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Author Topic: 123rf sharing commissions with parent company Inmagine  (Read 19154 times)

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fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« on: October 30, 2014, 07:53 »
+37
Hello,

I did some research and found out that 123rf is also selling our images at their parent company Inmagine, even if "API partner sales" have been disabled.

After selling the image at Inmagine, first Inmagine takes a 40-50% royalty cut, before the "usual" royalty split at 123rf takes place.

For me it does not make sense, because both agencies belong to the same company.

The difference between the 40-50% comes from the currency exchange.

If a customer pays for example 10 USD for an image, the royalty split of Inmagine is 40%, but if a customer pays 10 Euro, Inmagine calculates with 10 USD, which in effect would lead to about 50% royalty cut.

I published more details in my blog in German:
http://www.alltageinesfotoproduzenten.de/2014/10/30/123rf-ernennt-mutterfirma-zur-partneragentur/

Sorry, I don't have the time to translate the entire article.
if anyboday wants to add details from the article here, please feel free to do so.

Best regards,
Robert
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 09:01 by fotorob »


Lightrecorder

« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 08:05 »
+4
Nice way to circumvent their own, already greedy, royalty structure and take 87.5% if you are at the lower tier. Shameful.

« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 08:08 »
+4
Thanks fotorob

« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 08:17 »
+26
"Kindly note, that we discovered a new way to screw you. But now, that you found us out, we will remove your images from our sister/cousin/mother-in-law site. After all there are still tens of thousands other photographers who don't know about this.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you need someone to tell you: "Go, f$ck yourself!" in many different, polite ways..."

« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 08:37 »
0
@Ploink
oh wow  ???  ;D

« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 08:42 »
+10
I can't believe this is happening.

Some people came up with this scenario jokingly as a "it will never happen" horror story but it seems that the agencies have stooped so low they really are systematically using other sites they own to fleece us even further; only giving us partner program royalties for sales from their own sites. First FL (when they tried to pretend DPC was a "partner"), now 123.

When does this go from just being despicable business practice actually become fraud?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 08:58 by Justanotherphotographer »

« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 08:48 »
+20
This is hilarious, much better than any scenario Joseph Heller could think up!!!

"Kindly note did Inmagine is our sister company THEREFORE it what not Considered a partner site. If you would like to have your portfolio removed from Inmagine, do let us know.

As for commissions received from sales via partner sites, kindly note did after our Partner Has taken Their percentage of the earnings, your commission will be shared with 123RF.
We hope this clarifies. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance Further. "


Translate:
123: they aren't a partner site, that's why you aren't opted out
contributor: then why are they taking a slice of the sale?
123: that's their part of their percentage as a partner site
contributor: but.....
123:yes?

« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 09:01 »
+5
And just yesterday i asked for my password again, to start submitting after a long break. Perhaps not...

« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2014, 09:06 »
0
How do you know if something has sold through Inmagine?

« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2014, 09:08 »
+1
He did a test purchase

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 09:43 »
+13
He did a test purchase

Yes, we did several test purchases.

And just to serve justice: I did not found out by myself, another photographer informed me and then I did the resesarch.

fujiko

« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 09:54 »
+2
Schrdinger's partnership!!!  ::)

« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2014, 10:10 »
+24
I have opted out of distribution deals everywhere that I can - including 123rf. My images are at Inmagine in the "value" collection. I read the Google translation of your article (a bit rough but one can get the gist) - thanks for posting a link to it.

I'm going to contact 123rf support to request that either they pay me 45% (my rate) of the Inmagine sale price or remove my files from Inmagine.

This is beyond scummy and the fact that there are two corporate entities involved only gives them legal protection from this being fraud. It's despicable and immoral behavior.

They should be ashamed of themselves for (a) not notifying contributors that their work will appear on other sites owned by 123rf even if they opt out of partner sales, (b) posting information about the royalty rate sharing in the earnings chart on the site, and (c) not offering an explicit opt out in the UI

Shame on you 123rf

Lightrecorder

« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2014, 10:26 »
+1
This is hilarious, much better than any scenario Joseph Heller could think up!!!

"Kindly note did Inmagine is our sister company THEREFORE it what not Considered a partner site. If you would like to have your portfolio removed from Inmagine, do let us know.

As for commissions received from sales via partner sites, kindly note did after our Partner Has taken Their percentage of the earnings, your commission will be shared with 123RF.
We hope this clarifies. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance Further. "


Translate:
123: they aren't a partner site, that's why you aren't opted out
contributor: then why are they taking a slice of the sale?
123: that's their part of their percentage as a partner site
contributor: but.....
123:yes?
Sums it up.

« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2014, 11:02 »
+2
Amusing link from the point where Sean Locke was considering selling via Inmagine and was promised no distribution and no subscriptions:

http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-macrostock/inmagine-comments/msg321488/#msg321488

Comments in that post say that the 123rf images sold for a flat $16 (which isn't he case any more).

« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2014, 11:18 »
+4
By uploading to any microstock agency you agree that they can do whatever they want with your images because they do not care about you, there are thousands of other that are willing to these terms. Contributors have no power to change that and maybe it is time to quit if somebody have a problem with this situation. Do not expect that any new agency would be knight on white horse and help contributors. They are starting business to make money by any means possible. Nowadays companies are only ethical if they are force to be by law.

« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2014, 11:40 »
+1
I miss 0,34 $  to get out of this (months and sales are sooo slooowww)... don't know what to say here...

Some people say - welcome to the micros world.
I say - goodbye micros for good!

No more wasting my time and nerves for you to earn on it. Sad.

« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2014, 11:51 »
+3
Another one bites the dust.  Thank you Rob for exposing this scam.  Is there any micro company that actually has sales who is above these shady dealings?

« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2014, 12:42 »
+5
Shutterstock and pond5 have been free of the back door deals so far. dreamstime has a good reputation as well.

Thank you Robert for letting us know.

Ed

« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2014, 12:46 »
+1
This is nothing new...a few years ago I discovered...

  • 123RF is porting images to Inmagine in their "value collection".
  • The same contributor that I discovered was also uploading the same image directly to Inmagine (priced at a higher price on their website).
  • The same contributor that I discovered was also uploading their image to Alamy, which uses Inmagine as a distribution partner.

Essentially, that same image was on Inmagine's website 3 times priced 2 different ways  :o

Edited to add: Inmagine has a strict policy for their direct contributors stating outright they cannot upload the same images there that are uploaded to microstock...and if it is discovered this is occuring they will terminate the contributors account [irony]
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 12:49 by Ed »

« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2014, 12:49 »
+3
This is nothing new...a few years ago I discovered...

The thing I don't think any of us were aware of is the parent company skimming off the top before calculating our royalties

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2014, 12:50 »
+9
This is nothing new...a few years ago I discovered...

@Ed: It's true that it was known that 123rf images can be found in the "Value" collection of Inmagine.

It was - as far as I know - not known that Inmagine takes a 40-50% of each sale, before 123rf takes its cut.

« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2014, 13:27 »
+2
The companies should split their take among partners or not so partners as the case may be. (so say 123RF takes 60%, they can split that however they want with the partners - and if there are more than one, they can choose how they split it all up). Instead we get this - how about inmagine then selling the pics back on 123RF and skimming another 60% off the top again (or whatever level they do) - and then 123 could put them back on inmagine - I am sure they could get the contributor royalty down under 1%. 

I wonder who else is doing this?

« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2014, 14:46 »
0

So, hypothetically, what is the true royalty on an Inmagine sale for an image uploaded to 123RF? I'm supposed to be getting 50% on a $10 sale. Is it 50% after Inmagine takes their 50%?

Help me out, here, I'm a little mathematically challenged. :) Hence why I stopped studying Engineering in college and got into the art program instead.

« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2014, 14:47 »
+3
Just finished a live chat with them. They said they will reply to it here on MSG.

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2014, 14:50 »
+3
So, hypothetically, what is the true royalty on an Inmagine sale for an image uploaded to 123RF? I'm supposed to be getting 50% on a $10 sale. Is it 50% after Inmagine takes their 50%?

If your royalty rate at 123rf is 50%, you get 50% of 50%, means: 25%.

(please note that Inmagine officially talks about 40%, that depends on the currency the customer buys the image with)

« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2014, 15:36 »
+15
Thank you, Robert, for sharing this information! It is a scandal and actually requires a response from us contributors.

« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2014, 16:02 »
+1
Shutterstock and pond5 have been free of the back door deals so far. dreamstime has a good reputation as well.


I agree with the above statement, except that for stills, Pond5 hardly sells anything.  So that leaves SS and DT.  Anyone can make a living with just SS and DT? 

« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2014, 16:09 »
-9
you still have fotolia,photodune,bigstockphoto. Photodune is very good, sales are increasing there.

i dont upload to canstockphoto, how is that page?

« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2014, 18:01 »
+6
you still have fotolia,photodune,bigstockphoto. Photodune is very good, sales are increasing there.

i dont upload to canstockphoto, how is that page?

Fotolia???? I trust this isn't meant to be a list of places that don't fleece you.

dpimborough

« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2014, 18:12 »
+1
Shutterstock and pond5 have been free of the back door deals so far. dreamstime has a good reputation as well.


I agree with the above statement, except that for stills, Pond5 hardly sells anything.  So that leaves SS and DT.  Anyone can make a living with just SS and DT?

That leaves SS iStock Bigstock and Alamy in my view. They account for 80% of my earnings  ;D

The rest them are a waste of oxygen  :o


dpimborough

« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2014, 18:13 »
+2
you still have fotolia,photodune,bigstockphoto. Photodune is very good, sales are increasing there.

i dont upload to canstockphoto, how is that page?

Photodune?? Only if you can get them to accept images and then their returns are rubbish :(

« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2014, 18:48 »
+4
Shutterstock and pond5 have been free of the back door deals so far. dreamstime has a good reputation as well.


I agree with the above statement, except that for stills, Pond5 hardly sells anything.  So that leaves SS and DT.  Anyone can make a living with just SS and DT?

That leaves SS iStock Bigstock and Alamy in my view. They account for 80% of my earnings  ;D

The rest them are a waste of oxygen  :o

I thought BigStock was in hot water for lower sub rates than SS to everyone who isn't in Bridge program...?

« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2014, 19:48 »
0
I left BigStock when they refused to let me opt out of lowball subs (I wasn't in the bridge program). Fotolia refused to have me back when I left exclusivity. I'm with PhotoDune but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone new

« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2014, 21:23 »
-10
Hi everyone,

I've been following the thread and I hope I would be given the opportunity to jump in and clarify a few matters.

