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Author Topic: This is what got my iStock forum privileges and sitemail access revoked  (Read 58933 times)

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« Reply #200 on: September 22, 2010, 00:52 »
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Quote from: pseudonymous
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?
Prices have gone up.


SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #201 on: September 22, 2010, 00:53 »
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^^...I don't think it is to shoot for accepting lower dl percentages as long as money increases. that's fairly short-sighted. I don't mind that dls and income are moving up at different rates, as long as both are increasing from year to year. my dl numbers went down when everyone else's did with the major best match drop of 2008. since then, I have looked at it as a new start...since we all got somewhat reset at that time. I have watched my dl number increase every month since then, and money increasing exponentially. as long as both continue to increase...

« Reply #202 on: September 22, 2010, 00:59 »
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IF the extra money that istock will be taking is used for marketing, so that we all made more from more sales and higher prices despite lower royalty percentages, then that might be justifiable. We are here, after all, to make money. That does not appear to be the motivation however.

Caz

« Reply #203 on: September 22, 2010, 02:25 »
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Quote from: pseudonymous
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?
Prices have gone up.

And Vetta & E+ were introduced.

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #204 on: September 22, 2010, 02:25 »
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Quote from: pseudonymous
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?
Prices have gone up.

If earnings have increased, while downloads and commissions have decreased, the prices must have gone up a fair whack.  What percentage increase are we talking about and over period of time?

« Reply #205 on: September 22, 2010, 03:20 »
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I think its naive to believe theyre going to cruise through this.  Theywouldnt be banning members from their forums after letting everyone rant and rave if they werent worried about their reputation being ruined... which it is.  Nicknames like isuck will stick around for a long time.

As for your sales, why would you, individually, feel such a drop just yet?  It is the point I was making earlier about not feeling the effects till next year.  Buyers... the ones who have already decided to leave, are still probably using up their credits.  I agree with you on your comment about contributors threatening to take clients away.  Thats insulting to buyers.  Im sure they will make up their own minds but you have to remember that there are a lot of contributors who are also designers who will not only stop buying, but will spread the isuck message throughout designers circles. 

Also I dont see this as a microstock apocalyptic event either but I do mark September as the month that istock made the worst decision out of a bunch of consecutive screw ups that will lead to them falling next year.  I dont believe istock necessarily will become extinct.  I predict Kelly, whos management and communication skills are embarrassing, but whos following direct orders, will be made the scapegoat and sacked next year and replaced with some new hot shot who will make promises to get people back on side.  I just dont reckon many will trust them again and will have settled elsewhere by then.

Well said. The truth is that Istockphoto will never be the same again. We will look back on the events of Sept 2010 as a major step-change in the microstock market. You'll see.

vlad_the_imp

« Reply #206 on: September 22, 2010, 03:44 »
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Quote
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?  It's not possible if you've kept everything constant.  What you're probably saying is that you're earning more (at IS) because you switched to exclusivity, thereby artificially inflating your commission rate, in which case, you're not earning more because you have no idea about the potential loss of revenue you would have made had you spread your portfolio accross other agents.

As someone mentioned above, prices have gone up. I have always been exclusive and my income has risen year on year and my downloads have dropped as prices have increased. Fewer sales at higher prices.

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #207 on: September 22, 2010, 04:11 »
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Quote
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?  It's not possible if you've kept everything constant.  What you're probably saying is that you're earning more (at IS) because you switched to exclusivity, thereby artificially inflating your commission rate, in which case, you're not earning more because you have no idea about the potential loss of revenue you would have made had you spread your portfolio accross other agents.

As someone mentioned above, prices have gone up. I have always been exclusive and my income has risen year on year and my downloads have dropped as prices have increased. Fewer sales at higher prices.


