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Author Topic: If I had to start up a new microstock site  (Read 20384 times)

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« on: July 09, 2009, 06:35 »
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I'm bored with the new "clone" sites that are popping up every month, If I had to start another microstock agency, here is what I would do:

1 ) The site would have ONLY EXCLUSIVE IMAGES (not exclusive photographers, only images), so that it would be the only place to buy these images. That would drive some customers to the site, just to "quickly see what they have"
I think many of customers sticks with their chosen site because the other sites have mostly the same images. The site would have to be marketed as a "fresh alternative".

2 ) The agreement would prevent photographers to submit too similiar images (from the same shoot) to other agencies.

3 ) The photographers could pull out their images whenever they want.

4 ) Quite heavy editing regarding content, moderately easy on the technical side (noise etc.). The collection could be fairly small, no need to break any records here, because the images are unique.

5 ) Easy licenses, maybe only few sizes like (small web, medium print and max size) and one extended licence. Maybe two ranges of pricing, one "traditional" microstock and one "premium" microstock/midstock. The prices would be chosen by the image editors with a purpose of maximum revenue.

6 ) Search should have some very clever algorithm that analyzes all clicks and customer behavior like Alamy's search. Images with bad keywords and few clicks/purchases would sink to the bottom.

7 ) Easy uploading without categories or extra clicks.

8 ) A fair comission to the photographer. Maybe in the area of 40%. More than that doesn't seem to leave enough for marketing and maintaining the site.

One interesting different agency is photocase http://www.photocase.com/ but it has drawbacks:
-The images aren't exclusive
-The collection is too tightly edited, and it doesn't contain "normal" images
-search/keywords is a mess
-free downloads/sharing etc. sounds more like iStock year 2003, not serious business.

Are my ideas stupid?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 06:57 by Perry »


« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 07:02 »
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Not stupid!

But I would add:

3) When a photographer quits. the site pays them all the money due to them! If under $50.00 charge $5.00 service fee.

6) Adding keywords like nude, sexy, etc, would put them in front on a search, while a house sits in the back of the pack. Adjustments needed here.

I would add a premium price for images as they are exclusive and no subs!

Go ahead and start the site! I will sign up.

-Larry

« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 07:06 »
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I like the idea of a site with just exclusive images but is it possible?  I would find it hard to upload exclusive images to a new site that isn't likely to have any buyers.  I doubt many people would have the patience to upload exclusive images and wait a year for the site to get big enough to make it interesting to buyers.

« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 07:17 »
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Not stupid!

But I would add:

3) When a photographer quits. the site pays them all the money due to them! If under $50.00 charge $5.00 service fee.

6) Adding keywords like nude, sexy, etc, would put them in front on a search, while a house sits in the back of the pack. Adjustments needed here.

I would add a premium price for images as they are exclusive and no subs!

Some good points here. The prices could be a bit higher, but not too much. Maybe on the same level as iStock's, but with double the commission to the photographer.

I would find it hard to upload exclusive images to a new site that isn't likely to have any buyers.

Yes, that is one of the biggest problems. I might for instance try with twenty or thirty images, but not more, and no sales in couple of months I would get bored and uploaded the images for other sites. If an average contributor uploads 20 images and gets 10 of them accepted, a collection of 100,000 images would need 10,000 contributors, that's too many...

I can't remember what new site said they would pay for new uploads. How about paying for example $1 (or more if budget allows) advance for every accepted photo but then of course the images would need to be "freezed" for instance for six months, after that if the sales are not acceptable the images could be pulled from the site and sold elsewhere. I'm not sure if this would be a good route to go.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 07:24 by Perry »

« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 07:20 »
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I like the idea of a site with just exclusive images but is it possible?  I would find it hard to upload exclusive images to a new site that isn't likely to have any buyers.  I doubt many people would have the patience to upload exclusive images and wait a year for the site to get big enough to make it interesting to buyers.

Look at it from a long term view. Continue shooting as you do now, but add a shoot here and there to upload as an exclusive to the new site. In time it would pay off.
If a new site had the money to get launched in a big way, they could advance pay to outstanding photographers against future commissions.

This is a possibility and I do believe the buyers would be on it like a swarm of honey bees!

-Larry

« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2009, 07:25 »
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I think this could also be a venue for some already existing site like fotolia or dreamstime. They would just need to put the exclusive images on a separate site and market them differently.

« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2009, 07:28 »
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If a new site had the money to get launched in a big way, they could advance pay to outstanding photographers against future commissions.

Yes, a lot of money is needed already in the start. Most of the new startups are just some nerds in the basement that have coded a nice site. They often doesn't have a clue about who buys the images and what the customers want.

Now I have a feeling they don't want to go trough tons of (same) images.

« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009, 07:42 »
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I like the idea of a site with just exclusive images but is it possible?  I would find it hard to upload exclusive images to a new site that isn't likely to have any buyers.  I doubt many people would have the patience to upload exclusive images and wait a year for the site to get big enough to make it interesting to buyers.

Look at it from a long term view. Continue shooting as you do now, but add a shoot here and there to upload as an exclusive to the new site. In time it would pay off.
If a new site had the money to get launched in a big way, they could advance pay to outstanding photographers against future commissions.

This is a possibility and I do believe the buyers would be on it like a swarm of honey bees!

-Larry

albumo paid $0.10 per image after 500 images and up to 2500 for the first 100 contributors, struggled to get to 100.  pixmac paid against future earnings and still not a big success or great interest.

40% isnt considered anything special and the problem I would see with the exclusivity is that unless you are a big name with proven sales no one will be interested.  You need minumum of a few hundred thousand images straight up to get going, I dont think you'd ever reach it.  Exclusivity comes when you've proven yourself.

 

« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2009, 07:50 »
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40% isnt considered anything special and the problem I would see with the exclusivity is that unless you are a big name with proven sales no one will be interested.  You need minumum of a few hundred thousand images straight up to get going, I dont think you'd ever reach it.  Exclusivity comes when you've proven yourself.

Yes that is a problem, and it would have to be solved some way. But I still think 40% would be quite fair for a site with marketing. I don't remember seeing the "70% sites" ads in papers or sites targeted for designers. Macros can theoretically be a bit more generous because their costs (accounting, bandwidth etc.) are smaller per image sale.

« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2009, 09:14 »
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I think those points are very interesting and valuable.

As an agency owner I wouldn't agree to point 3), though - editing takes time and effort. And customers don't like it because the image they added to their lightbox suddenly disappears. I would ask contributors to leave their images at least 3 months on the site and would try to find a way to pre-warn customers that the image is going to disappear (say take 14 days after removal request).

Also, I think all your points are very contributor driven. You don't mention a lot how you would attract customers (besides the fact that you don't have all the popular images everyone else has  ;) ). So I assume your agency would fail quickly as you focus too much on the wrong side of food chain.

« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2009, 09:28 »
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I think those points are very interesting and valuable.

As an agency owner I wouldn't agree to point 3), though - editing takes time and effort. And customers don't like it because the image they added to their lightbox suddenly disappears. I would ask contributors to leave their images at least 3 months on the site and would try to find a way to pre-warn customers that the image is going to disappear (say take 14 days after removal request).

Also, I think all your points are very contributor driven. You don't mention a lot how you would attract customers (besides the fact that you don't have all the popular images everyone else has  ;) ). So I assume your agency would fail quickly as you focus too much on the wrong side of food chain.

Point 3) Once in a lightbox images cannot be removed with less than a 30 day notice to the person with the image in a lightbox.

Attracting customers comes after getting the images.

Popular images that everyone else has is the reason NOT to be like them ... everyone else has already seen it or used it.

There is two sides to a food chain. The eaters and the got eaten. You can't be both very offten!  ;D

-Larry

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2009, 09:41 »
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Perry, all applaudable ideas, which I am sure Keith of Zymmetrical and John of Cutcaster would try implementing.
Only one problem, I stop after reading 1) and 2), because I can do the same with Istock, even more now with Vetta.
Problem with a new site no matter how good the vision and intention may be, is the main draw ...the carrot: BUYERS CONNECTION.
At the flip of a coin, Fotolia, Istock, BigStock Photo, even CanStock can do better than your new site... because they already have an established buyer base.
Oh, I forgot to include  Veers Marketplace , of course.

You have one thing right for sure: we are all just about had it with new sites popping up with magical promises. Like magicians, it's all conjuring lots of beautiful things , when in reality, it's all illusion.

Finally, what about your site's name?
How about  MAGICstock ? or STOCKILLUSION ? 

good post though !

« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2009, 09:47 »
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At the flip of a coin, Fotolia, Istock, BigStock Photo, even CanStock can do better than your new site... because they already have an established buyer base.

Yes they have an established buyer base, but their problem is that they don't have anything unique to offer, just the same images that are on all the other sites.

You had some very valid points...

I'll remind that I'm NOT going to start a stock site, I'm just thinking how I would run it :)

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2009, 09:54 »
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At the flip of a coin, Fotolia, Istock, BigStock Photo, even CanStock can do better than your new site... because they already have an established buyer base.

Yes they have an established buyer base, but their problem is that they don't have anything unique to offer, just the same images that are on all the other sites.

You had some very valid points...

I'll remind that I'm NOT going to start a stock site, I'm just thinking how I would run it :)

you too. it's a good posting.
let's hope some CEO will visit and read it, take the opinions seriously, and who knows, we might find that Magical Site pop out of thin air, except it could be one of the already established new sites we know from the list on the right of this page.

If I am a betting man, I like to wish it will be either Zymmetrical or Cutcaster, because these two CEOs are the most communicative and proactive here in this forum. Unlike some egoists from the Big 6 who just can't take it whenever someone says something he does not like. LOL...

It will be wonderful if either one (Keith, John) succeeds. I will be the first to celebrate for them!

« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2009, 09:55 »
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It still would be just another site, no images and no customers!

How can we find a new buyer base, a better plan is to forget a new agency, get together and talk to Google, they have the biggest search engine in the world, one that could connect Artists directly With millions of potential Customes, but Google do not index the key attributes we need for such a service.

So get together with google and standardize and setup metadata templates with some international price bands, add some other attributes like Licence Type, Editorial, Commercial, Model Released, Property Released etc:, into a new section of metadata.

Agree a way to upload your images to the web and pay a small fee to Google per asset, Google then send the bots to collect the assets metadata, Google add more search options onto Google images, or create a commercial images page where buyers can filter by attributes and contact you via your own website for a direct sale based on the filters they applied in the search, this could be automated by software as well.

Hands up who needs a new microstock site?

David

Squat

  • If you think you know, you know squat
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2009, 10:05 »
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I like this discussion. I just finished watching a whole slew of movies (old ones, as I don't watch TV , don't own one, only DVD player via my computer), and there is one scene, can't remember which movie, where the protaganist asks, "How can I trust you to do what I want?" The answer was , "It has nothing to do with trust, mutual interest is the only bond here!" (I think I saw someone else said the same thing, but in a different way. Maybe they watched the same movie...).

Anyway, the point is , this sums it up for the success of any  relationship, not just business, and even more here in micro stock.

At this moment it seems absence of mutual interest is growing. I like to see the sites find and re-establish this mutual interest. Without that, there is really no one anyone with common sense will be moved to accept exclusiveness, or even be faithful to one site, no matter how many sales you get.

I truly feel getting the consensus of a topic like what Perry has here, would be a good first step towards achieving that. But which of the big wigs will be interested in reading what we say here?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 10:10 by tan510jomast »

charlesknox

  • www.charlesknoxphoto.com
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2009, 10:32 »
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Perry i would love that i think its an awesome idea!


michealo

« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2009, 10:50 »
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I think there something that you have overlooked and that is to gain marketshare you need to have lower prices and better quality.

And to attract contributers you need to pay higher commissions at the very least (if not lower submission standards)

Unless you have a lot of cash to burn through its not go be a success.

You could look at offering contributers (and purchasers) a share of the business, so that the participate in your success)


« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2009, 11:14 »
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I think there something that you have overlooked and that is to gain marketshare you need to have lower prices and better quality.

And to attract contributers you need to pay higher commissions at the very least (if not lower submission standards)

Unless you have a lot of cash to burn through its not go be a success.

You could look at offering contributers (and purchasers) a share of the business, so that the participate in your success)




FREE and LOWER prices are killing the earnings potential for all of us right now! Subs of full size images at .25 cents!!!!!
Instead: Sell the highest quality at or slightly above the other sites prices, for run of the mill, me too images.

Some buyers will pay the price for quality and exclusive originals. I'd have it where a buyer could also have the image for a year before being sold to anyone else. More money of course.

I think many good ideas are being expressed on this thread. Lets hope someone (ceo any site) picks up some ideas.
-Larry
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 11:18 by Lcjtripod »

Squat

  • If you think you know, you know squat
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2009, 11:23 »
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Larry, I noticed it was you who said some CEOs do read what we write in this forum. eg. BigStock just made an improvement wth their new search model.
So maybe voicing our opinions like Perry's article here isn't such a silly idea.

Fingers crossed.

« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2009, 11:25 »
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Larry, I noticed it was you who said some CEOs do read what we write in this forum. eg. BigStock just made an improvement wth their new search model.
So maybe voicing our opinions like Perry's article here isn't such a silly idea.

Fingers crossed.

Amen! eh?

« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2009, 15:08 »
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Here are my personal 12 steps to a better agency. I know a few of these items would be unpopular with the masses of microstock contributors but IMO they would be good for the buyer.

