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Author Topic: Contributor ranking changing  (Read 46045 times)

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« Reply #100 on: December 03, 2008, 17:28 »
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Wow, my condolences.

And they charged you $1 to process your involuntary departure?
Talk about adding insult to injury.
Fotolia as usual, never fails to impress with its show of class and professionalism.


« Reply #101 on: December 03, 2008, 18:15 »
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Thanks, appreantly though Oleg does not see me as a highlevel contributor even though I have spent most of the past 3+ years firmly entrenched within the top 50 ranking even with 3 previous upload boycotts.

I just received confirmation from Chad

"Hello Bobby,

 

As discussed in our phone conversation today Fotolia has decided to close your account. I have just spoken to my engineers and we have sent you your remaining money plus removed your images from the website and all partner sites. Please note that a $1 fee was incurred to send you the money on Paypal"


Wow!  This is surprising! 

Did you ASK to have your account closed or was your phone conversation heated enough to cause them to want to remove you?   

If so it is a good indicator that none of us is a big enough fish to be irreplaceable.  Very sad to hear.....

No nothing like that. I sent an email last night directly to Oleg telling him that even though I had recently resumed uploading there after evaluating the effect their sub sales where having on my bottom line that I was going to once again cease adding new content because of the current bait and switch tacttics they were subjecting us to. I like a great many other contributors who have been there a long time was on the threshold of evelvatring to Emerald and based on current sales level the new allocation needed to reach that level would push that goal 3 years down the road for me. I told Oleg that I felt this move on their part was purly motivated by greed.

Chad called me this morning and with no discussion informed me that Fotolia had choosen to cease doing business with me as it was obvious that they did not operate their business in a way that I could favorably agree too.

BTW even after all the brewhaha's I have had with Oleg, Chad and Matt I was Never banned from their forums.

« Reply #102 on: December 03, 2008, 18:23 »
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I just received confirmation from Chad
"Hello Bobby,
As discussed in our phone conversation today Fotolia has decided to close your account. I have just spoken to my engineers and we have sent you your remaining money plus removed your images from the website and all partner sites. Please note that a $1 fee was incurred to send you the money on Paypal"

The funny thing is *E* think they have now silenced me LMAO. I guess Oleg has not paid attention these last 3 years.

I can't say I'm surprised - *E*. I'm sorry that it came to this Bobby and I do hope that if the folks running that place think this will cower other contributors that it doesn't happen. I can't see what else they can be hoping to gain by tossing out a contributor. You spoke up and helped during the fight to get improved subscription terms and I guess they view your forthrightness as "trouble". Just lovely way to run a business.

Lump of coal for FT's stocking this Christmas :(


Oh Joanne, I am sure that is exactly how they viewed me. I have always had an earful for them as I have had for any agency that has tried to give us the stinky end of a short stick.
I am also sure that they expect that the news of me getting tossed will have a cowering effect on the masses but personally I am hoping that the masses in this industry are smart enough to realize that if they continue to lay down and take this type of treatment from AGENTS that WORK FOR THEM then it will not be long before the masses are so downtrodden by these greed driven tyrants that the masses will be little more then indentured servants to the masters in the eyes of the agents. Hell they are already treating us as such as it is.

Lets be serious what they did with this last move ensured that no contributor would receive a commision increase for 2 to 3 years. This was not about keeping up with competition it was about keeping up with an executives high standard of living. Nothing more nothing less. It was motivated purely by greed.

jsnover

« Reply #103 on: December 03, 2008, 18:52 »
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My only other suggestion would be to publicize your swift kick to the curb in as many places as possible (ensuring you don't libel the tossers as who knows they might prefer to pay lawyers than put money into contributors' pockets). SS forums, other independent groups, your own web site.

Calling things by their true names and shining the light of publicity upon shameful practices is generally helpful in reining in unsavory behavior.

Iriz

    This user is banned.
« Reply #104 on: December 03, 2008, 19:28 »
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Calling things by their true names and shining the light of publicity upon shameful practices is generally helpful in reining in unsavory behavior.

