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Poll

Do you feel happy or unhappy as a micro stock contributor?

Happy, I have been a contributor for less a year
21 (20.2%)
Unhappy, I have been a contributor for less than a year
2 (1.9%)
Happy, I have been a contributor for 2-3 years
28 (26.9%)
Unhappy, I have been a contributor for 2-3 years
9 (8.7%)
Happy, I have been a contributor for over 3 years
36 (34.6%)
Unhappy, I have been a contributor for over 3 years
8 (7.7%)

Total Members Voted: 94

Author Topic: Are you happy or unhappy as a micro stock contributor  (Read 14763 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: June 27, 2009, 01:29 »
0
I am curious if your mood, as a micro stock contributor, is significantly affected by the acceptance and rejections, ups and downs of sales, and changes made by the agencies.



« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 01:37 »
0
I'm a happy camper :)

nruboc

« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 01:49 »
0
I'm HAPPY, primarily in the fact that I don't have to rely on IStock's rediculously over-complicated upload process to make very good money

« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2009, 02:07 »
0
Extremely happy, I'm making more money out of my hobby than at my full time job.  ;D

« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2009, 02:25 »
0
I didn't vote because i was happy, then i became less so.

I'm happy with sales but I'm not happy with the respect and power we have as a suppliers group.  I think we should have more. I think we often get treated as 'hobbyists' when it suits them, and 'international business persons' when it suits them.

I think the relationship between the agencies and the suppliers is not balanced. Many suppliers are so 'grateful' at getting their images accepted at all, that agencies can often change ToS on us with impunity.

Now that I've turned 'professional' I don't want to waste my time getting caught up in the 'process of opposition'.  I want someone else to do my objecting for me; or I want to chip in a little bit of yearly cash to get legal info; I want a place where i can freely speak with other suppliers without fear of losing a lot of business.

Basically,  i want to give the responsibility for protecting my professional interests to someone else.  And i want to pay them and support them in doing that.

Together microstockers have a much better handle on international law and taxes than the agencies... it seems crazy that an association doesn't already exist.  If we pool our collective knowledge, if we each contributed just 10$ a year, if we had one place for all the information we need to maximise our profit, and minimise our time....

Sure, this has a political aspect because it is about power and money - and getting more of it.  

But it is also more efficient. Efficient systems expend less energy.  The less energy we spend on things that we can get an association to do, then the more time and energy we will have to spend on doing the things we love.

Am I alone in feeling this way?  I know I'm not...

Lucy x

Many suppliers are from the developing nations, or are only part-time, so costs should not be prohibitive.  It's only an example, but look what happens when we start multiplying just $10

$10 a year from 50 suppliers = $500
$10 a year from 1000 suppliers = $10,000
$10 a year from 5000 suppliers =  $50,000
$10 a year from 10,000 suppliers = $100,000
$10 a year from 50,000 suppliers = $500,000

Knowledge sharing; our own market research; legal advice; representation; promotion .... the list is long.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 03:15 by luceluceluce »

Milinz

« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2009, 03:26 »
0
Well, I think there is SAA - but they seems to have $200 yearly membership and they handle some extreme situations...
The point is there should be more organizations for contributor protection from agencies and also there are some authors who need to be persuaded that this is not 'their own' business... When such authors persuaded in some facts (as for example: there IS WRONG to work with low paying low volume agencies) there will be some changes possible...

Until agencies treat authors as amateurs and they handle all pricings while they give almost all expences to authhors as they are pros that is wrong! I think it is not correct that agency makes marketing from authors pockets...

Also, there is main goal in such association to achieve: 50% commission for authors! I don't see the point in association which will 'protect' authors and let some agencies to do what they are doing now...
There is some way to be 'invented' to block some authors to work with low volume low paying agencies too... How to make such mechanisms? That is the main question.

« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2009, 04:32 »
0
If I am correct SAA do not deal with the microsites and are more geared at Traditional Photographers, the fee looks to be positioned to keep out the part-time and hobby shooters.

SAA do represent views to the agencies, but do not have much of a say as the balance of power is already firmly with the agencies.

