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Topics - Jo Ann Snover

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1
I submitted some content to Shutterstock the other day and in the acknowledgement email was surprised to see "For reference, your latest upload is on account [9 digit number]."

My account ID is 249 and I went online to verify that it still was showing that way (it was). I wrote to support to ask if the email was in error or if my content had somehow been submitted to the wrong account via a bug.

I received a reply this morning that my account has two IDs - the "old" one and this global accounts user ID.

I appreciate the prompt reply, but I do think it'd be a good idea to let contributors know about things like this - and show the new ID somewhere in the contributor dashboard, along with the old one

Perhaps everyone else already knew about this, but in case not, now you do :)

2
Shutterstock.com / Contributor app blog post - really??
« on: August 27, 2018, 16:00 »
https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/shutterstock-contributor-app-new-look

I think I must be having a cranky day, but I read this (it was linked from the contributor home page) and wanted to throw things.

I like the contributor app. It's great that they have it (Adobe - it'd be great if you had one too).

But I wouldn't go as far as saying the app "...has received yet another exciting update" when they've just changed the background from black to white!

This color change "...ensures that contributors receive a consistent Shutterstock visual experience across all platforms". Do they realize that contributors care about sales? Exciting is a $75 SOD, not a white background instead of black.

Instead of writing inane blog posts, how about asking contributors what useful features or stats they could add to the app? Something contributors could actually use...

Off to do something useful :)


3
Shutterstock.com / SS Q2 2018 earnings call transcript
« on: August 02, 2018, 01:13 »
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4193034-shutterstock-sstk-q2-2018-results-earnings-call-transcript

Motley Fool commentary on yahoo finance

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/apos-made-shutterstock-lose-money-010100808.html

In Oringer's statement, he mentioned custom pricing pages, something I don't remember hearing about before:

"In addition, in our continued efforts on localization, we launched customized pricing pages, landing pages and Express Checkout experiences tailored to different customer segments. We also invested in a number of global marketing initiatives to drive additional traffic and further accelerate top line growth. We plan to continue to invest in these marketing activities and expect them to pay out over time."

The enterprise business grew 34.9% in the quarter and represents 41% of total revenue. As I see much lower volume of "Single & other" sales that I used to, I wonder if there's a subset of contributor content that's offered in the enterprise segment. If that's the case, all that growth doesn't help me (or any contributor whose content isn't offered in that segment).

The e-commerce segment grew 11.6% in the quarter (I think that's the subscription sales, and possibly the "On Demand" ones too). Customer base grew 7.5%, paid downloads by 6% - which must mean that each customer is downloading less than before, on average - and the image collection by a whopping 41%. Given that some (possibly large) portion of the new content is unsaleable stuff that should never have been approved, that doesn't have as big an impact as it appears, but they're still pursuing policies that will drive down incomes for lots of established contributors. Talking about total payouts to all contributors is just a meaningless smokescreen, IMO.

The growth in revenue per download (10% in real terms, excluding currency fluctuations) suggests SS is selling more video - cause they're only cutting prices on images (at least for the portion of sales where we have a clue what the prices are).

67% of their revenue came from outside the US, about half of that from Europe.

Royalties to us were 26.8% which they describe as essentially unchanged.

They said product development costs were up 38% - "Product development costs increased 38% versus the second quarter last year, primarily due to higher personnel and consulting costs related to building a more expansive customer platform." Elsewhere they talked about moving to AWS

SilverHub Media apparently went into administration and SS had invested $4.8m in them - I don't know anything about this other than it was started by a couple of ex Getty people. The SS report talks about "impairment" of their investment and elsewhere that they've written off $4.8m. A google search mentioned the company being in administration

https://photoarchivenews.com/news/silverhub-media-hits-administration/

Although they said that Custom was important for the future, the response to a question on actual revenue was "Custom was not a material driver overall to the business on a year-to-date basis or in the second quarter but it has contributed some relatively minor amounts compared to the overall enterprise business"

They also mentioned that moving to AWS wouldn't hurt costs over the long haul and that they'd implemented things such that they could move to other cloud suppliers if necessary (who knows if that's a goal or currently real)

"And once again, as a reminder, we've done this in a manner that gives us flexibility, so while we're very confident in the folks at AWS and the pricing that we're getting from them, we have done this in a way that gives us the flexibility to utilize other cloud providers in the future because we've done this with the technology that allows us to containerize it and move it around if necessary."

