MicrostockGroup

Microstock Photography Forum - General => General Stock Discussion => Topic started by: Adeptris on May 09, 2009, 01:14

Title: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 09, 2009, 01:14
Following on from the recent thread about a Photographers Collective to give the Photographers more of a say in pricing and direction, there seems to be several options to go forward.

This is a simple Poll without getting into the detail

Option 1: Join together to talk to the Stocksite Owners and Stock Artists Alliance to get a representative voice and be able to put the Contributors perspective across to the agencies that manage our images

Option 2: There is a lot of marketing, programming, project management skills within the membership here and other photographers, also a wealth of experience of the stock imaging trade, should we try to pull these together to create a Fair Trade website owned by the photographers as shareholders where percentages are higher and retained earnings returned to the membership

Option 3: Do you think it is all just hot air and will never come together so we have to put up with the control the Stocksites have and make our own choices   
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Milinz on May 09, 2009, 06:16
You didn't add one crucial part in your pool:

4. Stop supporting rip-off agencies ;-)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: batman on May 09, 2009, 07:33
bold move David,
i feel it's a combination of all of the above. for several reasons , one being we have been hard wired (indoctrinated; socially weaned)  to let off steam as a way to destress ourselves , or to aid our denial of helplessness. you witness this often, eg during the transit strike or other public services such as nurses strike,etc. you bitch with your fellow passengers at the bus stop or emergency room, but as soon as the bus or nurse arrives you turn on a cheery smile to greet the object of your bitch with a "ello luv, 'ows it goin wit'ya !"
same here. we have by nature the attention span of a 3 yr old, and most if anything we say will come to pass . call it "vapour vent" or whatever, to plagiarize the term "vapour ware" we used every year at the Manufacturer Product Expo. always tons of great new gadgets presented at the demo booth but seldom if any of those things ever make it to the store.

i wish to be proven wrong, as i think it is time we respond to the abusive relationship we've been having. but again , we are like the abused spouse or the ubiquitous battered wife / gf situation (and gawd take my word for it, it seems to be so prevalent nowadays, every single neighbour i have is an S&M case with the abused female putting up and shutting up).
perharps it's in our genes , lol.  that's why most of us enjoy microstock, we need that abuse from Atilla and now Getty, rofl

btw, you have a couple of typo errors ie.  choice 1 :  leverage choice 3 waste
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: batman on May 09, 2009, 08:19
(http://www.zazzle.com/n_a_t_o_no_action_talk_only_tshirt-235844749652988042)

found this on zazzle ;D
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 09, 2009, 09:08
Why are we here? cause we are photographers and illustrators.  Not businessmen.  If any of u have the cash and are willing to take a huge risk, then fine.    Let Flemish make an awesome site and then we jump over it like sharks ;)  It can´t be owned by hundreds of photographers with different attitude and (portfoliosize) economy.     

I bet many of us can´t even affort a plane ticket for a possible meeting. sadly :-[

( I haven´t read all of the 1000 posts tread about this)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: runamock on May 09, 2009, 10:00
Sorry this is off-topic but what’s with batman? He’s gone again??
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharpshot on May 09, 2009, 10:01
How much money would we need?  Most of the sites start of small and grow slowly.  None of the new ones have made much money but they probably don't cost much to run.  If there was 1000 of us willing to put in $100, that might be enough to get it started.  For that amount, I wont be too stressed if it doesn't work. 

New sites are struggling because they are offering something similar to the old sites.  If we could bring in some buyers and build a site that suits us all, we would be doing something different and it might work.  It would be better to try and fail than not give it a go.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 09, 2009, 10:32
I think we should give a chance to some existing agency that plays fair enough. The agency need to be financially well supported and it has to invest as much as needed in marketing. We should make our terms and conditions and we should send our representatives to the agency, to see if we can make some good agreement. We HAVE to be strong, which means important photographers HAVE to be with us with their huge portfolios. This will help us in making agreement with the agency. After making an agreement, and submitting all our images to the agency, we should do everything we can to promote only our new agency through our websites and in every other way. The agency should do the same. After reaching some certain level of sales, we should quit all other agencies in a very short time to force buyers to come only to our new agency.

I am just afraid that we here...several hundreds of us, or say it even several thousands, can't really do something because there are more than 100 000 microstock photographers out there. I guess Getty doesn't really care if we all quit, because there will always be enough photographers willing to upload their images to Getty. We really need God's help.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: patballard on May 09, 2009, 10:51
I agree with Whitechild. It also comes to my mind that we don't know how much money any of the agencies are making off of us. I say this as a citizen of the US. Everyone here has been burned by the current financial crises, and I'm probably a bit paranoid because of it. In some ways we all asked for it by being complacent after the boom years of the 1990s. We just all assumed while we were making money that everything would always be fine. I'll bet most microstock photographers and illustrators felt the same way before the drop in sales that came last summer when the recession hit. I'd be more than willing to work with the agencies that will show us their bottom line. If their % of profits are dropping, I'd be willing to work toward a compromise with any agency that will give us the numbers. As contributors we should have asked more questions upfront. It is their agency. They provide the structure that enables us to sell, but it's our product that fuels the profits. One really can't exist without the other. Keep in mind that we want these businesses to make money, and we don't want to go on a witch hunt. Hard times call for creative solutions. I was selling art during the 1980s when the oil bust hit in Texas. When the gallery business bottomed out in Santa Fe, I caved and stopped selling. I still wish that I'd had the foresight to work toward a creative solution to the problem.

As for the poll, I'm not sure yet.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharpshot on May 09, 2009, 11:06
..I am just afraid that we here...several hundreds of us, or say it even several thousands, can't really do something because there are more than 100 000 microstock photographers out there...
I used to think that but the average portfolio size on shutterstock is 91.  It looks like the vast majority of the contributors have a very small portfolio and the sites need their bigger contributors more than we might think.  Anyone can be replaced but I think it would damage a site if 500 of their top contributors stopped uploading.  We have seen a few times than when contributors get upset, the sites make changes quickly.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: m@m on May 09, 2009, 12:03
I agree, my thought exactly Whitechild, it sounds like that's the avenue that would gives us a bigger chance of success, Vs. starting a site from scratch which would require a large capital to start and maintain.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 09, 2009, 12:28
I'm going to keep saying this every few pages in any thread about this subject until I am officially told to shut my gob :)

I do not believe that we should be looking for another agency. I believe that we should be looking for a different model. One that provides an infrastructure, or links existing infrastructure, such that photographers sell direct to the clients.

When the right model emerges all RF images will be sold that way. Possibly all images. It would be something like a set of protocols.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharpshot on May 09, 2009, 13:15
I'm going to keep saying this every few pages in any thread about this subject until I am officially told to shut my gob :)

I do not believe that we should be looking for another agency. I believe that we should be looking for a different model. One that provides an infrastructure, or links existing infrastructure, such that photographers sell direct to the clients.

When the right model emerges all RF images will be sold that way. Possibly all images. It would be something like a set of protocols.
I agree, there has to be a better way.  What about peer to peer, like napster?  They started off free but they now charge pay per download and subscriptions.  It probably wont work the same way it does for music but there must be some way of getting direct access between buyers and sellers without having to pay big fees to a middle man.  I think it is really important to get buyers involved with this from the start.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 09, 2009, 13:15
Sorry this is off-topic but what’s with batman? He’s gone again??

He´s a she if you ask Tan510.   Server problems again... ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: travelstock on May 09, 2009, 13:21
How much money would we need?  Most of the sites start of small and grow slowly.  None of the new ones have made much money but they probably don't cost much to run.  If there was 1000 of us willing to put in $100, that might be enough to get it started.  For that amount, I wont be too stressed if it doesn't work. 

