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Author Topic: Stock Artists Alliance Closes Doors  (Read 13761 times)

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« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2011, 19:32 »
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Just checked their site, nothing about this news there.

Anyway, why not let them represent whoever they want? it's their problem.


donding

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« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2011, 19:57 »
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Not sure. I remember visiting a site of an association which was definitely against microstock (they said they could not represent photographers involved in microstock) but maybe it's not them, I can't remember exactly.

Photographer's Direct

« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2011, 21:33 »
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what targets should the alliance have?
what ammount does any of you would pay for an organisation what "start" to fullfill these targets?
First of all, any money goes to fundraising (website, PR, getting Members, office, coordination, pay the people who do the job...and no one at the front has to be a micro, because she/he would be executed by al the big agencys.)

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2011, 21:56 »
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Anyway, why not let them represent whoever they want? it's their problem.

They can, and did, represent who they wanted. And apparently that didn't work out too well. But yes, it's their problem.

Just seems odd they would shut down rather than pursue a segment of contributors who have been outright asking for some sort of group to organize with.

helix7

« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2011, 22:05 »
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...What good has the storm cloud of angry contributors and buyers done at Istock lately?  Despite all the shared information, the anger and unrest in the past year, royalties have still been cut repeatedly as prices are raised, we have been charged for the theft of our intellectual property, and the site functionality is a shambles. 

Our anger and frustration is useless if we aren't able to unite and negotiate better terms for ourselves.  There is definitely a need for some sort of association to represent contributors IMO. 

It's true, istock operates completely unfazed by any contributor backlash over any of the actions they've taken. And they aren't alone. Despite protests by contributors, many stock agencies continue to make moves in their own best interests while moving in opposition to contributor interests. They do it because they know they can get away with it.

And as much as I wish that some sort of contributor association could make a difference, I have serious doubts. If these companies won't change their ways based on the protests of individual contributors, why would they be influenced by an organized group represented by a select few? The agencies would be under no obligation to hear the representatives. They could ignore the organization just like they've ignored us.

At the end of the day, we're asking these companies to basically stop grabbing at the money, and I don't think that many of them are capable of doing that. And they'd feel no greater pressure to stop the money grab from an independent organization than they do from an individual contributor.

« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2011, 23:31 »
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what ammount does any of you would pay for an organisation what "start" to fullfill these targets?
That's an interesting question. I could see favorable results bring hundreds if not thousands more a month for me, but that is assuming someone can actually get results. There's a ton of money between us, and I would gladly pay to see results. But, those are the million dollar questions of who, what, where, when and how.

RacePhoto

« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2011, 01:23 »
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Anyway, why not let them represent whoever they want? it's their problem.

They can, and did, represent who they wanted. And apparently that didn't work out too well. But yes, it's their problem.

Just seems odd they would shut down rather than pursue a segment of contributors who have been outright asking for some sort of group to organize with.

Yes, it seems there was some political division within SAA as well, board members quitting and leaving the group. Not a good sign. But it doesn't matter, your point takes it. They have a willing group who could be represented, looking for an alliance and SAA just couldn't understand that the times have changed?

I liked this best of all and I may laugh at it over and over:

"On what basis would the SAA face control decide the status of, for example, Lise Gagne? For those who dont know her, Lise is the worlds first crowdsourcing photography star. As one of the most successful iStock photographers shes one of their poster children. That same token makes her a figure of such extreme dislike within the SAA that its been claimed that she may have been secretly funded and promoted, even that she doesnt actually exist, but is merely an iStock marketing fiction."

So what about Yuri, Nico_Blue, SJLocke, hidsey, dny59, & jhorrocks, are they just figments of the IS imagination? :D

What am I talking about? SAA was in denial that Micro was real or serious and choose to ignore crowdsourcing.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2011, 05:03 »
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Regarding the political division, you're right. It seems that some of SAA hated micro and others wanted to address it. I found this by Zave Smith and it's an interesting read and also something I agree with. It was a great idea back in 2008 when he wrote it but may be a bit too late now. He was saying a potential solution would be to recruit the most talented producers to macro. The idea being this would remove high value images from micro and would correct the pricing imbalance. Getty is somewhat doing this now with Flickr and Istock but not aggressively.

Quote
I dont want to dwell on why I believe that selling a Lexus at the same price, as a Kia is silly. What I want to offer is a possible way out of this rabbit hole.


http://www.microstockdiaries.com/can-intervention-save-the-stock-photography-industry-from-microstock.html

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2011, 08:28 »
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Not sure. I remember visiting a site of an association which was definitely against microstock (they said they could not represent photographers involved in microstock) but maybe it's not them, I can't remember exactly.

