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Author Topic: Pixmac no longer a partner?  (Read 20349 times)

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« Reply #75 on: February 07, 2011, 12:10 »
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So it looks like this  "other company" first wanted you to represent them but after you started to grow bigger and more "dangerous" competitor in form of getting more images and more photographers of your own, they did not like that and terminated the contract. I must say this is exactly what should change in Microstock; "traditional" agencies do not have so many photographers of their own anymore but they too represent freelancers, and yet they are willing to have re-sellers, even in same market area as they have their own selling offices, and at the same time the re-sellers can naturally build their own business and represent photographers freely. Someone here said it is "sleezy" to invite photographers attend directly; I see nothing sleezy in that, every company, including I as a photographer, must have freedom to develop the business without any competitor or business partner trying to prevent that.

Oh really? <sigh>

I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.

I am not writing any press releases on behalf of Pixmac or any other agency, but just writing my thouhts and feelings about our industry in common. I also always try to figure out what might be behind the "curtains", too. And I certainly am not one of those writing here all the time, mostly complaining; if I have any problems with some of the agencies or other partners I work with, I contact them as it usually is the only way to solve matters, complaining here does not help anything. But it is great pity that we can not even try to discuss about anything without getting negative replies back - so sad.


« Reply #76 on: February 07, 2011, 12:36 »
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I am not writing any press releases on behalf of Pixmac or any other agency, but just writing my thouhts and feelings about our industry in common. I also always try to figure out what might be behind the "curtains", too. And I certainly am not one of those writing here all the time, mostly complaining; if I have any problems with some of the agencies or other partners I work with, I contact them as it usually is the only way to solve matters, complaining here does not help anything. But it is great pity that we can not even try to discuss about anything without getting negative replies back - so sad.
On that basis I'm not sure why you're here at all __ you might as well have written to Pixmac with 'your thoughts'.

In response to your first post asking why we don't all think that re-sellers are simply brilliant ... the more layers of middlemen you introduce the lower the % to the photographer, the less control the photographer has, the less transparent the transactions become, etc, etc, etc. Sooner or later one of those middlemen will try to cache our images, sell at different prices than agreed, hide transactions and a host of other dodgy practices that we the photographers have absolutely no hope of tracking. That's why.

If Pixmac or any other 're-seller' believe they have access to 'special markets' (like where exactly?) then why don't they set themself up as a direct agency? That's where the real money is being made. Why do we need DT, FT or any other agency between us and the actual seller of our images? You could set up a microstock agency in your bedroom, as plenty of folk have attempted, the only difficult bit is having the money to market it effectively. If Pixmac have the money for marketing as well as fancy offices, according to their website, then why not deal with contributors directly?

« Reply #77 on: February 07, 2011, 13:33 »
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Why do we need DT, FT or any other agency between us and the actual seller of our images? You could set up a microstock agency in your bedroom, as plenty of folk have attempted, the only difficult bit is having the money to market it effectively. If Pixmac have the money for marketing as well as fancy offices, according to their website, then why not deal with contributors directly?
Not to answer this particular one, but on similar topic: dealing with contributors is one story; dealing with buyers is completely different story. So there is nothing wrong to split 2 areas between different companies. Many of traditional macrostock agencies are working that way - there are production agencies (either doing in-house production or using external contributors) who make the selection, attributing, form "collections" and then distribute it via distribution agencies. Some of distribution agencies don't deal with contributors at all; some deal with limited number of contributors.

Microstock story in general, and pixmac specifically is different to that model, but I see certain resemblance.

« Reply #78 on: February 07, 2011, 14:11 »
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Not to answer this particular one, but on similar topic: dealing with contributors is one story; dealing with buyers is completely different story. So there is nothing wrong to split 2 areas between different companies. Many of traditional macrostock agencies are working that way - there are production agencies (either doing in-house production or using external contributors) who make the selection, attributing, form "collections" and then distribute it via distribution agencies. Some of distribution agencies don't deal with contributors at all; some deal with limited number of contributors.

Microstock story in general, and pixmac specifically is different to that model, but I see certain resemblance.

I think you could almost describe SS in the way you have outlined. The contributors' side and the buyers' site appear to be virtually seperate entities but they are not overlapping on costs, nor are they competing in the same market and clearly work well together to the advantage of all. To me an agency employing a 're-seller' is just taking a lazy way to boost their own bottom line. All the microstock agencies take enough of our money already to get off their arses and market our work directly. That way they can keep control of sales and of our property too.

