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Author Topic: Alamy - Microstock  (Read 9524 times)

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« on: June 12, 2008, 11:26 »
0
I've just received this email...any views!

..............................
Earlier this week we released details on the Alamy blog of the first
initiative that will be launched under the Novel Use scheme.
This is called 'Limited Use' with prices starting from around $1 and
restricted to a defined set of usages.

Limited Use was devised to enable Alamy contributors to compete in
the fast moving micropayment sector without devaluing their existing
sales at the higher end of the market. This level of pricing may come
as a shock to some of you, however we think it would be counterproductive
to try to sell at a higher price than the established players in this
market. If the customer groups that we have identified are paying for
photography (and we won't know until we try it for ourselves), it is
highly unlikely that they are paying more than micropayment prices.

The comments section of the blog was dominated by concerns that
Limited Use is microstock by another name. We have responded to
these concerns by enabling contributors who previously opted into
Novel Use to opt out of the scheme if they wish (details at the
end of this note).

Before you reach for the opt out button please consider the following
facts about this scheme:

- We have not lost our minds!

- Alamy Limited Use is not the same as microstock.

- Microstock images are available to all buyers of stock photography.

- Alamy Limited Use restricts usage to three types of user - teachers,
students, and bloggers - none of whom feature in our customer base.

- This is not the beginning of a shift towards universally low prices
at Alamy. It is not in our interests to slash prices of our conventional
business to microstock levels, but nevertheless we think that we have
something to offer this market. In 2007 the market leader in microstock
generated over $70m in revenue and is projected to achieve over $120m
this year. This business model is here to stay and we are leaving
money on the table by not taking the opportunity to compete with them
in some areas.


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 11:38 »
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Thanks for posting this. 

They say they are not going to undercut their own prices by eventually going microstock, but then they repeatedly assert that they are going to compete with the micros, and mention how much money the top micro site is making and projected to make in the future. 

Bad news for Alamy photographers, I think this is only the first step in a long term plan to offer more micro licenses.  JMHO, but that's how it reads to me.

Might be bad luck for all of us if the Alamy photographers who are there as an alternative to selling on the micros eventually decide to flood the micros with millions of new images that are currently selling macro.   

Someone tell me I am wrong because I would welcome the reassurance....

« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 12:27 »
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Someone tell me I am wrong because I would welcome the reassurance....

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I think some extra information will reassure you.

Most of the contributors on Alamy have a deep hatred for the microstock concept, for all the usual reasons. You can put money on the fact that a significant portion (I'd guess more than half) of their images will never be made available at microstock prices. The backlash over the very restricted toe-dipping effort of the Limited Use scheme is convincing evidence.

Have you seen the images on Alamy??  While there's the usual brilliant photos that you'd expect from the established professionals in the traditional stock photography market, there's also a LARGE portion of their portfolio that wouldn't meet the requirements of the top microstock agencies - not even close!

If the feedback I've been getting is any indication, a worthwhile chunk of microstock images are already in the Alamy portfolio! So you could perhaps discount a million or so of their images which are already available in the microstock market.

Limited Use is a 'test' for Alamy, but I don't expect it will work. Why?
- Too many contributors will opt out, so only a small portion of their portfolio will be available with this license.
- The license restrictions rule out any serious buyers
- The people who do qualify to use the license are not used to paying for images
- The market of bloggers, students and teachers are about 50 time more likely to come across one of the established microstock agencies before they find Alamy. They're just not known in that market.
...so if Limited Use does eventually turn out to be less than lucrative, they'll likely go back to core business and 'leave the money on the table' for people who're setup to take it.

« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 12:35 »
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Yeah, i agree with Lee a lot here.

The microstocks are getting pickier by the day and rightly so.  Given another year or two and i think the most profitable well established sites are going to be quite elitist in their image selections making it harder and harder for people just starting out to get a decent portfolio with them.  Which would make the greater part of the alamy database unacceptable.

dullegg

« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 13:02 »
0
Someone tell me I am wrong because I would welcome the reassurance....

Have you seen the images on Alamy??  While there's the usual brilliant photos that you'd expect from the established professionals in the traditional stock photography market, there's also a LARGE portion of their portfolio that wouldn't meet the requirements of the top microstock agencies - not even close!


never mind the quality or composition, have you seen how many images without model releases with identifiable faces?
not just tiny faces, it's faces full frontal and being the subject of the photographs.
now, how do you explain that to be approved? :o

sgc

« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 13:10 »
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never mind the quality or composition, have you seen how many images without model releases with identifiable faces?
not just tiny faces, it's faces full frontal and being the subject of the photographs.
now, how do you explain that to be approved? :o

It's called editorial.

dullegg

« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 13:37 »
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never mind the quality or composition, have you seen how many images without model releases with identifiable faces?
not just tiny faces, it's faces full frontal and being the subject of the photographs.
now, how do you explain that to be approved? :o

It's called editorial.

i know what editorial is. thanks! ;D
but i'm referring to non-editorial images without model release . ::)

fotoKmyst

« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 14:23 »
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Yeah, i agree with Lee a lot here.