See now some of you people are excellent photographers but a lot of you are not business-minded at all.  How can you settle for saying downloads have gone down, commissions have gone down but its okay because prices have skyrocketed and hence the overall sales numbers have gone up.   Youre accepting that you, the owners of the work that is being sold, dont deserve a bigger piece of the pie.  Youre not taking into account the potential gain you could have made if istock didnt shaft you and pocketed your fair share.  I dont think youre looking at the overall picture here.  Istock is your agent... they work for you, not the other way around.  Here are a few things you should think about....

What percentage increase in revenue are you seeing compared to istocks increase in revenue? Has your RPD gone up or down? Has your revenue increased at the same rate as the size of your portfolio? Have your costs gone up at the same rate as the increase in sales revenue?  What about your profit margin? Has that increased at the same rate of inflation or the cost of living?  What would your potential profit be if your portfolio was with an agent paying a fairer commission or spread across many agencies that pay a fair commission?

Istock expects their profit margin to increase over time and so should you.  Istock is bloody brilliant to have brainwashed so many of you into thinking youre getting a good deal when you are not.  I cant blame you for not knowing any better.  Youre not accountants who sit there analysing your figures in every way possible.  You see a few arrows on an upward trend and all say yay, im happy!  What pisses me off is that istock know full well that youre getting the short end of the stick and the pretentious pricks play on that and refer to you as their friends to your faces while pulling the rug out from under you.  It is disgusting how theyve mistreated the people who have put food on their plates and I cant stand the shifty *insult removed*. And then theres the buyer who is also brainwashed.   istock has made a number of costly blunders.  Their way out of was to give the buyers (and the contributors) the perception that istock is the Rolls Royce of microstock so that they can increase prices shafting the buyer, while reducing commissions shafting the contributor.  What has come out of all of this isnt just that istock are greedy, but also that istock is inefficient and that their product is way overrated. 

vlad_the_imp

« Reply #208 on: September 22, 2010, 04:59 »
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Quote
but a lot of you are not business-minded at all.

This may be true, in the same way that a lot of business men are not artistically minded.

Quote
commissions have gone down

I didn't say commission has gone down. My commission has gradually risen, and with the new arrangements may well stay at the same level.

Quote
Youre accepting that you, the owners of the work that is being sold, dont deserve a bigger piece of the pie.

I'm not accepting that, I am unfortunately a realist though. If you can suggest a way that I can continue earning as I do, and I'm in the top 5% of earners in the European country in which I live ( albeit at the lower end of that top 5%) then go ahead, I'm all ears. There are very few successful artists who are not represented by an agent or gallery  of some kind. I have an agent for my commercial work, they take 30%. Friends who are artists represented by galleries can pay 60% to the gallery, it's certainly not unheard of.
I know I'm getting the short end of the stick, but it's a well paid short end and for the moment I can see no better way of operating. I know of exclusives who've dropped exclusivity at IS, their experience was not a happy one. Their earnings were paltry at other sites. I have clients of my own for whom I work on a freelance basis and I earn probably 50% of what I earn at IS by working for them, and being paid 100% of my earnings, with no middlemen to pay. What is better, $100 earned on my own with no commission to pay, or $200 earned from IS, even though i've paid them 60% commission? The bottom line is my take home pay, not the commission. It certainly annoys and irks me that I'm earning a lot more and IS are taking a big chunk of it and I'd like all that money, and if my income drops and IS take ever larger chunks I'll start to look for other options, but at the moment I'm OK with things as they are. The trouble is that a lot of posters here are earning small amount at microstock, the percentages are small, dropping exclusivity means they only lose small amounts, they're not professionals they're hobbyists and in those circumstances it's a very different ball game to people earning large amounts, with big mortgages and families to provide for. Anyone who works as a freelancer will tell you that rates are always under a downward pressure, it's not just IS, it's everywhere. At one time my freelance earning were on a similar level to my current IS earnings ( this was before I worked in microstock or had even heard of it, in fact before it existed), now I'd be lucky to earn half that, doing the same level of freelance work. Downward pressure on earnings and pay is the way of the world.