New sites are struggling because they are offering something similar to the old sites.  If we could bring in some buyers and build a site that suits us all, we would be doing something different and it might work.  It would be better to try and fail than not give it a go.

I agree - with that sort of money we'd be able to put something pretty decent together.

The more I think about it though, the key problem are the top exclusives on IS and that Getty is able to leverage this exclusive content so that they are somewhat immune from the competition from other sites. I suspect a large number of IS exclusives are also significant buyers - its unlikely that they'll change their buying patterns unless they also relinquish their exclusivity.

On the other hand if there were some mass move to non-exclusivity, many of the non-exclusives would loose a lot of sales through increased competition on the non-exclusive sites. If you look at the IS charts, its interesting to see just how much revenue comes from exclusive contributors - just browsing through the top 50 - if you ignore non-exclusive contributors in that list and those who have got anonymous stats, you get to about 8% of total daily downloads from only 26 contributors.... work out what the top 100 or so exclusives bring in and I think it would be a very substantial % of total revenue.  

I would suggest that a sensible step for any further action would be to somehow anonymously gauge the feeling of the top contributors and see if there is any concern or desire to improve conditions from them. If they're not on board, then its pretty much game over for any collective approach anyhow.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharpshot on May 09, 2009, 13:41
If there was a way of drastically bringing down the cost of delivering an image from a contributor to a buyer, I think everyone would be interested.  I think it costs far too much at the moment and someone will come up with a better solution.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: m@m on May 09, 2009, 13:48
Sorry this is off-topic but what’s with batman? He’s gone again??

He´s a she if you ask Tan510.   Server problems again... ;)

I don't  know Magnum, John from CC and batman showed up at similar times, could batman be John? or even Milinz?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 09, 2009, 14:14
It´s kinda obvious who Batman is ( was ) :o.  But I think you´re wrong about John and Milinz
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: m@m on May 09, 2009, 15:14
It´s kinda obvious who Batman is ( was ) :o.  But I think you´re wrong about John and Milinz

You seem to know alot about batman, and very sure that you know who he/she is, ARE YOU SURE YOU'RE NOT BATMAN?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 09, 2009, 15:30
Ha ha. I saw that coming.  wrong again ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: digiology on May 09, 2009, 15:56
It´s kinda obvious who Batman is ( was ) :o.  But I think you´re wrong about John and Milinz

I am pretty sure I know who batman is too. In order to protect Gotham I will never reveal it.  ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 09, 2009, 16:07
Talknig about Batman...  what happened to " Hatman " ???
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 09, 2009, 16:28
i appear to have double posted. Not sure how.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 09, 2009, 16:28
I'm going to keep saying this every few pages in any thread about this subject until I am officially told to shut my gob :)

I do not believe that we should be looking for another agency. I believe that we should be looking for a different model. One that provides an infrastructure, or links existing infrastructure, such that photographers sell direct to the clients.

When the right model emerges all RF images will be sold that way. Possibly all images. It would be something like a set of protocols.
I agree, there has to be a better way.  What about peer to peer, like napster?  They started off free but they now charge pay per download and subscriptions.  It probably wont work the same way it does for music but there must be some way of getting direct access between buyers and sellers without having to pay big fees to a middle man.  I think it is really important to get buyers involved with this from the start.

Sorry for the big quote but I want to keep my reply in context.

I think it is certainly worth mentioning Napster. And you have to remember where Napster fits into the history of what happened to the music industry. Look at the dates and then look at what happened next. And remember that the music industry had the opportunity to buy Napster but chose instead to launch legal action. Which was a huge and pointless distraction for them.

I do not have the exact answer. But if you took Wikipedia, Napster, microstock and possibly eBay and put them in a blender then I think the result would be approaching what I am trying to get at. I hope that someone with clearer vision than me will find the missing pieces and have a eureka moment sooner or later.

Focus people! The answer is not another agency.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: crazychristina on May 09, 2009, 17:07
Can I mention the broker model again? Works well in other industries.

Photographers put images on their own sites.
Photographers set own prices.
Brokers emerge (independent of us and each other)
Brokers catalogue (sorry, I'm Aussie) range of sites and provide search and purchase interface for customer
Broker takes 10% commission for brokering the sale, photographer gets 90%.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 09, 2009, 17:34
Can I mention the broker model again? Works well in other industries.

Definitely add that to my mix ^ above.

We need to break down what an agency actually does before we can find another way of constructing a model which can achieve the same result in a different way.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: madelaide on May 09, 2009, 18:36
I thought we had an option of teaming up with another site?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 10, 2009, 00:57
You didn't add one crucial part in your pool:

4. Stop supporting rip-off agencies ;-)

This option is already a choice every photographer has, the collective is to find a way for photographers to get the best return and have a more contractual price base, when you sign for a website you agree to the T&C at that time, part of these is that the site owners can change the price structure without consultation although you agreed to the prices at the time, if they change them to a level you do not like, then you can leave.

We will not be able to change what the industry charges the client for an image and we would not want to price an image out of the market, so the idea is to find the best return 

David  ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 10, 2009, 01:32
Can I mention the broker model again? Works well in other industries.

Photographers put images on their own sites.
Photographers set own prices.
Brokers emerge (independent of us and each other)
Brokers catalogue (sorry, I'm Aussie) range of sites and provide search and purchase interface for customer
Broker takes 10% commission for brokering the sale, photographer gets 90%.



I agree with some of this option, we would have to agree a format for this to work.

I have another thread on this forum to discuss this model here:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/software-general/using-amazon-s3-for-storage-and-a-proof-of-concept-website/ (http://www.microstockgroup.com/software-general/using-amazon-s3-for-storage-and-a-proof-of-concept-website/)
David
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 10, 2009, 03:08
photographers we will just be backing up our images in a structure and to a template for online storage in a format that will allow sales to be generated.

This definitely makes sense. It also makes sense for the photographers to pay for the storage and to need to set up their accounts. This way the bandwidth overheads are shared.

It would be for the 'brokers' to do the QC ?

We need a better word than 'brokers' but I am hesitant to call them agencies :)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 10, 2009, 03:10
photographers we will just be backing up our images in a structure and to a template for online storage in a format that will allow sales to be generated.


This definitely makes sense. It also makes sense for the photographers to pay for the storage and to need to set up their accounts. This way the bandwidth overheads are shared.

It would be for the 'brokers' to do the QC ?

We need a better word than 'brokers' but I am hesitant to call them agencies :)


We were posting at the same time, I have a concept thread on this forum here:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/software-general/using-amazon-s3-for-storage-and-a-proof-of-concept-website/ (http://www.microstockgroup.com/software-general/using-amazon-s3-for-storage-and-a-proof-of-concept-website/)

David
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 10, 2009, 03:21
I'm going to keep saying this every few pages in any thread about this subject until I am officially told to shut my gob :)

I do not believe that we should be looking for another agency. I believe that we should be looking for a different model. One that provides an infrastructure, or links existing infrastructure, such that photographers sell direct to the clients.

