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Author Topic: If shutterstock introduces exclusivity  (Read 15205 times)

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« on: June 30, 2014, 07:43 »
+1
Judging from the poll and my own earning, I think it would nearly instant kill other sites but would that be good for the industry in the long run?


ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 07:44 »
+10
No, monopolies are seldom, if ever, a good idea for suppliers: no place to run.
It could work well in the short term, raise prices and contributor percentages, but then ...

« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 08:02 »
+10

It is highly unlikely to ever happen, based on things Jon has said about exclusivity. They didn't even make it a part of Offset, and I see no reason to believe it is even a minor consideration for Shutterstock itself.

Besides, even if it did happen I don't think it would be as enticing an offer as people suspect it will be. At best they'd offer double what they pay non-exclusive artists, which still wouldn't be enough for people like me who make less than half of their income from Shutterstock.

And even for those that it did make financial sense to consider, it still would be a high-risk move going all-in with one company. I'm not sure that any company could ever offer me enough to work only with them.


« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 08:59 »
+2
I'm sure it would be attractive to a lot of contributors, but it would probably make the rest of us happy seeing a lot of our competitors flock to one site.

« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 09:10 »
0
I would never consider exclusivity with shutterstock, I now make more at DT & FT and even 123 is gaining on them.

« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 09:27 »
+3
I would never consider exclusivity with shutterstock, I now make more at DT & FT and even 123 is gaining on them.

So the behavior of the other agencies isn't even a consideration?

« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 10:30 »
+2
I think a collection of exclusive images would be interesting. So that they can really target the mid stock section of stock. It is easier to justify higher prices if the content is exclusive.

« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 10:42 »
+1
I think a collection of exclusive images would be interesting. So that they can really target the mid stock section of stock. It is easier to justify higher prices if the content is exclusive.

I don't think Shutter needs exclusivity to justify their prices - judging from my SOD royalties, which are higher on average than those from any other agency, including Alamy. Nevertheless, I'd probably go for image exclusivity with my bestsellers, It's never gonna hapen, though.

« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 11:07 »
+8
Unless Jon Oringer has no involvement with Shutterstock in any capacity, I don't expect to see exclusivity - artist or image - at Shutterstock (I'm excluding Offset as it's not included in the pricing plans on Shutterstock).

He's said no - often H*ll No - over and over again.

At this point, I wouldn't trust any agency with artist exclusivity, although I would consider image exclusivity as long as there wasn't a long lock in period. Things change. Agencies get purchased. Powerful companies throw their weight around - exhibit A would be Getty which has reduced royalties for photographers and musicians steadily with everything they've acquired. And that is on purpose - they control distribution to be able to control their costs as well as prices to buyers.

Shutterstock is my biggest earner and I wish they weren't. They need some serious competition. For the moment, if they can keep going after Getty's business with higher end clients, that will benefit those of us who are with Shutterstock and not with Getty (and I realize those who are still exclusive with iStock won't feel the same way).

Given Getty's track record and Jon Oringer versus Jonathan Klein, I'd go with Oringer and Shutterstock if I had to pick a single agency, but I'd go to pretty much any lengths to avoid picking a single agency again (been there before and left).

« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2014, 15:27 »
+4
A number of posts were removed from this thread.  One off topic post and one insult and the posts that went along with them.

In regards to posting stock market data for Shutterstock.  Yes it is interested and relevant but it is off topic in regards to exclusive / non-exclusive.  It can be kept to a separate thread about investing or Shutterstock stocks.

« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2014, 15:36 »
0
A number of posts were removed from this thread.  One off topic post and one insult and the posts that went along with them.

In regards to posting stock market data for Shutterstock.  Yes it is interested and relevant but it is off topic in regards to exclusive / non-exclusive.  It can be kept to a separate thread about investing or Shutterstock stocks.

Why did you remove my post? It was a direct reply to the OP's question and offered different perspectives for the case. You could have simply removed a line you didn't like.

This place desperately needs a little interaction between posters. You are making it so dry and humourless that you will just be left with the newbies asking the same old questions time and time again.

« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 15:52 »
+6
You are right, your one post did have some good things to say.  I don't always feel like picking and pruning people's posts to take out the insults however.  If there is nonesense in them then it's easier just to remove the entire post.  If someone doesn't want their post removed they should leave out the insults.

Things don't get deleted however, they get moved to a hidden area.  Here is your post (without the jabs) if you'd like to copy and paste it as your own.

Judging from the poll and my own earning, I think it would nearly instant kill other sites but would that be good for the industry in the long run?

It certainly could have some positive benefits for both us and SS themselves. SS have not raised subscription prices since 2008. That's largely because they are competing with DT, FT and others who all have the same images, essentially selling the same product.  If SS had exclusive-only images then it might be able to increase prices for subscription packages and single-image sales ... and thereby increase royalties too.