Yes, you're right to view Inmagine as a sister or parent company, whose main product are PREMIUM RM and RF images and have the same shareholders. However, that's where the similarities end -  Inmagine and 123RF do not share manpower, infrastructure, sales or marketing budgets, marketing activities, strategies etc.

Being experienced contributors, you would understand that every business is carried out differently - Inmagine's target audience are customers of a different segment with different needs. With 123RF, we're largely a self-serve, pay before you consume, volume based sales approach. While Inmagine has longer sales cycles, heavily reliant on relationship based sales, requires a lot of extensive image research, travelling and pitching before a client finally gets on board and the customer care that entails after the sale is very protracted, a lot of manual invoicing, mailing and follow up is required even if only a single image was sold.  A majority of Inmagine's customers demand credit terms ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. This is because, Inmagine's own customers (the agencies themselves) have to be paid beforehand. Once they're paid then only Inmagine gets paid.

However, the 123RF Partner Reseller API (the bridge between 123RF and Inmagine) immediately registers a sale whenever Inmagine records an image purchase. 123RF is then committed to pay the commissions to you regardless of the ability of Inmagine to collect payment with credit terms mentioned above.

The image that I'm trying to paint here is:
1. Inmagine's cost of sales is very much different from 123RF's. It's a lot more involved - client visits and servicing are imperative to the business.
2. Inmagine's undertaking of RISK is also very much higher because there is a significant chance that clients might default or even go bust before payments are collected. This is a very real risk during bad economic downturns when a large number of agencies stopped operating.
3. 123RF has to pay commissions upon record of sale and charge Inmagine immediately, but Inmagine has to take a long time to recover the sales as Imagine have to abide by the credit terms given.
4. Inmagine and 123RF are incorporated in different parts of the world, we cannot "merge" the accounting systems between the 2 companies as easily as some might think.

With the 4 points above, I hope you can somewhat relate that we are unable treat the businesses as a single entity. Inmagine has to retain that margin because of a larger cost of sale required to sustain its business. Please also note that we feel that Inmagine should retain itself as an API Partner Reseller because we believe that every sale we can fight for our contributors and keep it within the community would be beneficial and count towards your earnings.

Thanks for lending us your ears.

Alex
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 21:38 by alex123rf »

« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2014, 21:42 »
+16
Hi everyone,

I've been following the thread and I hope I would be given the opportunity to jump in and clarify a few matters.

Yes, you're right to view Inmagine as a sister or parent company, whose main product are PREMIUM RM and RF images and have the same shareholders. However, that's where the similarities end -  Inmagine and 123RF do not share manpower, infrastructure, sales or marketing budgets, marketing activities, strategies etc.

Being experienced contributors, you would understand that every business is carried out differently - Inmagine's target audience are customers of a different segment with different needs. With 123RF, we're largely a self-serve, pay before you consume, volume based sales approach. While Inmagine has longer sales cycles, heavily reliant on relationship based sales, requires a lot of extensive image research, travelling and pitching before a client finally gets on board and the customer care that entails after the sale is very protracted, a lot of manual invoicing, mailing and follow up is required even if only a single image was sold.  A majority of Inmagine's customers demand credit terms ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. This is because, Inmagine's own customers (the agencies themselves) have to be paid beforehand. Once they're paid then only Inmagine gets paid.

However, the 123RF Partner Reseller API (the bridge between 123RF and Inmagine) immediately registers a sale whenever Inmagine records an image purchase. 123RF is then committed to pay the commissions to you regardless of the ability of Inmagine to collect payment with credit terms mentioned above.

The image that I'm trying to paint here is:
1. Inmagine's cost of sales is very much different from 123RF's. It's a lot more involved - client visits and servicing are imperative to the business.
2. Inmagine's undertaking of RISK is also very much higher because there is a significant chance that clients might default or even go bust before payments are collected. This is a very real risk during bad economic downturns when a large number of agencies stopped operating.
3. 123RF has to pay commissions upon record of sale and charge Inmagine immediately, but Inmagine has to take a long time to recover the sales as Imagine have to abide by the credit terms given.
4. Inmagine and 123RF are incorporated in different parts of the world, we cannot "merge" the accounting systems between the 2 companies as easily as some might think.

With the 4 points above, I hope you can somewhat relate that we are unable treat the businesses as a single entity. Inmagine has to retain that margin because of a larger cost of sale required to sustain its business. Please also note that we feel that Inmagine should retain itself as an API Partner Reseller because we believe that every sale we can fight for our contributors and keep it within the community would be beneficial and count towards your earnings.

Thanks for lending us your ears.

Alex

Can we opt out? I don't like being misled and having other contributors "discover" the inequity and only then is it addressed. I'd prefer to not have my work on that site.

« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2014, 22:13 »
+38
How about Inmagine takes their %50, and the contributor gets the rest, as they are doing all the work, from your description.

« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2014, 22:33 »
+45
I don't buy this - I understand it, but it's just not relevant to the royalties we should be paid. The fact that you weren't up front with this arrangement suggests something less than fair, reasonable and ethical - why wasn't this all spelled out in the royalty chart and contributor agreement?