I totally disagree. There are very few MS sites that seem to handle adverse commentary well and fotolia is definitely not one of them. DT is another in case you 're interested. The guy who runs that has an ego as fragile as a Canon sensor and you 'll get banned just for spelling his name wrong.
Fotolia have sent out a very clear message by dumping Photoshow and it's desgined to intimidate.
We don't give a crap who you are "if you speak out against us we will punish you" is the message. Interesting.

« Reply #105 on: December 03, 2008, 19:40 »
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Calling things by their true names and shining the light of publicity upon shameful practices is generally helpful in reining in unsavory behavior.

I totally disagree. There are very few MS sites that seem to handle adverse commentary well and fotolia is definitely not one of them. DT is another in case you 're interested. The guy who runs that has an ego as fragile as a Canon sensor and you 'll get banned just for spelling his name wrong.
Fotolia have sent out a very clear message by dumping Photoshow and it's desgined to intimidate.
We don't give a crap who you are "if you speak out against us we will punish you" is the message. Interesting.

Trust me Iriz, I have been around this industry long enough to know the CEO's of these companies on a first name basis and have their direct phone numbers, including Serban at DT. The hardest part of dealing with many of them are simply getting past the cultural differences with them.

I do agree that the forums of other agencies is not the place to fight this battle but it is a battle that should and will be fought non the less. You are correct the message Fotolia hopes to send with the bouncing of my account is one of intimidation and intolerance to any sort of questioning of their authority. It is my hope though that there are many more among us that will question their authority, that will point out that Fotolia is an Agency Not an Employer and that will continue to fight against unethical business practices from them or any other agency that wishes to undervalue the contributors that make their high style of living possible.

jsnover

« Reply #106 on: December 03, 2008, 22:44 »
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Calling things by their true names and shining the light of publicity upon shameful practices is generally helpful in reining in unsavory behavior.

I totally disagree. There are very few MS sites that seem to handle adverse commentary well and fotolia is definitely not one of them. DT is another in case you 're interested....

I think my experience with all these agencies over the last 4 years says you're mistaken. They don't like it when contributors speak out and work as a group to further our interests, but we have, as a group, managed to make a number of changes happen or not happen by refusing to just say "Yes sir!!" when a site tried to unilaterally change something that hurt contributors.

The sites don't like it, but up to a point they put up with it - it's a power struggle pure and simple. FT threatened to close my account, but they didn't go through with it. Hence my complete lack of surprise that they actually did it this time. If we keep quiet about this sort of stuff it just emboldens the agencies to pull an even bigger one next go around - and you know that there will be a next time, especially as the economy's not in great shape.

It is just about impossible (IMO) to get a regular group acting for contributors, but on an ad hoc basis you can often find enough people to work together to try and even the balance of power out a little when dealing with the agencies.

« Reply #107 on: December 03, 2008, 22:59 »
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Calling things by their true names and shining the light of publicity upon shameful practices is generally helpful in reining in unsavory behavior.

I totally disagree. There are very few MS sites that seem to handle adverse commentary well and fotolia is definitely not one of them. DT is another in case you 're interested....

I think my experience with all these agencies over the last 4 years says you're mistaken. They don't like it when contributors speak out and work as a group to further our interests, but we have, as a group, managed to make a number of changes happen or not happen by refusing to just say "Yes sir!!" when a site tried to unilaterally change something that hurt contributors.

The sites don't like it, but up to a point they put up with it - it's a power struggle pure and simple. FT threatened to close my account, but they didn't go through with it. Hence my complete lack of surprise that they actually did it this time. If we keep quiet about this sort of stuff it just emboldens the agencies to pull an even bigger one next go around - and you know that there will be a next time, especially as the economy's not in great shape.

It is just about impossible (IMO) to get a regular group acting for contributors, but on an ad hoc basis you can often find enough people to work together to try and even the balance of power out a little when dealing with the agencies.

And this is why they have tried to eliminate me from the move this time because they know I was at the heart of the push against the subscription plan they originally announced, and I was at the heart of the push with StockXpert when they tried to screw us around with the Jupiter Unlimited fiasco as I have been at the heart of the issue everytime an agency (even DT) has tried to make a change that I believed to be adverse to the contributing community.