« Reply #79 on: February 07, 2011, 14:26 »
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Quote from: gostwyck
I think you could almost describe SS in the way you have outlined. The contributors' side and the buyers' site appear to be virtually seperate entities but they are not overlapping on costs, nor are they competing in the same market and clearly work well together to the advantage of all. To me an agency employing a 're-seller' is just taking a lazy way to boost their own bottom line. All the microstock agencies take enough of our money already to get off their arses and market our work directly. That way they can keep control of sales and of our property too.

Pixmac does that differently. As I want to respect the contributor's work that way. We try to keep the contributor split the same as if it was sold directly. We also try to keep the endprice same as on the suppliers website. We only slice the agency's share into two pieces. A bit of an affiliate partner, but more sophisticated. There's no way to sell an image ten times more expensive anyway in big volumes. We don't reach new territories but rather new market segments.

The question that keeps circulating in my head is wether we should be working hard to promote and sell your work, or you'd rather keep lower sales with lower risk. There are people stealing credit cards and uploading images to torrent sites (as you could recently experience on IS site). And you can't avoid that. I hope your perception on Pixmac is not like that as we, if nothing else, at least try to work things out fast. We're not unknown someone that disappears when the issue gets public.

Fotonaut

« Reply #80 on: February 07, 2011, 14:31 »
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Im with daffodil on this. I have found this forums general bias against agency partnerships puzzling. Microstock is about selling dirt cheap and thus necessarily in huge volumes. Partnerships adds volume, no uploading required.

I for one am considering an API connection to Bigstock/Dreamstime/Fotolia for my Ktools (4) store. Selling a site with some thousand images is difficult. Selling a site with some thousand exclusive images plus millions of other images makes more sense. One stop shopping for the buyer.

And I want a good commission for my efforts (sales, site building, administration etc). The photographer will do nothing. No uploading, no selling, no nothing. Why should the photographer commission be any higher than with the original agency?

« Reply #81 on: February 07, 2011, 14:42 »
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Im with daffodil on this. I have found this forums general bias against agency partnerships puzzling. Microstock is about selling dirt cheap and thus necessarily in huge volumes. Partnerships adds volume, no uploading required.

I for one am considering an API connection to Bigstock/Dreamstime/Fotolia for my Ktools (4) store. Selling a site with some thousand images is difficult. Selling a site with some thousand exclusive images plus millions of other images makes more sense. One stop shopping for the buyer.

And I want a good commission for my efforts (sales, site building, administration etc). The photographer will do nothing. No uploading, no selling, no nothing. Why should the photographer commission be any higher than with the original agency?

I think it is the history of these partnerships that has left a bad taste in our mouths. StockXpert forced migration to photos.com, IS and thinkstock, DT with their mysterious myspace or print partnership, FT with it's unannounced everything, and the list goes on. It's not so much that partnerships are bad, but they should be a little more transparent. Certainly, they should be optional and not forced on us. Everybody has a unique business model they are running, so every opportunity is going to be perceived differently. I just want the option to control those opportunities and not learn about them when something goes wrong.

« Reply #82 on: February 07, 2011, 14:45 »
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I think it is the history of these partnerships that has left a bad taste in our mouths. StockXpert forced migration to photos.com, IS and thinkstock, DT with their mysterious myspace or print partnership, FT with it's unannounced everything, and the list goes on. It's not so much that partnerships are bad, but they should be a little more transparent. Certainly, they should be optional and not forced on us. Everybody has a unique business model they are running, so every opportunity is going to be perceived differently. I just want the option to control those opportunities and not learn about them when something goes wrong.

Completely agree with you cthoman!

lisafx

« Reply #83 on: February 07, 2011, 15:03 »
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I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.


Yeah, it does make one wonder. 

Perhaps Daffodil should change his/her name to Daffoshill ;D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill

« Reply #84 on: February 07, 2011, 16:17 »
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I think it is the history of these partnerships that has left a bad taste in our mouths. StockXpert forced migration to photos.com, IS and thinkstock, DT with their mysterious myspace or print partnership, FT with it's unannounced everything, and the list goes on. It's not so much that partnerships are bad, but they should be a little more transparent. Certainly, they should be optional and not forced on us. Everybody has a unique business model they are running, so every opportunity is going to be perceived differently. I just want the option to control those opportunities and not learn about them when something goes wrong.

