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Author Topic: Do we just need to talk?  (Read 30268 times)

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« on: July 17, 2015, 12:10 »
+4
I have been hearing from many that the future of Microstock might not be entirely sound.  I can't help but wonder if it would be useful to try and have some kind of an agreement among agencies not to put pricing below a certain threshold and also have a serious conversation about subscriptions.  We do this with oil to a certain degree through governing agencies and so forth.

I know, I know, this is not exactly the free market system, but I would like to see all parties represented and some kind of solution hammered out to benefit all parties.  The agreement should benefit buyers, stock houses and photographers/artists.  In the end if all parties don't feel like they are getting a good deal then the future may very well be in jeopardy.

I know this is a very simplistic idea and probably talked about frequently, but I just wanted to say my piece about it.  I don't think we need unions or anything crazy like that but certainly some kind of solid representation would be useful.



Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 12:28 »
+10
Tell you what, if your work is on SS and Fotolia, pull it, then we can talk. If you support that low pricing then you are part of the problem. In case you have not noticed, these companies make millions of dollars and we make a pittance. There is no incentive for them to do anything, they are already successful with your full support.

« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 13:14 »
+7
Exactly, that is what I am trying to say.  Pulling your images is not going to stop it. Now if we all determined to pull our images at once it would stop it.  A handful of people pulling their images is not going to do it.

Even when the big boys pulled their images it only hurts for a little while.  What I am talking about is reforming the process, because philosophy and reality are often two different things.

Hongover

« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 13:17 »
+5
You know what that's called? Price fixing.

The government came down hard on book publishers trying to price fix book prices on the iTunes book store a while back. Read up about it and see why the agencies can't do what you're suggesting.

Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 13:24 »
+3
Exactly, that is what I am trying to say.  Pulling your images is not going to stop it. Now if we all determined to pull our images at once it would stop it.  A handful of people pulling their images is not going to do it.

Even when the big boys pulled their images it only hurts for a little while.  What I am talking about is reforming the process, because philosophy and reality are often two different things.

I don't know about you, but in my little world I don't support those sites in any way, so in effect it stops it. You can do the same or not. But supporting it is exactly that - supporting it. It's a choice we all have to make, and I have made mine, I simply refuse to sell my work at that price point and for those royalty amounts. You either support it or you don't. Nothing really to talk about as it's a yes or no thing. As the saying goes, you are either pregnant or you are not pregnant.

« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 13:30 »
+5
I guess the next question is...

Why are you on here then?

« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2015, 13:33 »
0
Quote
You know what that's called? Price fixing.

The government came down hard on book publishers trying to price fix book prices on the iTunes book store a while back. Read up about it and see why the agencies can't do what you're suggesting.

Yeah I know, that's why I said it wasn't exactly free market. I was just using it as an example of something to do.

The bottom line is we need some reform, but I am just throwing this out there to see what ideas people have.  Obviously just pulling your images is not a solution because there are just too many artists involved.  I don't really have any good ideas I just posed that as an example.  Right now stock is the wild west with a bunch of agencies thumbing their nose at the artists.

There are some good ones like Alamy, but they are in a unique market and are fighting against the microstock marketing strategy pretty much on their own.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2015, 14:16 »
+9
It's an interesting thought. Why don't we just talk to them and tell them what is acceptable to us as a whole.

It's the "us as a whole" part that's the problem. Getting millions of people, or a least a large percentage of the top people, to come to agreement and stick to it is the challenge. It's the same challenge whenever someone comes here and suggests forming a union.

So currently if someone approaches one of the top sites and suggests pricing standards the response would probably be "hhaahaahaaha, good one".

Right now supply (us) seems to be far outweighing demand. And with record amounts of new images being submitted we are indirectly telling these sites we are perfectly happy with the way things are so there's no reason they would listen to any proposal to change pricing in our favor.

Find a fix to the "us as a whole" problem and you (we) will have the leverage to propose price and royalty changes. As it is now they own the boat and are the captain and we're just the workers rowing to wherever they want to go.

« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2015, 14:18 »
+9
Here is one of the threads on the subject that was easily found (just search on "union" or "fair", etc.):
http://www.microstockgroup.com/ranting-general-stock/stock-artists-collective-anyone/msg383812/#msg383812

Every so often someone comes in with the radical idea of banding together to tell the agencies what's what.  In the end, nothing really happens.

« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2015, 14:28 »
+13

I don't know about you, but in my little world I don't support those sites in any way, so in effect it stops it. You can do the same or not. But supporting it is exactly that - supporting it. It's a choice we all have to make, and I have made mine, I simply refuse to sell my work at that price point and for those royalty amounts. You either support it or you don't. Nothing really to talk about as it's a yes or no thing. As the saying goes, you are either pregnant or you are not pregnant.

I guess the next question is...

Why are you on here then?

I guess he's Getty Istock exclusuve and deludes himself they are in some way better.  This delusion gets harder to keep since Getty forced indies into PP where we only get .28 per sale, and forced everyone into Istock subs, when most of their exclusives were there to avoid sub sites.  Oh, and lets not forget Getty now has THREE separate programs to give our images away for free.  Laughable to hear a Istock exclusive pretend they are taking the moral high ground these days.  Maybe 5 years ago, but now they  are just the same as everyone else, scrambling for what they can get.

« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2015, 15:00 »
+8
Yes, no one is as responsible for the race to the bottom as Getty/ IStock and their greed. As someone else said, we can only hope they put themselves out of business sooner rather than later.

Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2015, 15:07 »
+2

I don't know about you, but in my little world I don't support those sites in any way, so in effect it stops it. You can do the same or not. But supporting it is exactly that - supporting it. It's a choice we all have to make, and I have made mine, I simply refuse to sell my work at that price point and for those royalty amounts. You either support it or you don't. Nothing really to talk about as it's a yes or no thing. As the saying goes, you are either pregnant or you are not pregnant.

I guess the next question is...

Why are you on here then?

I guess he's Getty Istock exclusuve and deludes himself they are in some way better.  This delusion gets harder to keep since Getty forced indies into PP where we only get .28 per sale, and forced everyone into Istock subs, when most of their exclusives were there to avoid sub sites.  Oh, and lets not forget Getty now has THREE separate programs to give our images away for free.  Laughable to hear a Istock exclusive pretend they are taking the moral high ground these days.  Maybe 5 years ago, but now they  are just the same as everyone else, scrambling for what they can get.

Very special of you to do a whole lot of assumption in your reply.

True to what you say about Istock to a point. My moral high ground was placed into action years ago by not signing into the subscription plan years ago. And yes now one is forced into the stranglehold that has become at Istock.

It might also be of interest to you to wake up from your snooze and realize there are many other sights out there that sell images for much more apart from Getty Images.

So before you pigeon hole somebody into your micro way of thinking, you might just want to actually open up the possibility that I am not deluding myself by thinking I am better.

The original post was "lets talk" and I say talk is cheap. Actions however are a whole different thing.

You either support what you support or you don't, how you see this as deluding myself I don't quite understand. If anything I am very clear in what I support or don't. Perhaps it is you deluding yourself.

Rose Tinted Glasses

« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2015, 15:08 »
+1
I guess the next question is...

Why are you on here then?

Information about one aspect of the stock industry.

« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2015, 15:26 »
+2
Quote
The original post was "lets talk" and I say talk is cheap. Actions however are a whole different thing.

Yeah I agree talk is cheap, but talking is the first step to action.  What action have you done?  You are still with an agency that supports .28 subs just like I and many others.  If you truly believed in what you say then you would dump IS. 

They have adopted the same strategy as the other micros.  The problem is the market has bottomed out.  I am a software dev in my day job and it kind of reminds me of the arguments which were used when apple introduced .99 games.  The market was used to selling even cheap games for 9.99 and they were kind of panicky.  Now the games have come up a bit as the quality increased and the big boys are playing in the phone marke.

« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2015, 15:59 »
+3
The problem is that microstockers aren't really a bunch of people that can just meet up in a conference room and sit down to talk things over and convince each other about steps to take. One contributor is from France, the other from India, the next from Italy, then next from Russia or Ukraine... They don't have common grounds even on basic things like financial needs, copyright protection, expenses, etcetc....

« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2015, 16:05 »
+4
As a company that recently went public, SS has no concept of a future beyond the next quarter.   

Hongover

« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2015, 16:32 »
+3
Let's not treat the photo agencies as 'enemies'. We are our own worst enemies.