4
Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock sold Webdam for $49.1 million
« on: February 21, 2018, 19:53 »
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/16/bynder-acquires-digital-asset-management-service-webdam-from-shutterstock-for-49-1m/

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bynder-announces-strategic-acquisition-webdam-120101196.html

http://digitalassetmanagementnews.org/vendors/bynders-webdam-acquisition-stronger-together-or-proof-that-the-current-dam-software-market-does-not-scale/

I guess that means this platform thing is either (a) not working out or (b) doesn't need asset management? From one of the articles above:

"As such, this is a divorce of convenience for Shutterstock and WebDAM, which Bynder are subsidising.  I suspect Shutterstock have had a case of buyers remorse after getting involved in a human resource-intensive, low value, professional services + product business (which still defines the current DAM software market).  Shutterstock realised that Bynders North American sales operations were not hitting targets, so they could strike a deal that was far more favourable for them than spinning it off independently again or trying to find some other larger tech vendor to take it on (and having to write-off the expenditure incurred for less than the cash invested back in 2014).  Its a great piece of business (for Shutterstock)."


I took a look at Glassdoor to see if there was any hint of what might be up, and although there isn't, there are some pretty scathing comments about Oringer, high turnover rates in the C-suite and a lack of direction (along with the happy news from current employees that earlier posters had alleged were HR-directed plants).

I think we get SS Q4 and full year 2017 results tomorrow...

5
StockFresh / Certificate of Residency
« on: December 31, 2017, 14:00 »
I hadn't logged in to StockFresh in a while, but went to check today and saw that I'd sold an EL in December so I was over the payout threshold.

I requested payout and was confronted with a screen with a new requirement (I've been paid by them before via PayPal): I needed to upload a certificate of residency (they had pre-filled in that I live in the US so I think I must have uploaded ID when I created this account as well as provided my mailing address).

StockFresh is based in Hungary and I'm assuming this is something to do with VAT or local taxes. I uploaded my driver's license picture (numbers blurred out) which has my US address and I hope that will suffice. A quick Google search suggests there's an IRS 6166 tax form that would certify to any foreign tax treaty partner that I'm a US resident, but that takes 6 weeks to get. You get this by submitting a form 8802 (gotta love the forms and numbers) and an $85 fee!

As that fee is more than the payout amount, it wouldn't be worth getting the form, so I'd just close my account to make sure there were no more sales. I'm hoping my driver's license will do.

Did anyone else get any alert from StockFresh about this new requirement before payout? The last thing I remember receiving from them was about the new curation standards. I can't see anything in the contributor FAQ on the site.

I'll let you know how this plays out, but I really think that changing payout requirements should merit email to contributors to let them know what's required and how to get whatever it is. I know StockFresh doesn't make the laws, but as they have contributors world-wide, they need to communicate about legal changes in Hungary or the EU that might apply to agency payments

6
Software / No perpetual license for Lightroom 7
« on: October 18, 2017, 12:01 »
Lightroom as we knew it is now Lightroom Classic. Lightroom 6.x will get new camera updates through the end of 2017 and then it's history. Photography plans are increasing in price if you need more than 20GB of online storage.

dpReview

Imaging Resource

Lightroom Queen

CNET

The Verge

Ars Technica

TechCrunch

The Next Web

Photography Life

The Phoblographer

Engadget

Outdoor Photographer

Lightroom Killer Tips

Adobe page with plan options

If you do buy into the subscription plan, there's a apparently a $14.99 deal for the 1TB storage plan for a while (and realistically, 20GB is useless for anyone but a hobby photographer if you really do want to go with the new Lightroom Lite (they're not calling it that) )

Note that Adobe says that Lightroom Classic CC is still in active development, but my gut says the writing is on the wall for it as they have a new code base for the new Lightroom Lite

Some follow up articles about Lightroom*

Adobe's answers to LR announcement questions (comments invited)

Interview with Tom Hogarty on LR split and futures

Death by Subscription

What Just Happened to Lightroom? (On1 blog - they clearly have an interest as On1 Photo RAW, now in beta 2, is a competitor)

Adobe's Photography product manager on use of online photographs - presumably those stored by customers online plus those in Adobe Stock - to fuel Adobe Sensei features. Certainly gives Adobe a reason to want more content online for it to use for its own purposes, not just store for customer retrieval...

