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Author Topic: Why I love Fotolia!  (Read 30861 times)

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« on: September 10, 2010, 17:15 »
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I have to throw in my .02 on the latest Microstock controversy here.  It's no secret that a lot of people have felt burned by FT on changes made in the past but in my opinion most, if not all the changes made had been done so with the sole intent of increasing business which ultimately had a benefit to us all.

So many people have asked me on many different occasions why I am exclusive to Fotolia.  I received a call from a guy just the other day trying to recruit me to upload to his company.  I told him I was exclusive and he said "Oh, I thought you were a Fotolia guy...not I-Stock."  That made me chuckle and realize how few people are exclusive to FT like myself.  Reading about the I-Stock Changes got me to thinking about why that is so I thought this seemed like as good a time as any to explain my choice.

Right now, as an Exclusive Emerald (equivalent to I-Stock Diamond right?) Photographer I earn a 54% commission on my sales.  54%!  Not only is the commission high, but I set my prices at $5 for XS and $40 for XL so I'm getting a higher commission on a higher dollar amount.  Every time I sell an XL file I get $21.60 added to my account.

As an Emerald Photographer I also have an Infinite Collection account to sell photos at even higher prices ($20 for XS, $200 for XL) with increased visibility and a 50% commission.

As far as I know, even non-exclusive commission rates have always been dramatically higher than those of I-Stock.  I always found it shocking that so many people were so defensive of IS and their 20% commissions...now? 

FT has an option for Image Exclusivity which lets contributors raise prices on individual photos.  Of course you get the higher commission if you are an exclusive photographer but you can still get the benefit of higher prices on exclusive images even if not.  This doesn't benefit me as I'm totally exclusive anyway but I thought I would mention it regardless.

I can upload as many images as I want as often as I want regardless of being exclusive or not.  I heard there is some sort of bulk upload option for new photographers as well but I'm not too sure about that.  When I dipped my toes in the I-stock water a few years ago I was puzzled and frustrated by the limits.  I would never get caught up...ever!  Not that I am now but being chronically behind is solely based on my procrastination through FT not on silly limitations they put on me.

FT pays commissions on promotional and free credits as though they were purchased.  I heard that I-Stock does not do this?  From what I understand they send out a lot of these promo credits to recruit buyers.

FT is the number one micro-stock site in Europe and is picking up speed around the world!  I have always believed that FT has had my best interest in mind as their successes equate to my success.  I would both love and hate it if all the top micro-stockers were at FT.  Love it because the quality of imagery would be so high that the lions share of the buyers would have to be there too.  Hate it because the competition would be so fierce I would really have to step up my game.  I'm willing to do it if you want to give it a shot come on over!

For what it's worth guys, I'm sorry that you are getting dumped on so rough at IS.  Especially those of you that are exclusive.  If any of you have any questions about FT I'm happy to answer them.  I'm not always a shameless cheerleader, I'll give straight answers to the best of my ability and if I don't know the answer I will try to find it for you.

Good luck all,

Mat Hayward 


« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 17:35 »
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Well, Mat, although I agree that IS is acting very poorly regarding members, both exclusive and non-exclusive, it's not like FT management (and others) are angels either. They have taken drastic cuts in our commissions, and there is always the complaint about exchange rates.

(At least for me, US sales are such a minority that I have to agree with the currency discussions that took place in the past. It does seem that FT is making an extra earning from that - selling more in and but paying contributors more in USD.)

KB

« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2010, 17:41 »
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Well, Mat, although I agree that IS is acting very poorly regarding members, both exclusive and non-exclusive, it's not like FT management (and others) are angels either. They have taken drastic cuts in our commissions, and there is always the complaint about exchange rates.
Not to mention sub sales at maximum sizes, and (in my experience, YMMV) random, high rejection rates.

« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2010, 17:41 »
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I love Fotolia because ... they're not Istock? Although we know Fotolia are every bit as greedy as Istock so far they are limited in how much they can express it without destroying their entire business.

Be warned Fotolia __ don't get too greedy or we contributors could reduce the value of your business to virtually NOTHING inside of a few days. You haven't seen what's going to happen to Istock __ yet.

Ever read Malcolm Gladwells 'The Tipping Point'? I imagine there's a few Istock directors wishing they had __ and I don't envy whoever has to launder their underwear right now.

« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2010, 17:43 »
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I'm also at Fotolia, and quite content about it. Not there as exclusive though. Good sales there every day

« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2010, 17:48 »
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watermarks... that's the big problem i have with FT... a lot of my isolated images don't even have a mark at all... i wish they would change the watermark to a bigger one or allow you to control the placement..  I had emailed them about that recently but they said they have no plans to change anything right now.. :(

« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 18:54 »
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That all sounds well and good, but seriously, what chances would a close-to-silver IS exclusive (just over 2100 DL) have of getting similar placement on FT without having to go back through the ranks of the unwashed masses?

