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Author Topic: Agencies with Fair Commissions  (Read 19813 times)

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rubyroo

« on: January 20, 2011, 19:57 »
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I thought it might be worth having a dedicated thread for Fair Trade Agencies for photographers.  

For newbies:  As others have pointed out in this thread, there are many factors involved in how an agency will fare - e.g. their market share; their business model, the price they charge etc. and pooling all of that information is beyond my abilities, but as a starting point I felt having this information in one place might be useful.  

Individuals can investigate the agency in question and come to their own conclusions, via their websites and via threads on those agencies here at MSG.  Also, note whether/where they appear in the poll results on the right of this screen.  It is not necessarily the case that the highest commission equates to the highest income for you.

Please feel free to add info to this thread, and I will update this initial post as and when I can.

Zoonar - up to 80% - partner commissions 60%
Alamy  60% on direct sales; 40% via distribution deals
3DStudio 60%
Graphic Leftovers  52%  (set your own price or accept their recommendation)
Yay Micro  50%
Stockfresh 50%
123RF 50% on PPD(?)  Subs to be clarified...
Featurepics 50%
Spaces (niche macro agency) - 50%
Cutcaster 40% non-exclusive; 50% exclusive (set your own price or accept their recommendation)
Dreamstime 30% PPDs and .35 per sub (at the time of writing:  An individual image price and % commission may increase as it's sales grow to hit specified targets set by Dreamstime.)

Note:  Cutcaster and Spaces have confirmed these percentages directly in this thread.  Other percentages have been provided by contributors.  

NB:  If an agency sees any errors in this list, please advise via this thread and it will be corrected asap.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 09:12 by rubyroo »


« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 19:58 »
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123RF has 50% no?

rubyroo

« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 20:03 »
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Thanks Luis  :)  I've added them.

I'm going to bed soon, but just wanted to get this started.  Feel free to add any you know of.

« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 20:06 »
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but they are quiet weird once we can have blog sales for 0.25 or 0.45.. credits whatever..

featurepics has also 50%.. 2 sales but yeh they pay 50

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 20:07 »
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Remember that Alamy give you 60% on images sold directly by them, but 40% on images sold via distributors.

rubyroo

« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 20:11 »
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Thanks Sue!

Luis - the 123RF structure is a bit confusing, I'll have to leave that with a question mark for the moment.

« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 20:13 »
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3DStudio has 60%.. 3 sales lol.. 5 year lock in 70%

cutcaster 40%.. 2 sales :(

visco 40% (level 2) 50% (level 3).. guess they havent started the marketing etc..
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 20:18 by luissantos84 »


rubyroo

« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 20:22 »
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Thanks John and Luis (again).  I've never heard of Visco... I wonder should I just add all agencies, or should there be some discrimination (my instinct is to put them all in and let contributors investigate and decide, but let me know what you think.... I'll check back tomorrow :))

Off to bed now, but keep them coming :)

« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 20:22 »
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There is so much that goes into a "fair" commission beyond the percentage.

So an agency with $1 prices for all sizes, an anything goes license and 60% going to the photographer might look more "fair" than one with different prices for different sizes, a tighter basic license with extended licenses for more money and a 40% royalty for the photographer. But it probably would not make anything like as much money for the photographer.

And then there's SS which is so regularly the #1 or #2 earner and we have no idea what the percentage they pay to photographers is.

Then I'd want to look at agencies that might take a slightly higher cut, but spent it on aggressive promotion of the business which is more fair to photographers in the long run than those who just suck cash out of the business to pay back their investors or corporate parents.

I like the idea of a fair trade label for stock agencies, but I think it has to encompass much more than just the percentage.

rubyroo

« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 20:26 »
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I agree with you JSNover.  It's just that with people looking at their options more vehemently right now, I thought it would be worth having percentages as a starting point for further investigation.

« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 20:29 »
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I agree there a few important things in the fair question.. Regarding SS yes we dont have a fixed % but honestly that isnt bad I guess, regarding size we can upload 4MP or so.. I just hope they wont change it.. I am close to a milestone the 3k and I would be quite mad if something bad happen :P

FT was really crazy, night to day this announcement.. I am wondering when will it start, will it really go? why havent FT agreement etc changed?

« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 23:36 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word.

