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Author Topic: FOTOLIA ADMIN - WE WANT TO BE PAID OUR RIGHTFUL COMMISSIONS  (Read 16854 times)

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« on: February 02, 2010, 17:18 »
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Dear Fotolia Admin,

You have just increased prices substantially for customers buying credits. Please can you explain why these higher prices have not resulted in proportionate increases in our commissions?

What you propose to do about it and when?

Why are you not paying commissions based on the actual purchase price of the purchaser's credits (or higher) as other reputable agencies do?



« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 18:03 »
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Seconding this, strongly! 
>:(

« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 18:12 »
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This is not Fotolia forum. You can scream and they could never hear you :-)

« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 18:16 »
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This is not Fotolia forum. You can scream and they could never hear you :-)

Don't worry, they'll hear me __ long and loud. Of that I can promise.

lisafx

« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 18:18 »
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This is not Fotolia forum. You can scream and they could never hear you :-)

That's not true.  Administrators from all the major agencies keep up with these forums.    And FWIW there is a thread on the Fotolia forum with similar concerns raised.

@ Gostwyck, I am right there with you.  This is the first time I am aware of in the micro industry where a site has raised it's prices but the contributors have not gotten their contracted percentage.  

It seems that a response (beyond the confusing and dismissive replies sent to Warren) is in order.  

I can't overstress the significance of this type of behavior in my calculations to go exclusive with Istock.  

To be honest, I really didn't WANT to go exclusive anywhere, but actions like this on the part of Fotolia have pushed me in that direction.

« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 18:20 »
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sorry to hear fotolia is screwing you guys ....again

its the same thing with the agency every time and they will continue to do it

its one of the main reasons i went exclusive - bc having to deal with the issues of bad companies sucks

i hope you guys sort it out soon and you get your monies

« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 18:25 »
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sorry to hear fotolia is screwing you guys ....again

its the same thing with the agency every time and they will continue to do it

its one of the main reasons i went exclusive - bc having to deal with the issues of bad companies sucks

i hope you guys sort it out soon and you get your monies

Please be aware that this is not just a problem with FT, since I can guarantee that the rest of the industry is watching very closely (as they do in all of these matters).

If this issue doesn't get sorted out properly, then I can guarantee that other agencies will follow suit quickly.

« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 18:27 »
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This is not Fotolia forum. You can scream and they could never hear you :-)

Don't worry, they'll hear me __ long and loud. Of that I can promise.

You should scream for sure but I doubt they will hear anything. Until people, in large numbers, begin to pull images off the site, diddly will happen. I mean actually take the images and remove them, not just stop submitting.  But not enough key players will do this. After all a little is better than nothing most everyone always says. "Oh but I make xyz% of my income from them" blah blah blah.

« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 18:35 »
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You should scream for sure but I doubt they will hear anything. Until people, in large numbers, begin to pull images off the site, diddly will happen. I mean actually take the images and remove them, not just stop submitting.  But not enough key players will do this. After all a little is better than nothing most everyone always says. "Oh but I make xyz% of my income from them" blah blah blah.

Not true. They climbed down on the both the subscription commissions and also on them counting towards Ranking. This is MUCH more important and no compromise will be acceptable. We want to be paid our rightful commissions.

« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2010, 18:36 »
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You should scream for sure but I doubt they will hear anything. Until people, in large numbers, begin to pull images off the site, diddly will happen. I mean actually take the images and remove them, not just stop submitting.  But not enough key players will do this. After all a little is better than nothing most everyone always says. "Oh but I make xyz% of my income from them" blah blah blah.

Unfulfilled threats are empty threats. People are venting here every time agency exercise their power. After couple days they gladly accept it. Right now market is consolidating so there is no better place to take your stuff for sale. Microstock opened it to the masses so new people are coming every second. On the other side you cannot easily go to macro agencies cause these guys are collapsing and eventually most of them become micro or die.

« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 18:40 »
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Unfulfilled threats are empty threats.

Who said anything about threats, unfulfilled or otherwise?

We are campaigning to be paid our rightful commissions. Why do you have a problem with that and why aren't you doing the same?

lisafx

« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2010, 18:52 »
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We are campaigning to be paid our rightful commissions. Why do you have a problem with that and why aren't you doing the same?