I have to say that Dreamstime has proven to be one of the few that truly seems to have a desire to see to it that we are treated fairly. They may run their forum with an Eastern Block Iron fist but their business practices are definately above board. I can not say the same for Fotolia.

What I love is that Oleg and Chad think they have silenced me but the truth is that they have actually given me voice. They have already done the worst to me thay can do, as long as I play by the rules from here forward there is really nothing else they can hit me with.

I wonder how they are going to respond to my request for an Audit?
or to my demands for continuation of payments for referral sales from Emerald level photographers I referred to them that they are still obligated to pay me for the next 2 years? Yea the referral program had no mandatory tie to a contributor account I do believe that regardless of their desire to cease doing business with me they have no legal ground on which they can wiothold those earnings.

DanP68

« Reply #108 on: December 04, 2008, 00:08 »
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Thank you for standing up for contributors, Bobby. 

I am deleting all of my files on Fotolia as I type this message, and have requested my final payment.  Their hubris will be their downfall.  I could go on for pages about the disgust I have for their actions this last several months, not the least of which being Chad Bridwell's threat on the Micropayment forums to delete the accounts of anyone critical of them on an indie forum.

They have mistreated contributors at every turn.  And frankly, I don't think they have the earnings power to get away with it. 

Good riddance to the most arrogant agency in microstock. 

nruboc

« Reply #109 on: December 04, 2008, 00:49 »
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Ok...saw a post awhile back questioning why other high level contributors have not taken a stand. I'll chime in from my perspective, even though it won't be popular here.  I'm in the top 10 at Fotolia, and quite honestly they have not done anything I have felt deserved to take a stand against. Was I looking forward to becoming a Sapphire and the increase in commission? Of course, but then I considered it rationally. They are the only agency besides ShutterStock who actually offers the abilty to increase commissions at all. In addition, in the beginning they didn't even have a Sapphire level, was it greedy for them when they voluntarily increased the number of levels to accomodate the people who had already achieved the max Emerald level at the time...NO. It was generosity. Who else even offers the ability to increase commission percentages, besides ShutterStock's yearly increases? NO ONE!

My thought is you have to pick your battles and choose the ones you see as the most important. Believe me, if I see a battle worth fighting for, I will be there.

Currently, I am taking a stand against Istockphoto because they pay a measly 20% commission and have the biggest pain in the ass upload process in the industry. This, in my book is something to take a stand against.

At my day job, they just laid off 600 people today. Luckily I survived. Changing the number of downloads to get to the next level at Fotolia, in todays economy, is the least of my worries.

So, in summary.. to each his own

jsnover

« Reply #110 on: December 04, 2008, 01:02 »
0

At my day job, they just laid off 600 people today. Luckily I survived. Changing the number of downloads to get to the next level at Fotolia, in todays economy, is the least of my worries


You must work for Adobe? I just read the news on PDN's blog and thought I should check on a buddy of mine who works there to see how he's doing.

I guess if there is more than one compnay laying off 600 people today, the economy's doing worse than I thought :)

I don't think the issue is that everyone must stand up for the same thing, but that if you are getting the raw end of a deal, it's worth trying to do what you can to improve it.

Realistically, there are a lot more people who aren't emerald than who are, and all of those below emerald had been working with a set of expectations about what was needed to get to the next commission level. That set of expectations was suddenly trashed. Those of you who were already emerald clearly were less drastically affected, but I'm sure you can see how the impact on gold and below was quite different from the impact on you.

nruboc

« Reply #111 on: December 04, 2008, 01:14 »
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At my day job, they just laid off 600 people today. Luckily I survived. Changing the number of downloads to get to the next level at Fotolia, in todays economy, is the least of my worries


You must work for Adobe? I just read the news on PDN's blog and thought I should check on a buddy of mine who works there to see how he's doing.

I guess if there is more than one compnay laying off 600 people today, the economy's doing worse than I thought :)

I don't think the issue is that everyone must stand up for the same thing, but that if you are getting the raw end of a deal, it's worth trying to do what you can to improve it.

Realistically, there are a lot more people who aren't emerald than who are, and all of those below emerald had been working with a set of expectations about what was needed to get to the next commission level. That set of expectations was suddenly trashed. Those of you who were already emerald clearly were less drastically affected, but I'm sure you can see how the impact on gold and below was quite different from the impact on you.

