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Author Topic: PicturEngine: Some thoughts  (Read 16064 times)

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Poncke

« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2012, 07:30 »
0
Quote
Yes, you're a bit off track.  Let me outline it for you.

This the best explanation so far....

+783463

I was close in understanding but I missed that part in the first paragraph about PE being a search engine without having to pay. So that means I do not need any subscription, if all my images are indexed anyways.

I think Graphix also expressed my concerns about PE as well. Good piece.


« Reply #51 on: December 06, 2012, 07:40 »
0
Veneratio, no problem.




...If anyone signed up, I suggest you log into your PayPal account, go to Profile, click on My Money and then look to see if there are any automated payments set up to pay PE the full amount annually after the 90 day free period....
That was made quite clear when I signed up.  There's an automated payment to PE for $480 after 90 days.  There's nothing sneaky about it.  I presume that could be reversed by Paypal, if someone forgot to cancel it or was unable to access their Paypal account?

My big concern is that the search was supposed to be going live months ago.  I can't remember the exact words used but I thought it was going to be live at least 6 months ago.  So I'm not seeing a reason to use the free trial, unless I'm given 90 days after the site goes live.

I do have other concerns but until the search is live, they aren't worth thinking about.

Sheesh, I'm glad I brought it up.  What slimebags!

Sharpshot, unless you're happy to go ahead with them after the free trail period, your main concern right now should be that $480 automated payment that you agreed to.  It is sneaky.  PayPal won't reverse it, you need to block it both on the PE site somewhere AND on PayPal.  This is how they get you.  When the time comes the funds will be paid to them.  Even if you don't have enough funds in your PayPal account, PayPal will automatically draw it from your linked account.  They won't ask you about it because you've already agreed to it.  You'll be notified AFTER it's done and you won't be able to get that money back because you agreed to it.  If you cancel the automatic payment on PayPal and don't turn it off somewhere on the PE site, they'll still issue the invoice and you'll have to pay it.  If you don't, you could have debt collectors after you like 1and1[dot]com do to people over a lousy $10.  It's bad practice but many dodgy sites do it.  I've been caught out once, never again.   



Just go to PE and see if you can find somewhere that you can turn off the automatic payment.  Take a screenshot of it because some of them like 1and1 turn it back on.



Then on PayPal do this:

click on 'Profile'
click on 'My Money' on the left
click on 'update' on 'My pre-approved payments'
click on 'PicturEngine' or whatever it's called
next to 'Status' click 'Cancel'

Thank me later when all the stories come flooding in about people being ripped off $480 - sneakily but unfortunately legally.
When I log in to the site, I can't get to a page to cancel it.  I'll email them about this.
Edit:- this doesn't look like a problem, as all you have to do is cancel it through PayPal.  I looked around and that's worked with similar pre-approved payments for other sites.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 08:10 by sharpshot »

grafix04

« Reply #52 on: December 06, 2012, 07:58 »
0
Ponke, just be clear, if you have your own site it won't be indexed, even if you upload to it first. 



Sharpshot, The dodgy ones always make it hard if not impossible to change it.  Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky!    How many others from here have signed up for the 90 day free trial?



« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2012, 11:22 »
0
grafix04
It appears you understand the platform from your post.(
http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/picturengine-some-thoughts/msg283170/#msg283170)  You also understand how PicturEngine can make the industry better for everyone, even those not actively participating, thats the goal! 

I want to address one thing, then Ill leave you to your scheming. :)
My statements are clear when taken in context.  (Anyone can change the meaning of a statement when taking text out of context.)

The PicturEngine photographer platform is not for everyone, just as stock photography is not for everyone.  Studying years of hard data tells us PicturEngine becomes cost effective with collections of over 1,000 unique images.  If you dont yet have 1,000 unique images in your portfolio or collection, keep us on your radar for when you do.  Some of you mentioned image storage as a factor.  Storing 1,000 10MB Jpegs at Rackspace is about a dollar ($1.00 USD) per month.  For the speed and peace of mind, $1/ month is not a high price to pay.

Stock Photo 101:
The quality and quantity of images in a portfolio directly affects the number of sales and potential number of sales.  This should not be big news.  I consider this to be common knowledge or just math.  Ive had the pleasure of representing several thousand stock photographers in my career.  Its a fact, and should be no surprise, photographers with more unique images, make more money.  Over a decade of compiled data tells me, on average, stock photographers with 1,000 unique images in their portfolio will make more sales/money than photographers with say, 200 images in their portfolio.  This was not always the case, in the 90s a smaller portfolio often yielded successful (money making) results.  Today, however, with everyone carrying a digital camera at all times, its harder to find unique images.  You simply must produce a greater quantity of quality content to make the same amount of money.  (The factors of price and license type are not addressed in this example to keep it simplified.)