1. It would not be a crowd sourcing site. It would be by invite only and those invited would be the individuals who have proven that they know and understand production photography and can concept and create true stock images, not just happy snapshots that might find a handful of sales per year but images that are truly commercial stock. Yes it would be an elite collection for professional content producers.  Crowdsourcing agencies fill a market niche and there are already more then enough of these agencies out there but I have yet to see a true professional microstock site. In short "YES" it would be an elite agency for elite content providers and it would attract elite clients and as such would be able to pay elite commissions (by current Microstock / Midstock Standards)

2. It would have an approved camera list and that list would not include point and shoots, not even the best of them. I know that there are P&S cameras out there capable of creating useful stock but this would not be the place for that stock.

3. It would be an agency that understands what it means to be an agent. It would treat its contributors like the important backbone to the business that they really are. It would be an agency that understands that the Agent Works for the Content Producer not the other way around.

4. It would offer both RF and midstock priced RM collections. RM Collections would have to be exclusive to the agency and similars from same shoot would not be allowed on other agencies. RM submissions would have to stay with the agency for a minimum of 24 months. RF submissions could be removed at any time.

5. It would offer subscription sales for web res - web use images only. All print usage would be on a per image license

6. There would be no RF Extended license. Extended rights fall into the territory of RM and would be priced and licensed accordingly.

7. Key wording would be done by agency staff not by content creators. This service would come at a cost of a 3% lower commission across the board. This would not be negotiable as it is the only way to truly prevent the keyword spam issues.

8. It would offer a clean intuitive GUI for both buyers and Content providers.

9. Content providers would FTP images and the submission process would end there for the content provider. There would be no instant personal gratification in the submission process. Images would be reviewed and key worded by agency staff in a timely manner (7-21 days)

10. A logical model release management tool would be provided that would allow content providers to upload one copy of MR and then apply it to every image of that model in bulk by allowing them to assign a searchable ID# to model and link it to the release. Model releases would be submitted with a head shot of model attached and then would be available to a top level agency staff member only. Releases and models private information would not be available to image reviewers.

11. There would be no image acceptance rejection appeal process. The agency would either choose to represent an image or they would not, simple, cut and dried.

12. There would be a solid and professional support staff that would communicate openly with content creators and content creators would have a personal agent within the agency that they would work with on all issues that require communication with the agency. There would be no contributor forums, this would be a business not a community. If there was a support issue that issue would be taken up with the content providers agent who would then escalate action up the ladder as required.




« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2009, 15:26 »
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^^^ That's all very well thought out Bobby ... except the customer bit. You're entirely focussed on the contributors and the agency although it's actually the customers who pay all the money and who will ultimately decide whether 'the perfect agency' lives or dies. It has to be perfect for them too.

Apart from the benefit of elite content only and no keyword spamming (ok, that's pretty significant) how would you differentiate/price your product in an over-crowded marketplace?

« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2009, 17:29 »
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sound good Bobby, in theory though if it is invite only to established professionals then they should be able to keyword without spamming :)

« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2009, 18:01 »
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I like the idea of a site with just exclusive images but is it possible?  I would find it hard to upload exclusive images to a new site that isn't likely to have any buyers.  I doubt many people would have the patience to upload exclusive images and wait a year for the site to get big enough to make it interesting to buyers.

This would be my issue to.  Especially if I couldn't upload any others from the same shoot elsewhere.  That would effectively mean that shoot was dead in the water until/unless the site managed to get a lot of business.

I expect each shoot to bring in several k or better over it's lifetime.  Hard to do that on one unestablished site.  Too much of a gamble for me.

« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2009, 18:04 »
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I think this could also be a venue for some already existing site like fotolia or dreamstime. They would just need to put the exclusive images on a separate site and market them differently.

This does sound promising.  Either that, or start a premium exclusive collection in the same site and charge more for it.   That idea would be pretty cool ;D

« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2009, 00:32 »
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^^^ That's all very well thought out Bobby ... except the customer bit. You're entirely focused on the contributors and the agency although it's actually the customers who pay all the money and who will ultimately decide whether 'the perfect agency' lives or dies. It has to be perfect for them too.

Apart from the benefit of elite content only and no keyword spamming (OK, that's pretty significant) how would you differentiate/price your product in an over-crowded marketplace?

Well I think the content will be the key deciding factor. Not having to wade through all the happy snaps from Cousin Joey's visit to the states is a huge benefit. How does Neiman Marcus or Sharper Image differentiate themselves. They do it by presenting a well "Sharper Image" only in this case the content (product) would presumably actually be of a higher average quality and more focused then the other Micro and Midstock Agencies.

And of course the accurately indexed catalog of quality images is going to draw all those buyers who tried microstock but gave up because they had tro spend too much time searching for what they wanted and then when they did find it they found that it was only 4 mexapixels in resolution and they needed an image that would support large format printing as well as web use. By having the approved camera list the agency would be able to ensure the buyer that all images were available in High Resolution formats.





« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2009, 00:43 »
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sound good Bobby, in theory though if it is invite only to established professionals then they should be able to keyword without spamming :)

Yes they should but as contributors we have no real clue as to how the search algoirhythms are programed so we can only guess at how to best optimize the keywording. However the agency would know exactly how to optimize this data to their search engine.

Also many working pros, myself included currently delegate mundane not creative tasks such as captions and lkeywords to interns or entry level employees. While I may be able to tag an image today without spamming it took a considerable amount of time, practice and application of the skills before I could competently keyword. It is one of the most important pieces of the whole puzzle and the one that creatives tend to want to spend the least amount of time and energy on. Also by bringing all keywording in house under a staff that has the same training and guidelines you create continuity in the data. A further benefit is that many of todays pro contributors speak a language other then English  so this would alleviate the issues of mastery of the English language for them as well.

« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2009, 01:34 »
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Here are my personal 12 steps to a better agency. I know a few of these items would be unpopular with the masses of microstock contributors but IMO they would be good for the buyer.

1. It would not be a crowd sourcing site. It would be by invite only and those invited would be the individuals who have proven that they know and understand production photography and can concept and create true stock images, not just happy snapshots that might find a handful of sales per year but images that are truly commercial stock. Yes it would be an elite collection for professional content producers.  Crowdsourcing agencies fill a market niche and there are already more then enough of these agencies out there but I have yet to see a true professional microstock site. In short "YES" it would be an elite agency for elite content providers and it would attract elite clients and as such would be able to pay elite commissions (by current Microstock / Midstock Standards)

2. It would have an approved camera list and that list would not include point and shoots, not even the best of them. I know that there are P&S cameras out there capable of creating useful stock but this would not be the place for that stock.

3. It would be an agency that understands what it means to be an agent. It would treat its contributors like the important backbone to the business that they really are. It would be an agency that understands that the Agent Works for the Content Producer not the other way around.

4. It would offer both RF and midstock priced RM collections. RM Collections would have to be exclusive to the agency and similars from same shoot would not be allowed on other agencies. RM submissions would have to stay with the agency for a minimum of 24 months. RF submissions could be removed at any time.

5. It would offer subscription sales for web res - web use images only. All print usage would be on a per image license

6. There would be no RF Extended license. Extended rights fall into the territory of RM and would be priced and licensed accordingly.

7. Key wording would be done by agency staff not by content creators. This service would come at a cost of a 3% lower commission across the board. This would not be negotiable as it is the only way to truly prevent the keyword spam issues.

8. It would offer a clean intuitive GUI for both buyers and Content providers.

9. Content providers would FTP images and the submission process would end there for the content provider. There would be no instant personal gratification in the submission process. Images would be reviewed and key worded by agency staff in a timely manner (7-21 days)

10. A logical model release management tool would be provided that would allow content providers to upload one copy of MR and then apply it to every image of that model in bulk by allowing them to assign a searchable ID# to model and link it to the release. Model releases would be submitted with a head shot of model attached and then would be available to a top level agency staff member only. Releases and models private information would not be available to image reviewers.

11. There would be no image acceptance rejection appeal process. The agency would either choose to represent an image or they would not, simple, cut and dried.

12. There would be a solid and professional support staff that would communicate openly with content creators and content creators would have a personal agent within the agency that they would work with on all issues that require communication with the agency. There would be no contributor forums, this would be a business not a community. If there was a support issue that issue would be taken up with the content providers agent who would then escalate action up the ladder as required.


This is the best suggestion for a new stock agency I have heard so far! (If I would be invited of course ;) ) I would love to see something like this take off.
The only thing I do not like is point 6. I understand the thing with RM, but you hereby limit buyers by not offering them to use extended lienses for RF images.

« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2009, 02:40 »
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Oh I would not prevent them from being able to license an RF image for extended uses. I would simply make them purchase an RM license and pay more appropriate fees for the extended rights. The right to reproduce and sell images for $50 or so is ludicrous. To be able to do it for that minimal fee and still have RF rights to do it over and over, naw that is a bad practice that we should have never allowed.

Here are my personal 12 steps to a better agency. I know a few of these items would be unpopular with the masses of microstock contributors but IMO they would be good for the buyer.

1. It would not be a crowd sourcing site. It would be by invite only and those invited would be the individuals who have proven that they know and understand production photography and can concept and create true stock images, not just happy snapshots that might find a handful of sales per year but images that are truly commercial stock. Yes it would be an elite collection for professional content producers.  Crowdsourcing agencies fill a market niche and there are already more then enough of these agencies out there but I have yet to see a true professional microstock site. In short "YES" it would be an elite agency for elite content providers and it would attract elite clients and as such would be able to pay elite commissions (by current Microstock / Midstock Standards)

2. It would have an approved camera list and that list would not include point and shoots, not even the best of them. I know that there are P&S cameras out there capable of creating useful stock but this would not be the place for that stock.

3. It would be an agency that understands what it means to be an agent. It would treat its contributors like the important backbone to the business that they really are. It would be an agency that understands that the Agent Works for the Content Producer not the other way around.

4. It would offer both RF and midstock priced RM collections. RM Collections would have to be exclusive to the agency and similars from same shoot would not be allowed on other agencies. RM submissions would have to stay with the agency for a minimum of 24 months. RF submissions could be removed at any time.

5. It would offer subscription sales for web res - web use images only. All print usage would be on a per image license

6. There would be no RF Extended license. Extended rights fall into the territory of RM and would be priced and licensed accordingly.

7. Key wording would be done by agency staff not by content creators. This service would come at a cost of a 3% lower commission across the board. This would not be negotiable as it is the only way to truly prevent the keyword spam issues.

8. It would offer a clean intuitive GUI for both buyers and Content providers.

9. Content providers would FTP images and the submission process would end there for the content provider. There would be no instant personal gratification in the submission process. Images would be reviewed and key worded by agency staff in a timely manner (7-21 days)

10. A logical model release management tool would be provided that would allow content providers to upload one copy of MR and then apply it to every image of that model in bulk by allowing them to assign a searchable ID# to model and link it to the release. Model releases would be submitted with a head shot of model attached and then would be available to a top level agency staff member only. Releases and models private information would not be available to image reviewers.

11. There would be no image acceptance rejection appeal process. The agency would either choose to represent an image or they would not, simple, cut and dried.

12. There would be a solid and professional support staff that would communicate openly with content creators and content creators would have a personal agent within the agency that they would work with on all issues that require communication with the agency. There would be no contributor forums, this would be a business not a community. If there was a support issue that issue would be taken up with the content providers agent who would then escalate action up the ladder as required.


This is the best suggestion for a new stock agency I have heard so far! (If I would be invited of course ;) ) I would love to see something like this take off.
The only thing I do not like is point 6. I understand the thing with RM, but you hereby limit buyers by not offering them to use extended lienses for RF images.

« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2009, 02:44 »
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Oh I would not prevent them from being able to license an RF image for extended uses. I would simply make them purchase an RM license and pay more appropriate fees for the extended rights. The right to reproduce and sell images for $50 or so is ludicrous. To be able to do it for that minimal fee and still have RF rights to do it over and over, naw that is a bad practice that we should have never allowed.

Ok that makes sense. Now someone please start this agency  :)

« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2009, 03:28 »
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Oh I would not prevent them from being able to license an RF image for extended uses. I would simply make them purchase an RM license and pay more appropriate fees for the extended rights. The right to reproduce and sell images for $50 or so is ludicrous. To be able to do it for that minimal fee and still have RF rights to do it over and over, naw that is a bad practice that we should have never allowed.

Ok that makes sense. Now someone please start this agency  :)
Godot is on the way...
Seriously, why we cannot start it ? Many good agency, like Magnum,  were created by photographers for photographers.

michealo

« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2009, 08:53 »
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Godot is on the way...
Seriously, why we cannot start it ? Many good agency, like Magnum,  were created by photographers for photographers.
[/quote]

Coz you are a bunch of creatives who can't agree what day of the week it is much less run a business together ....

« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2009, 09:07 »
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I like this idea.  Sure there are many pitfalls to overcome--what new business doesn't have that?  As for the "too many sites can do it now and better" kinds of comments--the same can be said for any business, i.e. restaurants, clothing stores, etc.  The trick is to find and establish a niche and market the niche to the hilt.  You may have to start small with a group of photographers willing to give it a chance and shoot for the long haul.  You would have to make sure you have enough capital to make it work.

As for who would be willing to read our thoughts and comments--John Griffin at Cutcaster comes to mind.  He is very open to ideas, suggestions, etc.

