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Author Topic: Slavery  (Read 6616 times)

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Beppe Grillo

« on: March 11, 2015, 05:15 »
-2
To get paid $ 0.20 or $0.50 for a sold image, is it not a kind of modern slavery?

And why we like it?*

* If we do it there should be some good reasons, or it is in the human nature to accept to be exploited?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 05:17 by Beppe Grillo »


« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2015, 05:17 »
+13
To get paid $ 0.20 or $0.50 for a sold image, is it not a kind of modern slavery?

No it's not. We all could be doing something else, if we wanted to.

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2015, 05:21 »
+9
To get paid $ 0.20 or $0.50 for a sold image, is it not a kind of modern slavery?

No it's not. We all could be doing something else, if we wanted to.

But they (agencies) ask us more and more and pay us less and less, so we are conscious (and consenting) masochists?

Shelma1

« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 06:00 »
+36
Masochists, perhaps. Slaves, no. There is still plenty of real slavery left in the world, and those people are not shooting landscapes with $3,000 cameras or sitting in their comfortable dining rooms drawing Christmas cards.

But do we deserve a bigger slice of the pie? When one or two people are multimillionaires or billionaires and we're making a teeny tiny fraction of that, but the billionaires are making all that money just selling our work, then yes. There needs to be some more equal distribution of profits. We're living in the age of the new robber barons.

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2015, 06:27 »
+5
Masochists, perhaps. Slaves, no. There is still plenty of real slavery left in the world, and those people are not shooting landscapes with $3,000 cameras or sitting in their comfortable dining rooms drawing Christmas cards.

But do we deserve a bigger slice of the pie? When one or two people are multimillionaires or billionaires and we're making a teeny tiny fraction of that, but the billionaires are making all that money just selling our work, then yes. There needs to be some more equal distribution of profits. We're living in the age of the new robber barons.


I fully agree with you Shelma.
When I tell "slavery" it is of course a little provocative.
We are far to work in the same bad conditions than some Asian children working for some big American or European multinational corporations this is real slavery.

But we are, in some way exploited, for the greatest benefit of few people.
My biggest concern is that we are gradually more and more exploited, and in some way it remembers me the story of the boiling frog: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog


« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2015, 06:29 »
+6
capitalism is  a modern slavery even if you are paid well - then, you are a well paid slave

« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2015, 08:36 »
+5
We're probably less "slaves" than someone who has a regular job.
We have the choice of whether to "be there" or not

When I started work I quite enjoyed my first day. Then I realised they expected me to go back five days a week. :)
The morality of the case where people make vast wealth off the backs of others is another thing, but 'twas ever thus.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2015, 08:55 »
+15
Slaves don't pick their jobs. Underpaid people in impoverished countries, don't have any other means of earning or feeding themselves. It's a matter of survival.

Microstock artists are willing victims who decided to participate - by their own choice. Anyone new who comes here or reads the percentages agencies pay, should know enough to go find something else.

I'm happy with my returns on my efforts from Microstock. I like what I shoot and enjoy taking the photos. (which I would be doing anyway)

But if I had to depend on this income to live, I'd be just as unhappy and disillusioned as many others who voice their dissatisfaction with the income earned for their hard work. I'd probably go find something else to do. No agency is forcing people to work for them for the low returns.

The only shackles people wear in Microstock are the ones we put on ourselves.

« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2015, 08:58 »
+18

Equating anything in the stock image business to slavery is insulting to people and families who have endured actual slavery.

« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2015, 09:50 »
+2
I'm only enslaved to keywording.

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 11:00 »
0
This discussion is truly insightful. As an American, I'm very glad to have a worldwide perspective on this forum. Good question!  8)

« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 11:19 »
+6
We are simply bottom feeders in a large pond.

Slavery it may not be.. but the share of the pie we receive, does seem more and more like a slave's share 
 ::)

Semmick Photo

« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 11:20 »
+4
I'd say its more like entrapment.