I will try to stay out of your conversations on this thread unless asked a direct question.  I will need to respond, however, if misquoted.

Best,
JB

Microbius

« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2012, 11:34 »
0
Thanks for the post Justin, could I just check, by "unique images" you mean salable as opposed to exclusive right?
That is how I read your post but just want confirmation as I am considering whether I am likely to recoup if I subscribe.

« Reply #55 on: December 06, 2012, 12:02 »
0
Thanks for the post Justin, could I just check, by "unique images" you mean salable as opposed to exclusive right?
That is how I read your post but just want confirmation as I am considering whether I am likely to recoup if I subscribe.

Correct.  Unique salable images.

Best,
JB

grafix04

« Reply #56 on: December 06, 2012, 12:16 »
+2
Justin, I just skimmed through your post because you waffled on about crap without really addressing any real issue raised.  I have no problem with the 1000 unique images, nor do I have a problem with this line that you wrote which implies you now want exclusive content:

Quote
The purpose of our recent push for the PicturEngine photographer platform is to get content onboard that is NOT currently at agencies

I have no problem with it because I don't intend to sign up as a photographer on your site - ever.  What I do have a problem with is that you just sprung these new terms on everyone.  After months of spinning the same hype, nowhere have you mentioned, nor does it say anywhere on your website, that you want 1000 unique and exclusive images.  Now after all this time you come up with that?  Out of the blue?  Why waste people's time?

As for the microstock 101 crap that your wrote, that is quite insulting and implying that we don't know microstock when we've been doing this for years, is not going to win you any fans.

I am not interested in joining your site as it stands.  I don't know anything about you or how the site will operate when it goes live.  All I have is the word of some stranger who's previously been in the porn business, pushing to get us to hand him over $480 without any proof that the site works or that there are buyers eager to use the site.  Again, this could possibly be a scam.  And speaking of which, do you want to address the issue about the automated payment of $480 with sharpshot - in the another thread please.  That way we can get back to 'scheming' :)

And by the way, I don't like the look of your site.  It also runs like a dog.  I have a feeling when you go live, it will be much worse.  If the live system looks anything like it does now, I doubt buyers will use it.  And no microstock contributor with any sense is going to invest $480 in a site looking and running like that.  Compare PicturEngine with any popular image search engine out there now and you just don't measure up.  So you can write all the BS you like but at the end of the day, your site still looks pretty useless as it is. 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 12:19 by grafix04 »

Poncke

« Reply #57 on: December 06, 2012, 12:25 »
0
Ponke, just be clear, if you have your own site it won't be indexed, even if you upload to it first. 


I know, but it finds my images at SS and the like, so thats all I need. I thought I had to pay a tenner a month to get indexed at agencies.

Poncke

« Reply #58 on: December 06, 2012, 12:37 »
0
He never addressed the question how he is going to handle charbebacks etc on his paypal account. He says he wont be the middle man, basically for 480 euro a year he lets you sort out any crap with payments yourself.

Sounds way too dodgy for me.

« Reply #59 on: December 06, 2012, 13:24 »
+1
I think we shouldn't be too harsh on PE.  Might as well let it launch and wait a year.  It will either be a big flop or it will succeed.  The odds aren't good and they'll have enough problems without people here "scheming".

My communications with them have been good.  I knew what I was doing when I signed up for the trial, it was all very clear.  I only cancelled because it doesn't seem worth doing right now.  I've had 2 emails confirming that my account will be closed in 48 hours. I wish them well and hope that I'll want to join again in the future.

« Reply #60 on: December 06, 2012, 13:43 »
0
He never addressed the question how he is going to handle charbebacks etc on his paypal account. He says he wont be the middle man, basically for 480 euro a year he lets you sort out any crap with payments yourself.

Sounds way too dodgy for me.

If he's the one accepting the payment, the chargeback goes to him.  Pretty simple.

grafix04

« Reply #61 on: December 06, 2012, 14:06 »
0
No, Ponke's right.  It's against PayPal's terms.  Where Justin stuffed up is that he publicly admitted that he's passing the "PayPal fee" to the buyer.  If buyers ever get wind of this and complain to PayPal, PE could have their account closed and then how would the photographers get paid?  He shouldn't have said a thing or he should have said they bump up the original price with a handling fee which is allowed.  Silly!  For someone that's been using PayPal since 2006, he should know better.  It's probably been quoted all over the place and too late to retract it now.