Marburg

I like this discussion. I just finished watching a whole slew of movies (old ones, as I don't watch TV , don't own one, only DVD player via my computer), and there is one scene, can't remember which movie, where the protaganist asks, "How can I trust you to do what I want?" The answer was , "It has nothing to do with trust, mutual interest is the only bond here!" (I think I saw someone else said the same thing, but in a different way. Maybe they watched the same movie...).

Anyway, the point is , this sums it up for the success of any  relationship, not just business, and even more here in micro stock.

At this moment it seems absence of mutual interest is growing. I like to see the sites find and re-establish this mutual interest. Without that, there is really no one anyone with common sense will be moved to accept exclusiveness, or even be faithful to one site, no matter how many sales you get.

I truly feel getting the consensus of a topic like what Perry has here, would be a good first step towards achieving that. But which of the big wigs will be interested in reading what we say here?


« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2009, 09:21 »
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Another thought:

Why not market to publishing houses with a contract that takes into consideration Print Runs and Seat Restrictions?  A number of publishing houses do not use stock photos because the licensing contracts do not take into consideration Print Runs and Seat Restrictions.  You could even charge a slightly higher price.

Although, I'm not so sure about limiting photos to a specified list of cameras.  New cameras come out every year or two and keeping up with that list would be daunting.  Also, there are some point and shoots on the market whose quality is equal to a low end to mid point SLR.  I have one such camera and a lot of my sales came from the photos produced using it.  But, then again--I'm fairly new to this.

Marburg

« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2009, 12:05 »
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Another thought:

Why not market to publishing houses with a contract that takes into consideration Print Runs and Seat Restrictions?  A number of publishing houses do not use stock photos because the licensing contracts do not take into consideration Print Runs and Seat Restrictions.  You could even charge a slightly higher price.

Although, I'm not so sure about limiting photos to a specified list of cameras.  New cameras come out every year or two and keeping up with that list would be daunting.  Also, there are some point and shoots on the market whose quality is equal to a low end to mid point SLR.  I have one such camera and a lot of my sales came from the photos produced using it.  But, then again--I'm fairly new to this.

Marburg

Like I said, not everything would be popular with the masses and this is one of the primary objections I would expect but as it would be an invite only agency dealing with pros it would be expected that they would be shooting pro gear. You can trust that the Rebels, Nikon D50, D70 grade of cameras would not be on the list. Keeping up with the list would be easy as it would only be updating the new crop of high end Prosumer and Pro DSLR and above cameras.

As I said there are plenty of existing outlets for point and shoot imagery. An agency such as this would be focusing their marketing on a different grade of client, ones who would need to be able to incorporate images in ad campaigns that would range from Web to Billboard and other forms of large format printing. Images from a 10 MP point and shoot sensor simply do not contain the pixel quality needed for these types of end use. That is not to say there are not companies out there that are doing it anywise but a quality company looking for top end imagery is not looking for images from the Canon G10. In reality it is as much an image thing as it is a quality thing.

zymmetricaldotcom

« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2009, 15:48 »
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Ok here is my stab at asking the hard questions in response to these points. It doesn't mean I disagree/agree with the ideas proposed at all, just that it's good to ask whatever question lurks in the back of one's mind before declaring a business model could work. It's always a nice exercise to think about this stuff:

1 ) The site would have ONLY EXCLUSIVE IMAGES (not exclusive photographers, only images), so that it would be the only place to buy these images. That would drive some customers to the site, just to "quickly see what they have"
I think many of customers sticks with their chosen site because the other sites have mostly the same images. The site would have to be marketed as a "fresh alternative".


Volume always trumps the need for exclusivity. A dentist that wants a pic of a 'boy playing hockey' for his homepage in Ohio, could literally not care less that the image is exclusive. The odds of the other dentist in town using the same image are astronomically low. "The rest of the universe" is not even a factor. How can a stock agency justify the overhead involved in pursuing an image exclusivity program when clearly the world is not such a small place after all?

2 ) The agreement would prevent photographers to submit too similiar images (from the same shoot) to other agencies.


Grey area. What if photographers wife models for all kinds of shoots, various concepts. How is 'too similar' literally defined? What kind of amazing support team can delicately use the business time to explain the nuances of what is 'too similar' to submitters, without annoying them to the point of going on to next agency?

3 ) The photographers could pull out their images whenever they want.


No questions here. Your content, your call. Pull that content as fast as technically possible, treat the person with respect, and hope they come back one day.

4 ) Quite heavy editing regarding content, moderately easy on the technical side (noise etc.). The collection could be fairly small, no need to break any records here, because the images are unique.


As the wise GwB said:   "Fool me once, shame on shame on you. Fool me you can't get fooled again.". You really want to hope Time magazine excuses technical flaws? You work hard to gain your brand the respect of senior art directors, then you throw them a substandard image when they are on a deadline?   Sound's like a phiasco.

5 ) Easy licenses, maybe only few sizes like (small web, medium print and max size) and one extended licence. Maybe two ranges of pricing, one "traditional" microstock and one "premium" microstock/midstock. The prices would be chosen by the image editors with a purpose of maximum revenue.


Agreed. Too many options and I feel like i'm at a car dealership. You don't know what all that crap is (automatic cupholders?!), but you just know you're gonna be spending more money anyhow.

6 ) Search should have some very clever algorithm that analyzes all clicks and customer behavior like Alamy's search. Images with bad keywords and few clicks/purchases would sink to the bottom.


See: Google vs. Bing. 100 of the world's best Phd's and you will still be only warming up. Not that I don't feel up to it (usually around 9:50 AM, when the caffeine hits the junkie), but, the truth is the best search will win - no matter if the uploading process feels like you are participating in http://www.toughguy.co.uk/, submitters will still submit as long as they get adequate sales in return.

7 ) Easy uploading without categories or extra clicks.


Always trying to improve. At Zymmetrical we still present categories as an option, in case the submitter knows something we don't - for example, a shot of a building in Madrid, no matter how worldly our reviewers our, chances are they may not know it's a Spanish building- so we give you the opportunity to improve the image marketability by adding the category "Places : Urban : European Cities".  A small detail perhaps, but when you consider the structure of the web, a big bonus to searchability.

8 ) A fair comission to the photographer. Maybe in the area of 40%. More than that doesn't seem to leave enough for marketing and maintaining the site.


I know a crack accountant and a husband/wife pair of economics professors at a major university who would literally talk all week about why such a statement is too simplistic, and they would be absolutely right to do so: business is not a lemonade stand these days.  If you are not basing these calculations on every single factor down to how much is spent on pencils and paper each month, you can not possibly be in a realistic financial zone.  Walmart got away with being credited with such "amazing" innovations as switching from paper stock sheets to earphones and touchscreens, because at the scale they operate at, even those simple tweaks result in millions of savings each year.  If a stock agency is basing it's viability on a commission number pulled from a hat then I wish them a short and adventurous life.


« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 16:03 by zymmetrical »


« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2009, 16:18 »
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I think for us contributors it would be good if sites limited the number of contributors -  but that is unlikely to happen as agencies are always looking out for new fresh material.
You see it's always beneficial to take on new people, even if they only uploaded a few images and never returned again.
Keeping thousands of artists doesn't seem to cost them any extra -that's the way it seems anyway!

I think a fairer way would be along the lines of having contributors to earn their " Tour Card" you could say, by how they perform over a year to retain their membership. Something like that - but will you ever see?

zymmetricaldotcom

« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2009, 17:00 »
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« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 17:02 by zymmetrical »

« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2009, 18:21 »
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Like I said, not everything would be popular with the masses and this is one of the primary objections I would expect but as it would be an invite only agency dealing with pros it would be expected that they would be shooting pro gear. You can trust that the Rebels, Nikon D50, D70 grade of cameras would not be on the list. Keeping up with the list would be easy as it would only be updating the new crop of high end Prosumer and Pro DSLR and above cameras.

As I said there are plenty of existing outlets for point and shoot imagery. An agency such as this would be focusing their marketing on a different grade of client, ones who would need to be able to incorporate images in ad campaigns that would range from Web to Billboard and other forms of large format printing. Images from a 10 MP point and shoot sensor simply do not contain the pixel quality needed for these types of end use.

There are a few dangerous assumptions in this statement: 1 - pros always shoot with 3000$+ gear, 2 - the correlation with type (price) of gear and snapshot-ness [P&S cams always make snapshots, Progear always makes superior stock] - 3 customers mostly buy for billboards and large print.

When I quickly glance at my latest Dreamstime sales, the only maximum sizes are sold in subscription. I need 10,000 of those sales to finance a Canon D5-MKII. Maximum is almost never sold in PPD: those are medium, small, x-small. At that reduction, it doesn't matter at all whether the picture is made by a Hasselblad or a D90.

Billboard and large print is a tiny part of the market. To accommodate those customers, one could create a separate collection within the agency composed of top photographers with top gear. But the agency will miss the bulk of income if they neglect the vast majority that only needs web size or sidebars. Related to this: no agency should allow maximum size to be sold in subscription.

« Reply #40 on: July 10, 2009, 18:48 »
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3 ) The photographers could pull out their images whenever they want.
No questions here. Your content, your call. Pull that content as fast as technically possible, treat the person with respect, and hope they come back one day.

Just picking this point out. I never understood why anybody would want to delete an image from an agency. Review time and other resources have been spent on it. The only valid reason is going exclusive on one of the other sites, or an exclusive buyout of an image at Dreamstime for instance. For the rest, a relation with an agency is a long-term commitment from both sides, and only if the agency screws up big time, one can consider to bail out. High payout limits vs low sales can be a reason, but not always. If the people behind the site are nice they deserve a chance to work with the not yet paid out capital.

« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2009, 19:08 »
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Like I said, not everything would be popular with the masses and this is one of the primary objections I would expect but as it would be an invite only agency dealing with pros it would be expected that they would be shooting pro gear. You can trust that the Rebels, Nikon D50, D70 grade of cameras would not be on the list. Keeping up with the list would be easy as it would only be updating the new crop of high end Prosumer and Pro DSLR and above cameras.

As I said there are plenty of existing outlets for point and shoot imagery. An agency such as this would be focusing their marketing on a different grade of client, ones who would need to be able to incorporate images in ad campaigns that would range from Web to Billboard and other forms of large format printing. Images from a 10 MP point and shoot sensor simply do not contain the pixel quality needed for these types of end use.

There are a few dangerous assumptions in this statement: 1 - pros always shoot with 3000$+ gear, 2 - the correlation with type (price) of gear and snapshot-ness [P&S cams always make snapshots, Progear always makes superior stock] - 3 customers mostly buy for billboards and large print.

When I quickly glance at my latest Dreamstime sales, the only maximum sizes are sold in subscription. I need 10,000 of those sales to finance a Canon D5-MKII. Maximum is almost never sold in PPD: those are medium, small, x-small. At that reduction, it doesn't matter at all whether the picture is made by a Hasselblad or a D90.

Billboard and large print is a tiny part of the market. To accommodate those customers, one could create a separate collection within the agency composed of top photographers with top gear. But the agency will miss the bulk of income if they neglect the vast majority that only needs web size or sidebars. Related to this: no agency should allow maximum size to be sold in subscription.

I am not sure if you read all 12 points of the agency or are only responding to the quoted post but.

As the agency would be invite only the agency would be well aware of the equipment that the pros it invites use and the pros would be well aware of the resolution requirements of the agency going in so there really would be no conflict. Again yes this would be a somewhat elite agency, not everyone can play in the sandbox. This agency would not care that it is missing Dreamstimes D70 sales.

This would not be another Istock, Shutterstock or Dreamstime. It would not be an agency targeting the same buyers you are already doing business with at the existing agencies. What is the point in creating a new agency that can only succeed by cannibalizing market share from the existing Microstock agencies? What would the contributor gain if he gained a sale here at the expense of a sale at Dreamstime? This agency does not want to earn its market share by taking it from DT, FT, IS or any of the other existing Micros, this is an agency that wants to open new markets and it could and would if someone would just create it.

This agency would look to exploit the market that exists among medium to large companies that refuse to use current microstock because of the obvious shortcomings of existing Micorstock collections. This agency does not want to sell to the neighborhood dentist who needs an image for his website home page. This agency want to sell to the Dental group who needs an image or series of images that can be used in their Web, Print, Television, Bus Shelter Posters and Billboard advertising campaign. This agency is looking to sell image licenses to designers at advertising agencies that are building full fledged ad campaigns where the images will be used in multiple levels of the campaign not just a single point of publication. These are the buyers who need the higher quality, they are the clients who will not tolerate the broken search engines of the keyword spammed Microstock agencies, these are the buyers who demand the ability to license imagery that not every company in the world will have access to. These are the clients that will capitalize on Midstock licensing. Willing to pay a little more, willing to negotiate use with photo agents before the license is issued.

If you think Microstock is currently serving the whole of the market you are mistaken, there is another whole level of buyer out there that sits between Microstock and Traditional Rights Managed Stock. A level of business that needs millions of images per month and can't bring themselves to use microstock and maybe can or can not afford traditional RM stock but would prefer to pay prices that fall reasonably in the middle.

« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2009, 19:36 »
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It's good to see a friendly thought provoking discussion with lots of brainstorming and ideas shared in a respectful way. I love the quote about mutual interest--that is the key--success comes when something is "win-win". I am part of an established 3D (expanded into 2D) resource web site business. I have been reading this forum to become more familiar with the microstock industry. We are trying to make changes in how we handle stock images and you all have some good ideas that might be able to help us improve more quickly. Hopefully some of you will join us now or later, but that's not my reason for posting.

From the business standpoint I see a problem with some of the suggestions. They are nice dreams but to put them into practice would mean someone is going to be doing a lot of work for free which usually wont last long. Competition is not a bad thing though I am not sure Mr. Sears and Mr. Penney would agree. If the new clones dont offer what the market demands, they wont be around very long but you never know when one of them might be the next Google! Low prices and great products are good but excellent customer service (whether the "customer" is the buyer or the seller) is key. I dont think that many buyers are looking for totally unique productsthey want quality products, good value and good service.

For anyone who says "great idea, start that site and I will put my photos on it", remember that someone has to run a business and that's a big job. Even though Perrykudos to him for sharing his dreamssays he isnt planning to start that dream business, theres always someone who thinks it would be nice to have their own agency and doesnt realize the time and money involved. Not only setting up the business entity and web site but the day to day operations and ongoing costs for merchant accounts, business banking fees, data servers, hardware, etc. Even suggesting that photos be exclusive on one site means someone has to police it. A person with good photography skills may not have the time and/or skill set to make a go of running a business in addition to taking photos.

Puravida is right about the buyer connectionthe double edged sword: is it more important to work on increasing artists/photos or buyers? Both, of course! But in any business it takes time to build up a customer base as well as merchandise. Theres no point in having the ultimate collection of exclusive images if no one comes into the store to look at them. And if buyers flock in but we dont have the merchandise to meet their needs, were sunk.

We continue to grow our business by paying an above average royalty, offering fast and personal customer service and working every day to steadily increase both buyers and sellers. Weve done it with 3D over the past 14 years. During that time our business changed and evolved to meet the needs of our artists and buyers. We dont make money unless our artists make money but we still work every day to improve and upgrade our web site and our business. We are not alone in valuing a mutually beneficial experience--others also value what we value.

Thanks for sharing your dreams and ideas. And please continue to share concrete suggestions and things you want to see in that ideal stock photo agency!

« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2009, 20:36 »
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It's good to see a friendly thought provoking discussion with lots of brainstorming and ideas shared in a respectful way. I love the quote about mutual interest--that is the key--success comes when something is "win-win". I am part of an established 3D (expanded into 2D) resource web site business. I have been reading this forum to become more familiar with the microstock industry. We are trying to make changes in how we handle stock images and you all have some good ideas that might be able to help us improve more quickly. Hopefully some of you will join us now or later, but that's not my reason for posting.

From the business standpoint I see a problem with some of the suggestions. They are nice dreams but to put them into practice would mean someone is going to be doing a lot of work for free which usually wont last long. Competition is not a bad thing though I am not sure Mr. Sears and Mr. Penney would agree. If the new clones dont offer what the market demands, they wont be around very long but you never know when one of them might be the next Google! Low prices and great products are good but excellent customer service (whether the "customer" is the buyer or the seller) is key. I dont think that many buyers are looking for totally unique productsthey want quality products, good value and good service.

For anyone who says "great idea, start that site and I will put my photos on it", remember that someone has to run a business and that's a big job. Even though Perrykudos to him for sharing his dreamssays he isnt planning to start that dream business, theres always someone who thinks it would be nice to have their own agency and doesnt realize the time and money involved. Not only setting up the business entity and web site but the day to day operations and ongoing costs for merchant accounts, business banking fees, data servers, hardware, etc. Even suggesting that photos be exclusive on one site means someone has to police it. A person with good photography skills may not have the time and/or skill set to make a go of running a business in addition to taking photos.

Puravida is right about the buyer connectionthe double edged sword: is it more important to work on increasing artists/photos or buyers? Both, of course! But in any business it takes time to build up a customer base as well as merchandise. Theres no point in having the ultimate collection of exclusive images if no one comes into the store to look at them. And if buyers flock in but we dont have the merchandise to meet their needs, were sunk.

We continue to grow our business by paying an above average royalty, offering fast and personal customer service and working every day to steadily increase both buyers and sellers. Weve done it with 3D over the past 14 years. During that time our business changed and evolved to meet the needs of our artists and buyers. We dont make money unless our artists make money but we still work every day to improve and upgrade our web site and our business. We are not alone in valuing a mutually beneficial experience--others also value what we value.

Thanks for sharing your dreams and ideas. And please continue to share concrete suggestions and things you want to see in that ideal stock photo agency!


Bravissimo LisaAnderson , such a well written and I feel very objective yet sincere roundup of all that ensued aforementioned. I think Perry did a wonderful job as MC for this brainstorming , even if he said he was not planning to start a new agency.
 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 20:55 by Perseus »

« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2009, 21:41 »
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Wow, just when I thought I found a new site that no one knew about!  ;D

I went through the trouble starting a new thread for photocase and after posting it saw that you already discussed it here!

What are the chances we noticed photocase and started a thread about it almost at the same time!

« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2009, 22:04 »
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For anyone who says "great idea, start that site and I will put my photos on it", remember that someone has to run a business and that's a big job. Even though Perrykudos to him for sharing his dreamssays he isnt planning to start that dream business, theres always someone who thinks it would be nice to have their own agency and doesnt realize the time and money involved. Not only setting up the business entity and web site but the day to day operations and ongoing costs for merchant accounts, business banking fees, data servers, hardware, etc. Even suggesting that photos be exclusive on one site means someone has to police it. A person with good photography skills may not have the time and/or skill set to make a go of running a business in addition to taking photos.
Micro investment site.
Each photographer put 500-20000$, we hire a professional team. We undercut prices first 18 months. All earnings are reinvest in the site first year.
Initial investors (us) will be owners of this business. No more changes "a la" FT or DT. We decide.

« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2009, 00:40 »
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Micro investment site.
Each photographer put 500-20000$, we hire a professional team. We undercut prices first 18 months. All earnings are reinvest in the site first year.
Initial investors (us) will be owners of this business. No more changes "a la" FT or DT. We decide.

Reality check?
There are many struggling stock imaging websites, a guess at a new startup's costs for a viable quality business, setting up the business and contracts, initial marketing, infrustructure (cloud), website, development and proof of concept up to $500.000, then look at the many businesses that have failed, DRR charged contributors and still spent 15 million trying to break into the stock imaging 'Marketplace', PhotoShelter 'Collection' had a good product and a few million venture capital and failed, talk is in millions not thousands to launch and sustain a new business, no matter how you 'pack it' the model is just another hash of the existing model looking for a slice of the same pie.

On the other hand if several Photographers wanted a 'low risk' way of getting together to setup a boutiqe agency with their own domain name, a few thousand high quality assets, one which they can run themselves as peers, set thier own RM prices and licences and SEO, with their own organic marketing and growth plan over 3 - 5 years, then there is the Photoshelter 'Archive' Virtual Agency option, if it grows there is an option to invest in your own software, from investment or revenue and drop Photoshelter later, but you still have to get to the Customers in.

How can you get the high quality buyers to look at your offering, the quality advertising departments will commission or go to the top agencies for the assets, costs would not be a factor, and they trust the people they already work with, how do you work yourself in, Buyers of Macrostock images do know about Microstock, people that shop at high quality stores know that they can often get the same or comparitive product cheaper at another store, but would just not be seen shopping anywhere else, as they get top service and peace of mind dealing with the quality store.

David  ;)      
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 01:48 by Adeptris »


« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2009, 01:39 »
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I like this thread so I made a blog post with a link back to this thread, here is my blog post:

Quote from: Blog
If I had to start up a new microstock website

This was the title of a topic here on the MicroStockGroup, and there are many good points raised from the Photographers, but the general consensus is along the lines of a microstock boutique agency, with exclusive content both RF and RM, much along the lines of the Istock Vetta collection, invited contributors and selected content.

This is an option that many other microstock site might already be looking to follow, I thought hard about what would be my target market ,and I still really think that the largest most under serviced asset users, are still bloggers and content providers, and the small sizes are still the future of this industry, the niche collections are the cream and do have a place but are an already limited revenue stream.

Blogging and website content has fast become the domain of the industry, with many self-acclaimed analysts, commentators and critics just like me, from people that think they have a valid point to make and just want to share their perspective, to the many professional bloggers who will review that latest gadgets or bit of software in their given field, and report back in words, sounds, movies and pictures their findings to the world wide web blogosphere.

As a blogger and content provider what do I want?
I want some easy tools that allow me to write a blog and post this to the internet, I use the program Windows Live Writer for my content,  I not only use this software for blogs but most of my other website content is updated using Windows Live Writer, with all content delivered direct from my desktop, if I have an image that I own on my hard drive, I can insert this into my post and Live Writer will send this to the website for me when I publish.

But I do not use images much simply because of the hassle in getting the right asset, I could stop what I am doing, go to Istock search for an appropriate image and download it, but that is all time consuming, and if my credits have run out I just pay for another ten credits, so often where an image would add value to my content I do not bother to use one.

I would like to be able to insert a licensed asset into my posts without advertising or having to leave the application I am using, I also do not want to pay for ten credits if I need just two to complete a post, I do not want to download a large size that is far to big for my content needs, and I only want to purchase a licence to use the asset once, as I am not likely to use it again.

As a Microstock artist what do I want?
I want as many license sales as I can get, I do not want any illegal use of my assets, I want my assets to reach and be seen by as many customers as they can, I want a fair commission payment based on usage, a monthly payout if I have transactions not when I reach a commission level.

If I had to start up a new microstock website
I would want a service that resolved the above issues and serviced the largest markets, the content when uploading should only be sized for the web, with the image pixels 240, 360, 480 longest side, an international controlled vocabulary maximum 10 keywords, an easy to use and intuitive interface, easy asset acceptance process and a fast search engine.

Once there were 300,000+ assets the customer website and plug-ins could be launched, the growth would be slow and organic 24 36 months, as the target customers are bloggers and content authors, the marketing tools will be these users and not marketing campaigns, blogger, tweeter, reviewers, social network websites.

If a customer was writing a blog on roses, it should just be a matter of menu > Plug-Ins > Images, then enter keywords > search > select > confirm > download or insert.

The confirm would pop up a dialog for the customers login details, if the customer is out of credits the plug-in would allow the customer to enter a value they want to add to their account, this could be $1 to pay for the image, or any other amount, based on the customers details the transaction would then be processed and the asset delivered, metadata within the image would have the embedded transaction ID and date.

Contributors would upload their images and submit, if the asset is selected then their would be no further weighting in the search based on sales or views, each asset and artist would be a peer and of equal footing, the asset selection process would be simply to find all assets that match the keyword search and randomize them, so if there were 100 assets returned for a keyword search, each new search with the same keywords would show the 100 assets in a different order.

This process needs to be monetized, so the price structure is simple, artist 55% website 45%, there would be only licensed web use, three sizes and prices with no discounts, 240px=$1.00, 360px=$1.50 and 480px=$2.00, monthly payments any amount if revenue is greater than the payment transaction cost, any artist or customer closing an account would be charged a fixed fee of 5% with a maximum of $5.

Other licensed usage for an asset could be arranged directly with the artist.

But then this is only another what if     


David  ;D

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Good New For You
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2009, 07:22 »
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Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2009, 07:39 »
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Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

There's the rub !!!

« Reply #50 on: July 11, 2009, 08:18 »
0
Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

I am thinking that the Microstock agencies want to be 'all things to all people', and it is to early in this industry to take the foot off the gas, they are good at what they do in their sector, there is still plenty of markets that microstock can go after with the microstock label and with the right tools, some companies that are good at what they do, try to diversify into new markets, lose focus on the core product and leave the door open to another service.

I am sure a company that knows it's product, market and limitations, that concentrates on what it does well is better, the product is microstock, and I.M.H.O. with a focus on delivering to the biggest customer base the many web assets that are required now and going forward, is a more vaible option than a Midstock or Macrostock collection within a library that may get a few higher value downloads while confusing the existing and new Customer base.

It is ok wearing many hats but sooner or later you will not be able to see which direction you should be going in.

David  ;)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 08:22 by Adeptris »

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #51 on: July 11, 2009, 08:50 »
0
Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

Change can only come with dialogue . I am sure some CEOs are reading these comments in forums, to get the feel of the current sentiments of contributors (and buyers, as I am sure there are some buyers here too).
We cannot change what we have no control. We can, though, change the way we operate on our end. Be it cutting off a few agencies we don't agree with; increasing upload and concentrating on the one we like, or of course, joining some new ventures that may or may not succeed . We only know that anything can happen. One good example already is how Stockxpert went from one of the most promising and most cherished sites to a dead duck. So really, to think that some sites are immuned to  fall from grace is absurd.
Even if dialogue fails to bring some vital changes to the micro fabric, what have we got to lose? If we don't do what we are doing here to open dialogue and to get a feel of how our peers are feeling, we won't see any changes either. So really, at least, you can say we tried, we let off some steam,
and if things get worse, we can all safely go home and find a job tossing burgers.  ;)
If that happens, we can safely rejoice for not having Atilla wreck our lives , or receive another condescending  rejection notice like , "this is a snapshot", "your image did not reach our level",
and other assinine vagueries.

have a good weekend  all ! kick butt !


