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Author Topic: NEWS - Operation Level Ground attracts Artists to Fotolia  (Read 37535 times)

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« Reply #100 on: October 24, 2009, 09:59 »
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Thanks for your support, Eireann, but...

you are never wrong. Not ever.

That just isn't true! Right now, it seems like I have been wrong a lot. :) But I also agree with holgs...

While this post is surely not going to make me popular at FT, I'm really not one to be bullied or cowered by the suggestion that I'll be disadvantaged because I speak my mind.

I never want to burn any bridges anywhere, but I am also not a person who would let this sort of abuse go.

Regarding my ex-employer, I took action the only place I could and that was on the internet, in public. Of course they threatened legal action, but that would mean they would have to prove their side of the matter, which means their bookkeeping practices would be scrutinized. So far, no legal action. Their idea is to rule with fear. Read up on dictators and you get the idea. Seems like big business is.

Eireann, if you are a contributor to FT and a call goes out for support, you could help by supporting but you must also be ready to suffer any consequences.

edit: by the way, I resigned from my former job. The other employees affected resigned or were laid off. Just so you understand none of us were fired because we did something wrong.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 10:38 by cclapper »


« Reply #101 on: October 24, 2009, 10:45 »
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Hi CC,
I know you resigned. I read your post that very day and I thought you were brave. I admired you for doing it.
Have you seen 'Revolutionary Road'?
'It takes courage to live the life you want' - they said and I agreed. You did just that.
And I'm going to stand my ground. You are always right :)
If there's anything we (little people) can do, count me in.
And just so you know, I resigned as well. Couldn't stand them anymore.
Best of luck,
Andrea

« Reply #102 on: October 24, 2009, 11:59 »
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I'm not sure if anyone else here has ever studied contract law, but some of the things FT has been up to, particularly with changing the rankings systems and commission rates is on pretty shaky ground legally. You can't just unilaterally change conditions of a contract to the detriment of existing suppliers in most jurisdictions without gaining some sort of agreement - and often not even then.

I think the problem is that the contract we signed says they can change site policies at any time.  It's not ethical, but I believe it's legal.

It's like my cable TV company, they recently "upgraded at no cost" my plan (no cost meaning they won't charge more for one year), and at the same time they removed from my plan several channels that I like (international and news) - without telliing me that, of course. I complained and the attendand gave me the international channels back, but for the news I would have to pay - mere US$2, but it's an absurd.  There is still one news channel in my plan, but it is a mixed channel with news every hour, whereas the other two I wanted are 24h news.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 12:02 by madelaide »

« Reply #103 on: October 24, 2009, 14:22 »
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Eireann,
Andrea...good for you. Misery loves company! For me, it just seemed the right thing to do. I try to stay positive and use the time to further my photography and website building skills.

Sorry, didn't mean to derail the topic, though my point was kind of relevant.

Hope the FT thing all gets sorted out.

« Reply #104 on: October 24, 2009, 17:52 »
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Hi
I joined Fotolia but hadn't submitted any photos. After this post I think I will hold of sending any photos
Smiling Jack

« Reply #105 on: October 24, 2009, 18:29 »
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We are in dire need of an Union. (i think thats what its called in English? Where employees come together to fight for their rights together). Seriously!
If everyone interested would join, and we could have a decently sized group that all works towards the same goals it would be a big step forward in maintaining our rights and fight this sort of absolutely enraging Kafka'ing situations!
If we dont bundle our forces agencies can and will get away with literally everything they want.

(strange thing is; we're all aware that if we dont form a 'fist' together we're completely powerless....still, nothing happens)

I definitely wouldnt mind stop uploading there and block my port; but right now i know it's useless since it would be never enough to make a difference.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 18:41 by Artemis »

zzz

« Reply #106 on: October 24, 2009, 18:30 »
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Looking at FT's track record (based on anecdotal evidence) on how they treat their contributors, I don't see how they could catch any big fish in this market. I wouldn't trust FT.

vonkara

« Reply #107 on: October 24, 2009, 19:18 »
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Edit I found it...
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 19:36 by Vonkara »

lisafx

« Reply #108 on: October 24, 2009, 22:28 »
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We are in dire need of an Union. (i think thats what its called in English? Where employees come together to fight for their rights together). Seriously!
If everyone interested would join, and we could have a decently sized group that all works towards the same goals it would be a big step forward in maintaining our rights and fight this sort of absolutely enraging Kafka'ing situations!
If we dont bundle our forces agencies can and will get away with literally everything they want.

