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Author Topic: Arrogance abounds at istock  (Read 30309 times)

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« Reply #75 on: May 27, 2011, 14:14 »
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Is "Sorry, good luck" really that offensive?  Customer service is really bad in the UK but I think we prefer a bit of honesty to words that mean nothing.  I really don't like it when people are trying to be nice but they don't do anything to fix what I'm complaining about.

The difference between Sean's response and Lobo's is like night and day.  If I was that buyer, Sean's response would probably lead me to keeping the door open for future business with IS (once they corrected the pricing problems).  At least he tried to have a dialogue.  Lobo's response would make me shut the door forever.  It doesn't pay to be rude.


« Reply #76 on: May 27, 2011, 14:40 »
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I've never come across such censorship on a forum, as I do on IS. 20% of threads get locked or deleted and that is after years of such policy, when most ppl don't even bother opening a new thread that's not to their liking. I bet it's not as bad even in North Korea :)
I've often read here that it's worse on some of the rivals. I've even read more than once of a contributor having their portfolio removed from another site for saying something vaguely dissenting on the forum elsewhere. I have no direct experience, but it is widely written about.

From what I have read, there is NO site that is worse than istock. Even people who are asking legitimate questions at istock get banned, get their thread locked, and get ridiculed with some snarky comment from Lobo.

Sure it happens on other sites, but not nearly as frequently as at istock. So I respectfully disagree that it's worse at other places.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #77 on: May 27, 2011, 15:53 »
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It makes Lobo's comments more understandable. They're not interested in keeping all customers happy, just the ones that will grow with the company and pay the higher prices. To everyone else, "Sorry, good luck," seems like a reasonable response from a company that maybe doesn't care about serving customers in the microstock price range anymore.

If that's the case, then they should just be honest, say that, and stop with the microstock masquerade. At this point it just looks like a big bait and switch. And it they were actually honest about what they are trying to become, then they wouldn't be bothered with the complaints. If they do finally admit they are midstock, I see them fading away, however. I can't help but continue to point to the massive success that was iStockPro. Oh wait...

I don't think there's any way to be honest with where they're headed and not offend people.

Getty is shuffling images into different licensing. RM will be reduced to absolutely unique content and anything that isn't unique will be pushed to RF. Getty and IS RF seem to be converging into the Vetta/Agency tier. Any RF that is oversupplied or low value will stay in IS's lower tier and eventually be pushed to Thinkstock subscription.

In that case, then it doesn't really make sense for them to alienate the small budget buyers like they are. Because they would still need them to support the lower tier.

They shouldn't be alienating any buyers at all.

Even if a buyer no longer fits Istock's target customer budget or profit goals they should let those customers go respectfully.

Those buyers could switch jobs where there's a big budget, may be well connected with other buyers, or maybe they just had a bad day and needed to vent.

« Reply #78 on: May 27, 2011, 16:04 »
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They shouldn't be alienating any buyers at all.


That's it in a (wal)nutshell.   You never blow off a single customer, no matter how big you are, no matter how small they are.  You always try to offer at least something in response to a complaint.  If you have nothing to offer, you at least say something hopeful about the future and tell them you appreciate their business.  
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 16:21 by stockastic »

velocicarpo

« Reply #79 on: May 27, 2011, 16:32 »
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Lobo is becoming "unprofessional"...

Lobo is becoming unsustainable...

Istock's management actions are becoming unsustainable judging by my sales this month.

+ 1  Istock is faaaaaaaaalling doooooooowwn for me....

lisafx

« Reply #80 on: May 27, 2011, 16:35 »
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Lobo is becoming "unprofessional"...

Lobo is becoming unsustainable...

Istock's management actions are becoming unsustainable judging by my sales this month.

Yep, me too.  Positively grim.  Even P+ is not propping up my $ numbers.

+ 1  Istock is faaaaaaaaalling doooooooowwn for me....

« Reply #81 on: May 27, 2011, 17:27 »
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i've worked in sales for a large part of my life and if i'd given that response instead of trying to leverage something positive out of the situation for both the customer and the company, i would have been in deep claggy.

helix7

« Reply #82 on: May 27, 2011, 17:35 »
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I've often read here that it's worse on some of the rivals. I've even read more than once of a contributor having their portfolio removed from another site for saying something vaguely dissenting on the forum elsewhere. I have no direct experience, but it is widely written about.

