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Author Topic: How to fight against lower and lower commissions!?  (Read 28823 times)

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grp_photo

« Reply #100 on: August 18, 2011, 15:32 »
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1. get 1000 photographers to threaten to delete account on fotolia


Here's the thing.  You can get 1000 upset contributors to delete their accounts, but they will all be lower level contributors, those making just a few hundred dollars a month there.  The agencies won't care... they'll be happy to see them go.  They see the lowest earning contributors as the ones submitting repetitive images that simply aren't needed and won't sell.  Fewer Grand Canyon shots?  Handshakes?  Fruit on white?  Agencies will say fewer of these will make for a better user experience.

The agencies will only care if the top earning contributors pull out, those submitting the most unique and in-demand content and earning several thousand dollars a month.  There are at least a hundred of these.  How many of those will pull out?  Zero.  And they won't be joining a union, either.

The only solution for the average microstocker is to take a look at what you're doing and decide to step up your game and meet a market need that isn't already being met 1000 times over.  Doing something unique and actually in demand will start earning you much higher sales, and agencies will stop seeing you as a commodity.   Create enough unique and in-demand stuff and you'll get to the point at which your departure might actually hurt the agencies.
First: If you produce really unique AND in-demand stuff (and not just think you do - photographers do have a tendency to largely overestimate their work) than you would be extremely stupid to place it in microstock.
Second: most of the so called top-contributors produce actually the most repetitive stuff, what make them to top-contributors is the large amount, the technical quality and the quality of props and models but certainly not their uniqueness.
Third: If any top microstock-company would have only half the images what they have now it wouldn't hurt them at all. You don't need to have double-digits million files to be a successful agency.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 15:35 by grp_photo »


« Reply #101 on: August 18, 2011, 15:53 »
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First: If you produce really unique AND in-demand stuff (and not just think you do - photographers do have a tendency to largely overestimate their work) than you would be extremely stupid to place it in microstock.
 
Just speaking for myself, I would never get into the macros and Alamy doesn't want me.  Yet I'm selling extremely well on the micros.  

Second: most of the so called top-contributors produce actually the most repetitive stuff, what make them to top-contributors is the large amount, the technical quality and the quality of props and models but certainly not their uniqueness.
This is true of some of the top-sellers, but not all of them.  And no one starting today could be a copycat and reach their level of success.  It would take creativity and a unique sense of what customers want.

Third: If any top microstock-company would have only half the images what they have now it wouldn't hurt them at all. You don't need to have double-digits million files to be a successful agency.
I think you just reinforced my point.  In fact, if an agency cut its offerings in half, reducing the redundant, unimaginative, zero-sales stuff, it would make for a better experience for the customer and might sell MORE with half the pics.  So agencies could see an exodus of such contributors as a much-needed cleansing.

grp_photo

« Reply #102 on: August 18, 2011, 16:07 »
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First: If you produce really unique AND in-demand stuff (and not just think you do - photographers do have a tendency to largely overestimate their work) than you would be extremely stupid to place it in microstock.
 
Just speaking for myself, I would never get into the macros and Alamy doesn't want me.  Yet I'm selling extremely well on the micros.  
I'm not talking about Alamy (though I like them) I'm talking about Getty, Corbis, Plainpicture etc.
Extremely well is relative (not saying that I don't believe you).

grp_photo

« Reply #103 on: August 18, 2011, 16:10 »
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Third: If any top microstock-company would have only half the images what they have now it wouldn't hurt them at all. You don't need to have double-digits million files to be a successful agency.
I think you just reinforced my point.  In fact, if an agency cut its offerings in half, reducing the redundant, unimaginative, zero-sales stuff, it would make for a better experience for the customer and might sell MORE with half the pics.  So agencies could see an exodus of such contributors as a much-needed cleansing.
Yes I reinforced your point to some degree but you said it would make a difference if the top-contributors would leave - nada. If they Yuris and AndersRs etc. would leave it wouldn't have a negative effect their influence is largely overestimated.

« Reply #104 on: August 18, 2011, 16:12 »
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Extremely well is relative (not saying that I don't believe you).