Photographer's Direct

It's them! Thanks

« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2011, 13:34 »
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They can, and did, represent who they wanted. And apparently that didn't work out too well. But yes, it's their problem.

Just seems odd they would shut down rather than pursue a segment of contributors who have been outright asking for some sort of group to organize with.

Of course that is often the problem with 'union' mentality. A blinkered refusal to accept new practices or working methods at all. In this case microstockers were only ever seen as competitors undermining the industry and never as fellow stock photographers.

The recent concession over Thinkstock commissions is proof enough that even Getty can be forced to move in the opposite direction. Any microstock company can be forced to amend unpopular terms by the united actions of enough contributors and that's where SAA could have played their part.

People who work in performance media have always stuck together, been strongly represented and enjoy union-agreed rates for almost every job. The Writers Guild of America always win when they choose to take a stand, unite and put down their pencils until their demands are met.

Even the largest microstock agency can become almost valueless overnight by the actions of contributors.

« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2011, 15:03 »
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so whats the difference between a guild and a union?

« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2011, 15:26 »
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so whats the difference between a guild and a union?
Secret handshakes.

lisafx

« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2011, 15:39 »
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so whats the difference between a guild and a union?

Stigma? 

« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2011, 16:14 »
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.... The Writers Guild of America always win when they choose to take a stand, unite and put down their pencils until their demands are met.


This is slightly OT, but I don't think that the the Writers Guild has always had such clear cut success. See articles here, here, here...

It's not that I'm in any way unsympathetic to the goals of the WGA, but the point in several of those articles is that in a sense you've already lost by the time you go on strike and that the glut of reality TV garbage that graces US airwaves is in part a result of some of the "win" in the 2007 writer's strike.

« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2011, 16:41 »
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so whats the difference between a guild and a union?

Stigma? 
stigmata  :)

« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2011, 17:07 »
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This is slightly OT, but I don't think that the the Writers Guild has always had such clear cut success. See articles here, here, here...

It's not that I'm in any way unsympathetic to the goals of the WGA, but the point in several of those articles is that in a sense you've already lost by the time you go on strike and that the glut of reality TV garbage that graces US airwaves is in part a result of some of the "win" in the 2007 writer's strike.


Don't forget about crummy game shows too.  ;D

Has anyone really mentioned what they want out of a union? Isn't that supposed to be the first question you ask yourself when seeking any sort of representation. It would be interesting to see how far apart or close everyone is. I'll go first. My demands are:

1. 50% or higher royalties
2. A lowest price cap of $5
3. Royalties for subs starting at $1

I figure that's a good start or at least something to work towards.

« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2011, 17:09 »
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In this case microstockers were only ever seen as competitors undermining the industry and never as fellow stock photographers.
And weren't they (we)?

Microstock images were offered for a very small fraction than the traditional market would require, with very broad usage. Many were low quality or low resolution, but we know this changed. We accepted to sell for very little, and it looked great. We accepted subscription packages just because they would bring many repeated sales. Most have grown into more accomplished photographers, and now demand better return for their time.

Let's face it, most people here (most is not all) started to make money from photography in microstock, very few were photographers before microstock (either stock or assignment). Why would traditional photographers' join efforts with microstockers?


« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2011, 17:14 »
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In this case microstockers were only ever seen as competitors undermining the industry and never as fellow stock photographers.
And weren't they (we)?

Microstock images were offered for a very small fraction than the traditional market would require, with very broad usage. Many were low quality or low resolution, but we know this changed. We accepted to sell for very little, and it looked great. We accepted subscription packages just because they would bring many repeated sales. Most have grown into more accomplished photographers, and now demand better return for their time.

Let's face it, most people here (most is not all) started to make money from photography in microstock, very few were photographers before microstock (either stock or assignment). Why would traditional photographers' join efforts with microstockers?

I agree with you, when microstock started. But after 3 or 4 years, when a lot of traditional photographers jumped into the game, figuring if they couldn't beat them, they could join them, the game changed. I think it was at that point that the Stock Alliance should have been a little more willing to make the change, too.

lisafx

« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2011, 17:33 »
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Has anyone really mentioned what they want out of a union? Isn't that supposed to be the first question you ask yourself when seeking any sort of representation. It would be interesting to see how far apart or close everyone is. I'll go first. My demands are:

1. 50% or higher royalties
2. A lowest price cap of $5
3. Royalties for subs starting at $1

I figure that's a good start or at least something to work towards.