« Reply #209 on: September 22, 2010, 05:20 »
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Quote from: pseudonymous
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?
Prices have gone up.

If earnings have increased, while downloads and commissions have decreased, the prices must have gone up a fair whack.  What percentage increase are we talking about and over period of time?

The prices to buyers have ballooned enormously. Six years ago the average price a buyer paid per file was 96c. Today for non-exclusive it is about $3.85 and for exclusives probably about $6. That is a price increase of 300% to 500% in just six years (hand up all those who have managed to quadruple their own pay in that time).

Now, there is no doubt that the product was selling at a steep discount to its true value back in 2004 and that the value has been further enhanced by improved quality in the intervening years. However, it is obvious that istock cannot continue on the path to ever-higher pricing at the same rate. If it did, the average sale price of exclusive files six years from now would need to be something like $36 and in 12 years it would have to be $200.

As prices rise, so will resistance to further increases. From a low base, a 50% increase will simply be swallowed and will give an almost 50% increase in turnover. But when prices get significantly higher, putting them up by half might lose you a third of your customers leaving you with no benefit at all (150% x 0.66 = 100%) and if you lose half your customers then the 50% price increase costs you money (25% fall in turnover). I suspect that is where iStock has got to and the idea of exclusive+ and Vetta is to wave goodies at the limited number of customers who are not price sensitive without alienating those who are. At the same time, Thinkstock is meant to be a safety net to recapture value from those customers who are being driven out of the basic collection.

But if increasing prices by any significant amount has become counterproductive, then profits are going to hit a plateau instead of continuing their upward spiral. The one thing that was truly, literally unsustainable in the policies put in place in 2005 was the principle of annual 50% or thereabouts price hikes. That strategy was only abandoned this year, when - for I think the first time - price cuts were added to the mix and everything was made far more complicated with various special premium pricing levels (exclusive, exclusive-+, Vetta and now Agency) being introduced.

I think it is unlikely that they will try to screw any more out of the base-level buyers. Instead, they will probably try to further increase the price differential between the base collection and the premium collections next year and maybe try to market iStock directly to traditional buyers who are used to paying higher prices.

The presence of non-exclusives could undermine this strategy by offering Vetta-quality files at low-end prices. So they may go further in their efforts to push us out, while trying to get all the best exclusive files into the higher-priced collections, leaving only the lowest-quality material available at base prices.

Maybe.

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #210 on: September 22, 2010, 05:46 »
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Quote
but a lot of you are not business-minded at all.

This may be true, in the same way that a lot of business men are not artistically minded.

Quote
commissions have gone down

I didn't say commission has gone down. My commission has gradually risen, and with the new arrangements may well stay at the same level.

Quote
Youre accepting that you, the owners of the work that is being sold, dont deserve a bigger piece of the pie.

I'm not accepting that, I am unfortunately a realist though. If you can suggest a way that I can continue earning as I do, and I'm in the top 5% of earners in the European country in which I live ( albeit at the lower end of that top 5%) then go ahead, I'm all ears. There are very few successful artists who are not represented by an agent or gallery  of some kind. I have an agent for my commercial work, they take 30%. Friends who are artists represented by galleries can pay 60% to the gallery, it's certainly not unheard of.
I know I'm getting the short end of the stick, but it's a well paid short end and for the moment I can see no better way of operating. I know of exclusives who've dropped exclusivity at IS, their experience was not a happy one. Their earnings were paltry at other sites. I have clients of my own for whom I work on a freelance basis and I earn probably 50% of what I earn at IS by working for them, and being paid 100% of my earnings, with no middlemen to pay. What is better, $100 earned on my own with no commission to pay, or $200 earned from IS, even though i've paid them 60% commission? The bottom line is my take home pay, not the commission. It certainly annoys and irks me that I'm earning a lot more and IS are taking a big chunk of it and I'd like all that money, and if my income drops and IS take ever larger chunks I'll start to look for other options, but at the moment I'm OK with things as they are. The trouble is that a lot of posters here are earning small amount at microstock, the percentages are small, dropping exclusivity means they only lose small amounts, they're not professionals they're hobbyists and in those circumstances it's a very different ball game to people earning large amounts, with big mortgages and families to provide for. Anyone who works as a freelancer will tell you that rates are always under a downward pressure, it's not just IS, it's everywhere. At one time my freelance earning were on a similar level to my current IS earnings ( this was before I worked in microstock or had even heard of it, in fact before it existed), now I'd be lucky to earn half that, doing the same level of freelance work. Downward pressure on earnings and pay is the way of the world.

