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Author Topic: To start a Microstock Union  (Read 1899 times)

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« on: May 28, 2020, 20:39 »
+9
To start a Microstock Union so that we don't get bullied by stock agencies.
I cannot do it. You cannot do it. We cannot do it.
However, here's what we can do.
Someone should create a site, and start gathering the contact details (email, name, link to portfolio, etc) of the top 5000 microstock artist of photographer, videographer, and vector artist. Lower rank contributors are also welcome to join, however, the priority is the top 5000. We need a leader, raise some funds together to build this site. I will definitely donate to build this union.

Get all of them together under one site so we could easily communicate with each other. We may not defeat Shutterstock today, but this will be a long term strategy to counter future harassment.

With this long list of easily communicable and accessible contributors, new and other stock agencies will be able to contact all of us easily. This way, we will create more channels for ourselves and stop the monopoly by big agencies such as Shutterstock.

We can defeat stock agencies harassment if there's no monopoly.

If Shutterstock give us 15% commission, and other agencies can give us 70% commission for the same package they sell to customer, then we will definitely support the 70% one.

There's many advantages of having a full list of top 5000 contributors contact details. The biggest problem right now is that we are all too unorganized and new emerging agencies are unable to contact us.

Let these new emerging agencies contact us easily so that we can create more competition.

The list of the top 5000 contributors should also be verified as a genuine contributors (and not thieves). That way, new emerging stock agencies could easily approved all the content we submit to them without having to waste their money and resources to review the content.

With this super list, big corporations like Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, Apple, or other big fishes can start another microstock site easier if they wanted to.

Again, the idea is to stop the monopoly by making ourselves accessible.













« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 20:48 by Charlene »


« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2020, 15:07 »
+4
I agree. I wish the post had more replies. We need to organize - the content is ours we own it and yet we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. I support your idea however I do not know how to achieve this, I can not even gain momentum currently for a petition for something many of us would like.

We need to get organized, we need the top contributors to step forward, we need to make changes... this is the the time do.

I hope other will reply to this thread and focus on what we CAN do and stop complaining about what the are doing to us. Lets re-group... lets be productive and make changes moving forward.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2020, 16:05 »
+6
I hate to be pessimistic and wish you all the best, but after so many attempts throughout the years I don't think we'll ever be able to unionize (or create our own contributor-owned agency for that matter).
How many times before has this idea been suggested? "Someone" should create a site, "someone" should be the leader, "someone" should do this or that... And in the end, nothing happens because nobody has the necessary skills, the willpower, the money or the time to see it through. Let alone the power to convince people to join. Face it, we're almost all independent artists, be it photographers, videographers, illustrators or animators. We all enjoy the creative and entrepreneurial freedom (well, don't you?) and nobody likes to be told what to think, how to vote, who to follow. We may think alike on big issues like pay cuts or copyright infringement, but we don't run a business together. Each and every artist needs to make an independent business decision, because we all have our own personal priorities and reasons.

...And that's why I think a union will never be a reality.

« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2020, 16:38 »
0
Too bad I do not quality, Im ranked only number 6500th by Adobe Stock  :-[
« Last Edit: May 31, 2020, 16:40 by tpack »

Shelma1

« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2020, 17:37 »
+3
The top 5000 contributors will be getting 40% royalties rather quickly every year and, starting tomorrow, 40% this year. They may make the same amount or even more, depending on the balance of subs to other sales. And if everyone else leaves, theyll take over all the sales. So whats their incentive to revolt right now? Its all the rest of us who are getting the shaft.

« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2020, 17:43 »
+5
With all due respect, I think the stock producer community is far from unorganized.

We might not have an official representative, but as you can see right now we are perfectly capable to organize all kinds of actions together very successfully.

This community is deeply networked, we pick up comments, observations, share our thoughts, articles, make calculations very, very quickly.

Unions existed in the days before the internet.

Today you have instant communication  worldwide and hundreds of producer online groups.

In times of crisis, the microstockgroup often becomes the main information and discussion platform in the English speaking community.

There are similar boards in other languages.

Day to day chitchat might have moved elsewhere...but this is still the place for discussions in emergencies. Here the agencies cannot control us, intimidate us or silence our voices.

And if anyone is worried they can use a different alias, maybe just let Tyler know.

This informal, but extremly effective network, is our union.

No fees, no rituals, no board, no elections...just pure connected brainpower that analyses situations with incredible speed because we all contribute our thoughts.

« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2020, 17:55 »
+4
The top 5000 contributors will be getting 40% royalties rather quickly every year and, starting tomorrow, 40% this year. They may make the same amount or even more, depending on the balance of subs to other sales. And if everyone else leaves, theyll take over all the sales. So whats their incentive to revolt right now? Its all the rest of us who are getting the shaft.

A sense of decency and humanity?

