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Author Topic: What happened?  (Read 14254 times)

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Ron

« on: February 25, 2014, 02:46 »
0
Quote
Symbiostock must coast for a while.
Success is relative, depending on how one measures it. I'm happy to see many people with their own sites. More and more people are gettings sales.

The expanse of the network has halted though, so I no longer have any way to maintain my involvement in it since that was my only means of profit. So I'm joining your ranks! I'm an illustrator again! YAAYYY!
To drop the load a bit, we're simply sending the little forum involvement we have back to MSG ( http://www.microstockgroup.com/symbiostock/ ) so I can give all of my focus to my customers again, designing mascots, promoting my own site...stuff you guys are familiar with.
I will not be available for quite a while, depending on how long it takes for things to get active again with Symbiostock. Meanwhile stock illustration has always been profitable, so I can fall back on that.
Not bad news...not amazing news. Its just news. Its almost boring actually...


Quote
Symbiostock.org Read Only
Symbiostock.org will be left open as a read-only reference once I get a chance to change settings, since it has quite a bit of good info. I cannot keep up these sites since they generate very, very little income. In fact, I will have to spend quite a bit of time bouncing back from Symbiostock development, since it required a heavy investment of time which did not show proper returns.



« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 03:42 »
+1
what? Is it no longer being developed? Did I choose to buy the wrong software  :-\

« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 03:59 »
+1
What?!  :o
Whose quote is it?

Ron

« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 04:04 »
0
Symbiostock news letter

« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 04:08 »
-2
I've never had a newsletter from them, only bought it a few months ago and now it's dead? What a waste of money!

« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 06:13 »
+1
Ron, you seem to be the only one who saw that message, was that the whole thing?

Flotsam - you mean creating your own site and being able to sell your own images directly to the customer at a price you choose is a waste of time.

« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 06:35 »
+1
If the project has folded and plugins are no longer going to be updated for security fixes or future versions of WP then yes I've wasted money on buying them and time on implementing them and should have purchased a different option.

« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 06:41 »
+1
This is strange. I can understand that Leo wants to move on but why drop everything without a notice? symbiostock.org all of a sudden out of the air, I know that costs money to upkeep but I can hardly believe the site is paid per day. Why didn't he give a notice on symbiostock.org that it was closing down and he was stopping?

Strange.

« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 06:55 »
0
The first words on Ron's post read

"Symbostock must coast for a while"

It looks to me, from what is written there that Leo needs to start earning a living again with his illustrations as Symbiostock is not paying off for him.  He has spent most of the last year or more working on it, not forgetting everyone he has helped setting up their sites and sorting out their site problems - most, if not al,l for free so I imagine he needs some income now.  The wording "Symbiostock must coast for a while" is hardly the same as saying the project is dead.  Normally when Leo writes something he writes quite a bit more so unless he was in a hurry I suspect the original text could have been a bit longer ?

I know how he feels, I have helped quite a few people out with their sites, and done it with pleasure, but when I am doing that I am not doing my own work and being self employed that means a loss.  This is why I have added a line to my signature now  :)

« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 08:06 »
+2
Ron, you seem to be the only one who saw that message, was that the whole thing?


I received it as well and I have to say I don't like these kind of surprises. Not a good form to communicate wanted changes.

« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 08:32 »
+1
I didn't get any kind of newsletter either, just noticed yesterday that the SYS forum was "down for maintenance." It's still down, and if Ron hadn't posted those quotations, I wouldn't have thought anything about it.

Ron, is there a date on those quotations? The name of a sender attached? Did they come from Leo? If so, when? It would help to know that.

We all greatly appreciate Leo's talent and what he's done for our little community. But the near-constant up-down-up-down instability is disconcerting, to say the least.

« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 08:41 »
0
I didn't get any kind of newsletter either, just noticed yesterday that the SYS forum was "down for maintenance." It's still down, and if Ron hadn't posted those quotations, I wouldn't have thought anything about it.

Ron, is there a date on those quotations? The name of a sender attached? Did they come from Leo? If so, when? It would help to know that.

We all greatly appreciate Leo's talent and what he's done for our little community. But the near-constant up-down-up-down instability is disconcerting, to say the least.

If you want to give me your email address by PM, I can forward the newsletter to you.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 08:44 by Redneck »

« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 08:50 »
+3
I got the news letter too (you had to resubscribe recently).  It sounds like he is taking I hiatus to earn some money and he also mentioned that he has been hired to develop the VAT plugin so I am guessing once developed someone will be offering that for sale. Probably a better route to go rather than the continuous improvements that we all request.  I hope Dennis can chime in with some clarification.