« Reply #52 on: July 11, 2009, 15:31 »
0
I read David's blog post--he makes many good points. One thing in particular got my attention. He said: The new business already have their software and slick new website ready to go, and they now need customers and content, the customers will not even look at the business unless there is a large amount of quality content, so the first step for the new business is to find appropriate suppliers with artist content.

So TRUE!!!  We work to attract artists/photographers, but the artists have to be patient while the new or growing agency then works to get the word out to buyers. Photographers cant be out for just the fast buck, ready to jump ship if they dont have sales right away.

We all know this industry is synergisticwithout photos there is no money for the agency and without the agency there is no money for the photographer. Both sides are equally important and we have to work together to succeed. Developing a solid business relationship with a company that values you and treats you right helps the company grow. This in turn will benefit you as they are able to add more features and respond to your needs better. Our company has seen that as more artists sign on, more buyers come and as revenue increases we are able to offer more benefits and better service to all customers (artists and buyers); then more artists join, repeating the cycle over and over.

People demand the larger sales figures that Wal-Mart might give them, but they also want the personal service and consideration the local mom and pop store offers, and they expect to get both at the same agency NOW, rather than being willing to help grow a business for future benefit. Renes idea about micro investment site does not seem viable as David pointed out. Hire a professional team? Where? Do you really think hired guns, if you could find any, would care about YOUR business or your investment the same way you would?

I read a suggestion about partnering with existing smaller siteshere or on another forum or blogand that seems to me to make more sense. For those with ideas and initiative: Maybe you should find a good small site and get in on the ground floor instead of thinking about starting another agency/site. Tell them what they can do to improve or serve you better! Also, as small site artists, are you helping them attract buyers? OK, you took great photos and put them on the site, but have you done anything to help get that word out? Remember, what benefits them also benefits you! We are always willing to listen to our artists and ready to work with them.

David's blog also talks about networking which I think is vital. But it seems nowadays people seem to be concerned more with privacy than with getting to know others. I think its counterproductive to keep my email address secret when I am in business to sell something! I am curious: Why do so many artists hide their email addresses? One of our artists blogged about this on our site a few days ago, in a blog post about badly designed web sites. So I am not the only one wondering!  :

« Reply #53 on: July 11, 2009, 17:36 »
0
So TRUE!!!  We work to attract artists/photographers, but the artists have to be patient while the new or growing agency then works to get the word out to buyers. Photographers cant be out for just the fast buck, ready to jump ship if they dont have sales right away.

We all know this industry is synergisticwithout photos there is no money for the agency and without the agency there is no money for the photographer. Both sides are equally important and we have to work together to succeed.

Lisa the problems are not when the new websites are building the business and everyone is communicating well, with a mutual goal and on a good footing, but at some point 'the community feel' has to move to a pure business footing.
Despite best intentions the owners of the websites do not achieve their goals, they often have not realised the full cost of of going to market and the marketing and projected sales have not been realised, venture capital is looked for and promised margins or the whole model need to be adjusted.
The only real option is to trim the artists commissions or fold, this causes a rift and bad feeling in the 'partnership', leaving the artists feeling that the trust they put in the website and owners has been lost and they have been screwed.

David's blog also talks about networking which I think is vital. But it seems nowadays people seem to be concerned more with privacy than with getting to know others. I think its counterproductive to keep my email address secret when I am in business to sell something! I am curious: Why do so many artists hide their email addresses? One of our artists blogged about this on our site a few days ago, in a blog post about badly designed web sites. So I am not the only one wondering!  :

This one is easy, some contributors may submit to several websites, microstock and macrostock with different credentials, not many are full time microstock and may have a studio or do assignment work, they would not want a google search to show the stock business, as the next wedding party may want images for $1.
Another is there are webbots that scrape webpages and retreive email addresses and add them to marketing databases, then your inbox becomes full of viagra emails.
Then there is not wanting direct emails from other forum users to your business account, or just wanting to remain a mystery.  

I would agree about the photographers not doing enough networking, I was reading this post by Larry lcjTripod, it is worth a read about half way down the first page, he says how he works to promote his portfolio on BigStock by uploading local images and contacting local organisations to promote them, I am sure people would say he should have his own website and send them there, but buyers may be happy purchasing through BigStock.
new-search-options-on-BigStock-great

David
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 17:42 by Adeptris »

« Reply #54 on: July 11, 2009, 17:44 »
0

I would agree about the photographers not doing enough networking, I was reading this post by Larry lcjTripod, it is worth a read as he says how he works to promote his portfolio on BigStock by uploading local images and contacting local organisations to promote them, I am sure people would say he should have his own website and send them there, but buyers may be happy purchaing through BigStock.
new-search-options-on-BigStock-great

David


Really clever of Larry!  I never would have thought of that. 

'Course the reason I sell through agencies and let them take 50-80% is because I don't want to bother doing my own marketing. 

For people who are good at marketing though, more power to them. :)

« Reply #55 on: July 11, 2009, 17:52 »
0
I would agree about the photographers not doing enough networking, I was reading this post by Larry lcjTripod, it is worth a read about half way down the first page, he says how he works to promote his portfolio on BigStock by uploading local images and contacting local organisations to promote them, I am sure people would say he should have his own website and send them there, but buyers may be happy purchasing through BigStock.
new-search-options-on-BigStock-great


I agree completely.  Since most of my footage is shot "locally", I spend time every month marketing to local news stations, production houses, etc... and that promotion has paid off for me.  And I don't mind passing that business off to my favorite agency.  Dealing with a web site, etc.. is a major PITA.

I've also been somewhat successful at referrals of watermarked images posted on my Flickr and Facebook accounts resulting in some really nice sales.

« Reply #56 on: July 11, 2009, 18:00 »
0
I read a suggestion about partnering with existing smaller siteshere or on another forum or blogand that seems to me to make more sense. For those with ideas and initiative: Maybe you should find a good small site and get in on the ground floor instead of thinking about starting another agency/site. Tell them what they can do to improve or serve you better! Also, as small site artists, are you helping them attract buyers? OK, you took great photos and put them on the site, but have you done anything to help get that word out? Remember, what benefits them also benefits you! We are always willing to listen to our artists and ready to work with them.

What's the point in spending time to help someone else get big enough eventually to treat you badly?  They can't be cute mom and pop forever.  Eventually they will become a big business just like any other.

Quote
David's blog also talks about networking which I think is vital. But it seems nowadays people seem to be concerned more with privacy than with getting to know others. I think its counterproductive to keep my email address secret when I am in business to sell something! I am curious: Why do so many artists hide their email addresses? One of our artists blogged about this on our site a few days ago, in a blog post about badly designed web sites. So I am not the only one wondering!  :

So you don't get spam, pretty simple.  I do have a contact email, although there really isn't much reason for anyone to contact me - my stock is on the sites where it is ready to buy.


PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Good New For You
« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2009, 22:13 »
0
Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

Change can only come with dialogue . I am sure some CEOs are reading these comments in forums, to get the feel of the current sentiments of contributors (and buyers, as I am sure there are some buyers here too).
We cannot change what we have no control. We can, though, change the way we operate on our end. Be it cutting off a few agencies we don't agree with; increasing upload and concentrating on the one we like, or of course, joining some new ventures that may or may not succeed . We only know that anything can happen. One good example already is how Stockxpert went from one of the most promising and most cherished sites to a dead duck. So really, to think that some sites are immuned to  fall from grace is absurd.
Even if dialogue fails to bring some vital changes to the micro fabric, what have we got to lose? If we don't do what we are doing here to open dialogue and to get a feel of how our peers are feeling, we won't see any changes either. So really, at least, you can say we tried, we let off some steam,
and if things get worse, we can all safely go home and find a job tossing burgers.  ;)
If that happens, we can safely rejoice for not having Atilla wreck our lives , or receive another condescending  rejection notice like , "this is a snapshot", "your image did not reach our level",
and other assinine vagueries.

have a good weekend  all ! kick butt !



I probably didn't provide enough detail to get across the point I was making. An example being image exclusivity. While it sounds great for contributors to submit exclusive images why do you think that is? Right, so a contributor can submit a similar series of "exclusive" images to different sites. That dilutes the purpose of exclusivity and makes it almost impossible for an agency to police images. The agency has little choice but to go with contributor exclusivity.

Let's face it. While a lot of us are a decent group of people, when people are given the smallest loophole to take advantage of, most people will take advantage of it and then somehow justify it as not being a big deal. From the perspective of an agency it's always the best and easiest choice to close the loophole. And somewhere in the middle of this tug of war of fairness is (hopefully) something that works out for both parties.

Like everybody else here I also want the best deal for myself and contributors as a whole. But a lot of the posts I see here seem to be coming from creatives and not businesspeople. If you ran an agency you might better understand why some of the policies are necessary.

About voicing our opinions, that's great and everything but it's venting and little else. Change only happens when the entire group gets offended enough to take a collective action. And even then, some of the sites still don't care. It's your choice whether or not to continue supporting them. And after all of the complaining how many of you still go along with whatever raw deal is dished out?

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2009, 22:38 »
0
Like everybody else here I also want the best deal for myself and contributors as a whole. ---

About voicing our opinions, that's great and everything but it's venting and little else---
. Change only happens when the entire group gets offended enough to take a collective action---

. And even then, some of the sites still don't care. ---

 And after all of the complaining how many of you still go along with whatever raw deal is dished out?---


thanks for elaborating on your comments. sometimes it's hard to know whether you're simply being neutral or taking a stronger position.
i agree, many of what we do here is nothing more than venting. and you are even more correct to say that the sites don't really give a hoot.

in the end, i really don't think too much will be achieved, as not many will actually go all the way .
how far will you let someone push you ? each of us have our own limits. unfortunately, the sites know that not too many will be there if it's an ultimatum. 
i think the problem is most of us are very easily distracted. take the DT situation. one moment everyone seems to be talking about the problem with no views to their new images. then DT comes up with some silly game and everyone forgets, except for what? 3 ppl...
and we forget about that problem and is acting like some child getting a nintendo for christmas.
the sites know how easy it is to push the button. most will do as simon says. 

someone once pointed out here, that when IS does something not so desirable, everyone seems to bitch on IS. But when it's SS or DT, doing the same crap, the noise is not that loud.
i thought that was simply a very bias comment from one who was more or less sold on exclusiveness with IS. but now that it is happening with DT, i think that person is so right is making such a comment.

do i expect things to get better for us contributors as a whole? not really, not when there are so many  gullible and easily sidetrack contributors. wth, let them play games, small things excite little minds.

« Reply #59 on: July 12, 2009, 01:47 »
0
 Hi All,

 I am wondering if a Niche agency that specializes in Lifestyle at a higher quality level but still a broad user base of concepts like Vetta. The collection does not need 4 million photos to compete. They just need to produce the best of the best. A group of 100 ( random number ) of the best high production lifestyle shooters with a return of 50% to the image providers could be enticing to some.
 Only the content shot from a particular shoot would be exclusive, the photographers would still be able to submit to other agencies. There are people working on this concept as we speak. 100 shooters producing 1000 top quality images a year would build a strong collection fast that wouldn't be to deep for the clients to get lost in. If it was edited to be the best I think the buyers would find that of value.
 Besides I think you'll find that some of the biggest Micro sites make the bulk of their revenue from a small percentage of their providers.When you have 10,000 or more image providers a small percentage is still quite a few. Finding the 100 shooters that would commit to such a quality and quantity level would be the hardest part.

Just my two cents.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2009, 02:31 »
0
Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

Change can only come with dialogue . I am sure some CEOs are reading these comments in forums, to get the feel of the current sentiments of contributors (and buyers, as I am sure there are some buyers here too).
We cannot change what we have no control. We can, though, change the way we operate on our end. Be it cutting off a few agencies we don't agree with; increasing upload and concentrating on the one we like, or of course, joining some new ventures that may or may not succeed . We only know that anything can happen. One good example already is how Stockxpert went from one of the most promising and most cherished sites to a dead duck. So really, to think that some sites are immuned to  fall from grace is absurd.
Even if dialogue fails to bring some vital changes to the micro fabric, what have we got to lose? If we don't do what we are doing here to open dialogue and to get a feel of how our peers are feeling, we won't see any changes either. So really, at least, you can say we tried, we let off some steam,
and if things get worse, we can all safely go home and find a job tossing burgers.  ;)
If that happens, we can safely rejoice for not having Atilla wreck our lives , or receive another condescending  rejection notice like , "this is a snapshot", "your image did not reach our level",
and other assinine vagueries.

have a good weekend  all ! kick butt !



I probably didn't provide enough detail to get across the point I was making. An example being image exclusivity. While it sounds great for contributors to submit exclusive images why do you think that is? Right, so a contributor can submit a similar series of "exclusive" images to different sites. That dilutes the purpose of exclusivity and makes it almost impossible for an agency to police images. The agency has little choice but to go with contributor exclusivity.

Let's face it. While a lot of us are a decent group of people, when people are given the smallest loophole to take advantage of, most people will take advantage of it and then somehow justify it as not being a big deal. From the perspective of an agency it's always the best and easiest choice to close the loophole. And somewhere in the middle of this tug of war of fairness is (hopefully) something that works out for both parties.

Like everybody else here I also want the best deal for myself and contributors as a whole. But a lot of the posts I see here seem to be coming from creatives and not businesspeople. If you ran an agency you might better understand why some of the policies are necessary.

