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Author Topic: Exclusivity might soon be the only option?  (Read 15975 times)

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« Reply #50 on: January 31, 2011, 14:33 »
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Is it not present on IS because you don't have enough upload slots, or because you just haven't used all your upload shots.

It always ticked me off because most exclusive illustrators only uploaded a few illustrations a month and I always had a ton of stuff sitting in a folder labeled istock. I asked once (jokingly) if I could borrow other exclusives' upload slots. It was a joke, but the reality was that istock was becoming more and more irrelevant when it came to a complete collection of my work. That's more my problem than theirs, but still that mindset that they are irrelevant isn't a positive thing. I stopped recommending them because I had a lot more stuff on other sites.


Roadrunner

  • Roadrunner
« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2011, 14:36 »
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I wish I were as smart as many of you seem to be.  With me it is just a matter of expending energy for cash.  When I see certain sites want PERFECTION, uniqueness and exclusivity, and then pay the contributor $.50 or less per sale, I think it is insulting and not worth my time.

I have boiled my targeted sites down to three.  Now I spend much less time and haven't lost anything.  Before I spend over $4,000 for a camera to earn less than $.50, I forget about it.

Just my two cents.  Like I said, you folks are much smarter than me, but I have to consider whether the return is worth the effort.

I do senior portraits for the younguns at the church for free, and I end up making more money than I would get from stock.  They feel led to give me what they can afford and what they think it is worth.  I do that work as a labor of love.  Funny ting is, I know the sites would reject them for some reason or other.  Yet when they show me the prints they get from the disc I give them, I can't find a flaw anywhere?  Do you think the print is less able to magnify flaws when compared to 100% views on a monitor?  The prints do look better to me than what I see on my monitor.

At any react - Good Luck!

lisafx

« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2011, 14:42 »
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I do senior portraits for the younguns at the church for free, and I end up making more money than I would get from stock.  They feel led to give me what they can afford and what they think it is worth.  I do that work as a labor of love.  Funny ting is, I know the sites would reject them for some reason or other.  Yet when they show me the prints they get from the disc I give them, I can't find a flaw anywhere?  Do you think the print is less able to magnify flaws when compared to 100% views on a monitor?  The prints do look better to me than what I see on my monitor.

What a nice thing to read :)

Sounds like you are really doing your photography for the love of it, and in a giving spirit, and you are being rewarded for it.  That is the nature of true prosperity, and a good reminder, since I sometimes forget it. 

« Reply #53 on: January 31, 2011, 14:43 »
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This is hardly a logical statement. You can't assume every (or most) independents produce a constant stream of nearly identical images. Some of them do. But definitely not majority.
My own portfolio covers a wide range of subjects, simply because I get too bored to do the same thing over and over again. And more than half of it is not present on Istock. I am quite certain I am not the only one in this situation.

Is it not present on IS because you don't have enough upload slots, or because you just haven't used all your upload shots.

My upload slot is 38 per week. I produce at least 50 a week, often more than that. We use up the slots every single week, even if we are on vacation. Still, the backlog is mounting - and it's been doing that for 5 years.

« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2011, 14:46 »
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Funny ting is, I know the sites would reject them for some reason or other.  Yet when they show me the prints they get from the disc I give them, I can't find a flaw anywhere?  Do you think the print is less able to magnify flaws when compared to 100% views on a monitor?  The prints do look better to me than what I see on my monitor.

Shrinking a 21 MP image or 12MP or probably even 6MP to fit an 8x10 or 4x6 will hide flaws much easier than viewing at 100% on a monitor.  Same as standing 1/2 mile away from a billboard.

« Reply #55 on: January 31, 2011, 14:51 »
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My upload slot is 38 per week. I produce at least 50 a week, often more than that. We use up the slots every single week, even if we are on vacation. Still, the backlog is mounting - and it's been doing that for 5 years.


So, if the world doesn't have access to 12 berry images on iStock, and only can see 8 there, are they really missing out?  Or 5 out of 10 cakes?
http://www.elenaphoto.com/Holidays_Occasions_g38.html

The point being, you're probably smart enough to upload the best, and the rest wouldn't garner sales anyways.  The buyers aren't really missing out.

« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2011, 14:58 »
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My upload slot is 38 per week. I produce at least 50 a week, often more than that. We use up the slots every single week, even if we are on vacation. Still, the backlog is mounting - and it's been doing that for 5 years.


So, if the world doesn't have access to 12 berry images on iStock, and only can see 8 there, are they really missing out?  Or 5 out of 10 cakes?
http://www.elenaphoto.com/Holidays_Occasions_g38.html

The point being, you're probably smart enough to upload the best, and the rest wouldn't garner sales anyways.  The buyers aren't really missing out.


Ooooh Sean, you don't want me to go poking at your portfolio. I can be really mean, people keep telling me that. But I am busy with something else right now. Plus, I don't see a need for personal attacks here ;)

« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2011, 15:11 »
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You can point at my portfolio.  I'm allowed to upload pretty much all I can produce, so I don't have to cherry pick out "the best".  I'm not being personal - I'm just pointing out that out of a series, maybe only half are needed to give buyers a good selection of usable stuff.

« Reply #58 on: January 31, 2011, 16:15 »
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Im an independant myself and dont really speak for or against exclusivity but I think we have to remember, this is a business, not personal and if we start judging this business on moral grounds, aspects, etc,  we could be entering dangerous grounds.

+ 1  ;D

If your not treating this as a business you're in trouble.

I don't know where this particular admonishment is coming from, Christian and Thomas.  Reading this thread, most of the arguments I am seeing against exclusivity are solid business arguments, not merely moral or emotional ones. 

You guys are certainly free to disagree with the majority and express your own opinions, but please don't denigrate those of us who disagree with you by dismissing our well-reasoned and articulated arguments as unbusinesslike. 
Lisa, no one is being admonished or denigrated. I think me and Christan both see eye to eye on this point,exclusive or independent doesn't much matter. The only thing that matters is that it works in a business sense for the individual. As for solid business arguments and well-reasoned and articulated arguments, yes you also see that sometimes from both sides. As for my statement "If your not treating this as a business you're in trouble" I'll have to stand by that one. I think you'll agree that in the last ten years many contributors have used words like community, family, and friends to describe this thing of ours. For the agencies its always been about business.

« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2011, 16:35 »
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You can point at my portfolio.  I'm allowed to upload pretty much all I can produce, so I don't have to cherry pick out "the best".  I'm not being personal - I'm just pointing out that out of a series, maybe only half are needed to give buyers a good selection of usable stuff.

Hmm... so you're saying that you as an exclusive have the opportunity to flood the library with similars? ... and it's a good thing?...
And I have entire series of images that are not represented on istock. Just because we didn't get to them yet. Cherry-picking images for istock would be spending a lot of time for something with questionable results - images don't sell the same on different agency, there are variables like supply, customer base, search peculiarities, etc.

grp_photo

« Reply #60 on: January 31, 2011, 18:13 »
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You guys are certainly free to disagree with the majority and express your own opinions, but please don't denigrate those of us who disagree with you by dismissing our well-reasoned and articulated arguments as unbusinesslike. 

+ 1
+100  ;) ;D

lagereek

« Reply #61 on: February 01, 2011, 02:05 »
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Im an independant myself and dont really speak for or against exclusivity but I think we have to remember, this is a business, not personal and if we start judging this business on moral grounds, aspects, etc,  we could be entering dangerous grounds.

+ 1  ;D

If your not treating this as a business you're in trouble.

I don't know where this particular admonishment is coming from, Christian and Thomas.  Reading this thread, most of the arguments I am seeing against exclusivity are solid business arguments, not merely moral or emotional ones.  

You guys are certainly free to disagree with the majority and express your own opinions, but please don't denigrate those of us who disagree with you by dismissing our well-reasoned and articulated arguments as unbusinesslike.  
Lisa, no one is being admonished or denigrated. I think me and Christan both see eye to eye on this point,exclusive or independent doesn't much matter. The only thing that matters is that it works in a business sense for the individual. As for solid business arguments and well-reasoned and articulated arguments, yes you also see that sometimes from both sides. As for my statement "If your not treating this as a business you're in trouble" I'll have to stand by that one. I think you'll agree that in the last ten years many contributors have used words like community, family, and friends to describe this thing of ours. For the agencies its always been about business.


