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Author Topic: A pebble in the pond: a free Artists Marketplace  (Read 588 times)

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« on: June 26, 2020, 03:16 »
0
For nearly a month (since the infamous 1st of June) a couple of disquieting questions have been bouncing back and forth within my skull:
-   what are we to do if/when the other agencies follow Shutterstocks despicable example and start treating their contributors like beggars?
-   How come a fair agency like Picfair appears to sell nearly nothing even though they offer such awfully great pictures?

I do know all too well what its like to set up a photostock agency  - I did it. Once you solve the  technical problems (quite a hard cliff themselves) and get it to run fine, you find out to your dismay that keeping it up and running server fees, updating, de-hacking, automation, you name it is way more expensive (at least in time) than you optimistically thought when you started.

No, I dont really think that setting up a new agency with so many small ones out there struggling to survive would be a solution. What we need is a new concept, something that would entice anyone who needs one or more images having specific requirements. The cue came from Alex Rotenberg as he told us how a customer, unable to find his images on Shutterstock any longer, got directly in touch with him.

So why not to put in contact clients and contributors, thus bypassing the agencies?
All it would take would be a surprisingly cheap and simple no-profit site, a sort of artists cooperative dedicated to illustrations, photos and video clips, where potential clients may freely ask for images having some specific features. Their requests appear on a board and get immediately sent per E-mail to all photographers who subscribed (for free).
A mother knows her baby, a photographer knows his/her images: the one who has an image that may satisfy the client (say, a kid playing in a puddle) replies uploading ASAP one or more watermarked images onto a page that only the client may access.

That would be really big news: a thoughtful human response, no AI at all, no 300 pictures of the same lonely puddle in the park taken from 300 different angles. And no time wasted on keywords (do we all loathe them!)

As far as prices are concerned, thats all to be seen: fixed price, normal and premium, private negotiation a matter of taste. However the cooperative rules must be simple and clear, and accepted by all subscribers; thats important, the one who doesnt play fair gets kicked out without ceremony.
The site would be extremely simple though attractive and wouldnt require any special server performances, or large amounts of memory, or special skills to run it. The only costs would be:
-   annual server rent (not much).
-   software maintenance (not much if regularly performed, but it must be done weekly to keep the software up to date and to prevent possible undue intrusions, malware and hacking).
-   start-up software development and further expansions if the initiative is successful (affordable).

No commission on sales were talking of a no-profit initiative and this way it shall stay, lest greed creeps in and shatters(tocks) it to crumbles  :)

The expenditures above would be covered by all subscribers after their first sale; if some 1000 1500 artists gather and join, it would be a matter of a few $ each yearly transparent management, all expenditures publicly documented, no hidden costs.

Of course there should be a page telling the cooperatives history and its goals, with a nice name (how about Shutterstocks castaways?) and some well-groomed galleries of monographic pictures about current topics, something like the Photocases ones.

Maximum publicity to all successful sales on the site.
No a-priori exclusive, though it may be individually agreed with the client case by case.

All the above should obviously be discussed in detail once (if) this initiative takes shape and color. Mine is just a stone Im throwing in the pond, lets see now if it makes any waves




« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2020, 03:51 »
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I like the idea: simple and easy to understand.

However, I don't know if buyers like it too. The buy process will be longer and the buyer could get too much images by email.

I have servers and can do that simple webpage and setup a mail list for that.

« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2020, 04:06 »
0

I have servers and can do that simple webpage and setup a mail list for that.
great!  ;D

« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2020, 05:54 »
0

Nice idea, and it's great to see someone putting effort into finding a solution for the current crisis of the microstock market.
However, some possible problems came into my mind when I red the description of your idea:

There is no clear advantage for the clients. They can much faster find and purchase images they need on standard microstock websites (without the need to write desriptions for each image they want), and they would probably get better price there.

