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Author Topic: Microstock Union  (Read 6538 times)

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« on: July 28, 2007, 04:11 »
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Do we need one?


« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2007, 07:02 »
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Urrr, I thought one of the major advantages of the microstock / crowdsourcing model for is the lack of formality...

It would concern me greatly that anyone coming into this 'business' would think there is a need for a union, it's not really that kind of environment, is it?

Anyway, this'll be an interesting debate, My 2c says no, but then I've only ever once belonged to a union, against my better judgment, so I could be way off on this one. :-)


« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2007, 08:39 »
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The lack of formality is good for hobbyists, but a lot of people do this as a full time job. What if stock sites start cutting our percentages? If a site says "your cut will now be 10 percent" most contributors would grumble for a few days, and then learn to live with it. Theyre going to get bigger and bigger, and rely on individuals less and less. I dont know if we need one (actually, I have a natural revulsion to unions) But... I think itll be an interesting debate too.

« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2007, 10:56 »
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So far, people with natural revulsion to unions fight their puking reflex and discuss unions. Just how ironic would that be if participants - crying and  throwing up - eventually decide that yeah, as disgusting as the thought is we still need one  ;D

Come on guys, look at the trends. Do we see agencies increasing or cutting contributor's cut? Do they live in situation of fierce competition or near-monopoly? Do companies with strong unions tend to outperform or underperform those non-unionized? Do countries with stronger socialistic tendencies tend to demonstrate stronger or weaker economic performance? Finally, what happens to union movement over last, umm, couple decades - does it pick up and broaden or does it wilt?

Answer all these questions and you will see whether union idea goes with grain or against it.

« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2007, 11:06 »
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I'm not so sure that we need a 'union' as such. Instead, maybe we should be thinking of a professional association that represents our voice.

Unions have a bad name in some parts of the world, due to corruption and graft, and that might put a lot of people off. Also, unions (when they do work as they should) are more suited to organised industries, mining, manufacturing, commerce, etc. with workers on the company payroll.

The microstock business is a very loose collection of individual and independent artists (in the broadest sense of the term) from hobbyists who do it to earn a little  pin money to professionals who make a living out of it.

I think that a professional association would be much more suited to our needs and, if established well, could wield as much clout, if not more, than a union. 

« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2007, 11:43 »
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I think that a professional association would be much more suited to our needs and, if established well, could wield as much clout, if not more, than a union. 

This trend of thinking makes more sense to me.

(The skeptic in me wonders why someone hasn't already run with the idea and charged annual membership?)

« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2007, 17:14 »
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I'd like to see an association that publishes a monthly magazine and holds annual conferences.
Kinda like these guys: www.photoshopuser.com

« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2007, 23:31 »
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A professional assotiation- I prefer that too. But, cmon, its a name! How would it be different from a union? Other than the socialism, corruption, and bearded old men?

Could we do more to stop agencies cutting our percentage if we were represented? Thanks for chiming in everyone.

« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2007, 02:12 »
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Why don't we just run our own site?  If the other sites threatened to cut our commission, we could just upload to our own site.  I know it takes a lot of money to set one up but if a few thousand of us were willing to put in some money, it should be feasible.  If we joined forces with designers, we could make the ideal site for all of us.  With a lot of sites, either the photographers are receiving a poor deal or the site doesn't attract enough designers.

This makes a lot more sense to me than unions or associations that will also cost money to administer and might not have much power over the big sites.

« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2007, 10:44 »
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But, cmon, its a name! How would it be different from a union?


I tried to give an indication of that in my post without going into unnecessary detail.

Of course, it's not hard and fast but, in general unions are better suited to wage-earning employment where there are workers and management (and, incidentally, not all unions are "socialism, corruption, and bearded old men"). Usually it is only necessary to work in a certain trade to be a member of a union. Sometimes it is obligatory to be a member in order to practice a trade ('closed shop')

On the other hand, professional associations tend to be better suited to areas where people work independently - medical, law, creative, etc. They set standards, usually have some sort of joining requirement (skills, experience, qualifications, whatever) and they protect the interests of their members in different ways.

« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2007, 12:14 »
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I'm not so sure that we need a 'union' as such. Instead, maybe we should be thinking of a professional association that represents our voice.
 

Wouldn't this tie in with what litifeta  had suggested last week or so on another thread?   Suggesting the formation of an organization to establish group/bulk  buying power?   8)=tom

« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2007, 19:55 »
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At least we are talking about it.

