MicrostockGroup

Microstock Photography Forum - General => General Stock Discussion => Topic started by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 01:57

Title: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 01:57
Hi everyone

Starting this off in response to the discussion on the Pond5 thread.

Discussing on

- How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
- How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
- What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
- How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this

The core ask : a better price and a fair share of royalties. This allows the contributor to invest more into creating better content by allowing more investment into
- Better tools, cameras, lights, locations
- Ability to spend more time on creating better content as they don't have to work a second job just to pay the bills
- Ability to spend more on courses, literature to hone their craft
- Ability to offer fair pay to models, location owners etc
- Avoid contributors from leaving, attract more skilled contributors

Second ask: Since we handover our media to the stock agencies for safekeeping they need to highlight how they will safeguard this media and it's unlawful use

How will this be enforced

Would want all your help on adding more points to this and creating a common writeup that we can share on petitions, mails, social media etc. The idea would be to ensure we get heard and replied to.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on March 28, 2019, 02:18
I am the last one that must comment as a newbie

but I don't see any "protect our media from "thieves"", mechanisms developing from agencies.

:)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: dpimborough on March 28, 2019, 03:20
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 03:20
I am the last one that must comment as a newbie

but I don't see any "protect our media from "thieves"", mechanisms developing from agencies.

:)

Adding this into the main list of things, absolutely needed
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 03:25
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(

It's worth a shot if any of us hope to see this as a long term thing. Infact it's critical for the agencies as well, a race to the bottom is a race to your own bankruptcy. I hope some of them have read Zero to One and agree that successful companies are the ones that can charge a high price for their goods
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on March 28, 2019, 03:30
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(
and you should know ;-). This has come up many times its not going to happen.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 03:34
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(
and you should know ;-). This has come up many times its not going to happen.

If it does not happen then I guess we all sink together, we're already partly there :). Let's give it one hell of a shot else this will be one more thing to tell the kids in a world where photography is worth nothing
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 03:34
I am the last one that must comment as a newbie

but I don't see any "protect our media from "thieves"", mechanisms developing from agencies.

:)

Just a small question... So they need to spend more money on additional tools to protect us more, hire an army of lawyers to protect each account. At the same time they should increase our %, and do better marketing, also we should have few big players to have a choice but they shouldn't compete with each other and so on and so on. And at the same time keep pricing low enough, otherwise the raise of Unsplash & Co. is inevitable.

Are they real geniuses? I really doubt :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: dpimborough on March 28, 2019, 05:21
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(
and you should know ;-). This has come up many times its not going to happen.

If it does not happen then I guess we all sink together, we're already partly there :). Let's give it one hell of a shot else this will be one more thing to tell the kids in a world where photography is worth nothing

Izzi I deleted a good chunk of images from Fotolia when they brought in dollar photo club along with many others which was the last time collective action actually worked.

When istock/getty started down the route of paying pennies or fractions of pennies for images I deleted the entire portfolio.

When 123rf started paying $0.216 for subs I stopped uploading and deleted most of my images.

Canstock, Deposit I stopped uploading years ago due to ridiculous sales and other nonsense.

The trouble is although I'm not alone in doing this it really needs a focus to get image producers attention. 

Talking about what we should/could do is not enough you need to contact the big image producers and factories and get them to back up action.

They upload around 80% to 90% of the weekly uploads to places like Shutterstock.

Without them taking action we are just pissing in the wind.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: dpimborough on March 28, 2019, 05:23
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(
and you should know ;-). This has come up many times its not going to happen.

https://youtu.be/vTwJzTsb2QQ

hahaha
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 05:31
I am the last one that must comment as a newbie

but I don't see any "protect our media from "thieves"", mechanisms developing from agencies.

:)

Just a small question... So they need to spend more money on additional tools to protect us more, hire an army of lawyers to protect each account. At the same time they should increase our %, and do better marketing, also we should have few big players to have a choice but they shouldn't compete with each other and so on and so on. And at the same time keep pricing low enough, otherwise the raise of Unsplash & Co. is inevitable.

Are they real geniuses? I really doubt :)
Maybe we can push them to utilize the 50% that they keep in a much better way. As of now the default action seems to be to cut royalties everytime more money is needed. This does not get protested so it gets done. They don't even see the need to tell us what that extra money will be used towards and will it impact us or will it fund the new shutterstock villa and golf course

The thought is that if you push it low enough only the mass low quality players will remain and you'll have a dead industry on your hands. Its about saving everyone's ability to earn

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 05:33
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(
and you should know ;-). This has come up many times its not going to happen.

If it does not happen then I guess we all sink together, we're already partly there :). Let's give it one hell of a shot else this will be one more thing to tell the kids in a world where photography is worth nothing

Izzi I deleted a good chunk of images from Fotolia when they brought in dollar photo club along with many others which was the last time collective action actually worked.

When istock/getty started down the route of paying pennies or fractions of pennies for images I deleted the entire portfolio.

When 123rf started paying $0.216 for subs I stopped uploading and deleted most of my images.

Canstock, Deposit I stopped uploading years ago due to ridiculous sales and other nonsense.

The trouble is although I'm not alone in doing this it really needs a focus to get image producers attention. 

Talking about what we should/could do is not enough you need to contact the big image producers and factories and get them to back up action.

They upload around 80% to 90% of the weekly uploads to places like Shutterstock.

Without them taking action we are just pissing in the wind.
I agree, are some of them in this forum? Can we pull them into this discussion.

Alternatively, how do we make this visible enough (twitter/instagram/facebook) to ensure they see the message. It benefits them too, so I'm sure they'll join in and have the clout to change things
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ravens on March 28, 2019, 07:09
I like your idea. A lot of work must be done and like Sammy said, the big image producers who upload massive quantities should be motivated along. And yes it is not easy to get photographers follow together any plan, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

Many image buyers don't realize how little microstock agencies pay their contributors. Many probably don't care, but educating could be eye-opening for some. These days everyone wants to do Good and be Fair, so why not be fair to contributors?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 28, 2019, 07:25
As long as there are contributors ok with “I would rather make pennies than nothing at all”, nothing will change. Contributors with big portfolios say they will “just stop uploading”, as if the sites care, rather than taking their business elsewhere, because after all, still taking the agency’s money is better than nothing at all. Every couple of months, a noob comes up with this idea. Check the threads here about it. It’s a great idea, but unless you have a boatload of money to do something concrete, you are just spinning your wheels. It takes money.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 28, 2019, 07:39
As long as there are contributors ok with “I would rather make pennies than nothing at all”, nothing will change. Contributors with big portfolios say they will “just stop uploading”, as if the sites care, rather than taking their business elsewhere, because after all, still taking the agency’s money is better than nothing at all. Every couple of months, a noob comes up with this idea. Check the threads here about it. It’s a great idea, but unless you have a boatload of money to do something concrete, you are just spinning your wheels. It takes money.
And for many people, the sites which pay small amounts or small percentages still manage to yield the most total $$$. Although that's not sustainable, people still have to pay bills now.
I submitted only to Alamy for 2.5 years, but iS was still netting me more each month, and twice as much in total for 2018, despite not having uploaded there for that time and my Alamy port becoming bigger over that time.
Not so much sense in my policy, as it turned out. And Alamy's rpd, for me at least, is falling sharply (almost all my files are exclusive there, by their terms so still give me 50% on direct sales).
And, as I always say, I'm in a very privileged position, I have no-one else who is financially dependent on my choices. Many/most others don't have that luxury.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Shelma1 on March 28, 2019, 07:45
We've been successful as a group a few times. iStock has plummeted after many people pulled their work; Dollar Photo Club is kaput; and what was that new "Dollar Photo Club"-like site? Can't remember the name. That went down in flames pretty quickly, since most people refused to work with them.

Oh, and after numerous complaints and a petition, Shutterstock finally put an end to keyword spamming, though they seem fine with image spamming now.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 28, 2019, 07:54
We've been successful as a group a few times. iStock has plummeted after many people pulled their work;
I doubt very much if, in this case, people pulling ports has been reponsible for iS plummetting. It's far more likely to be the result of very poor management decisions (which were, after all, the reason for people pulling ports).
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 28, 2019, 09:56
We've been successful as a group a few times. iStock has plummeted after many people pulled their work; Dollar Photo Club is kaput; and what was that new "Dollar Photo Club"-like site? Can't remember the name. That went down in flames pretty quickly, since most people refused to work with them.

Oh, and after numerous complaints and a petition, Shutterstock finally put an end to keyword spamming, though they seem fine with image spamming now.


Contributors may have won a few small skirmishes, but the war is still on. Shutterstock is still in business, and contributors are still uploading millions of images. istock is still in business, and contributors are still uploading. Yes, the Dollar Photo Club is gone. Whichever company came up with that (I forget which company it was, they all run together) is still in business and contributors are still uploading. It takes money to fight money.


But hey, if someone thinks they can accomplish something, I will give it consideration. I put my money where my mouth is, in the past, I am down to 2 sites, because I left the rest after they pulled the same old shenanigans. How about the other tens of thousands of contributors?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: KevinM on March 28, 2019, 10:17
This is a much-needed, common sense idea. The first step is to start gathering contributors around the purpose of having a collective voice. What that "voice" then communicates to the agencies can be decided as a group and will surely change year by year. But the basic point is to have a large enough group of informed contributors that we can enter into conversations with the agencies and have an effect on how the industry runs.

I imagine a website where contributors can go to get information about the state of the industry and the actions of different agencies, and where contributors can simply click a button to join the group. We have to be realistic about what we can accomplish when small, but as the group grows to critical mass its influence will grow as well. Issues can be presented on the website, and contributors can vote on what's most important to them and what actions should be taken. Beyond that, just having a website that is geared toward informing contributors about the industry can be very helpful for contributors trying to figure out the best choices for themselves.

My two cents is that we will need a core group of people to create a plan, start a website, and donate time to find and steer contributors to the website to join the group.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Chichikov on March 28, 2019, 10:31
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: wds on March 28, 2019, 10:35
We've been successful as a group a few times. iStock has plummeted after many people pulled their work;
I doubt very much if, in this case, people pulling ports has been reponsible for iS plummetting. It's far more likely to be the result of very poor management decisions (which were, after all, the reason for people pulling ports).

What is the definition of "plumetting"?...my sense is that there are many exclusives still there that are doing well. If they truly plumetted they wouldn't be in the "top Tier" of income in the poll results....just trying to understand here...
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: KevinM on March 28, 2019, 10:47
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot

Amazing how self-defeating some people are, so incredibly lacking in vision. Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean that it cannot be done. It's common sense that a large collective response will have some impact - indeed it already has in the past with the Dollar Photo Club and then recently with Storyblocks. So many losers said nothing could be done to affect Storyblocks when they cut commissions, and then days later Storyblocks doubled its sale prices. Contributors en masse told Pond5 that exclusivity shouldn't have to necessarily include existing clips, and Pond5 responded by allowing for separate accounts. Nothing is fixed in stone, it's a matter of organizational work. A huge task to be sure, but to simply say "cannot" is plain stupid and pathetic.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 28, 2019, 11:18
It has been done, several times actually. fair trade marketplaces have opene, also linked up contributor driven webshops etc...