Lisa!
Blimey, you know me and if anybody is business like, its you, 100%. I have been giving this a lot of thought myself and based on all previous years of stock-shooting with Stones and Image-Bank, etc,  the pattern is pretty much the same, no matter what one do, the agencies rule! and there is little if anything that one can do, exept what we are doing here, venting our feelings, trying to find logic, etc.
See, Im not concerned anymore with agencies cutting percentages and all, I sort of left that behind me, realizing they will all do that sooner or later, I am much more concerned with, how many agencies will be around in future? and the ones that are? will they be worthwhile?
We often hear people say " dont put all your eggs in one basket", etc, sure!  but theres also got to be some baskets left to put something of quality into.


best.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 02:12 by lagereek »

RacePhoto

« Reply #62 on: February 01, 2011, 02:52 »
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I agree with your thinking. Personally, I think agency exclusivity is really just an advantage for the agency, as a way to control their contributors.

You weren't the only one, but it was a nice short quote.

Think about actors, artists, musicians and some others who have agency exclusive contracts. Yes it's control, but it's also about distribution, promotion and association. There are many professionals who have exclusive contracts when you think about it. It benefits the agency and the artist. You want this person/artists, you get it through only this agency. Agency markets based on having the best artists, and you can't get their work anywhere else.

One the other hand, if you were making M&Ms of course you sell to anyone who wants to buy them. You want to have everyone everywhere selling your product. Kind of like subscriptions or many of the sites who people should admit have mostly the same people with mostly all the same images. Nothing to offer except the same thing you can find anywhere. Not much of a marketing advantage as far as quality or art goes? What's the point? All the sites are the same that have these same non-exclusives. Price War brewing, because no difference in the product.

Somewhere in between is the distributor agreements I used to work under where I had to qualify to sell a product, maintain a stock, have annual sales at a required level, or I wouldn't be an authorized distributor anymore. Also some would give discounts based on the previous years sales. Hey sound familiar, commissions based on sales. A bonus for being a good producer. Only part missing is microstock agencies don't clean out the dead wood, close accounts and don't have production requirements. Maybe someone should but then there would be another set of crying and whining when slow movers or old images that have never sold in five years, are being removed. Or artists who sell $20 a year are being paid off and their accounts closed, because their work just isn't needed. Simple enough, isn't it?

Three different situations, and as usual with the debates here, people make good points and also start mixing all kinds of dissimilar situations into the debate.

The contention that image exclusive is somehow more open and helps is ludicrous. Someone takes 25 photos, they put 10 "exclusive" on site A for more commission, then 5 on site B, 5 one site c and 5 more are non-exclusive and sold on the other 17 microstock sites. Only a fool would pay extra and allow that kind of "exclusive" images.

I think people need to step back and think about what if they were the agency, instead of the person trying to sell and make money. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you make some of the wacky deals that some people here saying, would be good? They aren't here to help us. They aren't in business to be our friends pals and cozy social friends. They are in business to make money.

People need to understand this and get over the warm and fuzzy, sell photos, make money attitude. It's cutthroat business on the internet!

For some people exclusive is security and identity and a place to do marketing. For others it's a ball and chain and they want the freedom to sell wherever, whatever. Neither is a bad answer. It depends on what you have and how you want to operate your business. I especially liked the quote from a recent interview, optimum is 1, 2 or 20 agencies. I'd say it's pretty much that and modify the comment to be one exclusive, two of the best that match your material and make the best sales, or as many as you can get to host your material.

[reminder, nothing personal, just a nice quote to start with]  :)
 
There is no easy answer.

lagereek

« Reply #63 on: February 01, 2011, 03:01 »
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Only, its nothing new, its been like this since the birth of the trad-agencies back in late 70s,  we are just experiencing this on a much grander scale and over the computers, thats all. The pattern is totally unchanged.