Reading many posts here the artists are to fragmented and protective of what they already have, 20% of something is better than coming out of their comfort zone and trying something new.

It makes me chuckle when I see a new startup and a photographer saying "40% commission is a good deal", the agency commission rates are between 20% - 70%, with one of biggest paying 26%, but they do not payout nothing like 26%, as 75% of Artist never make a payout 0% Commission, other artists delete their images and leave 0% Commission, some like me think they are clever and convert the earnings and download images to help others but this comes out at 5% commission.

Lets say the real commission paid is in the region of 10% - 30%, that leaves a lot of revenue for the stock sites, these type of percentages should be what the agencies get not the photographers.

When a new stock site launches many ask about marketing plans, but it is the chicken and egg, they cannot market without stock so they offer high percentages to get the photographers assets, when they have enough of them they can go to market, if they get off the ground they become a target for hostile takeover, selling out the 'Community' loyalty of the photographers that make the site a viable business.

The new agencies need to grow their collections quickly as organic growth is not an option in this business, their business will grow or fail just on numbers, sheer quantity of downloads and how little they can pay the Vendors.

With agencies taking up to 100% from some photographers sales, as a community we should all be unhappy, but the happy replies here just show how photographers have been blinded by the industrial crowd sourcing hype!

Things will not change unless a new fair model is found to deliver the assets to the buyers, what other business takes an asset and markets it, if a company needs a new employee the agency charges 15%, if you sell your property 1%-3%, a merchant company will charge around 15%, but when a stock site sells a licence for your asset they collect 50% - 80% and you are happy?

I would much prefer Ebay and PayPal to look at a Digital Asset Logistics system, you pay a fee to insert each image for a year, and for every sale they charge a small commission, maybe we should get together and talk to them!

David  ???  
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 05:10 by DWL »

« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2009, 04:51 »
0
I didn't vote because I couldn't put my self in any of these categories. I am basically happy because my hobby brings me some nice money, but I am unhappy in the same time because I am losing my full day job at august 1st, and money from microstock is not yet big enough to support my basic needs.... Electric power, telephone, internet, food and clothes.

« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2009, 04:59 »
0
I'm happy enough - but you know competition is hotting up all the time.
It's a saturated market of both agencies and contributors.

Keeping our sales up will be tough and will demand producing the very best!

« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2009, 05:19 »
0
Sorry to hear that.  I hope you get another job before this one finishes or that you have enough money to tide you over until you can make a living out of your photography.

I didn't vote because I couldn't put my self in any of these categories. I am basically happy because my hobby brings me some nice money, but I am unhappy in the same time because I am losing my full day job at august 1st, and money from microstock is not yet big enough to support my basic needs.... Electric power, telephone, internet, food and clothes.

Milinz

« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2009, 07:09 »
0
If I am correct SAA do not deal with the microsites and are more geared at Traditional Photographers, the fee looks to be positioned to keep out the part-time and hobby shooters.

SAA do represent views to the agencies, but do not have much of a say as the balance of power is already firmly with the agencies.

Reading many posts here the artists are to fragmented and protective of what they already have, 20% of something is better than coming out of their comfort zone and trying something new.

It makes me chuckle when I see a new startup and a photographer saying "40% commission is a good deal", the agency commission rates are between 20% - 70%, with one of biggest paying 26%, but they do not payout nothing like 26%, as 75% of Artist never make a payout 0% Commission, other artists delete their images and leave 0% Commission, some like me think they are clever and convert the earnings and download images to help others but this comes out at 5% commission.

Lets say the real commission paid is in the region of 10% - 30%, that leaves a lot of revenue for the stock sites, these type of percentages should be what the agencies get not the photographers.

When a new stock site launches many ask about marketing plans, but it is the chicken and egg, they cannot market without stock so they offer high percentages to get the photographers assets, when they have enough of them they can go to market, if they get off the ground they become a target for hostile takeover, selling out the 'Community' loyalty of the photographers that make the site a viable business.