Dook

« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 11:23 »
+1
I'd say its more like entrapment.
+1. Something like when you receive first dose of drug for free.
Newbies are selling unbelievably well at the beginning.

« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 12:04 »
+11
I feel bad now about microstock. Not what it used to be. But I still need extra money to live. But I need to shoot more and more and more to get less and less and less. That's depressing. I wish agency like shutter or istock pay us more like pond5.  I still hope someday something good will happens to contributor in this industry. We deserved it.

« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2015, 12:54 »
+3
Julie, we all wish something changed. It's very not good what is going on lately!

« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2015, 13:21 »
+3
We are simply bottom feeders in a large pond.

Slavery it may not be.. but the share of the pie we receive, does seem more and more like a slave's share 
 ::)

when did slaves ever have a 'share'???

microstock is just a part of the increasing inequality of profits - the tops 1% reaps most of the income, while the middle gets just enough to prevent any mass discontent from changing the system


« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2015, 13:31 »
+8
when did slaves ever have a 'share'???

Your use of the word share reminds me of the share cropping system.  I think these days microstockers do have a lot in common with share croppers. We're out here doing all the wotk and the agency owners are getting rich off our efforts.

« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2015, 15:30 »
+7
I happen to be a microstock contributor, and a publisher in another domain where I pay royalties to authors, so I know the business from both sides. And I feel comfortable as a contributor and I prefer agencies like SS, who pay me e.g. 20% but sell 1000 of my images, than other agencies that pay me 60% but sell one or two images in the same period of time. I am interested in my gross earnings and not in my share. Because I'm conscious how much money and work 7/24/365 it needs to promote the agency like SS to be nr 1 in the World and keep selling my images around the world in such a quantity. Never would I be able to do it myself. I shoot and postprocess my image once. Then they work and sell my image for several years.

I advise to all of you complaining just to open your own agency and try to compete with SS. Then you will understand what I mean.

« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2015, 15:47 »
+1
when did slaves ever have a 'share'???

Your use of the word share reminds me of the share cropping system.  I think these days microstockers do have a lot in common with share croppers. We're out here doing all the wotk and the agency owners are getting rich off our efforts.

or more like us mining the blood diamonds and at the end the mining town is left a ghost town
with nothing around it fit for living... then the owners move on to another country to mine them
and everyone is so grateful that they now have jobs in the mines.
UK coal mines also come to mind when you think of microstock.

dpimborough

« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2015, 16:23 »
+9
The agencies originally started off as a good idea a way for the ordinary photographer to sell their photos and make a little money from it.

The realm of the professional photographer was out of reach for many like wise access to the "professional agencies".

However over the years the relationship between photographer and the agencies has become one of exploitation.

They rely on the photographer's desire to earn money and gain some small recognition for their output.

If they truly had the interests of the image producer at heart then things would be more balanced.  Rates and royalties would be higher.  Websites that are broken would be fixed and reviewer would be professionals not other hired photogs with their own agendas.

Most photographers and image producers stick at it because there is little chance they would ever scale the lofty heights that industry top dogs reach.

Image producers are often stuck in this never ending cycle of an abusive relationship because they have little choice.

And some image producers just do it to fund their kit and don't really care how much they are paid.  Just look at the numbers of retired and employees (working in other jobs) in the game.  To them it's just extra spending cash.

There will never be any incentive for agencies to change their ways because they know that image producers are a disparate bunch of individuals who can never ever speak with one voice let alone act together to prevent this abuse.

And bet your bottom dollar that if they could get away with it the agencies would screw you and I and everyone to  the last and final cent. :-\
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 16:25 by Teddy the Cat »

« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2015, 18:38 »
+3
capitalism is  a modern slavery even if you are paid well - then, you are a well paid slave

capitalism Socialism is  a modern slavery

If Jon at SS is really a billionaire, then I'm guessing that he alone has made more money than all the contributors to SS put together. It doesn't seem fair, but the truth is that just about any of us could have done what he did back in the beginning of microstock if we had the foresight, energy, and business savvy. But we didn't. He did and he gets the big payout. Neither whining about it nor wishing for a Communist workers paradise is an attractive alternative IMHO.