Frankly, all the defeatism around here is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Those who just want to blindly accept whatever crumbs are thrown their way are certainly free to do so, but to continuously pour cold water on those who are trying to get fair treatment for themselves and YOU is not only counter-productive, but downright crazy.   

« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2010, 19:00 »
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Well you all know im 100% behind you guys if only we could get some of the real big guns to say somthing here or on the forum it might help

They once started off with micro !!

Warren

« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2010, 19:05 »
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The sites have taken action numerous times in the past when enough of us have complained, without resorting to pulling portfolios.  Despite what some people think, I believe the sites still need us and they have to be careful not to fatally damage the relationship with their suppliers.

« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2010, 19:08 »
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Big guns are few and they can be always "compensated" for being loyal :-)

« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2010, 19:28 »
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Big guns are few and they can be always "compensated" for being loyal :-)

But there might also be a few amongst the few bigguns who are simply decent people and won't be corrupted by "compensation".

RT


« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2010, 19:28 »
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Well you all know im 100% behind you guys if only we could get some of the real big guns to say somthing here or on the forum it might help

Please try and understand that there is a history of vindictiveness from "some" sites towards what people have said here, rest assured as mentioned in a previous thread some of the 'big guns' are taking this latest insult from Fotolia very seriously, that may involve going exclusive with iStock or for others reassessing the viability of creating images for the microstock market as a whole, either way Fotolias latest attempt at foul play will have an effect on them.

As for speaking out on their forum - pointless, either the management just ignore it or 'censor boy' will delete it before they get a chance to see any comments.

It'll be interesting to see in a few months how many people have been tipped over the edge towards iStock exclusivity because of Fotolias latest move, and what will be even more interesting will be to see their blogs and comments all over the internet stating their reasons why they did it!


« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2010, 19:31 »
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You should scream for sure but I doubt they will hear anything. Until people, in large numbers, begin to pull images off the site, diddly will happen. I mean actually take the images and remove them, not just stop submitting.  But not enough key players will do this. After all a little is better than nothing most everyone always says. "Oh but I make xyz% of my income from them" blah blah blah.

Not true. They climbed down on the both the subscription commissions and also on them counting towards Ranking. This is MUCH more important and no compromise will be acceptable. We want to be paid our rightful commissions.

I certainly wish the best on this one. But really the reality is I doubt you'll get much more than what was presented initially as a red herring or nothing at all.

« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2010, 20:38 »
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Is IStock really more ethical, with a higher regard for contributors?  If so can we count on them to stay that way?  Especially if the competition goes away?

« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2010, 21:27 »
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What is the biggest design magazine?  How much are ads?  We should take a collection and pay for an ad that tells buyers how the contributing artists are being expoited and suggest that they move to another agency until we are treated fairly.   The stage and theatrical unions place these kinds of ads all the time. 

« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2010, 21:49 »
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I tried to find the forum thread on their site and couldn't. The only post about it was from Chad stating that he appreciated everyone patience as the new commission and purchase incentive programs are rolled out. 

« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2010, 21:52 »
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This is not Fotolia forum. You can scream and they could never hear you :-)

That's not true.  Administrators from all the major agencies keep up with these forums.    And FWIW there is a thread on the Fotolia forum with similar concerns raised.

@ Gostwyck, I am right there with you.  This is the first time I am aware of in the micro industry where a site has raised it's prices but the contributors have not gotten their contracted percentage.  

It seems that a response (beyond the confusing and dismissive replies sent to Warren) is in order.  

I can't overstress the significance of this type of behavior in my calculations to go exclusive with Istock.  

To be honest, I really didn't WANT to go exclusive anywhere, but actions like this on the part of Fotolia have pushed me in that direction.

+1 Lisa.  I've always said I will never go exclusive, but StockXpert is another 6% of my income lost and it seems there something contraversial with Fotolia every 3-6 months, I am going to be crunching numbers and doing some investigating for the next few days...

« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2010, 21:53 »
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I just spent a few minutes looking at the contributor agreement.  It is 100% weasel words and in reality it commits to nothing in terms of commissions.  It says contributors get certain percentages - but does not specifically say that means a percentage of the sale price. It says we get 'credits' but is completely vague on the subject of what a credit is, in terms of local currency.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me there's nothing actionable here, Fotolia holds the cards.