If youre happy with your commission rate, then thats fine.  ...but you have to remember that there are more people that will lose money than those who will maintain a steady income and theyre likely to hit the bricks when they see a big drop in sales.  If this happens, and Im confident it will, it will start a domino effect that probably wont be stoppable.  When contributors leave, the database will be reduced and buyers will leave.  Istock will have to make up the difference in the drop in sales and who do you think theyll shaft next? 

All Im saying is dont get too cosy and dont wait for the last minute.  Sit tight till next year but use this time to look at other agents.  You have your istock sales figures.  Dump them on a spreadsheet, convert your downloads by resolution to revenue using the commission rates of other agencies to see what you can potentially make should you have to leave.  Come up with plan now so that youre not surprised and stressed later should istock sales plummet.  Who knows, although you might have to take a big hit initially, down the track, this may even be a blessing in disguise for a lot of you.

I strongly recommend that you or anyone never becomes exclusive again because the microstock industry is so unpredictable that it doesnt make sense to put all your trust into one agency who really, at the end of the day, doesnt care about anything but their own pockets.  It doesnt matter which agent it is, it doesnt matter if the agent is seen as friendly or a community you shouldnt trust anyone of them enough to handle your portfolio exclusively.

« Reply #211 on: September 22, 2010, 06:23 »
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The prices to buyers have ballooned enormously. Six years ago the average price a buyer paid per file was 96c. Today for non-exclusive it is about $3.85 and for exclusives probably about $6. That is a price increase of 300% to 500% in just six years (hand up all those who have managed to quadruple their own pay in that time).

Now, there is no doubt that the product was selling at a steep discount to its true value back in 2004 and that the value has been further enhanced by improved quality in the intervening years. However, it is obvious that istock cannot continue on the path to ever-higher pricing at the same rate. If it did, the average sale price of exclusive files six years from now would need to be something like $36 and in 12 years it would have to be $200.

As prices rise, so will resistance to further increases. From a low base, a 50% increase will simply be swallowed and will give an almost 50% increase in turnover. But when prices get significantly higher, putting them up by half might lose you a third of your customers leaving you with no benefit at all (150% x 0.66 = 100%) and if you lose half your customers then the 50% price increase costs you money (25% fall in turnover). I suspect that is where iStock has got to and the idea of exclusive+ and Vetta is to wave goodies at the limited number of customers who are not price sensitive without alienating those who are. At the same time, Thinkstock is meant to be a safety net to recapture value from those customers who are being driven out of the basic collection.

But if increasing prices by any significant amount has become counterproductive, then profits are going to hit a plateau instead of continuing their upward spiral. The one thing that was truly, literally unsustainable in the policies put in place in 2005 was the principle of annual 50% or thereabouts price hikes. That strategy was only abandoned this year, when - for I think the first time - price cuts were added to the mix and everything was made far more complicated with various special premium pricing levels (exclusive, exclusive-+, Vetta and now Agency) being introduced.

I think it is unlikely that they will try to screw any more out of the base-level buyers. Instead, they will probably try to further increase the price differential between the base collection and the premium collections next year and maybe try to market iStock directly to traditional buyers who are used to paying higher prices.