The microstocks are getting pickier by the day and rightly so.  Given another year or two and i think the most profitable well established sites are going to be quite elitist in their image selections making it harder and harder for people just starting out to get a decent portfolio with them.  Which would make the greater part of the alamy database unacceptable.


and the riders with their noses held high come falling from their high horses !!!  oh wouldn't that be a laff ;D ;D ;D ;D

« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 14:37 »
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Yeah, i agree with Lee a lot here.

The microstocks are getting pickier by the day and rightly so.  Given another year or two and i think the most profitable well established sites are going to be quite elitist in their image selections making it harder and harder for people just starting out to get a decent portfolio with them.  Which would make the greater part of the alamy database unacceptable.


This is largely untrue. I'm not sure if you sell on Alamy or not but their biggest strength is their huge eclectic collection. It's true they have many main stream images but what often sells on Alamy is the low interest, editorial image which would be viewed as a Not-A-Stock-Image piece of crap by the majors and the micros. A good market exists for those images and Alamy takes advantage of that. Alamy took a different approach to editing than the majors and as such have profited nicely from it. It's their understanding of the editorial market and the ability to sell unreleased images through the L license that allows many to profit from a segment of the market the micros wouldn't touch.

I don't think anyone can expect to profit with the majors, micros or Alamy unless they show a high level of commitment, energy, business sense and artistic acuity. What needs to be learned early on in the game is where you can make the most money from the style of images that mean the most to you. It ain't easy, that's for sure.


lisafx

« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2008, 15:01 »
0
Someone tell me I am wrong because I would welcome the reassurance....

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I think some extra information will reassure you.

SNIP

Thanks for taking the time to post such a thorough and well reasoned response Lee :)

I certainly hope you are right.  I am aware, as you say, that a large portion of Alamy contributors chose Alamy for the precise reason that they are anti-microstock.  This must feel like a big slap in the face to them. 

OTOH at least Alamy offered an opt-out.  Unlike a certain micro.....

« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2008, 15:41 »
0
Yeah, i agree with Lee a lot here.

The microstocks are getting pickier by the day and rightly so.  Given another year or two and i think the most profitable well established sites are going to be quite elitist in their image selections making it harder and harder for people just starting out to get a decent portfolio with them.  Which would make the greater part of the alamy database unacceptable.


This is largely untrue. I'm not sure if you sell on Alamy or not but their biggest strength is their huge eclectic collection. It's true they have many main stream images but what often sells on Alamy is the low interest, editorial image which would be viewed as a Not-A-Stock-Image piece of crap by the majors and the micros. A good market exists for those images and Alamy takes advantage of that. Alamy took a different approach to editing than the majors and as such have profited nicely from it. It's their understanding of the editorial market and the ability to sell unreleased images through the L license that allows many to profit from a segment of the market the micros wouldn't touch.

I don't think anyone can expect to profit with the majors, micros or Alamy unless they show a high level of commitment, energy, business sense and artistic acuity. What needs to be learned early on in the game is where you can make the most money from the style of images that mean the most to you. It ain't easy, that's for sure.



well i agree with you that alamy is a good place for those images and that it can be a very viable business model.  My point was, that those images are not going to cross over into the microstock databases.  The microstock's aren't going to want them.

« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 15:49 »
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I hope you guys are right as well. The fact is, no one knows for sure what will happen in the future. If 10 years ago you were to tell the big 5 of the music industry, that they would be selling tracks for a dollar on a internet company called itunes. They would surely have laughed in your face. Just a thought.

I would love to see all of microstock charge by the usage. I think alamy has a good idea with that, especially after the mixed feelings the "Time cover" brought up.

« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2008, 15:56 »
0


[/quote]

well i agree with you that alamy is a good place for those images and that it can be a very viable business model.  My point was, that those images are not going to cross over into the microstock databases.  The microstock's aren't going to want them.
[/quote]

Leaf,

Seems we were trying to make the same point. Thanks for the clarification.

« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2008, 16:10 »
0
Someone tell me I am wrong because I would welcome the reassurance....