« Reply #62 on: December 06, 2012, 14:21 »
0
No, Ponke's right.  It's against PayPal's terms.  Where Justin stuffed up is that he publicly admitted that he's passing the "PayPal fee" to the buyer.  If buyers ever get wind of this and complain to PayPal, PE could have their account closed and then how would the photographers get paid?  He shouldn't have said a thing or he should have said they bump up the original price with a handling fee which is allowed.  Silly!  For someone that's been using PayPal since 2006, he should know better.  It's probably been quoted all over the place and too late to retract it now.

When I buy at Target and use my charge card, and Visa gets 3%, where do you think that comes from?  The price of the stuff I bought.  Of course the fees are passed one to me/included in the price.

What you can't say is "This item is $5, and if you want to use Paypal, then that will be an extra $1, but if you want to send a check, it's only $5".  If that's what he's doing here, forgive me, but it seems like there is a price, however you pay, and fees are paid from that income.

grafix04

« Reply #63 on: December 06, 2012, 14:31 »
0
No, Ponke's right.  It's against PayPal's terms.  Where Justin stuffed up is that he publicly admitted that he's passing the "PayPal fee" to the buyer.  If buyers ever get wind of this and complain to PayPal, PE could have their account closed and then how would the photographers get paid?  He shouldn't have said a thing or he should have said they bump up the original price with a handling fee which is allowed.  Silly!  For someone that's been using PayPal since 2006, he should know better.  It's probably been quoted all over the place and too late to retract it now.

When I buy at Target and use my charge card, and Visa gets 3%, where do you think that comes from?  The price of the stuff I bought.  Of course the fees are passed one to me/included in the price.

What you can't say is "This item is $5, and if you want to use Paypal, then that will be an extra $1, but if you want to send a check, it's only $5".  If that's what he's doing here, forgive me, but it seems like there is a price, however you pay, and fees are paid from that income.

I get what you're saying Sean.  But PayPal is really finicky with this stuff.  Accounts have been closed over this.  He can bump up the price to whatever he likes, that's not the problem.  But it's clear in the terms that he's not supposed to pass on the fee to the buyer.   The problem is that he dobbed himself in.  Yeah, I know that it's a stupid policy, but if buyers complain, he could lose his account, Especially if they complain on a massive scale.  He shouldn't have said it.  There was no need to even mention it when he knows, or should have known that the policy exists.


« Reply #64 on: December 06, 2012, 14:36 »
+1
"No Surcharges. Under Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express regulations and the laws of several states, including California, merchants may not charge a fee to the buyer for accepting credit card payments (often called a "surcharge"). You agree that you will not impose a surcharge or any other fee for accepting PayPal as payment. This restriction does not prevent you from imposing a handling fee in connection with the sale of goods or services, as long as the handling fee does not operate as a surcharge (in other words, the handling fee for transactions paid through PayPal may not be higher than the handling fee for transactions paid through other payment methods). Nor does this restriction apply to Pound-denominated transactions by sellers residing in the United Kingdom listing items for sale on a UK-based website."

He can either add a handling surcharge for all payment types, or include it in the price.  You just can't get to checkout and say "Oh, paypal?  That's an extra $2".

grafix04

« Reply #65 on: December 06, 2012, 14:45 »
0
I think we shouldn't be too harsh on PE.  Might as well let it launch and wait a year.  It will either be a big flop or it will succeed.  The odds aren't good and they'll have enough problems without people here "scheming".

My communications with them have been good.  I knew what I was doing when I signed up for the trial, it was all very clear.  I only cancelled because it doesn't seem worth doing right now.  I've had 2 emails confirming that my account will be closed in 48 hours. I wish them well and hope that I'll want to join again in the future.

Not sure what this talk about 'scheming' is.  It's just planning so that our images from a preferred site is indexed on their site.  This wouldn't be a hindrance to PE.  If anything this would help them because we would promote them since we want to get the sale that gives us the best return.  If we're going to sit on the sidelines and watch, we may as well participate indirectly.  There's no scheming but if their was, it would be against the microstock agents, not PE.