That's what the dials are for under our names... to show how well we sell, relatively speaking.

grp_photo

« Reply #105 on: August 18, 2011, 16:16 »
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Extremely well is relative (not saying that I don't believe you).

That's what the dials are for under our names... to show how well we sell, relatively speaking.
The dials are relative I'm sure if I would input my data in it my Dreamstime dial would be on the maximum but I don't make much money at Dreamstime at all.

« Reply #106 on: August 18, 2011, 16:24 »
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The dials are relative I'm sure if I would input my data in it my Dreamstime dial would be on the maximum but I don't make much money at Dreamstime at all.
Um... what?  If you were the top Dreamstime contributor among the forum posters here (who participate in the dials thing), you are saying you still wouldn't be making much money at Dreamstime?  How's that?

« Reply #107 on: August 18, 2011, 16:24 »
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Mature market so profit margins are going down. There is nothing we can do about it. We need to find new hot market where profit margins are high.

grp_photo

« Reply #108 on: August 18, 2011, 16:32 »
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The dials are relative I'm sure if I would input my data in it my Dreamstime dial would be on the maximum but I don't make much money at Dreamstime at all.
Um... what?  If you were the top Dreamstime contributor among the forum posters here (who participate in the dials thing), you are saying you still wouldn't be making much money at Dreamstime?  How's that?
The dials use your files and sales but It doesn't look to me that they calculate the time (or at least to a much lower degree) you are on the site, so if you are an early contributor that doesn't completely suck it's pretty easy to have a good files/sales ratio. And I'm with Dreamstime since 2004.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 16:45 by grp_photo »

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #109 on: August 19, 2011, 03:58 »
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With discipline we could effect buyers habits:

1. Rank the Top 6 microstock sites in terms of Royalty % to contributors;
2. Upload new content only to the #1 microstock site first;
3. Wait 1 month before uploading the same new content to the #2;
4. Wait another month, upload the same new content to the #3;
and so on.....
7. Market the #1 site only on our web pages and in forums.

Buyers looking for fresh, new images would start to gravitate towards the new images on the #1 ranked site, and we would get the better Royalty %.

It takes discipline from us all though!!!

Jesus...., do you seriously think this would do anything? : )) They have 10-15+ million images by now, even if every single contributor did all of the above it would be way too late. I know its blasphemy here in the kindergarten, but I have to say you ppl are severely shortsighted. You only react to a forseeable situation when it already happened, meaning its too late. You watch it all the way coming, but you only say "train!! train!!" when you got smashed by it... I'm sorry but that is just ridiculous and sad at the same time. This was inevitable. Even if the agencies didn't become meaner after securing enough stock, your situation would still suck because of oversupply. It was also pretty darn obvious that the agencies will start shafting you when they can... did they ever look like 'nice people' to anyone above 8? (I guess they did, thats the sad part): )) you'v been told these years a thousand times, but all you did was hiss back.... and now run around in circles whining. Grow up! By now the only real option you have is deleting ports.

Slovenian

« Reply #110 on: August 19, 2011, 04:05 »
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With discipline we could effect buyers habits:

1. Rank the Top 6 microstock sites in terms of Royalty % to contributors;
2. Upload new content only to the #1 microstock site first;
3. Wait 1 month before uploading the same new content to the #2;
4. Wait another month, upload the same new content to the #3;
and so on.....
7. Market the #1 site only on our web pages and in forums.

Buyers looking for fresh, new images would start to gravitate towards the new images on the #1 ranked site, and we would get the better Royalty %.

It takes discipline from us all though!!!

Jesus...., do you seriously think this would do anything? : )) They have 10-15+ million images by now, even if every single contributor did all of the above it would be way too late. I know its blasphemy here in the kindergarten, but I have to say you ppl are severely shortsighted. You only react to a forseeable situation when it already happened, meaning its too late. You watch it all the way coming, but you only say "train!! train!!" when you got smashed by it... I'm sorry but that is just ridiculous and sad at the same time. This was inevitable. Even if the agencies didn't become meaner after securing enough stock, your situation would still suck because of oversupply. It was also pretty darn obvious that the agencies will start shafting you when they can... did they ever look like 'nice people' to anyone above 8? (I guess they did, thats the sad part): )) you'v been told these years a thousand times, but all you did was hiss back.... and now run around in circles whining. Grow up! By now the only real option you have is deleting ports.