Those guys mostly hate iStock and the iStock me-toos. Even though their own RF model was hated by a generation who were 10 - 15 years more established. They are used to working to very different technical standards (they're into uprezzing and sharpening and all of that stuff which we all learned not to do). But you can't stand in the way of inevitable economics and even the old timers are starting to understand that.

Alamy is barking up a tree with this will we - won't we go microstock approach to RF licencing. It's neither one thing nor the other and it demonstrates a lack of confidence - a lack of knowing quite what to do. Everyone who has thought this through knows that microstock RF is going to be the only model for everything which does not have to be commissioned. Including editorial eventually. The prices will go up a bit more from the bottom (leaving space for really cheap deals) but will come down a long way from the top.

All that said - I can understand that Alamy will face a difficult transition and may not survive. The best thing we can all do is to welcome the photographers who make it over. Competition even with each other is good for all of us. We can all learn from each other.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 16:12 by AAC6D63 »

lisafx

« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2008, 17:02 »
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The prices will go up a bit more from the bottom (leaving space for really cheap deals) but will come down a long way from the top.

I certainly hope you are right about this one.  Subscription plans on several sites have put that in question...


PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2008, 18:43 »
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The prices will go up a bit more from the bottom (leaving space for really cheap deals) but will come down a long way from the top.

I certainly hope you are right about this one.  Subscription plans on several sites have put that in question...
Alamy will at some point probably need to slowly come down in pricing. This Novel Use seems to be a first step toward testing the waters in that direction.

The problem with their contributor rebellion is, what if the buyers will no longer pay Alamy prices and go elsewhere? This Novel Use thing seems to be a minor issue in the grand scheme. What's more concerning is this could be a forewarning of future events. What happens if a year from now Alamy reacts to market conditions by making a major move to avert a downward spiral and the contributors rebel? Could Alamy's own contributors cause their downfall?

Istock is moving upmarket and at some point may compete with Alamy RF.

The rest seem to be making copycat moves in a battle for the bottom solely on price. If the infrastructure and advancement will cost them more and more as they grow, and they can't increase buyer fees to keep up, what will they do?

RacePhoto

« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2008, 04:27 »
0
Too many words. This sentence gets lost for many readers.

Quote from: Alamy
Alamy Limited Use restricts usage to three types of user - teachers,
students, and bloggers
- none of whom feature in our customer base.

Now, how they will enforce or police this, is another question. But Limited Use is not Microstock.


RT


« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2008, 04:49 »
0
But Limited Use is not Microstock.

Is there a definition for when a license is deemed to be Microstock?

Personally speaking I define it as the price point not the usage, in which case no matter how any site dresses it up if the idea is low commission/high yield of sales I think of it as Microstock.

RacePhoto

« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2008, 23:04 »
0
But Limited Use is not Microstock.

Is there a definition for when a license is deemed to be Microstock?

Personally speaking I define it as the price point not the usage, in which case no matter how any site dresses it up if the idea is low commission/high yield of sales I think of it as Microstock.

Good point. Let me modify their statement with my slight modification. Limited Use is not Exactly Microstock.  :) Prices are the same, but who is supposed to be able to buy at those prices and use the Micropayment photos, is supposed to be restricted.

Calling a pig a bird, won't make it sprout wings and fly.  ;)

Just calling something Limited Use instead of Microstock, doesn't change what it really is. I can see your point.


dullegg

« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2008, 09:12 »
0


The problem with their contributor rebellion is, what if the buyers will no longer pay Alamy prices and go elsewhere? ... Could Alamy's own contributors cause their downfall?

Istock is moving upmarket and at some point may compete with Alamy RF.

The rest seem to be making copycat moves in a battle for the bottom solely on price. .. they can't increase buyer fees to keep up, what will they do?

I agree, I noticed Istock's selections do distinguish themselves from most of the Big 6 , thus giving me the impression that IS is headed towards
upmarket while others  seem to be headed the other way.

The selection of IS has become also more strict, or so I noticed, and more emphasis on different images. I think that's a good move for IS
and IS contributors. It will certainly attract new buyers who are tiring of seeing the same multiple images all over the place.

Is that my imagination or does anyone else notice IS move in the right direction?

fotoKmyst

« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2008, 09:19 »
0
Istock is moving upmarket and at some point may compete with Alamy RF.

I agree, I noticed Istock's selections do distinguish themselves from most of the Big 6 , thus giving me the impression that IS is headed towards
upmarket while others  seem to be headed the other way.

Is that my imagination or does anyone else notice IS move in the right direction?

Most definitely! If IS and SS are sole contenders in the marketplace,
the last thing IS wants are images from SS. What's the point of having a copycat of #1? That'll be suicidal business approach!

Personally, I prefer IS. ;)


 

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