As contributors the over-supply of content is our biggest current problem and also the biggest threat to our future incomes. If each agency had exclusive-only content then they would have to compete against each other for the work of the best contributors. That would be their worst nightmare (especially for the likes of FT) ... but it would almost certainly be better for contributors.

Exclusivity worked brilliantly for Istock (and their contributors) until the mothership simply became too greedy and screwed it all up.

« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 16:47 »
-4
I would never consider exclusivity with shutterstock, I now make more at DT & FT and even 123 is gaining on them.

So the behavior of the other agencies isn't even a consideration?

More censorship?

I responded to the question above and posted factual information to back up why I feel the way I do about many of the agencies, including shutterstock. That is not off topic.

I also let people know why I posted factual information and explained why these facts would lead me not be choose to go exclusive with shutterstock or any other agency. 

Back to the regularly scheduled programming, the sanitation here smacks of agency protectionism.   
 

« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 17:39 »
+6
I remember reading the announcement by SS regarding this and they said that their ability to provide the fastest and most accurate search results to customers is part of the secret of their success, and if they gave exclusivity to some contributors, their images must take priority in the search, and this would interfere with getting the right image to the right customer. (I hope that makes sense ... please correct me if I am wrong).

So, it is not win-win-win situation for everyone - the customers lose, SS lose and only exclusive contributors win. So its not a good idea all round.

« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 18:00 »
+2
No way I would be SS exclusive. It would be good only to reduce competition in other agencies.

Tror

« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2014, 19:00 »
+4
I do not feel any loyalty for shutterstock nor do I think exclusivity would be healthy for my income on the long run.

They had been one of the first sites and they managed to screw up less than the other ones, thats about it. Yes, they bring in money, but that does not mean that this was/is done in a healthy way. Actually, I reduce my uplaods to them to not further devaluate niche material.

And I do not think they care about contributors. Basically something I need to be able to trust and compromise.

Contributors requests get ignored, may it be the awful incompetence when it comes to inspection, the lazy attitude regarding the individual opt-out for sensitive usage for those of us who do not want to bring their models in a bad situation (and consequently themselves legally), the (for some of us) terribly complicated situation to withdraw money since they are one of the last sites who refuse to offer payoneer (or whatever other payout option other than pp/skrill or sending retro papers across the globe who likely disappear on their way lol).

Why should I deepen my bond to such a site?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 19:05 by Tror »

« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2014, 22:17 »
-1
I remember reading the announcement by SS regarding this and they said that their ability to provide the fastest and most accurate search results to customers is part of the secret of their success, and if they gave exclusivity to some contributors, their images must take priority in the search, and this would interfere with getting the right image to the right customer. (I hope that makes sense ... please correct me if I am wrong).

So, it is not win-win-win situation for everyone - the customers lose, SS lose and only exclusive contributors win. So its not a good idea all round.

http://jonoringer.com/2013/01/13/why-going-exclusive-as-a-microstock-photographer-doesnt-work/
Snip

January 13, 2013
Why going exclusive as a microstock photographer doesnt work.

Shutterstock has gone through many iterations to become what it is today. I started with 30,000 of my own images and today we have a dynamic marketplace with over 20 million assets, 35,000 active contributors, and more than 550,000 customers. Today Shutterstock is the volume leader in the stock photography space, selling more than 2 images per second.

The marketplace for imagery that weve created could have gone in several directions, but weve learned a lot about both image buyers and image sellers over the past 9 years. I often get the question from buyers, sellers, investors, and press: why dont you encourage contributors to become exclusive at Shutterstock? All of our competitors that are close to our scale offer exclusivity, but we do not. The answer seems simple to us, but its complex if you arent as close as we are to the business. The bottom line is that as a microstock photographer it just doesnt make sense to be exclusive to any one agency. Here are the reasons why:

1) No longer is content the only competitive advantage, data is also a large component. To some this may not seem intuitive. We sell creative assets and at first glance one would think that having exclusive assets would be an advantage. We add over 10,000 images each day to our library of over 20 million images. Weve sold over a quarter of a billion assets over the past 9 years. We have an incredible amount of data on these downloads. We know what search leads to what image, and at this point we can practically read the users mind in 14 different languages. Shutterstock is the volume leader, and therefore we are the data leader. In several languages we use the data we have to display the best search results for any given query. We obsess over search success and if we can reduce the time it takes to get from search to download by a tenth of a second, we win that day. We iterate over and over and use whatever data we have to continuously find the best image for the customer. The best image for a given search isnt one that another agency doesnt have, its the one that will get chosen and downloaded. Out of over 20 million images, with 10,000 more each day, were likely to have the image you need. We believe that if we can get the right product to the buyer the buyer the quickest, we win in the end. Having exclusive royalty free content is of no advantage when a buyer is going to choose where to buy a photo its getting a relevant photo the quickest. To see the user of this data in action, go ahead and try a search on Shutterstock and compare it the same search on our competitors sites.