And a lot of silly places have disappeared and practises that hurt us have been abandondend.

In practical fact at the moment the situation is much better than several years ago, we live in a multipolar world. For photos there is Adobe, Shutterstock, getty, but also many small and specialized places with macro and microstock.

With video you also have at least pond5, SS and Adobe, plus several smaller outfits, some with exclusive content.

Right now I feel very comfortable as a contributor, I just need to produce enough content and make educated decisions about what to send where.

So personally I don‘t really see a reason to be afraid. The Getty dominance is broken, Adobe is a friendly entry to the market and SS has a lot less drama than many other places combined.

I have also found the community overall to be. ery smart where they upload. Sites that treatyou badly, lose content pretty quickly.

However, to be successful in stock, it takes a lot of time to figure out what works best where. Usually several years.

And the mix of what to shoot and what to upload is extremly different for every artist.

On the other hand, it is this frustration that allows longtimers to survive. Every year new people get in, have a gew sales, get excited, then drop out again, because it is all much more work than they thought it would be.

But this frustration cycle is what keeps many people safe. My content is competing with the few people that provide the same niche, not everyone that uploads.

2019 is a good year for stock. I really don‘t share the negative attitude.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 11:42
Since I left IS exclusivity, I don't have any reasons to complain anymore.

I'm so happy to feel this freedom that if something changes I have full control of my portfolio and can move it around and upload to new sites.

It felt so terrible to be worried about 1 website and how it will be doing next month.

I started from 0 again and already have regular sales on all major websites and they're growing each month. I have a strategy and working on my workflow to make it more and more efficient so I have more time to invest in growing my portfolio. I can't find what I should be fighting against or what for, sorry :) (except the concept of exclusivity in general :D as my memories are still so fresh).
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 28, 2019, 11:57
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot

Amazing how self-defeating some people are, so incredibly lacking in vision. Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean that it cannot be done. It's common sense that a large collective response will have some impact - indeed it already has in the past with the Dollar Photo Club and then recently with Storyblocks. So many losers said nothing could be done to affect Storyblocks when they cut commissions, and then days later Storyblocks doubled its sale prices. Contributors en masse told Pond5 that exclusivity shouldn't have to necessarily include existing clips, and Pond5 responded by allowing for separate accounts. Nothing is fixed in stone, it's a matter of organizational work. A huge task to be sure, but to simply say "cannot" is plain stupid and pathetic.

Maybe it’s because all of us stupid people have heard this many times before over the past 15 years we have been in microstock. If it could be done, surely someone would have done it by now? People come here and TALK about it, but no one ever does it. Why do you think that is? BECAUSE IT’S JUST TALK. This is a forum, people like to talk. I am sure if someone had a plan, had the money to back the plan, and did it, and proved it was worthwhile, everyone would jump on board.

The first idea I just read was to create a website. OK good idea. Somebody has to pay for that. Do you think people here should just trust someone who pops in here and asks for money to build a website? Of course it CAN be done. I bet it WON’T be done though. But please, somebody prove me wrong.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: KevinM on March 28, 2019, 12:19
Cathy, you might be correct in your prediction that nothing happens beyond talk. It is, again, a huge organizational task to build even a small coalition and a website and start attracting visitors. I am willing to donate some time and money to be part of that, I hope enough others are too. To be clear, what I was calling "stupid" is the frequent complaint from people that nothing CAN be done, as if there's some unwritten law of the universe that stock agencies can't be influenced by contributor voices, period. It is simple math - if you have enough people, you have influence. Doesn't mean we can change the laws of supply and demand or bring companies under our thumb, but some influence nonetheless. We have influence right now by doing nothing - agencies are influenced by our inactivity to do what they wish. We probably agree on the scope of the challenge, but I get irritated by small-minded people (not you) who thoughtlessly say it's impossible. Organizationally difficult is not the same as impossible. Someone mentioned it's like herding cats. True. And how many cats are already herded onto this site? People will go to sites and groups that hold value for them.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: KevinM on March 28, 2019, 12:25
So personally I don‘t really see a reason to be afraid. The Getty dominance is broken, Adobe is a friendly entry to the market and SS has a lot less drama than many other places combined.

I thought the same, until I heard about how Getty and Shutterstock are driving down prices by being willing to cut deals with big buyers, selling footage for peanuts and putting pressure on other companies to do the same. If that is true, then those agencies are ground zero in the price war. Not to mention the $1.50 commissions for Shutterstock sales on Wix - every time I get one of those it's a hot needle of anger.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 12:38
Why build a separate website when we have this forum? What a new website will change exactly? And how will we discuss things there? Make another forum?

It is already a place "where contributors can go to get information about the state of the industry and the actions of different agencies", isn't it?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 28, 2019, 12:42
… To be clear, what I was calling "stupid" is the frequent complaint from people that nothing CAN be done, as if there's some unwritten law of the universe that stock agencies can't be influenced by contributor voices, period. It is simple math - if you have enough people, you have influence...

few of the negative responses have said it's impossible -- rather this approach has been TALKED about for years, but no one has moved beyond talk - what do you & OP propose as an ACTUAL plan rather than a wishlist?

 
Quote
… Organizationally difficult is not the same as impossible. Someone mentioned it's like herding cats. True. And how many cats are already herded onto this site? People will go to sites and groups that hold value for them.
  bad example - this site has many cats and no herder (which is exactly what the forum is supposed to be).

in the end, even if you had everyone on MSG join, we'd still be only a small fraction of contributors
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: KevinM on March 28, 2019, 12:49
Why build a separate website when we have this forum? What a new website will change exactly? And how will we discuss things there? Make another forum?

It is already a place "where contributors can go to get information about the state of the industry and the actions of different agencies", isn't it?

Yes, but there are thousands of topics here, easy for any item to get overlooked or forgotten, and since it is intended for discussion/disagreement it's impossible for it to also be place for a coherent, unified message. I'm not suggesting a new forum, my thought was a site targeted on summarizing information on agencies and their practices (good and bad), helping contributors to make informed decisions, and with an agenda of using collective contributor influence to maintain stock content value and promote fair practices in the industry.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 13:02
This sounds great, but it's a massive work.

Is there an example in other online industries who managed to do it?

I know only one example in domain industry https://www.internetcommerce.org (https://www.internetcommerce.org)
"The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is a non-profit advocating for the rights and interests of domain name owners and related service providers."

They have lawyers involved, board members etc.

Maybe it makes sense to contact them for advice, since we are in internet commerce too :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on March 28, 2019, 13:05
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/ (http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/)

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on March 28, 2019, 13:20
If this were achievable the contributors to the Agencies of "the good old days" would have stopped 90% of us ever earning a cent from microstock ;-).
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: KevinM on March 28, 2019, 13:21
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
[url]http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/[/url] ([url]http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/[/url])


Interesting. That's at once inspiring for all that they accomplished and disappointing that they eventually shuttered. It's not entirely clear from the letter why they shut down. That does not mean, however, that contributors cannot organize in a different way. Even a simple website with a blog can attract a following if it's relevant, and in turn help spread the word about agency practices and host calls to action.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on March 28, 2019, 13:22
Like I said before you have to have people willing to pull their media from sites and you won't get enough people to even make the big agencies think twice. The best bet is to support sites like Stocky, Pond5 and Adobe!!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 13:32
Like I said before you have to have people willing to pull their media from sites and you won't get enough people to even make the big agencies think twice. The best bet is to support sites like Stocky, Pond5 and Adobe!!

Why don't you pull your media from SS first as a great leader?

Sorry, but all these slogans which involve other people's money sound scary.

For sure, huge studios that have 10-50 people on salaries will go and pull their 500.000 portfolios tomorrow, just because they read something on the forum and want to be "a part of the community".
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 13:41
We might also be underestimating how much influence we have as a group. A lot of people who are serious about stock, want to put up good content vs just masses of stuff on white are at this forum. Setting something in action here means that it still pulls away a lot of serious contributors/buyers. Why would any agency want even that slight drop

Two, at this time it's also become a question of the agency's survival. Bulk deals will always exist, but that does not mean that SS/Istock would not want to earn more through those deals. The discussion has to be maintaining pricing, stopping the race to the bottom so we both make money. This also ensures that contributors stay around and actually put in the effort/equipment/knowledge to make great images.

Three, is pulling portfolios the only way we have? Why not create a ruckus on social media, why not get presses to report it, why not just get more noise on the subject that stops the agencies/buyers from avoiding the issue. A monkey selfie taught the world how photo ownership works, can we figure out a way to make agencies be fair to us

Pressure can be just a matter of keeping an updated tracker here on what sites are undercutting heavily (especially in video) and either not uploading to them (smaller places like envato) or questioning their motives & suggesting corrections repeatedly through multiple mails, on twitter/instagram/facebook (shutter stock). We have to become really hard to ignore

Can all of this go onto a petition that becomes a rallying point for us, it'll show us how many people are wiling to support, we can redirect everyone to what the objectives are and give atleast a show of strength.

I'm sure we are all here since we love what we do, this means that if it also gave us a way to pay our bills we would happily create more/better content. It's a win-win. I know the people who've seen this before doubt it, but you'll have to also guide us on what did not work, maybe we can make a slightly better impact this time.

This is awesome work, it deserves a fair push to be made better
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 13:43
For example it might be instructive to get someone with a strong fiance understanding to question the SS P&L in the annual report http://investor.shutterstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251362&p=proxy (http://investor.shutterstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251362&p=proxy) maybe there are ways the funds can be better used

- What constitutes the cost of revenue that makes up 40% of revenue, doubt that this is royalties
- Marketing is sitting at 25% of revenue, would there be a way to push this up
- SS talks about revenue per download, I'm assuming the increase is due to more video sales, but it also tells us that this is a number important to the share holders


Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on March 28, 2019, 13:44
Like I said before you have to have people willing to pull their media from sites and you won't get enough people to even make the big agencies think twice. The best bet is to support sites like Stocky, Pond5 and Adobe!!

Why don't you pull your media from SS first as a great leader?

Sorry, but all these slogans which involve other people's money sound scary.

For sure, huge studios that have 10-50 people on salaries will go and pull their 500.000 portfolios tomorrow, just because they read something on the forum and want to be "a part of the community".
I'm not sure anyone is arguing that you should do anything to be part of a community or because someone wrote that you should.  There are actual arguments and facts presented here.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 13:48
I'm not sure anyone is arguing that you should do anything to be part of a community or because someone wrote that you should.  There are actual arguments and facts presented here.

