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Author Topic: Contributors' Collective  (Read 45356 times)

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donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #175 on: May 05, 2009, 17:49 »
0
This is from the other thread Attention: Web designers, Accountants, Lawyers and Photographers

Has Zymmetrical not been aiming for many of these objectives from our inception?

- 70% commission
- no free photos
- no subscriptions
- open market pricing
- truly internationalized system, one of very few agencies that uses truly international domains (this has been a key strategy from the start, each month we are tripling traffic on Zymmetrical.de, .es, etc.)
- experienced staff (Paul Melcher, veteran of innumerable startups as photo industry liason, review staff that are veterans of popular stock agencies, and humbly myself as one who has been selling digital art online since 1991)
- high editorial standards from the start
- established, scalable web system that relies on a programming framework that just got series "A" venture capital (www.dotnetnuke.com)
- made in Canada: Canadians aren't boastful but it helps to know the business you are dealing with operates from an advanced legal/copyright jurisdiction
 
After the pain and frayed patience levels of a year-long beta we are ready and able to support coop initiatives - we have always maintained an Artist focus, and hopefully any shortcomings in actual returns on time invested can be balanced out against our undeniably non-standard approach.

ps. I completely agree with the time-dependent exclusivity clause, however 1 month is not enough turnaround for most magazine publishers etc. 6 months would be a healthy figure.


Zymmetrical I'm not familiar with your site and I will go check it out, but the main question would be if you would back a co-op?
Would you be willing to listen to what those of the co-op want and change accordingly?
I think what everyone is voicing their opinions about right now is the terms and conditions of the big sites. You could be a great benifit if you would be willing to listen. As for rather you would be willing to do these things that would be left totally up to you.


Voice your opnions on this....we need feed back.


Milinz

« Reply #176 on: May 05, 2009, 17:55 »
0
I think it is not time to vote yet.

First of all you must define problems you have on microstock sites.

I know several. But main problem is that some microstock sites which are acting as Slave Masters to Contributing Authors.

Other problems? Prices? Sales? Stupid rejections? Favourising other authors?

What are solutions? Coop?

One month exclusivity? What is that with one month exclusivity? That is not enough to get your image noticed!

Exclusivity must be based on 6-12 months at least. But, if you wish to make it real that should be 2 - 5 years. Then all other agencies will not see your images and that will hurt them hard!

One month is nothing!

Also who of you all has so much guts to leave micro earnings behind and turn exclusive somewhere on 2 years ?

I don't! I just make my selections and lately there was 2 bridges I demolished - one more to come soon!

So, 2 bridges down one more to demolish and I need one more good agency to cover my loss... What would it be? Helping already established ageancy to get on right way or to play communism?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 18:12 by Milinz »

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #177 on: May 05, 2009, 18:10 »
0
I think it is not time to vote yet.

First of all you must define problems you have on microstock sites.

I know several. But main problem is that some microstock sites which are acting as Slave Masters to Contributing Authors.

Other problems? Prices? Sales?

What are solutions? Coop?

One month exclusivity? What is that with one month exclusivity? That is not enough to get your image noticed!

Exclusivity must be based on 6-12 months at least. But, if you wish to make it real that should be 2 - 5 years. Then all other agencies will not see your images and that will hurt them hard!

One month is nothing!

Also who of you all has so much guts to leave micro earnings behind and turn exclusive somewhere on 2 years ?




We don't need a vote..only opinions....which is what you just voiced and thank you...that's what we need...but we also need agreement on that rather than going rounds and rounds about the same thing.

 

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #178 on: May 05, 2009, 18:14 »
0
here's another quote from the other thread

I will give web design services free of charge, I specialise in search engine optimisation, however, I'm not a developer/programmer, just have a good working knowledge of php/mysql, but we would need someone who specialises in programming too!
[/quote

This is what we need...more that are willing to do what is needed in that area in order to make it work. And I do think that a reasonable subscription is needed by contributors that will help finance this...it won't be free by any means and the costs need to be taken into account.

tan510jomast

« Reply #179 on: May 05, 2009, 18:18 »
0
donding, milinz, woa... woa...
We are far from getting any kind of closure here. If you look at the names of the visitors, we're not even getting the main players, which is what we need. Until we get the same rapport as the other thread where you have a larger number of old timers, we cannot really say it's nothing but hot air. Sorry. 8)

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #180 on: May 05, 2009, 18:22 »
0
All that's needed is to keep talking about it, keep brainstorming, get as many opinions as possible, and slowly but surely get new names added to the volunteer list started by donding!