2) As a democratized marketplace, we believe in fairness. From the start I have believed that fighting for business will make Shutterstock the best product. By selling more of a contributors work, we build lasting relationships that are built on sales not contracts that tie you to your distributor. If a contributor can make more with a certain image at another agency, then they should sell that image at another agency. This attitude makes the Shutterstock marketplace stronger in the long run because we have to continuously fight for both sides of the marketplace. At Shutterstock we take nothing for granted, and we like it this way.

3) As a marketplace, in order to guarantee that the buyer gets the right photo every time they search, no photo can be more special than another. Every single image at Shutterstock will cost the same once you have bought a subscription or image pack. This is unlike any other photo marketplace.

Image marketplaces that offer exclusivity to contributors must favor certain images. The sort order of each search has to favor exclusives in order to keep the exclusive relationship. If you arent selling more images at a higher price, why will they continue to stay exclusive? Are images that are held exclusively of better quality or more relevant to the search? This isnt the metric to measure a specific search on. Are images that make the most money for the contributor or the agency the best image for a specific query? No. At Shutterstock we get to concentrate on one metric search success. While other agencies sort their search results based on maximizing revenue, we maximize on search success.

4) Since all images are royalty free, exclusivity isnt an advantage to the buyer. An exclusive image doesnt mean that the image was used less than a non-exclusive image.

At Shutterstock we have a long term view. We believe that the image the customer wants is the best search result. By keeping things simple, not favoring exclusive images, and iterating on metrics like search success, we feel like we will be more and more successful for both our buyers and our sellers over the long term.

Jon


« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2014, 00:21 »
+2
I'll do the same for you gbalex as I did for gostwyk  Here is the start of your post

I would never consider exclusivity with shutterstock, I now make more at DT & FT and even 123 is gaining on them.
So the behavior of the other agencies isn't even a consideration?
No I absolutely do look at the behavior of the other agencies. I no longer have a port at IS, I opted out of DPC and no longer upload to FT

That said lets talk about Shutterstocks behavior. They have not raised sub prices in many years and admit to doing this to gain market share.

I know that many are pinning their hopes for the future on shutterstock because they have been punished severely at other agencies. No one knows this better than Sean. However what many here would like to ignore is that shutterstock is treating a good number of the contributors who made it successful the same way IS and FT have. I know my own port has been punished in the searches and my income has dropped 60%.

It is difficult to see the reality of the situation at shutterstock when so many new comers are enjoying the new contributor bump. However it might be wise to examine just who is in control of your future if you pin your hopes on a company that is now controlled by the venture cap crowd.

I have no illusions that in the coming years they will treat new comers any differently; than they are currently treating many of the contributors who helped them become successful over the years.

At shutterstock the downward slide for many contributors started when Jon brought in outside venture capitol investors, prior to the IPO the first thing they did was make changes that would enable them to manipulate the search.

« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2014, 10:14 »
+1
Nicely done Leaf.  But you should not have to spend so much effort on editing posts separTing wheat from chaff.   If people could be adults it would be better. 

For example if people want to quote long articles and stats they found online they could just post a link to those rather than pasting the whole thing.  Isn't that proper nettiquette anyhow?

« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2014, 11:04 »
+1
Nicely done Leaf.  But you should not have to spend so much effort on editing posts separTing wheat from chaff.   If people could be adults it would be better. 

For example if people want to quote long articles and stats they found online they could just post a link to those rather than pasting the whole thing.  Isn't that proper nettiquette anyhow?

Let's not be too serious. I'm sure he's doing it with good will.


Now I barely want to upload to other agencies other than SS and iS. My images are types that do well on subscription model. This is like soft exclusivity.

« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2014, 11:07 »
-5
Over time I have found that few have the stomach or inclination to uncover the cold hard facts. Life is more pleasant when viewed through rose colored glasses.

When this site began most of the people who visited here came to discus the cold hard facts of business, many of those people have moved on for one reason or another.

When this site censored my post by removing the cold hard facts, information which took several months to gather. Documentation taken directly from the SEC & Insight Venture Partner sites, it reduced my post above to just one persons opinion, which it is not.

Granted most people do not want take the time to uncover the reality of the situation and most people will not take the time to read nor understand it. However I posted a good deal of information that is relevant and important to contributors as business people and most contributors do not have the time or inclination to do their own research or read threads about SSTK stock.

Leaf left the longer post above that Jon wrote, but removed the actual documentation that is crucial to understand just who we are dealing with, when making business decisions regarding our future.

I am sure shutterstock much prefers the censored version which leaves the false perception that Jon is still in control of shutterstock intact.

« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2014, 11:24 »
+7
Over time I have found that few have the stomach or inclination to uncover the cold hard facts. Life is more pleasant when viewed through rose colored glasses.

When this site began most of the people who visited here came to discus the cold hard facts of business, many of those people have moved on for one reason or another.

When this site censored my post by removing the cold hard facts, information which took several months to gather. Documentation taken directly from the SEC & Insight Venture Partner sites, it reduced my post above to just one persons opinion, which it is not.

Granted most people do not want take the time to uncover the reality of the situation and most people will not take the time to read nor understand it. However I posted a good deal of information that is relevant and important to contributors as business people and most contributors do not have the time or inclination to do their own research or read threads about SSTK stock.

Leaf left the longer post above that Jon wrote, but removed the actual documentation that is crucial to understand just who we are dealing with, when making business decisions regarding our future.

I am sure shutterstock much prefers the censored version which leaves the false perception that Jon is still in control of shutterstock intact.

Not to discount any research that went into it, but is there really anything being hidden from us? Most of it seems pretty much on the surface for us to see right in front of us.

« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2014, 12:48 »
+6
it is part of shutters brand to not have exclusives.
among several reasons, one is overlooked: quality.


By not having exclusivety, shutterstock get the best content, because they can attract a group of photographers with high earning images, who can already sell them well at other outlets, but also want to sweep up the crums from microstock.

Exclusivety is a double edged sword, it only works when the return is high enough to keep the best photographers in the stable.
and exclusivety is dangerous, as it may develop into a kindergarden when the return is falling and the imprisoned artists are not encouraged to evolve.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 13:33 by JPSDK »

« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2014, 12:57 »
0
Over time I have found that few have the stomach or inclination to uncover the cold hard facts. Life is more pleasant when viewed through rose colored glasses.

When this site began most of the people who visited here came to discus the cold hard facts of business, many of those people have moved on for one reason or another.

When this site censored my post by removing the cold hard facts, information which took several months to gather. Documentation taken directly from the SEC & Insight Venture Partner sites, it reduced my post above to just one persons opinion, which it is not.

Granted most people do not want take the time to uncover the reality of the situation and most people will not take the time to read nor understand it. However I posted a good deal of information that is relevant and important to contributors as business people and most contributors do not have the time or inclination to do their own research or read threads about SSTK stock.

Leaf left the longer post above that Jon wrote, but removed the actual documentation that is crucial to understand just who we are dealing with, when making business decisions regarding our future.

I am sure shutterstock much prefers the censored version which leaves the false perception that Jon is still in control of shutterstock intact.


Not to discount any research that went into it, but is there really anything being hidden from us? Most of it seems pretty much on the surface for us to see right in front of us.

If that is the case I do not see anyone here discussing it. For instance in this thread most seem to feel that Jon is still making the decisions at shutterstock, when that has not been the case for some time.

I have never seen anyone mention that Insight Venture Partners worked closely with Jon, to recruit the new executive team at Shutterstock, in particular the President, CFO, CTO, VPCD and other mid-level managers. http://www.insightpartners.com/assets/Uploads/SuccessStory/Shutterstock.pdf

Or that Jeff Lieberman a Board Director At Shutterstock, Inc. and an Independent Director at Shutterstock, Inc. is also a Managing Director at Insight Venture Management LLC.

I have never heard anyone here mention that Insight Venture Partners Tech Support mentored and worked closely with shutterstock's existing technology development team prior to James Chou CTO joining Shutterstock to develop a new search.

Or that Insight Venture Partners Introduced James Chou who is now Chief Technology Officer at Shutterstock, to Shutterstock from Insights network. He is the person responsible for overseeing and developing the new search at Shutterstock and they have been overseeing it's development from the beginning.

I have never heard anyone mention that David Fraga VPCD- Vice President, Corporate Development at Shutterstock was Previously an Insight Venture Partners Employee as an Analyst at Insight Venture Partners

http://tinyurl.com/mubpw4m

I wont recap what I found when looking into insider trades in regarding to Insight Venture Partners in its various renditions or insider trades for the new the member of new executive team at Shutterstock which Insight Venture Partners had a key role in appointing.


« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2014, 13:44 »
+4
If that is the case I do not see anyone here discussing it. For instance in this thread most seem to feel that Jon is still making the decisions at shutterstock, when that has not been the case for some time.

While some of their corporate structure can definitely end up affecting us in regards to exclusivity and beyond, it really doesn't affect us until it does. I don't say that to sound like I'm not preparing for worse case scenarios or not paying attention to what is happening. It's just that whether they announce a chimp, Jon or the Dalai Lama is running the place, I can still only really go off of what I/we think will happen or what they say they are doing. And most of those tea leaves are read aloud here on a regular basis.


 

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