On topic... this thread is a great idea!  I think there are so many variables to consider but commission is hugely important to me and the easiest to analyze. If the agency is getting exactly the same cut for representing my work then that is fair. Anything under 40% to contributer is not fair.  I worked in the offline art gallery sales world for many years. Every single art gallery I dealt with took between a 40-60% cut of any sale...that has always been industry standard for access to more buyers. Lets remember a real brick and mortar business with huge overheads  and a limited client base of only people who are in a radius that can physically drive to the store somehow manages to maintain an industry standard of around 50/50 for many many decades, possibly hundreds of years (speculating)  but an online agency with access to the entire world and very little overhead can't do the same. It is hugely unethical and not fair trade to offer such low commissions. Sorry but advertising on the net is so much cheaper than the overhead for a real storefront. They are just so greedy that they are going to run this new microstock experimental business model into the ground very quickly to turn a quick profit.

« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 23:55 »
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I agree there a few important things in the fair question.. Regarding SS yes we dont have a fixed % but honestly that isnt bad I guess, regarding size we can upload 4MP or so.. I just hope they wont change it.. I am close to a milestone the 3k and I would be quite mad if something bad happen :P

I did a quick calculation on SS based on their direct purchase prices and the rate ranges from 19% to 30% depending on your sales volume. I imagine the subscription sales % is somewhere around there as well, although it's impossible for us to know.

« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 23:59 »
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...Graphic Leftovers  52%...
I might add that at GL you can set your own price. The most popular price is $6 which yields you $3+ per sale.

Uploading is easy, even for vectors, and the mgmt and reviewers are nice people. I have gotten several payouts there, and I know for a fact that some people are doing very, very well at GL. It's definitely worth submitting to, IMO.

RacePhoto

« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2011, 00:59 »
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I agree there a few important things in the fair question.. Regarding SS yes we dont have a fixed % but honestly that isnt bad I guess, regarding size we can upload 4MP or so.. I just hope they wont change it.. I am close to a milestone the 3k and I would be quite mad if something bad happen :P

FT was really crazy, night to day this announcement.. I am wondering when will it start, will it really go? why havent FT agreement etc changed?

I don't think SS will change. They sell well, they make money. They have a nice simple system and good customer base. There's no reason to change anything. They could give us more and I wouldn't complain? :D

Did FT change something? Again? I dropped them after the last commission cuts as did some others. Just shows that people will come on the forum and complain all day, every day, but then leave their pictures on the places that screw us and cheat us. I won't!

« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2011, 01:14 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word.

On topic... this thread is a great idea!  I think there are so many variables to consider but commission is hugely important to me and the easiest to analyze. If the agency is getting exactly the same cut for representing my work then that is fair. Anything under 40% to contributer is not fair.  I worked in the offline art gallery sales world for many years. Every single art gallery I dealt with took between a 40-60% cut of any sale...that has always been industry standard for access to more buyers. Lets remember a real brick and mortar business with huge overheads  and a limited client base of only people who are in a radius that can physically drive to the store somehow manages to maintain an industry standard of around 50/50 for many many decades, possibly hundreds of years (speculating)  but an online agency with access to the entire world and very little overhead can't do the same. It is hugely unethical and not fair trade to offer such low commissions. Sorry but advertising on the net is so much cheaper than the overhead for a real storefront. They are just so greedy that they are going to run this new microstock experimental business model into the ground very quickly to turn a quick profit.

almost 7 months waiting for fresh eheh it will be a record!

Race, hope you are right :)


« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2011, 01:19 »
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Identifying agencies that pay well is a great idea, but I think there is fundamental problem with contributors and agencies and it's related to the timeline. We want to create images for decades, but the agencies only seem to want to grow large enough to be purchased. In the cases of Istock and Stockxpert, it was less than 10 years. The smaller agencies offer great royalties while they are weak, but as soon as they grow to a certain size the royalties for contributors will drop. Percentage growth for the agency looks much better in the financial statements than percentage growth for the contributors.

Unfortunately, I think fair commissions are nothing but a short term proposition.

I think until a large company comes along with lots of money to spend, that wants to pay contributors a fair commission, this business will constantly be in a state of change.

If Apple created some sort of Itunes type platform for stock medias that would change things and they pay 70% to the app developers.  

Could you imagine if Google sold stock images right out of the regular search engine using Google checkout?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 01:22 by retrorocket »

« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2011, 06:30 »
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This is opportunity for small agencies...

We need an agency that will work on "contributor friendly" brand, that will change its insignificant  name  in "www.microstockunion.com" or something like that ...

Who dares win!?

« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2011, 08:21 »
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Zoonar offers up to 80%, partner commission is 60%

helix7

« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2011, 09:03 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word...