I agree.

And one of the problems I am personally experiencing and have experienced from 3 different sites is that a. the API software has not been setup/designed correctly because b. even when a contributor opts in/out, they either don't see their images on the partner's site when they should OR they see their images on a site when they have opted out. PLUS the whole issue of hi rez images being cached, when they should not.

The general concept is OK. Contributors should have a choice and most sites have given that opt in/opt out choice. The problem is it is NOT working correctly.

And then you have the whole issue of contributors not being able to KNOW exactly what they are making from a partner site. Some you you guys might be OK with that. I'm not.

« Reply #85 on: February 07, 2011, 16:32 »
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And then you have the whole issue of contributors not being able to KNOW exactly what they are making from a partner site. Some you you guys might be OK with that. I'm not.

I understand this. But do you know what happens under the hood of agencies with no resellers? I guess it's just about the feeling of security. And that feeling is obviously damaged when there's a problem such as ours. But problems happen everywhere. It's just make more sense to tell others about it if your partner is a growing competitor in the same time. But there's no way to avoid technical problems, frauds, bad people or such. The only thing we can do at Pixmac is to openly tell you what happened and fix it fast. To minimize the cost/extent of such problems so everybody can enjoy the job again.

« Reply #86 on: February 07, 2011, 16:44 »
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I understand this. But do you know what happens under the hood of agencies with no resellers? I guess it's just about the feeling of security. And that feeling is obviously damaged when there's a problem such as ours.

Actually I do feel reasonably secure about the reporting arrangements for sales on the main agencies. Don't forget that a significant proportion of contributors on any site are also designers/buyers from that site, sometimes from the same account but also sometimes from a different 'works' account too. I'm pretty sure that if an agency tried to under-report sales to any significant degree they would very quickly be caught out. The potential damage and loss of trust would hugely outweigh any gain. As you know from your recent experience.

Can you explain in detail where all these supposed 'additional markets' might be that apparently you have access to but the main agencies don't? In the age of the internet I really don't see how that can be.

My problem with re-sellers is that I can see lots of downside for the contributor but precious little upside and nobody has yet properly explained the latter.

« Reply #87 on: February 07, 2011, 16:51 »
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I understand this. But do you know what happens under the hood of agencies with no resellers? I guess it's just about the feeling of security. And that feeling is obviously damaged when there's a problem such as ours.

Actually I do feel reasonably secure about the reporting arrangements for sales on the main agencies. Don't forget that a significant proportion of contributors on any site are also designers/buyers from that site, sometimes from the same account but also sometimes from a different 'works' account too. I'm pretty sure that if an agency tried to under-report sales to any significant degree they would very quickly be caught out. The potential damage and loss of trust would hugely outweigh any gain. As you know from your recent experience.

Can you explain in detail where all these supposed 'additional markets' might be that apparently you have access to but the main agencies don't? In the age of the internet I really don't see how that can be.

My problem with re-sellers is that I can see lots of downside for the contributor but precious little upside and nobody has yet properly explained the latter.

I would agree with that statement mostly, but I have no confidence in IS's reporting either now. They have screwed up so many things, there is never going to be a way for contributors to figure out exactly what they are owed. Just the way they like it!  ;)

« Reply #88 on: February 07, 2011, 16:55 »
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Can you explain in detail where all these supposed 'additional markets' might be that apparently you have access to but the main agencies don't? In the age of the internet I really don't see how that can be.

It would be a list of things that's fairly easy to copy by others. So just one example. We're a Czech company and I personally know most of the designers in the country. Just because I do design since early 90s here. I even contributed to SXC before StockXpert was born. I mean that any other agency can try to be successful here, but because I have the contacts and it's easy for me to negotiate a good price for advertising here we're pretty successful here. The beauty of that is that people from other countries think that Czech Republic is not an interesting market. And maybe is still full of apes jumping on trees. That illustrates that even that everything is reachable by any agency, no agency can reach everything.