I don't want to argue the details of the costs of the two sites because I don't have the data to do so, however I do not want to participate in these operations where one company gets two bites of the buyer's money before I get any. I want to opt my images out of this deal - I'm already opted out of the API partner deals.

I would suggest that you offer an opt out in the UI so that contributors can know what's going on and choose what to do. If you can't do that, I want my images removed in whatever way you can - I can remove them, but I'd rather not do that if there's something less drastic that can be done.

Switching away from a flat 50% royalty was the first profit-fattening move 123rf made. Now this secret arrangement to bypass the partner opt out and take two chunks out of the image price before paying contributors is a second profit-fattening move. I can see why you like it, but can't you see why the people who create what you sell feel shortchanged and abused by this?

objowl

« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2014, 23:26 »
0
+1

« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2014, 00:39 »
+1
If this is treated as part of the Partner program will opting out of it remove your photos from Inmagine?

« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2014, 00:58 »
+22
Please give us an opt out from inmagine and otherwise make it clear in your royalty structure that commission received is much lower if it comes from inmagine.

You are treating inmagine as a partner royaltywise, so opting out of partner deals should automatically remove all files from inmagine.

If it doesnt, we need an additional opt out.

I am so tired of all these sneaky back door deals. Do the agencies really believe we will never find out?


« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2014, 01:28 »
+16
If you are sister companies and the same shareholders share the revenue, the distribution should be 50% for the contributor, 25% for Inmagine, 25% for 123RF. That way the books are kept apart tidily, the contributors get their fair share, and the shareholders end up with the 50% they should get.

But you weren't really after a fair distribution, were you? Ah *... I am so tired of this crap.


fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2014, 02:18 »
+20
Sorry, I don't buy it, Alex.

1. You claim Inmagine to be an API Partner Reseller, but offer the 123rf images even if the "API Partners" have been disabled.

2. Even when I found out, you offered to remove the images from the Inmagine search results, but NOT from the site.

3. You claim that it can happen very often that an Inmagine customer doesn't pay. When we did our research, the only payment options have been Paypal and credit card. Paypal offers upfront payment and same goes for most credit cards (if it is not a stolen one).

4. Given that it's true that many of your customers don't seem to pay, should photographers be worried who send their images to Inmagine directly?

5. If you need more manpower and two different bookkeeping systems and back offices, even though 123rf and Inmagine belong to the same company, that's your "problem", not one of yours.

Lightrecorder

« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2014, 02:19 »
+13
Hi Everyone,

We understand your concern and I am glad to report that in the next few days, we will no longer feature your portfolio at any API Partner Reseller site, if you have opted out from the Partner Reseller program.

Thank you,

Alex.

I love it how you offer an opt out, but refuse to change the royalty structure which is the actual scam.

You explanation of the cost is a lot of  :'( as if you are feeling sorry for yourself you are in this business. Talking about risk if a customer defaults. Are you for real? So its ok to take 87.5% for all the work you have to do. How do you think the image is being created? For free? You leave the person doing the actual work with 12,5%. How do you sleep at night, greedy %$&^%.

« Reply #45 on: October 31, 2014, 02:19 »
+4

We understand your concern and I am glad to report that in the next few days, we will no longer feature your portfolio at any API Partner Reseller site, if you have opted out from the Partner Reseller program.

I just wonder and still can't imagine, how come people didn't know about it? Why it looks like some secret and then suddenly boom and oops?!  ::)
Where did you write about % details so your contributors know what they are accepting?

« Reply #46 on: October 31, 2014, 02:42 »
+6
Hi everyone,

I've been following the thread and I hope I would be given the opportunity to jump in and clarify a few matters.

Yes, you're right to view Inmagine as a sister or parent company, whose main product are PREMIUM RM and RF images and have the same shareholders. However, that's where the similarities end -  Inmagine and 123RF do not share manpower, infrastructure, sales or marketing budgets, marketing activities, strategies etc.

Being experienced contributors, you would understand that every business is carried out differently - Inmagine's target audience are customers of a different segment with different needs. With 123RF, we're largely a self-serve, pay before you consume, volume based sales approach. While Inmagine has longer sales cycles, heavily reliant on relationship based sales, requires a lot of extensive image research, travelling and pitching before a client finally gets on board and the customer care that entails after the sale is very protracted, a lot of manual invoicing, mailing and follow up is required even if only a single image was sold.  A majority of Inmagine's customers demand credit terms ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. This is because, Inmagine's own customers (the agencies themselves) have to be paid beforehand. Once they're paid then only Inmagine gets paid.

However, the 123RF Partner Reseller API (the bridge between 123RF and Inmagine) immediately registers a sale whenever Inmagine records an image purchase. 123RF is then committed to pay the commissions to you regardless of the ability of Inmagine to collect payment with credit terms mentioned above.

The image that I'm trying to paint here is:
1. Inmagine's cost of sales is very much different from 123RF's. It's a lot more involved - client visits and servicing are imperative to the business.
2. Inmagine's undertaking of RISK is also very much higher because there is a significant chance that clients might default or even go bust before payments are collected. This is a very real risk during bad economic downturns when a large number of agencies stopped operating.
3. 123RF has to pay commissions upon record of sale and charge Inmagine immediately, but Inmagine has to take a long time to recover the sales as Imagine have to abide by the credit terms given.
4. Inmagine and 123RF are incorporated in different parts of the world, we cannot "merge" the accounting systems between the 2 companies as easily as some might think.