Exactly.  I'll give you a minute to wipe off your screen...sorry for the mess.

« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 19:00 »
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Yeah buddy, don't think we've forgotten about you and all of Fotolia's shenanigans. We're just distracted with something else right now. You're still on double secret probation.  ;D

There definitely was a spoon full of sugar to help the poison go down in most of Fotolia's changes though.

« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 19:08 »
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Fotolia dropped my commission rate twice as I recall, and by just about 20%.  Funny how that figure keeps showing up.  And to add insult to injury, the last time they did it they offered to undo it.  All I had to do was give away a hundred of my top selling images.  I wonder how much that would have ended up costing me...

CPI

« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2010, 19:12 »
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Sorry but i just have to speak openly about this

For starters,  Fotolia lied to contributors few times before , remember somebody stated  how subs are bad for business and taking it down for both sides.

Then introduced them soon and  gave them at largest size images , but not counting them as normal sales for further level chase ?

Were we not  (and still are) chasing limits like donkeys carrots  and then they were raised in a same way IS is doing now.  

Can u say its not happening again?  I certainly can not  because I tend to believe someone once, when im fooled i have serious problem with forgetting.

What about pure stealing from contributors on exchange rates that is happening at FT at this moment ?

FT and IS have exactly same goal , and its not about happiness of contributors , at all


Than, this post of yours come in good time for fotolia, but personally i find it at least unethical
And its not nice  to start cra..ing on IS now whatever they are doing, even if u do it politely in white gloves, especially when u know that u guys are banning people
on FT for mentioning anything not good for FT including stats and links , even when they lead to interviews of your stuff.  You can, but is not polite.
At least they are letting people write at this moment, Fotolia was banning like crazy, acting like gestapo and even suspending few accounts if im not wrong, but you know better than me.

When somebody comes to your home and u forbid him to smoke, you don't come to his house and light a cigarette same moment, even if you know its ok with him.

In simple words, you are officially representing FT in certain way, and taking advantage of situation on IS to come here a try to make FT look like heaven and feel sorry for people that contribute there.

« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2010, 19:57 »
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In simple words, you are officially representing FT in certain way, and taking advantage of situation on IS to come here a try to make FT look like heaven and feel sorry for people that contribute there.

I should have clarified this before...I am definitely not officially representing Fotolia.  I am a contributor just like you.  I felt compelled to point out what to me has been obvious all along....that while the volume of sales at IS is higher than FT, the commissions and other aspects of Fotolia even after the changes they had made are far more advantageous to the photographers.  As I mentioned before, I tried to upload to IS a while back before the exclusivity rules applied at FT and found myself very frustrated.  I never went back. 

I am probably more well aware than anyone else that FT has pissed people off but the fact remains that at the end of the day I am making good money with them.  Have there been changes made I didn't like?  Of course.  This business is evolving every day and the past 2 years I would say have been very dramatic as the money is very serious and we are considered more "legit" as photographers than we once were.  I'm sure there are many more changes to come.  I just wanted to remind people that 54% commission rates on $40 sales add up pretty quick is all.

Peace,

Mat

« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2010, 19:58 »
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You're still on double secret probation.  ;D

*!  I thought that was expired!

« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2010, 20:18 »
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Hmm ... fighting urge to speak up ... must fight it ....        mmmmmmmmmmmm   .......                   ok.  Deep breaths.  Ok.  Thank goodness.  I would not want to get banned for speaking out like so many others in the past have.

I will say this: the site is too freaking slow!

« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2010, 20:43 »
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Unfortunately for FT, most of us still make more money at IS than FT, even when we were independent. If FT makes a similar announcement, will FT (through you as a moderator) allow us to have a free debate about it?

I hate to see the direction that IS is taking, but FT has not made an appealing case either.


In simple words, you are officially representing FT in certain way, and taking advantage of situation on IS to come here a try to make FT look like heaven and feel sorry for people that contribute there.

I should have clarified this before...I am definitely not officially representing Fotolia.  I am a contributor just like you.  I felt compelled to point out what to me has been obvious all along....that while the volume of sales at IS is higher than FT, the commissions and other aspects of Fotolia even after the changes they had made are far more advantageous to the photographers.  As I mentioned before, I tried to upload to IS a while back before the exclusivity rules applied at FT and found myself very frustrated.  I never went back. 

I am probably more well aware than anyone else that FT has pissed people off but the fact remains that at the end of the day I am making good money with them.  Have there been changes made I didn't like?  Of course.  This business is evolving every day and the past 2 years I would say have been very dramatic as the money is very serious and we are considered more "legit" as photographers than we once were.  I'm sure there are many more changes to come.  I just wanted to remind people that 54% commission rates on $40 sales add up pretty quick is all.