When the right model emerges all RF images will be sold that way. Possibly all images. It would be something like a set of protocols.
That's excellent idea, but it has it's flaws. Imagine how many of us will try to cheat. I will explain. When I make some photo I have to send it to review. Reviewer will inspect it and hopefully approve it. When the photo is approved, the agency can keep my photo safe from further alterations, so buyers can buy exactly what they saw in thumbnail. Now, imagine I am keeping my photos at my place. I have to send it somewhere for review. After review, the photo must be deleted by reviewer for example, because I will keep the original, and it should be only at my place. After some time, I notice the photo would look better if I apply some noise reduction (for example). Who will stop me of applying noise reduction, or altering the photo in some other way?
Personally I would never do it, but I bet there are many people that will try something like this. Also, there are many people that will try to cheat in some other way. Imagine how many of us has pretty slow internet connection. How many of us will try to re-save their files at lower quality because they want to send them faster to buyers. If sell 20 images today, and every image has 4Mb, I will need approximately 90min. to send them. If this number grows,  I will be in real trouble because I won't be able to upload my new images anymore.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 10, 2009, 03:37
You didn't add one crucial part in your pool:

4. Stop supporting rip-off agencies ;-)

This option is already a choice every photographer has, the collective is to find a way for photographers to get the best return and have a more contractual price base, when you sign for a website you agree to the T&C at that time, part of these is that the site owners can change the price structure without consultation although you agreed to the prices at the time, if they change them to a level you do not like, then you can leave.

We will not be able to change what the industry charges the client for an image and we would not want to price an image out of the market, so the idea is to find the best return 

David  ;)

Terms and conditions can also be changed to avoid changes in future made only by agency. It should be our term that they cannot change the price if we don't allow it.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 10, 2009, 03:51
That's excellent idea, but it has it's flaws. Imagine how many of us will try to cheat.

I have a potential solution to the problem of cheats. Which is some sort of rating / feedback system. A bit like eBay.

Also - there is no reason why perhaps people could not link to the same image at any of the existing agencies as evidence at least that those sites have already inspected the file.

That is not a flawless solution, I know.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 10, 2009, 03:56
That's excellent idea, but it has it's flaws. Imagine how many of us will try to cheat.

I have a potential solution to the problem of cheats. Which is some sort of rating / feedback system. A bit like eBay.

Also - there is no reason why perhaps people could not link to the same image at any of the existing agencies as evidence at least that those sites have already inspected the file.

That is not a flawless solution, I know.

That's a good idea (about rating like on eBay). But now I'm a bit confused about the other part. Aren't we gonna delete our images at other agencies after all?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Milinz on May 10, 2009, 04:03
That's excellent idea, but it has it's flaws. Imagine how many of us will try to cheat.

I have a potential solution to the problem of cheats. Which is some sort of rating / feedback system. A bit like eBay.

Also - there is no reason why perhaps people could not link to the same image at any of the existing agencies as evidence at least that those sites have already inspected the file.

That is not a flawless solution, I know.

That's a good idea (about rating like on eBay). But now I'm a bit confused about the other part. Aren't we gonna delete our images at other agencies after all?

I already have deleted my images on some extreme agencies as CS or VS... You should start with that too...

BTW, Since I deleted my images from those two I got jump on sales of my images on other places. Also, some ELs and single sales appeared to raise...
That might be coincidence, but it is surely connected with my strong decision not to sell my work cheapest possible!
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 10, 2009, 04:15
"Aren't we gonna delete our images at other agencies after all?"

This is going to be the hard part...

If all of us are gonna have our own site, how are buyers going to manage the searches among all different layouts and server-speeds?

Thay are already complaining about the existing sites searches. 

I have a really hard time beliving in this.  It´s like building the Eiffeltower sitting on a café ;)



Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 10, 2009, 04:20
"Aren't we gonna delete our images at other agencies after all?"

This is going to be the hard part...

If all of us are gonna have our own site, how are buyers going to manage the searches among all different layouts and server-speeds?

Thay are already complaining about the existing sites searches. 

I have a really hard time beliving in this.  It´s like building the Eiffeltower sitting on a café ;)





Is it possible to keep all previews at one place, and originals at different places, so buyers can browse easily and look at previews?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 10, 2009, 04:40
Not with a zoom-feature I guess
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 10, 2009, 04:43
Let´s make a DVD instead?   " Best price - Real Shutterstock and Istock stock Photos" :D   
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharpshot on May 10, 2009, 05:33
"Aren't we gonna delete our images at other agencies after all?"

This is going to be the hard part...

If all of us are gonna have our own site, how are buyers going to manage the searches among all different layouts and server-speeds?

Thay are already complaining about the existing sites searches. 

I have a really hard time beliving in this.  It´s like building the Eiffeltower sitting on a café ;)

We could all use the same website template and use a few selected servers in our own countries that will be fast to access for local buyers.  I also think a peer to peer system would be worth considering as then all we would have to do is make sure the images are available on a few different hard drives.  It works great for music and those files are similar sizes.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 10, 2009, 05:36
"Aren't we gonna delete our images at other agencies after all?"

This is going to be the hard part...

If all of us are gonna have our own site, how are buyers going to manage the searches among all different layouts and server-speeds?

Thay are already complaining about the existing sites searches. 

I have a really hard time beliving in this.  It´s like building the Eiffeltower sitting on a café ;)

We could all use the same website template and use a few selected servers in our own countries that will be fast to access for local buyers.  I also think a peer to peer system would be worth considering as then all we would have to do is make sure the images are available on a few different hard drives.  It works great for music and those files are similar sizes.

Again, if you don't have 15 Kilobytes per second upload speed like me. Imagine some buyer trying to zoom at my image, while some other buyer downloading some other image from me. I wouldn't wait in their place. I would move to another photographer.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: thesentinel on May 10, 2009, 06:22
How much money would we need?  Most of the sites start of small and grow slowly.  None of the new ones have made much money but they probably don't cost much to run.  If there was 1000 of us willing to put in $100, that might be enough to get it started. 

Currently a minimum of 971 more to go then.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 10, 2009, 07:51
I also think a peer to peer system would be worth considering as then all we would have to do is make sure the images are available on a few different hard drives.

I would steer clear of peer to peer because:

1. There is no reason why buyers should have to install a special application.

2. Some ISPs block peer to peer.

3. Peer to peer has a built in bad reputation. Sooner or later the word 'piracy' is always attached to it. So bad for marketing.

4. I'm not hosting someone elses files on my hard drive. It is potentially dodgy.

The idea of us buying and paying for our own bandwidth via Amazon S3 is much stronger I believe.

Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: snaprender on May 10, 2009, 10:27
Okay, I'm no big player in stock photo, but I believe it would be more useful and safer for the photographers that want to do this if you chose a small agency and worked with the owner to establish a set of 'rules' (I personally would prefer Cutcaster or Featurepics, both fix bugs and problems really fast and dont have some ridiculous review process).

I'm one that lives off my income though, so to delete all of my photos on other agencies, is something I just can not do at this point - on occassion I get hungry and need food.

This would be my idea of how this could also transpire:

1. Upload any new material to the agency exclusively (leave old material on other sites to help with income while trying to establish the collective contributors)

2.  Work with the owner and establish ground rules for the review process, royalties, etc.

Okay, it's early for me and I have only had one cup of coffee, so this is all I have for now.  Will try and post more after more Java.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Magnum on May 10, 2009, 10:28
Okay, I'm no big player in stock photo, but I believe it would be more useful and safer for the photographers that want to do this if you chose a small agency and worked with the owner to establish a set of 'rules' (I personally would prefer Cutcaster or Featurepics, both fix bugs and problems really fast and dont have some ridiculous review process).

I'm one that lives off my income though, so to delete all of my photos on other agencies, is something I just can not do at this point - on occassion I get hungry and need food.

This would be my idea of how this could also transpire:

1. Upload any new material to the agency exclusively (leave old material on other sites to help with income while trying to establish the collective contributors)

2.  Work with the owner and establish ground rules for the review process, royalties, etc.

Okay, it's early for me and I have only had one cup of coffee, so this is all I have for now.  Will try and post more after more Java.

Right on!!!