With the 4 points above, I hope you can somewhat relate that we are unable treat the businesses as a single entity. Inmagine has to retain that margin because of a larger cost of sale required to sustain its business. Please also note that we feel that Inmagine should retain itself as an API Partner Reseller because we believe that every sale we can fight for our contributors and keep it within the community would be beneficial and count towards your earnings.

Thanks for lending us your ears.

Alex

Well, you are making a point for why macrostock images are priced significantly higher than microstock. So why are you selling high-res images at $10 through Inmagine then? I somehow doubt that you can pay many client visits and image research from then additional $5 you take out of this. How about pricing those images at $50 - $500 like all other macrostock images you are selling on Inmagine? Because as you say, the higher price is not justified by the images themselves but because of all the additional services and risks you are taking. I might consider it a good idea if you start selling my images for $50 up and might agree that you take a higher share out of those sales for the additional customer services you are providing.

« Reply #47 on: October 31, 2014, 02:50 »
+6
Oh, just another little note: How do the higher cost and risk involved would affect the copyright holders' right to be credited for the images he/she produces?

I can't see why removing the copyright notices from the image is somewhat a requirement to provide client visits and image research, is it?

« Reply #48 on: October 31, 2014, 02:56 »
+5
Well, you are making a point for why macrostock images are priced significantly higher than microstock. So why are you selling high-res images at $10 through Inmagine then? .....


Few months ago I asked InMagine about selling direct. Here's what they said:

"Photos are submitted on a non-exclusive basis. You may submit and continue to sell your photos to other websites and stock photo agencies. However, do take note that under the Inmagine Contributor Agreement, you should not license your photos at a lower price elsewhere."

Sounds interesting, huh? For me it's pretty messy thing in 123RF API case.



Edit. By accident I've just found this:

http://www.microstockgroup.com/123royaltyfree-com/my-pictures-on-inmagine-without-reference-to-my-name/


Looks like nothing changed for 3 years (or more?).

« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 03:33 by Ariene »

« Reply #49 on: October 31, 2014, 03:14 »
+20
Bitterly disappointing Alex. Do you believe this setup (with lack of communication) to be ethical? Its all these silent deals that is making microstock a joke to work in, and ive already started the transition out. I just removed my RM folio from inmagine. My micro images will be removed from 123RF in the coming months. For me personally it all boils down to fairness and trust, both of which are clearly redundant here.

« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2014, 05:23 »
+25
We have to help carry the higher risks and costs, Alex, but we do not participate in the possibly higher profits but get less money?  Do you think, we are stupid?

« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2014, 06:59 »
+10
Thanks for this info, Robert. I'm not sure if I'll continue uploading there. SS, iStock, FT and DT are around 90% of my monthly earnings anyway and I don't have to deal with this if I don't want to.

« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2014, 07:30 »
+6
Downplaying honesty in business practices :)
Because it's internet base? honesty is unnecessary? you think you can get away? because there is unlimited supply of contents and contributors? oh so nice, that sensation feeling of "too big to fail" you guys can sit back n relax, losing few contributors doesn't affect a thing.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 07:33 by Open_ »

« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2014, 07:58 »
0
Hi Everyone,

We understand your concern and I am glad to report that in the next few days, we will no longer feature your portfolio at any API Partner Reseller site, if you have opted out from the Partner Reseller program.

Thank you,

Alex.

Hi Alex,
Just to be clear. inimage is now considered an api partner and the only way to opt out from them is to opt out from all?

« Reply #54 on: October 31, 2014, 08:20 »
+33
I have been reading this forum for several years, finally decided to register.

Although I'm overfilled with bad feelings I want to be as constructive as possible.

First of all - 123rf rep [Alex] - pls stop telling us about your expenses. Every image that automagically appears on Inmagine has expenses too. There is no agency that has a spare second to listen about our expenses.

I have a few practical questions/suggestions to 123rf/Inmagine rep:

1. Pls provide us with step-by-step instructions for the opt-out procedure. This procedure should not just simply exclude our images from your search, but will make our works no longer a part of your database.

2. Pls answer a simple question:
if an Inmagine customer pays 10 USD for a file uploaded by 123rf contributor - how much 123rf contributor will get?
Pls be accurate. Just numbers. Exclude "it depends" - provide all dependencies.
Or a table with all variants. This is our money too.

3. Finally, the question of trust. I want my sales stats on Inmagine. I want to evaluate my losses. Date, file ID, sale price, my earnings. Many of us have IT background, so don't tell this is a complex query. It is trivial. Give us step-by-step instructions of how to request and finally get these numbers.

Rebuilding the reputation and trust is a tough job.
123rep, pls start with answers for these three practical questions.

« Reply #55 on: October 31, 2014, 09:16 »
+26
My dear Alex,

we probably do not uderstand each other. Our concern is this:

1) WHY do you try to cheat and do not fully and openly disclose your business? Photographers and agencies should be partners. If you (agencies) do not accept this fact and try to cheat and screw us all the time, it will backfire. Look at iStock now or what happened with Fotolia DPC.