I am sorry to see the .org site disappear so suddenly. We were starting to get some momentum on the Twitter experiment and lost access to the list not to mention other resources

Ron

« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 09:12 »
0
Sorry,  thought everyone with a site would get the NL. Its dated today and here is the whole text.

I have no idea what happened, I have been out of the country since Friday and got back yesterday.

Quote
3 Updates. Symbiostock coasting, Vat Tax Plugin, Network site services

Symbiostock must coast for a while.
Success is relative, depending on how one measures it. I'm happy to see many people with their own sites. More and more people are gettings sales.

The expanse of the network has halted though, so I no longer have any way to maintain my involvement in it since that was my only means of profit. So I'm joining your ranks! I'm an illustrator again! YAAYYY!

To drop the load a bit, we're simply sending the little forum involvement we have back to MSG ( http://www.microstockgroup.com/symbiostock/ ) so I can give all of my focus to my customers again, designing mascots, promoting my own site...stuff you guys are familiar with.

I will not be available for quite a while, depending on how long it takes for things to get active again with Symbiostock. Meanwhile stock illustration has always been profitable, so I can fall back on that.

Not bad news...not amazing news. Its just news. Its almost boring actually...

But here is good news (next)
 

VAT Tax Plugin
 

As a parting project I've been hired to do a VAT Tax plugin. So far its wonderful. It actually fetches the user's information to minimize the form-filling work involved. This will be extremely useful to you people who require this in a transaction.

This is what happens:
   During checkout, user enters VAT Tax number.
   Plugin checks two online databases, returning all information on the customer, including address, business name, etc.
   Customer verfies this is correct, then completes sale.
   You and customer will both have necessary info for taxes.

This plugin is progressing nicely and should be available soon.
The ones who hired me to do it will have the greatest say in the features it has. So far its off to a great start and the most challenging to design features are already functional. Good news!
 
Site Services
Some of you for reasons of technology or workload are unable to completely run your own sites. It can be a learning curve, to say the least. Steve Cascoly has been setting up the means to do assisted hosting on Symbiostock sites. Its possible AJT will do the same, but I cannot speak for them. We are actually quite independent though we've been coordinated in designing features :)

If you are experienced in the areas of hosting and running a Symbiostock site, you may wish to help others set up as well, and monitor their sites, charging a modest monthly fee. The time they are saved in setting up and running a site will allow them to focus on the all-important product amount / quality necessary for customer conversion, and it should be a justifiable trade.

Symbiostock.org Read Only
Symbiostock.org will be left open as a read-only reference once I get a chance to change settings, since it has quite a bit of good info. I cannot keep up these sites since they generate very, very little income. In fact, I will have to spend quite a bit of time bouncing back from Symbiostock development, since it required a heavy investment of time which did not show proper returns.

In the Words of Doc Brown...
Who's seen Back to the Future II? Here's the closing script to the movie:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AtE54HpXBM
Jennifer: Doctor Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it's erased.
Doc: Of course it's erased!
Jennifer: But what does that mean?
Doc: It means your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one. Both of you.
Marty: We will, Doc!
Doc: Stand back! All right, boys, buckle up.
Marty: Hey, Doc! Where you going now? Back to the future?
Doc: Nope. Already been there.

Some of us are Martys, some of us are Doc Browns. But together we can change the future :D
I hope you can enjoy the results of having your own Stock Image websites, and we've all had a share in making it a reality. Give it time, and work, and soon you'll be glad you made the investment.

As one who's been there, its a sure thing.
Leo
 
 
 


Italic and bold as is from the NL

« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 09:18 »
+3
I got the news letter too (you had to resubscribe recently).  It sounds like he is taking I hiatus to earn some money and he also mentioned that he has been hired to develop the VAT plugin so I am guessing once developed someone will be offering that for sale. Probably a better route to go rather than the continuous improvements that we all request.  I hope Dennis can chime in with some clarification.

I am sorry to see the .org site disappear so suddenly. We were starting to get some momentum on the Twitter experiment and lost access to the list not to mention other resources

I received the newsletter as well. What I don't understand is why the Symbiostock forum had to be be closed. There is a huge amount of valuable information there not only for newcomers but also for existing owners who where trying to collectively push Symbiostock on twitter. What a pity   :(
 

Shelma1

« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2014, 09:36 »
+4
Hey gang,

I've start a Facebook group for Symbiostockers to communicate with one another.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1413060825613141/

And we still have Twitter, which is going along swimmingly. People are re-tweeting like crazy.

