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Author Topic: In defense of the corporate pigs  (Read 13441 times)

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« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2010, 15:58 »
0
New member with one post which hmmm is written almost entirely from an owners perspective.  Albeit an owner who is worried about the effects this forum and the collective awakening of its members will have on his business.

That's exactly what I thought. Sounds like the sort of message that a certain COO would have loved to have written on his own forum __ but wouldn't have dared.


KB

« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2010, 17:18 »
0
iStock is one place that trapped many contributors with their promises of bigger commissions for those who went exclusive with a deadline of August 31st just one month before their big announcement. That is why people want them to be accountable for what they have done. They would have known what was going on before the announcement. If their business was losing money by keeping the current commission rate earned by the different canister levels then why in the world would they want more to join just to take higher commissions? If that isn't misleading on their part I don't know what is. That's what it's all about. Many of the exclusives can't just pack up and leave because they have no portfolios anywhere else because of the broken promises.
Exactly what I would have written had I posted before you, Donna. Very well said, thank you.

I believe I was materially harmed by iStock. I believe I was knowingly misled. iStock managed to ruin years of goodwill in one, quick move. It isn't something I'm going to get over. My choices now are to leave exclusivity and start over from scratch at other agencies, or remain exclusive and accept a reduced commission in 2011. Neither choice is appealing, and both means I will lose money from what I "should" have been making. Had I been given the complete facts ahead of time, I would not have chosen exclusivity.

I'm not complaining as much as stating what they have done.

Microbius

« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2010, 17:40 »
0
I accepted that it wasn't much different from producing a product and getting it into WalMart and having to agree to their terms to get onto their shelves. 

Yep, and just like the big supermarkets IStock bought out the competition and shut it down or drove it into the ground and is now in the position where it can screw the suppliers mercilessly. Just like the supermarkets do the farmers.
I don't think  the OP has a clue how markets work. They don't work by one side lying down and taking whatever shafting the other dishes out. We're putting upward pressure on our share, duh, that's what we do.

« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2010, 17:52 »
0
Incentives were promised to exclusives and have now been reneged on.
In essence these were contractual obligations.

A good litigator out to be able to prove that harm was done to this class.

« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2010, 18:40 »
0
I'm the last one to complain about those who complain. I love to carp about the strange goings-on in this business. It's one of life's pleasures that those of us who have no water cooler to gather around can enjoy here.

So....

I very carefully read stockmarketer's post and found it to be exactly on target. Absolutely accurate. I agree with every point he made. My only complaint is that I would have written it a bit "softer" so as not to even come close to a charge of being preachy by the thinner skinned among us. Oops, I hope that doesn't sound condescending.

Anyway, I've long advocated the "get out of the kitchen" action if one takes particular offense at one site or another -- sites all need to be taken down a notch or two from time to time. But that's the hand we've been dealt. I'm reminded of the guy who was asked why he kept playing poker with a group known for cheating. He answered, "it's the only game in town."

ShadySue

« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2010, 19:11 »
0
iStock is one place that trapped many contributors with their promises of bigger commissions for those who went exclusive with a deadline of August 31st just one month before their big announcement.

It was even worse than that. The bombshell was dropped on September 8th.
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=251812&page=1

RT


« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2010, 19:22 »
0
I very carefully read stockmarketer's post and found it to be exactly on target. Absolutely accurate. I agree with every point he made.

Actually so do I mostly, this is a business and it needs to be treated as such. The only thing that annoys me (and 'stockmarketer' if you are a CEO of a big agency this applies to you) is when the company management make statements on their forums that is downright insulting to anybody with a shred of intelligence.

So if this is a business and the agencies want it to be treated as such I'd appreciate it if the management could cut the 'community' rubbish and act like business managers.

« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2010, 19:44 »
0
Without delving into long discussions about the history of cheating in business - which is very long; the milled edges to coins and weights & measures laws in many countries as but two examples - "it's just business" doesn't tell the whole story.

While there are many people who are honest regardless of laws or consequences, there are many more who will just do whatever they can get away with. This is why we have laws regulating business conduct in most of Western Europe and the US (I'm guessing in many other parts of the world as well, but I just don't know enough to speak of those). The notion is that business can flourish when customers can trust that purchase of a given weight of a described product is actually that weight and actually that product.

Protest by customers and suppliers when things aren't right is one of the ways major problems get fixed. Sometimes people vote with their feet and move elsewhere (the move from traditional stock to microstock being an example). To my way of thinking there's a lot that's right about the microstock sites even though there are problems. Before walking away, it's worth trying to push for some changes. 