Fotonaut

« Reply #89 on: February 07, 2011, 17:06 »
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A side note on expanding sales points: In november I noticed in my CafePress reports that they were also selling my products through Amazon and Ebay. Now 20-30 percent of my CafePress sales are from Amazon. That is 20-30 percent more income, and I am doing nothing extra for it. They do report which partner is behind the sale, but suppress buyer info and contributor credit which is otherwise present.

Though Zazzle and Spreadshirt has better commission, they are really falling behind on sales and income. I just wish these two had made the move with Amazon instead of CafePress.

« Reply #90 on: February 07, 2011, 17:11 »
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It would be a list of things that's fairly easy to copy by others. So just one example. We're a Czech company and I personally know most of the designers in the country. Just because I do design since early 90s here. I even contributed to SXC before StockXpert was born. I mean that any other agency can try to be successful here, but because I have the contacts and it's easy for me to negotiate a good price for advertising here we're pretty successful here. The beauty of that is that people from other countries think that Czech Republic is not an interesting market. And maybe is still full of apes jumping on trees. That illustrates that even that everything is reachable by any agency, no agency can reach everything.

OK, I'd accept small local networks in a particular location but that's unlikely to be significant. With a population of 10M, even if you had 100% of the entire Czech market, it might just about make 0.5% of world-wide sales. Why don't you become a 'proper' agency in your own respect rather than a re-seller? Then you get to sell direct to the other 99.5% of the market. After all StockXpert did that very successfully from Hungary and then sold out for $M's. Nice work for them.

« Reply #91 on: February 07, 2011, 17:21 »
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Why don't you become a 'proper' agency in your own respect rather than a re-seller?

Because we do smart marketing and we don't have enough of our own content. Getting own content was extremely expensive for us in the beginning (time+money) while not being able to sell. Therefore we chose to focus on marketing. Later we got traction just because we had enough time to improve our marketing/sales techniques. There were many agencies that developed great contributor community (Lucky Oliver) but never got enough traction. We tried to avoid that.

And now? We have enough buyers willing to buy. The only thing we need now is variety of content. Does that make sense? We could be wrong.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 17:23 by zager »

« Reply #92 on: February 08, 2011, 02:19 »
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I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.


Yeah, it does make one wonder. 

Perhaps Daffodil should change his/her name to Daffoshill ;D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill [nofollow]


I think one could suggest the same nickname change to you too ;D I wrote my reply because I honestly felt there were clear reasons to sling mud at one player here. The timing and the way it was launched made me skeptical. I also tried to defend photographer's rights and start discussion about possibility to get our commission higher, or to get our fair share of possible higher fees, to make us find out if our interests are considered too, instead of agencies just protecting themselves. I also wanted to wake up us all to remember this forum is a public place where one should not write any insults, or to vomit our own bad feelings on top of public audience. I could have written similar kind of reply to various other topics, too; some of the active members here seem to have only bad things to say about their partners and agencies, today it is agency a, tomorrow agency b, and day after tomorrow agency c. To me that does not look like nice cooperation or partnership. And nor do the replies that we write to each other here. There is no need for us to agree about everything, but it always is our choice how we reply, by discussing constructively, or by just throwing negative lines. So I am sorry I can not join your team and be the "shill" to the same agency you have chosen, I am going to continue being that to my own work only and criticize or defend all various players, with fair play.

« Reply #93 on: February 08, 2011, 03:59 »
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Actually I experience a very serious decrease in sales after all this happened
So this leads to the obvious conclusion that pixmac were selling very good indeed

But there is something more... several months ago I had the same problems like contributors now in IS - they withdraw money from my account several times, and after a lot of mails and talking they told me that someone for some reason attacked ONLY me.... which is ridiculous... they even suspect me in buying my own photos with false credit cards...

anyway - I guess all the problems were caused by this caching system

« Reply #94 on: February 08, 2011, 10:23 »
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Sorry but I virtually left microstock after SS/BigStock banned me for no explanation and even no reply, owing me far over 1000$. So this reply is a bit late.

Quote
They must have had an eye for a while on these creative practices to be sure and gather enough evidence.
You:So far it seems to me that it was a matter of few days. I guess that if it was being watched for longer period of time we would be notified sooner that we have a bug there.

Me: yes they caught you red-handed, as it seems.

Quote
The elephant in the room, the caching, was ignored once again. Can we cut the cr@p about "transparency" and just get that huge Colossal beast out of the room?