Also, if some client decides to try this new "cooperative" website, he would describe the images he needs, but often contributors would offer images that are not quite what the client had envisioned (we all know how clients can be picky). Clients usually do not have so much free time to explain in detail what they need, and then to wait for who knows how long for the right image to be offered. Many would quickly lose patience, so they will return to the iStock, Shutterstock, AS, etc. where they can quickly find and buy the right image they need.

Without clients, that new concept would quickly become failure.

Shelma1

« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2020, 06:21 »
+4
While I appreciate the idea, I see three immediate issues: 1. Too time-consuming for buyers. 2. Way too time-consuming for sellers...imagine having to check the website constantly to see requests, then having to gather appropriate images, then having to send them off, only time after time to have someone elses image chosen. 3. Attracting buyers. This is the main problem for any site and the reason so many fail. It costs a lot of money to compete with huge stock sites.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2020, 10:19 »
+2
I also see some problems:
- It's too slow for buyers. Most buyers just want stock images fast and cheap. If buyers need custom images or have specific request, they might just as well hire a freelancer. Your concept falls inbetween: it's not as cheap and fast as buying from a regular stock site, and not as specific and tailored as a custom job.
- It leaves room for abuse by artists: throw everything at a client and see what sticks. Curating and moderating submissions costs money and time.
- It's time-consuming and not rewarding enough for (honest) artists: checking every request, uploading what they have, hoping some client chooses their submission.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 10:27 by Noedelhap »

« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2020, 12:03 »
+1
As others said, my first thoughts...

too slow
too many requests
sellers respond to everything
sellers undercut to be the lowest

whtvr2

« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2020, 12:54 »
0

I have servers and can do that simple webpage and setup a mail list for that.
great!  ;D

This month's escape plan is indeed interesting yet similar to all other ideas. Starts with, i know, i have, i will share, instead of "we need to hire...."

« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2020, 13:09 »
0
You have brightened my day. It is evident that the current market is moving towards the Classical Agencies in their particular struggle between them and the resurgence of groups struggling to expand benefits over their work. Our advantage is that the product is ours and we can turn it into Agencies or other alternatives or both.

Logically, we always think of what we know, the current market. But obviously, the present is heading for new ways of commercialization, in addition to the classic Agencies.

There are places to hire professionals. There are advertising agencies. Instead, I remember that there have been specific requests around here for specific projects. I remember a web dictionary, and I remember something related to scientific illustrations. Request for help for volume images.

Obviously we are talking about microstock on demand. It has its difficulty, but if it is not tried, we do not know if it will work. We don't even know if it can be developed. But people with initiative and talent are what it takes to solve the problems that arise. Then develop the department and then clients.

In reality, many authors would need illustrations or photographs, in their projects, within a reasonable period of time, as well as Universities and companies for their catalogs, ........... The need exists. And you can compete on price against Advertising Agencies and Microstock Agencies, since it can be expensive in certain projects.

An advertising agency, from microstock, is not easy. But 24/7, without borders, and knowing that the need exists, and that the product is ours and therefore, we sell, its use, but it is still in our power, it is very tempting and with possibilities.

Thank you for collaborating and contributing your ideas to the community. Congratulations.

I like very much.
Thank you.

« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2020, 16:27 »
0
While I appreciate the idea, I see three immediate issues: 1. Too time-consuming for buyers. 2. Way too time-consuming for sellers...imagine having to check the website constantly to see requests, then having to gather appropriate images, then having to send them off, only time after time to have someone elses image chosen. 3. Attracting buyers. This is the main problem for any site and the reason so many fail. It costs a lot of money to compete with huge stock sites.

Those my first thoughts, too  - the symbio co-op tried this approach,  free for sellers to use; buyers could do searches across all artists' portfolios making #1 easier and eliminating #2. I had a program that ran daily and automatically checked each artist's online portfolio to find new images. 

Sellers could also see what keywords were being used and how useful they were - eg 'animal' vs 'pangolin'

but it was #3 that doomed the project - failure to attract users


 

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