Bravo! That's exactly what's happening.

BTW as I said I'm deleting my port, when I get my next payout.

« Reply #111 on: August 19, 2011, 11:04 »
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duplicate post.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 11:07 by stockmarketer »

« Reply #112 on: August 19, 2011, 11:07 »
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At the end of the day, I care about one thing: is the agency making me more money than it did a month ago, or a year ago.  Am I investing time and effort and getting more or less in return?  As long as the answer is MORE, and especially by a sizable amount, then I will continue to contribute.  For me, I'm doing much better at FT today (even a few days after the cut... maybe the V3 site works better and is actually driving a higher volume of sales, offsetting my commission cut) than I was a few weeks, months and especially a year ago.  I spend just a few hours a day at this, and when I see my payouts each month, it feels like I'm receiving a healthy raise month after month, whatever cut recently happened.

So that's the bottom line.  Am I financially better or worse off in the big picture?   If you're worse off despite pouring more blood, sweat and tears into FT or any other site, no one would blame you for cutting the cord.  But I'm doing better today, so I'm happily staying.  If my trend lines reverse in the months to come, I could change my tune, but until then, it's business as usual and counting my money.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 11:09 by stockmarketer »

helix7

« Reply #113 on: August 19, 2011, 12:25 »
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There's nothing we can do. Not from this side of the table. Agencies have known for years that they can do whatever they want without consequence. So what if a few contributors leave after a rate cut. It's nothing to them in the grand scheme of things. If every single person active on this forum deleted their portfolio from a site, we're still talking about the vast minority of microstock contributors. The majority don't read or post in the forums, don't know about many of these changes, or just don't care.

There is only one way I see anything ever changing in this business, and that's if a company comes along that radically alters the game plan. Essentially it's how microstock companies beat the traditional agencies. They came along with something totally different.

All of us have thought about it. We all know that the major players in microstock all have flaws. Some have many flaws each. From excessively high prices to poor contributor relations and pay rates, and everything in between (bad site design, confusing pricing models, poor search functions, lame advertising, no marketing plan, poor branding, excessive overhead, etc) every single noteworthy microstock company in business today is flawed in some (or many) ways.

It's not a matter of if a new company could come along and do it better. It's when. Investors are always looking for the next big thing, the next startups that could topple the big boys in their respective industries. It's only a matter of time before someone puts together the right business plan, the right team, and right structure to build a company that could put all of these companies to shame. And then when the right investor comes along to fund them, that's when things will really get shaken up.

Like a lot of folks here, I think I've got a blueprint in my head for what the ideal microstock company would look like. It really doesn't take a genius to come up with something better than what's out there. I defy anyone to look at the top 15 companies listed on the right side of this page and tell me that any one of them isn't doing at least 3 things poorly, if not completely wrong.

Most of the big companies are still rolling along on the same old business models they started with 10 years ago. It is very possible for a new company to do it all better and take that top spot. And that's where change will come from. The threat of a new company that isn't handcuffed by an out-of-date business model, isn't out of touch with the needs of the artists who support the site, and isn't fatally flawed by their own failed attempts to innovate within that broken business model. 

And I'm not talking about forcing the other companies to change to keep up with this new threat. They can't do it. They're not capable. I'm talking about a new company coming along that just outright kills those other companies. Think Facebook vs. MySpace.

Don't think it's possible? We've seen glimmers of hope from some recent new companies already. StockFresh had a lot going for them in the beginning. They're still flawed in several ways, also, but they showed that a startup could come along with a new offering that had enough appeal on the surface to get people talking. SF suffers from being built on the StockXpert model. It's an improvement over StockXpert, but still bound by constraints of the old system. Even some elements of the site design are too reminiscent of the old StockXpert site.