(strange thing is; we're all aware that if we dont form a 'fist' together we're completely powerless....still, nothing happens)

I definitely wouldnt mind stop uploading there and block my port; but right now i know it's useless since it would be never enough to make a difference.

Artemis, you are right and this has been discussed before.  The main obstacles to forming a union, or trade association seem to be:

1.  Too much diversity of interests and levels of involvement among contributors (everyone out for himself).
2. Complications and difficulty in actually doing the work to start one.  Nobody has stepped forward to shoulder that burden.
3. Seemingly limitless supply of contributors clamoring to get in. 

The third obstacle is, to me, the greatest.  Unions are only effective if there is a finite labor pool and you can get a majority of those workers on board.  With new photographers and pros from the trads all trying to get into the micros by the thousands it seems unlikely we can collect enough people to affect change.

« Reply #109 on: October 24, 2009, 22:52 »
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Seems to me the smart thing for (independent) contributors to do is massively support every new site so they become viable. The more sites there are, the easier to dump one when they don't behave themselves.

« Reply #110 on: October 25, 2009, 17:51 »
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Lisafx, you're right, i know...
but it's so frustrating! 1 is pretty tough; people have so many different motives to do microstock... peeps doing it purely as hobby vs the ones living from it; and in some countries one subscription is almost enough to buy a meal, while it's peanutes in others... so * difficult to get that all bundled in one 'union' or group...
But really, the main issue is point 2 i think... it would require a lot of dedication and time; if there was someone who really wanted to devote to this, brainstormed on how to get it work i think it wouldn't be tough to find loads of peeps who would join...
Indeed unlikely it will happen soon :(
i feel like we're a bunch of lemmings now happily throwing ourselves of a cliff, purely because we go all for ourselves only and won't group... while it's so obvious we need to do so!

« Reply #111 on: November 02, 2009, 19:01 »
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Any update on this issue?


« Reply #112 on: November 02, 2009, 19:25 »
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Interesting, they threw me off the site a year ago when I objected to their moving the carrot 3 times further down the road when they changed their ranking requirements just days to weeks before about 200 of the original members (myself included) would have reached a sales level that would have elevated us to Emerald. Now they make it so anyone who has not joined them before this who has lifetime sales equal to mine would be able to come in at the top ranking level?

Such a fickle company and yet again it seems they are forgetting those who helped them become successful.

« Reply #113 on: November 02, 2009, 19:30 »
+1
Hmmm. I wonder why would they risk alienating a lot of their existing contributors to go after what appears to be a fairly small group of new contributors?

And the fact that maybe only a small percentage of that small group will bite.



Why the would risk alienating ther existing contributors?
That's simple.
Because they have done time and time again in the past without any noticeable impact on their bottom line. Sure, there will be some ranting and complains in the forums, maybe even a few contributors may leave, but after a few weeks it's back to business as usual...

That's why they'll do it.

SOP for Fotolia is if you complain loudly about the way they treat you as a contributor they delete your account and deny you any further referral earnings even when you still have 2 years of referral earnings left from referring top contributors to them. Fair and honest treatment of the contributor base has never been part of the company credo. I spent many hours consulting (for free) back and forth with Oleg when he was first launching FT and in my personal opinion in the end as in the beginning he never showed any true concern for anything other then his own profit position in the operation. The contributors are simply a means to an end for him and that end is personal profit. Of course we all get into business with profit as the goal but in the case of FT it would seem to be the only true aspiration of the company. I expect that were I to sit down and extrapolate my potential earnings at FT over the past year had I not been railroaded off the site for standing up for contributor rights that I have lost out on $12,000 or more in royalty and referral earnings that would have come as the result of the elevated ranking which I was denied in the last ranking fiasco. Fotolia has a long and well documented track history of mistreating their contributor base yet the staus quo is maintained there. This change will no doubt go forward as has every other change in the history of the agency. In the end a handful will suffer the closing of their accounts and involuntary deleting of their portfolios and after a short time the roar will quiet and it will be business as usual at Fotolia until they announce their next scheme meant to further trample the rights of their contributor base.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 19:55 by photoshow »

« Reply #114 on: November 02, 2009, 21:08 »
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I had to read the article twice. What a supreme *^#&*%@(.  

admin edit: name calling removed
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 05:59 by Admin »

« Reply #115 on: January 01, 2010, 09:12 »
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Judging by the Ranking listings 'Operation Ground Level' does not appear to have been particularly successful in attracting high-level exclusives to give up their crowns.