About voicing our opinions, that's great and everything but it's venting and little else. Change only happens when the entire group gets offended enough to take a collective action. And even then, some of the sites still don't care. It's your choice whether or not to continue supporting them. And after all of the complaining how many of you still go along with whatever raw deal is dished out?


I see your point, much like alamy have found a few times with model releases "yes I have a model release" and they dont.  But istock is the only agency that I have ever heard of in micro / macro rf / rm or combination that requires contributor exclusivity, most are happy with shoot exclusivity

« Reply #61 on: July 12, 2009, 02:59 »
0
Hi All,

 I am wondering if a Niche agency that specializes in Lifestyle at a higher quality level but still a broad user base of concepts like Vetta. The collection does not need 4 million photos to compete. They just need to produce the best of the best. A group of 100 ( random number ) of the best high production lifestyle shooters with a return of 50% to the image providers could be enticing to some.
 Only the content shot from a particular shoot would be exclusive, the photographers would still be able to submit to other agencies. There are people working on this concept as we speak. 100 shooters producing 1000 top quality images a year would build a strong collection fast that wouldn't be to deep for the clients to get lost in. If it was edited to be the best I think the buyers would find that of value.
 Besides I think you'll find that some of the biggest Micro sites make the bulk of their revenue from a small percentage of their providers.When you have 10,000 or more image providers a small percentage is still quite a few. Finding the 100 shooters that would commit to such a quality and quantity level would be the hardest part.

Just my two cents.

Best,
Jonathan
Hi Jonathan,
This is then traditional as the prices would have to be high to make it worthwhile, good exclusive lifestyle why not Getty, Corbis, Istock Vetta, and the many other variants that will be launched over the next few months, these collections and your concept will fall outside the term 'Microstock' which is to have a large amount of asset downloads with many micropayments, it does not make sense to have a niche agency with micropayments.
The big websites also make a lot of money from the contributors that never make the payout, it is hard to work out at times who is supporting who and where the bigger margins are.

There is one thing that is needed more than a new niche agency, that is an association or organisation to open it's doors to all microstock shooters, one that is respected and can represent artist, there is an elitism at the moment with organisations like SAA where you need a professional qualification and the affiliate rates are set to high and exclude part-time and microshooters, I have emailed them to ask about the changes in the industry where more professionals are looking at microstock as a viable option, if they are going to include microshooters as an affiliate and how they would represent them.
If you look at businesses like farming etc:, their suppliers have assiociations that represent the suppliers when setting industry wide minimum product prices and other rules for the industry, big stores like to work within this framework and have the associations logo as part of marketing, models and actors have a guild, microshooters are now a large enough body to have their voice either as part of an existing body or in their own right.  

I see that many do think along the same lines in all aspects of the industry, the problem is that we all stand on different street corners on our soap box, until we can stand united there is little hope of a united voice that would be listened to, it would be good if in 3 years time a new contributor to any big stock site joined a representative association first.  

David ;)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 03:00 by Adeptris »

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Good New For You
« Reply #62 on: July 12, 2009, 08:46 »
0
Some interesting ideas but you're thinking like a contributor not a stock agency business owner. If you were on the other side of the business you'd feel differently.

Change can only come with dialogue . I am sure some CEOs are reading these comments in forums, to get the feel of the current sentiments of contributors (and buyers, as I am sure there are some buyers here too).
We cannot change what we have no control. We can, though, change the way we operate on our end. Be it cutting off a few agencies we don't agree with; increasing upload and concentrating on the one we like, or of course, joining some new ventures that may or may not succeed . We only know that anything can happen. One good example already is how Stockxpert went from one of the most promising and most cherished sites to a dead duck. So really, to think that some sites are immuned to  fall from grace is absurd.
Even if dialogue fails to bring some vital changes to the micro fabric, what have we got to lose? If we don't do what we are doing here to open dialogue and to get a feel of how our peers are feeling, we won't see any changes either. So really, at least, you can say we tried, we let off some steam,
and if things get worse, we can all safely go home and find a job tossing burgers.  ;)
If that happens, we can safely rejoice for not having Atilla wreck our lives , or receive another condescending  rejection notice like , "this is a snapshot", "your image did not reach our level",
and other assinine vagueries.

have a good weekend  all ! kick butt !



I probably didn't provide enough detail to get across the point I was making. An example being image exclusivity. While it sounds great for contributors to submit exclusive images why do you think that is? Right, so a contributor can submit a similar series of "exclusive" images to different sites. That dilutes the purpose of exclusivity and makes it almost impossible for an agency to police images. The agency has little choice but to go with contributor exclusivity.

Let's face it. While a lot of us are a decent group of people, when people are given the smallest loophole to take advantage of, most people will take advantage of it and then somehow justify it as not being a big deal. From the perspective of an agency it's always the best and easiest choice to close the loophole. And somewhere in the middle of this tug of war of fairness is (hopefully) something that works out for both parties.

Like everybody else here I also want the best deal for myself and contributors as a whole. But a lot of the posts I see here seem to be coming from creatives and not businesspeople. If you ran an agency you might better understand why some of the policies are necessary.

About voicing our opinions, that's great and everything but it's venting and little else. Change only happens when the entire group gets offended enough to take a collective action. And even then, some of the sites still don't care. It's your choice whether or not to continue supporting them. And after all of the complaining how many of you still go along with whatever raw deal is dished out?


I see your point, much like alamy have found a few times with model releases "yes I have a model release" and they dont.  But istock is the only agency that I have ever heard of in micro / macro rf / rm or combination that requires contributor exclusivity, most are happy with shoot exclusivity

A great example with the Alamy model releases. Unfortunately it's the small percentage of people who do things that result in policies that are a pain for the rest of us.

Regarding contributor exclusivity, Istock probably saw the loopholes with image exclusivity and decided contributor exclusivity would reduce headaches. Istock also has enough buyer revenue and a program for exclusivity to make a decent buck for contributors. I don't think the other sites could get away with contributor exclusivity yet anyway because the contributors wouldn't make much money. And if they'd make a lot more money with multiple sites that's what they'd do. Or the agency would need to give those exclusive contributors massive search priority so they showed up at the top of every search.

For the sites that have image exclusivity, I wonder how many almost identical variations of those exclusive images are on other sites.

Squat

  • If you think you know, you know squat
« Reply #63 on: July 12, 2009, 10:10 »
0
neevr mind. (deleted)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 13:37 by tan510jomast »

« Reply #64 on: July 12, 2009, 11:18 »
0
Hi Adeptris,

 I think Vetta is a good idea and I think this is part of the three tiered system starting to fall into place. Unfortunately they will not accept work from people that post there work on any other site Getty doesn't own. If you shoot Macro RF for any other agency than Getty you cannot get out of those contracts to allow you to become exclusive and join Vetta. I think Vetta is a good direction I and all the people shooting RF for the past ten years or even much less can't be part of that collection. There will be lots of changes coming down the road. What works for a shooter today may not tomorrow. Thanks for the feedback.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2009, 13:04 »
0
Greetings to all:

I recently came across this wonderful site and posted a question about what is it that photographers are looking for in a stock house. Someone directed me to this post and I can say this is the most detailed-well-informed compilation I have ever found in regards to this matter. What I like the most is the fact that you, as professional photographer gather to discuss this ideas.

I am a "CEO" (yes, I rather use quotes :) ) of an emerging stock video site, but before I decided to pursue this dream (I had it for the longest time) I was a contributor to all major stock video houses, big and small and continue to be a contributor. I'm able to see (probably in a limited way) both sides of the coin. This has helped me to draw some excellent ideas we have implemented to our site and make it "contributor friendly".

Going back to square one, many of our video contributors are also photographers and suggested us to expand to images, which we would like to do,  however, we wanted to make sure we continue that "contributors friendly tradition" by learning more about what contributors are looking for.

I will take many of your ideas to my drawing table and make it part of our site strategy.

Before that, for the sake of the openness this site offer and to contribute to the understanding of how stock house operate (at least small one like site ours) here are my 2 cents is respond to the main ideas.

Perry's ideas are valid considering where he is coming from, and many of you have realized, is not necessarily if the ideas are good or bad, what is even more valuable is that he brought this discussion to the table. Here are my thought on his take:

1) Exclusive images:
As a contributor I don't want to limit my range of income source by going exclusive. In most instance it is not profitable to get, let say, just 60% as exclusive than various percentages from several sites.

As a stock house, selling only exclusive will limit the material quantity driving customers to sites that have the most variety and royalty flexibility. Of course, this does not mean there is not a market for that.


2) Prevent Photographers submitting similar images to other sites

This correlate with point #1, as contributor, I would be limiting my options...
As a stock house, the only way to prevent you from selling in other sites, is to make you sign a legal document agreeing to that. I personally don't like unnecessary legal documents (as many people do)

3) The photographers could pull out their images whenever they want.
As contributor I like this flexibility however, I wouldn't pull out any image as it will limit my income possibilities, that is not even considering the time and effort I put to keywording etc.

As a stock house, I want you to feel flexible, it makes you comfortable, but pulling out may compromise clients who, let say, have items in their bins and counting on them. If you remove them, this customer will not be happy and this is no good. I believe the current standard is fair... Ranging from 14 to 30 days and in some cases 3-6 month.

4) Moderately easy on the technical side
As a contributor: I like this idea.
As a stock house:  Although we are as flexible as you want, I do understand where the other sites are coming from. Many of them are using a business model either inherited by the "old ring" who targeted high end productions, or copied the concept when the microstock was still considered "non threatening". Now they are becoming more flexible in that sense.

In our case we don't limit or reject unless the video is extremely bad. This decision was made when we realized "there is market for everything".  I did a test by shooting myself walking from the leg down... By all standard this video was doom to failure, but surprisingly it got sold 3 times in its life time.

5)  Easy License

I agree in both sides.

6) Clever algorithm that few clicks images sink to bottom
As a contributor, I like the idea. I recall that for a time I was one of the top sellers at 2 different sites, so I know the feeling of having good material + appropriated keywording. However, those the site realized they couldn't prioritize so it became more "even".

As a stock house this would be unfair to other contributors regardless of their inexperience keywording. We would like all people to sell, not just a few ones. The ones who sales will be happy, but the majority of those who don't sell will feel the site is not making them revenue.

7) Easy uploading

Agreed in both counts. We try to minimize that by using templates which make the submission process in just 2 steps, but it has it limitations. This is something there is no scape (at least for now) as information have to be entered.

8) Fair commission
I agree in both counts. I can say that in video it seems to be more fair, probably because it requires more work. Depending on the site it goes from 35% to 50% as non exclusive and the most I have seen is 60% as exclusive. These are fair values considering the operational expenses. We offer 50% and it will be the same if we decided to make it into the images market.

About other comments I read:

Keyword limitations:
As a contributor I would like to have freedom to use the keyword I see fit for my material, but
as a stock house I want to make sure there is no profanity or anything that can offend anyone in any way. We don't limit keyword unless is rude, crude, or profane. There are some gray areas that require consultation.

Paying in advanced for royalties:
As a contributor I experienced it first hand. This particular site was emerging and quickly died. (It is now being revamped its features and will come back to the market) I did enjoyed the benefit of having a quick commission but I ended up having the feeling of being "trapped". A year later I  returned the money so I can feel "free". Hopefully they will do better this time.

As a stock house and depending on the amount of money and/or contributors, it would take a chunk of money that can be used in other areas that will benefit the business and by default the contributor.

Photoshow also brought some great point, which are great ideas but are somewhat tricky to implement depending on the business model...

1) By invite only site will limit the amount of photographers as well as the amount of clients. Although this has been used in the past by the "old ring" such as Getty Images, they have "change their mind" or better yet, they now understand the market trend and ended up acquiring IStockPhoto (and video) as well as Jupiter Images (with all their agencies such as stockxpert)

2) Approved Camera List
The idea is good, but has it flaws. As a professional in the television and post production industry I can tell you that it is the talent, not the camera. I have seem many material shot on "crappy camera" that look professional, I have seen "crappy material" shot on "expensive as hell" cameras.

Also, a far as I can tell, no agency have the capability of controlling this. What will prevent you from saying you used an "approved camera" when in fact you did not? How will a company know for sure which camera you did used? They have to go by what you say.

As I contributor I once did a sequence of videos that was done in a non-approved video camera. I knew it will get rejected if I mentioned, but I also knew this material was going to sell like hotcakes... I ended up finding the closest pro camera compared to the one I used and that is was approved by the site. Well, it was approved, it did sell like hotcake and it is still selling good in all sites. At the end of the day, I make them money, and I make money myself.

3) Agent that understand contributors are the backbone

I agree in both counts (as contributor and as stock house) This is in fact what we are trying to build. Most of us (internal team) are either filmakers, 3D animators, motion designers and graphic designers... We all know the industry, we understand the industry and we've been making a living on this industry for the past 10-30 years (combined).

Because two of us are contributors to other sites, we understand what is going on from within. We want to implement a functional solution where the contributor is not only a contributor but an integral part of the business, reaping additional benefits as the site grows.

I do agree with points 4, 5, and 6.

7) This is a good idea, but it has a cost. As a contributor I rather gain 3% and submit my own metadata, at the end of the day after an image is submitted that is it, no more work with it, of course this is long term.  Now, there are many agencies that do the submission for you, but they require you to sign a 3-7 years contract. I have material in two of such sites, and I understand the cost of having the employees to do the work. It cost money and they want to protect that investment by signing contracts.

For a small startup business like us this is a big overhead. This is the reason why microstock implemented the idea and soon the big boys joined the concept.