Let's say that an agency give us a platform and contributors set their own prices for their images. That would change the entire market, better for some, worst for others. I would be able to charge more for my unique images, while the value of certain images would fall even further. Every contributor would try to outbid each other and devalue each others images in the process.

Don't believe it? Look at the App Store. People are so used to getting free apps, they rarely pay for apps anymore. If there are 30,000 strawberry images on the platform and one photographer decides to sell a high quality one for $.10, it would shoot up the rankings and devalue the everything in its category in the process. Next, everyone else will follow and it becomes a race to the bottom...at light speed. Suddenly, entire portfolio lose value faster than stocks in 2008.

The reality is that agencies are better than photographers at pricing. If contributors have pricing control, we would destroy ourselves and ruin the market in the process. Right now, I don't see agencies as my obstacle. I see myself as an obstacle. I see my competitors as they are...competitors. There is so much supply right now and that's not the fault of agencies...that's our problem. We just have to get even better at it, think more about images and try to produce amazing work.



« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2015, 16:38 »
+8
Let's say that an agency give us a platform and contributors set their own prices for their images. That would change the entire market, better for some, worst for others. I would be able to charge more for my unique images, while the value of certain images would fall even further. Every contributor would try to outbid each other and devalue each others images in the process.

It's called Pond5.  It didn't really change the market in any way.

Quote
Don't believe it? Look at the App Store. People are so used to getting free apps, they rarely pay for apps anymore. If there are 30,000 strawberry images on the platform and one photographer decides to sell a high quality one for $.10, it would shoot up the rankings and devalue the everything in its category in the process. Next, everyone else will follow and it becomes a race to the bottom...at light speed. Suddenly, entire portfolio lose value faster than stocks in 2008.

Your app experience doesn't necessarily translate to image licensing, as Pond shows.  People still spend $1000 for images there.

Quote
The reality is that agencies are better than photographers at pricing. If contributors have pricing control, we would destroy ourselves and ruin the market in the process. Right now, I don't see agencies as my obstacle. I see myself as an obstacle. I see my competitors as they are...competitors. There is so much supply right now and that's not the fault of agencies...that's our problem. We just have to get even better at it, think more about images and try to produce amazing work.

So, too much supply is the problem, and the suggestion is "make more"?

« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2015, 17:08 »
+3
Let's not treat the photo agencies as 'enemies'. We are our own worst enemies.

Let's say that an agency give us a platform and contributors set their own prices for their images. That would change the entire market, better for some, worst for others. I would be able to charge more for my unique images, while the value of certain images would fall even further. Every contributor would try to outbid each other and devalue each others images in the process.

Don't believe it? Look at the App Store. People are so used to getting free apps, they rarely pay for apps anymore. If there are 30,000 strawberry images on the platform and one photographer decides to sell a high quality one for $.10, it would shoot up the rankings and devalue the everything in its category in the process. Next, everyone else will follow and it becomes a race to the bottom...at light speed. Suddenly, entire portfolio lose value faster than stocks in 2008.

The reality is that agencies are better than photographers at pricing. If contributors have pricing control, we would destroy ourselves and ruin the market in the process. Right now, I don't see agencies as my obstacle. I see myself as an obstacle. I see my competitors as they are...competitors. There is so much supply right now and that's not the fault of agencies...that's our problem. We just have to get even better at it, think more about images and try to produce amazing work.

Those are positive thoughts.   The problems I see with this point of view are:

1. With a vast oversupply and no curation, 'amazing' work has little chance of being seen, let alone rising to the top.

2.  With one-size-fits all pricing, 'amazing' work can't bring any more return than mediocrity - unless it sells in huge numbers.   

Hongover

« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2015, 17:35 »
0
Let's say that an agency give us a platform and contributors set their own prices for their images. That would change the entire market, better for some, worst for others. I would be able to charge more for my unique images, while the value of certain images would fall even further. Every contributor would try to outbid each other and devalue each others images in the process.

It's called Pond5.  It didn't really change the market in any way.

Quote
Don't believe it? Look at the App Store. People are so used to getting free apps, they rarely pay for apps anymore. If there are 30,000 strawberry images on the platform and one photographer decides to sell a high quality one for $.10, it would shoot up the rankings and devalue the everything in its category in the process. Next, everyone else will follow and it becomes a race to the bottom...at light speed. Suddenly, entire portfolio lose value faster than stocks in 2008.