I've kept my site very simple, which seems to be working fine, and sales are picking up for me. In fact, I've had people get in touch to buy extended licenses and for custom work, which aren't even available on my site. And one microstock house has emailed to say they'd like to represent me. :)

« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2014, 09:43 »
0
Hey gang,

I've start a Facebook group for Symbiostockers to communicate with one another.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1413060825613141/

And we still have Twitter, which is going along swimmingly. People are re-tweeting like crazy.

I've kept my site very simple, which seems to be working fine, and sales are picking up for me. In fact, I've had people get in touch to buy extended licenses and for custom work, which aren't even available on my site. And one microstock house has emailed to say they'd like to represent me. :)

Congratulations! Those are great news!!

« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2014, 09:47 »
0
Michele's new FB page is off to a great start. What a fine idea that was!

OK, everybody, let's migrate over to

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1413060825613141/

and keep the conversation going.

« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2014, 10:58 »
+1
Speaking only for myself I don't believe the project is dead. Leo has been saying for some time now that he needs to get back to his own life. He also said that he would work on the project until it reached a stable version. To me this isn't news but I was surprised by the board being closed and moved here though.

I don't think this is the end but rather just a time to get on with our lives and build our sites.


Jo

« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 11:03 »
0
I got the newsletter last night and honestly have no clue what it means. I have asked to join the FB group though so we can chat there

« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 11:07 »
0
I do not use FB so sadly will now be out of the loop if everyone decides to take the discussion elsewhere

« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2014, 11:28 »
+2
Obviously, something happened with Leo behind the scenes. I'm working on it. Ill get back with you all later today.

« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2014, 12:16 »
+8
I don't understand the sudden decision to turn off the symbiostock.org site, we have been encouraged to have technical dissusions over there rather than MSGroup. Now those discussions are hidden.

Why not slightly delay hitting the off switch until figuring out the way to make it read only.

All this "drama" just leads potential site starters to wonder if this is legit and "fuels the fires" of symbio's many detractors who love to tear it down.


**Kudos to Leo for quickly restoring the other forum in read only mode so the valuable technical data is available again***
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 19:59 by lbarn »

« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2014, 13:07 »
+2
All this "drama" just leads potential site starters to wonder if this is legit and "fuels the fires" of symbio's many detractors who love to tear it down.

+1

If the growth of SYS sites has slowed in recent months, it may well be because the platform doesn't appear as stable and reliable as it once did.

And that's very sad, because there are now over 170 connected SYS sites with almost 250,000 images available through the network. Site owners report increasing sales. We have a fine Facebook page and an active Twitter community that supports one another's work. This should be the best of times for this endeavor.

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2014, 13:07 »
+17
This is my final post in MSG.



Symbiostock's greatest strenth is also its greatest weakness: Its mostly free.
 
 The most crucial and advanced features come in the basic free package. Some specialized features come in the optional packages.
 
 Many of you do not understand the developments that occur - some good, some bad, so today I'm going to write the final words on this subject before going back to illustration. I'm going to address you the same as I speak to the professionals behind closed doors, otherwise you will not fully understand the truth of why this project barely survives, although being quite loved by the majority of users. Forgive me if some of you are insulted.

Free and Open Source - Its greatest strength is it's greatest weakness


 For those of you who do not remember, the infamous Google deal that had spawned this project. It was the proverbial handwriting on the wall, evidence that our profession was deadly near to a close. That deal sent a multi-tiered message to people. Things have never been the same since.
 
 Symbiostock was started as a simple "life boat" system for when the big ships started to sink, or professionals could no longer work in Microstock. Symbiostock sites would form the alternative, theoretically. My site worked for me. Another one I had designed did great -- why not introduce the concept to the microstockers?

Yuri - Microstock Not Sustainable. "Professionals work with Professionals"

 
 "Professional" is a vague word, its definition varies among cultures. Yuri realized there was no future in the current agency system for professionals, and spoke concerning "professionals" making correct decisions, and was ridiculed for 20+ pages.
 
 Nonetheless, things taking shape, Symbiostock was seeming like a timely idea. Yet the culture that spit on Yuri would also be the downfall of the Symbiostock project.

Love it privately, hate it publically
 
 There are a few particularly strong voices which have slandered to this project to the point that people are afraid to get involved. These people know who they are. When things are going great, they are missing. When something goes wrong, they "vent" saying what a waste of time this has been. Their ignorance is their ally with their imagination being their main window to reality. The more extreme cases painted this out to be a scam. They killed it for everyone. They are like the virus that keeps the whole working body sick. Although the majority are happy, the angry have the loudest and most influential voice.
 
