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Messages - Jo Ann Snover

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I no longer sell there (after some license changes a few years ago that made no sense for me) but I hadn't realized that they're no longer owned by Autodesk. I was going to suggest contacting Autodesk management to get a fire lit under someone's backside to fix this problem.

As you said, it's their problem as the payment processor, not yours. I'd suggest contacting one or more of the managers listed here (via Twitter as I don't see emails listed on the web site):

Be clear that although they can close your shop at any time and for any reason, you didn't violate any rules or policies and you expect to be paid what you are owed. You also expect to receive notification that they have deleted all copies of your work that they used to have stored. Just because they're treating you like the problem doesn't mean you have to accept that view. Push back and keep pushing back until they acknowledge your issues and deal with them.

Good luck

2 / Re: Tax form action required email
« on: July 12, 2018, 11:09 »
I also recieve this mail. I have my tax form aproved on January of this year. I contacted support and they answer me "We apologize for any confusion this email might have caused. Since having an approved tax form on file is a new requirement for all of our Contributors, this message was meant to be a reminder for those that have not provided one to do so. If you have already submitted one and it has been approved and is on file, you may disregard this request."

I received a similar reply this morning too.

This was better - less confusing - than the original email, but they've managed to muddy the waters by including language I don't see on my Tax Center page "...and is on file," My page says the date on which my most recent W-9 was approved, but says nothing at all about whether it's on file or not.

I assume this is just their way of saying "once we have processed the approval of your file internally and updated the status in your account data" but when you send messages of this sort you need to use the language that's in use on the web site where people go to check.

Or, in the support reply, confirm that your account is all set instead of saying that this was a reminder for those who have not provided a form and if you have already submitted one...

Of course, better do the check up front and only send the email to those contributors who actually need to take action...

3 / Re: Tax form action required email
« on: July 11, 2018, 18:12 »
I also received this very unclear email this morning and contacted support about it.

The subject line said "Action required" and it was personalized in that it was addressed to me by name. However, when I went to look at the tax center on the web site, I have a form (from 2013) which does not say it's expired, so I don't know why I received the email. None of my information has changed.

I'll post here if I receive a reply.

They were just lazy and didn't bother to filter who received the email - only people with no form or an expired form should have as far as I can tell - or to write explicit instructions about what to do.

Newbie Discussion / Re: Ask about payment at Alamy
« on: July 02, 2018, 18:28 »
If you haven't already, you need to learn to read Alamy's rather obfuscating sales reports so you know where things stand. The only thing that's right up front on the dashboard is your current cleared balance - which may be $0 even if you've made sales and the gross value of sales you made in the current month.

If you click on the Sales History button, that will show you gross sales and any refunds. This money is not what you will earn - you need to see the net amount and what has cleared by clicking the Account Balance button.

For every sale, you can see the details on what your royalty is - at least, if you subtract any distributor's take and Alamy's take from the gross sale, you can see what your net amount is. On the far right is a column that shows o for cleared, x for uncleared and a date if they've paid you already.

I completely agree that the date order is backwards - rather than flip the order, why not just have it accept either order (which will set the initial sort order of the results).

It's nice to see some work being done in this area, but there's really nothing substantial there yet, so feedback on usability should come after you've fleshed out the skeleton a bit. However...

None of the columns let you change the sort order; putting monthly sales in a vertical column on a horizontal screen means you see mostly white space and not the thing you want to look at; you can't see the two main things you want to see together - money & downloads.

You can't (as far as I can tell) see the total sales (downloads & $) for an individual image anywhere. It'd be nice to see some long desired features get added as well as (at a minimum) port all the Fotolia stats features over to the Adobe side.

Honestly looks like whoever designed this isn't a contributor and didn't talk with a contributor about what would be helpful.

6 / Re: Exclusive vs Not
« on: June 12, 2018, 19:24 »
If it still made sense to be exclusive at iStock, I don't think I'd see the mass exodus of long-time exclusives that I've seen (not representative sample, I know).