An older article - March 2017 - where Adobe's CTO talks about the role of data in developing Sensei. Data includes imagery plus features used by "pros" (not sure how they obtain or categorize users)

7
Shutterstock.com / Senior VP Enterprise Sales leaves SS
« on: October 13, 2017, 21:06 »
While hunting around for more press on the new Composition Aware search, I happened upon an article about Nick Flynn leaving SS for Rokt as Chief Revenue Officer

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rokt-amps-up-growth-with-new-chief-revenue-officer-300533539.html

I know nothing more about Rokt than what's on their web site - "They click buy and we say hi", whatever that means...

I went to see if Glassdoor had anything interesting about SS that was recent and there were several very negative reviews from the last couple of months.

"Sales Solution Manager" who has left wasn't positive. (emphasis mine):

"The monthly targets that are given to you are unattainable unless you have been with the company for a while and have a pipeline built up. At this point, they are running out of leads to give their agents. so they are recycling old leads from the previous month which have been contacted multiple times in months prior to that. Do not believe what they tell you during the interview process, you are going to feel like you are selling magazine subscriptions or you're a used car salesman. The management team, with the exception of a few, will micro manage you. For some reason they keep bringing on new sales agents, which is taking away the only "quality" leads they have from the other agents. I can go on and on."

Someone from finance who left said:

"Absolutely horrific management in the Finance Division. The Managers and VP's have no idea as to what is going on, except for pushing orders down that have no meaning or translation into the daily work.
No opportunities for career growth."

Another ex-employee:

"The leadership team is as incompetent as they come. The founder/CEO is a big man child who changes priorities every other day. Instead of working with teams, he forces them to do what he wants, leading to other projects getting delayed or launched half assed.

CFO is also the COO, which has to be a conflict of interest but at this place, he continues to amass more power. He's squeezing every ounce of revenue from legacy products.

Executive team is a revolving door other than CEO/CFO, with most of them leaving after a year.

The GM structure forces all of them to fight over resources like little rats. They're glorified sales leaders instead of actual strategists.

The core product is dying and they don't seem to be preparing for the future. Instead they're doubling down on acquiring more companies that focus on stock assets.

The tech stack is as old as the company and of course no progress has been made to fixing the issues because of "too many priorities."

Get ready to work long hours because there isn't a clear focus.

Advice to Management
You won't listen but I'll share  anyway.

Stop hiring and firing middle management. Either commit to making it work with them or focus on hiring more people who can get work done.
Show that you care about your employees and maybe they'll work hard without being threatened or forced to.

Stop coming up with crappy ideas and reduce the amount of time dedicated to products that just plain suck.

For once, look at what's worked well in the past and invest a little bit money into that, like brand.

Stop trying to use free snacks and food as s recruiting tactic. Those aren't benefits, they're perks."

8
Shutterstock.com / Composition Aware Search tool announced
« on: October 12, 2017, 11:13 »
https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/12/16463768/shutterstock-machine-learning-image-search-composition

https://venturebeat.com/2017/10/12/shutterstocks-new-visual-search-tool-lets-you-search-for-images-by-composition/


Press release here

https://www.shutterstock.com/press/15118

Blog

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/composition-aware-search-tool


Just playing around with it a bit suggests that it could grow into something interesting, although it might need some rethinking about what search input is. For example, if I wanted an image with a woman on both the left and right of the image and copy space in the center, I can't use the little box where I move around tokens to find that as I only get one "woman" token for the single search term.

I'm sure buyers will make suggestions, so it'll be interesting to see how SS enhances this tool

9
Nearly a year ago I wrote a blog post about my experiences with Capture One Pro as I was so frustrated with Lightroom's sluggish performance. I've done an update as not only are there new versions of both pieces of software, but I have switched to a Fuji XT-2 (from a Canon 5D Mk II) and needed to assess handling of the new RAF files.