None of this means much to me, I'm a small player, I can use the money but it isn't a big factor to me.   I've been in this a year, have already dropped a couple of agencies and, and Fotolia just went to the #1 spot on my "next drop" list.  They're simply trashing this business.

  




« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2010, 22:01 »
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Sometimes I am really disgusted with some agencies acting... I feel sorry for us all.... Looks like they are screwing more and more every month....

« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2010, 22:56 »
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You should scream for sure but I doubt they will hear anything. Until people, in large numbers, begin to pull images off the site, diddly will happen. I mean actually take the images and remove them, not just stop submitting. ...

Actually, withholding uploads is a pretty effective technique for any site that sells a lot of subscriptions. Subscription buyers want new stuff each month. If there isn't any, they fuss (you should have read the Jupiter forums about Photos.com plus before the StockXpert content went up there; they were mad that there wasn't anything new getting uploaded).

Pulling a portfolio is really an end-of-the-line sort of move - putting it back entails a ton of work on the contributor's part plus all the reviewing all over again on the agency's part. I can't imagine any serious (i.e. large portfolio) contributor would do something like this as a negotiating tactic.

Funnily enough, the one site that has the easy ability to disable the whole portfolio with one command is the one site that has in general behaved fairly reasonably with contributors - SS. It'd be great if other sites had that feature so you could just turn off the sales if you weren't happy but turn them back on once the dispute was resolved. Given FT's track record, I can't imagine them implementing that feature.

The major problem is that there are a few very large contributors that just don't get involved in any way with the smaller folks. It'd be a huge help if they did, but I think they figure they don't have anything in common with the non-factory contributors. If anyone knows any of them and can approach them offline to see if they'll weigh in, that'd certainly be worth trying.

In the movie business people want a percentage of the gross as their bonus - when it was a percentage of profits the studios ensured that the way the books were kept there never was any "profit" to get a percentage of. It seems to me FT is playing this game - if they control the definition of what contributors get a percentage of and it's independent of the price a buyer pays then they can keep reducing royalties by changing the definition of a credit.

Seems reminiscent of boxes of cereal, tissues, crackers, etc. that stay the same size while reducing the weight/count of product, hoping the buyer won't notice it's a price increase. And that's a scummy practice too!

« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2010, 23:14 »
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Great post JoAnne. Thanks very much for your observations and support even though I know you don't have a personal stake in this.

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2010, 23:33 »
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Here's the latest from their forum reponse:
Hi Fotolians,

I realize you have a lot of questions about some of the strategies Fotolia has rolled out lately. Fotolia is committed to providing clear communication and individual attention to each of our Customer Service inquiries. In the last couple days, brevity has taken precedence over clarity on some individual inquiries. This is not to Fotolia standards. On behalf of the entire team, I extend a sincere apology.

We have taken this opportunity to learn from this experience and reaffirm our commitment to our community. Our contributors are extremely valued for the content they provide. We ask for your continue support and patience as the details develop over the coming days. We are adjusting the website and communication materials, so this new structure is clear to all those in the Fotolia community. In the meantime, we will be starting a new thread and encourage you to post any inquiries there or to contact Customer Service directly. Thank you for your understanding.

Chad Bridwell
Director of Operations
Fotolia LLC

.........
Well that sounds like the same ol same ol

« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2010, 23:45 »
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I know Chad's reply is nothing but crafted words, but it had an effect.
After the email Warren got, this made me feel better, as if I too, matter.

230 images online, almost no sales, no money, nothing to lose.
If more experienced photographers and people whom I trust decide to act, I will be following in their steps.
Count me in.

By the way, well done Warren for getting Fotolia to apologize! Overdue and well deserved!
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 23:53 by Eireann »

« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2010, 02:18 »
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Too bad I already deleted my portfolio at Fotolia a week ago. This would have made for a more dramatic exit. I'm behind you guys 100%.

« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2010, 03:32 »
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I tried to find the forum thread on their site and couldn't. The only post about it was from Chad stating that he appreciated everyone patience as the new commission and purchase incentive programs are rolled out. 


The thread is still there (well was this morning when I looked) but it has now been closed, you can still read it, think the title is "1 credit now =1"

« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2010, 03:57 »
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I just can't understand the greed of some of the agencies. I mean as if they weren't making enough money already, they continually decide to cut photographer's commission.