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #181 on: May 05, 2009, 18:25 »
0
donding, milinz, woa... woa...
We are far from getting any kind of closure here. If you look at the names of the visitors, we're not even getting the main players, which is what we need. Until we get the same rapport as the other thread where you have a larger number of old timers, we cannot really say it's nothing but hot air. Sorry. 8)

 Yeah I know but I was hoping to get those who checked out the other thread to come here and join in the discussion. Some people on here only read the subject line and if they don't understand what it's talking about they won't visit that thread, so hopefully in the days ahead more will jump from that one to this one to voice their thoughts and opinions. Ohhh this is far from closure and I'm totally aware of that.

tan510jomast

« Reply #182 on: May 05, 2009, 18:30 »
0
donding, milinz, woa... woa...
We are far from getting any kind of closure here. If you look at the names of the visitors, we're not even getting the main players, which is what we need. Until we get the same rapport as the other thread where you have a larger number of old timers, we cannot really say it's nothing but hot air. Sorry. 8)

 Yeah I know but I was hoping to get those who checked out the other thread to come here and join in the discussion. Some people on here only read the subject line and if they don't understand what it's talking about they won't visit that thread, so hopefully in the days ahead more will jump from that one to this one to voice their thoughts and opinions. Ohhh this is far from closure and I'm totally aware of that.

But you are doing such a great job being our Marketing & Promo Rep !  Good show  ;)

m@m

« Reply #183 on: May 05, 2009, 18:37 »
0
donding, milinz, woa... woa...
We are far from getting any kind of closure here. If you look at the names of the visitors, we're not even getting the main players, which is what we need. Until we get the same rapport as the other thread where you have a larger number of old timers, we cannot really say it's nothing but hot air. Sorry. 8)

By what I have seen and heard this past couple of day on this thread, I tend to agree with Tan, the people that we need on this thread don't seem to be interested or care, even though they're on the same $0.03 boat that we are, so to keep at it is to go around in circles...just wait until the new commissions start to kick in, and maybe one of them will start a similar thread.

Best regards.

vonkara

« Reply #184 on: May 05, 2009, 18:45 »
0
Get yours today for FREE!! 

ADD to the discuss here http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=87899&page=1 and on MSG
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 18:51 by Vonkara »

tan510jomast

« Reply #185 on: May 05, 2009, 19:01 »
0
Get yours today for FREE!! 

ADD to the discuss here http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=87899&page=1 and on MSG


and if anyone wants peanuts, I have several images in my portfolio.
this one being my latest masterpiece..

 Only 60 cents !!!
...sorry Tyler, for the self promo,  ;D
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 19:12 by tan510jomast »

« Reply #186 on: May 05, 2009, 20:56 »
0
 I admire those that wish to stand by their principles and try to buck the system. That is what this country is all about. I don't think it will make any difference as I see the threads at Istock have been locked. I believe their minds are made up. I will follow what ever an agency offers that is in my best interest. Will this benefit enough people to offset those that are opting out. I imagine they have thought this reaction through in detail. Diversity is your best answer to this problem in the future. Spread your images as far and wide as you can. Learn from this lesson if it effects your income negatively and adjust accordingly. Their company their rules, it will always be this way. Good luck to all involved.

« Reply #187 on: May 06, 2009, 00:38 »
0
Well I've been pondering this now for the last night / day and a bit and this is what I am thinking, some of this may be a bit of a rehash of others ideas and or patch of job so credit for others is due where it is due.

A co-op is most definitely the way to go but how to do it? The tech requirements, logistics, legal and what not are just to large an barrier for a fresh out of the darkroom co-op to work around. The idea behind the porn structure is good but I can us getting into trouble with conflicting contracts and payment structures (processing and pricing).

As far as creating our own self sustaining site site we get into issues managing the site, lawyers, accountants, marketers, image reviewers (yes we need reviewers), someone to hire all these people. If we do these jobs ourselves there will be conflicts and not nice ones either amongest the members not to mention the conflicts of interest with running a site will submitting to other agencies.

I'm thinking that our best bet to make this co-op work will be to partner with an existing site. I know people have their reservations about the new sites and low earners but quite frankly what would we expect from our own start up. If one of the new / low earners were to approach us with a new business plan were we as contributors are offered a "new" contract were by we take a smaller percentage of the sale price of each image for x number of dollars in exchange for a vote in the operation of the site (similar to a vote on the board of directors), one vote per contributor. This way the site becomes legally responsible to seek the majority vote of its contributors before making changes to the site or agreements, no majority no change. Also once the x number of dollars has been reached by the contributor their percentage of each sale would rise to rate y, therefore providing the site with a financial boost to assist with the re-branding (renaming) and marketing the site as a "Fair Trade" stock site.