Have you deleted your SS potfolio already too? Or someone else should do it first?

Fact: SS didn't change its pricing for 15 years straight. Why did you start uploading there at all?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on March 28, 2019, 13:58
I read you, all experienced people on Stock with years of work.
Assuming that you want to inform the public on agencies history and practices:

Forget what you know and become me. Any "me". An outsider. Do the search.
Youtube, Google, your search engine you prefer. See the results. Sample read.
No one cares on truth or facts.

Opinions rule this digital world. If a Youtuber says " agency name" is good, then it s good.
If the majority of articles, posts, news say that you can earn big in stock, that is the "truth"
A whole industry that rely on people, buying gimbals, cameras, new cameras, glass
in order to show their talent, yesterday it was filmmaking today stock or vlogging or whatever.
It is common i believe nowadays for people to spend hundrends to get a ten dollar bill "earned"

The big winners are the platforms / agencies / anyone that stores data, in our case, media.

As small children, people have to burn their finger to learn that a match is hot.

Sorry for the intrusion in this conversation.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 28, 2019, 14:10
Have you deleted your SS portfolio already too? Or someone else should do it first?

And this is the biggest problem. No one is willing to give up enough to get the job done. People have bills to pay and families to feed. And the people at the top, making the most money, the ones with the most clout, are usually the ones who are the worst at wanting to give something up! That’s how it works. Or doesn’t work, I should say.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on March 28, 2019, 14:10
I'm not sure anyone is arguing that you should do anything to be part of a community or because someone wrote that you should.  There are actual arguments and facts presented here.

Have you deleted your SS potfolio already too? Or someone else should do it first?

Fact: SS didn't change its pricing for 15 years straight. Why did you start uploading there at all?
I deleted all my photos years ago and I'm going to delete my videos shortly. 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 14:13
.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 14:15
And the people at the top, making the most money

I fully agree with you.

But did someone here took enough risk in their life to start an agency?

Or those "people at the top" are aliens? Not just people who took huge risk and responsibilities and actually made it happen? Don't they deserve their money?

This all sounds so strange. Like if those agencies were given to them as a gift and now they abuse poor artists for fun.

Such a victim mentality. Nothing else. Sorry.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 14:17
Idea one - Pressure without deleting your portfolio

What about this, since we are making the content and pulling out a port is clearly not something people will do let's do these 2 steps

- Make an exclusive account with whatever agency is the fairest - Pond5, Alamy, Storyblocks
- Everytime you do a reverse google search for your images drop off a line to the author/company that used your image. Something along the lines of "Your article was amazing, loved that you used my image, would appreciate if you could direct more of your business towards Pond5/Alamy/SB since they have much fairer business practices and a whole bunch of us have been sending over our best work to them. The marginal price difference, if one exists will be made up for by the sheer quality of content"

Will it change the world? maybe not. Will it create a crazy amount of pressure for the bad players and a lot of traffic to the good ones? definitely 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 28, 2019, 14:45
Bear in mind that most people in micro willingly supply sites where they don't even know exactly what percentage they're getting per sale.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on March 28, 2019, 16:35
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot

Amazing how self-defeating some people are, so incredibly lacking in vision. Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean that it cannot be done. It's common sense that a large collective response will have some impact - indeed it already has in the past with the Dollar Photo Club and then recently with Storyblocks. So many losers said nothing could be done to affect Storyblocks when they cut commissions, and then days later Storyblocks doubled its sale prices. Contributors en masse told Pond5 that exclusivity shouldn't have to necessarily include existing clips, and Pond5 responded by allowing for separate accounts. Nothing is fixed in stone, it's a matter of organizational work. A huge task to be sure, but to simply say "cannot" is plain stupid and pathetic.

Maybe it’s because all of us stupid people have heard this many times before over the past 15 years we have been in microstock. If it could be done, surely someone would have done it by now? People come here and TALK about it, but no one ever does it. Why do you think that is? BECAUSE IT’S JUST TALK. This is a forum, people like to talk. I am sure if someone had a plan, had the money to back the plan, and did it, and proved it was worthwhile, everyone would jump on board.

The first idea I just read was to create a website. OK good idea. Somebody has to pay for that. Do you think people here should just trust someone who pops in here and asks for money to build a website? Of course it CAN be done. I bet it WON’T be done though. But please, somebody prove me wrong.

I won't prove you wrong I'll prove you're right. Without power and leverage, something that we can hold back or hold over the agencies, a union will be powerless to make any demands or changes.

That and "Herding Cats"  :)

Does anyone remember the stock photographers associations? There might still be one. Private businesses, that are supposed to be protecting us and representing us. Pay your dues, because you are actually jst paying the officers and the people who own the website.

When someone comes up with something real, that's not just about petitions and imaginary victories, I'll join. DPC got knocked out by Adobe. Pixel whoever didn't go away because of a lack of artists or protests it was business and possibly financial or a legal challenge. I wouldn't be surprised to find out there was a non-compete or artists lists, protected data, didn't have something to do with it. There's no proof that any protest or movement changed anything at IS, because it was Getty and bad management that screwed them up.

If we don't have the power and some bargaining chip to hold over the agencies, we have nothing.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 28, 2019, 16:55
Mass deletions of content are a successful weapon that can work and have been implemented successfully by the artist community in various shitstorm negotiations.

However it should be a very last resort and you have to be prepared to get entirely bolted from an agency without a chance of ever betting back in, even if the management changes or there is a takeover from a friendly agency.

No, usually then best way forward, is what producers are doing instinctivly, to favor uploading to the sites that treat you well and if one messes up, you just stop uploading or significantly reduce uploads until the drama is over.

Or you just adjust content type. I have content for high levels, I also have (probably a lot more) low quality stuff or test shots, where I don‘t care.

How the agency treats me, will dictate what mix they get.

Overall though, it is also important to remember that the agencies are not out to get you, they have human beings working there and they have an incredible amount of costs for IT, legal stuff and marketing that we can barely imagine how very hard it is to attract and maintain customers.

Every producer is also free to have their own webshop from their website or through photoshelter and to sell direct. Many, many people do that. Again, it takes years to build up successful customer relationships and maintaining your network.

And again, personally I think it is very important to see agencies as a voluntary partner, not your enemy.

Nobody is stopping a producer from selling directly online.

The entire planet is your market and just below your finger tips.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 28, 2019, 17:09
Overall though, it is also important to remember that the agencies are not out to get you, they have human beings working there and they have an incredible amount of costs for IT, legal stuff and marketing that we can barely imagine how very hard it is to attract and maintain customers.

Every producer is also free to have their own webshop from their website or through photoshelter and to sell direct. Many, many people do that. Again, it takes years to build up successful customer relationships and maintaining your network.

And again, personally I think it is very important to see agencies as a voluntary partner, not your enemy.

Nobody is stopping a producer from selling directly online.

The entire planet is your market and just below your finger tips.

Great! Thank you!

Maybe if we will stop see ourselves as little victims against "evil big brother", and begin to respect their hard work too.

We can have an equal dialog with them. And only after we're able to organize at least ourselves here :D But everyone has such different income/experience/goals...

I was seriously thinking to try to sell my images online by myself. After months of research and tries, I gave up. It all would take 99,99% of my time and a huge invesment without even a hope that it would work.

Stock sells well only if we sell it all together and create a huge variety. But someone has to run and maintain it, and it's not us, obviously.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: dpimborough on March 28, 2019, 17:44
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot

No not at all correct.

Its been mentioned above that it is entirely possible to do something i.e. dollar photo club and that other dollar outfit that closed.

It just needs a sizeable group of contributors and in the case of the biggest group it was the Russian stock forums and Russian and Ukrainian contributors that really got that traction in the matter of the Dollar Photo Club.

If Izzi or any other contributor wants to start this ball rolling then it needs to be raised with Russian and Ukrainian stock producers on their forums.

And if you really want something to happen then I would contact a group like Africa Studio  as they really are the biggest outfit bar none.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 28, 2019, 18:18
And if you really want something to happen then I would contact a group like Africa Studio  as they really are the biggest outfit bar none.
Do we know that the big suppliers don't get special deals? If they do, your sell to them would be quite different.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: UIcomments on March 28, 2019, 18:51

It just needs a sizeable group of contributors and in the case of the biggest group it was the Russian stock forums and Russian and Ukrainian contributors that really got that traction in the matter of the Dollar Photo Club.


Those pesky Russians got total control of our lives.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on March 28, 2019, 20:19
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
[url]http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/[/url] ([url]http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/[/url])


...That does not mean, however, that contributors cannot organize in a different way. Even a simple website with a blog can attract a following if it's relevant, and in turn help spread the word about agency practices and host calls to action.


There have been lots of contributor actions over the years microstock agencies have been around (or at least that I'm aware of since starting in the fall of 2004). Many in the early days had good results, largely because there were more agencies and none of them had much market power at that time. They all needed content and so the balance of power between contributors and agencies was less unequal than it is now.

If you want to effect change you need leverage. Calls to action aren't leverage and in an age of widespread gig economy abuse (such as Uber's treatment of drivers), the problems faced by microstock suppliers don't really stand out from the many simlar situations. So it's not clear to me how you get negative social media buzz of a sort and size that publicly shames any of the agencies for their actions and grabs buyers' attention.

One piece of leverage that often worked in the early days was withholding uploads - sites need a constant stream of new content to keep buyers coming back. That's great for contributors because it's leverage that doesn't hurt our income so badly. I don't think it works any more because the collections are so huge that I doubt anyone would notice.

OnePixel was trying to get off the ground without the one advantage that initially buoyed up the awful Dollar Photo Club - OnePixel had no content whereas DPC had the entire Fotolia library (contributors were not initially allowed an opt out). Refusing to supply OnePixel shut them down, thankfully. But with DPC, a lot of people deleted a lot of content from Fotolia to force  FT to offer an opt out - I believe there was a 6 million image drop at one point.

For a while, video contributors had some leverage because agencies were trying to build their video collections and needed content, but that fades as the collections grow, and with it the option to withhold new content as a way to get the agencies to behave more fairly.

If you don't understand who holds power and has leverage, you can't force changes. It is true that for the most part, all the agencies would have completely empty web sites if contributors pulled their content - there's very little wholly owned content. Without some union-like organization to wield that club, it's effectively absent from the business landscape and so can't constrain the profit grabs of the agencies.

Figure out how to create leverage from the large, global and unorganized pool of contributors and you can do what the Stock Artists Alliance could not.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on March 28, 2019, 21:27
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
[url]http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/[/url] ([url]http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/[/url])


...That does not mean, however, that contributors cannot organize in a different way. Even a simple website with a blog can attract a following if it's relevant, and in turn help spread the word about agency practices and host calls to action.