I know there are expenses and salaries to be paid, but the only way to run any business is to weigh in the cost and the profit. If you're making profit, then try to expand to new markets if you want to increase the revenue, do not cut down your worker's salary !!! On the other hand, and I'm sure everybody would agree on this, If they decided to cut down photographer's commission so that they could lower the prices and bring more sales, then they wouldn't face this kind of backlash from the contributors.

It makes me sad to see this happening across the industry. It's not fun any more. We are artists and we shouldn't bother about the legalities, not to this extent !!! We shouldn't re-read the contract agreement in fear every time an agency decides to change something in the way they operate their business.

Slowly but steadily time will tell the good guys from the bad, and then it should come as no surprise that no one would want to work with them.

P.S. And Chad is a joke, do not trust anything he says - I have been waiting for him to answer my emails for months now regarding a breach of contract about some of my images at Fotolia, and he stll couldn't find time.

« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2010, 04:18 »
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Contributors have themselves partly to blame here. You should play the same game that agencies do. With all the new contributors they can ignore anyone who's not happy. And they take on new contributors willy nilly. If contrilbutors supported every new site to the hilt, dropping any agency that didn't behave itself would be simple, and there'd always be a supply of new businesses to sell your images, at competitive rates (to you). The policy most people have of - upload a few and see if they sell would be similar to an agency that accepts a few and only lets you upload more if they sell.

« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2010, 04:35 »
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sorry to hear fotolia is screwing you guys ....again

its the same thing with the agency every time and they will continue to do it

its one of the main reasons i went exclusive - bc having to deal with the issues of bad companies sucks

i hope you guys sort it out soon and you get your monies

And you regard Getty as the Good Guys with our best interests at heart ? sorry do not mean to be flippant but surly is because of the their latest move driving the pricing of Subs down that other Agencies like Fotolia think they can get away with strokes like this, it all has a knock on effect

ETA In the event that you are Exclusive at Dreamstime point taken    ;)
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 04:39 by iclick »

« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2010, 05:14 »
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Failure to be paid the commission level stipulated in the agreement is completely unacceptable and if it isn't actually illegal that can only be because of deceitful legalise designed to cover Fotolia's **s*.

I didn't think we could do anything effective before reading Jo Ann's post, either dump them completely or accept their deceit. But if stopping uploading will hit them in some way I will do that.

In any case, if I am not being paid exactly what I have agreed to in the contract (as amended to cut percentages, but at least that was an honest insult) it is difficult to see how I can continue to assist their business.

IF WE HAVE A LEGAL AGREEMENT THAT THEY WILL PAY US 31% OF EARNINGS AND THEY ARBITRARILY DECIDE TO ADJUST THAT SO THEY ARE PAYING US 30% OR 25% OR EVEN JUST 16%, AS IS PROBABLY HAPPENING IN SOME CASES, HOW CAN WE ACCEPT THAT? WHAT IF THEY DECIDE NEXT THAT IT IS 5% OR 2%?

WE HAVE CURRENTLY AGREED 31% COMMISSION AND I WANT EXACTLY 31% ON EVERY SALE, NOT 35% AND NOT 15%.

« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2010, 07:52 »
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Quote
Frankly, all the defeatism around here is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Those who just want to blindly accept whatever crumbs are thrown their way are certainly free to do so, but to continuously pour cold water on those who are trying to get fair treatment for themselves and YOU is not only counter-productive, but downright crazy.

Throughout history, I have been amazed at how dictators and their army can keep masses of people down and poor. My question has always been, well why don't the people just overtake the dictator and the army? They outnumber them by millions!

It is pretty scary to see the same behavior happening here. The answer to my question above is that it's because there are so many people with a defeatist attitude. I agree, Lisa. And the old adage applies well here, too: you either lead, follow or get the h*ll out of the way.

I am also impressed with JoAnn's post. She has a great way of taking my thoughts and putting them so eloquently down on paper.

I pulled out of Fotolia a long time ago, after one of the first major doses of bullcrap. But I will be happy to help in any way I can. All you need to do is ask me.

« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2010, 10:31 »
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Ok, this is getting confusing.  There must be 4 threads about this and counting - the threads all sort of start out with different subjects but turn into the same one.  Therefore I will lock this topic and we can move the discussion here.

http://www.microstockgroup.com/fotolia-com/increase-in-credit-value-at-fotolia/

I will leave this topic by itself as it started out as something with a slightly different slant.


 

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