2) We understand you have costs. We also have costs. Please, keep in mind, that if your "business partner" (as you call it) has some problem with payments or costs, its solely THEIR problem! We authors agreed to 50 % of openly stated price. We DID NOT agree to some tricks with currency or participation in some non-disclosed and suspicious contracts. We also did not agree to cover extra costs (or pay extra profit) of your business partner from our share!

3) We are all very tired of these politically correct business talks, which are just trying to hide the fact, that you simply screwed us. We saw such things many times and believe me, we are pretty fed up with such non-ethical and greedy approach.   

« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2014, 12:15 »
+10
As expressed by others, too Alex' reply doesn't address the issues raised by Rob and others.

- Providing an opt out would address any undesired consequences of this 'deal', but does not solve the issue that caused it, nor the breach of trust by not sharing this information / intention in advance.
- Neglecting the currency exchange rate between Euro and Dollar prior to calculating royalties seems to be nothing more than wiggling out of paying contributors a few cents more. If this is the case, it's very poor practice.

I'm also curious to hear if these Inmagine sales also count towards the dreaded contributor levels and credit targets, and to what extend.

I think some etiquette in announcing deals prior to implementing them are in order here. Agency upon agency is loosing face when a contributor finds out about these shady constructions. I'm not arguing all deals are shady or bad, and there might be a logical, plausible and fully acceptable explanation. Either way, the only way to save face is to take control of the situation, and either fess up, or provide the genuine, credible and undiluted intentions behind it, please.

Kudos to Rob for finding out!


Kudos to Rob!

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2014, 13:48 »
+8
Kudos to Rob for finding out!

Thanks, but the credit is due to another German photographer who noticed that it could be an issue, he reported it in my - now closed - German stock photography forum and we did some research based on that. I only published the results.

« Reply #58 on: November 01, 2014, 06:18 »
+17
I opted out of 123RF API reseller option many months ago.  Dismayed to find that my images are selling (even a minute ago) from the Inimagine site.  :(

Well, 123RF make up your mind - are they your same company OR API resellers???  They can't be both depending on your convenience!

At the very least, and as a faith-restoring measure, it would suit you best to add credit at the 123RF commission rate for all sales made at Inimagine where contributors have been underpaid up to now.  Once the past mess has been cleared up - provide the contributors with a clear option to opt in or out from Inimagine, just as you do for all API reseller sites.  At the time we upload to 123RF it is with the trust (Hah!) and belief that our work is handled with due respect.  Please don't punish us for backing and supporting your business with our work !

« Reply #59 on: November 01, 2014, 14:41 »
+8
@123RF

i think it is cashback time.
It is of course this settlement to end.
But only stop is not enough. You can not just build crap and if you get caught say ok sorry.
I think it's the least the loss of income to report.

« Reply #60 on: November 01, 2014, 17:41 »
+13
I just read the thread and immediately opted out from the Partner Reseller program!
I'm seriously concidering removing my portfolio from 123!  >:(

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #61 on: November 01, 2014, 18:57 »
-11
That's fair and I'm glad you all fixed this issue. It demonstrates a measure of fairness.

Hi Everyone,

We understand your concern and I am glad to report that in the next few days, we will no longer feature your portfolio at any API Partner Reseller site, if you have opted out from the Partner Reseller program.

Thank you,

Alex.

« Reply #62 on: November 01, 2014, 20:14 »
+11
i dont like to leave any agency but 123, kozzi and deposit i stop and delete all my stuff. Do not like to be robbed.

« Reply #63 on: November 02, 2014, 03:14 »
+1
That's fair and I'm glad you all fixed this issue. It demonstrates a measure of fairness.

Hi Everyone,

We understand your concern and I am glad to report that in the next few days, we will no longer feature your portfolio at any API Partner Reseller site, if you have opted out from the Partner Reseller program.

Thank you,

Alex.


Good (black) joke! :)

« Reply #64 on: November 02, 2014, 03:56 »
+3
Sorry, I don't buy it, Alex.

1. You claim Inmagine to be an API Partner Reseller, but offer the 123rf images even if the "API Partners" have been disabled.

2. Even when I found out, you offered to remove the images from the Inmagine search results, but NOT from the site.

3. You claim that it can happen very often that an Inmagine customer doesn't pay. When we did our research, the only payment options have been Paypal and credit card. Paypal offers upfront payment and same goes for most credit cards (if it is not a stolen one).

4. Given that it's true that many of your customers don't seem to pay, should photographers be worried who send their images to Inmagine directly?

5. If you need more manpower and two different bookkeeping systems and back offices, even though 123rf and Inmagine belong to the same company, that's your "problem", not one of yours.


Yep, and that's fraud, time to bring forth the suited men. Also whoever is the alex123 nick, was the one who did the lying, and is personally responsible, and will be held responsible. It is recorded here. "I was told to this and that by my boss" won't cut it.

PureArt

  • UK
« Reply #65 on: November 02, 2014, 11:09 »
+19
...
However, the 123RF Partner Reseller API (the bridge between 123RF and Inmagine) immediately registers a sale whenever Inmagine records an image purchase. 123RF is then committed to pay the commissions to you regardless of the ability of Inmagine to collect payment with credit terms mentioned above.
...

Alex,

I have about 25 years of IT experience. And I can not understand: why can't you update the API of your system to reflect the actual sales?!

If the API shows wrong results - just force your programmers to change the API. It is a matter of several days, including the final tests.