I bet that within 5 years, there's a new top agency in this business. It's already being talked about in entrepreneurial circles. I recently had a conversation with an investor who has an interest in a microstock startup and deep enough pockets to properly fund it. And the know-how to do it right (his wife is a photographer who knows the business). There are people out there with the right connections, the right ideas, and the right kind of bankrolls already talking about this. It's going to happen.

Remember when istock was "The designer's dirty little secret"? istock's new dirty little secret is that they're vulnerable. It's every major microstock company's dirty little secret now, although it's not so much of a secret anymore.

« Reply #114 on: August 19, 2011, 12:38 »
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Like a lot of folks here, I think I've got a blueprint in my head for what the ideal microstock company would look like. It really doesn't take a genius to come up with something better than what's out there.

Best line from The Social Network... Mark Zuckerberg tells the Winklevoss twins, "If you guys were the inventors of Facebook... you would have invented Facebook." 

No, it doesn't take a genius to come up with an idea.  It takes a genius to act on it and make it reality and make it actually work.

Lots of people around here saying they know what the problem is and how to fix it.  But nobody's doing it.  The agencies out there aren't perfect... a bunch of them are doing a bunch of things wrong.  But they did something.  You don't like what they did, and think you can do better, then do it.

helix7

« Reply #115 on: August 19, 2011, 13:23 »
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Best line from The Social Network... Mark Zuckerberg tells the Winklevoss twins, "If you guys were the inventors of Facebook... you would have invented Facebook." 

No, it doesn't take a genius to come up with an idea.  It takes a genius to act on it and make it reality and make it actually work.

Lots of people around here saying they know what the problem is and how to fix it.  But nobody's doing it.  The agencies out there aren't perfect... a bunch of them are doing a bunch of things wrong.  But they did something.  You don't like what they did, and think you can do better, then do it.

It takes money more than anything. The idea is the easy part, at least in this case.

If the current state of microstock had unfolded 3 years earlier, I would tried to start a new agency myself. Right now I'm a work-from-home dad and that's the way things are going to stay for a while. I have no interest in a new startup that would require me to go in to an office every day. I might be interested in consulting on a startup, though. If anyone wants to talk, you can reach me through my website.

« Reply #116 on: August 19, 2011, 17:00 »
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The ideal situation would be that we have a union that would represent contributors as a whole and could negotiate with the agencies or threaten them with mass pullouts which if there was a large base of people that were part would be a pretty big problem for agencies.. That would be the only way to be able to really effect a change otherwise they know there is really no resistence for them because there is no organization on this end. nothing will happen unless the majority is organised together, which happens in Macro, but I don't think that it will happen in micro because of the mass amounts of "small fish" that don't have enough of an interest in the business to want to make that kind of effort or sacrifice..

 I am personally not uploading any more to either IS or FT, and as a buyer I will not purchase from them for my designs either.. I will start to give more images to my Macro agencies.

I think tubed has basicly hit the nail on the head and reflects what i have been thinking about for quite sometime.

The odd contributor here and there that threatens to pull their portfolio from one of the many sites wont have any impact whatsoever.

1st and foremost we need unity and to be represented by a single voice because at the moment its just a fragmented mess. Once we have unity we could have more clout. This could be a type of union but more like a site to which we are registered to where we could all stay informed and voice our opinions, a typcal forum and blog would play a pivotal role but with the sole purpose for the protection of us. it could also serve to protect individual contributors who have been treated unfairly but have had no where to turn.

This "union" could also not only be used to point the finger at agencies that are taking liberties but also to commend and recommend agencies that treat contributers fairly. Above all it should have a positive impact.

In terms of funding it could be purely paypal donations and maybe some revenue through the usual adverts.

I'd like to re-iterate that we cannot do anything unless many of us are united (doesnt have to be all) and if we could all decide upon a certain course of action we could be a devasting force to make any agency take notice.

In the grand scheme of things we do have to be realistic, it may not change a lot because agencies are free to do what they want to do, we have to acknowledge this but at the same time we dont have to take it. At the very least it will show that we are united and we are watching agencies which may in turn force them to rethink certain policies. I for one would like to be a part of this movement.