Top level producers didnt start at the top, they know what it is like to start small. They also often benefitted from the sharing of tips and tricks in the networked community and often still give back by sharing useful suggestions, even though they have reached the top.

They also know that customers require all kinds of niche, small, specialized local content that they dont provide because it will not sell in high volume.

So we little producers are essential for the agencies to make an attractive and complete offer. Top producers know this and understand we are not just stealing storage space...

And finally...we are also some kind of general insurance. Because of our numbers, if an agency messes up, it is the large volume small producer community that has the widest reach online.

Even top level producers can get abruptly kicked out from important  agencies. If they are alone, there is little they can do.

Being part of a very large community brings more safety in numbers for us all.

So dont think of them as aloft or distanced from us. They are us. And anyone of us can with hard work, taking on a team etc...aspire to become a top level producer.

« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2020, 21:13 »
0
I hate to be pessimistic and wish you all the best, but after so many attempts throughout the years I don't think we'll ever be able to unionize (or create our own contributor-owned agency for that matter).
How many times before has this idea been suggested? "Someone" should create a site, "someone" should be the leader, "someone" should do this or that... And in the end, nothing happens because nobody has the necessary skills, the willpower, the money or the time to see it through. Let alone the power to convince people to join. Face it, we're almost all independent artists, be it photographers, videographers, illustrators or animators. We all enjoy the creative and entrepreneurial freedom (well, don't you?) and nobody likes to be told what to think, how to vote, who to follow. We may think alike on big issues like pay cuts or copyright infringement, but we don't run a business together. Each and every artist needs to make an independent business decision, because we all have our own personal priorities and reasons.

...And that's why I think a union will never be a reality.

Yes, I agree with your thinking totally. The reason we don't have a leader is because it is too risky to be one (stock agencies will kick you out if you start a "rebellion"). There is also no reward for being the leader. There is also no time for him/her to become one as we are all too occupied with content production.

So, this person cannot be a microstock contributor. He needs to be a businessman/techie/opportunist. If he/she is able to gather the top 5000 email list and details, then he can sell this list to new emerging stock agencies for $5000 for the information. This money will be his/her incentives to gather the list and we all should allow ourselves to join in and not feeling jealous/envy.






« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2020, 07:07 »
0
I think this is a great idea...and it is really simple, we just need to mobilise our efforts onto one platform, get the top 5000 on board, and hopefully some of the big names. I agree its a part time job and would require a financial incentive. Maybe a small annual subscription to join and probably a voting system when issues arise like this

« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2020, 15:41 »
0
In case you haven't already seen this on the shutterstock forum a coalition has been formed:

Everyone stop and read this. Its very important. Continue to quote it so that it doesn't get buried in the forum and others will see it. Many members of the Stock Submitters Coalition (the new coalition created to fight changes like these and you can join here: newbielink:https://www.facebook.com/groups/261369748434285/ [nonactive] ) have reported to us that they received a communication from Shutterstock wanting them to sign a separate deal that will allow them to stay at what they said was the current percentage (Im assuming that means the previous structure) until the end of January and then they would be taken down to level 1 like everyone else. They are hoping to quell the rebellion by throwing a carrot in front of a select group of contributors and making them feel special. Just when you thought they couldn't get worse they go and do something like this. They are now offering different deals to select people in hopes of this all going away. Not to mention the deal they are offering still sucks. If you get one of these letters/emails I implore you to not sign it. In fact, I beg you to post it here and show the rest of the contributors what Shutterstock is trying to do behind everyones backs.

Again, keep quoting and reposting this for others to see. Join the Stock Submitters Coalition and help fight this. We are over 600 members strong now and represent a portfolio of over 7.65 million. Our members have pushed articles out to many websites: newbielink:https://fstoppers.com/originals/what-wrong-shutterstock-489338 [nonactive] , newbielink:https://www.dpreview.com/news/7607355790/shutterstock-announces-new-earnings-structure-contributors-are-anything-but-happy [nonactive] , newbielink:https://petapixel.com/2020/05/27/shutterstock-unveiled-a-new-royalty-structure-and-photographers-are-furious/ [nonactive] . Join in and help make a difference. newbielink:https://www.facebook.com/groups/261369748434285/ [nonactive]

« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2020, 01:36 »
0
Thats it, after the new earnings structure on shutterstock, i am totaly lost what to do next.
Strangely number of sales was going steadily down, and after royalties cut it went down even more.
I make vectors every day and upload them to adobe and shutterstock and other, and adobe sales are climbing up,
while shutterstock are going down. How do we know if shutterstock shows the sales numbers correctly?
I guess i doesnt matter anymore. If i could, i would delete my shutterstock portfolio in an instant, but i cant.
Microstock is my main income source. And i believe the same thing will happen with other agencies.
I am working with microstock agencies from 2007. This is time when i am stopping making new vector content.
And when i find new good source of income or maybe even a job, i will remove every single of my images.