The presence of non-exclusives could undermine this strategy by offering Vetta-quality files at low-end prices. So they may go further in their efforts to push us out, while trying to get all the best exclusive files into the higher-priced collections, leaving only the lowest-quality material available at base prices.

Maybe.

Great post.

Assuming that Istock's strategy is what you describe, I see two fundamental flaws in that (Istock's, not yours) thinking:

1: Although it seems reasonable that selling different quality material at different price points can be successfully achieved, they are making the wrong decision as to what constitutes "quality". They are are making the cut based on the fact if something is exclusive to them or not. But that does not necessarily mean it's of different quality. They should try to find a way to include (current) non-exclusive material in their higher priced collections.

2: They are not acting in a total vacuum. If (following point 1) they decide (as you have written) that high quality non-exclusive content is a danger to their strategy and thus try to minimize that content, they will most likely not have an impact on this content being offered for lower prices via their competition. (at least I have not read many comments of independents planning to go exclusive due to the announced changes).

There would be a cure to these two problems: Image exclusivity.
It would allow Istock to offer exclusive material at higher prices while at the same time have a base collection to compete against the other micro sites. And that without forcing every contributor to decide on "all or nothing" with regards to Istock.

I personally think their move from rewarding life-time achievement (the existing cannister system) to near-time achievements (via measuring last years sales) could have been a success - if they had left out the part of lowering the already industry-lowest non-exclusive commissions and opened up their exclusive scheme to allow for image exclusivity.

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #212 on: September 22, 2010, 06:42 »
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Quote from: pseudonymous
Sorry but this does not make any sense.  How is it possible that downloads have dropped, commission rates have dropped and you've earned more?
Prices have gone up.

If earnings have increased, while downloads and commissions have decreased, the prices must have gone up a fair whack.  What percentage increase are we talking about and over period of time?

The prices to buyers have ballooned enormously. Six years ago the average price a buyer paid per file was 96c. Today for non-exclusive it is about $3.85 and for exclusives probably about $6. That is a price increase of 300% to 500% in just six years (hand up all those who have managed to quadruple their own pay in that time).

Now, there is no doubt that the product was selling at a steep discount to its true value back in 2004 and that the value has been further enhanced by improved quality in the intervening years. However, it is obvious that istock cannot continue on the path to ever-higher pricing at the same rate. If it did, the average sale price of exclusive files six years from now would need to be something like $36 and in 12 years it would have to be $200.

As prices rise, so will resistance to further increases. From a low base, a 50% increase will simply be swallowed and will give an almost 50% increase in turnover. But when prices get significantly higher, putting them up by half might lose you a third of your customers leaving you with no benefit at all (150% x 0.66 = 100%) and if you lose half your customers then the 50% price increase costs you money (25% fall in turnover). I suspect that is where iStock has got to and the idea of exclusive+ and Vetta is to wave goodies at the limited number of customers who are not price sensitive without alienating those who are. At the same time, Thinkstock is meant to be a safety net to recapture value from those customers who are being driven out of the basic collection.

But if increasing prices by any significant amount has become counterproductive, then profits are going to hit a plateau instead of continuing their upward spiral. The one thing that was truly, literally unsustainable in the policies put in place in 2005 was the principle of annual 50% or thereabouts price hikes. That strategy was only abandoned this year, when - for I think the first time - price cuts were added to the mix and everything was made far more complicated with various special premium pricing levels (exclusive, exclusive-+, Vetta and now Agency) being introduced.

I think it is unlikely that they will try to screw any more out of the base-level buyers. Instead, they will probably try to further increase the price differential between the base collection and the premium collections next year and maybe try to market iStock directly to traditional buyers who are used to paying higher prices.

The presence of non-exclusives could undermine this strategy by offering Vetta-quality files at low-end prices. So they may go further in their efforts to push us out, while trying to get all the best exclusive files into the higher-priced collections, leaving only the lowest-quality material available at base prices.

Maybe.