Despite Justin being a bit of a smartypants and despite me not trusting him or his company (at this stage) I actually like their model.  I want them to be legit and be successful.  I want the site to go live so I can check it out, monitor it over time and hopefully hear some success stories.   And if they do flop, I'd like someone else to continue in their footsteps.  Preferably someone big. I can see Google possibly doing it.  They have the funds, the resources, they already have the search engine. 

I just don't like the guy's attitude or his background but I'm willing to give them a go if they prove themselves.  To be completely honest, I trust them as much as I trust microstock companies these days - I don't trust any of them one bit.  They're all out to bleed us dry :D

« Reply #66 on: December 06, 2012, 14:50 »
+2
it appears that buyers & sellers are being told 2 different things - sellers are told we can direct the search to our preferred site or agency, but buyers are told " Image buyers get the best image at the best price with access to all outlets from which the image can be licensed."

here are extracts from the PE website :

=======================
picturengine to buyers:

Search, find and license images.  Its that simple!  The world's stock photos consolidated into ONE search!  Some images are exclusive to a single stock photo agency, some are listed with multiple agencies and some are available directly from the photographer.  Image buyers get the best image at the best price with access to all outlets from which the image can be licensed.

....,.
The option to choose not only which image to license, but also from whom to license it, assures images buyers the best image at the best price.  We include all representatives licensing a particular image and allow the image buyer to make an informed purchasing decision.

Once you find and image, we show you all available sources to license that image
============================
picturengine to photographers:

Does PicturEngine compare prices?

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2012 10:58AM CDT

 NO.  PicturEngine does NOT compare prices.
 
We know buyers demand good prices.  The only way to get the best price on ANY good or service, is to reduce the distance from the producer to the buyer.  We DO NOT compare prices, instead we send the buyer to the base agency (where the image was uploaded FIRST) or directly to the photographer (if they are on the PicturEngine platform).  Sending the buyer directly to the base agency or photographer, effectively removes unnecessary expenses added to the sale.  Our goal is to help both photographers and image buyers get the most out of each transaction.



---------------------
Am I competing with my agencies?

Last Updated: May 05, 2012 10:34PM CDT

 No.  If an image is listed with an agency, and the photographer lists the same image on the PicturEngine platform, buyers see only the image listed by the photographer on the PicturEngine platform.


grafix04

« Reply #67 on: December 06, 2012, 14:56 »
0
"No Surcharges. Under Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express regulations and the laws of several states, including California, merchants may not charge a fee to the buyer for accepting credit card payments (often called a "surcharge"). You agree that you will not impose a surcharge or any other fee for accepting PayPal as payment. This restriction does not prevent you from imposing a handling fee in connection with the sale of goods or services, as long as the handling fee does not operate as a surcharge (in other words, the handling fee for transactions paid through PayPal may not be higher than the handling fee for transactions paid through other payment methods). Nor does this restriction apply to Pound-denominated transactions by sellers residing in the United Kingdom listing items for sale on a UK-based website."

He can either add a handling surcharge for all payment types, or include it in the price.  You just can't get to checkout and say "Oh, paypal?  That's an extra $2".

Sean, about the processing/handling fee is basically what I mentioned a few posts up.  That's all good.  I'm saying the problem here is that he blabbed that he's passing the paypal fee to the buyer, even giving the percentage away.  The problem is, if a buyer reads it on this forum someday and complains to paypal, he can't then turn around and say "oh, that's the handling fee".  He should not have said that he's passing on the 2.9% paypal fee or however much it was.  I know what you're saying and I agree.  It's all ridiculous because it's the same thing but PayPal is a bit ridiculous when it comes to this policy.  And they do close accounts over it if buyers complain.  I'm not worried about it though.  If he lost his account, he'd have to find another way to pay the contributors or do some serious grovelling to to PayPal and get his account back.  I think people are worrying more than they should but I'm just saying technically, Ponke is right and it is a risk because he said it.

« Reply #68 on: December 06, 2012, 14:57 »
0
cascoly makes a disturbing observation.

Overall, the concept is starting to make sense to me.  Speaking only for myself, here's what I'd want to do:  sign with PE, at the base level (no storage or direct marketing).  Have PE index my images, and set GL as my preferred agency; buyers using PE can then find my images on an equal basis with those on SS, for example, but will be directed to GL to buy them.  At some point, I might even remove my stuff from the other agencies, leaving only GL.

Is this just a beautiful dream, or could it really work this way?

