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Author Topic: "Fair" Trade Rules  (Read 8664 times)

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« on: June 21, 2011, 06:37 »
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Comments on Lee's article today, and "fairstockphotoagency.com"?
http://t.co/5YabdIa

Actually, I agree with Lee :)


« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2011, 08:59 »
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Comments on Lee's article today, and "fairstockphotoagency.com"?
http://t.co/5YabdIa

Actually, I agree with Lee :)


Me, too.

« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2011, 09:39 »
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I think that there a ton of problems with how agencies currently operate, but any type of "fair trade" seal of approval won't work unless it's marketed to buyers. In other words, if you could get to the point that buyers just wouldn't consider buying from an agency that didn't have the fair trade organization's seal of approval, you'd have something with legs.

There are a number of examples of entities trying to change buyer behavior - fair trade coffee, the Seafood Watch, remember the "Look for the Union Label" song? It's really tough to get people to change their behavior.

What would be ideal is some new agency starting up, abiding by the new code of conduct, and becoming a huge success (whether because of that or not) and then other agencies would follow (like with the legal guarantee me too).

I'm certainly ready for that to happen, but right now, am not holding my breath :)

« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 10:05 »
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I believe that this fair agencies and all that should be made by top contributors, other like myself will follow after, first thing might be leaving all top agencies that are paying low but real stuff is that they are the only one actually selling..

lisafx

« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 10:18 »
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I think it is a really admirable idea.  I certainly hope it catches on and is successful. 

« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2011, 10:39 »
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I think it is a really admirable idea.  I certainly hope it catches on and is successful. 

Yeah it is admirable but will never work.  I'm not seeing a lot of commercial benefit for the big sites or buyers in signing up unless a critical mass of contributors are prepared to sacrifice immediate short and medium term income for possible long term gain and move en masse.

ShadySue

« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 11:02 »
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I think that there a ton of problems with how agencies currently operate, but any type of "fair trade" seal of approval won't work unless it's marketed to buyers. In other words, if you could get to the point that buyers just wouldn't consider buying from an agency that didn't have the fair trade organization's seal of approval, you'd have something with legs.

There are a number of examples of entities trying to change buyer behavior - fair trade coffee, the Seafood Watch, remember the "Look for the Union Label" song? It's really tough to get people to change their behavior.


Fair Trade is at last catching on here and has fairly high visibility in the general public now. What helped was the media getting onboard, and showing really hard-hitting films about sweat shops, child labour and the living conditions for many people who produce the commodities which we buy.
Our situation is different, in that we could, by embracing microstock, easily be portrayed as being the very ones who undercut fairly paid photography work, and now we're realising the money we're getting is unfair and unsustainable. So we have been the authors of our own downfall.

lagereek

« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 11:06 »
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Thats just it and agencies know this:  in order to gain something you have to scarifice something,  nobody is prepared to do this. Speaking abot this. I was a member of AFAEP, Association of fashion, advertising and editorial photographers, for years. They never got their finger out to do anything.

RT


« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 12:40 »
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Yeah it is admirable but will never work. 

+1

In fact this is even more of delusional idea than the 'contributors union' that gets brought up every once in a while.

« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 14:07 »
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Thank you everyone for support and comments. You're all right that it's difficult to change things and customer behavior. Still I believe it will work. Somebody have to try it! :-) Fitst, the target of the initiative is split into phases.

1. To attract contributors as you guys here. Get your feedback, implement that into the code of conduct and have it as a simple page that says what's right and what's wrong. It's target is not to say "all agencies should pay 50% royalty" but rather say this is current status of revenues and rules. And for agencies that would follow that code, it would be like a "This agency is OK" sign. Some agencies would be below average and some above. Still some might be great volume sellers as China is great volume producer.

2. If agencies and contributors will be OK with such a document (I'm also a designer even that I'm CEO of an agency) it would be a "widely agreed" guide for agencies how to make their contributors happy and therefore attract more of them. Later on we can rank/audit agencies to help you guys decide.