Thanks for outlining this so thoroughly for me.  I didnt realise how big the price hikes were since the Getty takeover.  I agree with you about them not increasing base prices and increasing the price of premium images.  For this strategy to work, however, there would have to be a vast difference between the quality of their premium collections and any other images found either within their own database or externally.  I just cant see there being that big a difference (and sometimes I see no difference at all) to justify such a huge price variation. 

As for targeting traditional buyers who are used to paying higher prices, istock has completely disregarded the economic conditions were in and has assumed that their clients arent squeezing every dollar they can get, just like they are.  In todays times, buyers are forced to shop around.  I cant see how istock is so stupid to go down the path its taken in this day and age and expect to be competitive. 

« Reply #213 on: September 22, 2010, 07:21 »
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Eh? I don't think I argued those points. My only argument (in this forum) was the courtesy extended to *fellow business people*, iStock's own suppliers, and how iStock expects them to make huge business decisions based on limited information and in a very short time frame.

Although I do disagree with you on one point you made. How can you say that where iStock leads, other micros won't follow? History has shown us that iStock leads the way for  great many.

much of the outrage is from people who stand to lose because they have not uploaded significantly to their portfolios, or they have reached a canister level slowly over many years...and therefore have not really built their portfolio up enough to compete.

the actually percentages aside, which I agree seem unfair in some cases.....people who work harder are going to reap higher percentages.



The real issue isn't the changes. I don't like them but that's beside the point. I've bolded the portion that I think bears looking at -- and it bears looking at because we've been told this is how things will operate. I will concede that iStock can change the rules all they like (I think it's crappy business, but to each his own), but three months' time to go from almost reaching gold to being knocked back down to bronze level? That's a tad harsh . . .  if this was coming down the pipe all along (as I suspect it was), then they should have broken the news last year and let everyone have time to ramp up.


okay, so first of all, I'm not trying to sell you or anyone else on the new royalty model. what makes you think I like it? I've never said I liked it. I simply disagree on the extrapolation that this (like other changes were predicted to do) spells doom for istock. it's a series of decisions, made with many variables and considerations in mind. I think that iStock are probably at least attempting to advocate on our behalf, but I also think that iStock HQ is interested in evolving, and that perhaps they are in agreement with the changes. the next move, like any move in business designed to generate an increase in revenue, is going to require some risk-taking, model changes etc., especially as contributors continue to grow their download numbers and portfolios. point = I don't believe the decisions have been made maliciously or without regard for the entire future of stock photography.

secondly, no one was promised anything after the last uproar about canister levels except that the issue was PUT ON HOLD, and for the TIME BEING all canisters would be delivered according to the original model. this was not something I remembered today myself, but instead something pointed out to me by one of the top 20 iStock diamonds with whom I spoke today at length about this issue.

to suggest that any one of us knows anything at all about the cost of doing business at iStock/Getty/H&F/SS/DT/FT etc.......is moot, because none of you know, I don't know. only those privy to that information know. we retain power insofar as we hire them to be our agent, or we don't. that's where your choices are. picketing, unions, co-ops....this isn't Norma Rae and we don't work in a canning factory or a meat plant circa 1929. don't contribute to iStock. there you go. to suggest that all other MS agencies will follow iStock's business model if you don't protest.....I don't see how anyone can say that with a straight face. it's such an absurd magnification. has anyone ever tallied how many of the dire predictions have been false? I would do that but I can't be bothered, because even if I did, someone would have a reason for it.

bittersweet

« Reply #214 on: September 22, 2010, 07:25 »
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My download numbers have dropped over the years but my sales have increased. As long as this continues I'm OK with it.

The problem is that now, as the prices increase and the download numbers decrease, so do the redeemable credits. The total amount of sales dollars may be greater, but it will become harder and harder to earn a higher percentage of them.

« Reply #215 on: September 22, 2010, 07:38 »
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My download numbers have dropped over the years but my sales have increased. As long as this continues I'm OK with it.