There have been lots of contributor actions over the years microstock agencies have been around (or at least that I'm aware of since starting in the fall of 2004). Many in the early days had good results, largely because there were more agencies and none of them had much market power at that time. They all needed content and so the balance of power between contributors and agencies was less unequal than it is now.

If you want to effect change you need leverage. Calls to action aren't leverage and in an age of widespread gig economy abuse (such as Uber's treatment of drivers), the problems faced by microstock suppliers don't really stand out from the many simlar situations. So it's not clear to me how you get negative social media buzz of a sort and size that publicly shames any of the agencies for their actions and grabs buyers' attention.

One piece of leverage that often worked in the early days was withholding uploads - sites need a constant stream of new content to keep buyers coming back. That's great for contributors because it's leverage that doesn't hurt our income so badly. I don't think it works any more because the collections are so huge that I doubt anyone would notice.

OnePixel was trying to get off the ground without the one advantage that initially buoyed up the awful Dollar Photo Club - OnePixel had no content whereas DPC had the entire Fotolia library (contributors were not initially allowed an opt out). Refusing to supply OnePixel shut them down, thankfully. But with DPC, a lot of people deleted a lot of content from Fotolia to force  FT to offer an opt out - I believe there was a 6 million image drop at one point.

For a while, video contributors had some leverage because agencies were trying to build their video collections and needed content, but that fades as the collections grow, and with it the option to withhold new content as a way to get the agencies to behave more fairly.

If you don't understand who holds power and has leverage, you can't force changes. It is true that for the most part, all the agencies would have completely empty web sites if contributors pulled their content - there's very little wholly owned content. Without some union-like organization to wield that club, it's effectively absent from the business landscape and so can't constrain the profit grabs of the agencies.

Figure out how to create leverage from the large, global and unorganized pool of contributors and you can do what the Stock Artists Alliance could not.
The fact that the uber drivers case is so well known and has the people's support is what is different. The plight of contributors is barely known even among ourselves. We continue to believe that the other contributors/large houses have it better.

That's what social media is supposed to do, it'll help make the problem big and visible enough that it'll have to be addressed.

The leverage could be that buyers also choose between agencies, and this choice happens at a regular basis. Can we affect that choice through information, the pushing of better content, outright asking them? Even if the impact is small no agency wants to see buyers leave. For us it helps drive traffic and sales to the websites that treat us fairly.

I don't think a union is a solution, i think we should do something easily done by a crowd. Messages/links that can be sent out to all agencies you know. One letter a day from all of us to the CEO/Help teams. Limiting new uploads to fairer agencies.

Surprisingly after the second post i haven't heard any more things that we want. I for one would love to get more data, what keywords are working for me, what images are people seeing but not buying, seasonality of my content etc
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tpack on March 28, 2019, 22:39
New Microstock Deal. 8)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on March 28, 2019, 23:26
I started in 2007 and have seen tons of these solidarity types of posts.

The challenge is unifying millions of contributors when everyone is decentralized. Is it possible? Sure. But so far, the ideas that have been proposed have had limited success. The reality is, it's everyone for themselves. We're all semi-friendly competitors. Thousands of new contributors join daily submitting millions of new images. It's classic supply and demand. Supply has been endlessly high since the beginning and doesn't seem to be slowing down. Because of this, the stock sites have leverage to do as they please. Until supply drops, or someone establishes a method of contributor leverage, little will change positively for contributors. I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on March 29, 2019, 02:06
Kill the new suppliers then  8) I mean turn away... the new suppliers. Everybody can start blogging about how unsustainable the business is, making 0.25c per month and new contributors will turn to more lucrative options.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on March 29, 2019, 03:16
Kill the new suppliers then  8) I mean turn away... the new suppliers. Everybody can start blogging about how unsustainable the business is, making 0.25c per month and new contributors will turn to more lucrative options.
Yes basically the only sustainable way of achieving anything is to choke off supply. Either by excluding people from the market which is what happened before microstock opened the doors to "amateurs" or current contributors reducing their submissions. Both basically mean someone loses out for "the greater good" or if you are not in the self defining elite you just lose out. I do hope that many who have been encouraged into the industry by the wildly misleading claims about what they can  earn will exit. Though its not happening yet.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ravens on March 29, 2019, 03:28
> Make an exclusive account with whatever agency is the fairest - Pond5, Alamy, Storyblocks

Or accept only (40) 50% share at the lowest.

I have deleted my account with SS due to the image abuse via Facebook... and have stopped uploading many other micros for multitude of reasons, one being this free trial nonsense and  of course, microscopic payments. Stopping this free giveaway nonsense and protecting our work from illegal image use would be important for me.

I believe the suggested plan can be realized. This team effort should be well structured, so that everybody stays informed, knows the plan and and stays motivated, and more importantly we need the leverage of a group.





Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 03:37
> Make an exclusive account with whatever agency is the fairest - Pond5, Alamy, Storyblocks

Or accept only (40) 50% share at the lowest.

I have deleted my account with SS due to the image abuse via Facebook... and have stopped uploading many other micros for multitude of reasons, one being this free trial nonsense and  of course, microscopic payments.

I don't expect the answer since it's personal, but is microstock your main source of income? Do you make a normal living from "Pond5, Alamy, Storyblocks"? And do you live in a developed Western country?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 04:22
I believe the suggested plan can be realized. This team effort should be well structured, so that everybody stays informed, knows the plan and and stays motivated, and more importantly we need the leverage of a group.

So basically what is suggested is an organized "financial suicide", right?

Because even if your "plan" will work and agencies will change pricing (losing customers in the meantime), your portfolio won't be there anymore to reap the benefits of this "revolution". And it will never get back to the same positions. Never ever.

What can be more stupid than that, I can't imagine...
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: UIcomments on March 29, 2019, 05:18
I believe the suggested plan can be realized. This team effort should be well structured, so that everybody stays informed, knows the plan and and stays motivated, and more importantly we need the leverage of a group.


So basically what is suggested is an organized "financial suicide", right?

Because even if your "plan" will work and agencies will change pricing (losing customers in the meantime), your portfolio won't be there anymore to reap the benefits of this "revolution". And it will never get back to the same positions. Never ever.

What can be more stupid than that, I can't imagine...

This dead horse has been kicked before innumerable times. People who can't manage their own portfolio want to lead an uprising. Sure, one just has to want it enough, like in a movie, where we learn our life lessons.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Daryl Ray on March 29, 2019, 05:57
Trying to wrap my head around what the motivation would be for photographers to choose to come onto a forum like this and put a suspicious amount of effort into attempting to make a basic premise like this sound like a failure before it begins. What freaking harm would come from supporting the simple CONCEPT of contributor empowerment of any kind? Or at least making your point, if you feel the need, and maybe find a different use for your time than persistent knee-jerk fighting against your own best interests.

You don't think it's a good idea? You don't think it'll ever work? You think past efforts are proof it can't be done? Awesome. Now do you have any constructive help to offer or is it just gonna be endless snappy negative remarks intended to knock everyone else down to your defeated perspectives?





Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 29, 2019, 06:21
I don't think anyone is against contributor empowerment.

However, personally I don't feel not empowered. Time and time again contributors have worked together VERY successfully to enforce changes and even closure of agencies.

If some people want to organize a new stock artist alliance let them.

But personally I wouldn't join, because I find the status quo or current level of organization very successful.

We ARE organized.You don't need an OFFICIAL body to have a community.

Again, if someone wants to try that, go ahead.

Freedom, freedom, freedom!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: MicroVet on March 29, 2019, 06:23
Unfortunately this will not change by photographers banding together. I've read tenths if not hundreds of posts like this, especially in the past 10 years and it equaled to zero apart the Symbiostock experiment which did not go as expected.

In the past there was a chance by someone who had the visibility, the knowledge and even the financial capability. Plus this was a much smaller community. It did not happen.

Nowadays the only chance we've got is to have a top agency to take the lead in this process. For example, by paying an excellent commission to the exclusive artists to motivate the change. The only one left able to do this is Adobe. They have the knowledge, the reach in terms of customers, the money and above all a positive image in the eyes of contributors. But if they don't even accept editorial will they buy a war with the other agencies? I think not.

Apart from this I do not see any change. How will a photographer who lives like a king in his country with $500 risk it all to join his competition which find unsustainable to live of $2000 in their countries? The first thing the less accomplished photographer wants is to see is his competition sink so he can get some of those $2000 to earn $750 and start living like an emperor.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 29, 2019, 06:34
In theory, it could be done.

In practice, most people are understandably most concerned about their bottom line.
E.g. https://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/20082009-image-prices/msg529645/#msg529645 (https://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/20082009-image-prices/msg529645/#msg529645)
iS tried to raise prices, and for a while were managing to do that, but e.g. SS were holding their super low prices. Now, I believe more factors were at play than just that SS was holding prices super low, but no-one can keep holding prices up while a sizeable competitor holds down prices.

How often have we read here people saying that although prices are higher on Alamy, they make more on Micro, so that's where they're putting their efforts. I have rejoined that camp, with reluctance, but with an eye on the bottom line. And micros are squeezing Alamy, as they have made the expectation of super low prices, so Alamy's rpd is falling, without any rise in sales volume (OK, that  statement is only based on the small number who report on their forums. And for sure, the $$$ earned from Live News is much higher, but that's not 'stock' as most of us know it.

Nowadays on this forum, the agency of choice is Adobe, iS and SS having fallen from grace. But Adobe has low prices, and I'm totally confused about them. They offer prices as low as 15c per asset on the 750 / month deal, and they say "Every time someone purchases your content, you get a 33% commission for photos and vector art and a 35% commission for videos based on the price of the image" So, even understanding that buyers don't use up all their allowance, why aren't people reporting super low sales there*? And how are they able to calculate the 33% 'in real time'** without knowing how much of their subscription they will use in the month?

* I know there's some sort of guaranteed minimum for sub sales, but how does that equate with "Every time someone purchases your content, you get a 33%/35% commission"? They don't say, "You'll get an average of 33%/35% commission"

**I assume they do, as people always complain about iS not reporting in real time.

This isn't as irrelevant to the current discussion as it seems.
Many (most?) people are only concerned about their bottom line at the end of the month. Other than that, many will put up with all sort of cr*p and unknowables from sites so long as they're getting paid each month.

Bear in mind that the people on e.g. msg only represent a tiny proportion of suppliers. (The ones who don't spend all their time shooting and uploading!) How would you get in contact with the others?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: MicroVet on March 29, 2019, 06:48

How often have we read here people saying that although prices are higher on Alamy, they make more on Micro, so that's where they're putting their efforts. I have rejoined that camp, with reluctance, but with an eye on the bottom line. And micros are squeezing Alamy, as they have made the expectation of super low prices, so Alamy's rpd is falling, without any rise in sales volume (OK, that  statement is only based on the small number who report on their forums. And for sure, the $$$ earned from Live News is much higher, but that's not 'stock' as most of us know it.


