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Author Topic: What do you strongly dislike about Dreamstime?  (Read 38537 times)

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« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2009, 05:57 »
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I am just a bit concerned because my approval rate is falling down, while it grows up on other sites (except Fotolia). I was a bit scared yesterday when I found portfolio of one artist who joined in march last year (one month after I joined). He has more than 750 files and less than 80 sales!! The strangest thing is, his images are real stock images, and they are very good, so, I asked my self, why he has so poor sales? Let's hope it's not because of approval rate :(


traveler1116

« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2009, 07:19 »
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I have a great deal of respect for the owners of Dreamstime. Over the years they have always been open and up front about any changes, both good and bad. They treat the contributors with respect, and always respond to questions.
All the sites have the ability to change terms written into the contract, they have to in order to stay in business.

Sure they can change all they want and so can every other site, the point is that when they change they don't allow you to opt out of the change or quit your relationship with them.   You are stuck and they point to their TOS which says they can change for whatever reason however they want, what if the change next time is to all subscriptions and a ten year lock in period on all images, what can you do?  I for one uploaded my images 3 months ago thinking that I would get a certain % of the sale, that changed and now these images are locked in at the lower % for months more. 

Dook

« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2009, 11:04 »
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I am just a bit concerned because my approval rate is falling down, while it grows up on other sites (except Fotolia). I was a bit scared yesterday when I found portfolio of one artist who joined in march last year (one month after I joined). He has more than 750 files and less than 80 sales!! The strangest thing is, his images are real stock images, and they are very good, so, I asked my self, why he has so poor sales? Let's hope it's not because of approval rate :(
Is the approval rate affecting sales? How and why?

« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2009, 11:20 »
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I also have a good relationship with DT, but then 100% subs this month simply sucks.  >:(

« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2009, 11:30 »
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The ToS are basically the same as when you signed up for them 2.5 years ago. There has been a slight decrease in the % commission recently but that has been largely offset by an increase in prices and a substantial increase to the payouts on subs of popular files (which is only just starting to kick in).

My RPD this month is $1.19, about the same as it was at the beginning of the year and higher than it was last year. DT's RPD is still the highest of any other agency. All you have to do is wait until the end of January and you can remove your portfolio.

KB

« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2009, 12:35 »
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I used to like DT a lot but my rejection rate jumped a few months ago and then they announced the commissions cut.  It is hard to see how I am going to increase earnings with more rejections and less commission.  I am holding off uploading until I can see how this works out.
+1
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 12:37 by KB »

KB

« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2009, 12:43 »
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I am just a bit concerned because my approval rate is falling down, while it grows up on other sites (except Fotolia). I was a bit scared yesterday when I found portfolio of one artist who joined in march last year (one month after I joined). He has more than 750 files and less than 80 sales!! The strangest thing is, his images are real stock images, and they are very good, so, I asked my self, why he has so poor sales? Let's hope it's not because of approval rate :(
Is the approval rate affecting sales? How and why?
No one knows:
o If it's still true today
o To what degree
o At what point AR matters

but it has been stated in the past by DT that approval rating affects placement in the search results.

I've seen guesses of 50%, 60%, 2/3, 70%, and 3/4. But they're all just guesses; no one outside of DT knows the truth. Perhaps only those with a 90% or greater AR gets preferential treatment.

I haven't UL'd there in months, though I was still getting about a 60-70% AR. The uncertainty of how AR may affect sales plus the uncertainty and inconsistency of their reviews led to that decision. At some point, I will try again and see what happens.

Dook

« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2009, 15:51 »
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I have 83% AR and my earnings are worse than ever. It is so bad that if my AR was less than 50% I would be earning nothing( in case AR matters).

« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2009, 18:27 »
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I think DT people said few times that AR affects placement in search, but probably very few people outside DT knows if it's true. I won't say "no one" because "no one" almost never applies in reality.

traveler1116

« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2009, 01:23 »
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The ToS are basically the same as when you signed up for them 2.5 years ago. There has been a slight decrease in the % commission recently but that has been largely offset by an increase in prices and a substantial increase to the payouts on subs of popular files (which is only just starting to kick in).