On a separate topic, the notion that business and communities are totally separate is a relatively recent notion. For a long time businesses were closely tied to the communities in which they were located. Things in the last 30-50 years have changed a bit, particularly in the US, but suggesting that business and community must inevitably be separate seems to ignore a lot of possibilities.

So somewhere between "A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do" and "Greed is good" there has to be some sort of middle ground.

« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2010, 20:10 »
0
What on earth is the point of joining the forums and starting a post to complain that we're all a bunch of whiners?
priceless! ;D

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2010, 21:02 »
0
iStock is one place that trapped many contributors with their promises of bigger commissions for those who went exclusive with a deadline of August 31st just one month before their big announcement.

It was even worse than that. The bombshell was dropped on September 8th.
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=251812&page=1


Whoops sorry I stand corrected.. ;)
I meant to say the month before meaning August... ;D

jbarber873

« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2010, 21:31 »
0
Hi Lobo.. welcome to MSG where you dont have the power to shut down complaints in the forum.

   I don't think this is Lobo. Lobo is unable to put more than 2 sentences together at once. Of course, this could have been written by the PR department. ;D

« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2010, 21:56 »
0
The poster is right - ultimately voting with our feet and walking is our final recourse.

BUT

when some agency decides to change things to our serious detriment, first we are going to try to complain. When that doesn't work, we will possibly try to influence buyers.

Meanwhile expect the people getting shafted to spend a lot of time complaining to each other. That is what we are doing here.

Starting up a site isn't really a very viable option for most of us.

And when we see BS, we will call BS here where we won't get thrown out (hopefully).

If the site managers want to start up a site where they can complain about the submitters, they should do it. I'd love to read some of their posts.

« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2010, 22:31 »
0
Hi Lobo.. welcome to MSG where you dont have the power to shut down complaints in the forum.

   I don't think this is Lobo. Lobo is unable to put more than 2 sentences together at once. Of course, this could have been written by the PR department. ;D

ROFL. Also there was no mention of tacos or pie.

« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2010, 00:16 »
0
I very carefully read stockmarketer's post and found it to be exactly on target. Absolutely accurate. I agree with every point he made.
+1 - the OP got a heart - a very revealing and wakening-up post.

I kept out of the iStock complaining threads since it serves no purpose and it takes time. Since iStock (and microstock in general in the limit) is "unsustainable" for me, I basically stopped uploading. Not as a "punishment" but since it makes no sense to buy props and spend hours in Photoshop working for 1$ per hour.

I agree with the OP that it is "capitalism" that steered the downfall of the (small) contributors, but in a less favorable way than he does. He probably meant "free market", but real capitalism is the worst enemy of a free market. Both are different.

In the Marxist framework, capitalism is the phenomenon whereby capital goods (production means like land, machines, capital)  or leverage becomes concentrated in the hands of a few, mainly by not giving a fair reward to the workers by alienating the fruits of their labor.
Free market is the phenomenon whereby the price for a good or service is only determined by the invisible hand that matches supply and demand. In the free market, value is not determined by the intrinsic value of a product or the work you've put in it, but by what someone else wants to pay for it. In stock, the saleability of an image is not determined by the time you put into a shot and the post-processing or the cost of the props and models, but how the buyers estimate it by buying it or not. As such, the free market can be more cruel than just capitalism but it's fair since it offers a flat transparent play-field to all players with no entrance hurdles like (a lot of) capital.

As to the big stock corporations, they didn't start as capitalists. They started with almost nothing (like Google) but they had an idea (calling it "vision" in hindsight) that by mere chance, took off. The first mice get the cheese but the pioneers also are the ones that get the arrows in their back. There are many more pioneers than mice. You can't really tell in advance or everybody would be rich. There is also no special merit in being rewarded by the market with a particular venture since it's all about guessing, failing and scoring - by chance. A monkey is still as successful in predicting Stock Exchange fluctuations as a financial guru. The "vision" thing is only applied later, like in Evolution. Many organisms try, a few are rewarded and control the species thereafter.

There are a few people with real vision, like Steve Jobs. He proved himself time after time by introducing new original products. Stock corporations didn't prove themselves at all. They don't make their products, they merely distribute them. Doing so, they destroyed the free market by becoming oligopolies, like every capitalist loves to do: full control of the market by omnipresence. They accumulated their wealth by alienating a part of the earning of image creators and let them and them alone take the burden of the free market, fighting and eating each other. Creator A loses, creator B wins. The agency doesn't care: it always wins.

The model that the OP proposes for the disgruntled ("start your own site, sell yourself") has face value but doesn't make sense since the free market is gone. Nobody can invest enough capital to fight the oligopolists any more. No RF site started after 2005 ever made it, even if they were better.