I note however that any popularity-based search ranking you may have accrued at these agencies is apparently dropped in this scheme.  Will PE prioritize newer images, or start building its own internal popularity ranking?  Apologies if this was covered in earlier posts.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 14:59 by stockastic »

grafix04

« Reply #69 on: December 06, 2012, 15:02 »
0
it appears that buyers & sellers are being told 2 different things - sellers are told we can direct the search to our preferred site or agency, but buyers are told " Image buyers get the best image at the best price with access to all outlets from which the image can be licensed."

here are extracts from the PE website :

=======================
picturengine to buyers:

Search, find and license images.  Its that simple!  The world's stock photos consolidated into ONE search!  Some images are exclusive to a single stock photo agency, some are listed with multiple agencies and some are available directly from the photographer.  Image buyers get the best image at the best price with access to all outlets from which the image can be licensed.

....,.
The option to choose not only which image to license, but also from whom to license it, assures images buyers the best image at the best price.  We include all representatives licensing a particular image and allow the image buyer to make an informed purchasing decision.

Once you find and image, we show you all available sources to license that image
============================
picturengine to photographers:

Does PicturEngine compare prices?

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2012 10:58AM CDT

 NO.  PicturEngine does NOT compare prices.
 
We know buyers demand good prices.  The only way to get the best price on ANY good or service, is to reduce the distance from the producer to the buyer.  We DO NOT compare prices, instead we send the buyer to the base agency (where the image was uploaded FIRST) or directly to the photographer (if they are on the PicturEngine platform).  Sending the buyer directly to the base agency or photographer, effectively removes unnecessary expenses added to the sale.  Our goal is to help both photographers and image buyers get the most out of each transaction.



---------------------
Am I competing with my agencies?

Last Updated: May 05, 2012 10:34PM CDT

 No.  If an image is listed with an agency, and the photographer lists the same image on the PicturEngine platform, buyers see only the image listed by the photographer on the PicturEngine platform.


 :o

Well done!

grafix04

« Reply #70 on: December 06, 2012, 15:08 »
0
cascoly makes a disturbing observation.

Overall, the concept is starting to make sense to me.  Speaking only for myself, here's what I'd want to do:  sign with PE, at the base level (no storage or direct marketing).  Have PE index my images, and set GL as my preferred agency; buyers using PE can then find my images on an equal basis with those on SS, for example, but will be directed to GL to buy them.  At some point, I might even remove my stuff from the other agencies, leaving only GL.

Is this just a beautiful dream, or could it really work this way?

I note however that any popularity-based search ranking you may have accrued at these agencies is apparently dropped in this scheme.  Will PE prioritize newer images, or start building its own internal popularity ranking?  Apologies if this was covered in earlier posts.

You can't sign up and have them index preferred sites at microstock.  You can only upload your images to your preferred site and wait for them to be indexed at PE.  There's no need to sign up with them. 

However after reading Cascoly's post, I don't know how it will work.  I think it's safe to say them might be playing us lol

Poncke

« Reply #71 on: December 06, 2012, 16:18 »
0
He never addressed the question how he is going to handle charbebacks etc on his paypal account. He says he wont be the middle man, basically for 480 euro a year he lets you sort out any crap with payments yourself.

Sounds way too dodgy for me.

If he's the one accepting the payment, the chargeback goes to him.  Pretty simple.
Should is the keyword but what if he passes on the chargebacks to the contributors? Like IS, there is no way to dispute it at paypal.

« Reply #72 on: December 06, 2012, 17:48 »
0
Thanks cascoly, going to be interesting to see how they try and explain that one away.  Don't think I could ever trust them after reading that.

« Reply #73 on: December 06, 2012, 18:14 »
0
If it shows 4 places to buy the same image, and the price at each, buyers will click on the one marked "Preferred by the Photgrapher because he submitted it there first", right?  Oh wait. They'll click on the cheapest one.  Or if PE doesn't explicitly show the prices, the buyer will just click on all 4 in turn and compare.

This system will evolve to serve the needs of whoever is actually paying for it.  So who is it - buyers or sellers?  It can't be both.

Of course, we can't stop meta-search/price comparison sites from operating.  Once they get going, the only way to fight back would be to remove our images from all but one preferred agency. 

« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 18:36 by stockastic »

« Reply #74 on: December 06, 2012, 19:17 »
+1
Does Justin and PE really believe that contributors will be willing to pay to be part of a service that effectively sends buyers to the cheapest source of their images? Is that what PE will offer for buyers? I've been convinced by Justin thus far, but my confidence is seriously shaken by this revelation. Justin, I'd really like to hear your explanation...?


 

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