Last year on alamy I had a 60% increase in the number of images licensed compared to 2017. It was my best year in terms of sales since 2012.

Yet, the average sale value (net) dropped 25% compared to 2017. I still ended earning a bit more in 2018 than on 2017 because of the large amount in the number of sales but nothing exciting.

The average sale (net) in 2018 is about 10% of what it used to be in 2008.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: YadaYadaYada on March 29, 2019, 07:00
Using Jo Ann's post, No leverage then No union.

Somehow leaving the agency that makes me the most money SS would have no effect on anything except make me lave Microstock, as there would be no income from the rest worth working for. Final suicide is another good term for what some are saying they want. I like getting those outside of the forums to join, the big contributors is the first step, and somebody get to the other language forums.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Trippy on March 29, 2019, 07:41
We need a "Let them eat cake" moment and then we can storm the Bastile.
Sadly, that moment is yet to arrive.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 29, 2019, 07:52
I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
I’ve been reading a lot here and I would like to say that I think there is a way to shake loose the agencies.
The problem has ever been the way of piecing together and maintaining a proper website, the costs and the time. It seems that nobody thinks that this is really feasible, and that joining several websites of this kind at the same hosting place would result into a portal alternative to the agencies.
I followed at a distance the Simbiostock experiment: IMO the basic idea is still appealing, although it think that the way it was technically carried out proved not to be the best.

I'm mainly a web programmer and SEO expert (who loathes the ‘social’, sorry :-)) and secondly a photographer. As such I couldn’t resist the temptation to build my own virtual shop, and eventually I was surprised myself by how little expensive my effort has been, both in terms of money and of time.

I focused on reducing the cost of the hosting by developing a fully automated OFFLINE procedure (on my computer) to prepare the data before uploading them:
-      fully automated .csv files  - including the automation of Excel - to populate the product webpages
-   ftp to upload the files to be sold and the watermarked images to be displayed
-   no manual intervention required
-   no extra costs for a special hosting.

Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily. To get started, rather than my favorite shoots I chose a niche that had already proved quite profitable: illustration scanned from old books (I am an avid collector of antique dusty tomes), refurbished and processed.
My investment? All together $171.00 (hosting included) !

If you like the idea, have a look at: https://vintage-nostalgia.com (https://vintage-nostalgia.com)
Or find more details on the subject in my blog here (https://luisafumi.com/blog/2019/03/24/my-own-stock-images-website-all-mine/).

Should you feel tempted too, I’ll be happy to give you a hand :-)

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: UIcomments on March 29, 2019, 07:55
Trying to wrap my head around what the motivation would be for photographers to choose to come onto a forum like this and put a suspicious amount of effort into attempting to make a basic premise like this sound like a failure before it begins. What freaking harm would come from supporting the simple CONCEPT of contributor empowerment of any kind? Or at least making your point, if you feel the need, and maybe find a different use for your time than persistent knee-jerk fighting against your own best interests.

You don't think it's a good idea? You don't think it'll ever work? You think past efforts are proof it can't be done? Awesome. Now do you have any constructive help to offer or is it just gonna be endless snappy negative remarks intended to knock everyone else down to your defeated perspectives?

Nothing that's been said on here qualifies as an idea or a concept. Let's all be rich, equal and free is not an idea, it's a proclamation. A person with an idea identifies a working mechanism that can be exploited to achieve a goal first. When someone does, I'll be all ears. Until then it's just for pure fun to post.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on March 29, 2019, 08:00
I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
I’ve been reading a lot here and I would like to say that I think there is a way to shake loose the agencies.
The problem has ever been the way of piecing together and maintaining a proper website, the costs and the time. It seems that nobody thinks that this is really feasible, and that joining several websites of this kind at the same hosting place would result into a portal alternative to the agencies.
I followed at a distance the Simbiostock experiment: IMO the basic idea is still appealing, although it think that the way it was technically carried out proved not to be the best.

I'm mainly a web programmer and SEO expert (who loathes the ‘social’, sorry :-)) and secondly a photographer. As such I couldn’t resist the temptation to build my own virtual shop, and eventually I was surprised myself by how little expensive my effort has been, both in terms of money and of time.

I focused on reducing the cost of the hosting by developing a fully automated OFFLINE procedure (on my computer) to prepare the data before uploading them:
-      fully automated .csv files  - including the automation of Excel - to populate the product webpages
-   ftp to upload the files to be sold and the watermarked images to be displayed
-   no manual intervention required
-   no extra costs for a special hosting.

Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily. To get started, rather than my favorite shoots I chose a niche that had already proved quite profitable: illustration scanned from old books (I am an avid collector of antique dusty tomes), refurbished and processed.
My investment? All together $171.00 (hosting included) !

If you like the idea, have a look at: https://vintage-nostalgia.com (https://vintage-nostalgia.com)
Or find more details on the subject in my blog here (https://luisafumi.com/blog/2019/03/24/my-own-stock-images-website-all-mine/).

Should you feel tempted too, I’ll be happy to give you a hand :-)
How much time have you invested?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 08:01
Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily.
My investment? All together $171.00 (hosting included) !

I can show you ways to make it for even less money and without all that technical hustle that you did :)

How are the sales and customer service are going so far?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Chichikov on March 29, 2019, 08:02
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot

Amazing how self-defeating some people are, so incredibly lacking in vision. Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean that it cannot be done. It's common sense that a large collective response will have some impact - indeed it already has in the past with the Dollar Photo Club and then recently with Storyblocks. So many losers said nothing could be done to affect Storyblocks when they cut commissions, and then days later Storyblocks doubled its sale prices. Contributors en masse told Pond5 that exclusivity shouldn't have to necessarily include existing clips, and Pond5 responded by allowing for separate accounts. Nothing is fixed in stone, it's a matter of organizational work. A huge task to be sure, but to simply say "cannot" is plain stupid and pathetic.

The point is that if yesterday it could be right (DPC is a good example), today, when every sites accept anything from anybody, it is no more possible.
Better not to be idealistic (I am) and try to be a little more realistic.

By the way, the situation will probably resolve itself: the whole system will collapse under its own pressure.
And then we may see new and exciting opportunities. But the whole system must collapse before. That is going to take time…
The best we can do is help it collapse as quickly as possible ...
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 29, 2019, 08:07
How much time have you invested?
Less than one month  :D
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Shelma1 on March 29, 2019, 08:07
I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
I’ve been reading a lot here and I would like to say that I think there is a way to shake loose the agencies.
The problem has ever been the way of piecing together and maintaining a proper website, the costs and the time. It seems that nobody thinks that this is really feasible, and that joining several websites of this kind at the same hosting place would result into a portal alternative to the agencies.
I followed at a distance the Simbiostock experiment: IMO the basic idea is still appealing, although it think that the way it was technically carried out proved not to be the best.

I'm mainly a web programmer and SEO expert (who loathes the ‘social’, sorry :-)) and secondly a photographer. As such I couldn’t resist the temptation to build my own virtual shop, and eventually I was surprised myself by how little expensive my effort has been, both in terms of money and of time.

I focused on reducing the cost of the hosting by developing a fully automated OFFLINE procedure (on my computer) to prepare the data before uploading them:
-      fully automated .csv files  - including the automation of Excel - to populate the product webpages
-   ftp to upload the files to be sold and the watermarked images to be displayed
-   no manual intervention required
-   no extra costs for a special hosting.

Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily. To get started, rather than my favorite shoots I chose a niche that had already proved quite profitable: illustration scanned from old books (I am an avid collector of antique dusty tomes), refurbished and processed.
My investment? All together $171.00 (hosting included) !

If you like the idea, have a look at: https://vintage-nostalgia.com (https://vintage-nostalgia.com)
Or find more details on the subject in my blog here (https://luisafumi.com/blog/2019/03/24/my-own-stock-images-website-all-mine/).

Should you feel tempted too, I’ll be happy to give you a hand :-)

The problem there is that most of us are NOT web programmers or SEO experts, and you haven't included the cost of your time for both those things in your $171 investment. Nor have you mentioned how much your website is making for you each month.

Many of us spent a lot of unpaid hours building our own Symbiostock sites, only to lose money on them.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 29, 2019, 08:11
Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily.
My investment? All together $171.00 (hosting included) !

I can show you ways to make it for even less money and without all that technical hustle that you did :)
By all means, please tell me!  ;D

Quote
How are the sales and customer service are going so far?
Couple of, so far - it's been up for just a few days.
Customer service? ???

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 08:15
What freaking harm would come from supporting the simple CONCEPT of contributor empowerment of any kind?
'Of any kind' no harm :)

But when it comes to "delete your portfolio" and "go exclusive" I feel my personal responsibity to notify newbies that it will harm them tremendously in the long run. How it did harm my own portfolio (forever), when I was naive enough to believe in all this nonsense.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 08:23
Couple of, so far - it's been up for just a few days.
Customer service? ???

Photodeck, Smugmug, Photoshelter, Pixieset, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, Wordpress Plugins and 10 more.

What is the refund procedure? What about VAT for customers from European Union? What is the legal agreement between you and your customer which garantees that they are safe to use an image how they intend to? What license do you sell?

I'm not asking you to answer all that :) just I had no idea how to deal with that by myself if I would open the shop.

Btw, website is cute! Good luck :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 29, 2019, 08:45
Customer service? ???
!!!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 29, 2019, 08:49
I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
I’ve been reading a lot here and I would like to say that I think there is a way to shake loose the agencies.
The problem has ever been the way of piecing together and maintaining a proper website, the costs and the time. It seems that nobody thinks that this is really feasible, and that joining several websites of this kind at the same hosting place would result into a portal alternative to the agencies.
I followed at a distance the Simbiostock experiment: IMO the basic idea is still appealing, although it think that the way it was technically carried out proved not to be the best.

I'm mainly a web programmer and SEO expert (who loathes the ‘social’, sorry :-)) and secondly a photographer. As such I couldn’t resist the temptation to build my own virtual shop, and eventually I was surprised myself by how little expensive my effort has been, both in terms of money and of time.

I focused on reducing the cost of the hosting by developing a fully automated OFFLINE procedure (on my computer) to prepare the data before uploading them:
-      fully automated .csv files  - including the automation of Excel - to populate the product webpages
-   ftp to upload the files to be sold and the watermarked images to be displayed
-   no manual intervention required
-   no extra costs for a special hosting.

Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily. To get started, rather than my favorite shoots I chose a niche that had already proved quite profitable: illustration scanned from old books (I am an avid collector of antique dusty tomes), refurbished and processed.
My investment? All together $171.00 (hosting included) !

If you like the idea, have a look at: https://vintage-nostalgia.com (https://vintage-nostalgia.com)
Or find more details on the subject in my blog here (https://luisafumi.com/blog/2019/03/24/my-own-stock-images-website-all-mine/).