The problem is that now, as the prices increase and the download numbers decrease, so do the redeemable credits. The total amount of sales dollars may be greater, but it will become harder and harder to earn a higher percentage of them.

That depends on whether a price increase is achieved by increasing credit prices or by increasing number of credits needed to by an image.

bittersweet

« Reply #216 on: September 22, 2010, 08:12 »
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My download numbers have dropped over the years but my sales have increased. As long as this continues I'm OK with it.

The problem is that now, as the prices increase and the download numbers decrease, so do the redeemable credits. The total amount of sales dollars may be greater, but it will become harder and harder to earn a higher percentage of them.

That depends on whether a price increase is achieved by increasing credit prices or by increasing number of credits needed to by an image.

True. Based on your previous experience, which do you think will be the more likely scenario?

« Reply #217 on: September 22, 2010, 08:18 »
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My download numbers have dropped over the years but my sales have increased. As long as this continues I'm OK with it.

The problem is that now, as the prices increase and the download numbers decrease, so do the redeemable credits. The total amount of sales dollars may be greater, but it will become harder and harder to earn a higher percentage of them.

That depends on whether a price increase is achieved by increasing credit prices or by increasing number of credits needed to by an image.


True. Based on your previous experience, which do you think will be the more likely scenario?

Both. IIRC (those with a better memory of the Istock history may correct me) prices of credit packages did change more often, but numbers of credits to buy an image have been changed with the introduction of Vetta, E+ and the recent price reduction of non-exclusive images.
The general concept seems to be using different credit prices to give discounts to bigger buyers and using different credit numbers to set the prices for different content.
I would expect them to play with both parameters, but the number of credits having a bigger effect.

« Reply #218 on: September 22, 2010, 12:35 »
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If earnings have increased, while downloads and commissions have decreased, the prices must have gone up a fair whack.  What percentage increase are we talking about and over period of time?

I guess it's just me, but when someone asks this sort of very basic question it makes me totally disregard any opinion they might have about microstock in general, and iStock in particular. How can you have an informed opinion when you don't even know the basic facts? Given some of the things you've said, pseudonymous, I'm surprised to be the only one to call you out on this. Although it's obvious you're not here for this reason, right now I think you should be doing more reading than writing.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 12:38 by sharply_done »

helix7

« Reply #219 on: September 22, 2010, 12:58 »
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...The bottom line is my take home pay, not the commission...

As it is for me. And my take home pay far exceeds anything I could make exclusively with iStock. I've done the math, factored in better best match placement, commission increases all the way up to Diamond (under the current commission system), bonuses from E+, Getty eligibility, etc. The bottom line is always a huge loss in total monthly earnings, no matter how I look at it. With iStock accounting for 20% of my monthly earnings, I don't see any way that going exclusive will multiply my earnings there 5 times.

And now with the upcoming lower commissions even for exclusives, forget it. I'd be taking an even bigger beating by going exclusive.

And so goes the perpetual exclusive/non-exclusive debate. Who really knows which artists will do better where. At the end of the day, it's personal. I have a hard time seeing how anyone is more profitable in the exclusive program, but that's based on my own personal experience.

« Reply #220 on: September 22, 2010, 13:06 »
0
to suggest that any one of us knows anything at all about the cost of doing business at iStock/Getty/H&F/SS/DT/FT etc.......is moot, because none of you know, I don't know. only those privy to that information know. we retain power insofar as we hire them to be our agent, or we don't. that's where your choices are. picketing, unions, co-ops....this isn't Norma Rae and we don't work in a canning factory or a meat plant circa 1929. don't contribute to iStock. there you go. to suggest that all other MS agencies will follow iStock's business model if you don't protest.....I don't see how anyone can say that with a straight face. it's such an absurd magnification. has anyone ever tallied how many of the dire predictions have been false? I would do that but I can't be bothered, because even if I did, someone would have a reason for it.