Hi Joanne, yes you are correct, I was speaking from my experience only. I must admit, if I were close to Emerald and being able to raise the prices the images sold at, it would affect me more, and I would be more upset. That being said, honestly, I would still see my main battle against IStock at 20% commission and the most time intensive uploads. Sorry to say that, because you have been one of the nicest posters on these forums, and I saw that you went exclusive recently. I have nothing against the exclusives, and wish you much success. Just trying to explain why some choose not to take a stand, from my perspective.

DanP68

« Reply #112 on: December 04, 2008, 01:33 »
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As I replied to you on the other forum:

That's misleading. Dreamstime offers the ability to increase
commissions through their levels program, and you know this. The
increase is significant too, far more than the roughly 2% commission
raise you make for each level at Fotolia.

And what would rather have? A 50% commission share? Or a 31%
commission share with the ability to work your way up to about a 40%
commission share after 10 years?

As you say, to each their own. Good luck with your future dealings
with Fotolia.


It isn't a matter of choosing which battles to pick.  All we've done this last year with Fotolia is battle, and battle.  It's one screw job after another.  I'm tired of trying to keep up with how they are sticking it to their contributors.

cphoto

  • CreativeShot.com
« Reply #113 on: December 04, 2008, 02:37 »
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Calling things by their true names and shining the light of publicity upon shameful practices is generally helpful in reining in unsavory behavior.

I totally disagree. There are very few MS sites that seem to handle adverse commentary well and fotolia is definitely not one of them. DT is another in case you 're interested....

I think my experience with all these agencies over the last 4 years says you're mistaken. They don't like it when contributors speak out and work as a group to further our interests, but we have, as a group, managed to make a number of changes happen or not happen by refusing to just say "Yes sir!!" when a site tried to unilaterally change something that hurt contributors.

The sites don't like it, but up to a point they put up with it - it's a power struggle pure and simple. FT threatened to close my account, but they didn't go through with it. Hence my complete lack of surprise that they actually did it this time. If we keep quiet about this sort of stuff it just emboldens the agencies to pull an even bigger one next go around - and you know that there will be a next time, especially as the economy's not in great shape.

It is just about impossible (IMO) to get a regular group acting for contributors, but on an ad hoc basis you can often find enough people to work together to try and even the balance of power out a little when dealing with the agencies.

And this is why they have tried to eliminate me from the move this time because they know I was at the heart of the push against the subscription plan they originally announced, and I was at the heart of the push with StockXpert when they tried to screw us around with the Jupiter Unlimited fiasco as I have been at the heart of the issue everytime an agency (even DT) has tried to make a change that I believed to be adverse to the contributing community.

I have to say that Dreamstime has proven to be one of the few that truly seems to have a desire to see to it that we are treated fairly. They may run their forum with an Eastern Block Iron fist but their business practices are definately above board. I can not say the same for Fotolia.

What I love is that Oleg and Chad think they have silenced me but the truth is that they have actually given me voice. They have already done the worst to me thay can do, as long as I play by the rules from here forward there is really nothing else they can hit me with.

I wonder how they are going to respond to my request for an Audit?
or to my demands for continuation of payments for referral sales from Emerald level photographers I referred to them that they are still obligated to pay me for the next 2 years? Yea the referral program had no mandatory tie to a contributor account I do believe that regardless of their desire to cease doing business with me they have no legal ground on which they can wiothold those earnings.

Bobby, I'm really sorry to hear that Fotolia reached a new low today.  It's really a shame.

I only wish that the other top contributors would have raised their voice like you did everytime those agencies introduced a new way to make more money on our back.  I think the industry would be very different today.


« Reply #114 on: December 04, 2008, 02:58 »
0


Thanks, appreantly though Oleg does not see me as a highlevel contributor even though I have spent most of the past 3+ years firmly entrenched within the top 50 ranking even with 3 previous upload boycotts.