« Reply #64 on: February 01, 2011, 07:44 »
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It was always baffling to me why Istock thinks their policy on exclusivity brings them any advantage in the market.

It began in December 2004, when CanStockPhoto and DT were six months old and SS had been accepting contributions for about six weeks. They saw photographers starting to drift off to rival agencies and decided to offer a deal to try to starve the opposition of talent. But they pitched the original offer to artists a bit too low and the rivals survived and in two cases prospered.
All the other claims about extra-special quality of exclusive content etc. etc. was just marketing hype to try to paint a policy designed to fight off competition as if it was designed to help buyers. Bruce was extremely clever in that and the exclusives lapped up the myth that they were super-special and propagated it everywhere.
I sometimes wonder if iStock itself remembers what it was all about, or if its leaders have started to believe in their own myth. Kelly certainly can't remember what was going on back then - or else he just likes to invent fairy tales to try to impress us.
Given that there are so many similars all over the net, I doubt if there is anything one top site can provide that the others can't produce an acceptable substitute for. So exclusivity is just an anachronism, but it is also a club with an inner circle that would never jeopardise their earnings by admitting it is a waste of resources, and they include the policy-makers and those who have to sell the idea to the higher-ups.
What matters much more than exclusivity is the search engine. The site that can match search terms best will win.

« Reply #65 on: February 01, 2011, 07:55 »
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Funny ting is, I know the sites would reject them for some reason or other.  Yet when they show me the prints they get from the disc I give them, I can't find a flaw anywhere?  Do you think the print is less able to magnify flaws when compared to 100% views on a monitor?  The prints do look better to me than what I see on my monitor.

Shrinking a 21 MP image or 12MP or probably even 6MP to fit an 8x10 or 4x6 will hide flaws much easier than viewing at 100% on a monitor.  Same as standing 1/2 mile away from a billboard.

Roadrunner's in the real world, Sean, where people don't pixel-peep at billboards. We're all trapped in a world of supposed technical perfection, like engineers who marvel at the perfection of a cogwheel they created but can no longer see the overall beauty of the car it goes into. Or, to put it another way, we're manufacturing design elements, he's taking photos. Horses for courses.

« Reply #66 on: February 01, 2011, 08:52 »
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It was always baffling to me why Istock thinks their policy on exclusivity brings them any advantage in the market.

It began in December 2004, when CanStockPhoto and DT were six months old and SS had been accepting contributions for about six weeks. They saw photographers starting to drift off to rival agencies and decided to offer a deal to try to starve the opposition of talent. But they pitched the original offer to artists a bit too low and the rivals survived and in two cases prospered.
All the other claims about extra-special quality of exclusive content etc. etc. was just marketing hype to try to paint a policy designed to fight off competition as if it was designed to help buyers. Bruce was extremely clever in that and the exclusives lapped up the myth that they were super-special and propagated it everywhere.
I sometimes wonder if iStock itself remembers what it was all about, or if its leaders have started to believe in their own myth. Kelly certainly can't remember what was going on back then - or else he just likes to invent fairy tales to try to impress us.
Given that there are so many similars all over the net, I doubt if there is anything one top site can provide that the others can't produce an acceptable substitute for. So exclusivity is just an anachronism, but it is also a club with an inner circle that would never jeopardise their earnings by admitting it is a waste of resources, and they include the policy-makers and those who have to sell the idea to the higher-ups.
What matters much more than exclusivity is the search engine. The site that can match search terms best will win.

Well said and exactly how I see it.


« Reply #67 on: February 01, 2011, 09:01 »
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Roadrunner's in the real world, Sean, where people don't pixel-peep at billboards. We're all trapped in a world of supposed technical perfection, like engineers who marvel at the perfection of a cogwheel they created but can no longer see the overall beauty of the car it goes into. Or, to put it another way, we're manufacturing design elements, he's taking photos. Horses for courses.

The real world includes people who may need to zoom into a small segment of an image in a video, or crop a tiny piece of a larger image, where flaws would be noticed.  You're right, of course, that if you're targeting 4x6s, you have much more leeway technically than a stock provider, which is why so many "pros" can't handle it.