I believe it is probably time for us to start looking at some sort of official association.

We would need a charter: Our aim, for our members, and the industry in general
Codes of Ethics: Being a member should benefit the sites since we would agree not to plagiarise etc, otherwise a member could be expelled.
Training: A commitment to assisting newcomers.
Meetings: whether by internet etc, not just talkfests, places where decisions are made.

I know I have spoken about us approaching companies for good deals, but I think we need some guts first.

We need to get some big sellers to join us to give it credibility with the sites. We also need to mean what we say, and say what we mean.

In the meantime, I nominate Leaf as the inaugural chairman of the International Association of Professional Stock Photographers.

Anyone else want to second the motion.

Now we need a paypal account and we all chuck in $50 to get it up.

Need to register a name, get a domain, do some deal with a designer to get a site built.

Whatcha think you dudes?

« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 23:44 »
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Aren't there already Professional Associations out there for all different types of photogs?  Why would we need another one? 

« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2007, 08:17 »
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I think that a professional association would be much more suited to our needs and, if established well, could wield as much clout, if not more, than a union. 

This trend of thinking makes more sense to me.

(The skeptic in me wonders why someone hasn't already run with the idea and charged annual membership?)

I will set up a site now.  Anyone in for $1,000 pa.  ;D

« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2007, 20:20 »
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I'm happy to set up a site and pay for it....   but will everyone here really play along?  Everyone seems a bit afraid of something new..  even if they had input into the design and function.

Let me know... :)

« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2007, 22:22 »
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you have a cool site with Sport the Library

« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2007, 16:38 »
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Thank you!   ..but wait, we're changing and growing.  ( something you'd expect after 20years of the same thing!!)   anyhow, does anyone want us to go ahead with this or not?

Union or co-operative?


« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2007, 21:32 »
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i'm in ... so that's 1

might end up like my going away party last Friday, 12 turned up and of those, 8 weren't invited. (out of 115 invites)

fortunately i enjoy being a loner

« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2007, 22:05 »
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Hey,  ..I'm interested!  Need to see more details, gather more ideas, do a little brain-storming here before we jump at a domain, name and all the other goodies. Can we gain a return on our investment? What's the bottomline on this thing... will it be cost affective... what might be some of the specific bennies in this for the members.... what would be the organizational structure...  who's going to do all the grunt work......   Lots of stuff to kick around... need everyone's input and need to take advantage of all the different business talent and experience that might be amongst us.  And, naturally, the more members the better... what is the REAL interest here on the old MSG? 

  If we're going to do it, let's do it right.
   
 However, if we only see a few names in support...... .....   can 3 dudes be an organization?  LOL LOL   8)-tom
« Last Edit: August 02, 2007, 22:08 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2007, 01:47 »
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 However, if we only see a few names in support...... .....   can 3 dudes be an organization?  LOL LOL   8)-tom

What about 4  :) I would like to be in a microstock association..

« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2007, 03:01 »
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5

Depending on it's aims and requirements, I'd join a professional association

« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2007, 17:54 »
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5... it's a good start.   We start with a domain name....  work out from there.   any ideas?

Investments on 2 levels..  1. cash and kind   2. images.     you probably have to say each would have different levels of risk and return.    Any one interested in number one? 

We've run a RM/editorial co-op for near 18yrs and found people ran out of steam or changed directions in their lives after just a few years of co-operating.    Loosely associated might be the best so people can drift in and out according to their life situation.

Again...it's a good start.

cheers, JC

« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2007, 04:40 »
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The concept of a 'professional association' is interesting.

Generally we would need to agree on a charter, or common set of goals, and decide what we thought the benefits could be.

Get a designer to create a purdy logo, an all members would be allowed to put the logo in their profile on microstock sites.

Have the logo link to a brief profile page on the association site, and then have general info about the in
industry and the charter etc.

Appoint a 'board' or group of trustees from our peers who have a solid interest in microstock (like Leaf, or e.g.) and give all of them the 'keys' for the website, and any other stuff that is relevant, so that if any one person looses interest the others can keep things ticking over.

Maybe have a token due ($5/year?) that goes into a paypal account maintained by the 'trustees' to pay for web hosting etc, so that the webhosting could be totally independent of any one member.

Now, to the crux of the thing... What is this association going to do for us?  And what do we do when we have 2000 members?  What is the point of the association when everything is going well, and there is no need to lobby micro sites etc...


 

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