In case it is relevant to anyone else, here's a link to the blog (there's a link in the post to the original comparison if anyone wants to look at that too)

http://www.digitalbristles.com/revisiting-capture-one-pro-vs-lightroom/

10
Shutterstock.com / SS's CIO has left after one year
« on: August 25, 2017, 19:32 »
"David Giambruno, CIO of stock photography company Shutterstock, has left the company after just over a year"

http://www.ciodive.com/news/shutterstock-cio-departs-after-short-tenure/503145/

When you consider the big stories being told when he joined SS - plus the fact that he has no job lined up yet - you have to wonder what went wrong that he left so soon. SS filed notice with the SEC of this departure July 12th. Another article talked expansively about plans for a software defined data center.

Marty Brodbeck, the Chief Technology Officer, joined SS in January 2017 and is still there - might that mean there was some sort of clash and Brodbeck won?

For at least the second time in August, the site had problems where downloads weren't working - buyers on deadlines were not happy...

https://twitter.com/Shutterstock/status/900107766983000064

In the Q2 earnings call, Oringer seemed to be saying the new platform was essentially done. At one point he says "Now that we are on our new platform..." but elsewhere he says "...we believe we are making significant progress against our objective of moving from a content marketplace to a creative platform..." so some things are still not finished.

Platform or marketplace, making sure customers can download content seems like stock agency 101, so they need to fix the basics they broke.

Any other ideas as to what, if anything, this latest software departure means for SS's future?

11
StockFresh / Stockfresh email about new curation standards
« on: August 01, 2017, 15:38 »
This morning I received email from "The Stockfresh Team" saying that uploads are back. I didn't know they'd been turned off as I haven't uploaded there in a long time.

They said they've been busy upgrading the site and that they have done a content review of their 6.5 million files and decided on even stronger curation - images that "stand out of the crowd, shifting away a bit from the current, standard mix of imagery."

As far as I can tell, they are not culling existing portfolios.

At the end of the email they suggested contacting them with questions, so I did. I suggested they try to explain to contributors what they are looking for so we can avoid wasting our own time and theirs uploading work they don't want. I had though when reading the beginning of the email I might want to upload a few new files to see what happens, but once I got to the end I thought that wasn't a good idea, at least until I have some idea whether having a portfolio that sells elsewhere might be a negative factor in their new curation standards.

Every site is of course entitled to set whatever criteria they want for content, but I'm not a fan of playing guessing games with a mystery process that no one will detail.

I'll post any information they share.

12
I didn't see this when it was first published July 5th. Couple of things the author missed or was confused about (for example, doesn't understand that Adobe bought Fotolia and that all work submitted to Adobe is sold both places) but it's a interesting perspective.

https://petapixel.com/2017/07/05/want-sell-stock-photos-heres-comparison-major-services/

His comments on how terrible Getty and iStock's contributor interface and customer service are delightful :) For example:

"With a poor site, youd think maybe they have good customer service for their contributors. Well, unfortunately youd be wrong there too. Every ticket Ive submitted has taken months literally months to get resolved. After a poor site design and no customer service it makes it seem like all that money they make, just goes right into their pocket and they dont invest in the company itself."

Here's his very small SS portfolio

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/michaelgodek

13
Shutterstock.com / New watermarks - anyone see an example?
« on: July 14, 2017, 11:54 »
https://www.shutterstock.com/contributorsupport/articles/kbat02/000012560

Received email with a link to this blog post this morning.

I looked at the preview of the image they used in the article and it doesn't appear to have the new features - the contributor name included in the watermark. Two images I had approved late last night didn't have the new watermark (that I could see) so they appear not to be including it in new approvals yet

I have posted in the thread on the Shutterstock forum asking for two examples of the new preview watermark - one over white and one with a darker all-over image - so we can check it out. Sounds like a great idea, but given the history with their preview "improvements" I want to see an example.

Anyone else see the new individualized preview watermark?

Edited to add that a reply in the SS forum from another contributor pointed out that the reduced preview image in the article does have the new watermarking even though the live preview doesn't. I zoomed my browser to 250% and I could then see the contributor name in the watermark. It appears the watermark hasn't changed much beyond inserting "by contributor name" along one of the diagonal lines. Still need to see some 1500 pixel examples though.