Good thinking Cory.  Any collective effort should have clear goals. 

I like your three goals, but for photos I would be willing to sell for a minimum price of $2 for XS. 

I would also like to see the following:

4. Royalties tied to standard credit price, so 50% is 50% of the credit price.  If credit prices go up, so do royalties. 

5. Any discounts, over and above the standard credit packages, paid for by the agencies, and not out of our pockets.

6. Aggressive enforcement of licenses by the agencies and active pursuit of misuse. 

7. Agencies foot the bill for fraud/theft of images.   

8. Open communication with contributors before large scale site changes.

« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2011, 17:36 »
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I suppose the first thing you'd need to implement is a way to bargain. Not all sites have a quick or easy way to temporarily deactivate your images. Without that you can't strike.

« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2011, 17:47 »
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Has anyone really mentioned what they want out of a union? Isn't that supposed to be the first question you ask yourself when seeking any sort of representation. It would be interesting to see how far apart or close everyone is. I'll go first. My demands are:

1. 50% or higher royalties
2. A lowest price cap of $5
3. Royalties for subs starting at $1

So there's a thorny topic in the making :) I think some talk of fairness has been bandied about, but otherwise not much in the way of specifics. Mostly the issues have been specific unfair moves on the part of agencies, for example:

Various agencies (DT, FT and IS come readily to mind) cutting contributor royalty rates
Fotolia's currency games with you getting paid in one currency even though they get paid in others. IS briefly had a fling with currency games over credit purchases but backed off after people complained.
Various subscription pricing complaints.

I'm less concerned with a specific royalty percentage than with the overall notion of contributors sharing equally in the growth with agencies. We've had agencies paying more than 50% but without sales, that's meaningless to contributors. Investing heavily in marketing, sales, site infrastructure (particularly a stellar search engine) is something that benefits me, the contributor, in the long term. Putting money into H&F's bank account has no value to me whatever and is akin to H&F stopping by my house to steal the carpet and the drapes.

I have very negative views of subscriptions unless they limit sizes, have different prices to include vectors or other higher priced items, so I'd be less interested in a minimum price than in ensuring a vector or XXXL image didn't cost the same as a blog sized image. The other thing that I don't much like about the SS model of subscription (in spite of how well it does) is that the more money contributors make, the less the agency makes. Seems to me that long run things work better when agency & contributor interests are better aligned.

I wouldn't be interested in a minimum price - seems too limiting and doesn't stop agencies from doing ridiculous things such as insisting that all icon sets will now be 64 icons instead of 16 while keeping the minimum price.

I guess for me I want an agency that wants to stay in the business for the long term (i.e. not a get rich quick scheme), has enough cash to invest to grow the business without turning to investors (who will strip the business and ruin it) and where the principals have enough business experience to be competent running the place.

« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2011, 18:01 »
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I agree with you, when microstock started. But after 3 or 4 years, when a lot of traditional photographers jumped into the game, figuring if they couldn't beat them, they could join them, the game changed. I think it was at that point that the Stock Alliance should have been a little more willing to make the change, too.
But how many are they in respect of the other "traditionals"? The ones I knew then remained "traditional". They had an advantage, I think, that they had been long enough in the market to have a name with clients, so they don't rely just on stock agencies sales. And unlike what most people here think of "traditionals", they embraced digital photography and mastered photoshop edition.

I, for one, when I started to try to sell my photos over 5 years ago, I had two people contacting me through my website and one sale, so I thought "hey, I may have some chance after all to market my travel photos". I looked for some agencies and the few I saw or contacted were disencouraging, because either they did not reply my contact or they required something I was not able to provide (Alamy large files, when all I had were slides to scan an photos from a 2MPix camera, or I don't know how many exclusive images in Lonely Planet). I saw many microstock sites, but I thought "no", so I ended up joining Shutterpoint. I met people there who insisted I should go to micros, and IS for instance had one good point that they accepted 2Mpix images, and when StockXpert started they would also take 1MPix images. So I uploaded some ordinary shots, and it was a good learning. Then I learnt a bit of illustration. But that has never driven me to dedicate myself more to microstock, because I didn't feel the agencies were doing a good thing with the very low prices. I wouldn't sell my travel/nature/landscape/architecture images in micros, because I didn't (and still don't) consider prices are fair. Ok, this is just a hobby, I have a full-time job from which I make my living, so I am able to do this choice.


 

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