The new agencies need to grow their collections quickly as organic growth is not an option in this business, their business will grow or fail just on numbers, sheer quantity of downloads and how little they can pay the Vendors.

With agencies taking up to 100% from some photographers sales, as a community we should all be unhappy, but the happy replies here just show how photographers have been blinded by the industrial crowd sourcing hype!

Things will not change unless a new fair model is found to deliver the assets to the buyers, what other business takes an asset and markets it, if a company needs a new employee the agency charges 15%, if you sell your property 1%-3%, a merchant company will charge around 15%, but when a stock site sells a licence for your asset they collect 50% - 80% and you are happy?

I would much prefer Ebay and PayPal to look at a Digital Asset Logistics system, you pay a fee to insert each image for a year, and for every sale they charge a small commission, maybe we should get together and talk to them!

David  ???  

It seems like one of ideas to make it worth being for it. I just am quite unhappy to see that I earn just 20%-30%...

« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2009, 07:58 »
0
actually, you guys are right. I hadn't thought of that... I want more money too... 50% commission? A very nice dream... if enough of us want it, we can make it happen.

Seriously though, a lot of the reason why sooooo many stay as 'hobbyists' and 'amateurs' is because they're not getting adequately financially compensated for the high quality work they produce.  I've heard a lot of people say they have to run very hard just to stand still.

And they might never make that leap to 'professional'.

For people doing illustrations and artwork (like me), it's easier. But for photographers it sucks.

« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2009, 09:11 »
0
I voted that I am happy even though I am not always delighted with every aspect of the business.   I agree with some of Luce's points about the imbalance of power and the way agencies seem to be squeezing their suppliers lately. 

But on the whole I would still much rather do this than have to do a "real job"  ;)

gbcimages

« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2009, 11:17 »
0
I'm happy ,any extra $ is a +

JerryL5

  • Blessed by God's wonderful love.
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2009, 11:34 »
0
I'm happy enough with having my work accepted on most sites.
Any unhappiness with this business is my own fault for not
having work designers are interested in buying.


« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2009, 11:35 »
0
yes I am happy. Good money from month to month an increas of 10-15% revenue

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2009, 11:50 »
0
I too did not vote because I could not see this option:
I AM HAPPY but WITH SUBSCRIPTION GETTING MORE COMMON AND COMMISSIONS GETTING SMALLER, PAYOUT SHOULD BE LOWERED TO THE SAME PROPORTION.
eg..  commissions used to be $1, 2, + payout = $100
 but now commissions are more common to be 0.30cts. payout should be /3  or /4 = $25.


« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2009, 12:11 »
0
Too many variables to put a simple happy/unhappy label on things.

Happy with iStock/Dreamstime/Veer.
Unhappy with Fotolia, dropped them.
Unhappy with the tedious nature of submitting.
Hate subscriptions. Sites could easily double or triple prices and lose no business.
Unhappy with short lives of so many images.
Unhappy with loss of StockXpert as an independent.

My wish list.

-Lose the ability to see who's selling how much.
-Lose the ability to see which images sell the most.
-Triple subscription rates or at least 1/3 the allowable downloads.
-Double all other prices.
-Develop an industry standard for Metadata and submission standards or at least all sites should review their submission procedures to get rid as many clicks as possible. So many procedures are a total time waster.
-Bury the need to apply categories.
-Police the images they are entrusted with more vigorously.
-Tighten licensing so more EL sales occur.
-Get rid of or increase prices for the smaller size downloads. We get ripped off big time on those sales. They are too useful on the web a prices that are far too cheap.
-Get some contributors to understand that you can't take a magazine cover to the bank to get a loan with it. Income trumps fame.

« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2009, 12:14 »
0
Well, like everyone else, I have happy moments and unhappy moments. But I'd like to know if you are happy or unhappy in general.

Personally I am not very happy these days. I am frustrated that I have not reached my goal in sales, the agencies sometimes reject good images for "not for stock" and change the terms whenever they see fit. I also feel unhappy when I see photographers attack each other when there are differences in opinions in the forums, even though I have never been personally attacked.