 You see, although I never expected to get rich, it was never expected that a project like this could be so badly misrepresented by angry entitled people that it would become almost completely a volunteer work. So even the modest income I made to support my work on this was killed. I had hoped to make this into a paying situation for the greatest supporters and developers. The problem is there are far too many agendas and distorted visions of this business, along with preconceptions on how things should be, vs what they are.
 
 
But for that silent, happy majority? ...
 
 The original invitation that started this entire project was this:
 
 "Open Source Platform For Selling Images: Authors and PHP Developers Wanted" ( http://www.microstockgroup.com/symbiost ... 8ced1532ae )
 
 Notice the title "Developers Wanted". The idea was that a good number of developers could get involved. Everything in this projected idea was achieved except the title. We have a few developers, but due to constraints we are all badly limited. Our work was dependent on growth, but growth is compromized due to distorted horror stories of Symbiostock involvement. Its almost as though the whole project was concieved with a virus in it -- microstock thinking.
 
 Many developers who get involved do not stick around. The ones we had at first were treated insolently and left. I'm happy for them.
 
"It looks like your only interested in getting more contributors..."
 
 This was the knife that entered my creative artery, and I gradually bled out. That was the day Symbistock died silently. I stumbled for a few weeks trying to get up again, but this was the end of it. After a year of trouble and drama creating Symbiostock, things had become stable enough where I might refine the main website and make good on my year's time/money investement.
 
 When I finally unveiled it, it was disappointment. People expected a mock-microstock site. What they saw was a queen bee for laying Symbistock eggs. And what came was the most hurtful accusation to date: "It looks like your only interested in getting more contributors..."
 
 People, how do developers profit on this? By getting comissions? A sense of making the world a better place? Symbistock is largely free. In the long-run it leaves the smallest financial footprint on a "contributor" of all Microstock and Direct-sell methods. The only way we (developers) could possibly profit on this is through expanse.
 
 Yet somehow despite that the ENTIRE purpose of Symbistock was to lay a giant catch-net for customers (and indeed it works) I was also expected to take my one income source and dedicate that to the network's customer base as well.
 
 While there have been some major attacks, this one was the worst, because this one got through the armor. It told me I was welcome as long as I worked for free.
 
The only way development continues
 AJT and Cascoly are the network's (development-related) unsung heros. If AJT held the same philosophy as many the network would not be connected. I would have loved nothing more than to pay them. But this project was engineered to be a perfect alterative at as small a financial investement as possible.
 
 The only way development will continue is through expanse. Photographers are a highly disadvantaged group. I can't keep making plugins for sale, and finding new ways to charge you. Illustrators have a great advantage, being much less competed against.
 
 I can see that there will be ways they can monetize this, and they are both very competent. Its my personal hope that they succeed greatly in their investments of time. I've given them permission to give the premium upgrade to those who hop onto their server space to take advantage of their expertise. That is how much I appreciate their work.
 
The Future
 Its not that I hate the network. Its as we stated. Its greatest strength is its greatest weakness. Its mostly free. Its also trafficked by a few angry who have the most distinct voice. My experience with Symbiostock is like pushing a rock up hill, where the hill gets steeper, and the rock gets bigger. And every ten paces or so one of a few angry people come out and shoot insults at me. The few projects I've tried to organize as a "community" were trolled and destroyed before one productive person got involved. The Twitter game was the only successful coordianted project of the 3 attempted.
 
 As you know I've been hired to do a plugin for VAT Tax. After that I will maintain Symbiostock with every Wordpress release.
 
Why we cannot keep these boards open
 I intend to keep this as read-only since it contains all needed reference. But having an open board is one more thing for me to monitor. Right now my time must be invested in the final plugin and doing illustration full time without distraction.
 
My Advantage is Your Advantage
 The strange irony of this is really something you should take home from this thread. The main reason I could afford to carry a project like this for a year on it's minute profit: Because of my own website. What am I going back to as a sure redemption from a year walking through the desert? Illustration, on my own website.
 
 The thing you have is the thing that I have, and the main advantage. We have our own website.
 
 This is only a small fraction of the issue regarding keeping this network afloat. For me its a dead-weight. But our individual websites are really the achievement. Perhaps a few of the people I have spoken to privately can expound.
 
 But the basic note is this:
 
 1. It was killed by angry people.
 2. It is easy to maintain on an individual level, which is why it has a future.
 3. I'll be back after I recover from a year of financial breakdown and stress.
 4. I'll update the theme to remove branding and correct issues that occur with Wordpress updates since that's only a few minutes work.
 5. There is a VAT Tax plugin on the way, well developed.
 6. Symbiostock was a pet project. But some pets bite and should be left in a cage.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 15:23 by Leo »


 

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