I mean WOW as in a "W" tattooed on each ass cheek then bending over.

What a shame.

« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2015, 11:39 »
+6
My photo friend is IS exlusive, since 2006.
He used to earn in gold times 3500 - 4500 $/month.
5000+ photos.
Last year was from month to month worse.
November was bad, he earned 860 $,
December was terrible, he earned only 580 $.
 :(
That is really bad. I know at least one other contributor of good quality "proper stock" who has seen their income cut in half more or less from the good times. Similar size PF, there a similar time.
I have also heard stories of people doing as badly as the one mentioned here.
I keep saying this, and I'm sure they don't really care, but they seem to have forgotten that the only reason that WE upload our work there is for THEM to sell it for us. We don't upload there just for the furtherance of their plans and profits.
Reading between the lines from various comments over there I would say that they are still doing OK as a business. It's just the suppliers that are seeing less.   

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2015, 12:58 »
+7
It's just the suppliers that are seeing less.

that means they can't keep the promise of microstock "sell cheap sell many" and the whole system is broken and they know it but they won't fix it.





PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2015, 12:59 »
+10
Not dead yet but they seem to be quickly headed in that direction. This latest bandaid they applied to the severed artery may have slowed the external bleeding but the internal bleeding felt by contributors seems to be severe.

And this will only get worse as contributors stop uploading or remove images because their sales have collapsed. IS will be left with an ever increasing amount of generic, outdated, and irrelevant images which buyers won't want to pay for. They will then need to decrease prices further. Contributors will make even less and continue to leave. This will continue until there aren't enough buyers buying or contributors contributing to turn a profit and that will be the end.

A few years ago when they started squeezing contributors I said eventually enough contributors would leave that it would hurt them financially and they would need to reverse the process and start giving benefits back. They already started to do that this year. The problem now is that prices have massively dropped over the past couple years and they may be in a bad situation where they can't afford to give contributors back anything and are watching their revenue freefall. It may be a downward spiral from which there is no way to recover.

« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2015, 13:14 »
+2


A few years ago when they started squeezing contributors I said eventually enough contributors would leave that it would hurt them financially and they would need to reverse the process and start giving benefits back. They already started to do that this year.
Not for video contributors. There they took one of their biggest bites ever out  of contributors, non exclusive for sure.

I have done as I said i would do earlier and requested that my account be closed as of the new year if some sort remediation wasn't visible. I know I won't be missed, but then, the feeling is mutual.

« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2015, 13:24 »
+4
I havent had a download yet this year, so the indies are not being favored.

I guess the customers are really fed up and are moving to more reliable companies that dont keep changing their system every few months.

It is sad, but they dont seem to be interested in going back up. The first thing to do would be to bring in visible, reliable, trust worthy personal leadership people, who know how to communicate online with customers and contributors. People who know how to create "pull", how to focus attention on a brand.

Trust is more important than money. If the customers feel the brand cant be trusted, they will go elsewhere. Same for contributors.

You cant run an internet company from the secluded Eiffel tower. It was possible in the eighties, but not today.

And all that debt they have to keep paying for...they probably have no money left for investments.

More exclusives with good selling portfolios are leaving. And I am not hearing from anyone with interesting work going exclusive with istock. Maybe with getty,if they get a special deal,but it doesnt seem that istock is able to attract experienced artists.

And if they dont reach out to hold back those that are leaving...where will the interesting new content be coming from? 


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2015, 13:37 »
+13
I havent had a download yet this year, so the indies are not being favored.

I've had two downloads so far this year.

Quote
Trust is more important than money. If the customers feel the brand cant be trusted, they will go elsewhere. Same for contributors.

Sometimes but I'd disagree. People will put up with a lot of mistrust if the money is right. If a contributor is making $5,000 per month and getting treated like dirt very few people would walk away. And that's what IS used to their advantage and leveraged benefits away from contributors. They knew they could make whatever changes they wanted and their top producers and their great images were locked in. Same for buyers. If they're getting excellent content for good prices they will put up with a lot of mistrust and poor treatment. But when earnings collapse and/or prices massively increase there's no longer a reason to put up with the poor treatment.

« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2015, 13:45 »
+2
But in those days you could trust istock/getty to sell and the customers could trust them to get the best choice in the industry.

Obviously you dont have to like a company to work with them. But you have to trust them to be able to deliver.

They need leadership that is personally involved, that has vision and truly understands the dynamics of the internet. Someone with proven experience in building an internet company.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 13:49 by cobalt »

« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2015, 13:49 »
+6
I havent had a download yet this year, so the indies are not being favored.

I've had two downloads so far this year.

Quote
Trust is more important than money. If the customers feel the brand cant be trusted, they will go elsewhere. Same for contributors.

Sometimes but I'd disagree. People will put up with a lot of mistrust if the money is right. If a contributor is making $5,000 per month and getting treated like dirt very few people would walk away. And that's what IS used to their advantage and leveraged benefits away from contributors. They knew they could make whatever changes they wanted and their top producers and their great images were locked in. Same for buyers. If they're getting excellent content for good prices they will put up with a lot of mistrust and poor treatment. But when earnings collapse and/or prices massively increase there's no longer a reason to put up with the poor treatment.
I reckon the balance between pain and gain is balanced on a knife edge at the moment for most people.

« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2015, 16:09 »
+5
They might be as good as dead soon, if more contributors leave and more buyers have to go to other sites to find their images.  Just goes to show that sites do need to have some respect for us.  Without our images, they have nothing, I can only presume Getty intended to destroy istock all along, as they have done such a good job of it.  Still doesn't make sense because Shutterstock is so strong now, so I still don't see how wrecking istock has helped them.

« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2015, 16:18 »
+7
Istock is not yet completely dead,  but they are on life support and the vultures are circling.

« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2015, 16:25 »
+5
I think it's a form of necrotizing fasciitis.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2015, 23:08 »
+5
But when earnings collapse and/or prices massively increase there's no longer a reason to put up with the poor treatment.

it's a cost/benefit analysis and contributors already voted with their feet and moved to SS.
on top of this also the buyers are moving to SS.

but it's going to take a long time before they hit the bottom of the barrel, most of the non exclusives probably upload to ALL agencies including IS and they won't care about falling sales so IS is still supplied by new images anyway.

what's going to change big time is that nobody will produce expensive or complex shots as in the past since there's no guarantee of covering the production costs, let alone making a decent profit.

in other words, micro will mainly become a hotbed for simple and low-cost images and its perimeter will become smaller than now, buyers needing anything else will have no other choice than RM or specialist agencies.

so, it would obvious to expect the rise of a so called "mid stock" industry but so far we haven't seen much and the reason is theres' not enough demand from buyers.





« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2015, 03:06 »
+1
really slow but not dead

StockPhotosArt.com

« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2015, 05:20 »
+12
For the first time since the start (and this means when I only had a few images in 2007) I had 8 days without a single sale from the 21st to the 28th of December. Then had 4 sales in the last three days of December and none from January 1st to date. It's absolutely awful and doesn't say anything good about the future.

Especially when I have uploaded images that have sold hundreds of dollars on other agencies and barely have any views on IS, let alone sales.

For this reason I don not see any reason to continue to upload there since it's incredibly time consuming and the return is... well basically zero! This means I've uploaded hundreds of new images to the other agencies and IS saw nothing.

But they are the "smart" ones, and the contributors insignificant and ignorant minions that never knew what they were talking about, right?...

« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2015, 13:01 »
+7
My last download was 12/23. That's the longest with no dl ever since 2007. I have photos that I won't even bother to upload. It's over. I also had no Getty dls in October and I have not had a file moved to Getty in almost 2 years. I am exclusive but not sure if I will even bother to drop that and upload elsewhere. It was a nice run for a while but all things must pass.

Yes IS is dead.

StockPhotosArt.com

« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2015, 13:21 »
+1
Well, Getty is another case. Had sales every month last year (some bigger, others not so much) from January to July. Since then... zero!