My RPD this month is $1.19, about the same as it was at the beginning of the year and higher than it was last year. DT's RPD is still the highest of any other agency. All you have to do is wait until the end of January and you can remove your portfolio.

Just had a level 2 at maximum size subscription sale for 35 cents, but I guess those files won't go up so much for the offset so far.  I also have no level 3 images so I have nothing to look forward to with regard to subscriptions right?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 01:30 by traveler1116 »

Microbius

« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2009, 02:58 »
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The only thing I hate is subs.  Everywhere.
yep me too.
I've vented about this before but to reiterate subs are far and away the most damaging thing to contributors. They put all the power in the hands of the agency.
No matter how low a pay per download rate is the relationship between contributor and agency is still comparable to the traditional agent client relationship. When you do well the agency does well- they take a percentage.
With subs the opposite is true, the more downloads you get the less they make. This leads to things like Shutterstock allowing unlimited elements in an illustration set for a single download. The less downloads a customer has to make to feel they are getting their money's worth the better. Ideally, as far as the agency is concerned, the customer will pay a (small) fee to have a vast library available to them if and when they need it. The more rarely they actually use it the better. That's why the terms are also designed to discourage stockpiling.
The difficulty is that many contributors at these sites wouldn't get any downloads at all if the marginal cost of downloading their image was greater than zero. This is why you get a lot more sub par content on SS then on other sites and why the subs model will continue to have supporters amongst contributors.


traveler1116

« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2009, 03:00 »
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I think DT people said few times that AR affects placement in search, but probably very few people outside DT knows if it's true. I won't say "no one" because "no one" almost never applies in reality.

I thought it was common knowledge that approval % affects placement, am I wrong?  It does make the bad rejections like too many of the same very frustrating.  I find it strange that they will take 10,000 single images of one subject from different contributors but won't take 5 from the same one at the same time, if you stagger the uploads then they are fine, what's the logic in that?

« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2009, 03:43 »
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@Traveler: you probably lost all your arguments on the thread you launched on our site, deciding to move the discussion into another negative advertisement against Dreamstime. Shame that you missed to tell me. Were you really looking for an answer
?
For everyone misled this was meant to be a constructive criticism and not an attack, here is the original thread on Dreamstime:
http://www.dreamstime.com/forumm_18483_pg1

@Traveler: don't think I will forget the way you called our community and its admin, many months before (in Febraury 2008!!!). If we were so bad, why did you enable your files? Nobody forced you to. And if you did it back then, why don't you simply respect the term of your contract, then cash out and leave?


I'll reply here as there are other relevant posts, I will try to address on a short note. There are way too many things said above to keep track of each of them. Feel free to send me a private message if any of you have further questions.


1.  6 months of holding images
That is a regular requirement for most stock agencies in the world. It's true that not all microstock agencies have it. It was explained before lots of times. Without its integration several years ago, there will be a monopoly right now.


2.  increased amount of subscription sales
Again explained. Total revenue makes up for the difference. Old contributors remember the days that the credit royalty was very low. Nothing strange that subscriptions increase as more price-aware buyers look at microstock. Dreamstime keeps a fair balance between subs and credits using its price structure. As any structure, it is not perfect, we admit.


3.  falling RPI
there are top contributors with thousands of images in their portfolio, who have a 60% increase for their RPI. Check the list on the right side of MSG. Dreamstime is a leader and one of the only 3 that show growth in August for the average contributor.
Your mileage may vary, but don't blame the agency for your lack of sales IF it goes fine for the others.

4.  new pricing policy
The royalties update follows a price increase. It was announced several months ago (in May), you had plenty of time to adapt.
You knew about the update and still uploaded in June, July and August. Now you changed your mind again and want to disable the files.
 