Exclusive images is all it takes.  And leave the work to a small site - going big in no time.  Finally we do what we do best.  shoot!
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: WarrenPrice on May 10, 2009, 12:54
Okay, I'm no big player in stock photo, but I believe it would be more useful and safer for the photographers that want to do this if you chose a small agency and worked with the owner to establish a set of 'rules' (I personally would prefer Cutcaster or Featurepics, both fix bugs and problems really fast and dont have some ridiculous review process).

I'm one that lives off my income though, so to delete all of my photos on other agencies, is something I just can not do at this point - on occassion I get hungry and need food.

This would be my idea of how this could also transpire:

1. Upload any new material to the agency exclusively (leave old material on other sites to help with income while trying to establish the collective contributors)

2.  Work with the owner and establish ground rules for the review process, royalties, etc.

Okay, it's early for me and I have only had one cup of coffee, so this is all I have for now.  Will try and post more after more Java.

Me Too.  I don't make a living from this but am building toward something to leave behind.  I could work with this approach.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: dunsmore on May 10, 2009, 14:08
Agreed good idea
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: donding on May 10, 2009, 14:13
Okay, I'm no big player in stock photo, but I believe it would be more useful and safer for the photographers that want to do this if you chose a small agency and worked with the owner to establish a set of 'rules' (I personally would prefer Cutcaster or Featurepics, both fix bugs and problems really fast and dont have some ridiculous review process).

I'm one that lives off my income though, so to delete all of my photos on other agencies, is something I just can not do at this point - on occassion I get hungry and need food.

This would be my idea of how this could also transpire:

1. Upload any new material to the agency exclusively (leave old material on other sites to help with income while trying to establish the collective contributors)

2.  Work with the owner and establish ground rules for the review process, royalties, etc.

Okay, it's early for me and I have only had one cup of coffee, so this is all I have for now.  Will try and post more after more Java.

Amen....I agree 100%. That's pretty much what I said three days ago on the first thread about all this.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: donding on May 10, 2009, 14:19
I personally have pics on FP as well as CC and they have only been on there about a month, but I have not made a sale. Proubably because I have the same ones everywhere else.
I beleive if we could sit down and talk with one of these two places and try to set up some kind of separete, but inside their already existing site where they can put our exclusive content....mind you it would be more than the already floating around pics already out there....it would benefit not only them but us as well. If that new content is not going on the old sites the buyers will come our way for new fresh images.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: snaprender on May 10, 2009, 14:26
Okay, I've had some more coffee.  Here's are what are going to be some major problems that could easily blow this whole thing to shreds assuming enough photographers would even be interested in joining.

1. Collective would mean exactly that - COLLECTIVE.  If a majority doesn't agree with your idea, don't pack your bags and move - deal with it.
2. Although everyone would love to make millions...it must be remembered - this is microstock, not midstock and not traditional.  With that said, contributors can not be pricing their photos at prices that are way above the competition for the same size image.  If that was to happen the only people coming to the site, would be the photographers - no customers - fresh photos or not, we're in a recession.
3. Reviews - you get rejected, dont throw a fit...Breath in, exhale, move on...  No one's perfect and there were problems with the photo - the last thing an agency needs is 1 million photos of some half dead crocus flower with a fully dead, yellow lawn in the background.  Quality over quanitiy.
4. Willingness to listen to what the owner of the agency says about potential customers..in other words, not just catering to the photographers...but to the customers also.
5. Patience....there would clearly be no instant gratification here.  3 mo or even 6 mo down the road, I think photographers will starting pulling their ports (collective or not) if they are not patient enough.  Rome was not built in a day people.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: donding on May 10, 2009, 14:32
The pricing would have to be agreed upon by all. No low balling and no high balling...same price all across the board...depending on size.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: m@m on May 10, 2009, 20:18
Waren, Dunsmore, Dongding, Snaprender, now we're on the right track, count me in, I'm a 100% on the idea, as I have mention before, with a fair deal from FP and CC I'm all for supporting not only one but both sites, and leave behind all of the rip off sites that thinks they can control the market, lets see them do it with out us, a big chunk of the contributors...bravo guys!!! now we're talking.  ;D
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 11, 2009, 08:11
Does anybody still talk about this?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: hqimages on May 11, 2009, 08:49
I'm listening, my current plan, is to make my own web site, which I have already started doing, and make it 100% functional. This will take some time, it's not an easy task, most shopping cart web sites are fairly straightforward, you pick the product, you check out, but with images, slightly different, slightly more complicated..

I manage my own company, so sometimes I have time for my own work, sometimes I don't, so this isn;'t something that can be thrown up overnight if it's done PROPERLY.

Once my web site is built, with my own images up there, and I personally am 100% happy with it, I would then like to invite photographers to join. I don't want commission, my idea would be that you pay a nominal annual fee (similar to Flickr), and you keep 100% for each image downloaded. The same terms would apply to every photographer though, and the same price would apply to each photographer.. that's how I would do it.

I love the idea, I think some independance is long overdue for photographers, and it is more like a collective web site, where you all have your own page, rather than attempting to build seperate web sites all over the web, most without real e-commerce functionality..

So that's the plan, I'm thinking I'll be back in 12 months when its ready to go so don't hold your breath!! ;)

Besides ideas like this though, there are some ideas here that could go ahead right away, such as giving preferred terms or exclusivity to certain web sites that you speak to as a group, and as a group come up with some kind of barter!
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: donding on May 11, 2009, 11:17
Does anybody still talk about this?

Whitechild I was wondering the same thing. I've just been listening to the suggestion's and putting my insite into it along the way. I'm glad to see hqimages taking the next step. I already have a personal website and have for years. The microstock isn't on there and it's basically a portfolio web site so alot of changes would have to be made. Like he said it takes time to reorganize it. I don't make any sales off it because I'm not subscribed to something like Google to put your rating up there at the top of searchs which would need to be done to pull the buyers to any site.

Anyway I've gotta leave town becaue of a death in the family so I'll be out of commision for at least a week. I truly hope when I get back there is still discussion going on and work towards a solution and it doesn't end up buried under all the threads. I guess the only way to keep it at the top is by posting.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: WarrenPrice on May 11, 2009, 11:46
I'm listening, my current plan, is to make my own web site, which I have already started doing, and make it 100% functional. This will take some time, it's not an easy task, most shopping cart web sites are fairly straightforward, you pick the product, you check out, but with images, slightly different, slightly more complicated..

I manage my own company, so sometimes I have time for my own work, sometimes I don't, so this isn;'t something that can be thrown up overnight if it's done PROPERLY.

Once my web site is built, with my own images up there, and I personally am 100% happy with it, I would then like to invite photographers to join. I don't want commission, my idea would be that you pay a nominal annual fee (similar to Flickr), and you keep 100% for each image downloaded. The same terms would apply to every photographer though, and the same price would apply to each photographer.. that's how I would do it.

I love the idea, I think some independance is long overdue for photographers, and it is more like a collective web site, where you all have your own page, rather than attempting to build seperate web sites all over the web, most without real e-commerce functionality..

So that's the plan, I'm thinking I'll be back in 12 months when its ready to go so don't hold your breath!! ;)

Besides ideas like this though, there are some ideas here that could go ahead right away, such as giving preferred terms or exclusivity to certain web sites that you speak to as a group, and as a group come up with some kind of barter!

This too is interesting.  My first impression is good idea.  First negative thought ... what about marketing?

This could work on a small scale.  We would have to wait to be "found." 
Would each photographer price their own?  Market their own?  Collect their own? 
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: hqimages on May 11, 2009, 12:15
I'm listening, my current plan, is to make my own web site, which I have already started doing, and make it 100% functional. This will take some time, it's not an easy task, most shopping cart web sites are fairly straightforward, you pick the product, you check out, but with images, slightly different, slightly more complicated..