10) One Model Release for all related Material
This idea is great, it was suggested to us while a go by one of our contributors, we are in the process of implementing this.

11) The image rejection in a "yes or no manner" can backfire and it does not offer flexibility to the contributor. As a contributor, I want to be able to submit an image after I took the time to make the necessarily adjustments, images that I know for a fact is selling great in other sites... As a stock house I want contributors to have that freedom... How can they feel they are the backbone if they are being treated with limitations?

12) This is what has been done in the past 15 years (or more). But the new trend in business is community base, the freedom to chat with fellow artists, exchange ideas, discuss equipment... All that has a business value, and of course as an agency we benefit from it... (it may also backfire)  That is even aside from the fact that having forum can increase awareness, reduce non-important technical support inquiries and just have the feeling of being part of something. We are social beings, it is embedded in our nature.

When I decided to open as a business, due to respect, I had to cut back from posting on the sites I contribute material. For a while it made me sad because I became so part of it... This has a value and is very well appreciated by contributors and the agencies.

As I final thought, my comments are by no means written on stone, these are just my perceptions on how I see things from both sides. 'The only permanent thing is change" so these comments may well be obsolete very soon.

This thread has added much value to the information I was looking for in consideration to start offering images in our website. Thank you for having this information available!

:)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 14:05 by photovideo »

« Reply #66 on: July 12, 2009, 13:28 »
0
I'll just comment on this, because reading all of that was starting to hurt my melon: "As a stock house, selling only exclusive will limit the quantity and we all know we like to shop in places where you can find more options than just a few."

Another site selling the same stuff everyone else has isn't going to break into any new markets, or be any more successful than anything out there, and will probably be a lot less so.


« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2009, 14:36 »
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I'll just comment on this, because reading all of that was starting to hurt my melon: "As a stock house, selling only exclusive will limit the quantity and we all know we like to shop in places where you can find more options than just a few."

Another site selling the same stuff everyone else has isn't going to break into any new markets, or be any more successful than anything out there, and will probably be a lot less so.


My apologies... I think I went too far. Sometimes I start to write all my ideas and I forget to be concise, specially with so many ideas in this thread.

What you are saying is completely correct. But you may be underestimating that a simple idea can make a difference, and yet, that idea may not be posted here...(for a reason) Maybe some businesses rather not be "more successful than" and just be successful for the time being... The tread was focused on what a photographer wants from an agency, and the idea of being exclusive is not "ground breaking" and its been there for the longest time. My opinion in that particular case as a contributor, is that you can make more money in the long run by being non exclusive.

But, as mentioned, this is my perception, I might be wrong. Here is my case...

Stock Agency 1: 45%
Stock Agency 2: 50%
Stock Agency 3: 35%
Stock Agency 5: 35%
Stock Agency 6: 40%
Stock Agency 7: 50%
Stock Agency 8: 40%

This is a 295% Against exclusive for 60%..... I still have a 235% to compensate for any loss don't sell on those sites. The difference between exclusive and non exclusive (in terms of percentage) is so small that it is not worth it at least for the microstock photographer. Those who are running exclusive images are the same big group who, in great majority, run the microstocks sites. Those exclusive sites are so exclusive that many of us, microstock contributors would not be accepted in the first place.

I'm not saying one is bad and the other is good, I'm saying this is the path the microstock has taken as it has been proven to work..... so far.

Regards.




















« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 15:19 by photovideo »

« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2009, 19:24 »
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Hi photovideo,

 Glad to see people looking towards the future. Would you be kind enough to share some personal or professional background with the group here. I noticed you are anonymous and it would really help to see your work as well as what you will expect from your contributors on quality vs. quantity.
 It really helps me to understand your operation better if I can get some idea of your expertise on the matter of running a stock collection in the past or your capital you plan on investing in this concept. How deep are the pockets to make this thing fly while you are trying to get it off the ground. I don't need exact details but a contact or lead to your own work might really help. Keep on stretching that brain for us, good to see people stepping to the plate especially in raising content providers returns to 50%.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #69 on: July 13, 2009, 00:37 »
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But, as mentioned, this is my perception, I might be wrong. Here is my case...

Stock Agency 1: 45%
Stock Agency 2: 50%
Stock Agency 3: 35%
Stock Agency 5: 35%
Stock Agency 6: 40%
Stock Agency 7: 50%
Stock Agency 8: 40%

This is a 295% Against exclusive for 60%..... I still have a 235% to compensate for any loss don't sell on those sites.

Hi photovideo,
The choice of some artists to go exclusive is nothing to do with the commision percentage but the higher amount of revenue that was being returned, one of the biggest agencies pays just 20% non exclusive up to 40% exclusive, this is one of the biggest not because of the poor commission percentage but due the size of the customer base, slightly higher pricing but sheer volume of sales, and it's main competitor is a subscription based service, so it is quite attractive to go exclusive for the extra 20% and less work uploading and waiting for revenue.

Some of the other services with higher percentages have a very low volume and non existent or very slow revenue streams, which makes them less attractive, we all know 20% - 40% of something is better than 50% of nothing, so your perceptions are wrong until on percentages are turned to an amount of revenue that negates the reason for going exclusive.

For a new service we need to know where you pricing is set, and most important is where the customers are coming from, and there needs to be something unique about a new agency other than price point as these are all covered already by existing agencies or collections, why should a new customer use this new service, you say that your existing video clip artists have suggested you start licencing images as well, that is not a big enough reason to move into the market as they will not be your main customers, also they can already contribute images with other website, how big is this existing businesses in the video market, and how many regular customers do you have, how many of these customer could be your potentail market, have you done a survey and asked your customers how many also use images and where they shop.

David  ;)

« Reply #70 on: July 13, 2009, 19:02 »
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Thanks for answering my question about why so many of you hide your email addresses. I assumed it was fear of spam but that seemed too simplistic.

By the way, the hot spam topic these days is no longer about enlarging anything or about Viagra--it's Acai Berries!  :)  I get my share of spam but I have had the same email address for many years. To paraphrase something I read recently, I'd rather get 50 spam emails than miss the one email that could put money in my pocket! Perhaps you should consider using yahoo and hotmail email addresses to protect your personal email address from more spam, and also to help keep your various enterprises/personas separate.

I feel a "us vs them" vibe; some of you seem so sure every agency sooner or later is going to rip you off. Although our company has been around 14 years, we haven't been in stock that long--we started with 3D models--but our sales increase each month so there is no need for us to abuse our Members.

Sorry if I gave the impression I expected our artists to help increase our business for "our" benefit--that was not what I meant. I do think artists/photographers should work to promote their own work all the time.

But I see value in collaborating to help improve your smaller agency--such as sharing ideas, suggestions for improvements, etc.--as a way of helping them in order for your sales to improve as they grow. Mutual interest again--it's the only way for most of us to survive and thrive. If you are already a superstar top earner and you are with a top agency, then there is no need for change. But if people are daydreaming of the "perfect" agency, it tells me there is a need for new ideas.

Good luck to you all in your pursuit of finding that perfect stock agency!

« Reply #71 on: July 13, 2009, 21:59 »
0
I would install an IQ-test in front of any constributors upload.
Most of constributors never ever read and understand what they agree to.

Then i would paste and copy some of the threads here and on some other microsites to show the constributors who failed why this was a good idea to protect them from thereselfs.

Afterwards, i would like to give them a little introduction in marketing, advertising, copyrigths and customer sattisfiying...but, thats just for my own fun because nobody would read this anymore after beeing thrown out.

« Reply #72 on: July 13, 2009, 23:24 »
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Hi photovideo,

 Glad to see people looking towards the future. Would you be kind enough to share some personal or professional background with the group here. I noticed you are anonymous and it would really help to see your work as well as what you will expect from your contributors on quality vs. quantity.
 It really helps me to understand your operation better if I can get some idea of your expertise on the matter of running a stock collection in the past or your capital you plan on investing in this concept. How deep are the pockets to make this thing fly while you are trying to get it off the ground. I don't need exact details but a contact or lead to your own work might really help. Keep on stretching that brain for us, good to see people stepping to the plate especially in raising content providers returns to 50%.

Best,
Jonathan

Hello Jonathan,

Thank you for your kind comments. I wish I can share more information openly, however, there are certain things about the business (such as budget/capital or "unique" ideas) that due to the nature I cannot share.

But I can certainly share details about myself. I have a BA in advertising/digital arts and graduated in 1999. Before I graduated I was hired by a TV station where I developed my interest in television as a Motion Graphic artist. Soon after I was hired by a major nationwide TV network doing the same work. I then relocated to another state and got in to an Emmy Award winning post production house also as Motion Graphic Artist. 4 years later I took an offer in another nationwide TV network.

Beside this I have skills in photography, video editing and film making. When it comes to photography, I shot my own images to use in motion graphics. I learned photography before college and while in college (4 classes). Film making was also part of my major and later got more experience while working in the post house.

I entered the stock industry while working on a motion graphics project. This particular client didn't have much budget to spent on video footage which was $200-$600 per clip and there was not much variety to choose from. So I ended up shooting a sequence of videos which came out "amazing" at "the level" of some of the major RF stock houses.  When many of my colleagues saw the material they suggested me to contact those big RF sites, and I did. One became very interested in getting it as exclusive.

I got busy with projects so I did not focus on it for a while until I have to create more material for another project. (sorry I'm extending myself again... I will make it short) I decided to dedicate time to the creation of material. When I had "enough" (or so I thought at that time) I started to use my own funding to start the project, but then, even before I putting it to work, two new stock houses opened their doors. I joined them and became one of the top sellers for a while... Shortly after I gather a small team and decided to give it a shot doing it ourselves. We started with our own footage.... month later, some of those contributors who we became friends with suggested us to accept their footage, and we did...  :)

Feel free to PM, I can share more info.

Thanks again for your comments, as you said, we are looking forward to the future.  :)














« Reply #73 on: July 13, 2009, 23:48 »
0
Hi photovideo,
The choice of some artists to go exclusive is nothing to do with the commision percentage but the higher amount of revenue that was being returned, one of the biggest agencies pays just 20% non exclusive up to 40% exclusive, this is one of the biggest not because of the poor commission percentage but due the size of the customer base, slightly higher pricing but sheer volume of sales, and it's main competitor is a subscription based service, so it is quite attractive to go exclusive for the extra 20% and less work uploading and waiting for revenue.

Some of the other services with higher percentages have a very low volume and non existent or very slow revenue streams, which makes them less attractive, we all know 20% - 40% of something is better than 50% of nothing, so your perceptions are wrong until on percentages are turned to an amount of revenue that negates the reason for going exclusive.

For a new service we need to know where you pricing is set, and most important is where the customers are coming from, and there needs to be something unique about a new agency other than price point as these are all covered already by existing agencies or collections, why should a new customer use this new service, you say that your existing video clip artists have suggested you start licencing images as well, that is not a big enough reason to move into the market as they will not be your main customers, also they can already contribute images with other website, how big is this existing businesses in the video market, and how many regular customers do you have, how many of these customer could be your potentail market, have you done a survey and asked your customers how many also use images and where they shop.

David  ;)
[/quote]

-------------------------------------

Hi David,

You are correct, there are some contributors that have chosen to be exclusive, which is another option available, I do not discourage exclusive, my position was why many choose not going exclusive, it will  depend on personal experience as well as other factors. But it would be wise to choose exclusive based on your proposed scenario.

About selling images I couldn't agree more, but I also think that some things at some point don't have to have a "big enough reason" sometimes "any reason" is just enough.

Thanks for your comment! very much appreciated  :)




« Reply #74 on: July 14, 2009, 06:42 »
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If you have an existing stock video online presence, I see no reason that you need to hid behind anonymity.  You're a business who is out there selling.  Why not show us your existing stock site?

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #75 on: July 14, 2009, 10:06 »
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If you have an existing stock video online presence, I see no reason that you need to hid behind anonymity.  You're a business who is out there selling.  Why not show us your existing stock site?

Well said !
Yes, it may initially open you to certain interrogation which might be a pain in the rear end, but after the inquisition you will find that those who gained the confidence of many here in MSG actually do well and enjoy proactive participation with the forum. Example is Keith of Zymmetrical, John of Cutcaster, and more recently  the reps of Veers Marketing.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 10:49 by puravida »

« Reply #76 on: July 14, 2009, 12:16 »
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I am sure everyone has their own views of starting a microstock website but easiler said than done.
Calling them "clone", I dont know if I would put them down. If it were not for other stock agencies, I would not make the money I do make. There is always room for competition even for the "little" companies. Obviously someone is buying from them. Each agency has their own way of running things. I am ok with that.
I am just glad there is a top 10 and would be happy to use any others moving up the ladder.
I would never make my images exclusive. I dont think I would make more doing that.


puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #77 on: July 14, 2009, 14:29 »
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I am sure everyone has their own views of starting a microstock website but easiler said than done.
Calling them "clone", I dont know if I would put them down. If it were not for other stock agencies, I would not make the money I do make. There is always room for competition even for the "little" companies. Obviously someone is buying from them. Each agency has their own way of running things. I am ok with that.
I am just glad there is a top 10 and would be happy to use any others moving up the ladder.
I would never make my images exclusive. I dont think I would make more doing that.

You are right your opening statement, it is easier said than done. As is the gist of this topic.