Creators deserve 70% or 80% royalties. We need anew microstock website with these percentages.

« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2020, 14:53 »
0
With all due respect, I think the stock producer community is far from unorganized.

We might not have an official representative, but as you can see right now we are perfectly capable to organize all kinds of actions together very successfully.

This community is deeply networked, we pick up comments, observations, share our thoughts, articles, make calculations very, very quickly.

Unions existed in the days before the internet.

Today you have instant communication  worldwide and hundreds of producer online groups.

In times of crisis, the microstockgroup often becomes the main information and discussion platform in the English speaking community.

There are similar boards in other languages.

Day to day chitchat might have moved elsewhere...but this is still the place for discussions in emergencies. Here the agencies cannot control us, intimidate us or silence our voices.

And if anyone is worried they can use a different alias, maybe just let Tyler know.

This informal, but extremly effective network, is our union.

No fees, no rituals, no board, no elections...just pure connected brainpower that analyses situations with incredible speed because we all contribute our thoughts.

Even top contributors dropped to 10-17 c per subscription  sale... In my case at last 95% are subscription sales just got $2.20 for 19 sold so 1/3 what I us to get. I had before many over $1 and over $2 dolar sales. My average minimum on SS was 15, now third day I'm getting little bit over $5

« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2020, 15:01 »
+1
The top 5000 contributors will be getting 40% royalties rather quickly every year and, starting tomorrow, 40% this year. They may make the same amount or even more, depending on the balance of subs to other sales. And if everyone else leaves, theyll take over all the sales. So whats their incentive to revolt right now? Its all the rest of us who are getting the shaft.

No way. I have consistently been in a low three figure position on FL/ AS and suspect I am somewhere around that on SS too. I am on 35% and have taken a huge hit with the change, if the last few days are anything to go by. The extra 5% I will soon hit for level 6 will make pretty much f**k all difference with the number of sub 20c or sub 10c dls that are coming in.

No one is making out well from this, unless they have a special deal which I have never heard of.

This is the best chance we have ever had of getting organised and bringing the big boys along for the ride. People have had enough of being taken for a ride with this gig economy BS in general.

anon20200611

« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2020, 04:28 »
+1
To start a Microstock Union so that we don't get bullied by stock agencies.
I cannot do it. You cannot do it. We cannot do it.
However, here's what we can do.
Someone should create a site, and start gathering the contact details (email, name, link to portfolio, etc) of the top 5000 microstock artist of photographer, videographer, and vector artist. Lower rank contributors are also welcome to join, however, the priority is the top 5000. We need a leader, raise some funds together to build this site. I will definitely donate to build this union.

Get all of them together under one site so we could easily communicate with each other. We may not defeat Shutterstock today, but this will be a long term strategy to counter future harassment.

With this long list of easily communicable and accessible contributors, new and other stock agencies will be able to contact all of us easily. This way, we will create more channels for ourselves and stop the monopoly by big agencies such as Shutterstock.

We can defeat stock agencies harassment if there's no monopoly.

If Shutterstock give us 15% commission, and other agencies can give us 70% commission for the same package they sell to customer, then we will definitely support the 70% one.

There's many advantages of having a full list of top 5000 contributors contact details. The biggest problem right now is that we are all too unorganized and new emerging agencies are unable to contact us.

Let these new emerging agencies contact us easily so that we can create more competition.

The list of the top 5000 contributors should also be verified as a genuine contributors (and not thieves). That way, new emerging stock agencies could easily approved all the content we submit to them without having to waste their money and resources to review the content.

With this super list, big corporations like Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, Apple, or other big fishes can start another microstock site easier if they wanted to.

Again, the idea is to stop the monopoly by making ourselves accessible.

Sorry to bring some reality upon you, but what makes you think that the Russian megastock studio owner of 500k images and $200k / month cares about your "union" more than having a party every day? You think that your $100 every 6 months will convince him to ally with you? You say top 5000 contributors but the top 5000 are fine with the pressure that the small contributors are receiving right now. They won't be downing their high quantity portfolios, you will be gone and less competition for them. The stock photography game transitioned for big boys and girls.

The only way to make money as an indie contributor is to just focus on your niche if you have found one. If you are just another generic imagery, mediocre quality dude or dudette, you are not useful. That's why shutterstock and anyone like shutterstock will keep pressing the prices down at least once every 10 years. Yes, WITH the ongoing inflation. It's the hard truth. To get past the tide you gotta swim faster. You think communism will save you in the free-est of all markets?  ;)

« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2020, 04:58 »
+2
I am all for it, but...
The reason it would difficult is the top 5000 will be getting 'special rate' enhanced deals with these agencies. So they wont care about the rest of us getting a lower rate. In fact they will be happier that the rates are dropping for others because people will drop out of the industry, therefore less competition and even more sales for themselves.
It wouldn't surprise me if the top x number of contributor factories already had a 'union' and told the agencies to lower the rates for the lower 95%.
so bearing that in mind, you'll have to forget the top 5000 and get everyone else together to make enough momentum for it to make a difference.
Its not in the interest of the top few to help the rest, they are only in it for the money.


« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2020, 06:30 »
+3
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand. 

« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2020, 06:49 »
+1
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.


Maybe because those that have deals arent allowed to talk about it? Would you, if you were getting .50 an image (made-up number) while just about everyone else got .10? I wouldnt. Most people at the top keep their mouths shut.


This is a business like every other. Once you get to a place where you have leverage, you use it for bargaining. Wouldnt you?


« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2020, 06:49 »
+2
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.

Premier Select started in 2015 for top earners.

« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2020, 06:55 »
+1
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.


Maybe because those that have deals arent allowed to talk about it? Would you, if you were getting .50 an image (made-up number) while just about everyone else got .10? I wouldnt. Most people at the top keep their mouths shut.


This is a business like every other. Once you get to a place where you have leverage, you use it for bargaining. Wouldnt you?
IMHO it is more important to SS to discipline their contributors than to offer deals. They have too many suppliers to be motivated to offer such deals.

There are several people here in the top couple of hundred contributors without deals. Yuri when he was top dog was posting screenshots of his dls to celebrate milestones and he wasn't getting anything anyone else wasn't.

Without hard evidence we should stop dividing ourselves and doing SS's job for them!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 06:58 by Justanotherphotographer »

« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2020, 06:59 »
0
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.

Premier Select started in 2015 for top earners.
Oh okay, I wasn't thinking about that. I thought we were talking about sales through the main collection, like getting better rates on subs etc.

« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2020, 07:02 »
+3
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.

Premier Select started in 2015 for top earners.
Oh okay, I wasn't thinking about that. I thought we were talking about sales through the main collection, like getting better rates on subs etc.

We are not all one community and each is not equal to the next.  The top earners peeled away in 2015 and supply the majority of the content and receive most of the revenue.  The top five earners are responsible for nearly 4% of all downloads.  Top earners are protected at Shutterstocks and even have a Premium Select website of their own.  I may be wrong, but I can't imagine that this has not been agreed with them and that this change will benefit them. They have a separate community to protect and if that means throwing everyone else to wolves so be it.  The only way we can have a big effect on Shutterstock is to damage their reputation enough that it affects the top earners bottom line, if they are not happy Shutterstock are screwed. We will be gone by then, but it will send signals that we have to be invited to the negotiating table elsewhere.

« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2020, 08:00 »
0
The original idea is to have a webpage with all our contact details and portfolio link readily available for the public.

Having the top 5000 is just an ideal concept, but it doesn't matter because at the end, we only want this list to be made public, to open up opportunities for ourselves.

Take a look at m-rank.net. It keep tracks of at least the first few thousands top vector artist. They actually know who are the top already and have the record of almost all artists. They just don't have their contact details. By being hardworking and do a lot of digging, I am pretty sure one can come up with the list of contact details of each of them.


« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2020, 08:24 »
0
The original idea is to have a webpage with all our contact details and portfolio link readily available for the public.

Having the top 5000 is just an ideal concept, but it doesn't matter because at the end, we only want this list to be made public, to open up opportunities for ourselves.

Take a look at m-rank.net. It keep tracks of at least the first few thousands top vector artist. They actually know who are the top already and have the record of almost all artists. They just don't have their contact details. By being hardworking and do a lot of digging, I am pretty sure one can come up with the list of contact details of each of them.
Isn't that site by number of images not sales?

« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2020, 08:29 »
+1
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.

I have made a deal once with a middle tier agency. I think they were dropping me to 30% or less and I told them I was going to leave. They then offered me the same rates for a year or so, can't remember exactly and I accepted. I am no longer with them. That's all I'm going to say about that since they do ask for confidentiality but rest assured deals are being made because I'm just small potatoes compared to those you guys are referring to.

« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2020, 08:42 »
+1
Again, where is everyone getting this "special deal" stuff. If there is any it can only be for the top 1 or 2 people. I haven't ever heard about anyone having a special deal. Lots of people saying they must, but no one reporting about any such deals first hand.

I have made a deal once with a middle tier agency. I think they were dropping me to 30% or less and I told them I was going to leave. They then offered me the same rates for a year or so, can't remember exactly and I accepted. I am no longer with them. That's all I'm going to say about that since they do ask for confidentiality but rest assured deals are being made because I'm just small potatoes compared to those you guys are referring to.
I've also heard of it with smaller agencies at time of crisis (some of which are a bit bigger now, not naming names). Never with SS.


 

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