I don't think the earnings numbers account for different media, so anything you see there for exclusive earnings may be hard to do anything useful with

You also should look at the current prices and royalties for illustrations. Just about everything has changed there since 2011.

I couldn't possibly pick winners, but some polished turds in the collection...

iStock being sold to Getty Images

Getty Images being taken private by Hellman & Friedman

Jupiter Images buying StockXpert

iStock changing the royalty scheme (of which the money isn't what makes you happy clunker was part)

Putting Getty content onto iStock

Getty buying Jupiter Images (effectively dooming StockXpert)

123rf adopting the variable royalty rate structure

Creating ThinkStockPhotos

SnapVillage (Corbis) - although its nickname of CrapHamlet (don't know who coined that, but kudos) is almost worth it

Steaming pile of poop agency Albumo

Dollar Photo Club (thankfully deceased)

Deposit Photos partnership deals, particularly with ShotShop

Getty giving away blog size images (as embedded links)

Dreamstime's various "subscription" price programs that effectively replaced decent royalty credit sales with peanuts subscription royalties (all 35 cents as opposed to the original 70 cents for higher level images)

Getty-Google Drive fiasco

Cut rate royalties on BigStock after Shutterstock acquired them (the only good news was they didn't migrate this garbage scheme to the mother ship)

Veer secretly partnering with Alamy taking no account of contributors' existing Alamy portfolios - then refusing an opt out and a list of partners

123rf treating sales through other Inmagine (its parent company) sites as "partner" deals where they get two bites of the apple leaving smaller royalties for contributors. Justifying this larceny iniitially...

I'm sure I've forgotten masses of misbehavior - there's so much to choose from :)

Canva / Re: Canva
« on: May 31, 2018, 18:56 »
...But, if this is indeed a cull, then why take down images that have been included in the purchasable layouts and sell well? It doesn't make much sense to delete an image that has sold, (and is still selling), several hundred times. I'm just trying to ascertain whether there is another reason. I have asked Canva a couple of times, but my emails are falling on deaf ears. Maybe they are too busy dealing dealing with customer complaints to listen to contributors.

I would just remind those who may not know about Canva's history, that asking questions and communicating about Canva here, with fellow contributors, can get your account closed. Ask me how I know that? :)

Specifically, I was (1) asking about why they were removing images that were selling; (2) asking for contributor guidelines about what images they don't want so neither they nor we waste time uploading content; and (3) communicating here that after they promised they would provide the guidelines, Lee Torrens sent me email saying they wouldn't put guidelines together as " ...the vast majority of our contributors don't need nor want them, so our time is better spent on the things they value."

Perhaps things have changed, perhaps Lee has gone elsewhere, but tread carefully if you want to keep your portfolio there.

9 / Re: Getty - 500px partnership
« on: May 31, 2018, 14:11 »
I had pulled out of 500px marketplace when the last "exciting news" of them dropping the royalty rates was announced, so in one sense this doesn't affect me.

However Getty is a partner with EyeEm where I also have images and I've had a modest number of sales through that channel. I can only imagine 500px images diluting the sales of EyeEm images via Getty. Shame we can't get the Shutterstock Endless Vector Variations Collection up on Getty while they're looking for more supply :)

I wonder if this means that KK Thompson is moving on to bring "exciting news" to some other enterprise... Update. I checked Kelly Thompson's LinkedIn profile and the FAQ on the 500px site this afternoon. Kelly moved on from 500px Marketplace a year ago and from 500px last month. Other than being on the board of Showpass I don't see anything new.

Visual China Group bought 100% of 500px recently

Unless you plan to spend time in court and money on lawyers to argue the toss about questionable intellectual property issues, ignore all advice regarding intellectual property from the user unnonimus. It is irrelevant hair splitting over the possible interpretations of legalities if any issue actually went to court.

As a stock photographer, you want to avoid going to court - it eats up time and earnings and the goal is to make money not case law.