The API is not something given by gods in a form of stone plate with a holy text (when you can not and must not change it). It is your API and you have 100% control over it.

So, please, do not think we are stupid. If API works this way, that it because you developed it this way by your plan.

P.S.

The problem now is the same as with Dollar Photo Club: It is not enough to add an "opt out" button. Because some of photographers do not know about this 123RF scam. Now 123RF must notify all the contributors (via the site and newsletter) about this new "opt out" button (once it is created). Otherwise we again will need to create a boycott site (like that one against fotolia scam), notify the contributors around the World etc., etc., etc.

« Reply #66 on: November 02, 2014, 16:32 »
+8
this is big fat lie and only thing you deserve is the maximum penalty, closing our accounts!

I expect an apology and changes in 30 days!



Hi everyone,

I've been following the thread and I hope I would be given the opportunity to jump in and clarify a few matters.

Yes, you're right to view Inmagine as a sister or parent company, whose main product are PREMIUM RM and RF images and have the same shareholders. However, that's where the similarities end -  Inmagine and 123RF do not share manpower, infrastructure, sales or marketing budgets, marketing activities, strategies etc.

Being experienced contributors, you would understand that every business is carried out differently - Inmagine's target audience are customers of a different segment with different needs. With 123RF, we're largely a self-serve, pay before you consume, volume based sales approach. While Inmagine has longer sales cycles, heavily reliant on relationship based sales, requires a lot of extensive image research, travelling and pitching before a client finally gets on board and the customer care that entails after the sale is very protracted, a lot of manual invoicing, mailing and follow up is required even if only a single image was sold.  A majority of Inmagine's customers demand credit terms ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. This is because, Inmagine's own customers (the agencies themselves) have to be paid beforehand. Once they're paid then only Inmagine gets paid.

However, the 123RF Partner Reseller API (the bridge between 123RF and Inmagine) immediately registers a sale whenever Inmagine records an image purchase. 123RF is then committed to pay the commissions to you regardless of the ability of Inmagine to collect payment with credit terms mentioned above.

The image that I'm trying to paint here is:
1. Inmagine's cost of sales is very much different from 123RF's. It's a lot more involved - client visits and servicing are imperative to the business.
2. Inmagine's undertaking of RISK is also very much higher because there is a significant chance that clients might default or even go bust before payments are collected. This is a very real risk during bad economic downturns when a large number of agencies stopped operating.
3. 123RF has to pay commissions upon record of sale and charge Inmagine immediately, but Inmagine has to take a long time to recover the sales as Imagine have to abide by the credit terms given.
4. Inmagine and 123RF are incorporated in different parts of the world, we cannot "merge" the accounting systems between the 2 companies as easily as some might think.

With the 4 points above, I hope you can somewhat relate that we are unable treat the businesses as a single entity. Inmagine has to retain that margin because of a larger cost of sale required to sustain its business. Please also note that we feel that Inmagine should retain itself as an API Partner Reseller because we believe that every sale we can fight for our contributors and keep it within the community would be beneficial and count towards your earnings.

Thanks for lending us your ears.

Alex

« Reply #67 on: November 02, 2014, 17:07 »
+9
Oh a 30 days countdown is a nice idea i think  >:(.

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #68 on: November 03, 2014, 07:13 »
+2
Now four days have passed since Alex from 123rf told us that they change the system.

Has anybody checked if their images disappeared from the Inmagine website after they unchecked the "API partner" box?

I cannot check it because my images already have been deleted (probably manually) at Inmagine...

« Reply #69 on: November 03, 2014, 08:28 »
+1
Has anybody checked if their images disappeared from the Inmagine website after they unchecked the "API partner" box?
My images are disappeared.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #70 on: November 03, 2014, 09:53 »
+17
It's utterly insane to put the burden of the risk on OUR shoulders, by taking a bite out of our profits to cover your expenses and possibly losses for sales that don't follow through.
You come here explaining the situation but you're playing the 'please feel sorry for us, it's a tough business' card while you seem to forget (or rather, neglect) that we have expenses too, and we're taking as much risks as you are.

In the past few years almost every agency in this microstock industry has pulled some kind of trick on us, because apparently it's easy to deceive contributors. You think you can get away with dishonesty, unfairplay and deceit but in reality you're destroying the industry, and our trust.

It's absolutely disgusting to see how businesses like 123RF will stoop so low for a bigger bite of money.

« Reply #71 on: November 03, 2014, 10:41 »
+1
My images don't seem to come up in the Inimagine search today.  They were there two days ago, even though I was opted out from the 123RF API reseller program since many months.  It looks like they have removed them from Inimagine now.

« Reply #72 on: November 03, 2014, 10:51 »
+1
I had been opted out of API sales for a long time. My images are now gone from Inmagine (I did a couple of searches and paged through the results to be sure they really were not there, even though the drop in numbers and absence from the first page suggested something had changed).

« Reply #73 on: November 03, 2014, 13:37 »
0
maybe there are your images too: http://dubistock.com/
the same game..

« Reply #74 on: November 03, 2014, 13:41 »
0
you remember the thread: http://www.microstockgroup.com/123royaltyfree-com/sudden-jump-in-contributor-level/msg398342/?topicseen#new

Maybe that`s the real credit 123rf made with (y)our images.
But there`s a cut for dubistock and a cut for inmagine and a cut for 123rf and ..
 ;D

« Reply #75 on: November 03, 2014, 13:47 »
0
How do you opt out of the API?