14
I missed these stock industry happenings from the last couple of months - 123rf bought the Creative Market clone The Hungry JPEG and Autodesk's Pixlr. They also obtained VC funding and did a deal with Tencent

https://www.123rf.com/pressroom/press-20170308.php

https://e27.co/malaysian-stock-photo-startup-123rf-acquires-thehungry-jpeg-grow-design-resources-globally-20170309/

http://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/malaysia-inmagine-acquires-online-design-marketplace-thehungryjpeg-67053/

http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/04/26/pixlr-popular-photo-editor-autodesk-sold-123rf/

https://www.123rf.com/pressroom/press-20170424.php

The phrase "creative ecosystem" keeps cropping up in press releases and the articles covering this. There was also mention in the e27 article that 123rf had received venture capital this year from InnoVen Capital, India

A year ago (Feb 2016) there was an article that Andy Sitt was considering an IPO within 12-18 months. The article DealStreet Asia article from March about the Hungry JPEG acquisition says the 123rf IPO will be in Australia:

"The acquisition that was announced on Wednesday may pave the way for a listing that Inmagines 123RF has been targeting in Australia, for a while now . 'We will be announcing some acquisitions soon. We need some time to reconcile the business and then head for a bigger IPO,' the firms co-founder Andy Sitt had told this portal recently."

This DealStreet Asia article says the IPO will be delayed to the end of 2017 but may be in Tokyo or even the US. It also says the venture capital is to fund their planned acquisitions.

The report on the Android Police says the web version of Pixlr relies on Flash, suggesting it's in need of some updating - so if Sitt is thinking of going after Canva's type of setup, getting rid of obsolete stuff like Flash will be a must.

It seemed to me that Shutterstock's Editor was an answer to Canva; SS is now talking about being a platform, 123rf about being a "... holistic creative ecosystem that makes great design accessible to all..." and of course Adobe is integrating everything with everything via a plethora of apps and services. Not sure where this deal fits, but 123rf is also a Smart Performance Advertising Official Global Reseller for Tencent as of March 2017

I was also curious about a comment in the DealStreet Asia article about producing wholly owned content: "Inmagine groups in-house production team of over 200 employees will work directly on content to be marketed on THJ with the goal of expanding its library even further." There's a lot more flexibility for giveaways and low prices when you don't have to pay royalties.

So 123rf has designs.net, Stock Unlimited (now $139 for 3 years unlimited content!) Craft Bundles (this includes freebies) as well as Inmagine and 123rf. They say in the articles that Sitt claims to be the 4th largest stock agency - I assume after Getty, Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. There's certainly a flurry of activity, but perhaps this is about getting bought out rather than actually trying to compete with the larger agencies?

I don't know how Stock Unlimited is doing - wasn't that going to be the Netflix of stock agencies? - but the ever-cheaper prices suggest not well. It doesn't appear that overall, sales at 123rf are up for contributors - more tales of sales drop-off than of growth. You have to acknowledge that Andy Sitt has managed to keep his business going for a long time in a tough market, but I don't see a clear path to greater success by adding more moving parts and shiny objects when you can't compete effectively on the basics.

Not sure what any of this adds up to, but as I'd happened upon the information, I thought I'd share :)

Edited to note that as of Nov 7, Stock Unlimited is now offering 3 years unlimited for $89 - see a new thread about video content to license for free (CC0) with "donations" as their latest scammy addition to the scammy stable

15
Shutterstock.com / Q1 2017 Earnings Call Transcript
« on: May 04, 2017, 10:31 »
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4068496-shutterstock-sstk-q1-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript

Couple of commentaries

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/05/03/tepid-results-reveal-shutterstocks-vulnerabilities.aspx

http://www.markets.co/jefferies-sticks-to-its-hold-rating-for-shutterstock/72175/

http://www.capitalcube.com/blog/index.php/shutterstock-inc-breached-its-50-day-moving-average-in-a-bearish-manner-sstk-us-may-4-2017/

Couple of things caught my eye - in spite of the brain numbing sea of corporate-speak.