Should you feel tempted too, I’ll be happy to give you a hand :-)

The problem there is that most of us are NOT web programmers or SEO experts, and you haven't included the cost of your time for both those things in your $171 investment. Nor have you mentioned how much your website is making for you each month.

Many of us spent a lot of unpaid hours building our own Symbiostock sites, only to lose money on them.

No, you're right, I didn't include the cost of my time. As always the first step was huge - it took me the best part of one month - but now that the necessary software is written and I've learned the ropes, a stock website like mine (graphics obviously excluded) would hardly take me longer than a couple of days - no big money.

It's a bit too early to provide a sales statistics as in the few days my site has been working the search engines were still indexing it. Ask me again in a month or so...

I understand the frustration you (and not only you) got from Simbiostock, but their software was way less than agile and there was plenty of manual work still required, which made it quite an awkward and time-consuming business. That's what gave me the courage to try despite their poor success.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 29, 2019, 08:54
Couple of, so far - it's been up for just a few days.
Customer service? ???

Photodeck, Smugmug, Photoshelter, Pixieset, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, Wordpress Plugins and 10 more.
Have you really seen their prices and performances? ;D ;D ;D

Quote
What is the refund procedure? What about VAT for customers from European Union? What is the legal agreement between you and your customer which garantees that they are safe to use an image how they intend to? What license do you sell?

I'm not asking you to answer all that :) just I had no idea how to deal with that by myself if I would open the shop.

No need to clog this forum, just peek in my site and you'll find all the answers there.

Quote
Btw, website is cute! Good luck :)

Thanks  :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 08:57
No need to clog this forum, just peek in my site and you'll find all the answers there.

Obviously, you're good at SEO...

No, thanks.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 29, 2019, 10:33
Yes, yet another “member” using the SEO from this site to build up their own site.  ::)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on March 29, 2019, 11:40
What freaking harm would come from supporting the simple CONCEPT of contributor empowerment of any kind?

You don't think it'll ever work? You think past efforts are proof it can't be done?

1) You have my support, good luck
2) It's not a knee jerk negativity it's years of experience and the same ideas, over and over.
3) Nope I don't think it will work or anyone will go past, "Hey I have an idea..."
4) Nope I don't think that because it's never happened, that nothing ever will.

So here goes, you and everyone else who thinks you can form a union or association or somehow fight the agencies, when you have no power or negotiating point, no leverage. Go for it.

If you can come up with a plan, I'm in.

What's your specific plan and how are you going to take action, to force agencies to make the changes and meet your demands.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Daryl Ray on March 29, 2019, 12:40
It's hard to get past the raw idea stage when just the mere mention of contributor empowerment triggers a bunch of defeatist negativity. What is your goal, exactly? Again, you guys don't think it will work, you think it's been tried as best as it's ever been tried and that's all the proof you need. Good for you. Will you be happy once everyone that has a glimmer of hope is knocked down to your level?

I'm not saying either side is right or wrong in their OPINIONS, but those trying a little too hard to pick apart the IDEA of a pushback against the stock companies towards fairness is either a company troll or drank a little too much of the corporate BS koolaid. Maybe since a lot of the naysayers are admitted former iStock exclusives and current iStock contributors, that they're afraid of losing all those shrinking pennies if there's an effective movement away from the worst companies.

Maybe those that were fooled by iStock in the past, and still supporting them, aren't the opinions anyone should take seriously. You obviously couldn't make good judgements then, why should anyone think you could now?

izzikiorage, don't let the constant barrage of negativity ruin the concept for you. They think that since they cannot conceive the idea of contributor empowerment, that it's impossible and no one else should even consider it. Again, either they're just trolling or they can only be described using words that would come out as asterisks on this forum.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 29, 2019, 12:55
Maybe those that were fooled by iStock in the past, and still supporting them, aren't the opinions anyone should take seriously. You obviously couldn't make good judgements then, why should anyone think you could now?

I was following "your" advice back then actually :D To stop "supporting penny sites" and go with the agency that "pays fair".

Here we are now, you're blaming me in making the wrong decision :D
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on March 29, 2019, 13:10
It's hard to get past the raw idea stage when just the mere mention of contributor empowerment triggers a bunch of defeatist negativity. What is your goal, exactly? Again, you guys don't think it will work, you think it's been tried as best as it's ever been tried and that's all the proof you need. Good for you. Will you be happy once everyone that has a glimmer of hope is knocked down to your level?

You read too much into this.  Feel free to go ahead with whatever you like, but in six months, we'll just be pointing back to this thread when the next person posts "Let's form a union!!!".  That's experience talking.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 29, 2019, 14:02
daryl,

why do you consider the artists to be victims??

You are coming across as pretty negative, like producers are naive little dolls who have no clue what they are doing.

My experience is the exact opposite, this industry is full of very shrwed people with good working brains. But also kind and supportive.

Maybe spend more time with the community before you judge them.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on March 29, 2019, 14:20
daryl,

why do you consider the artists to be victims??

You are coming across as pretty negative, like producers are naive little dolls who have no clue what they are doing.

My experience is the exact opposite, this industry is full of very shrwed people with good working brains. But also kind and supportive.

Maybe spend more time with the community before you judge them.
I thought he was saying we should be trying to find ways of getting more for our work.  I don't see that as being a victim.  I do think a lot of people are naive, I've seen people talk about how much they are getting and be completely wrong more than a few times.  Being naive isn't a bad thing as long you try to figure it out.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 29, 2019, 14:30
Nobody is stopping him from forming a union or trying whatever he wants. Just go ahead and do it, instead of complaining.

I really don‘t see many naive people in stock. To be a stock producer is a fantastic job, a real privilege. Uploading pictures is not working in a coal mine or anything anyone is forced to do.

I love my job and the situation in 2019 is one of the best since I started 15 years ago.

My totally personal perception of course.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 29, 2019, 14:30
It's hard to get past the raw idea stage when just the mere mention of contributor empowerment triggers a bunch of defeatist negativity. What is your goal, exactly? Again, you guys don't think it will work, you think it's been tried as best as it's ever been tried and that's all the proof you need. Good for you. Will you be happy once everyone that has a glimmer of hope is knocked down to your level?

I'm not saying either side is right or wrong in their OPINIONS, but those trying a little too hard to pick apart the IDEA of a pushback against the stock companies towards fairness is either a company troll or drank a little too much of the corporate BS koolaid. Maybe since a lot of the naysayers are admitted former iStock exclusives and current iStock contributors, that they're afraid of losing all those shrinking pennies if there's an effective movement away from the worst companies.
…..

izzikiorage, don't let the constant barrage of negativity ruin the concept for you. They think that since they cannot conceive the idea of contributor empowerment, that it's impossible and no one else should even consider it. Again, either they're just trolling or they can only be described using words that would come out as asterisks on this forum.

if OP can't stand the criticism here, and answer the substantive questions about feasibility, planning, etc, what are the chances they will produce anything other than vaporware?

those posting here have many years of experience, and would be excellent beta testers for an actual solution - but most are also gun-shy about getting excited by recycled fantasies
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 29, 2019, 14:35
...
 
 

If you want to effect change you need leverage. Calls to action aren't leverage and in an age of widespread gig economy abuse (such as Uber's treatment of drivers), the problems faced by microstock suppliers don't really stand out from the many simlar situations. So it's not clear to me how you get negative social media buzz of a sort and size that publicly shames any of the agencies for their actions and grabs buyers' attention....
 …..   

right - and one reason uber's treatment of drivers has traction is that so many people USE uber or at least know about it-- otoh most people dont even know microstock exists.   so a social media campaign will have enormous inertia to overcome
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 29, 2019, 14:57
…..
I followed at a distance the Simbiostock experiment: IMO the basic idea is still appealing, although it think that the way it was technically carried out proved not to be the best.
.....
I focused on reducing the cost of the hosting by developing a fully automated OFFLINE procedure (on my computer) to prepare the data before uploading them:
-      fully automated .csv files  - including the automation of Excel - to populate the product webpages
-   ftp to upload the files to be sold and the watermarked images to be displayed
-   no manual intervention required
-   no extra costs for a special hosting.

….

Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily. To get started, rather than my favorite shoots I chose a niche that had already proved quite profitable: illustration scanned from old books (I am an avid collector of antique dusty tomes), refurbished and processed.


great looking site - but how did you 'automate' the time-consuming process of captioning and tagging? symbiostock had the automated features you describe (using metadata rather than csv), but still took time to prepare the images for upload. 

 but tech problems weren't the biggest problem  --  even with the combined search across hundreds of individual sites, we never drove enpugh traffic to our sites;  especially after google exponentially expanded their 'googleimages' displays.  my images often show up on the first pages of results, but they're not from my symbio site - they're links to 123, ss, et al.   

it all comes back to getting the links - your SEO expertise may let you break thru, so please come back to report after a few  months -- but did you know the following

<li>alamy  "Vintage Nostalgia" -->  Stock Photos and Images (2,251,158)
<li>SS -->  354,743 vintage nostalgia stock photos, vectors, and illustrations 
 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tpack on March 29, 2019, 15:30
The only way to force large corporations like SS to change corporate behavior is by following a standard playbook of the shareholder activism - exercising rights as partial owners.

While minority shareholders don't run day to day operations, several ways exist for them to influence a company’s board of directors and executive management actions. These methods can range from dialogue with managers to formal proposals, which are voted on by all shareholders at a company's annual meeting.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on March 29, 2019, 15:51
It's hard to get past the raw idea stage when just the mere mention of contributor empowerment triggers a bunch of defeatist negativity. What is your goal, exactly? Again, you guys don't think it will work, you think it's been tried as best as it's ever been tried and that's all the proof you need. Good for you. Will you be happy once everyone that has a glimmer of hope is knocked down to your level?

I'm not saying either side is right or wrong in their OPINIONS, but those trying a little too hard to pick apart the IDEA of a pushback against the stock companies towards fairness is either a company troll or drank a little too much of the corporate BS koolaid. Maybe since a lot of the naysayers are admitted former iStock exclusives and current iStock contributors, that they're afraid of losing all those shrinking pennies if there's an effective movement away from the worst companies.

Maybe those that were fooled by iStock in the past, and still supporting them, aren't the opinions anyone should take seriously. You obviously couldn't make good judgements then, why should anyone think you could now?

izzikiorage, don't let the constant barrage of negativity ruin the concept for you. They think that since they cannot conceive the idea of contributor empowerment, that it's impossible and no one else should even consider it. Again, either they're just trolling or they can only be described using words that would come out as asterisks on this forum.

Good Luck I hope you find something that works.

If anyone is a willing victim, as I have called this business, I'm pointing at myself as well. Otherwise I'd leave and stop. My choice.

If I wasn't at least having some fun and making some returns for what images I do upload, I'd also quit. But since I enjoy my time and the small returns that I do get, I'm fine with things as they are.