Agencies have their requirements - and they're not uniform - but are generally risk averse. As the photographer, you probably should err on the side of caution and get releases wherever possible. Don't end up like the photographer in Dance Steps on Broadway - he got the agency to take the photo down and still ended up having to settle the suit.

Actual prices vary widely. You get a percentage of the sales price, so you can work out what a specific customer paid

For 2018, just for ELs (i.e. this isn't SODs), the buyers have paid the following for ELs of my images: $55, $67.50, $99, $99.76 and $121.06 - very wide spread.

In earlier years - since they moved away from the fixed $28 royalty - I think the highest price paid I saw was $133.34. I don't remember seeing anything below $55

Canva / Re: Canva
« on: May 09, 2018, 15:51 »
My goodness, look at the terrible reviews on Facebook.  Such a good product with a unique selling point.  How did things go so wrong?

Their corporate eye is elsewhere - "Australia's Unicorn" is busy expanding...

And Perkins is the "...darling of Australia's tech scene."

I don't have any skin in the game (they terminated my account when Lee Torrens got upset over me reminding him of unanswered questions for contributors), but they have/had the potential to do something really different - as opposed to all the I-want-to-be-the-next-Shutterstock carbon copies. It would be a huge shame if they lost sight of getting the basics right - and reading that Facebook page is jaw-dropping - and let the whole project founder.

Many companies with negative comments clean those things up - which Canva hasn't - so I guess their heart's in the right place even though customer service appears to be understaffed or inept or...

Putting on a performance for the funders, analysts and tech magazines won't help if the product or customer service are ticking customers off.

13 / Re: Shutterstock Removing Watermarks
« on: May 07, 2018, 23:44 »
I just went to do a search on Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images and iStock. None of them have watermarks in the search results.

I don't remember when this changed (I'm sure at one point all of them watermarked search thumbs) but as they're all doing the same thing, why target just Shutterstock with complaints?

The best thing all the big agencies could do is actively police misuse (which in spite of their "we take this very seriously" emails they don't appear to). That would net us more than putting back watermarks on the search thumbs on only one agency.

I'm not submitting pictures of myself at the moment, but I have done. When iStock tightened up the rules about model releases to one per shoot, they made an exception for self portraits because you're never going to sue yourself - there's just no legal risk.

You had to put some wording up top to flag this - mine said (in red so they couldn't miss it, and still some reviewers did): "This is a self portrait. Catch-all release is allowed". Perhaps someone currently submitting self portraits to Shutterstock should suggest that they allow a similar exception.

The other thing iStock allowed was one release for a multi-day "session". I think there was some limit of less than one week. Was very useful when you use family/friends in a setting you're staying at to cut down on the paperwork. I believe subject matter needed to be similar for this exception to be permitted - so no mixing boudoir shots with tennis games and sports at the beach on one release.

15 / Re: SODs with same value as SUBs
« on: April 16, 2018, 08:13 »
For a few days now, I have been seeing SODs with the same value as that possible/normal?

Yes. Deals like the one with Facebook where pictures go into the little ads - free to the advertiser and we get a sub royalty in the SOD column

123RF / Re: 123rf reducing commissions
« on: April 12, 2018, 15:08 »
There is no point in asking them for "answers" - they've already told you everything you need to know by their actions thus far.

Removal of large quantities of images would get their attention - if anything would induce them to change their mind, and it's possible that nothing would - think the late, not-so-great Dollar Photo Club. Think about what you want them to do - restore the old rate schedule, for example - and set a date by which they do that or the images get removed.

Anything less is a waste of energy. My view is moot as I left the agency when my royalty rate dropped from 45% to 40% because they're not doing well on the sales front but their failures affect my royalty rates.