If we don't like it, we can stop contributing, which in fact is what I personally have done. We're not slaves.

« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2015, 20:07 »
+8
Just as ridiculous to compare asking for a fair and long overdue raise to a communist paradise as was the original slavery metaphore.  There is a lot of room between pure capitalism and pure communism.   The ideal balance for everyone lies somewhere in the middle.   The reason there are so many unhappy contributors is that the balance swung too far to the agencies and time for some realignment.

« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2015, 23:00 »
0
capitalism is  a modern slavery even if you are paid well - then, you are a well paid slave

capitalism Socialism is  a modern slavery

If Jon at SS is really a billionaire, then I'm guessing that he alone has made more money than all the contributors to SS put together. It doesn't seem fair, but the truth is that just about any of us could have done what he did back in the beginning of microstock if we had the foresight, energy, and business savvy. But we didn't. He did and he gets the big payout. Neither whining about it nor wishing for a Communist workers paradise is an attractive alternative IMHO.

If we don't like it, we can stop contributing, which in fact is what I personally have done. We're not slaves.


Any of us could have done it

How about all of us...and I mean every single one ?


And about  ...isms, all of them were and are instruments of enslavement.



« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 23:05 by Lizard »

« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2015, 01:48 »
-3
capitalism is  a modern slavery even if you are paid well - then, you are a well paid slave

capitalism Socialism is  a modern slavery

If Jon at SS is really a billionaire, then I'm guessing that he alone has made more money than all the contributors to SS put together. It doesn't seem fair, but the truth is that just about any of us could have done what he did back in the beginning of microstock if we had the foresight, energy, and business savvy. But we didn't. He did and he gets the big payout. Neither whining about it nor wishing for a Communist workers paradise is an attractive alternative IMHO.

If we don't like it, we can stop contributing, which in fact is what I personally have done. We're not slaves.

 american dream(ing)

Uncle Pete

« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2015, 08:37 »
+4
1
:  a person held in servitude as the chattel of another
2
:  one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence
3
:  a device, that is directly responsive to another
4
:  drudge, toiler
slave adjective

intransitive verb
1
to work like a slave :  drudge


The OP was using a word as a metaphor, and people are getting all upset over definitions and now were into politics and Socialism vs Free Trade or Capitalism, name calling country against another. Silly!

ps I'm quite happy with what I make from SS, I'd like it much more if we had a better percentage. My largest frustration is trying to add more photos that will make more money and having them rejected for "lighting" or "Not sharp at full size".

If the truth is, most people are using these for small projects and we get 20% averaging $1-$2 RPD for our collection, why do they have to be like someone with an expensive controlled studio environment has taken them.

And on the same line, how the heck does a phone photo pass, that's taken with a sensor the size of the head of a 2 penny nail and a lens that's plastic and the size of a thumbtack. But a shot with a DSLR is "soft at full size"?

Yes we slave away for a small return. We are slaves to the Microstock system and agencies. We are not owned or sold into this position, but everyone has decided by their own choice to participate. (unless I'm wrong and someone here is not doing this on their own, for their own benefit, and is a prisoner or slave?)

Shelma1

« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2015, 09:42 »
+6
I'd like a raise from iStock too. A 50% raise from them would just bring them into line with Shutterstock. That's sad.


« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2015, 14:31 »
0
how the heck does a phone photo pass, that's taken with a sensor the size of the head of a 2 penny nail and a lens that's plastic and the size of a thumbtack. But a shot with a DSLR is "soft at full size"?


looking at it in a non-sense lateral thinking way, i would say the reason for this is
- photo phone contributors will not grumble at earning 30 cents
because each penny earn is a penny to cheer
- dslr owners and other slaves like you and me ... are bound to grumble like we are doing here
so unless we start earning 28 to 120 bucks a single download,
we will never be cheering.

so, if you are the shareholders... who would you instruct ss to keep in the flock???

« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2015, 17:58 »
0
If you're lively hood depends on it, maybe.  For me stock has been secondary. I submit maybe 2 images a month. Pays for my daily coffee.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2015, 23:41 »
+1
miserable fees, yes, but on top of this the Euro is in free fall !

as of today's quotation the Euro is now only worth 1.06$ ! it was 1.36$ just a few months ago ... it's a disaster .. if it reaches parity 1:1 it will be cheaper for me to live in eastern or southern europe at this point .. gone are the days when i could say that living in Asia was "cheap as chips" :(

as for slavery : considering even a cheap newbie doing his first assignment or his first wedding will ask no less than 2-300$ per day there's not much to discuss further about the ongoing situation ...  micro's initial idea was to be a place to sell leftovers to designers and the price (1$) was merely symbolic, meant to recoup the server costs ... it got out of hands and now the price is as low as 0.5$ while the quality is on par with expensive RM images that once were sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars .. doesn't make sense but now it's too late to complain, in any case it doesn't give stockers any exit strategy as they're forced to produce only the cheapest possible stuff as the ROI is too small and this will be always the Achille's heel of microstock, anyone else needed different sort of images will have no other option than paying a fair price for RM licences or hire people on assignment.

it doesn't take a genius to predict that while the quality of micro images produced so far is high the next wave will be quite a different story and the market will balance itself somehow, leaving space for a small "midstock" segment or whatever.

as for agencies being too greedy : yes but remember that despite this their net earnings are no more than 20-30% as far as we know and this clearly shows how expensive it's to acquire new buyers in the actual economy.

the next BIG THING in stock is : what will be the pricing of Adobe's Fotolia ? higher than micros or only based on cheap subs so to lower our fees even more ?

SS and the others will change their pricing accordingly and this will be a matter of life or death for many stockers in my opinion.

the other big thing is : will Getty crumble on itself and sold for a pittance ? what's next ? who will steal their remaining customer base ?




Uncle Pete

« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2015, 11:03 »
0
I hope you don't mind that I clipped out the rest. It's relevant but not what I wanted to concentrate on.

While many people are cheering at the Adobe deal and spending the earnings from their new found fortunes, because Adobe bought FT. I think you have made an excellent point.

We don't know if this could end up a bigger cut, through some distribution deal with their own CC users. Let me explain. FT stays FT, but now your CC/Sub sales on the Adobe CC will pay at (inventing a tragic number here) 10c per download.

People make more on the old FT and less on the CC.

Part two of your question. No I don't think SS or Getty needs to adjust to this threat, it's not the same deal, not the same users in many cases. Not everyone will be a pay member of Adobe CC. Price cutting isn't the only way to compete and in fact it's the weakest and worst strategy. The little agencies (in general) use prices because they have nothing else to offer. They have all the same images from all the same artists, what else can they say except, "We'll sell you a license for less"? They are desperate and are irrelevant nuisances.

Getty needs to adjust to the entire market, more than they should be worried about Adobe.

Will it hurt the rest of the smaller agencies - middle tier? (and thus your earnings will drop for anyone who's still contributing to any agency below the top three?)  Probably much more than SS or Getty.

We also have Getty struggling to recover their position. New CEO, $150 million in loans and lost $135 million last year. You just have to predict that something big will be happening in the way of change, in the approaching months.

2015 is a time for changes to Microstock, and that will be BIG changes. I can only hope that some will be good for contributors and not just for the agencies.

Prediction? 2015 FT will pass IS, Dreamstime will drop down to the levels of 123RF and DP. The sales have to come from somewhere. The volume of new buyers is not expanding much anymore. If FT goes up, agencies below, will go down as Adobe/FT gathers a larger market share.



the next BIG THING in stock is : what will be the pricing of Adobe's Fotolia ? higher than micros or only based on cheap subs so to lower our fees even more ?