In order for such a change in a contributors agreement would most certainly require the submission of proof of identification as the contributors would end up becoming shareholders of the site (one share per contributor).

The one contributor one vote would help avoid any one contributor from corning the voting process on changes although the site would have to disclose the number of votes outstanding and abide by a 50 percent plus one rule for votes cast on changes.

By using an existing site we would have the infrastructure in place and a means to review our images (in a clear well stated manner, rules and guide lines) to ensure that we do not harm our own quality.

No mandatory exclusivity as it would limit the number of images that we can get on-line in a relatively reasonable time frame.

These are just few thoughts that I've had on the subjectand how it maybe able to work, and yes these thoughts still need work themselves. Now is there a site admin out there that may interested in such an idea?

Enjoy and rip away!

« Reply #188 on: May 06, 2009, 01:56 »
0
I don't understand this discussion. Instead of putting a lot of effort, money and risk into making something that may or may not fail, why not give our full support to agencies like FP? FP was my number five earner last month, with 70% of prices that I decide myself. You won't do much better than that whatever you do.

« Reply #189 on: May 06, 2009, 02:33 »
0
Lets look again at the concept again, each photographer manages thier own portal of images with a central showroom of approved images where a buyer can search images from all portals or from photographer specific portals.

Common opinion to discusss which could see the site as a non starter, "I will not upload to any site where I have to pay", the truth here is that you do not pay to upload, but you pay a heavy price when you have a sale, if you are sure about your work and you do not upload for fun, then paying for a service would not be a problem in return for a lower sales fee.

How to keep costs to a minimum, option one we would need to design and build the site, my model would be looking at DotNetNuke (DNN) for the front end holding thumbs and comps and Amazon S3 simple storage for the back end to store the full size images this would mean that each contributor would have an amazon account with an image bucket that they pay for, then we could host DNN for a smaller fee to minimise charges to contributors and present the thumbs and comps any sales would provide a secure download link from Amazon webservices and use the Amazon payment service.

This would keep the costs managable as the DNN site would only need to store small images and the search engine.

The Alamy model of QC where you would only look at quality and legal requirements would be a good model, as we are not qualified to judge content in terms of "what the buyers might be looking for", there would need to be some policy where contributors could flag an image they felt falls outside of the scope of the site.

Then there is the second option to approach an existing site with a group proposal a form of Virtual Agency where the portfolio is a collective and special different percentage rates are agreed on the sales from this collective with the revenue going to each photographer, but this model removes the photographers own portals within the collective.

David  :D 

zymmetricaldotcom

« Reply #190 on: May 06, 2009, 02:47 »
0
I was going to upload some more files. Guess not today.  :-X Hope this gets fixed soon. If their ever is a partnership between us and Zymmetrical I'm sure there will be a huge increase in submissions.

It's an unfortunate pause but one that must be taken in order to keep the playing field level for everyone. The good news is that, even though we get frustrated on our end when some people do not seem to read or react to cues such as rejection reasons, we honestly have not really encountered anyone acting in 'bad faith' and uploading away with no cares in the world - most people are just naturally enthusiastic about their work. It's just a matter that we need better communication and clearer procedures from our side, coming out of beta the current 'open' upload system seemed manageable but scaling up always means some unanticipated growth spurts.   

For the coop concept; I think pretty much most 'image agency' staff i've met are creative types and very into what this business is about, there are so many hard working people who want to make a living with your best interests as an artist in mind. I really don't most agency staff rolls into their office with dollar signs in their eyes thinking 'how can I milk these photographers today'.  ;)      I think we just happen to be in a period in this industry where business models aren't quite settled and adding in a nightmare economic depression to the mix hasn't helped.

You are absolutely right that the agencies must listen to the demands of their suppliers - but I wouldn't want to see creatives get distracted from their primary work by the more dreary aspects of growing a business directly in retaliation for lack of agency response to independents - as a first step why not try a non-profit collective as simply a content pool? This forum is already a beehive in this industry, if some democratic voting mechanism is established for debating issues with the agencies (with the ultimate bargaining chip being the group collectively can move it's content) you may be able to get the bargaining power you want without having to invest upfront in the truly expensive and difficult process of making an end-to-end business. Already many agencies actively pay attention to what is discussed here, maybe a more centralized issue tracker/voter would a step in the right direction?




« Reply #191 on: May 06, 2009, 03:02 »
0
Well I've been pondering this now for the last night / day and a bit and this is what I am thinking, some of this may be a bit of a rehash of others ideas and or patch of job so credit for others is due where it is due.