Enterprise business is now 32% of revenue (up from 29%).

Revenue per download increased 5%, but it was "...primarily driven by continued growth in our enterprise and motion businesses which operate at higher price points than our traditional e-commerce images offering" Download growth was 6%. I wonder if you were to look at the revenue per download in the e-commerce section if it's falling as a result of the new lower price packages. They don't break that information out.

Customer base expanded 13% but the download growth was 6%? They said "We saw a 6% increase in paid downloads driven by growth in new customers as well as increased activity across our existing user base." Something must have been going down - customers leaving? large customers leaving and being replaced by smaller ones? - to make those numbers make sense, no? Am I missing something?

64% of revenue is from outside the United States, of which half is Europe.

In response to a question about whether they can return to higher growth in the e-commerce business, Jon had this rather rambling almost-answer:

"I think that the core part of our business can grow again. And we're focused every day on coming into this office and working together to do that. Part of the reorganization we went through where we organized the company into GM verticals is really going to help us do this. We were on a new tech stack. We have a lot of great ideas. We know the market is really large, that we sell to businesses. Businesses use our images every day to sell their product or service. We have 1.7 million of those customers today and we know there's tens of millions of more customers out there that need these assets to sell their products, sell their services, so."

Glad they have great ideas. Hope some of them are greater than spiffying up the payment history page...

In answering a question about the makeup of the growth in the enterprise business, they appeared to indicate that to date most of that business was images:

"So the split between expansion within existing customers and new is about 50/50 and so we're seeing continued retention and spend from our existing customers as well as the attraction and spend from new enterprise customers. That's primarily in the image business. We see opportunities in video, editorial and music both domestically as well as outside the U.S."

Answering a question about whether the new tech platform was helping accelerate growth, I think this word salad is a "yes", although timing isn't clear. I love reaccelerating growth :)

"That will enable us to move faster, cross-sell between products, understand who customers are between all of our products, and our customers and allow us to do things like focus on reaccelerating growth in the core, for instance."

Later in the transcript, Deutsche Bank had a crack at the same topic, but didn't get a clear answer; just lots of stuff about all the different types of customers SS serves.

There was a question about whether they'd seen some of the higher priced packages getting "traction" - as they'd blamed lower priced packages for lower growth previously. The long answer seems to say that they don't want to be the low price answer, but the fair value one, and they have lots of sizes of customers. Why the questioner just said "thanks" as opposed to following up, who knows:

"Yes. So I'll just refer back to the last answer I gave in terms of what we're seeing is that we recognize that there are everything from project oriented users, there are small and medium sized businesses that utilize images and other assets, music video and so on, on a more regular basis. There are freelancers and then there are, if you would, large enterprises that are utilizing huge numbers of assets over -- on a daily basis.

And what we're doing is we're making sure that from our small and medium sized business products, our enterprise products, our team subscriptions as well as our individual users that we are providing them with the pricing and packaging that meets their needs on a fair value basis. And so we're not ever trying to be the lowest priced. We're trying to be the best value for the work and the projects that they're doing. And when we do that, we see high long-term values consistent with our return on investments that we've had history."

Asked about things that were working - or being tried - other than changing pricing, Jon had this to say:

"I mean if you look at our pages they change all the time. We're constantly updating them. If you look at the even the responsiveness of our core site, speed is way up. The site will feel snappier from page to page. That is our new platform at work. And we plan to get better and better, add things like site speed globally as we start to move that code to the edge in a more cloud based environment.'

Moving code to the edge in a more cloud based environment??? Is that what passes for technical conversation in the Empire State building? Perhaps someone is seeing a snappier site, but it certainly doesn't feel that way from the contributor side.

16
There is a link on the contributor home page to a forum topic on changes we'll see soon in the payment history page:

"As you know, we are investing heavily in upgrading the technology that powers Shutterstocks infrastructure, website, and mobile apps. As part of these ongoing system upgrades, you will begin to see changes to the Payment History page in the coming days. Youll see improvements to the design, and new options for customization have been added.
 
Were looking forward to sharing more improvements with you in the coming months.
 
Thanks for your continued contributions to Shutterstock."