I can only see 2 'Newly Awarded' Gold level contributors (with very few actual sales) and none on any of the higher levels.

lisafx

« Reply #116 on: January 01, 2010, 11:51 »
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Yeah, kinda tough to attract IS exclusives with cannister parity while also cutting commissions for the second time in 13 months. 

Many IS exclusives may be non-US based and have difficulties with Fotolia's  new tax policy. 

Although sales at Fotolia continue to be good some of the newer policies are not very contributor-friendly...


« Reply #117 on: January 01, 2010, 12:48 »
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Even if you were tempted to give up IS exclusivity - and those for whom the current best match hasn't been kind may well be tempted - giving you a higher starting royalty at FT is only a mild sweetener. It won't get your files good placement in search results - unlike SS where newness is a huge boost.

I would guess it just isn't a big enough incentive to tip the scales one way or another and thus for FT, is effectively just giving away money to folks who'd have made the switch anyway.

Of course, if not many people take them up on the offer, they haven't given away all that much :)

« Reply #118 on: January 02, 2010, 09:26 »
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Of course, if not many people take them up on the offer, they haven't given away all that much :)

Except the good will of those who've been with them since the beginning and were shunted aside in favor of the few iStock exclusives they might have attracted.  My feelings about Fotolia continue to sour.

« Reply #119 on: January 02, 2010, 10:33 »
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Regarding my ex-employer, I took action the only place I could and that was on the internet, in public. Of course they threatened legal action, but that would mean they would have to prove their side of the matter, ...>
Not quite true, in the case of libel it is up to the person making the statement to prove that what they have written is true, so you would have to prove without doubt your statement in court, most actions are satisfied with a removal after a cease and desist, the fact that no action is taken in a libel case does not mean the libel statement is true, as often actions are not taken up for financial reasons!

David

RacePhoto

« Reply #120 on: January 03, 2010, 04:26 »
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Regarding my ex-employer, I took action the only place I could and that was on the internet, in public. Of course they threatened legal action, but that would mean they would have to prove their side of the matter, ...>
Not quite true, in the case of libel it is up to the person making the statement to prove that what they have written is true, so you would have to prove without doubt your statement in court, most actions are satisfied with a removal after a cease and desist, the fact that no action is taken in a libel case does not mean the libel statement is true, as often actions are not taken up for financial reasons!

David

Nothing is easy. Consider this: Whether libel or slander, the defamation must be published communicated to someone other than the subject of the defamation. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation: if what you say is true, it cannot be defamatory.  Another defense to defamation is proving that the statement was an opinion, not an assertion of a fact.

The plaintiff must first show that the statements were "statements of fact or mixed statements of opinion and fact" and second that these statements were false.

The full burden does not fall upon the defense to prove that the statements were true, but also on the plaintiff to show they were false.

« Reply #121 on: January 03, 2010, 15:42 »
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Hi All,

 You ever been fishing. Start thinking like a very old smart fish that hasn't ever nibbled at something that is to good to be true. He is still swimming. Exclusivity for any self employed person leaves them in a tough place once the competition is hurting. The more companies in Micro that can stay strong in the game the better for everyone, even Istock exclusives will benefit more if the money is distributed by more than one big player.
 Perfect world for photographers, 10 agencies all making the same returns. Only the photographers can make that happen. Everyone jumps ship to one agency and I can guarantee you that agency will take advantage of their dominance in the business every time.

Cheers,
Jonathan

« Reply #122 on: January 03, 2010, 15:51 »
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Well said, I couldn't agree more.
Linda B

Hi All,

 You ever been fishing. Start thinking like a very old smart fish that hasn't ever nibbled at something that is to good to be true. He is still swimming. Exclusivity for any self employed person leaves them in a tough place once the competition is hurting. The more companies in Micro that can stay strong in the game the better for everyone, even Istock exclusives will benefit more if the money is distributed by more than one big player.
 Perfect world for photographers, 10 agencies all making the same returns. Only the photographers can make that happen. Everyone jumps ship to one agency and I can guarantee you that agency will take advantage of their dominance in the business every time.

Cheers,
Jonathan

« Reply #123 on: February 03, 2010, 13:28 »
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Anyone that gave up their crown for this must be feeling pretty sick by now.

Just in the time since this was announced Fotolia have reduced commissions substantially TWICE, once without even telling us.

Meanwhile, over on Istock, all exclusives are enjoying an increase in their commissions of about 50%.

« Reply #124 on: February 03, 2010, 13:45 »
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It is not an increase of comissions, but of revenue. Prices ara higher, comission is the same.

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