Of course I'd like a better share.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 29, 2019, 15:58
…..
I followed at a distance the Simbiostock experiment: IMO the basic idea is still appealing, although it think that the way it was technically carried out proved not to be the best.
.....
I focused on reducing the cost of the hosting by developing a fully automated OFFLINE procedure (on my computer) to prepare the data before uploading them:
-      fully automated .csv files  - including the automation of Excel - to populate the product webpages
-   ftp to upload the files to be sold and the watermarked images to be displayed
-   no manual intervention required
-   no extra costs for a special hosting.

….

Now after a month’s work my fresh new website is taking off satisfactorily. To get started, rather than my favorite shoots I chose a niche that had already proved quite profitable: illustration scanned from old books (I am an avid collector of antique dusty tomes), refurbished and processed.


great looking site - but how did you 'automate' the time-consuming process of captioning and tagging? symbiostock had the automated features you describe (using metadata rather than csv), but still took time to prepare the images for upload. 

 but tech problems weren't the biggest problem  --  even with the combined search across hundreds of individual sites, we never drove enpugh traffic to our sites;  especially after google exponentially expanded their 'googleimages' displays.  my images often show up on the first pages of results, but they're not from my symbio site - they're links to 123, ss, et al.   

it all comes back to getting the links - your SEO expertise may let you break thru, so please come back to report after a few  months -- but did you know the following

<li>alamy  "Vintage Nostalgia" -->  Stock Photos and Images (2,251,158)
<li>SS -->  354,743 vintage nostalgia stock photos, vectors, and illustrations

Thank you Steve!

I prepare the shop pages entirely offline, ready to upload: for this purpose I've automated the metadata extraction (keywords,caption,size etc.) and combined them with the other web page parameters (categories, featured image url, dawnload urls etc.)  by means of a VB applet developed "in house".


Yes, SEO is the other big problem, I know what you mean and I don't know if I will be lucky enough to succeed.

Anyway I have begun to delete my vintage nostalgia images from the agencies with the lowest prices and royalties (1000 off from 123RF today), but if the customers keep buying them from Alamy rather from my website I have no objection :-D
Let's what happens once the search engines (not only Google) are done with the indexing of my new site...


I'm aware that there are a lot of vintage images around: for me it is more a matter of passion than of business. An advantage is that most of my material is exclusive in the sense that some of my books are rare and their images seem not to be online. I'm crossing the fingers...
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 30, 2019, 02:42

……….

I'm aware that there are a lot of vintage images around: for me it is more a matter of passion than of business. An advantage is that most of my material is exclusive in the sense that some of my books are rare and their images seem not to be online. I'm crossing the fingers...

2 good reasons -- passion & a niche  -- something that's needed to keep working in stock these days.  I've got several old atlases & civil war books that I've been slowly scanning, but SS doesnt take many of those these days.  afterwards I sell the individual maps on ebay.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 30, 2019, 03:01

……….

I'm aware that there are a lot of vintage images around: for me it is more a matter of passion than of business. An advantage is that most of my material is exclusive in the sense that some of my books are rare and their images seem not to be online. I'm crossing the fingers...

2 good reasons -- passion & a niche  -- something that's needed to keep working in stock these days.  I've got several old atlases & civil war books that I've been slowly scanning, but SS doesnt take many of those these days.  afterwards I sell the individual maps on ebay.
Oh, that's sounds very interesting! Have you tried Alamy, Adobe and Dreamstime? They are my best sellers for the vintage images, Alamy on the top.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: drd on March 30, 2019, 05:05
Why don't you take your vintage collection and go with it to another thread? It is free to create a new thread!

The original post is about UNITY between contributors and not self-interest of particular individuals.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 30, 2019, 06:58
Why don't you take your vintage collection and go with it to another thread? It is free to create a new thread!

The original post is about UNITY between contributors and not self-interest of particular individuals.

My original post was actually meant to suggest that we (at least those who have the guts to do it) start with an own virtual shop, and then have them all coalesce into a sort of portal that might give a healthy headache to the agencies - and to offer my help if needed.

Regrettably though due to lack of interest the subject drifted away, but that's not of my doing, sorry.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 30, 2019, 07:10
(at least those who have the guts to do it)
...
Regrettably though due to lack of interest the subject drifted away, but that's not of my doing, sorry.

Thanks for the reminder that we have no guts :D Very nice of you.

And when I raised practical questions about "the subject", btw, not expecting you to answer, because my guess was that you don't have those answers.
It came out that you have them, but to get them I should go to your website and spend time there figuring out where are they hidden.

Maybe 10 years ago you could open a shop in internet and make a portal of it, and do whatever you want.

But now it takes much more legal work:
I live in European Union and it is practically impossible (without tools like Shopify) to track VAT transactions for every sale from every country, because % changes by customer's location. And keep all the info about transactions/customers for few years, in the meantime being complied with GDPR, etc. And all the tax work that follows it - you can't do it without an accountant.

I'm not even talking about customer service, which you think isn't necessary for doing business...

Agencies are there for a reason. If you do your business legally and expect more than few sales, you'll realise how much work agencies do actually.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 30, 2019, 07:38
It doesn’t take “guts” to start one’s own website. It takes lots of time, marketing and advertising expertise, and money. There are a bunch of people here who did this years ago, unfortunately not too successfully. It takes money to compete for search engine visibility, against the big guys. And no, I am NOT saying it can’t be done. I am saying that most people are photographers and want to spend their time taking photos, NOT sitting behind the computer 24/7 farting around with website work. Good for you if you have it all and can be successful at it.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Mantis on March 30, 2019, 08:09
Q How do we push agencies like SS, istock, getty to offer a fair share of royalties
A We cannot

Q How do we work with the agencies to prevent the race to the bottom
A We cannot

Q What agencies are inherently unfair - low pricing, very low royalty, that should be boycotted
A We cannot

Q How can we create enough of an impact to make the agencies correct this
A We cannot

The ONLY way to answer "WE CAN" is to choke the agencies of content, particularly from those contributors who drive high-sales for the agencies.  To accomplish this "broad-brush" style would pigeon hole so many artists who make their sole living at photography/videography/illustrations that it makes influencing agencies to the extent of this thread title impossible. The idea of unions is nice, but completely impractical this far into the maturity of the MS business.  Microstock is well beyond the peak of the S-Curve and the leverage is lost from an industry standpoint.  Sure, there are instances where we can stand up to a single agency and make some waves, but from the broader goal of yielding a much more robust model that better benefits the artist across all agencies, that opportunity is over.  It's probably a good idea to expand into specialty (Stocksy) or macro stock, in addition to self-hosting (if you have the discipline and technical savvy to do that). But micro stock is as we see it....a declining market being chewed up by mass inflow of content which provides serious leverage to the agencies, not the artists. 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 30, 2019, 08:34
But now it takes much more legal work:
I live in European Union and it is practically impossible (without tools like Shopify) to track VAT transactions for every sale from every country, because % changes by customer's location. And keep all the info about transactions/customers for few years, in the meantime being complied with GDPR, etc. And all the tax work that follows it - you can't do it without an accountant.

Please don't make a big issue of everything. Professionally I do websites, daily privacy policies and GDPR compliance for my customers; there are ready-made plugins to make all you say, including VAT transaction for every country: not only that, but they also check it against the customer's IP address: it is really a breeze  :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 30, 2019, 08:44
But now it takes much more legal work:
I live in European Union and it is practically impossible (without tools like Shopify) to track VAT transactions for every sale from every country, because % changes by customer's location. And keep all the info about transactions/customers for few years, in the meantime being complied with GDPR, etc. And all the tax work that follows it - you can't do it without an accountant.

Please don't make a big issue of everything. Professionally I do websites, daily privacy policies and GDPR compliance for my customers; there are ready-made plugins to make all you say, including VAT transaction for every country: not only that, but they also check it against the customer's IP address: it is really a breeze  :)


But you have expertise..most here are photographers, not website gurus, and don’t want to be. It kinda sounds like you are here to advertise and sell your services, not contribute to the actual topic of uniting photographers.   ::)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: gameover on March 30, 2019, 09:18
But now it takes much more legal work:
I live in European Union and it is practically impossible (without tools like Shopify) to track VAT transactions for every sale from every country, because % changes by customer's location. And keep all the info about transactions/customers for few years, in the meantime being complied with GDPR, etc. And all the tax work that follows it - you can't do it without an accountant.

Please don't make a big issue of everything. Professionally I do websites, daily privacy policies and GDPR compliance for my customers; there are ready-made plugins to make all you say, including VAT transaction for every country: not only that, but they also check it against the customer's IP address: it is really a breeze  :)


But you have expertise..most here are photographers, not website gurus, and don’t want to be. It kinda sounds like you are here to advertise and sell your services, not contribute to the actual topic of uniting photographers.   ::)

No, you don't need me.
All you need is to get the (mostly free) apps and plugins to do automatically what only a few years ago required long hours and fluent profanity.
Long ago it took a professional chauffeur to maintain and drive a car; nowadays one still needs a bit of know-how to do that, but nonetheless just anyone does it: cars have become much easier to handle.
I know it's hard to believe it, but the world of the web is going the same way: in a few years what used to be awfully difficult has turned surprisingly easy.
I'm not advertising or trying to sell my services, just to help people look around and find out that the world has changed.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 30, 2019, 10:24
Right, we don’t need you, nor an IT, SEO, accountant, customer support, marketing, social media and advertising speacialists.
We can do it all by ourselves! What a wonderful world :)

Even updating those free plugins by third parties when the next WP update comes out can become a nightmare.

Please, don’t make it seem so unrealistically easy, because it’s not.

It can be done!
But I want to do photography and videography :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 30, 2019, 10:38
You forgot the lawyer who keeps updating about the latest problems in licensing, so you avoid that, plus being able to keep informing customers if something needs to be deactivated.

To sell direct you can just use photoshelter. Many people have thousands of images there.

Some people prefer to spend their time just shooting and uploading, other prople invest the time to build their own client base.

Or you mix both.

Thousands of people have a webshop for direct licensing.

Nothing wrong with doing that. My own provider photodeck has a built in webshop with all accountung software. And I know people who successfully run lucrative webshops via photodeck.

And maybe one day I will add that.

But for me at the moment, working with agencies works well.

So good luck with your shop and I hope you are successful.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: MicroVet on March 30, 2019, 10:52
Right, we don’t need you, nor an IT, SEO, accountant, customer support, marketing, social media and advertising speacialists.
We can do it all by ourselves! What a wonderful world :)

Even updating those free plugins by third parties when the next WP update comes out can become a nightmare.

Please, don’t make it seem so unrealistically easy, because it’s not.

It can be done!
But I want to do photography and videography :)

Exactly. This has been tried with Symbiostock for years now and failed. It took a lot of work and was complicated for someone like me who has never done anything like it. And I didn't enter the tax mess, do a lot of Social Networking, etc.  It's not easy for someone outside the area.

