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Messages - jeffgoulden

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iStockPhoto.com / Re: Is iS dead now?
« on: January 08, 2015, 12:30 »
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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Yes, newbies are always asking why their sunsets haven't sold but lately there are a lot of people complaining bitterly about the search.  The first time you actually try some searches and study the results, it's a shock to realize you're never even going to be seen, even if you have a perfect keyword match.  Its really frustrating to see images at the top of the search that don't even have those keywords.   

The admins have been getting increasingly rude in dismissing those complaints and shutting down negative threads.     

Like some of you, my sales have been declining.

I don't think it's much different than stock. If you shoot stuff where the search shows 1,000,000 results you probably won't be seen. Neither would I. If you have subjects where the search shows 100 results then you have a better chance of getting some sales and boosting yourself. More and more with any of these stock or art sites it's critical to have a strategy than just spray and pray.

If their search is wacky it's their game. The only thing you can do is figure out how to make the wackiness work for you.

Their search engine at FAA does have some serious flaws.  If you type the keyword search "Glacier National Park" you will get any images containing the keywords "Glacier", "National" and "Park".  The search will contain images from Glacier National Park but many others that are totally unrelated.  Their keyword search needs some ability to narrow the result from a previous search.  Istockphoto does a pretty good design for keyword narrowing but even theirs often doesn't work.

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