I have no idea why they want to "improve" this page - and from the comments so far in the forum, I'm not the only one wondering why they're wasting time on such a low-use area. I posted my thoughts (for what good that will do) suggesting they should ask us what improvements we want versus just making them and assuming they'll delight us

https://forums.submit.shutterstock.com/topic/90730-coming-soon-refreshed-payment-history-page/?p=1606025


17
123RF / Decided to leave 123rf
« on: March 02, 2017, 11:36 »
Not sure when they'll actually pull the portfolio, but yesterday I asked 123rf to close my account.

I've been with them since 2005 (with a gap 2008-11 when I was exclusive at iStock) and in spite of my distaste for their new royalty scheme  (rolling 12 months credits total versus flat 50%), I figured I'd stay - to see if the promised huge growth in volume would occur. It didn't, and I've uploaded in batches up until last fall. Comparing sales of new files with how those fared at SS gave me a clue that uploading new work to 123rf wasn't going to make a difference - SS was selling them well. As an example, one remodeling image that sold 77 times so far on SS has sold twice at 123rf.

123rf sales have continued to drop (with a surprising upward blip in December to something like "normal") and on March 1st, the decline was such that I dipped to level 3 in the royalty tiers.

 I thought a bit about what to do and decided that I saw no reason that their failure to sell my portfolio should net them more money out of every sale. Seemed like a perverse incentive scheme I wanted no part of.

As I just (mid-December) re-joined Fotolia, I know what an agency with the ability to sell can do with the same files 123rf can't sell - about 10x what 123rf can manage.

I realize that no one who shops at 123rf will care about one contributor leaving, but I care about supporting bad business models - as in, I don't want to do that.

I'm still with Dreamstime, even though they're in a terrible free-fall as well, because they're not cutting my royalty rates as a result of their failures (my money totals are down as a result of volume decline, of course).

The old Ann Landers question "Are you better off with him or without him?" - I'm done.

18
Shutterstock.com / New Photoshop plugin for search and purchase
« on: September 08, 2016, 11:46 »
I received e-mail linked to this page

http://www.shutterstock.com/lp/adobe-photoshop-plugin-shutterstock

and there's a blog article here

http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/announcing-shutterstock-plugin-adobe-photoshop

Either they want to head Adobe Stock off at the pass or they're already seeing customer feedback that Adobe's integration is a key feature.

I'd have tried the plugin but I use Photoshop CS6 and the plugin is only for CC 2014 and 2015. I signed up for notification when it's available on other versions (smart move; it would have been smarter to ask which version the person was interested in so they could gather data on popularity at the same time)

Edited to add links to some blog/press coverage of this:

http://petapixel.com/2016/09/08/shutterstocks-new-photoshop-plugin-steps-adobe-stocks-toes/

https://www.dpreview.com/news/5332220717/shutterstock-adds-photoshop-cc-plugin

http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2016/09/08/shutterstocks-custom-built-plug-in-allows-for-photoshop-integration

http://resourcemagonline.com/2016/09/shutterstock-must-be-feeling-adobe-stock-announces-plugin-to-photoshop/70509/


20
Shutterstock updated its mobile contributor apps yesterday and added a new keywording feature

http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/shutterstocks-autotagging-feature-for-mobile-makes-tagging-a-breeze

I don't upload iPhone photos, but I was curious about the keywording help - pretty doubtful that it could really do a good job, but wanted to see.

So I did an experiment this morning uploading an iPhone  photo of bear poop in my driveway to see how the upload process went. The photo was in focus, taken in flat, bright overcast light, but was pretty unremarkable.

The keywords SS's app came up with looked as if they came from an auto-spam generator! Beautiful? Sea? Red? Travel?

I entered 15 or so keywords, submitted it and within 4 minutes, I had both the "thank you for your submission" and rejection e-mails (lighting and composition). I did attach a model release for my foot - there to provide scale - so it wasn't rejected for that :)



So SS has only the 7 current images of bear scat/poop/feces - there may not be much of a market for the subject matter :) I'm not bothered by the rejection but

(a) this was clearly fully automated - no human looked at this picture and
(b) if you aren't a native English speaker, relying on this keywording tool is risky. It clearly doesn't understand what it's looking at

I did think about uploading a flower picture - like the blog example - but couldn't imagine they'd actually approve a cell phone flower (or food) picture just because of the subject matter.