SF is growing slowly and quietly. I believe they're past the 500,000 image mark and are probably waiting to get 1,000,000 images in the collection before they make much noise. I had some early action through a few sales and referrals. As of now my balance sits at $26, but I'm hoping to see more action later this year as the company gains momentum.

So far, I'm really liking what I see, though. The site design is exceptional, image quality is great, it's shaping up to be a really good collection. And the pricing should be a huge draw for buyers. Simple credit system, fair prices, good royalties. If they can attract buyers and build a solid customer base, SF could become a major player.

« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2011, 10:39 »
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stockfresh sounds really great...I wish they would open up to some new contributers though it seems they are not accepting new contributers? anyone get in recently? I applied many many months ago and no word...


SF is growing slowly and quietly. I believe they're past the 500,000 image mark and are probably waiting to get 1,000,000 images in the collection before they make much noise. I had some early action through a few sales and referrals. As of now my balance sits at $26, but I'm hoping to see more action later this year as the company gains momentum.

So far, I'm really liking what I see, though. The site design is exceptional, image quality is great, it's shaping up to be a really good collection. And the pricing should be a huge draw for buyers. Simple credit system, fair prices, good royalties. If they can attract buyers and build a solid customer base, SF could become a major player.


agreed.  I haven't had any sales there yet, but am building my portfolio there slowly but surely.

back more on topic.  has anyone check out this site:
http://www.whichstockagency.com/

I believe it is more geared towards buyers and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time there, but they post on Twitter frequently asking people to share their opinions of various stock agencies.

« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2011, 12:26 »
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So far, I'm really liking what I see, though. The site design is exceptional, image quality is great, it's shaping up to be a really good collection. And the pricing should be a huge draw for buyers. Simple credit system, fair prices, good royalties. If they can attract buyers and build a solid customer base, SF could become a major player.

Call me jaded, but my bet is if SF becomes successful it will be sold just as StockXpert was. 

WarrenPrice

« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2011, 13:05 »
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back more on topic.  has anyone check out this site:
http://www.whichstockagency.com/

I believe it is more geared towards buyers and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time there, but they post on Twitter frequently asking people to share their opinions of various stock agencies.



Very interesting;  noticed that Flickr is ranked very highly as a "buyer's" source.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 13:07 by WarrenPrice »

« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2011, 14:40 »
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back more on topic.  has anyone check out this site:
http://www.whichstockagency.com/

I believe it is more geared towards buyers and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time there, but they post on Twitter frequently asking people to share their opinions of various stock agencies.



Very interesting;  noticed that Flickr is ranked very highly as a "buyer's" source.


Clicking on the microstock link  http://www.whichstockagency.com/en/19/category/microstock/agencies   you can see that istock and fotolia are number one and two.  Everyone needs to sign in and post comments as to why it is important to suppport fair trade stock photography and also include your recommendations/rankings for the top sites.  This is the list that I bet a lot of buyers are using to decide who is best....so are we in agreement yet which agency we all should be pushing? At the end of the day what agency gives us the highest dollar amount per dowload should probably be considered the best way for us to collectively push traffic and earn more money,  I guess what agency has the highest RPD would be a good measure. (lets exclude alamy for the microstock list since people used to fotolia pricing are not going to switch to alamy. 

From my personal analytics (please add yours if different results). My list in order of highest return to artist per download is this. (excluding alamy which is the highest at $71 average sale, very few sales though)

dreamstime  $1.69
canstock       $1.42
bigstock        $1.15
Istock           $0.92*
123rf            $0.65
Fotolia          $0.64*
Shutterstock  $0.55

*all numbers are an average of the past 12 months these are numbers not taking into account the recent commision cut so presumably fotolia and IS will have roughly 20% lower numbers in the coming year.

The winner for the top 2 sites that we should focus on pushing traffic to (based only on my numbers for these 7 sites) are Dreamstime and Canstock.  I really wish we could push higher sales traffic to canstock it is so easy to use. but Dreamstime have the unique quality that your prices go up as you sell more.   So we could argue all year and complain and moan but in the end if we do not organize with the common theme of pushing traffic to the sites with the highest payout per image we are just waisting energy that could be put to good use.  So get on your blogs and get on these stock recommendation sites and make your voice heard. buyers really do go to these sites to find out the "best" places to buy images.

please add other sites if you have more RPD data...I am no ton many of the smaller sites but would be willing to give them a try if the RPDs are high.


 

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