Yes it's capitalism, and the freedom it offers is illusory. It's the freedom to starve. What for instance, does freedom of speech means when you can't pay a medium to be heard? What's the freedom of press worth if you don't own a press? What does freedom of education mean for someone that can't pay college fees?
It's all as illusory as democray, where the outcome of the voting process is largely determined by the guy with the deepest pockets to buy advertisement space and time.

Who can blame them? "Start your own site"  ;D Or vote with your feet: thousands of new feet are born every day. The oligopolists can only be beaten by their own game: a Google-like super-search engine that also offers price comparison. This might restore the free market again. Maybe.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 00:50 by FD-regular »

« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2010, 00:31 »
0
New member with one post which hmmm is written almost entirely from an owners perspective.  Albeit an owner who is worried about the effects this forum and the collective awakening of its members will have on his business.

That's exactly what I thought. Sounds like the sort of message that a certain COO would have loved to have written on his own forum __ but wouldn't have dared.

I agree, the details of pride in accomplishment, calls to do better, lack of empathy for folks with reduced margins and righteous indignation are all there.  
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 09:06 by gbalex »

RacePhoto

« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2010, 03:38 »
0
I believe capitalism works well but needs some regulation/rules or union opposition.  Just look at the mess the banks got in to after years of deregulation.  There are several industries where the suppliers have been squeezed so hard they can barely survive while others are making huge profits from them.  I have never joined a union but if that's the only way to put the brakes on the sites moving further towards taking nearly all our earnings, then I'm interested.

We aren't really free to start our own site.  Who here has the money to do that?  A few of the big contributors could but they are either satisfied with their earnings or are moving on to macro.  In a perfect world, we could all go to a site that pays a decent commission and take all the buyers with us but that isn't going to happen.  I wish it would but too many people go along with whatever changes the sites make until its too late to do anything about it.

And some people think that uploading everything to 20 agencies to diversify and spread things out, is helping them, when what it's doing is diluting the sales, so no one has a dominant position and contributes to the price cutting and price war that's going on. As soon as a price is cut, the first person to lose is just as you have pointed out. The supplier gets squeezed.

That and your theory, which I don't entirely disagree with, assumes that there is a microstock "site that pays a decent commission". :D I don't see one?

As for the OP I've often said that no one is holding us hostage, no one is forcing us to sell images for peanuts. Anyone can walk away and do something else. After that, your post sounds more like someone who runs an agency than someone who supplies images to one. Actually it sounds like someone who runs a coal mine that doesn't have a union to protect workers, telling them how they are lucky to have jobs at all.

RacePhoto

« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2010, 03:40 »
0
What on earth is the point of joining the forums and starting a post to complain that we're all a bunch of whiners?

Yeah, there should be a rule that they have to read the complaints and constant crying for six months, before announcing that we're a bunch of whiners! :D


« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2010, 04:06 »
0
...No RF site started after 2005 ever made it, even if they were better...
I was starting to believe you on that one but Graphic Leftovers are perhaps the exception to that rule.  Veer have also had some success but they had Corbis behind them.

« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2010, 04:48 »
0
...No RF site started after 2005 ever made it, even if they were better...
I was starting to believe you on that one but Graphic Leftovers are perhaps the exception to that rule.  Veer have also had some success but they had Corbis behind them.
Don't praise the day before the evening.  ;) Featurepics is still around.
My painting of RF stock was a bit gloomy. Achilles really cares for his brainchild DT, as witnessed by his flames when somebody says something bad about it. Shutterstock is drama-free and keeps on yielding top earnings. FT, well, ahem....
iStock apparently has become the empire of evil but it still has the best reviewers and it's home to top photographers. Once the "investors" are gone with their hefty bonuses, it might change again to the place it used to be. Who knows... never say never.

« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2010, 05:30 »
0
...And some people think that uploading everything to 20 agencies to diversify and spread things out, is helping them, when what it's doing is diluting the sales, so no one has a dominant position and contributes to the price cutting and price war that's going on. As soon as a price is cut, the first person to lose is just as you have pointed out. The supplier gets squeezed...
I disagree, there are lots of examples where there are 1 or 2 big companies that have cornered the market and they make it so difficult for their suppliers that they can only just survive.  Do you really think istock would pay us more money if they were the only site?  We would probably be on 1% commission by now.

« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2010, 06:43 »
0
What on earth is the point of joining the forums and starting a post to complain that we're all a bunch of whiners?

Yeah, there should be a rule that they have to read the complaints and constant crying for six months, before announcing that we're a bunch of whiners! :D

Uh Oh!  I think this is whining about complainers whining about complainers complaining about whiners!

Oh No! I am now complaining about whining about complainers whining about complainers complaining about whiners!!!