I'm guessing they're trying to prep the business for a sale so they can get out. It's possible they don't want a contributor revolt as it would put buyers off, so they might act. I doubt that the fundamentals of the business would improve even if they did put the royalty rates back where they were, so it might well be a victory with not much of a contributor benefit. They don't appear to be investing in the business, or advertising in Google searches (you used to see their ads and thumbnails, but now hardly at all)

Adobe Stock / Re: Payment Delay at Adobe?
« on: April 11, 2018, 09:23 »
Mine just came through
Mine just arrived too

Adobe Stock / Re: Payment Delay at Adobe?
« on: April 11, 2018, 00:36 »
I made my request April 1st too and it still says "Pending". I use PayPal - things have generally been faster than this.

When you upload to the agencies, you are making a representation about the rights you hold in the work you upload. Each agency has slightly different rules, and you want to make sure you don't violate those and have your account closed which could cause losses to you much greater than any gain from using a sky image from a stock photo.

Look at section 14 in the SS terms to see what they expect as one example.

I have my own collection of sky photographs that I use whenever I need a sky - with something like that where you can so easily get your own, I can't imagine why you'd even consider using a stock image with all the attendant legal risk.

I'm getting "Top Picks" and "New". I don't recall seeing "Top Picks" before.

Ditto - I'm on the west coast of the US, in case this is a geography based thing.

22 / Re: Dreamstime Files Lawsuit Against Google
« on: April 02, 2018, 11:33 »
I googled "Dreamstime sues Google" and there was nothing recent - mostly the past legal challenges to the way Google behaves. Limiting the search to just the last week didn't improve things. Before concluding Google was burying the news on purpose, I thought I'd try Bing - nothing.

Perhaps suits against Google are so common that none of the business trade rags find this newsworthy? Google's parasitic, but given all the changes they make all the time, it'll be hard to prove that any changes they made that hurt Dreamstime were specifically directed at them.

It may well be that Google's recent changes hurt Dreamstime - and other stock agencies - but Dreamstime doomed itself long before 2015, and they never did better than a perennial #3 in the earnings rankings. The biggest problem, IMO, was their insane pricing policies - way, way too complex. They also had some bizarre games with search rankings on their own site (going back years, to 2007/8)  that probably didn't help the customer get the best results.

Given Google's deep pockets and army of lawyers, I can't see anything good coming out of this.

23 / Re: February Payment?
« on: March 14, 2018, 09:48 »
...SS do mass payment which have a time period on every month. Mass payment saves additional fees so if they try to do payment manually then I think additional fees with be cut from sender and receiver both.

There is nothing to stop SS from doing a manual payment and covering any PayPal fees they incur as a result of their mistake. They have made manual payments in the past - without any fees - so I know it can be done if they choose to do it.

It's pretty clear that if they can get away with "wait until next month", they will. I just thought it was worth asking them to do the right thing and pay on time. They might blow their obligations off anyway, but there's no cost to asking.

24 / Re: February Payment?
« on: March 13, 2018, 09:06 »
I didnt receive February payment either.  And Im traveling using a mobile device and cant access the link to contact support.  Is there a phone number?

Not sure if these are for contributors or just customers, but 1-866-663-3954 (I think that's toll-free) and 1-646-419-4452 (regular number)

25 / Re: February Payment?
« on: March 13, 2018, 08:54 »
"Unfortunately a data transfer error occurred this month that prevented your February earnings from being reset and calculated for payouts. We apologize for this error and are taking the necessary steps to correct this information and prevent it from occurring in the future.

However, this means that we will not be able to reset your earnings from the month of February and they will roll into your earnings for March. You will receive your February and March earnings together in the next payment cycle, by April 15th.

We apologize for any inconvenience this error has caused and for the delay in receiving your earnings from last month. We thank you for your patience and continued participation in our marketplace."

Is this the text of email Shutterstock sent to you? If so, doesn't this violate the terms of service with respect to timing of payments? Section 9b says, in part:
"Royalty payments and accompanying statements will be issued monthly, on or about the 15th day of each month, for the previous month's downloads. "

There is nothing to stop them from making a manual payment - and if they do it in the next couple of days, they're still on time. If I were you, I'd push back and ask them to make a payment now for this month. They need to pay you what you were owed.

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