There's a blogpost about its extent and technical description above in the discussion.
Just thinking:

The whole microstock business is based on trust. And the trust is really fragile. We did a mistake, we investigated it, we posted a message about what exactly happened as soon as we could. But that is not enough. The problem when being an agency is that there's no way to communicate 'the honesty' or 'the fairness' to the contributor. You can write press releases, you can try to post open reactions on forums, you can meet people from the industry to show yourself and your intentions. But when you make a mistake it turns against you.

Installing a cache system allowing buyers to download an image X times without reporting it to the agent is frankly said theft. Cache systems don't get programmed and deployed just by mere accident: it's deliberate. I still see the elephant in the room but I don't expect it to disappear any more. You've ruined it  ;)

I have been called a "racist" stating "east of Berlin, there is no copyright". I believe it more than ever now. Please dear God, give us back that beloved iron curtain.  ;D

« Reply #95 on: February 08, 2011, 10:29 »
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Installing a cache system allowing buyers to download an image X times without reporting it to the agent is frankly said theft. Cache systems don't get programmed and deployed just by mere accident: it's deliberate. I still see the elephant in the room but I don't expect it to disappear any more. You've ruined it  ;)

Without such system we pay twice or more times for any technical issue the supplier had in their system. Or any connection issue the customer had. That's fair for you?

« Reply #96 on: February 08, 2011, 10:35 »
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Sorry but I virtually left microstock after SS/BigStock banned me for no explanation and even no reply, owing me far over 1000$. So this reply is a bit late.

Quote
They must have had an eye for a while on these creative practices to be sure and gather enough evidence.
You:So far it seems to me that it was a matter of few days. I guess that if it was being watched for longer period of time we would be notified sooner that we have a bug there.

Me: yes they caught you red-handed, as it seems.

Quote
The elephant in the room, the caching, was ignored once again. Can we cut the cr@p about "transparency" and just get that huge Colossal beast out of the room?

There's a blogpost about its extent and technical description above in the discussion.
Just thinking:

The whole microstock business is based on trust. And the trust is really fragile. We did a mistake, we investigated it, we posted a message about what exactly happened as soon as we could. But that is not enough. The problem when being an agency is that there's no way to communicate 'the honesty' or 'the fairness' to the contributor. You can write press releases, you can try to post open reactions on forums, you can meet people from the industry to show yourself and your intentions. But when you make a mistake it turns against you.

Installing a cache system allowing buyers to download an image X times without reporting it to the agent is frankly said theft. Cache systems don't get programmed and deployed just by mere accident: it's deliberate. I still see the elephant in the room but I don't expect it to disappear any more. You've ruined it  ;)

I have been called a "racist" stating "east of Berlin, there is no copyright". I believe it more than ever now. Please dear God, give us back that beloved iron curtain.  ;D

I wouldn't call it racist, I could find more suitable word. I do live couple kilometers east of Berlin and don't feel like thief. Your words are very very - gently said - unpolite and made me rather angry. If it was supposed to be joke - it wasn't a good one.

« Reply #97 on: February 08, 2011, 18:30 »
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I wouldn't mind partners if sites showed who they are.

One good thing about partners is that they may reach certain niche buyers or even several countries with their own languages, certainly widening our market.

I don't know exactly how Pixmac works (or worked) with the various agencies they represent(ed), but it sounds confusing as so many of us have the same images in all of them.

« Reply #98 on: February 08, 2011, 18:37 »
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I don't know exactly how Pixmac works (or worked) with the various agencies they represent(ed), but it sounds confusing as so many of us have the same images in all of them.


Thank you madelaide. There's duplicate detection system that finds the overlap.

Who we are:
http://www.pixmac.com/infocenter/aboutus
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=211623&id=47843782736

lisafx

« Reply #99 on: February 08, 2011, 18:54 »
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Perhaps Daffodil should change his/her name to Daffoshill ;D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill


I think one could suggest the same nickname change to you too ;D


I'm sorry, did you read the definition of "shill"?  If so, who exactly to you think I am shilling for?  

In my years on this site I have been pretty critical of all the agencies at one time or another.  If I am shilling, I am doing a crap job of it!  LOL

To be honest, you're not so good at it either.  You're WAY too obvious!  ::)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 18:55 by lisafx »


 

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