3. In the end contributors are the major power in the microstock market. And only contributors can decide if they will stay with an agency that generates a huge profit or with an agency that does balanced stuff. Look in the future and change it! Guys at Google made it even that AltaVista was a star at that time. The page I've made just collects the facts and should help you guys.

Finally

I believe that crowdsourcing has a brilliant idea in itself. And if the agency becomes just an effective connector between the artist and the user/buyer then everything is perfect. It would be so nice if the oldest agency in this industry would be able to keep that spirit alive. I think that would made it unbeatable. Still, I'm just a designer, so I might be wrong with how I see the world of microstock ;-)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 14:10 by zager »

lisafx

« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2011, 14:15 »
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Thank you Vita, for all the work you have put into this.  I wish you the best of success with your plans. :)

« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2011, 14:38 »
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I think it is an admirable idea, but why does there have to be a "good housekeeping seal of approval" for agencies or contributors...why can't leaving metadata in and providing opt-outs just be SOP?

What are the consequences going to be for an agency who "pledges" to do the right thing to reel in more buyers and contributors, then down the road changing their Agreements and only announcing the changes buried somewhere on their forum? (And of course we all know that THAT never happens).

What are the consequences going to be for contributors who keyword spam after they have "pledged" not to do so? Those things are already written into Agreements but some contributors submit images with good keywords, then once the image is approved, go back and spam keywords.  (And of course we all know that THAT never happens). The "seal" just makes the unscrupulous appear honest.

Is there going to be someone hired that will constantly monitor both contributors' and agencies' behavior? I doubt it. Unless all parties are monitored on a consistent basis, I can't see this as being effective. Are there going to be serious consequences to those who do not abide?

RacePhoto

« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2011, 14:42 »
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I believe that this fair agencies and all that should be made by top contributors, other like myself will follow after, first thing might be leaving all top agencies that are paying low but real stuff is that they are the only one actually selling..

But the bottom agencies pay just as low and make less sales, why not everyone leave them so the top agencies don't have to compete with the lowest common denominator and the race to the bottom of prices and commissions. Raise the standards, raise the pay. Instead we have who can be cheapest and offer the least. Dump the Chumps.  8)

"Contributors can also sign the declaration. They agree to not spam keywords, to give an agency time to rectify issues before posting about them on forums, and to respect confidential information."

That's funny when you think about it. Keep Secrets and don't complain. WOW! Is that Orwell or Brave new World?

I'm all in for the promise to stop keyword spamming.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 14:47 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2011, 15:03 »
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But the bottom agencies pay just as low and make less sales, why not everyone leave them so the top agencies don't have to compete with the lowest common denominator and the race to the bottom of prices and commissions. Raise the standards, raise the pay. Instead we have who can be cheapest and offer the least. Dump the Chumps.  8)

"Contributors can also sign the declaration. They agree to not spam keywords, to give an agency time to rectify issues before posting about them on forums, and to respect confidential information."

That's funny when you think about it. Keep Secrets and don't complain. WOW! Is that Orwell or Brave new World?

I'm all in for the promise to stop keyword spamming.

Glad you said something, that bugged me when I read it too.

I'm all for stopping keyword spamming, and I'm all for giving an agency a fair amount of time to rectify a problem, but I would never pledge not to post the problems on the forums. That's one of the benefits of the internet. Gone are the days when companies can treat customers/vendors like dirt and get away with it...the little guy finally has a venue to report problems and provide feedback to others. I'm sure this bugs the heck out of said companies.

« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011, 16:49 »
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In my mind you are missing one (the) essential part of the "Fair Trade" equation: Royalties.
Why not include a minimum royalty percentage (e.g. 50%) in there? And absolute transparency, i.e. with each transaction clearly state the amount the customer paid and the amount that was paid to the artist, including for transactions via re-sellers?

What is currently in that declaration are minor things that should be absolute standard for every agency (yes, I know, it is currently not).
But starting a "Fair Trade" movement with such minimal demands is not worth it at all.

« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2011, 17:01 »
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I must be missing some important information and maybe someone can fill me in here but I was wondering why the very company that lost many affiliations with major stock agencies over the issue outlined in the article is actually the founder of this initiative...???