I just received confirmation from Chad

"Hello Bobby,

 

As discussed in our phone conversation today Fotolia has decided to close your account. I have just spoken to my engineers and we have sent you your remaining money plus removed your images from the website and all partner sites. Please note that a $1 fee was incurred to send you the money on Paypal"


Wow!  This is surprising! 

Did you ASK to have your account closed or was your phone conversation heated enough to cause them to want to remove you?   

If so it is a good indicator that none of us is a big enough fish to be irreplaceable.  Very sad to hear.....

someone from ft mentioned towards the end of the subscription debarcle that any contributor basically putting down / being disrespectul / etc of FT will have their account closed irrespective of the amount of sales etc.

It's a shame and sad to hear, so many problems in the world come back to respect and communication

Phil

Iriz

    This user is banned.
« Reply #115 on: December 04, 2008, 03:56 »
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Ppl let's have a big reality check here. It would be nice - in an ideal world - if we were guaranteed a fair deal and afforded the same rights as any union member or employee working off minimum wage. But we are not!

The internet still reminds me of the lawlessness that existed in the 18th century where any gun toting lunatic could take a pot shot at you from a distance and get away with it. Grant it, there have been great improvements but when push comes to shove, will any of the big contribs actually get behind Photoshow online in an act of solidarity or support? I doubt it! And for very good reason. There's too much money involved.

The furor surrounding this latest move by FT will die down very quickly purely because it's not a big enough issue to keep alive or risk large chunks of revenue fighting. Yes, FT have changed the ranking without consulting their contributors and they too took a risk in doing so, but it was a well calculated risk. Were we entitled to be consulted? Of course not! Why should we? MS contributors have no rights or entitlement in this arena unless it's a big enough issue for them to vote with their feet. This IMHO was not one of those issues.

Photoshow, you took a risk and you lost. For you to have succeeded in your protest you'd need a lot more clout than just a personal phone number. Were we unionized we would be obliged to come out in support of you but you already know the answer to that. Yes you can request an audit and put your foot down in public forums like this but I wish you well. There are just too many ready and able to fill your shoes and that is the unfortunate reality here; you are dispensable and that unfortunately is the very harsh reality for most of us.

« Reply #116 on: December 04, 2008, 04:45 »
0
I agree that at the moment there isn't a lot we can do when a site does something we don't like.  I sometimes stop uploading for a while but that isn't going to make them give us more respect and it is probably going to lower my earnings in the future.  Leaving sites or getting banned is going to cost me even more and might not make any difference.

We might have more clout if we started our own site and uploaded lots of exclusive content.  Anyone interested?  I know it costs money and takes time but if that is shared out between 1,000 or more of us, it might be feasible.

« Reply #117 on: December 04, 2008, 08:12 »
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You know there are always all these "issues" with the agencies....i was wondering...just tossing a random thgt...there are so many different people with varied background doing this stockphoto thing...maybe one day everyone should bend together and set up a "new photo agency" and treat the photographers the way we want to be treated??? ::)

« Reply #118 on: December 04, 2008, 08:50 »
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Wow - I've never spent much time building a port on FT, and glancing over this thread now makes me very glad.

I jumped over here from the ss thread out of morbid curiousity about who got thrown out.  I would have NEVER thought it would be Bobby - holy cow, you're top tier, Bobby!  You produce images that I could only daydream about!  What are they thinking?

Anyway, I won't get into the politics - I'm not involved over there remotely - but I hope you know that it is their loss, not yours!

Wow again.

« Reply #119 on: December 04, 2008, 09:01 »
0
for those curious about the conversation on shutterstock about this topic (as i became after riffmax's post :)) it is here
http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=51563

« Reply #120 on: December 04, 2008, 09:04 »
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thanks I was looking for that!

« Reply #121 on: December 04, 2008, 09:11 »
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To me, the microstock market seems to be an oligopoly with a small number of powerful microstock agencies, who are in a position of power over the suppliers (us, the contributors). Suppliers are weak and fragmented.  Unfortunately, because microstock contributors are in such a position of weakness, the best treatment we can hope to get is tough but fair (Dreamstime) or outright disdain (Fotolia).