« Reply #68 on: February 01, 2011, 09:29 »
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Roadrunner's in the real world, Sean, where people don't pixel-peep at billboards. We're all trapped in a world of supposed technical perfection, like engineers who marvel at the perfection of a cogwheel they created but can no longer see the overall beauty of the car it goes into. Or, to put it another way, we're manufacturing design elements, he's taking photos. Horses for courses.

The real world includes people who may need to zoom into a small segment of an image in a video, or crop a tiny piece of a larger image, where flaws would be noticed.  You're right, of course, that if you're targeting 4x6s, you have much more leeway technically than a stock provider, which is why so many "pros" can't handle it.

It's interesting that Alamy's inspection is much less draconian than the top micros' and that early files from the days when standards were much lower continue to sell without producing complaints and refunds. It makes me think that the inspection standards are partly used as a barrier to entry because there is so much similar stuff out there. The upload limits are one filter to try to hold stuff back, rejections could be another.

« Reply #69 on: February 01, 2011, 10:40 »
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The real world includes people who may need to zoom into a small segment of an image in a video, or crop a tiny piece of a larger image, where flaws would be noticed.  You're right, of course, that if you're targeting 4x6s, you have much more leeway technically than a stock provider, which is why so many "pros" can't handle it.

Does the real world honestly expect all of that for a few pennies per sale? "pros" i.e. those who were around before the inception of microstock or even RF have seen countless images used that were anything BUT technically perfect. They are still being used. Micrstock photogs have been hammered with the idea that a tiny bit of purple fringe or the slightest amount of artifacts will make an image useless. I don't think so. Those who have been around micro since the beginning probably see images that are anything but perfect selling well even now. I think what drives "pros" crazy is this notion that a few artifacts ruin an image. It's the rule you have to abide with if you want to contribute to microstock but that hardly makes it right.

« Reply #70 on: February 01, 2011, 11:03 »
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I think that sites can compete on 3 things for buyers, price, search engine/site design, and portfolios. I think that the search engine is the one most open to making a huge difference. Hopefully we have seen a bottom price point (and it seems that a lot of designers are relatively willing to pay a bit more to get the image they want more easily).  If you get sales, then you will get the images from the photographers, so that leaves the search engine. This is where IS could have really taken over with the CV etc. (and they still might if they can get their act together). Unfortunately for a lot of the sites like SS and DT that split apart multiple word keywords it would be an enormous task to go back and fix the keywords. I wonder if a site could do that though, maybe starting with the most popular sellers and slowly cranking through the database and really improve things. I have always thought the problem with "bad" images isn't their existence, but showing them too high in the search.

« Reply #71 on: February 01, 2011, 11:20 »
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. I have always thought the problem with "bad" images isn't their existence, but showing them too high in the search.

Alamy tried to address this with a hugely complicated layering of keyword fields. Trouble is I think they have too many images that are used to too infrequently to build a proper analysis of the data. Plus I don't bother making full use of this system because it is just too time consuming IMO to be worth it.

ShadySue

« Reply #72 on: February 01, 2011, 12:27 »
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It makes me think that the inspection standards are partly used as a barrier to entry because there is so much similar stuff out there. The upload limits are one filter to try to hold stuff back, rejections could be another.
You night like to think so, but I've just seen (on iStock) a recent poorly-keyworded batch of accepted images, taken in poor light (my 'poor light' rejections of things which would be unique or very unusual on the site are legion, even when that is the light which is correct for the subject) of a very, very common subject (over 12000 'hits' on the main keyword), each of which is a badly-composed 'snapshot' is just mindboggling. And of course, we're not allowed to ask, "Why are these good while mine are unacceptable?"

lagereek

« Reply #73 on: February 01, 2011, 12:31 »
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The search engine is everything and thats what its all about but with billions of shots and 90% all similars,  well you can imagine?

helix7

« Reply #74 on: February 01, 2011, 12:49 »
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If it's all about the search engine then why do sites with extremely basic search functionality continue to do so well?


 

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