If Pixmac now understands why it is important to be fair to its contributors, why did we have so many issues with them in the past?

Was it the affiliated agencies' fault and not Pixmac's for stripping the copyright info? And if so, why would Pixmac lose those affiliations if they are the ones who try to be fair? Political issues?

Sorry for asking potentially dumb questions but I'm kind of lost here.



« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2011, 18:47 »
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Political issues?

Political issues.

I think that if a "fair trade commission" is going to be founded to provide honesty and transparency to buyers, contributors and agencies, a simple answer like "political issues" isn't going to fly. Who was responsible for stripping out the copyright? Someone has to know, but no one wants to claim responsibility. What has been done since to remedy that situation? Apparently nothing, because just 2-3 weeks ago, my images were on a partner site with copyright info stripped out. Nobody's talking. Nothing has changed.

Why don't contributors have the right to answers to those questions, when it is their work that was infringed upon?

This is why the whole "fair trade" thing, IMHO, won't work. When it comes down to claiming responsibility, answering tough questions, possibly losing money, nobody's going to want to step up to the plate. Sounds good on paper, in theory a great idea, in reality, not so much.

edited to say this just doesn't apply to pixmac either. I haven't heard any "truths" from the other entities involved either.

« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2011, 18:48 »
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In my mind you are missing one (the) essential part of the "Fair Trade" equation: Royalties.

I tend to agree. It's a nice start though. My laundry list includes things like price setting features, 50/50 royalty rates, optional or no subscriptions and easy portfolio disabling features. These are things I look at when I sign up for new agencies now. Basically, the more control I can get as a contributor the better.

« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2011, 19:57 »
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I think it is a really admirable idea.  I certainly hope it catches on and is successful. 
Yes, it's like buying from local producers to help jobs in your area and reduce transportation costs and emissions. It's a matter of attitude.

« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2011, 21:08 »
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Without seeing the companies real books it would be hard to say what commission %age is fair (but I bet it isn't 15% or even 30%). There should be some lower limit that a company can't pretend to be fair trade without being above it.

Most of these things previously mentioned should be there. I'd like to see more transparency in a lot of things from "partner" programs to what the buyer actually paid for an image and what the photographer gets. Look at Fotolia for how not to run credit costs, exchange rates, etc.

Without some teeth I doubt it will make much difference and I applaud the effort.

How long do you think is reasonable for a company to take to resolve an issue before one goes to the internet with it?

« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2011, 01:49 »
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I think it is a nice idea but I strongly oppose the "secrecy passus" that problems should not be discussed openly in the forums.

It is the transparency of the internet that is bringing out the best in communities. It is even bringing down dictatorships and empowering oppressed people.

And for business it is the same. Transparency keeps everyone on their toes and their best behaviour. No more behind closed doors wheeling and dealing.

« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2011, 02:04 »
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I think it is a nice idea but I strongly oppose the "secrecy passus" that problems should not be discussed openly in the forums.

Thanks! The part ment rather not to make conclusions without having any facts. Than not to discuss it at all..

« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2011, 02:06 »
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I think that if a "fair trade commission" is going to be founded to provide honesty and transparency to buyers, contributors and agencies, a simple answer like "political issues" isn't going to fly. Who was responsible for stripping out the copyright? Someone has to know, but no one wants to claim responsibility. What has been done since to remedy that situation? Apparently nothing, because just 2-3 weeks ago, my images were on a partner site with copyright info stripped out. Nobody's talking. Nothing has changed.

Please, look into history of MSG forum, Shutterstock's forum and our blog before you say this about Pixmac.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:09 by zager »

ShadySue

« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2011, 04:15 »
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I think it is a really admirable idea.  I certainly hope it catches on and is successful. 
Yes, it's like buying from local producers to help jobs in your area and reduce transportation costs and emissions. It's a matter of attitude.
Yup, the attitude of accepting (almost) only turnips,  cabbage, potatoes and sprouts as veg and accepting that you can only eat fruit, of very limited variety, for about eight weeks of the year, and even then, it's local to the country, not the area.
This analogy I'm sure is transferable to this issue too, but I had a long lie and am still hazy ...


 

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