Will it ever end!!!

c h e e r s
fred

« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2010, 07:31 »
0
Uh Oh!  I think this is whining about complainers whining about complainers complaining about whiners!
No it isn't. What's your point?

« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2010, 08:11 »
0

... called capitalism...


Ah yes, unrestrained capitalism.  It worked so well in the 1920's.  You remember - robber barons - 12 hour days - 6 day weeks.

c h e e r s
fred
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 11:11 by Fred »

jbarber873

« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2010, 10:05 »
0
I very carefully read stockmarketer's post and found it to be exactly on target. Absolutely accurate. I agree with every point he made.
+1 - the OP got a heart - a very revealing and wakening-up post.

I kept out of the iStock complaining threads since it serves no purpose and it takes time. Since iStock (and microstock in general in the limit) is "unsustainable" for me, I basically stopped uploading. Not as a "punishment" but since it makes no sense to buy props and spend hours in Photoshop working for 1$ per hour.

I agree with the OP that it is "capitalism" that steered the downfall of the (small) contributors, but in a less favorable way than he does. He probably meant "free market", but real capitalism is the worst enemy of a free market. Both are different.

In the Marxist framework, capitalism is the phenomenon whereby capital goods (production means like land, machines, capital)  or leverage becomes concentrated in the hands of a few, mainly by not giving a fair reward to the workers by alienating the fruits of their labor.
Free market is the phenomenon whereby the price for a good or service is only determined by the invisible hand that matches supply and demand. In the free market, value is not determined by the intrinsic value of a product or the work you've put in it, but by what someone else wants to pay for it. In stock, the saleability of an image is not determined by the time you put into a shot and the post-processing or the cost of the props and models, but how the buyers estimate it by buying it or not. As such, the free market can be more cruel than just capitalism but it's fair since it offers a flat transparent play-field to all players with no entrance hurdles like (a lot of) capital.

As to the big stock corporations, they didn't start as capitalists. They started with almost nothing (like Google) but they had an idea (calling it "vision" in hindsight) that by mere chance, took off. The first mice get the cheese but the pioneers also are the ones that get the arrows in their back. There are many more pioneers than mice. You can't really tell in advance or everybody would be rich. There is also no special merit in being rewarded by the market with a particular venture since it's all about guessing, failing and scoring - by chance. A monkey is still as successful in predicting Stock Exchange fluctuations as a financial guru. The "vision" thing is only applied later, like in Evolution. Many organisms try, a few are rewarded and control the species thereafter.

There are a few people with real vision, like Steve Jobs. He proved himself time after time by introducing new original products. Stock corporations didn't prove themselves at all. They don't make their products, they merely distribute them. Doing so, they destroyed the free market by becoming oligopolies, like every capitalist loves to do: full control of the market by omnipresence. They accumulated their wealth by alienating a part of the earning of image creators and let them and them alone take the burden of the free market, fighting and eating each other. Creator A loses, creator B wins. The agency doesn't care: it always wins.

The model that the OP proposes for the disgruntled ("start your own site, sell yourself") has face value but doesn't make sense since the free market is gone. Nobody can invest enough capital to fight the oligopolists any more. No RF site started after 2005 ever made it, even if they were better.

Yes it's capitalism, and the freedom it offers is illusory. It's the freedom to starve. What for instance, does freedom of speech means when you can't pay a medium to be heard? What's the freedom of press worth if you don't own a press? What does freedom of education mean for someone that can't pay college fees?
It's all as illusory as democray, where the outcome of the voting process is largely determined by the guy with the deepest pockets to buy advertisement space and time.

Who can blame them? "Start your own site"  ;D Or vote with your feet: thousands of new feet are born every day. The oligopolists can only be beaten by their own game: a Google-like super-search engine that also offers price comparison. This might restore the free market again. Maybe.





    This is a very thoughtful post, and well worth considering. Thanks for the effort to put it together!  To your last point, a couple of years ago at the PDN photo show, there was a seminar about selling stock in todays market ( or something like that ), and one point that one of the presenters made was that 40% of stock sales start as a google search. Google image search could very easily evolve with pricing comparison, given how much Google likes to get in other companies businesses and give it away for free. Although this might increase competition, it might also accelerate the race to the bottom for pricing of commodity images.

« Reply #49 on: November 10, 2010, 10:07 »
0
Hi Lobo.. welcome to MSG where you dont have the power to shut down complaints in the forum.


I doubt it's Lobo - he already has an account here as pieman.

But it would be a refreshing change to know who is behind the curtain when these finger-wagging folks come to tell us all what we should be doing and thinking...

I don't know who it is, but am 100% sure that aint Lobo.


 

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