I manage my own company, so sometimes I have time for my own work, sometimes I don't, so this isn;'t something that can be thrown up overnight if it's done PROPERLY.

Once my web site is built, with my own images up there, and I personally am 100% happy with it, I would then like to invite photographers to join. I don't want commission, my idea would be that you pay a nominal annual fee (similar to Flickr), and you keep 100% for each image downloaded. The same terms would apply to every photographer though, and the same price would apply to each photographer.. that's how I would do it.

I love the idea, I think some independance is long overdue for photographers, and it is more like a collective web site, where you all have your own page, rather than attempting to build seperate web sites all over the web, most without real e-commerce functionality..

So that's the plan, I'm thinking I'll be back in 12 months when its ready to go so don't hold your breath!! ;)

Besides ideas like this though, there are some ideas here that could go ahead right away, such as giving preferred terms or exclusivity to certain web sites that you speak to as a group, and as a group come up with some kind of barter!

This too is interesting.  My first impression is good idea.  First negative thought ... what about marketing?

This could work on a small scale.  We would have to wait to be "found." 
Would each photographer price their own?  Market their own?  Collect their own? 


Sorry to hear your bad news Donding.. hope to see you when you come back, best wishes.

Hi Warren!

Well personally speaking, I have a lot of photography related profiles dotted around the internet, but I will only refer those web sites that give me the biggest commission, why refer buyers to the web site that gives you 20%, when you COULD refer them to the web site that makes you 100%!! I think many web sites have overlooked the power of contributor referals, and it's something I would be excited about..

I specialise in search engine optimisation, and I could write an entire book on how I can promote the web site, not just by advertising (most advertising is a waste of money), but by organically coming up tops for searches in google etc.. there are many many ways to make sure the web site gets lots of clicks, again, these things don't happen overnight, but over time, by word of mouth, social networking, correct coding etc etc etc, it can be achieved.. the web site won't hit a peak until approx 12 months after launch in my experience, but if it works, it really works, and the reward will be sales..

Photographers would NOT be allowed to price their own work, all images will be equal so everyone has a fair chance at making downloads without some ass**** coming in and undercutting the rest (this is why the web site needs to exist because this is what we need to stop happening).. I would want to charge whatever the market will bear, but similar to istock pay-as-you-go structure, maybe higher..

Photographers would be free to market their own work as they please, they can buy google ads that go to their page, whatever they like..
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 11, 2009, 14:05
I started thinking along the same lines as hqImages a collective website, but I have repositioned my thinking and going along the lines of an indexed search engine that returns thumbnails from a search string through a software development kit, I have done a lot of research this weekend and have a rough idea how to do this using Amazon Web Services, if the web engine tools are freely distributed then they could be easy built into websites and templates.

This option does require uploading to Amazon but only once and it is pay as you go for useage, when you upload and complete the data for the image this would include released, licence type and cost which is your share and also set a maximum sales price etc: then you can submit it to the search engine, all that the search engine does is accept a packet of data and produce a thumbnail and composite image in you folder, no images are transfered because the dat packet knows where the images are in your bucket.

Now if you submit your images as private then you can use the sellers toolkit to facilitate searches on your website, if you make your images public then other services can host your thumbnails, that is agencies and merchants sites you have agreed to, and you would be able to offer a further discount at this stage, but you can set the price you want, or you could use a built in global "Fair Price", this flag would be searchable and give agents a budget value to work with.

Now any service has to have revenue and this would be funded by micro payments by the photographers and sellers, buyers pay nothing, not sure how much but I would think $0.01 for each thumbnail of yours retrieved by a search, and you can set a maximum spend per day or month.

Now how would you get paid, there are two ways, firstly for private sites you can handle the transaction collect payment and send the Image, or for both Private and Public images the transaction could be handled by the toolkit the search engine would not be holding your money at any stage, as soon as a payment recieved request comes in the full size file would be transfered to the buyer, and full payment will aready be with the photographer, no more waiting for a payout band, this action would be triggered by a IPA payment reply from PayPal or Amazon both of these have facilities for Micro Payments, also remember if the sale through an agent was $5 you would likely be getting $4 instantly.

What we have with this model is organic growth and fair trade, a system where you only pay for what you use and that does not require you to upload your assets to many websites like you do now, upload once and your image could be on many specialist sites within hours, there will be people that try to cheat the system by changing the uploaded files, but as the image is uploaded and submitted to the database a checksum will be calculated for the image, comp and thumbnail, if this has changed when a sale takes place the transaction will be declined, photographers  would register with the service with a link to thier images, any porn would not be accepted and if reported the account suspended.

Any feedback over here please:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/software-general/using-amazon-s3-for-storage-and-a-proof-of-concept-website/msg96974/?topicseen#new

David  ;D         
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharply_done on May 11, 2009, 15:05
From a business point of view I don't think this venture is taking a sound approach. You should consider contracting someone with relevant/pertinent credentials (e.g. an MBA in online startups) to assess the market and make recommendations. As it is I think you're making a fundamental error by entering a free marketplace using a controlled/regulated model, and you definitely shouldn't start to design a website before you know the exact details of how you intend to operate. Based on the people contributing to this thread, there seems to be little or no interest from significant/successful photographers, and you will not succeed unless you can attract at least some of these people.

I think the best thing for you to do right now is to set up your own forum and start publicizing it. Create a few areas where people can discuss things in detail (e.g. content, pricing, quality control, accounting, wishlist, ...), choose admins to monitor discussions so that the idea has a better chance of moving forward, then invite significant people to join.

Also, and maybe it's just me, but calling yourselves a 'collective' somehow brings communism to mind, which brings up nothing but negative connotations.

... good luck!
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: null on May 11, 2009, 15:11
Also - there is no reason why perhaps people could not link to the same image at any of the existing agencies as evidence at least that those sites have already inspected the file.

This is not totally fair towards our agencies, since they put up the initial reviewers fee. Also, imagine a buyer sees the image is cheaper at ShutterStock  :-\
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 11, 2009, 15:14
Based on the people contributing to this thread, there seems to be little or no interest from significant/successful photographers, and you will not succeed unless you can attract at least some of these people.

Yes, to steal a quote from an article on Waterkeeper's Alliance  Bobby Kennedy fundraiser, "if you're going to go head to head with corporations with deep pockets, don't show up to the event with nobodies".

Good point sharply_done.

Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: melastmohican on May 11, 2009, 15:23
We cannot be just a copy of a microstock agency with only difference that we own it. They are just to big and can easily cover as with their hats :-) The only way it could work if it's totally open platform/API anybody can put on their website. It should connect various storage offerings (S3, Picasaweb, Flickr, SmugSmug, etc) with various selling options (PayPal, photo printing sites, etc). This way we are distributed so there is not single point of failure.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 11, 2009, 15:56
I think the the biggest photographers watch closely this thread, just they don't wanna be exposed because they don't want to ruin relations with agencies.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: goldenangel on May 11, 2009, 15:57
Are we talking about this as just another site where we could earn additional money, or there's a plan not to upload to other, established sites anymore? If it is the second case, I didn't hear anyone making a commitment not to upload to other sites anymore, or hold off uploading for 6 months or anything like that. I seriously believe that will be the crucial test where the whole idea might fail, unfortunately.