The royalties were just slightly decreased, not as announced. When the timing will be right, the royalties would be updated as announced, but only when the contributors revenue don't take a hit.
More details here: http://www.dreamstime.com/thread_18104


5.  disabling images not deleting them
Contributors may try to delete their whole portfolio after receiving the first refusal they disagree with. Hundreds or thousands of files can go down the drain in a few minutes. Many times contributors re-enable them after they calm down (see your case).
Another case is of photographers trying their luck with other partnership (i.e. exclusivity somewhere else). We're obviously not happy to see it, but respect it. The contributors may return sooner or later and many do. If they return after a few months, they can easily re-enable their portfolio. If it's later they need to start from scratch.

Final decision is up to contributors, we don't touch those files, they are offline. They are permanently deleted after a few months.


6.  slowest disabling process for images, having to put a reason for each one
Similar reasons with the ones above. Images are reviewed one by one, by a reviewer. It takes time and efforts. In many cases it takes more to review a file than to submit it. The disable process is still far easier than the upload.


7.  getting images rejected for having a model release
Explained in the past, happens only to body parts that may affect the search engine.

8.  locking keywords on basically every image
Required based on our experience with users like you, who tried to put curse words there.

9.  giving away free images
Explained before. You're not forced to participate anyway.


10. Changing policies for old contributors. No possibility to option-in/out or close account when TOS change.
You have this possibility at any time as long as you respect the contract. There are also opt-out features on the site (see Alliances section).
You have to understand we are a business and there are rules. They are available at your signup date. None of our rules is uncommon for the industry.
If any of these rules would be abused by us, we wouldn't have contributors' support. We would lose it instantly or after 6 months, doesn't really matter. It would be simply stupid from us to abuse anything. In the end it's good business strategy that keeps agents, contributors and buyers together, not a set of rules.


11. Exclusive images - you can check in but cannot check out
Because it was abused by contributors in the past MANY times. You can still check out by emailing support.

12. Assignment images blocked for one year
That is a requirement for the extra exposure one receives on the homepage, were over 300,000 unique visitors may see your image in a single day. That's about 8-9 M per month.
12 months is not that much anyway, gives us some creative freedom for these (very few) images.

13. They pay only 25$ for assignment image and in the same time recommend 250$ for others
The Assignments portfolio is meant as a motivational tool. We don't make a profit from those files, in fact we lose money. Check its total sales and compare with how much we paid for the files.


14. "Selective" forum, what they don't like disappears
Untrue, only the blatant attacks or abused subjects go off. My presence here is a proof that we have nothing to hide.


15. Very slow earnings compared to IS and SS
That is your own experience.

16. About 40%!!!  commission drop.
Again, your own experience. Others see high growth. Again, don't take my word for granted, ask others contributors.


17. No information send to contributors about important changes, like new prices policy
We don't send too many emails because of how many users we have. We don't want to end up being called spammers.
Nothing was launched without a pre-announcement way in advance. The news section highlights those announcements. Let's be honest, no contributor complained that they didn't hear about the changes.



18. Lack of information about Partners program
Whenever we could, we announced them. In many cases the news leaked out. But these strategies are sometimes confidential, for obvious reasons. We have competitors, I'm sure you noticed :)


19. Sometimes strange earnings like 0,24. DT team never explain that
We used to explain every single royalty. it's very difficult today with so many price updates and so many downloads. Too many files are downloaded each day. We cannot track each of them to provide additional details, but the FAQ and our Message boards provide plenty of data you can work with.
In this case, it could've been a very old subscriptions (someone might have purchased a yearly plan) or a subscription royalty affected by a distributor comission fee.



20. Usually announces made are not clear, not precise for me. Like politicians speech.
We have always addressed any questions. I'm sorry if you feel our language is not as clear as possible. I assure you that we do our best to address that. We are aware that messages should be clear and short (unlike this one :) ).