From what I have read, there is NO site that is worse than istock. Even people who are asking legitimate questions at istock get banned, get their thread locked, and get ridiculed with some snarky comment from Lobo.

Sure it happens on other sites, but not nearly as frequently as at istock. So I respectfully disagree that it's worse at other places.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it was another company that cut the entire portfolio of a well-known photographer who expressed an opinion in their forum about a policy change, while as far as I know istock hasn't cut anyone simply for expressing a dissenting opinion in the forum.

Censorship may be more frequent at istock, but I think another site takes the prize for the most harsh reaction to forum comments.

As for which one is "worse", I'd have to go with the site that will completely cut ties with someone for expressing an opinion, over the site that simply bans folks from the forum.

Slovenian

« Reply #83 on: May 27, 2011, 17:39 »
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Now u really got me curious. :) Which site?

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #84 on: May 27, 2011, 17:40 »
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I think the response is being blown way out of proportion. an unhappy customer that feels the need to post in a company's public forum is clearly looking to vent or create some negative stir. customers have been starting price-complaint threads for as long as I have been on iStock (since 2007). and the response has always been the same--short and thread locked. I have no doubt some response happens behind the scenes by client relations in many cases. but I also think that at any given moment in time there will be a cross section of unhappy customers in any business. it's just typical that it continues to be posted here as 'proof' of iStock's 'lack of concern' for their buyers. that's simply untrue.

dbvirago

« Reply #85 on: May 27, 2011, 17:42 »
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New thread today about the best match tweak. Mostly postive stuff.

Answered and locked by Lobo after 4 posts.
"Sorry. Daily best match discussion aren't happening. Have a nice Friday."

Slovenian

« Reply #86 on: May 27, 2011, 18:03 »
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Yeah and he deleted all of the posts in the April PP stats thread that were contradicting official statments about healthy jumps in files moved to PP sites. All of them were just normal reports, not really complaints, much less venting.

Slovenian

« Reply #87 on: May 27, 2011, 18:10 »
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But not a chance with the way that brainless animal solved it!

The more time I spend there, more often this sentence comes to my mind

« Reply #88 on: May 27, 2011, 19:15 »
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The buyer probably didn't want to hear my words either, that prices are up everywhere.  They just want a way to complain a bit and aren't really looking for suggestions.  "Sorry, good luck" is probably an ok way to leave the vent where it is and move on.

Respectfully disagree.

I saw that yesterday and thought it was very rude.

Getting snarky with contributors is one thing. Being short with people who spend money in your store, even if they're ranting, is just utterly crappy customer service. I don't care how fed up he/they are with hearing that buyers don't want to have to wade through Agency/Vetta if they're looking for less expensive content, they can't "talk" to customers that way.

And leaving these locked threads around for everyone to read is like leaving heads on a pike outside medieval cities - you're warning others off by showing how you deal with dissenters.

As someone funnier than me said a few months back about delivering good customer support "I could tell everyone to eff off and still be doing better than iStock".
I couldn't agree more. This is basic Customer Service 101. If one of my employees had written an e-mail like this to a customer and continued on with that attitude, she'd be gone for quickly.

« Reply #89 on: May 28, 2011, 06:58 »
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I've often read here that it's worse on some of the rivals. I've even read more than once of a contributor having their portfolio removed from another site for saying something vaguely dissenting on the forum elsewhere. I have no direct experience, but it is widely written about.

From what I have read, there is NO site that is worse than istock. Even people who are asking legitimate questions at istock get banned, get their thread locked, and get ridiculed with some snarky comment from Lobo.

Sure it happens on other sites, but not nearly as frequently as at istock. So I respectfully disagree that it's worse at other places.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it was another company that cut the entire portfolio of a well-known photographer who expressed an opinion in their forum about a policy change, while as far as I know istock hasn't cut anyone simply for expressing a dissenting opinion in the forum.

Censorship may be more frequent at istock, but I think another site takes the prize for the most harsh reaction to forum comments.