On the subject of "clones", it's hard not to call most of them "clones" when so many of us submit the same images to all of them.
Obviously, someone is buying from them no doubt, but here is where your closing statement could be challenged by those who are successful and exclusive.
If the buyers know your images can only be found in one site, then perharps you will make more money for two reasons. More cumulative earnings so you get paid faster, and more sales because the buyer knows your images are exclusive.
Before the premium stock diversification came about, it probably makes little difference, but now that say Istock has this new premium tier, I am inclined to think that there is going to be an advantage to consider going exclusive.
The contra reason for most independents like myself has always been the lurking dangers and threat of putting the eggs in one basket. But I haven't seen too much of an exodus from the IStock exclusives.  So perharps, they know something we don't. It doesn't hurt to investigate the other side of the coin.

« Reply #78 on: July 14, 2009, 21:00 »
0
I am sure everyone has their own views of starting a microstock website but easiler said than done.
Calling them "clone", I dont know if I would put them down. If it were not for other stock agencies, I would not make the money I do make. There is always room for competition even for the "little" companies. Obviously someone is buying from them. Each agency has their own way of running things. I am ok with that.
I am just glad there is a top 10 and would be happy to use any others moving up the ladder.
I would never make my images exclusive. I dont think I would make more doing that.


Hi lephotograph:

It is refreshing to hear your comments. I see and understand of others and although some have a "negative connotation" they are very valid. But it is the positive that keep the possibilities open however small it might be. As you said, there is always room for competition. My best wishes to you.  :)

« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2009, 09:14 »
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Thanks for answering my question about why so many of you hide your email addresses.

1. Where is yours?
2. All forums, included this one, have private messaging that goes faster and is more secure. An email can be from anybody, even a competitor in disguise.

Perhaps you should consider using yahoo and hotmail email addresses to protect your personal email address from more spam, and also to help keep your various enterprises/personas separate.

We all do that for many years, but thanks for reminding us.

Although our company has been around 14 years, we haven't been in stock that long--we started with 3D models--but our sales increase each month so there is no need for us to abuse our Members.

What is your company name and website?
www.the3dstudio.com by any chance?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 09:18 by cevapcici »

« Reply #80 on: July 17, 2009, 21:08 »
0
well, i think "no reaction" is kind of agreement inside here.
I' think punching some girls just in the middle of their face isn't a good sign of equlity and acceptance.you're right, you wouln't have to, i do. Call me bad...oh, and please ignore me, nobody had done this until yet. Please do so.

Well..thank you puravida...please more at this kind...feel free
anyone else?

Okay, now we have to do a little bit of shadowboxing.....puravida prefer to be hidden and im present. Please be aware that i couldn't read her messages.
Only your reactions on my and her posts i couln't read.
Interesting....
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 21:24 by palaver »

« Reply #81 on: July 18, 2009, 01:20 »
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Keyword limitations:
As a contributor I would like to have freedom to use the keyword I see fit for my material, but
as a stock house I want to make sure there is no profanity or anything that can offend anyone in any way. We don't limit keyword unless is rude, crude, or profane. There are some gray areas that require consultation.

Ahh but you absolutly have to address keyword spam, agencies can not continue to allow contributors to use any keyword they see fiit and expect to draw in large corporate art departments. Quality keywords = quality search results and the agency that can offer quality relative search results will break into new markets that other agencies have been unable to open. Rude Crude or Profane matters not iof it is relavnt to the image.


Photoshow also brought some great point, which are great ideas but are somewhat tricky to implement depending on the business model...

1) By invite only site will limit the amount of photographers as well as the amount of clients. Although this has been used in the past by the "old ring" such as Getty Images, they have "change their mind" or better yet, they now understand the market trend and ended up acquiring IStockPhoto (and video) as well as Jupiter Images (with all their agencies such as stockxpert)

An invite only agency would be a boutiqe agency, again as I haver said I would not be looking for the masses that the current microstock agencies server. I would be looking for new markets. If I simply look to enter the market that is already being servered I can only succeed by taking market share from an existing player, a player that the current contributors are already submitting to. In that case I am simply robbing Peter to Pay Paul and the contributor gains nothing. A new agency absolutly must be about opeing new markets not seizing a piece of exsisting markets.

2) Approved Camera List
The idea is good, but has it flaws. As a professional in the television and post production industry I can tell you that it is the talent, not the camera. I have seem many material shot on "crappy camera" that look professional, I have seen "crappy material" shot on "expensive as hell" cameras.

Also, a far as I can tell, no agency have the capability of controlling this. What will prevent you from saying you used an "approved camera" when in fact you did not? How will a company know for sure which camera you did used? They have to go by what you say.

As I contributor I once did a sequence of videos that was done in a non-approved video camera. I knew it will get rejected if I mentioned, but I also knew this material was going to sell like hotcakes... I ended up finding the closest pro camera compared to the one I used and that is was approved by the site. Well, it was approved, it did sell like hotcake and it is still selling good in all sites. At the end of the day, I make them money, and I make money myself.

Ahh well this is a simple two part situation.

Part 1. Yes ultimately it is about the talent not the equipment but in the end the quality of the pixel has a tangible value and that is why there would be an approved camera list. I can take photos with an IPhone that are suitable for stock use on line but that does not maen an agency that would be focused on print work and high end agency work should accept them.

Part 2. Enforcment is simple, the camera data is included in the EXIF data of every digital photograph. If that data does not match the approved data in the DB then the image is rejected without inspection at upload Strip the exif data from the image before uploading andf the image gets rejected at upload without inspection..


7) This is a good idea, but it has a cost. As a contributor I rather gain 3% and submit my own metadata, at the end of the day after an image is submitted that is it, no more work with it, of course this is long term.  Now, there are many agencies that do the submission for you, but they require you to sign a 3-7 years contract. I have material in two of such sites, and I understand the cost of having the employees to do the work. It cost money and they want to protect that investment by signing contracts.

For a small startup business like us this is a big overhead. This is the reason why microstock implemented the idea and soon the big boys joined the concept.

Expense or not it comes down to controling keyword spam and providing the best possible search results in stock. I will say again, the agency that provides truly relavant search results for a library of high quality, high resolutin images created by working commercial photographers that understand, concept, color and execution will kick open new doors, doors that will bring buyers who will make purchases with zeros on the end of the bottom line.


11) The image rejection in a "yes or no manner" can backfire and it does not offer flexibility to the contributor. As a contributor, I want to be able to submit an image after I took the time to make the necessarily adjustments, images that I know for a fact is selling great in other sites... As a stock house I want contributors to have that freedom... How can they feel they are the backbone if they are being treated with limitations?

There is no real need for an agency dealing with working professional commercial photographers to have to open up a dialog with the contributor on image acceptance or rejection. The agency either chooses to represent the work or it doesn't. That is cut and dried. In an agency such as this it is images are exclusive, the submission of similars to other agencies is forbidden by contract and the agency will choose to represent the images from a batch that it feels have the greatest market value. Additional similars that might hurt the historic value of a better image would be rejected and that would be the end of it. After your contract period was up you would be free to submit them all elsewhere again. Making the choice to commit an entire shoot to exclusivity with one agent has to be carefully weighed and measured. Not all shoots should be exclusive content but if you work in this industry loing enough you come to recognize which ones would be better served by being part of a limited, exclusive collection.


12) This is what has been done in the past 15 years (or more). But the new trend in business is community base, the freedom to chat with fellow artists, exchange ideas, discuss equipment... All that has a business value, and of course as an agency we benefit from it... (it may also backfire)  That is even aside from the fact that having forum can increase awareness, reduce non-important technical support inquiries and just have the feeling of being part of something. We are social beings, it is embedded in our nature.

A collection of working professional photographers who are represented by personal agents from within the agency have no need for a community feeling at the agency. Socializing at work is counterproductive. As a worling pro if I find I have some free time to be social I will pick a community forum to go participate in. These days though it is rare, my time is predominately spent working to produce content and build my business. If I need to chat or join a discussion I have ready non partizen communities such as this one where I can interact with my peers. Or I can go to the Shutterstock forums which are hidden from buyer on a subitter only server. tThe truth is though that the forums there serve very little truly useful purpose other then as a ready escape and a place to waste ones time.



« Reply #82 on: July 18, 2009, 15:43 »
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Hi cevapcici - My email address is in my profile; it's not "hidden". I assume you all are able to see it as I can see those who listed one. If for some reason you weren't able to see my email address, it's [email protected]. Yes, that is our business name--and it's on my profile.

It sounded like you were being snarky about it but maybe that's just how it seemed rather than how you meant it. I use my actual name in posts too. If you don't choose to do so, that's your prerogative of course.

I have never and still don't understand all the secrecy in forums--not just here--and the paranoia about email addresses. I believe most people are good natured and wiling to help others if given half a chance. Sure, now and then you get burned, but I personally have had much more good than bad in my life so it's working for me.

Thanks for all the insight and helpful info you've all shared.

:)

« Reply #83 on: July 18, 2009, 16:50 »
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It sounded like you were being snarky about it but maybe that's just how it seemed rather than how you meant it. I use my actual name in posts too.
I'm sorry if it sounded snarky but it wasn't intended like that. I was just so amazed that you brought the anonymity issue up in a rather off-topic way in this discussion. As I said before, it's very easy to contact a member here by a private message, that's how forums work. In that case, you are also sure it's the person you were dealing with, while an email, certainly a buffer email on yahoo, gmail or hotmail, might not be the same person. It's also much faster and more direct to send a private message on the forum.

I have never and still don't understand all the secrecy in forums--not just here--and the paranoia about email addresses. I believe most people are good natured and wiling to help others if given half a chance. Sure, now and then you get burned, but I personally have had much more good than bad in my life so it's working for me.
The net is not always a nice place. As to this forum, it's frequently visited by site managers and reviewers, and taking clear stances can be adverse for business. Microstock is a crowd phenomenon. A site like Shutterstock for instance has 200,000 contributors. Relations between contributors and the site inevitably can't be as cordial and personal as on a 3D-modeling artists site were the artists are highly skilled and few. So probably, the kind of relation is totally different.

Also, there is just one or two leading 3D sites, while there are many microstock sites. Most microstocks have a much better attitude towards their contributors than others, so this forum about microstock is also about testing the good sites against the not so good ones, concerning attitude and sales. Once again, anonymity can help to be more clear and honest in this. If it's used to degrade a site, the community will correct that soon in a very clear and frank way.

Finally, this forum reflects on Google. Some people here have different lives and areas of interest. Some people might have a high profile in some other area, like for instance politics. Google can be your enemy if some creep start to combine info on Google.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 16:54 by cevapcici »

« Reply #84 on: July 19, 2009, 09:43 »
0
  8)   Send every one a V mask
 8)    Read the book / watch the movie
 8)    Apply it to microstock.

Ironic, V ? Could it be V-eer? ???
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 09:46 by Perseus »

« Reply #85 on: July 19, 2009, 11:12 »
0
Greetings Photoshow:

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I understand your point of view, it is also worth noting that I'm not necessarily in disagreement. My opinion was based considering various factors (and assumptions). The tile alone "if I have to start up a new microstock site" suggest we are talking about microstock sites, which by its nature is "compressed" by certain common features (I hesitated to use the word standard) that differentiate from the rest.

Addressing your comments:

1- You are correct about addressing keyword spam and quality keywords. There are many ways to address the "issue". I'd like to be "filtered" by the agency but not limiting the contributor and even the interaction between contributor and agency can produce positive results.

2- Invite only is fine, it is just another target and selected group. As mentioned earlier, I was based on the concept of microstock site which is how the thread started.

3- By no means I mean take a picture with an iphone and sell it as something else  :) Since this is a photographer site, I'm to assume the use of prosumer cameras and up are the norm. But now, after your technical explanation it makes it clear is a do-able thing. (Thanks for the info)

4- You are correct about expenses "shouldn't be an issue" when addressing metadata, but costs are are an intrinsic part of any business. Since we are assuming we are talking about microstock, this is one of the things that MS are known for, operating efficiently while reducing overheads. Certainly this issues are addressed when the site has been operating for a while. Keep in mind, many microstock sites start with private funding or seed investors who, depending the factors, use their resources "wisely" and accounting for future re-do or "fixes" as the machinery is running "properly" In the same manner I'm not denying the possibility of such agency (your proposal) to start with limited resources.

At the end, is not a matter of right or wrong, just different point of views. Nonetheless, if the title didn't included the word "microstock" I most likely wouldn't give an opinion in the first place.

Thanks again for your comments.

Kind regards.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 21:50 by photovideo »

« Reply #86 on: July 21, 2009, 07:38 »
0
In current agencies the thumbnails have a maximum width and height. That is favoring the square format (it gets the biggest thumbnails). To crop a normal DSLR aspect ratio to a square sounds plain stupid, even if they say it may result in more sales. In my agency, the thumbnails would be generated to be the same size, ie. to have the same amount of pixels. (this will only work for images between DSLR aspect ratio and square, not panoramas - even if I would sure like panoramas to look bigger.)


« Reply #87 on: July 21, 2009, 22:14 »
0
My own opinions, it's always a catch 22.

1. Without sales - you cannot attract contribution.
2. Without content - you cannot attract sales.

If you want exclusives, but you don't have a proven track record, why would anyone want to supply you with EXCLUSIVE IMAGES?

Even if you had deep pockets, would you pay a good amount to get images into your database? And what would be the trigger point for photographers to send exclusive work to you?


 

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