21. Subscriptions not limited in size.
That's part of our current strategy. Things may change in the future.


22. "sale is a sale" reasoning
Isn't a sale a sale? :) That's the microstock spirit. We also agree that it shouldn't go too low and prices should keep up with equipment upgrades and skills improvement. Taking a look at past years RPDs, I dare to say RPD is fair, although it's increase is always welcome, of course.

« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2009, 03:46 »
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The only thing I hate is subs.  Everywhere.
yep me too.
I've vented about this before but to reiterate subs are far and away the most damaging thing to contributors. They put all the power in the hands of the agency.
No matter how low a pay per download rate is the relationship between contributor and agency is still comparable to the traditional agent client relationship. When you do well the agency does well- they take a percentage.
With subs the opposite is true, the more downloads you get the less they make. This leads to things like Shutterstock allowing unlimited elements in an illustration set for a single download. The less downloads a customer has to make to feel they are getting their money's worth the better. Ideally, as far as the agency is concerned, the customer will pay a (small) fee to have a vast library available to them if and when they need it. The more rarely they actually use it the better. That's why the terms are also designed to discourage stockpiling.
The difficulty is that many contributors at these sites wouldn't get any downloads at all if the marginal cost of downloading their image was greater than zero. This is why you get a lot more sub par content on SS then on other sites and why the subs model will continue to have supporters amongst contributors.

They subs royalties, at least with us, use the 50% as reference for the royalty rate. In fact, it's very likely that after this change (level-based pricing) the average royalties for non exclusive images are above 50%, meaning they actually pay better than the regular credit based downloads.

Microbius

« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2009, 04:03 »
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Thanks for replying to my post. I want to make clear that this isn't an attack on DT in particular. I reserve most of the venom for SS for opening up this market and softening us up for the rest of the agencies to follow suit.
My issue with subs is not how much is offered per download. It is that my work is being represented by someone who no longer has my best interests in mind. In fact as far as subs go the opposite is true. The agency and contributor's interests are no longer aligned. This means that what should be a symbiotic relationship becomes a parasitic one, this can only lead to very bad things for contributors.
Again, at least DT and others still have a majority of per download sales, so our interests are somewhat relevant to the powers that be.

traveler1116

« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2009, 04:54 »
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Well I do appreciate (honestly) your reply to the issues although I do find many of them lacking:
1. 6 month locking: you stopped the monopoly, that's your reason?  As long as you are looking out for us even if we didn't ask or don't want your help then we should be thankful for this?

2. subs:  Things were worse before is your answer so whatever we get now that is better is good?  I think we deserve better.

4. new pricing policy:  it was announced in may so you have enough time to adjust? I cant do math well but I think may is less than 6 months ago so how would I adjust my portfolio to not be a part of this?
http://www.dreamstime.com/thread_18104  this is the thread from Aug.12, but that's close enough to May I guess.  I just looked through the archives of announcements, there was no announcement in may on specifics of the change, just an announcement that there would be one that we wouldn't be happy about.

6. slow disabling process:  it takes a long time to review so we should take a long time to disable them and it's faster than uploading?  are you saying we get punished because it takes a long time to review and that if it's better than terrible we should be happy (seems like a trend, sale is a sale reasoning)

9.  free images:  you don't have to participate.  true we don't but when I see similar images for free that I am offering for sale I know I won't get one sale from them, hurts sales for me even without participating especially when there are so many

10. changing policies with no way to opt out for 6 months:  none is uncommon for the industry?  the industry is microstock photography I assume and the other agencies you are talking about are the ones talked about on here IS, SS, Fotolia, Stockxpert, 123rf, Crestock, Cutcaster, Veer correct?  None of these has the 6 month policy (only BigStock has 90 day policy), I must not understand what industry you are talking about or I must have misread the TOS or you are lying.