When I started, it was comparatively easy. When I had only less than 10 images on most sites, especially DT, FT and IS, I saw sales immediately. When I look at the stats of new contributors, it does not look easy for them at all - with over 100 images, some hardly have any sales.

My portfolio is expanding and my revenues are increasing, but still I haven't reached my targets and the sales are not increasing in proportion with the size of my portfolios. I am spending way too much time in front of my computer, editing and uploading, I am not complaining, but I don't feel I can keep up.

All my equipment have been paid for by the sales, if I were content as a hobbyist, I should be happier. Maybe I have hit the glass ceiling.

In old times, photographers were much nicer to each other, and tried to help each other and were in merrier moods. I just feel I am really getting old, lol....

On the positive side, I am a better photographer than I was. Also we have found our voices through independent forums such as this one.  
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 13:00 by Freedom »

« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2009, 12:25 »
0
Also we have found our voices through independent forums such as this one.  

I think this is a very good point. For me, unless I am looking for something site specific, participating in site forums is too constricting.

« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2009, 12:58 »
0
Someone had to vote "unhappy/less than a year" so I took on that job.

I was happy starting out, but became unhappy as SS, DT and StockXpert all made search changes that seemed to kill sales of new images.  So at this point I feel little motivation.  The business is changing, and will continue to change. I now know that my images do sell when buyers see them; I just need to find a way to make that happen.


« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2009, 13:06 »
0
That's right, your images will sell if they are searchable. Unfortunately, it is not entirely up to the contributors, because the site controls the search ranks. IS is a good example. When you see some exclusives with massive amount of sales with a portfolio of similar size as yours, it's not necessary their images are far superior to yours. The munipulation of the search engine has a lot to do with it. I am not complaining, because I also have the choice to become exclusive.

Someone had to vote "unhappy/less than a year" so I took on that job.

I was happy starting out, but became unhappy as SS, DT and StockXpert all made search changes that seemed to kill sales of new images.  So at this point I feel little motivation.  The business is changing, and will continue to change. I now know that my images do sell when buyers see them; I just need to find a way to make that happen.



bittersweet

« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2009, 13:17 »
0
When you see some exclusives with massive amount of sales with a portfolio of similar size as yours, it's not necessary their images are far superior to yours. The munipulation of the search engine has a lot to do with it.

Can I just say that this is not an across the board truth?

If we choose to make excuses for our crappy sales, and chalk it up to something out of our control, that someone else has done to us, then where does that leave us room to grow and improve? At some point we should be willing to take responsibility and do what we can control, such as improve keywords, improve our skills, choose different subject matter, etc.

Of course that is a personal choice. Some people feel better throwing up their hands.

« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2009, 13:21 »
0
Whatalife, it's good that one thinks about improving yourself, but IS openly admits that exclusives have the advantage in search placement, doesn't it?

When you see some exclusives with massive amount of sales with a portfolio of similar size as yours, it's not necessary their images are far superior to yours. The munipulation of the search engine has a lot to do with it.

Can I just say that this is not an across the board truth?

If we choose to make excuses for our crappy sales, and chalk it up to something out of our control, that someone else has done to us, then where does that leave us room to grow and improve? At some point we should be willing to take responsibility and do what we can control, such as improve keywords, improve our skills, choose different subject matter, etc.

Of course that is a personal choice. Some people feel better throwing up their hands.

bittersweet

« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2009, 13:35 »
0
Whatalife, it's good that one thinks about improving yourself, but IS openly admits that exclusives have the advantage in search placement, doesn't it?

I don't hang out on their forums too much anymore, but the last I heard, they neither confirm nor deny this advantage. At one point, more than a year ago, it was obviously a factor, but now not so much. I have been exclusive since the day I became eligible in 2005 and I have never felt that I was given a significant advantage (with the exception of that narrow window of time), in fact as a vector contributor I have at times been seriously disadvantaged in the search.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that the search algorithm on all sites can have an affect on your sales, but the whole "I can't make it on istock because I'm not exclusive" argument is just a tired load of crap.


 

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