As for which one is "worse", I'd have to go with the site that will completely cut ties with someone for expressing an opinion, over the site that simply bans folks from the forum.

Remember, this thread is about the arrogance shown to a buyer by istock. Talking about contributors getting expelled from sites for posts on forums is a different matter. As far as rudeness and arrogance shown to buyers, istock takes the cake, hands down.

« Reply #90 on: May 28, 2011, 07:10 »
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Yep, me too.  Positively grim.  Even P+ is not propping up my $ numbers.

P+ is helping my numbers considerably. Just as well. If I project this month's earnings at the average sale price before P+ then Istock would be down by 25% compared to May 2010. As it is they should end about the same.

Without P+ my earnings at Istock this month would likely have fallen to just 24.6% of total earnings, the lowest in over 6 years. The steady decline in earnings and thereby Istock's apparent market-share is truly extraordinary. I just wonder at what point the greater mass of exclusives will accept the inevitable and abandon their crowns?

Slovenian

« Reply #91 on: May 28, 2011, 07:16 »
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I just wonder at what point the greater mass of exclusives will accept the inevitable and abandon their crowns?

Or abandon ship altogether. I doubt many of them would put up with halved percentage (at best!) and ever decreasing sales, not just due to worse search result placement, but also because of decreasing traffic on the site.

I guess we're either gonna see Paulie Walnut's version (going for midstock) or IS falling in Dreamstime's and Fotolia's league (which would mean they'd become totally pathetic)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 07:18 by Slovenian »


lisafx

« Reply #92 on: May 28, 2011, 08:39 »
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Yep, me too.  Positively grim.  Even P+ is not propping up my $ numbers.

P+ is helping my numbers considerably. Just as well. If I project this month's earnings at the average sale price before P+ then Istock would be down by 25% compared to May 2010. As it is they should end about the same.

Without P+ my earnings at Istock this month would likely have fallen to just 24.6% of total earnings, the lowest in over 6 years. The steady decline in earnings and thereby Istock's apparent market-share is truly extraordinary. I just wonder at what point the greater mass of exclusives will accept the inevitable and abandon their crowns?

That will be a tough day for all of us.  The dilution to the other collections of having a majority of IS collections infused into them at once will cut everyone's earnings.  I only have to look at my Bigstock earnings since B2B started to see what an effect dilution is having on my earnings.

I suppose you are right about P+.  Without it my numbers would be even worse.  But looking at what I made the first week of May, before P+, and what I made last week, it is about the same.  Only difference is it is off even fewer downloads. 

The two weeks in the middle were pretty good - downloads held steady and P+ boosted earnings for those weeks.  But for some reason sales really fell off a cliff this past week, so earnings are back to pre-P+ levels.  If that makes sense...

« Reply #93 on: May 28, 2011, 11:11 »
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Hi All,

 Even if my Istock sales had not tanked three months ago I would still be shocked that a professional service of their magnitude would answer a customer with such a smug reply. This is very surprising. Yes, one more month that makes three where my Istock sales dropped to half what they were at the beginning of the year and I have been adding new work at the same rate as always.
 I am quite sure why this is happening to the photographers I believe it has to do with the point system they put in place. Now they move us around the best match in relation to how many credits we are earning in order to keep us from making the same or even a higher percentage next year. This is just my opinion but I have felt this way since the set the new system in to place and why the set the system in place. Just my opinion based on nothing but pure guesstimation.

Best,
Jonathan


Best,
Jonathan

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #94 on: May 28, 2011, 11:20 »
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Hi All,

 Even if my Istock sales had not tanked three months ago I would still be shocked that a professional service of their magnitude would answer a customer with such a smug reply. This is very surprising. Yes, one more month that makes three where my Istock sales dropped to half what they were at the beginning of the year and I have been adding new work at the same rate as always.
 I am quite sure why this is happening to the photographers I believe it has to do with the point system they put in place. Now they move us around the best match in relation to how many credits we are earning in order to keep us from making the same or even a higher percentage next year. This is just my opinion but I have felt this way since the set the new system in to place and why the set the system in place. Just my opinion based on nothing but pure guesstimation.