How about we make a list of contributors willing to do this? I think it is easy for a small contributor like me to do it, because I don't depend on my microstock earning in any way. I believe, however, that the key is in the big contrbutors, and only they can make a difference in this case.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 11, 2009, 16:14
I think the best thing for you to do right now is to set up your own forum and start publicizing it. Create a few areas where people can discuss things in detail (e.g. content, pricing, quality control, accounting, wishlist, ...), choose admins to monitor discussions so that the idea has a better chance of moving forward, then invite significant people to join.

Also, and maybe it's just me, but calling yourselves a 'collective' somehow brings communism to mind, which brings up nothing but negative connotations.

... good luck!

Thanks for your feedback, I already had a spare domain and have setup a website so this could be taken forward, as you suggested I added a forum, this will only be to discuss this subject on my Photographers Collective website.

I am just floating Idea's but might not be clearly communicating, I have been looking at the other replies and taken on quite a few good points.

David  :D
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharply_done on May 11, 2009, 17:29
So the 'Photographer's Collective' is your thing now?
That's news - I thought it was a group effort.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Milinz on May 11, 2009, 18:36
Interesting ending of taking all in authors hands...

LOL!

 ???
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 11, 2009, 23:40
So the 'Photographer's Collective' is your thing now?
That's news - I thought it was a group effort.

Very sorry to All,
The way I read Sharply's reply above was as a response to my post, and not as a general comment to all  :-[

The Idea in its original form was about a collective of photographers offering their assets with a uniform pricing structure.

Looking at some of the ideas, if a few photographers got together and moved to a new agency that offered mega percentages it would still be controlled by the agency owners, and it would likely turn out to be just another big agency.

Deleting portfolio's on low return sites is a good option, but only if thousands of photographers went along with the idea, but these would be replaced by new photographers and images, over on Alamy alone I have seen growth of 6 million new images in less than a year, and how many good images offered to microsites were "Not what we are looking for at this time", so pulling ports will just result in other images being accepted.

Creating an Agency would not be cheap, and then there would be problems trying to agree on structure, pricing, marketing, direction etc: and would it be just another agency?

Look at the term "The Big Six" this says it all, they already have a business model and to get them to change it to give away more of their cut is just not realistic.

This is just my own view but I think there is a need to think more about a "new model" rather than variants of the old ones, and the key to breaking this monopoly via a collective is distribution tools, where the photographer retains control of their assets, at the moment you have to upload your images to the sites and often the data has to be in a different format why?, they then have the control over a copy of your asset, they sell a licence for it and hold your payment until they want to pay you.

With distribution tools you can offer the same asset uploaded just once too many different sites and printing services on your terms and in a set data format, where you control where and how it is used, you could be paid as each transaction takes place, and using web tools there is a potential for many new small and instant markets, like creating a plug-in for Blog and web article writers, giving them a facility to purchace a licenced web sized image directly with a couple of mouse clicks to use in thier article or blog.

I know that the tools are out there to create these toolkits and with a good search engine for commercial images that could deliver the images, and that is what I personally would like to look at in more detail; and again sorry but I did not mean to hijack this thread, and I could not proceed with a new model on my own, so I am looking for like minded people to partner with to help create the tools these people will be the owners and share any profit, the Photographers input will be the driver to create better modules which can be used by a large collective of Photographers and Services, so from a business perspective the engine would be owned by the people that spent the time planning, managing and building it, the Photographers using it would get paid the price they set, and the engines transaction charge would likely be as low as $0.025 - $0.05 per transaction for delivery, not 75%.

David  :-X
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: null on May 12, 2009, 00:35
"if you're going to go head to head with corporations with deep pockets, don't show up to the event with nobodies".

That's exactly what Bill Gates did when he went presenting his brand new MS-DOS to the grinning big brass of IBM in Baton Rouge. He even had to rent a suit for the occasion, and iron it in the cheap motel they staid in. I guess we know what happened since then to Microsoft and IBM.  :P

(The Big Brass saw no harm in this nerdish kid so they allowed him to offer MS-DOS next to the "fantastic" IBM-DOS on the IBM-PC. A few years later, IBM-DOS and then OS-2 were history.)

(from one of my fav books: The Unmaking of IBM).
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: hqimages on May 12, 2009, 05:23
Adeptris I can feel your enthusiasm and that's great.. but you didn't consult people's opinion here fully before going ahead and finishing your idea, I just don't think it will work, sorry.. but that's only my opinion, you have your proposed model posted in two threads, so I'm sure at this point, if people want to join.. they will, you've told us all about it, thank you for your input..

Anyone else have some ideas???? I liked the idea of brokers I must say, and what I would love in an ideal world is something like twitter for images, your own page, which you can slightly customise, a url to give customer, but with a full check-out facility. You manage your own complaints etc, once the customer downloads your images, they will be given your email address as part of the order in case they need support, or need to contact you in the future.. essentially, you are running your own web site, but you have neighbours and 'power in numbers', and you take 100% of the earnings.. in exchange for your annual fee (v.low)

I feel like I need to stop talking, cos in my head, it's the best web site ever  ;D Anyway, I will start developing something just for myself, and I'll definitely come back here if I manage to put anything together that could suit, it just will take a while!!
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: garymkrieg on May 12, 2009, 13:17
I'm so new at microstock that I feel guilty even responding to this discussion.  I also posted this in the original Collective discussion. The links below are to two articles written by Dan Heller.  These articles are very thought provoking and may touch upon some of the issues that are being discussed here.

http://www.danheller.com/blog/posts/meta-stock-agency.html
http://www.danheller.com/blog/posts/virtual-stock-agency.html

Just my 2 cents!

Gary
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Dreamframer on May 13, 2009, 06:05
Join together for leverage     - 22 (36.7%)
Create a Collective Website    - 20 (33.3%)
Not Interested Waste of Time    - 18 (30%) .... very disappointing. Such big percent doesn't even care.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 13, 2009, 08:07
Join together for leverage     - 22 (36.7%)
Create a Collective Website    - 20 (33.3%)
Not Interested Waste of Time    - 18 (30%) .... very disappointing. Such big percent doesn't even care.

Whitechild, maybe it isn't that they don't even care. Without sufficient backing from the big players,
no doubt most prefer to deal with what they face. As the saying, " Better to deal with the devil you are used to..."
 ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: bittersweet on May 13, 2009, 12:50
Join together for leverage     - 22 (36.7%)
Create a Collective Website    - 20 (33.3%)
Not Interested Waste of Time    - 18 (30%) .... very disappointing. Such big percent doesn't even care.


The first discussion started out very promising but eventually descended into two pages of bat signals and the like, and some people may have lost interest at that point. As more and more people voiced opinions, there was revealed to be some fundamental, and possibly insurmountable, differences in ideology about direction.

The percentage of "not interested" seemed to take a quick jump just in the past couple of days. I don't think this can be entirely blamed on apathy. There is probably a fourth option that would be more accurate. Just a guess though.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: WarrenPrice on May 13, 2009, 13:05
I was turned off by the sarcasm and ridicule.  Not my idea of characteristics expected of "leaders."

Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: goldenangel on May 13, 2009, 13:09
So the 'Photographer's Collective' is your thing now?
That's news - I thought it was a group effort.
Unfortunately, I believe things like this will be happening a lot :(
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: sharply_done on May 13, 2009, 13:19
It's a fair guess that most people would be open to joining some sort of microstock association (e.g. microstock.org (http://www.microstock.org/) - click on it and look at the photo for a prophetic chuckle). From my point of view it would be an extremely good idea for leaf to purchase that domain name, then revamp this place into the forum for the organization.

What's turned me off so far is that certain people seem to be under the impression that they can (almost) single-handedly whip up some sort of commercial website, or that they can successfully enter the marketplace with an absolute minimum of venture capital. I'm also put off that the people with the most to say on this are also the ones who hardly sell anything - they seem to blame their lack of income on 'unfair commissions' rather than their inability to make and market commercial imagery.