A co-op is most definitely the way to go but how to do it? The tech requirements, logistics, legal and what not are just to large an barrier for a fresh out of the darkroom co-op to work around. The idea behind the porn structure is good but I can us getting into trouble with conflicting contracts and payment structures (processing and pricing).

As far as creating our own self sustaining site site we get into issues managing the site, lawyers, accountants, marketers, image reviewers (yes we need reviewers), someone to hire all these people. If we do these jobs ourselves there will be conflicts and not nice ones either amongest the members not to mention the conflicts of interest with running a site will submitting to other agencies.

I'm thinking that our best bet to make this co-op work will be to partner with an existing site. I know people have their reservations about the new sites and low earners but quite frankly what would we expect from our own start up. If one of the new / low earners were to approach us with a new business plan were we as contributors are offered a "new" contract were by we take a smaller percentage of the sale price of each image for x number of dollars in exchange for a vote in the operation of the site (similar to a vote on the board of directors), one vote per contributor. This way the site becomes legally responsible to seek the majority vote of its contributors before making changes to the site or agreements, no majority no change. Also once the x number of dollars has been reached by the contributor their percentage of each sale would rise to rate y, therefore providing the site with a financial boost to assist with the re-branding (renaming) and marketing the site as a "Fair Trade" stock site.

In order for such a change in a contributors agreement would most certainly require the submission of proof of identification as the contributors would end up becoming shareholders of the site (one share per contributor).

The one contributor one vote would help avoid any one contributor from corning the voting process on changes although the site would have to disclose the number of votes outstanding and abide by a 50 percent plus one rule for votes cast on changes.

By using an existing site we would have the infrastructure in place and a means to review our images (in a clear well stated manner, rules and guide lines) to ensure that we do not harm our own quality.

No mandatory exclusivity as it would limit the number of images that we can get on-line in a relatively reasonable time frame.

These are just few thoughts that I've had on the subjectand how it maybe able to work, and yes these thoughts still need work themselves. Now is there a site admin out there that may interested in such an idea?

Enjoy and rip away!

Absolutely agree with you. That's the simplest way to see some bucks in a relatively short term and have voice on decisions (which I think it's one of the things we need the most and lead some of us starting this thread, right?).
Exclusivity is an essential part to make a low earner site standing out of the crowd....otherwise there's no added value to it. Of course it should be on a per image basis and IMO they should be priced higher.
best,
diego


« Reply #192 on: May 06, 2009, 03:46 »
0
Well I'm on a different time zone so I couldn't cope reading all yet.

Actually, the idea of a United Artist stock site was launched by Rinder about 3 years ago. He researched the idea thoroughly and found out it would just be Another New Site with loads of capital needed.

When I brought up part of his ideas again, it was mostly to create a wiki of the Ideal Site, to produce a sort of benchmark to judge sites against. And also as a stimulus for existing sites to abolish some very unfavorable recent decisions in the rush to the bottom line price.

As for me personally, Dreamstime still is close to the "ideal site", and in a recent poll here, I guess for many. The subs are under control there, judged from an increasing RPD. For StockXpert and iStock, it's too early to judge, as probably Getty itself is still struggling with their strategy after the buyouts.

Judging from some very remarkable personal messages, the vested stock sites are certainly a bit worried about a microstockers collective, but there is no reason for really. I was more thinking of a benchmark for existing sites, although the looming of an independent Mother of all Sites can certainly be motivating in taking the benchmark seriously :)
Technically, it's not that difficult to build a new site. LO and YAY have been built by one guy. The problem will be maintenance and balancing server load after a while, and those experts don't come cheap.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 03:47 by FlemishDreams »

tan510jomast

« Reply #193 on: May 06, 2009, 05:35 »
0
wow, such a development since last night. it's amazing the rapport we are getting here. dongding is doing such a great promo job. but here's another question i am asking myself this early in the morning. lol, i don't wake up this early so i must be getting obsessed to this forum since the IS incident.
what do we do now? are you still uploading new images to IS, StockXpert? and to the other sites? if so, why?  if things look gloomy as it appears, how are the other sites at higher prices going to compete. Dan mentioned already that SS too is affected, and we all know how much sales SS gets. I am  even more surprised that we have not heard from the other sites on this. At least to give us some perspective of whether we should still send them new images. If no sales gets there, what's the incentive.

update:
and as you can see, even Panthermedia is being flooded with new images.
i wonder if this is mostly from IS and StockXpert.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 06:07 by tan510jomast »

« Reply #194 on: May 06, 2009, 07:27 »
0
Thank God! Looks like some steps will be made finally. :)
We already became some kind of slaves who blindly obey everything agencies ask of us.