The precise cost of doing business is irrelevant. The general notion that running any of these businesses on 60% of sales, say, is sound. Why, pray tell, should it cost a penny more to operate? Or grow?

iStockphoto is the world's longest-running profitable social network - http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2010/public/schedule/detail/14511 - and even though the company has been in business for 10+ years now, it's still a relatively new kind of Big Business company/model. So how the business and its employees (we, the crowd) react to unsavory changes is still being formulated. There isn't a go-to tactic or model for crowdsourced companies, yet. Is the way folks have reacted the best way to get HQ/Getty/H&F to take notice and reconsider their actions? Maybe not. But who's to say? And while this isn't 1929, it's still worth fighting the good fight for what you/I/we believe is fair treatment. No matter the era, workers should be free to demand fair pay and treatment for their contributions to any given company. And artists of all ilks, historically, have been among the most poorly rewarded/valued for their work. So if you value your work and the time/effort that went into it, then the array of angry reactions is understandable.

And because iStock is a leader (or has historically been so in microstock), it is not a stretch to imagine that any ground-breaking changes they make to the[ir] business will be adopted by the competition, if deemed successful for iStock. How is that not a logical concern or assumption?

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #221 on: September 22, 2010, 14:01 »
0
I don't know who said it above, but I don't think any exclusive should be comfortable with dls numbers decreasing as long as income is increasing. I already said this once, but that is a fairly short-sighted, destructive way to manage your business. after 2008 when dl numbers fell for everyone pretty much, I started watching my numbers increase steadily. granted, money is increasing exponentially while dl number are creeping up slowly....but both are moving upward and that's what I want to see.

helix7

« Reply #222 on: September 22, 2010, 14:20 »
0
I don't know who said it above, but I don't think any exclusive should be comfortable with dls numbers decreasing as long as income is increasing. I already said this once, but that is a fairly short-sighted, destructive way to manage your business. after 2008 when dl numbers fell for everyone pretty much, I started watching my numbers increase steadily. granted, money is increasing exponentially while dl number are creeping up slowly....but both are moving upward and that's what I want to see.

It's strange that that has ended up being the iStock strategy. HQ has never confirmed it, but it has seemed like the company was headed for a midstock model for several years now. Just not sure it's a good way to go. There is so much potential in lower-priced high-volume content. When you could get an X-Small image for your blog for $1, it didn't take much debate to click the Purchase button. At $3.00 or more for the same image, it's a different story.

It looks like iStock is betting on midstock to be the more profitable and long-term successful model, but I wouldn't bet on microstock and $1 images going out of demand.

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #223 on: September 22, 2010, 14:24 »
0
I don't know who said it above, but I don't think any exclusive should be comfortable with dls numbers decreasing as long as income is increasing. I already said this once, but that is a fairly short-sighted, destructive way to manage your business. after 2008 when dl numbers fell for everyone pretty much, I started watching my numbers increase steadily. granted, money is increasing exponentially while dl number are creeping up slowly....but both are moving upward and that's what I want to see.

It's strange that that has ended up being the iStock strategy. HQ has never confirmed it, but it has seemed like the company was headed for a midstock model for several years now. Just not sure it's a good way to go. There is so much potential in lower-priced high-volume content. When you could get an X-Small image for your blog for $1, it didn't take much debate to click the Purchase button. At $3.00 or more for the same image, it's a different story.

It looks like iStock is betting on midstock to be the more profitable and long-term successful model, but I wouldn't bet on microstock and $1 images going out of demand.

Why do you think they developed ThinkStock?

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #224 on: September 22, 2010, 14:28 »
0
I believe they are planning to use Getty for Macro...iStock for mid stock and ThinkStock for the subs which I personally believe is where the non-exclusives will end up if they choose not to go exclusive. I've stated this many times already and I don't know if this will happen but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it did happen. Only time will tell.


 

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