As to what's missing, I think that to be perhaps one of the earliest goals any organization needs to set: a mission statement.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Anyka on May 13, 2009, 13:37
I think the the biggest photographers watch closely this thread, just they don't wanna be exposed because they don't want to ruin relations with agencies.

I am sure that will be one of the reasons why the Big Ones do not react.  Another reason (especially for smaller contributors) might be the possibility of retaliation by the agencies.  If an agency notices that contributor X gives his/her images exclusively to the new collective "premiere" site for the first six months, the Big Agencies will not like this.  I don't expect they will ban Yuri for it, but what about the smaller contributors?
By the way, I really liked the term "Premiere" - don't remember who launched it in the other thread, but I think it would stand out as part of the site name (photopremiere.com, premierestock.com?)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 13, 2009, 14:08
By the way, I really liked the term "Premiere" - don't remember who launched it in the other thread, but I think it would stand out as part of the site name (photopremiere.com, premierestock.com?)

Ironic, that's the name of IS's new collection , isn't it?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: madelaide on May 13, 2009, 16:29
Ironic, that's the name of IS's new collection , isn't it?

Yes, but theirs seem incorrect.  They seem to want it to be a collection of top quality images, highets in importance, thus it should be "premier", not "premiere".  A collection of images not seen elsewhere before, as suggested here, should be "premiere".
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 13, 2009, 21:26
Ironic, that's the name of IS's new collection , isn't it?

Yes, but theirs seem incorrect.  They seem to want it to be a collection of top quality images, highets in importance, thus it should be "premier", not "premiere".  A collection of images not seen elsewhere before, as suggested here, should be "premiere".


maybe since canada being bilingual ,  they had a french translator  where one is masc (without the e) and the other is fem (with the e) but synonyms.
then again,  coming from IStock, we won't know until they tell us what THEY really mean  ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 14, 2009, 00:28
What's turned me off so far is that certain people seem to be under the impression that they can (almost) single-handedly whip up some sort of commercial website, or that they can successfully enter the marketplace with an absolute minimum of venture capital. I'm also put off that the people with the most to say on this are also the ones who hardly sell anything - they seem to blame their lack of income on 'unfair commissions' rather than their inability to make and market commercial imagery.

As to what's missing, I think that to be perhaps one of the earliest goals any organization needs to set: a mission statement.

It is not that hard for a couple of people to setup a scalable website the problems is unpaid time to plan, QC, marketing who gets paid for what etc:, when you look are starting a website and think of the bandwidth and space to hold a few million images it becomes scary, I have been looking at the Amazon Cloud where you rent all the services on a usage basis, so as your model grows the soulution and charges grow in proportion this keeps hardware costs very low, there is are case studies on the site and one on media companies using this service, you may know them as SmugMug they just sell you space in thier bucket at $39.00 per year and have built thier services on the cloud technology, looking at this model is good because they pay for space and traffic at a very low rate and charge you a subscription a lot of people will pay for the service and only upload 100-200 images, as a guide low use rate for 1000 Alamy sized images costs $36 a year to store on Amazon. 

For any private Venture Capital you would have to give a big slice of the business away, you could ask photographers to pay a subscription or a joining fee but it would be hard to raise enough capital that way  to cover any full time staff etc.

I have had account with most microstock sites and Alamy and did have sales, at the moment I have closed all these accounts, not because of 'poor sales' but poor percentage returns for effort, this stopped me uploading and looking again for a better model.

If you created a new agency then there would have to be owners, these would be the ones doing the work so you have just another agency, the other option with the least overhead would be an organisation like SAA but I am not sure how much they are listened to by the traditional agencies.

Quite right about the mission statement and a business model, there are many photographers here with the skillsets required, I am a contractor and have been programming databases for 12 years, but like most things it will be how much time any one can give.

David
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 14, 2009, 02:37
It's a fair guess that most people would be open to joining some sort of microstock association (e.g. microstock.org ([url]http://www.microstock.org/[/url]) - click on it and look at the photo for a prophetic chuckle). From my point of view it would be an extremely good idea for leaf to purchase that domain name, then revamp this place into the forum for the organization.


I looked at pre-registered domain names and one company wanted $10000, I would think that one would not be cheap, if you can come up with one that is not registered let me know the name and I will give you a site and some space free of charge, although I cannot offer anything that fancy but if you want a webspace and domain to use as a place to kickstart this, I will donate one and you can have it free of charge:

This is what I will contribute:
www.photographers-collective.com which comes with .co.uk and .net
Preloaded with DNN which gives you a Blog, Articles, Forums, wiki, FAQ etc: many of these can be written to and submitted from your desktop via Live Writer, also you have webmail and 20 email addresses, so emails would go from firstname.lastname@photographers-collective.com

There is no catch, I am taking another direction and will be looking more at 'Digital Web Logistics' tools, that will act as transport between vendor and customer more than another imaging website, there is room for all idea's and if I can get this working with micro payments for use then I will be back to talk to you.

I registered DigitalWebLogistics .com .net and .org for 2 years total cost $70, so there are still some bargins to be had out there.

David  ;D   
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 14, 2009, 06:09
I have had account with most microstock sites and Alamy and did have sales, at the moment I have closed all these accounts, not because of 'poor sales' but poor percentage returns for effort, this stopped me uploading and looking again for a better model.

David, you mentioned "most micro and Alamy...having closed all these",  does this mean you 're now doing it independently or just with trad sites?

Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 14, 2009, 06:25

What's turned me off so far is that certain people seem to be under the impression that they can (almost) single-handedly whip up some sort of commercial website, or that they can successfully enter the marketplace with an absolute minimum of venture capital. I'm also put off that the people with the most to say on this are also the ones who hardly sell anything - they seem to blame their lack of income on 'unfair commissions' rather than their inability to make and market commercial imagery.

As to what's missing, I think that to be perhaps one of the earliest goals any organization needs to set: a mission statement.

perharps the collective could try approaching Photo Shelter as they already had once the model of a working site, AND, they had a similar mission ie. taking on Getty. I recall reading their frontpage agenda and thought, "wow David (no pun intended) taking on Goliath !"
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: massman on May 14, 2009, 07:10

What's turned me off so far is that certain people seem to be under the impression that they can (almost) single-handedly whip up some sort of commercial website, or that they can successfully enter the marketplace with an absolute minimum of venture capital. I'm also put off that the people with the most to say on this are also the ones who hardly sell anything - they seem to blame their lack of income on 'unfair commissions' rather than their inability to make and market commercial imagery.

As to what's missing, I think that to be perhaps one of the earliest goals any organization needs to set: a mission statement.

perharps the collective could try approaching Photo Shelter as they already had once the model of a working site, AND, they had a similar mission ie. taking on Getty. I recall reading their frontpage agenda and thought, "wow David (no pun intended) taking on Goliath !"


With due respect, what makes you think you can make a success out of what Photo Shelter failed at?
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 14, 2009, 07:49


perharps the collective could try approaching Photo Shelter as they already had once the model of a working site, AND, they had a similar mission ie. taking on Getty. I recall reading their frontpage agenda and thought, "wow David (no pun intended) taking on Goliath !"


With due respect, what makes you think you can make a success out of what Photo Shelter failed at?

With due respect in reciprocation, with your exemplary pro-active voracious enthusiasm they just might stand the ghost of a chance  ;)
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 14, 2009, 13:10
David, you mentioned "most micro and Alamy...having closed all these",  does this mean you 're now doing it independently or just with trad sites?