21. subs can be maximum size: current policy.  well bad policy that's all

22. sale is a sale: you said it is.  not very encouraging for contributors, at least not for me

« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 05:03 by traveler1116 »

« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2009, 05:16 »
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I hate their inconsistent reviews: You get 2 or 3 pics rejected for "too similar" and you see a batch of 30 pictures of the same dog in different positions approved, you got sunsets,flowers, beaches, trees.... rejected for "not stock oriented" "or we are not looking this" and you see recently approved a lot of sunsets, flowers, beaches or trees and sometimes in a poor quality. This pisses me off.......is unfair when you see lots and lots of your pics refused for silly things and at the same time you see entire batches of similar approved or dull pics also approved

« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2009, 05:31 »
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I would like an answer: is DT favouring some photographers and being hars with others in approvals and rejections stuff? Why they say "this landscape, we have too much or is not stock oriented" and then you make a search and see recent approved pictures very similar to the landscape that they refused you?
Why they say "we are not looking for" to a lot of images and then you see lots of that kind of images approved?? this is very unfair, do you have a preferences system towards photographers and treat very well to ones and very bad to anothers? I have seen a lot of pictures of a concrete fruits very very similar approved and got some australian view refused for "similar" and they weren't

I got a lot of forest picz refused and saw a lot of forests approved similar to mine

I HATE THIS!!

« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2009, 09:10 »
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I dont like their inconsistent sales, their unreliable search engine (keywords), and the fact that they give priority to production companies (free advertising, featured photographer of the month, only showing top 10 busy photographers).

What makes it worse is the fact that they used to be a top agency, but they dont seem fair anymore. At least at shutterstock when your upload a lot you are guranteed some downloads from that batch, but with Dreamstime, you could go 3 months before any of your new images from a particular batch has been bought.

« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2009, 13:24 »
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What do I strongly dislike about Dreamstime?

I initially started to dislike Dreamstime when it introduced subscription plans and only wanted to hear what it wanted to hear in the forum. I don't read their forum anymore. I hope it no longer is the case.

In the recent few months, their rejections don't make sense. This issue has been well discussed in other threads. I rarely upload there anymore.

The sales have not increased in the past year even though my portfolio was getting bigger.

« Reply #45 on: September 14, 2009, 15:34 »
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With Dreamstime my average RPD for the last 12 months is $1.30 and it is $1.60 for this month. It has steadily increased since I have been with them end of 2005.  Revenue and sales have steadily increased as well. My acceptance ratio for the last 12 months is 88.8% on 282 images submitted. Total with them now 1054. I have nothing to dislike about them as they have showed steady growth so far. Sure I do get rejections once in a while but I adapt. To me as long as my revenue keep on increasing for the amount of effort I put in,  they can do whatever legal thing they want.  It is the quality of your effort that matters and how much of it you put in.  The majority rule and if most of us were unhappy about their business then they would not last long would they? Denis

« Reply #46 on: September 14, 2009, 22:12 »
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@ Achilles
Congratulation, like always an excellent reply. You are very intelligent but, in my opinion, you still make some political mistakes. Dreamstime have potential to be great site. Stopping play "silent changes" and fine print contract game can be only benefit for you.

1.  6 months of holding images
That is a regular requirement for most stock agencies in the world. It's true that not all microstock agencies have it. It was explained before lots of times. Without its integration several years ago, there will be a monopoly right now.

-You are microstock agency. Comparing you to stock agencies is not relevant.
In microstock world you have the longest holding images period. Ok, its not completely true- there is still Albumo-but do you want to compare you to Albumo?

10. Changing policies for old contributors. No possibility to option-in/out or close account when TOS change.
You have this possibility at any time as long as you respect the contract. There are also opt-out features on the site (see Alliances section).
You have to understand we are a business and there are rules. They are available at your signup date. None of our rules is uncommon for the industry.
If any of these rules would be abused by us, we wouldn't have contributors' support. We would lose it instantly or after 6 months, doesn't really matter. It would be simply stupid from us to abuse anything. In the end it's good business strategy that keeps agents, contributors and buyers together, not a set of rules.

