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Author Topic: If I had to start up a new microstock site  (Read 20734 times)

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« 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

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« 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 Exciting News 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 »
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.


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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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 »
0
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?


 

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