I started in Microstock as most do to "make money from you photo's", I enjoyed the steep learning curve and the realisation my images were not as good as my daughters told me, but I did learn hell of a lot out of it, but my mind kept going back to my ex-partner and her Amway Pyramid experience, where a few made all the money while other aspired to be like, and I could not accept the different canisters and diamond concept or the low returns, so I  moved across to Alamy the playing field more even, returns were greater there but with a couple of changes it was clear that they would not be able to sustain the growth of 6 million images a year shared between falling revenue, so I have pulled out of there, I am of the opinion now that the next model will be direct sales with more photographer control, so I will be working on a type of image RSS feed for Ebay for images solution for the rest of this year and will look again at the market in 2010.

David  ;D     
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: RacePhoto on May 14, 2009, 14:25
Before it changes, I had to do a screen snapshot of this one.  ;D

(http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/5483/collectivepollmsgm.jpg)


Talk about even results? Out of 66 people, it's a dead heat!

Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 14, 2009, 16:29
...I  moved across to Alamy the playing field more even, returns were greater there but with a couple of changes it was clear that they would not be able to sustain the growth of 6 million images a year shared between falling revenue, so I have pulled out of there,


David, cheers.
granted your justification to pull out of micro, if you didn't care for their culture.
but why would you have to pull out of Alamy when they don't require exclusiveness. Would be no harm to just leave them there given the sales you had.  ???
if you don't mind me probing. just trying to objectively weigh in.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 14, 2009, 16:43
David, cheers.
granted your justification to pull out of micro, if you didn't care for their culture.
but why would you have to pull out of Alamy when they don't require exclusiveness. Would be no harm to just leave them there given the sales you had.  ???
if you don't mind me probing. just trying to objectively weigh in.

Last post as this is off topic.

In a year the Alamy library grew by 50% that is from 10 million to 15 million images, revenue flattened and fell, the market Alamy fits into is shrinking with online content and newspapers squeezing suppliers, many will not last another 5 years and in my opinion many other stock imaging sites will shrink as well as new delivery models come online, Alamy have tried a couple of schemes that were not thought through so the trust to take things forward is lost.

It takes 90 days for Alamy to release the images after deletion, I want to have control over my assets and a new Digital Web Logistics (digital media distrubution) model up and running by late autumn this year.

Regards

David
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: alias on May 15, 2009, 10:46
I have said several times that I do not believe that just another microstock site, another closed model, would be the way to go.

I believe that what will work, when it happens, will be a different model. Not an agency. And it will be a model which is so obviously going to win that photographers and designers will not need to be persuaded. That is what happens when you get the right synthesis of ideas, timing and technologies. If the model works the idea will quickly take hold now that nearly everyone is connected via Twitter,Facebook etc. What is needed is an infrastructure via which pictures can be browsed and bought. There needs to be some system of quality control or rating.

I do not believe that stuff done by committee or agreement has any chance of getting anywhere. For that reason I am pleased to see individuals putting together prototypes and models of how a thing might look and feel. Great projects work when an individual or a small team has a good idea and works hard to follow it through.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: willie on May 15, 2009, 12:39

I have said several times that I do not believe that just another microstock site, another closed model, would be the way to go.
EDITED
 If the model works the idea will quickly take hold now that nearly everyone is connected via Twitter,Facebook etc. What is needed is an infrastructure via which pictures can be browsed and bought. There needs to be some system of quality control or rating.


good ideas, but not sure about Twitter or Facebook with them being so easy to set up or hack,
see latest today on Yahoo news

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/090514/tecnology/net_us_facebook_hackers
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: melastmohican on May 15, 2009, 12:45
If your Digital Web Logistics is just a framework anybody can plug in new website that's what I was asking for. There is noting like that on the market. If anybody allows you to use their system usually they want you to upload to their site first. One thing I wish to avoid is uploading same stuff to many places. I just want to be able to share and sell pictures stored in one place across internet.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: Adeptris on May 15, 2009, 13:59
If your Digital Web Logistics is just a framework anybody can plug in new website that's what I was asking for. There is noting like that on the market. If anybody allows you to use their system usually they want you to upload to their site first. One thing I wish to avoid is uploading same stuff to many places. I just want to be able to share and sell pictures stored in one place across internet.


That is the concept, but I was struggling to get it across, then I though about a phrase or term that people could relate to and it is Digital Web Logistics via the internet, at the moment you upload to many sites as you say, and let them set the price and sell your assets and only pay you when you have enough sales, they have to pay the bandwidth for you to manage your images, pay for storage, pay someone to look at many images they do not really want, that is some of the costs that cuts the photographers share.

I know I am going on a bit and yeah you have heard it before, but try to think in Vendor - Asset - Store - Customer, and not Photographer - Image - Agency - Customer, these are your assets that you load up to the next best startup website.

This model is good for the photographer and agencies:
1. photographer uploads once and retains control of thier asset until the point of delivery
2: by choosing to submit a small data packet the image data (text packet) is added into a data warehouse,
3: the agents pull the data they are interested in via a large online search engine
5: the engine gets a request for one of your images copies the thumbnail 170px x 170px to a storage zone
6: it will be availiable for a month in that zone
7: the agent now has a smaller set of images to suit thier website to look at
8: Agent has much lower costs as they do not store the full size image just thumbnails
9: Instead of many uploads, rejections for not what we need, you images are working for you
10: You have set the price the agent must pay for the image
11. if you trust the agent you could let the cash build or select instant payment
12: you get the price you set not what the agent sets, they run thier business on the markup they add

Example:
Look at the new model for agents, lets say a wildlife magazine want to add and image stocksite to bring in some more interest and revenue, Agent downloads a toolkit or template, registers to use the service, creates thier pages, goes to the search engine and filters by keyword and price band the images they want, marks the images which can either be an instant addition or the Photographer can request a notification and decide later, within a day the Magazine has a very large gallery of images they need without having to deal with one submission

This will either be a yes or no based on the search engine, I will be uploading 2 million combinations of random keywords as a test, the submit process to the search engine will have an option to submit matched keywords in several languages, this opens up your images to the worldwide market place not just english speaking. 

David
   
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: null on May 17, 2009, 01:37
The first discussion started out very promising but eventually descended into two pages of bat signals and the like, and some people may have lost interest at that point. As more and more people voiced opinions, there was revealed to be some fundamental, and possibly insurmountable, differences in ideology about direction.

Technically, it's not that difficult to make yet another stock agency. SEO and combined promo could take care of the marketing for the most part, when the big brass joined. One month exclusive lock in could attract buyers that are keen on fresh and not overused images.

The main issue, like always, is in the search engine and image ranking. The contributors might have common goals in the collective, but in the battle for the front page, they will be deadly competitors. If it's a collective, that will end in bitter fights amongst ourselves of how the search engine is organized.

We already had a mild preview of this when DT started to play with the image ranking default. A vested stock site can always say "this is how it is, period", but a collective with some big egos will have endless discussions, backstabbings, alliances and factions.
Title: Re: Photographers - Collective which Direction
Post by: travelstock on May 17, 2009, 01:53
Based on the people contributing to this thread, there seems to be little or no interest from significant/successful photographers, and you will not succeed unless you can attract at least some of these people.

Yes, to steal a quote from an article on Waterkeeper's Alliance  Bobby Kennedy fundraiser, "if you're going to go head to head with corporations with deep pockets, don't show up to the event with nobodies".

Good point sharply_done.



Yep unfortunately there doesn't appear to be significant interest from the contributors that matter... let alone any broad support from elsewhere. Don't be fooled - the most important thing here isn't the format of any site, its the participation of contributors. Unless there is broad based support for any "collective", there isn't a collective.