Peace,

Mat

« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2010, 20:51 »
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I think you really need to ask yourself why it is there is nobody - and I mean nobody - who is a full-time stock photographer and exclusive at Fotolia. You can be fond of all the things you've mentioned, Matt, but when it comes down to the bottom line you are selling yourself short. More short than you think is possible.

« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2010, 20:59 »
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I think you really need to ask yourself why it is there is nobody - and I mean nobody - who is a full-time stock photographer and exclusive at Fotolia. You can be fond of all the things you've mentioned, Matt, but when it comes down to the bottom line you are selling yourself short. More short than you think is possible.

does this mean you get more on IS exclusivity??

« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2010, 21:06 »
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Unfortunately for FT, most of us still make more money at IS than FT, even when we were independent.
Actually IS and FT go well together for me.  Last year FT was 5% ahead of IS, this year IS is 4% ahead of FT.

« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2010, 21:46 »
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You are right on that ... they sure do go well together ...

« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2010, 23:50 »
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Unfortunately for FT, most of us still make more money at IS than FT, even when we were independent.
Actually IS and FT go well together for me.  Last year FT was 5% ahead of IS, this year IS is 4% ahead of FT.
Back when I was independent, I could take my total FT earnings and multiply by 3 and it would still be less than IS.  Pity they didn't count subscription DLs as a full DL, but as a 1/4 DL.  Do they still do that?  Does it still take 4 sub DLs to equal 1 normal FT download?

ap

« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2010, 23:57 »
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Do they still do that?  Does it still take 4 sub DLs to equal 1 normal FT download?

uh huh...i really don't get ft's popularity. some people do really well by them and some don't. even veer outperforms them for me.

« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2010, 00:51 »
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what why spruke about how good Fotolia is compared to Istock ? if Fotolia actually had any sizable number of exclusives they would have screwed them long ago. Fotolia are by far the best at screwing contributors over.

I do not believe you when you say you don't have any vested interest in Fotolia other the being a contributor.

lagereek

« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2010, 02:43 »
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FT,  is great and a great concept,  I do sell a lot there and I agree 100%  about their tough editing of NOT letting irrelevant material clogg up every corner such as IS and SS  have managed to do.
Now I do believe IS will never, ever regain contributors/buyers trust anymore, its just become too messy and no doubt the Getty-folks wanted this reaction, they knew exactly what they were doing, business-people not creatives.

FT, with a bit of smart moves could perhaps pick up some pieces here,  who knows?

« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2010, 03:02 »
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I think you really need to ask yourself why it is there is nobody - and I mean nobody - who is a full-time stock photographer and exclusive at Fotolia. You can be fond of all the things you've mentioned, Matt, but when it comes down to the bottom line you are selling yourself short. More short than you think is possible.

I promise you I've given that a lot of thought, I really have.  That's kind of why making this post is a bit selfish.  I want Fotolia's volume to be equal to that of I-Stock which everyone knows it isn't...yet.  The best way I see that happening is if the best photographers are there.  I don't think anyone can dispute the fact that the commissions decimate those of I-Stock.  It isn't even close in any category as far as I can tell whether exclusive or not and it never has been. 

As for selling myself short, if I went non or partial exclusive I would need to spend countless hours uploading to the other sites and would need to sell many times the number of pics I do now to even break even.  I had the numbers figured out at one point in time but I don't remember them off the top of my head.  It was a lot though as I wouldn't be able to charge $40 and my commission rate would be less.  As it is, I make a decent amount of money.  Not near where I want it to be but every month of every year has increased for me and I'm not seeing any signs of that trend changing <knock-on-wood>. 

Mat

« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2010, 03:03 »
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I do not believe you when you say you don't have any vested interest in Fotolia other the being a contributor.

Believe it Brother!  I'm a freak!  What can I say?

Mat

« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2010, 03:08 »
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I think you really need to ask yourself why it is there is nobody - and I mean nobody - who is a full-time stock photographer and exclusive at Fotolia. You can be fond of all the things you've mentioned, Matt, but when it comes down to the bottom line you are selling yourself short. More short than you think is possible.

One other point I meant to make...I think where I-Stock has been superior in their exclusive program is in their aggressive marketing and recruitment.  From what I understand they have a massive staff to focus on specific things like photographer recruitment.  I think FT is very small in comparison.  They (FT) could sell themselves better in this regard as I don't know how many people even know about the benefits of exclusivity there anymore.  Like you eluded to and others...it confuses people that know this business that I am exclusive at FT.  That being said, I'm happy with my choice.  I want more of course and it's coming but I feel I'm treated fairly. 

Have a good one,

Mat


 

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