SS and the others will change their pricing accordingly and this will be a matter of life or death for many stockers in my opinion.


Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2015, 03:47 »
0
2015 is a time for changes to Microstock, and that will be BIG changes. I can only hope that some will be good for contributors and not just for the agencies.

Prediction? 2015 FT will pass IS, Dreamstime will drop down to the levels of 123RF and DP. The sales have to come from somewhere. The volume of new buyers is not expanding much anymore. If FT goes up, agencies below, will go down as Adobe/FT gathers a larger market share.


yes.
2015 will bring BIG changes in the market, Getty dominated the past 20 yrs, now it's SS turn, and Adobe could pretty much create a whole new market from scratch.

it goes further if we talk about Mobile .. Win 10 will be a milestone in the software industry because it will run on several different platforms and the new VIsual Studio will compile "universal binaries", this is a whole new game and will totally disrupt google and apple monopolies.

Korea has already 22Mbit 4G wireless connections, the era of desktop computers is definitely over at this point, more than half of computing will be based on mobile platform and content will be consumed on mobile platforms.

DSLR with good 24MP sensors are getting as cheap as chips, pocket cameras with 20MP sensors are getting better and better, so good they can now pass most stock agencies QC.

storage keep getting cheaper and bigger, internet connections are so widespread you can literally work with fast 3G/4G connections even on the top of a mountain or in a forest in Borneo or on the beach of a remote island .... this was unthinkable just a few years ago and science fiction 10-15 yrs ago.

on the other side, mobile tech has peaked and it's stagnant, no new "big next things" at the horizon for both hardware or software in my opinion.

google glass has been a fiasco, as expected.

but Oculus Rift and the new Sony headscreen have the potential to become a big blast sooner or later once the tech is more stable and affordable.

miniaturization : i've just read an article about a Daweoo Win10 mini-pc running on a USB Stick (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/18/microsoft_shows_off_south_korean_pconastick/) ... this is just incredible ... my very first PC was an 8086 running DOS 3.11 and Xenix with 640kb ram ... it seems yesterday and it weighted maybe 10 kg without the monitor !

all in all we're living in very interesting times.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2015, 04:11 »
+2
, the era of desktop computers is definitely over at this point, more than half of computing will be based on mobile platform and content will be consumed on mobile platforms.




Not at all

http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2015, 12:47 »
0
I now use tablet for most things, but still need the desktop to edit photos and upload them.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 12:49 by PixelBytes »

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2015, 00:00 »
0
, the era of desktop computers is definitely over at this point, more than half of computing will be based on mobile platform and content will be consumed on mobile platforms.




Not at all

http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/


that's a very interesting research but the results are also a mixed bag and can be interpreted in several ways, there's no doubt most of the users own both a laptop and a tablet/smartphone and stick to laptops when they need to do serious work but if we look at the future trends this too is going to change sooner or later as the reason they stick to laptops is because it's still too cumbersome to work on a tablet or smartphone ... the reason for this is because software is still not designed from ground up with a focus on touch screen GUIs, most of the sh-it running on mobile platform nowadays is just "adapted" to small screens with a few bells and whistles thrown here and there but we're still far from using the platform the way it should be ...

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2015, 00:07 »
0
I now use tablet for most things, but still need the desktop to edit photos and upload them.

i'm totally against smartphones and tablet as they're still a failure apart for portability and weight.
on the other side i'm enjoying a few puzzle games that run like a charm with touch screen while they would be cumbersome to play using a keyboard or a mouse.

you see, each platform shoudl really focus only where the hardware gives a benefit and a distinctive advantage.

i could think of many ways to design an app that allows you to edit photos on a small screen with touch screen, but the big problem is ... while the app could do its job it would still take 10 times more than using PS on a nice 30" screen on your desktop !

uploading won't be an issue sooner or later as 3G/4G lines will reach 20Mbit everywhere in a few years, i've already seen 7Mbit 3G lines even in third world countries for 10-20$/month with 5-10GB of data transfer.


 

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