It's for this reason that I support the smaller microstock companies as much as possible.  The more like an oligopoly or even monopoly that the microstock sellers become, the weaker my position.  It is in my interest for customers to buy from many different agencies than from a few strong ones.  I would rather sell through 10 agencies than 1 big agency.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold in this market. Barrier to Entry seems deceptively low (basically setting up an engine that can sell photos).  However, barrier to success  is very actually high.

In my opinion, the three main competitive factors among microstock agencies are: price, quality, and selection.  Price (or at least lower price point) is relatively inelastic because there is a lower limit beyond which you can't make a reasonable profit.  Quality is a moot issue since everyone is selling the same images.  That leave selection, which means long-standing agencies with 4 million photos have a huge advantage.

As someone (sorry, can't remember) said on this forum (paraphrasing): "If I'm a new stock agency selling the same photos at the same or high price, with less selection, why should customers buy from me?"
Throw in the fact that some of these newer agencies are pursuing strategies that are, in my opinion, laughably naive, and the future looks grim in that respect.
NB: A half-hearted adwords campaign and SEO skillz does not a "marketing campaign" make.

Just some thoughts, no solutions  :)

« Reply #122 on: December 04, 2008, 09:18 »
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Bobby,

I feel very sorry for you.
I think this kind of treatment towards contributers is very wrong .
If this happends in the "real business world" you are protected with some kind of law.
But in this business there are no rules or what ever ,only one way traffic,no freely speaking of your feelings .
In the SS forum there is a discussion going on on this topic I hope you respect my decision what ever it will be.
I hope in the future there is some kind of sollution with an union/association how will stand up for our rights in this business.
My as a small contributer like other small contributers  to several agencies can not  stand up for you or at least I have no big influence to speak up freely and risk that my account closed down immediately.
Not that it's a big deal closing down my account (no earnings so far) but this is not the sollution to the problem if you know what I mean.
Hope in the future there is a way to speak up freely about such a discussion without consequence......  
  

« Reply #123 on: December 04, 2008, 11:12 »
0
Despite what everyone says the only solution is to continue to stand up against unfair treatment from the agencies. The banding together of many small contributors who are publicly vocal can and does work, we have proved it in the past with Fotolia, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, StockXpert and even IStock.

Apathy and acceptance of the abuse will only bring more abuse. If you all want to be treated fairly by those who distribute your products you have to demand that fairness. Fotolia shut down my account to create exactly the type of fear based apathetic response that is happening. Without great risk there can be no great gain. If the small and medium contributors band together and are vocal they can effect change, we have done it before.

It is not the big contributors that can effect that change, even the biggest of us make up only a fraction of a single percentage point of the database at any given agency which has already been pointed out means I or any other single contributor is in fact dispensable. What is not dispensable is 500 or 5000 smaller contributors showing solidarity and support each other against unethical, abusive treatment.

Dreamtsime, Shutterstock, Istock they all effectively give the contributors a raise every year. Either by raising the commission percentage or by raising prices. With this unannounced change to the ranking system Fotolia has effectively deferred giving the contributors a raise for approximately 3 years. They can say that it was done to remain competitive if they want but the truth is the move was made to put more money in their pockets at the expense of your pockets.  There is a large percentage of us who have been with Fotolia since the beginning who seriously contributed to helping them build their success and the bulk of us were on the verge of a Ranking increase. So while we helped to build their success they punished us by taking away the carrot that has been dangling in front of us for the past 3 years. Personally I can not stand for that type of abusive totalitarian treatment. I don't care how many agencies delete my accounts I will continue to stand up for what is right hopefully you will too.

There is a strength in many small voices speaking together. Unfortunately I can only speak with you not for you so if you want to effect change you have to take risks and make noise. If you are loud enough they will hear you and they will make changes.

hilary

« Reply #124 on: December 04, 2008, 11:19 »
0
Please show your solidarity with Bobby and do not allow this precedent to be set, we should fight for the right to critise our agency without being fired as a result, they are supposed to represent US and be accountable to US, not the other way around.

Anyone that is a Fotolia contributor and wants to show solidarity with Bobby (Photoshow) please sign this petition that will be emailed to them:
http://www.draiochtwebdesign.com/blog/an-open-letter-to-fotolia

The more names the better, let's come together as a community and get this done!


 

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