« Reply #76 on: November 03, 2014, 13:48 »
+4


fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #78 on: November 04, 2014, 04:47 »
+1
maybe there are your images too: http://dubistock.com/
the same game..


Why do you think it is the same game?
Dubistock does not seem to belong to Inmagine?

« Reply #79 on: November 04, 2014, 05:17 »
0
Is only an assumption:
"The water mark is the same as the value 10 on collection Inmagine (the stuff mirrored from 123rf)" thread: http://www.microstockgroup.com/new-sites-general/dubistock/msg398513/?topicseen#new

« Reply #80 on: November 04, 2014, 05:24 »
0
maybe there are your images too: http://dubistock.com/
the same game..


Why do you think it is the same game?
Dubistock does not seem to belong to Inmagine?


Looks like it does. See the copyright watermark on the images at dubistock - they are the same like at inmagine.


« Reply #81 on: November 04, 2014, 05:28 »
+2
I got an answer email from 123rf support regarding my opt out question:

 
"Thank you for your email.

Kindly note that the removal of your portfolio once you have opt out from the API Partner Program will take around 2-3 days.

In regards to your portfolio from Inmagine, we are currently working on making the opt out from inmagine feature available in 123rf. Please give us some time to make the feature available.

Hope this clarifies. Should you have any more inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Have a nice day!

Best regards,
Your Submissions & Review Team"



My images are not at Inmagine any more and I also cannot see any of my images at dubistock.


« Reply #82 on: November 04, 2014, 06:01 »
+2
also write them to opt out from these sites.
and still no royalty rate tab for us. looks like they don't care.

« Reply #83 on: November 04, 2014, 06:03 »
+11
this is not correct solution, everyone should be opt out, 123rf shoud ask if you want to participate!

« Reply #84 on: November 05, 2014, 09:41 »
0
they reply to my mail, ask for time to make button for opt out.

« Reply #85 on: November 07, 2014, 18:18 »
+8
I was director of a news photo agency before digital. The question of royalties shared among agencies is an old issue. I had staff and contributors. Staff were paid by percentage plus a contribution to the expenses without possibility to opt out from the partners' distribution; contributors had same royalties, no participation to expenses and the right to opt out. The regular share was 50-50, the PP share was 30-30-40 (fourty for the photographer). Staff photographer was fully exclusive, contributor was exclusive only by picture. Average price for a photograph was $275. No cheat, no backdoor. Today is corrupted the whole market.

I can't be sure that my earning is directly related with the amount of downloads. I mean that I have no meaning to check if my 50 cents are just 50 or the picture have generated more revenue. I have to trust the agency. But after all the posts in this thread, I started to have a bug in my mind: may I really trust in every agency?



PZF

« Reply #86 on: November 08, 2014, 04:34 »
0
So do we actually KNOW who Dubi(ou?)stock is connected with?

« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2014, 14:37 »
0
with my test keywords (laser green research) I found the same pictures of Inmagine

fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #88 on: November 17, 2014, 07:42 »
+1
@Red On: Partner distribution is one thing, as good or as bad as it gets.

But doing "partner" distribution within the same company and deducting royalties all along the way, is an entirely different thing and I hope it is quite new...

« Reply #89 on: November 17, 2014, 08:25 »
+5
@Red On: Partner distribution is one thing, as good or as bad as it gets.

But doing "partner" distribution within the same company and deducting royalties all along the way, is an entirely different thing and I hope it is quite new...

Yes Rob,
I'm saying almost the same of you, but I would like to add that partners of the same shareholders selling same pictures, cutting royalties, means fraud.

« Reply #90 on: December 04, 2014, 15:34 »
0
Bump.

Has anyone heard of the promised solution? I still hope Alex, or anyone from 123RF will chime in again, as they promised me by email, to address the unresolved issues.


« Reply #91 on: December 04, 2014, 18:06 »
+2
Still waiting. But it's not forgotten.


« Reply #93 on: December 08, 2014, 09:02 »
+3
Hi everyone,

With regards to:
1. Not accepted at Inmagine IRIS if you are a contributor 123RF - it simply means that Inmagine's IRIS does not accept microstock images under a premium pricing. If you produce 2 levels of content, you are welcome to send in your micro priced content to 123RF and sell your higher priced images under Inmagine's IRIS.
2. More transparency and better reporting - our IT team is trying their best to update the contributor's section of the site. It's been a challenge and they will come around to it.
3. We've fixed the Reseller API so that if you've opted out, it will no longer show in any of our API Partner's results. Certain results have been cached by various CDNs so you might still see results especially if you keep on revisiting the results pages.
4. Our aim is to increase sales for everyone, certain partners have different working models and we have to adapt to their business models - if you have opted out, you won't be included in the program.

I hope this addresses some of your concerns. Do write in or email us if you need more information.

Thanks,

Alex.

4. Our aim is to increase sales for everyone, all of our partners and 123, but they have different working models that 123 needs to manipulate to maximize our profits - if you have opted out, you won't help us achieve that goal.

This is really what has been happening across most micros.

« Reply #94 on: December 08, 2014, 10:47 »
0
I found my images on dubistock, whose site is that?


 

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