Can someone make a poll to see which agency we like the most?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 07:36 by Whitechild »

Milinz

« Reply #195 on: May 06, 2009, 08:10 »
0
Also, I understand Zymmetrical is good, but not exactly microstock oriented and their reviewers are pickier than ones at Fotolia or Crestock... Also, Zymm is quite slow these days in acceptance and glitches with new files. I am sorry Keith - but that is what I felt on my images that sell elsewhere.

Cutcaster is good too, but as startup - It may be reserve variant and we all may upload there too. But, they are low with traffic and they need 10x more images to catch up with next site.

I'd say Featurepics is the most fit for what all said here... They have decent traffic and they are way up to make more. Also, there are some work outs with making some order in microstock and other kind of images with prices accordingly.


 So I vote FP +1 and CC +1
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 08:17 by Milinz »

tan510jomast

« Reply #196 on: May 06, 2009, 08:30 »
0
i started with FP when it was introduced here on the forum, but i stopped due to lack of marketing on their end. Yay was the same for me, great prospect but lost interest too. Zymm, i like to keep trying with Keith, but the keywording is cumbersome and yes, glitches . for this reason, i have settled with Cutcaster after cutting out (no pun intended) on John for a bit, but decided to come back in,
after i heard from John . if i have to choose one, i 'd say John because his site is always making improvement and getting simpler to upload. sales are not there for all 4 , neither in Alamy, which I truly like too. but i don't know if i want to upload 49MB images without some signs of sales or traffic.
with John's site, i can go with various sizes, so there is also more leeway for me.
There is really nothing to vote for me, as I am already with Cutcaster. I just renewed my upload to Zymm, but the reviews are slllllooow...couple that with the erratic uploading and keywording process, i get frustrated and forget the whole deal as time is money to me.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 08:33 by tan510jomast »

Milinz

« Reply #197 on: May 06, 2009, 08:51 »
0
i started with FP when it was introduced here on the forum, but i stopped due to lack of marketing on their end. Yay was the same for me, great prospect but lost interest too. Zymm, i like to keep trying with Keith, but the keywording is cumbersome and yes, glitches . for this reason, i have settled with Cutcaster after cutting out (no pun intended) on John for a bit, but decided to come back in,
after i heard from John . if i have to choose one, i 'd say John because his site is always making improvement and getting simpler to upload. sales are not there for all 4 , neither in Alamy, which I truly like too. but i don't know if i want to upload 49MB images without some signs of sales or traffic.
with John's site, i can go with various sizes, so there is also more leeway for me.
There is really nothing to vote for me, as I am already with Cutcaster. I just renewed my upload to Zymm, but the reviews are slllllooow...couple that with the erratic uploading and keywording process, i get frustrated and forget the whole deal as time is money to me.

I think you are making a mistake... Why you not feed FP with your images? I have regular 2 month payouts from there from $50 up to $200...

« Reply #198 on: May 06, 2009, 09:06 »
0
FP seems to work for some people but not others.  I have never done well there but I stick with them, as they sell one every now and then and I like the 70% commission.  I do reach a payout once or twice a year.  Zym were doing well last year but I have only had 2 sales there this year.  Hopefully they can get sales going again.  Cutcaster is the newest of the 3 sites and while sales are low there, I really like the look of the site and the way John has set up something a bit different.  He gets my vote so far but I will also give FP and Zym my support.  It would take a miracle but I would love to see these 3 sites in the top 6.  I also liked Lucky Oliver, so I have a history of backing the wrong horse :)

« Reply #199 on: May 06, 2009, 09:16 »
0
One of the primary problems in partnering with any existing agency is that they STILL DECIDE what images they want to sell and what the overall rules are.  And in many cases, their decisions are arbitrary as they rely on "human beings" to handle the review process.  And human beings are fallible.

With a coop system where each artist runs their own image site but where a central site handles searching through all of them, the artists themselves decide what they want to sell.  And if their stuff is crap then it won't sell.  But it's the BUYERS who decide what is crap and what isn't, not someone being paid 10 cents an image trying to get through as many images as possible to earn a decent paycheck.

Also, there is an issue of transparency.  Existing agencies hide a lot of information from contributors.  If a coop is formed the whole process can be open and available for review by all coop members.

As for how to attract buyers from existing established agencies...  That's done through content.  If coop members are willing to stop updating their portfolios on other sites (not remove them, just stop uploading to them) and the coop becomes the #1 location for fresh images, the buyers will come.  Either that or they just keep buying from old collections at other sites.

It's a test of will, though.  Ultimately this is all about money and MOST artists won't have the willpower to stop contributing to the main players they despise because they don't want to give up what little they are getting now.


 

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