Your app experience doesn't necessarily translate to image licensing, as Pond shows.  People still spend $1000 for images there.

Quote
The reality is that agencies are better than photographers at pricing. If contributors have pricing control, we would destroy ourselves and ruin the market in the process. Right now, I don't see agencies as my obstacle. I see myself as an obstacle. I see my competitors as they are...competitors. There is so much supply right now and that's not the fault of agencies...that's our problem. We just have to get even better at it, think more about images and try to produce amazing work.

So, too much supply is the problem, and the suggestion is "make more"?

There are $1000 apps, for studying for Bar Exams. If something is unique enough, people will pay for it. And those come once in a blue moon.

Pond5 is struggling to get traffic right now, well below that of even Creative Market, another place where you can set your own prices. And contributors are struggling to get sales on photos. Reason: probably because contributors set prices way above market value. It needs an agency the size of SS to truly test a free market behavioral system with high competition.

I believe the market is always hungry, but for certain type of images. New markets are constantly created and they need certain type of images. I don't subscribe to the idea of "more" as much as I am in the idea of "creating more to feed a very hungry market".
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 17:57 by Hongover »

« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2015, 23:43 »
+5
Let's say that an agency give us a platform and contributors set their own prices for their images. That would change the entire market, better for some, worst for others. I would be able to charge more for my unique images, while the value of certain images would fall even further. Every contributor would try to outbid each other and devalue each others images in the process.

It's called Pond5.  It didn't really change the market in any way.

Quote
Don't believe it? Look at the App Store. People are so used to getting free apps, they rarely pay for apps anymore. If there are 30,000 strawberry images on the platform and one photographer decides to sell a high quality one for $.10, it would shoot up the rankings and devalue the everything in its category in the process. Next, everyone else will follow and it becomes a race to the bottom...at light speed. Suddenly, entire portfolio lose value faster than stocks in 2008.

Your app experience doesn't necessarily translate to image licensing, as Pond shows.  People still spend $1000 for images there.

Quote
The reality is that agencies are better than photographers at pricing. If contributors have pricing control, we would destroy ourselves and ruin the market in the process. Right now, I don't see agencies as my obstacle. I see myself as an obstacle. I see my competitors as they are...competitors. There is so much supply right now and that's not the fault of agencies...that's our problem. We just have to get even better at it, think more about images and try to produce amazing work.

So, too much supply is the problem, and the suggestion is "make more"?

There are $1000 apps, for studying for Bar Exams. If something is unique enough, people will pay for it. And those come once in a blue moon.

Pond5 is struggling to get traffic right now, well below that of even Creative Market, another place where you can set your own prices. And contributors are struggling to get sales on photos. Reason: probably because contributors set prices way above market value. It needs an agency the size of SS to truly test a free market behavioral system with high competition.

I believe the market is always hungry, but for certain type of images. New markets are constantly created and they need certain type of images. I don't subscribe to the idea of "more" as much as I am in the idea of "creating more to feed a very hungry market".

I would encourage you to listen to Sean, he has light years more experience than you do.  Hopefully you will not be too discouraged when your new contributor search bump expires.


Shelma1

« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2015, 05:04 »
+5
You should have asked a lot more for a buyout, IMO.

The issue with contributors working together is the same as trying to form a union or representative group of some kind...we're spread all over the world, and different people are willing to put different amounts of effort into things.

I still believe it's possible to be effective, though...I don't think it's coincidence that FT has decided to stop marketing DPC.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 05:07 by Shelma1 »

Hongover

« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2015, 12:05 »
0
I would encourage you to listen to Sean, he has light years more experience than you do.  Hopefully you will not be too discouraged when your new contributor search bump expires.

I just double checked. I became a contributor on Jan 22, 2015. My "new contributor bump" expired on June 22, 2015 if people are right about the 6 month thing.

« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2015, 13:29 »
+2
You should have asked a lot more for a buyout, IMO.

The issue with contributors working together is the same as trying to form a union or representative group of some kind...we're spread all over the world, and different people are willing to put different amounts of effort into things.

I still believe it's possible to be effective, though...I don't think it's coincidence that FT has decided to stop marketing DPC.

Agree, a buyout for only $150 was a steal for the company.

On DPC, it was Adobe who recently stopped marketing DPC, most likely because it didn't fit with their new business plan of software integration.   FT continued promoting DPC til they were bought out.


 

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