ShadySue

« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2015, 21:06 »
+5
[I want] more love for hard-working photographers. We are so used to photography that sometimes we forget the amount of preparation and effort that goes into what on the surface seems like a simple shoot. [I'd hate to see] cheap or free winning over crafted and appropriately priced. Rebecca Swift, director of creative planning, iStock

Isn't that what the Plus and Vetta collections were supposed to be about? And iStock stopped them and forced everything into Subs.
Am I missing something, or is that quote rather ironic?

http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/creative-business/trends-2015-20-leading-designers-artists
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 21:45 by ShadySue »

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2015, 23:35 »
-1
[I'd hate to see] cheap or free winning over crafted and appropriately priced.

there will be always cheap and free images, just not in the quantity suitable for a stock agency, and of course not properly keyworded and without property/model realease.

in short, they're not suitable for commercial use and that's why the stock industry is not menaced by the gazillions of free images around.


« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2015, 12:30 »
+4
And who is the king now? I still can't understand what happened to that big agency... For me they died in 2013. I left in Jan.2014 and now here's another proof I did not loose much and that was good decision.

Great that you can leave. Many of us would love to be able to do that.

As far as what's happening, I believe it's a series of things.

1. Constant tweaking of the system to milk contributors for more revenue, but it ends up affecting the buying experience - so buyers leave and contributors, like you, stop uploading or close accounts

2. Acquisition by Getty & venture capitalists have one thing in mind.....make ME money and don't SPEND a dime on anything that won't turn a dime instantly. This is perhaps the biggest contributing factor to Istock's demise of all factors as I view this as the parent root cause of many (if not most) trickle down series of issues.
   a. Don't spend money on systems upgrades
   b. Don't spend money on talent to properly fix the system
   c. Milk contributors for everything we can
   d. Make back door deals to pump up revenue (Google deal) at the expense of contributors...make us a bundle, give the contributor  enough for a gum ball.
   e. Change the search to milk exclusives; we can't pay them this much, we need to get exclusives down to 20% and pretend we care about them so we pad our ROI coffers.
   f. Let's create this credit system and make impossible tiers that will hold most exclusives and independents in a lower paying tier. Let's demotivate them and beat them down into submissive puppets. Oh did I mention that RF 123 also saw the value in sh!tt!ng on contributors and felt compelled to implement a similar system, thus controlling contributor revenue and padding their own pockets at our expense....TERRIFIC IDEA ISTOCK, you have helped other agencies learn how to screw contributors.

   g. They keep playing with pricing and have alienated buyers who now have to pay a lot more for the "cheap seat images" they were used to paying. This hurt the micro stock model they were trying to reinvent due to Shutterstock (see #3) and some buyers became vocal on Twitter and Facebook and left. This is all about revenue over the customer and when you do that you WILL LOSE CUSTOMERS and they did.

3. News flash: Shutterstock is the MS leader. We must compete with them.  Ok let's get rid of the strict acceptance policy and let in anything so we can build a collection the size of Shutterstock. No way we can compete unless we also have a bazillion images.  So a flood of content populates their collection, much of it garbage. And this combined with the pricing increases was a double blow to buyers; more lower quality images to sift through but at higher prices. Now the buying experience is worsened.  Buyers leave.

5. Nearly every time they make a system change it fails. The system is slow and clunky.

6. Their controlled vocabulary key wording system is so limited that good content cannot be found because they disallow so many common words or allow them but with completely different meanings, so you have to exclude it and
    a. add it in later (a lot of extra work)
    b. Don't add it and accept the negative impact on your work

I guess I could go on but I see these kinds of things as killing the company instead of developing a strong strategy, funding it and sticking with it.  Instead they seem to fling mud on the wall and see what sticks, and "we will go with that". 

This is what happens when you have big companies and venture capitalists take over a once profitable company...in many cases it's done at the demise of the company itself.

Everything you said is absolutely true.  I think I've had a couple of subscription downloads this year but that's it.  December was bad, just a few downloads.  If I wasn't retired from my "real" job, I would not be wasting my time with Istock or maybe any other stock photography.  I've been doing photography for over 50 years.  It was a lot more fun when it was just a hobby.


 

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