To be honest 6 months holding period is ok for me. I knew about that. What is not normal that you dont propose possibility to get out is policies drastically change like subscriptions introducing and decreasing commission from 50 to 30%. This is not fair and even maybe not legal in some countries.
Why read contract, why agree with your policies if it means NOTHING. Its only one way contract, you can do what you want and we dont even have possibility to leave if we dont agree with NEW terms. You know that a lot of people dont read your TOS. I did, but Ive never imagine that I signed blank check. Can you built honest and  perennial  business with this principle? Do you want to trap contributors. If they are happy they will not leave. .
Short story:
One day a door-to-door vendor sold to my 82 years old grand mother one year Internet connection. She has not computer and not even once touch a keyboard. Why she bought it? The vendor was a charming guy, he said it was a good deal. She signed the contract without reading. We try to cancel subscription, impossible, the contract was legal.

11. Exclusive images - you can check in but cannot check out
Because it was abused by contributors in the past MANY times. You can still check out by emailing support.

Before it was possible, than you changed it without any notice. And the page looks the same so you check in thinking that you can change your mind like before but its too late. Why you dont inform us to avoid this kind of surprise? So if tomorrow bad contributors abuse (check out) you will, in silence, block it for 1 year?

15. Very slow earnings compared to IS and SS
That is your own experience.

Exactly, I'm talking about things I know. Not about rumors.

16. About 40%!!!  commission drop.
Again, your own experience. Others see high growth. Again, don't take my word for granted, ask others contributors.

Im not talking about my earnings. Im talking about decreasing our commission from 50% to 30% for 1 level images files (huge majority in my case). About 40% drop. Never heard about something similar.

17. No information send to contributors about important changes, like new prices policy
We don't send too many emails because of how many users we have. We don't want to end up being called spammers.
Nothing was launched without a pre-announcement way in advance. The news section highlights those announcements. Let's be honest, no contributor complained that they didn't hear about the changes.

Spammers ? Seriously, you send acceptance emails all the time and you worry about spam for one email, most important for us information?

18. Lack of information about Partners program
Whenever we could, we announced them. In many cases the news leaked out. But these strategies are sometimes confidential, for obvious reasons. We have competitors, I'm sure you noticed 

Dont interested about your confidential strategies. But Im highly interested about places where my images are send. Do you heard about countries that dont respect copyright? You should communicate about OUR commission too, min and max.

19. Sometimes strange earnings like 0,24. DT team never explain that
We used to explain every single royalty. it's very difficult today with so many price updates and so many downloads. Too many files are downloaded each day. We cannot track each of them to provide additional details, but the FAQ and our Message boards provide plenty of data you can work with.
In this case, it could've been a very old subscriptions (someone might have purchased a yearly plan) or a subscription royalty affected by a distributor comission fee.

I was there when subscriptions stared. Never heard 0.24. Never mind, why not to inform about all amount still available?

22. "sale is a sale" reasoning
Isn't a sale a sale?  That's the microstock spirit. We also agree that it shouldn't go too low and prices should keep up with equipment upgrades and skills improvement. Taking a look at past years RPDs, I dare to say RPD is fair, although it's increase is always welcome, of course.

Exactly, probably contributors invest much more money in this business than you do. New contributors are always enthusiastic but they get older. One day it stops to be fun and economic question become pertinent. Personally, I dont care about tear sheet game, never try to find any of my images in use. Only $ count. I prefer lose a sale than a sale for nothing.

If  nothing change, probably next year Ill be exclusive at IS. I dont like this idea but I dislike much more what happens at Dreamstime and Fotolia. I have possibility to make interesting (but costly) images that I cannot sell at subscription price. I like a lot Vetta collection.


kevin1

« Reply #47 on: September 14, 2009, 23:56 »
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Excellent points, Rene. I started to write but I think you touched the most points so I'll leave it, there's no need to add anything.

traveler1116

« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2009, 00:29 »
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Rene, I agree completely too.

« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2009, 00:58 »
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everything else is ok except the photos review is very inconsistent and the 5 words photo description process.

and i always get failure in my ftp upload
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 01:01 by yuliang11 »


 

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