Just to finish off i'd like to say that many of the ideas people on MSG have had i think are also good options such as a brand new agency that treats and pay contributors fairly. But just think how well this agency could do if it also had the backing of a large microstock union?

Basicly anything we decide to do should 1st and foremost begin with a union where we could stand together collectively, advise and promote sites that treat us fairly.

Lots of good ideas so far, keep em coming!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 17:10 by stocker2011 »


« Reply #117 on: August 19, 2011, 18:09 »
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I'd be up for joining a union, so count me in if it ever comes to fruition.

« Reply #118 on: August 19, 2011, 19:35 »
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Don't worry, it won't.

« Reply #119 on: August 19, 2011, 20:31 »
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to build  a union isn't that difficult,  but its difficult to make it big enough.

helix7

« Reply #120 on: August 19, 2011, 20:40 »
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A union has been discussed countless times in this and other forums. For many reasons, a union isn't realistic in this business and wouldn't accomplish anything.

The most significant reason being that agencies would be under no obligation to listen to a union any more than to individual contributors.

That and a union would never gain the kind of membership you'd expect. Most microstock contributors are not active in the forums, don't really care about the politics of the business, and are largely solitary in their microstock activities.

« Reply #121 on: August 19, 2011, 21:35 »
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A union has been discussed countless times in this and other forums. For many reasons, a union isn't realistic in this business and wouldn't accomplish anything.

The most significant reason being that agencies would be under no obligation to listen to a union any more than to individual contributors.

That and a union would never gain the kind of membership you'd expect. Most microstock contributors are not active in the forums, don't really care about the politics of the business, and are largely solitary in their microstock activities.

I think you've slightly missunderstood at what i was trying to put forward as an idea. I wasnt talking about a union in a traditional sense, more like a representation of a collective voice and through this we could all decide to take a certain course of action and vote whether or not to do it, we have many options as well. Like i said above:

Quote
"It may not change a lot because agencies are free to do what they want to do, we have to acknowledge this but at the same time we dont have to take it. At the very least it will show that we are united and we are watching agencies which may in turn force them to rethink certain policies.

I also completely understand that most microstock contributors are not active on the forums and dont really care about the politics, but if one member sitemails another member advertising the "union" and asks him to pass it on to one other person and so on and so on, it would go a long way. Plus put the word out on sites like microstockdiaries etc.

So in terms of getting a sizable amount of people interested i cant see it being a problem personally.

My personal opinion is that if this cannot be acheived then there simply is no way out of this, you cant sit on your butt and wait for a magical agency to appear that treats contributors fairly, you have to fight for your right and this is the best way to acheive exactly that.

Hope it comes into fruition and if it does i will be the 1st to join up. And on that note im dropping out of this discussion.

Good luck.

lagereek

« Reply #122 on: August 20, 2011, 01:13 »
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Its a misconception, thinking that any agency care too much about the contributors with massive ports. Ofcourse they care but the plain fact is we are all replaceable, thanks to the internet, etc.
Take lifestyles as an example, the top 3 or 4, IS,SS,DT,FT, contributors almost all shoot lifestyles and business,  with models and so on, gazillions of images and they all pretty much look the same,  So if one drops out?  it wont even show, wont even register.

In the old days, good photographers were pampered, looked after. Today? nobody is irreplacable. Thats the reason we have no bargaining power what so ever.

Slovenian

« Reply #123 on: August 20, 2011, 03:24 »
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Sign me up. If we don't try and just sit on our hands, we'll never know. It can only get worse by not doing anything.

ayzek

« Reply #124 on: August 20, 2011, 03:33 »
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Take lifestyles as an example, the top 3 or 4, IS,SS,DT,FT, contributors almost all shoot lifestyles and business,  with models and so on, gazillions of images and they all pretty much look the same,  So if one drops out?  it wont even show, wont even register.

Top agencies still getting more than %30 their traffic from google. And must be more than %50 new customer from search engines. if some one drops out, it will create a broken link which will effect their positon on search engines.
Cause of this they prefer not delete old not selling images against to accepting non comercial new files.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 03:42 by ayzek »


 

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