YMMV

21
I received e-mail from Getty this morning and over the next month or two they'll be removing the ability to edit keywords, titles or descriptions after acceptance. Perhaps more importantly, you won't be able to delete your own work any more - you'll have to contact support.

"Please note that we will only consider deactivating files for legal or similar justifiable reasons as it provides a negative experience for customers when files are suddenly unavailable for license. "

I've always considered the inability to delete my own files a pretty big red flag for any agency (after some bad experiences with now-defunct startups). I can live with Alamy's 6 month wait given their business model (and you don't have to justify anything, just wait).

Seems to me that Getty wants to sell at micro prices for rock bottom royalties but have all the red tape and restrictions of the higher priced macro business.

Contributor e-mails are now coming from e(dot)gettyimages(dot)com so if any of you use whitelists, you'll want to add that (an earlier piece of mail from them was ID'd as spam as I only had gettyimages(dot)com on the whitelist.

22
I missed this from last week:

http://investor.shutterstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251362&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2158740

They did put it into their blog - I wish they'd link to things like this from the contributor home page as well

http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/shutterstock-pr-newswire-partner-bring-companies-easy-access-photos

It's great that they're forming new partnerships and excellent that they'll be suggesting images based on keywords in the press release. What I wonder as a contributor is how we get compensated for the many times those press releases appear all over the place - I assume now with our photos in the redistributed release.

I know this isn't the first time this sort of thing has come up - syndicated articles with stock photos in them generally only net us one license, I think (I vaguely remember some discussion about this at iStock 5 or more years ago). Shouldn't we receive a larger royalty or some type of extended license when an image is going to be used by multiple publications as they "reprint" online the press release with one or more images?

From the press release:

"Shutterstock images are available for use at no cost to PR Newswire members with the purchase of any current photo distribution option."

So I assume the PR Newswire member pays extra for this photo distribution option, but what about compensation to the contributor?

Has anyone seen anything about the contributor end of this?

23
http://wherewestand.gettyimages.com/advocacy/?esource=2016_4_ALL_GI_GoogleComplaint_EN_SEG

I received e-mail about this from Getty. I don't see any articles about it yet.

I guess the earlier strategy of embracing sharing but trying to make money from it via the embedding in blogs for free, the Yahoo metadata deal or the Google Drive deal has been abandoned?

24
I went to PayPal this morning as 123rf and Pond5 had paid me and found that there was an unresolved "issue".

PayPal has placed a temporary hold - "   Inquiry by PayPal Temporary Hold". I clicked the Resolve button and most of the questions were about the shipping address I had sent the goods to as they thought the payment had come from someone other than Pond5 GmbH:

"You have received a payment that we believe may not have been authorized by
the PayPal account holder.  Here are the details of the transaction we are
investigating:"

They recommend that I don't ship the item :)

At the end of the resolution process I get to provide details about the transaction and I explained that Pond5 was a stock agency and they were paying me (as they have before) for licenses of my work. No physical goods involved and I couldn't understand why PayPal was so far off the mark in what was going on with this business. Surely there have been enough PayPal payments to contributors that they understand what's going on.

"This payment will remain on hold and unavailable to you until we complete
our investigation. We will email you when we complete our investigation."

So PayPal is demented and I don't get paid - lovely. It's a small amount (I don't sell much at Pond5) so it doesn't matter, but I wondered if this had happened to others or if it was just me

25
123RF / 123rf considering an IPO?
« on: March 01, 2016, 12:27 »
http://snip.ly/d4yyo#http://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/32367-123rf-32367/

What this would mean for contributors? Not clear, but based on the Shutterstock experience, nothing good would be my guess

Remember that Andy Sitt (123rf founder) is also an investor in Stock Unlimited - aiming to be the Spotify of visual content according to the article

https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/aiming-be-spotify-visual-content?page=1

He's apparently behind Designs.net and EasyDesign (anyone know anything about them?)

https://www.startupgrind.com/events/details/startup-grind-kuala-lumpur-presents-andy-sitt-123rf#/

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