Best,
Jonathan

Very interesting theory. Kind of hard to tell if this is true because Redeemed Credits are private and canisters don't really mean anything about sales performance. But that would absolutely allow them to control profit margins and could also explain why newer contributors are constantly having BME's.

Slovenian

« Reply #95 on: May 28, 2011, 11:26 »
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Very interesting theory. Kind of hard to tell if this is true because Redeemed Credits are private and canisters don't really mean anything about sales performance. But that would absolutely allow them to control profit margins and could also explain why newer contributors are constantly having BME's.

Isn't that normal, that the newer contributors constantly have BMEs? Think of the time u started you probably had a few in a row for a few times. I know I did, it's just that this occurs more often on SS (just now 3 in a row and the same thing happened last year from Sep-Nov) than on IS. On if there weren't for the PP I'd have even less BMEs on IS. I started just over a year ago.

« Reply #96 on: May 28, 2011, 11:30 »
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Hi All,

 Even if my Istock sales had not tanked three months ago I would still be shocked that a professional service of their magnitude would answer a customer with such a smug reply. This is very surprising. Yes, one more month that makes three where my Istock sales dropped to half what they were at the beginning of the year and I have been adding new work at the same rate as always.
 I am quite sure why this is happening to the photographers I believe it has to do with the point system they put in place. Now they move us around the best match in relation to how many credits we are earning in order to keep us from making the same or even a higher percentage next year. This is just my opinion but I have felt this way since the set the new system in to place and why the set the system in place. Just my opinion based on nothing but pure guesstimation.

Best,
Jonathan

Very interesting theory. Kind of hard to tell if this is true because Redeemed Credits are private and canisters don't really mean anything about sales performance. But that would absolutely allow them to control profit margins and could also explain why newer contributors are constantly having BME's.

Wouldn't this policy cause exclusives to leave istock in droves? High level exclusives are heavily represented among the top earners. If this really is their policy it would indicate that iStock no longer values the exclusives as they once did, since they offer so little incentive for people to hold onto the crown.

« Reply #97 on: May 28, 2011, 11:37 »
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Paulie,

 I think your first post on this topic was very enlightening.

Hi Alisa,

 I am not an exclusive so I could not tell you if the same drop is taking place for them I was suggesting they will drop the non exclusives percentage with this system and keep their exclusives happier with higher sales, Getty is all about exclusive imagery these days that I know for sure.
 I do know a lot of Macro people starting to shoot TAC and their are mixed feelings about the returns. I have heard $84 dollar RPI ( that is per year ) and I have also heard from an agency that they are no longer interested in being part of TAC because their results were miserable. It will be interesting to see where this is heading. I think what Paulie said is the closest logical reason.

Best,
Jonathan

Beat,
Jonathan

« Reply #98 on: May 28, 2011, 12:08 »
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Wouldn't this policy cause exclusives to leave istock in droves? High level exclusives are heavily represented among the top earners. If this really is their policy it would indicate that iStock no longer values the exclusives as they once did, since they offer so little incentive for people to hold onto the crown.

I think you are speaking about two different animals. I think that low level exclusives, if they left in droves, would be collateral damage and they would be ok with that. I think their end game is to weed out the low-levellers, exclusive or not, cull the herd into top performers and move them over to mid-level stock. Anyone else who wants to stick around gets herded over to Thinkstock.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #99 on: May 28, 2011, 12:32 »
0
Wouldn't this policy cause exclusives to leave istock in droves? High level exclusives are heavily represented among the top earners. If this really is their policy it would indicate that iStock no longer values the exclusives as they once did, since they offer so little incentive for people to hold onto the crown.

I'm guessing they structured it to try to prevent high performing exclusives to leave in droves. They would probably stay at the same commission level but would have a more difficult time reaching the next level. Delaying increasing commission is essentially more money in Istocks pocket.

I would guess that Istock values exclusive images that have high performance and/or perceived value. Exclusive contributors who have below average sales performance probably took a big hit from the redeemed credits program. So my guess is that while Istock may like average performers to stay they're not overly concerned with them leaving.

I said a while back that based on their new model the ideal scenario for them would be to have mostly newer contributors that have small portfolios with high sales performance. This would give istock high sales volume while paying out the lowest commissions.


 

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