Besides, I think this discussion should be taken to a new topic. There it could be discussed in more detail to those interested, being a project to unite photographers or to sell website services.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 30, 2019, 13:40

……….

I'm aware that there are a lot of vintage images around: for me it is more a matter of passion than of business. An advantage is that most of my material is exclusive in the sense that some of my books are rare and their images seem not to be online. I'm crossing the fingers...

they're on adobe & DT but sales there are meagre -- the bottom seems to have dropped out of alamy's sales but I may start adding some newer scans there

2 good reasons -- passion & a niche  -- something that's needed to keep working in stock these days.  I've got several old atlases & civil war books that I've been slowly scanning, but SS doesnt take many of those these days.  afterwards I sell the individual maps on ebay.
Oh, that's sounds very interesting! Have you tried Alamy, Adobe and Dreamstime? They are my best sellers for the vintage images, Alamy on the top.

they're on adobe & DT but while adobe is steady it doesnt match SS (where my grandfathered maps still do well) and DT is near dead.  I haven't upl'd to alamy for awhile, but it's probably worth a shot.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cascoly on March 30, 2019, 14:12


Please don't make a big issue of everything. Professionally I do websites, daily privacy policies and GDPR compliance for my customers; there are ready-made plugins to make all you say, including VAT transaction for every country: not only that, but they also check it against the customer's IP address: it is really a breeze  :)


But you have expertise..most here are photographers, not website gurus, and don’t want to be. It kinda sounds like you are here to advertise and sell your services, not contribute to the actual topic of uniting photographers.   ::)

but this TOPIC is about uniting! and one of the needs if we want to offer an alternative is to hear about successful approaches.  symbiostock was a good approach, but it never produced enough sales and growth stalled - we needed a thousand+ sites, not the hundreds we had in order to attract buyers.  it was a relatively easy path to setting up your own website so any new try must be even simpler

{rant}
as far as people not knowing how to work the web -- photographers have been moaning for decades now about how digital has ruined their lives.   if you dont learn the new ways you will always be at the mercy of those who do - whether agencies or unions.  the microstock BUSINESS is about more than 'just shooting'  - I doubt anyone spends more time shooting than editing and uploading - those are computer tasks everyone now takes for granted.  (how many non-photogs even know what iptc and ftp are?)  those tasks were simplified by LR and FileZilla, before that pioneers wrote their own apps.  new tools are arriving for building and maintaining websites.  we're not there yet, but the other choice (perfectly acceptable) is to continue to let the agencies handle all the fiddly bits.
{/rant}
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: trek on March 30, 2019, 14:38
There is room for a Stocksy style coop for the common folk.  Stocksy has done a great job of creating an artsy boutique agency... a larger big tent coop could also succeed. 

Symbiostock failed because it did not unite everyone around a simple effective search engine and user interface.  A uniformed landing page with clear licensing terms would do better than a collection of different looking semi-connected portfolio templates.   
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 30, 2019, 14:53

Please don't make a big issue of everything. Professionally I do websites, daily privacy policies and GDPR compliance for my customers; there are ready-made plugins to make all you say, including VAT transaction for every country: not only that, but they also check it against the customer's IP address: it is really a breeze  :)

But you have expertise..most here are photographers, not website gurus, and don’t want to be. It kinda sounds like you are here to advertise and sell your services, not contribute to the actual topic of uniting photographers.   ::)

but this TOPIC is about uniting! and one of the needs if we want to offer an alternative is to hear about successful approaches.  symbiostock was a good approach, but it never produced enough sales and growth stalled - we needed a thousand+ sites, not the hundreds we had in order to attract buyers.  it was a relatively easy path to setting up your own website so any new try must be even simpler

{rant}
as far as people not knowing how to work the web -- photographers have been moaning for decades now about how digital has ruined their lives.   if you dont learn the new ways you will always be at the mercy of those who do - whether agencies or unions.  the microstock BUSINESS is about more than 'just shooting'  - I doubt anyone spends more time shooting than editing and uploading - those are computer tasks everyone now takes for granted.  (how many non-photogs even know what iptc and ftp are?)  those tasks were simplified by LR and FileZilla, before that pioneers wrote their own apps.  new tools are arriving for building and maintaining websites.  we're not there yet, but the other choice (perfectly acceptable) is to continue to let the agencies handle all the fiddly bits.
{/rant}

As has been said a few times in this thread already, if someone wants to do something and present it and show how it will unite/benefit/make money for contributors and put the agencies out of business, I say bring it on. I don’t see that happening.

You said it best... “we’re not there yet.”

And by the way, my other job was building websites, mostly html and wordpress, so I know how to build a site. It’s not easy. When wordpress first came out, it was being “marketed” as software anybody could use to build a site. It just isn’t that easy. And even after it’s built, it’s a full-time job marketing and getting customers. You were already in that whole business, so sure, when symbiostock came along, you saw opportunity and you took full advantage. It was easy for you. Not everybody has the same leg up.

And symbiostock did not do what it was marketed to do either. It was a try, it failed, no point in rehashing.


Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on March 30, 2019, 14:57
There is room for a Stocksy style coop for the common folk.  Stocksy has done a great job of creating an artsy boutique agency... a larger big tent coop could also succeed. 

Yes, Stocksy is a great example of a union :)

And how it would work for a big coop? Every photographer would own a share of the company? Board members?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on March 30, 2019, 14:59
Right, we don’t need you, nor an IT, SEO, accountant, customer support, marketing, social media and advertising speacialists.
We can do it all by ourselves! What a wonderful world :)

Even updating those free plugins by third parties when the next WP update comes out can become a nightmare.

Please, don’t make it seem so unrealistically easy, because it’s not.

It can be done!
But I want to do photography and videography :)


Exactly! Heck, practically every time wordpress has an update it breaks something in the few sites I maintain. Of course it can be done. But it’s a whole other career from photography.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on March 30, 2019, 15:40
There is room for a Stocksy style coop for the common folk.  Stocksy has done a great job of creating an artsy boutique agency... a larger big tent coop could also succeed. 

Symbiostock failed because it did not unite everyone around a simple effective search engine and user interface.  A uniformed landing page with clear licensing terms would do better than a collection of different looking semi-connected portfolio templates.

pond5 still pays 50% for photos just like Stocksy, but you can set your own prices. If you want to organize something, why not on a place that already exists?

Maybe talk to pond5 and ask them if you can open a joint exclusive account or something like that, with a fixed price for all the content. Then you just have to organize people legally under one umbrella for that exclusive content and decide who will preselect and edit content.

Or just generally support pond5 and promote them with your content. Who knows, if their exclusive video content with 60% works well, maybe they will offer exclusive photos at some point?

Photoshelter also offers the option for producers to set up a virtual agency, where the content is pooled. So the framework for accounting etc...is already there.

https://photographersselection.org/what-is-a-virtual-agency/

Photoshelter pays out 90% or so, depending on the contract. I don't know how much they charge for the VA.

I don't know which place would give more sales, but at least being part of a much larger setup, means you don't have to go it all alone.

So basically, if a group of people wants to unite and pool their content at a certain price point, or over a certain theme, you can just go and do it. The tools are all available out there.

Isn't doing something better than complaining how the industry takes advantage of you...? :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: memakephoto on March 30, 2019, 22:01
Thank you all very much.

As far as the monthly "we should all unite for better treatment" threads go, this one was particularly entertaining.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Chichikov on March 31, 2019, 05:50
Thank you all very much.

As far as the monthly "we should all unite for better treatment" threads go, this one was particularly entertaining.

Don Quijote is still relevant…
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on March 31, 2019, 06:44
Quote
Don Quijote is still relevant…

First thought was previous Adobe Premiere version splash screen with the Windmill. D*mn, my life is ruined from editing...

ok, offtopic. Never mind me.

:P :D
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Justanotherphotographer on March 31, 2019, 07:41
It's perfectly possible to organise and make changes. It would just take some serious work by people with experience that know what they're doing. I mean not on a forum but actually making contact with people one on one, making personal connections etc.
Anyone serious about this needs to study up. Oh, and there aren't millions of contributors out there that need organising. If a significant chunk of the top 1000 people could be bought on board that would be plenty to make any agency stop and think.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 31, 2019, 08:47
If people thought they'd be doing better at the sites which pay better, they'd surely be doing it already. In another group I'm on, someone said they would never submit to micro and claimed to be earning $$$$ monthly with a port of just over 2k. I checked out his port on Westend64 (can't remember if that's the name, but it's been mentioned on msg several times. Also I only checked his port there, I didn't check if he was represented elsewhere.) His port was perfectly adequate: people photos of the same style that have been on micros for over ten years, but with a bias towards simple portraits. So assuming he's telling the truth, it was interesting that people would pay so much more for the sort of image they could get elsewhere much cheaper, even if they only license a few images each month. I don't know whether he sells a  lot of exclusive rights, that must be attractive to some buyers.
But the point is that these options are available, so if trying to attract the big players, why are they not already pursuing these options?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Shelma1 on March 31, 2019, 08:59
But now it takes much more legal work:
I live in European Union and it is practically impossible (without tools like Shopify) to track VAT transactions for every sale from every country, because % changes by customer's location. And keep all the info about transactions/customers for few years, in the meantime being complied with GDPR, etc. And all the tax work that follows it - you can't do it without an accountant.

Please don't make a big issue of everything. Professionally I do websites, daily privacy policies and GDPR compliance for my customers; there are ready-made plugins to make all you say, including VAT transaction for every country: not only that, but they also check it against the customer's IP address: it is really a breeze  :)


But you have expertise..most here are photographers, not website gurus, and don’t want to be. It kinda sounds like you are here to advertise and sell your services, not contribute to the actual topic of uniting photographers.   ::)

No, you don't need me.
All you need is to get the (mostly free) apps and plugins to do automatically what only a few years ago required long hours and fluent profanity.
Long ago it took a professional chauffeur to maintain and drive a car; nowadays one still needs a bit of know-how to do that, but nonetheless just anyone does it: cars have become much easier to handle.
I know it's hard to believe it, but the world of the web is going the same way: in a few years what used to be awfully difficult has turned surprisingly easy.
I'm not advertising or trying to sell my services, just to help people look around and find out that the world has changed.


???

Cars have become much more complex over time, run by computers. I take my car to a mechanic for maintenance. Everyone I know does that (except my next door neighbor...he’s a mechanic.)

Can you please start a new thread about your amazeball skillz and stop derailing this one?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Brasilnut on March 31, 2019, 09:15
I like the initiative.

My wackamole experience has taught me that you have to make a lot of noise to make anything happen and this is a good start. I will support it!

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ShadySue on March 31, 2019, 18:11
Could be an interesting watch for some of you from Pond5 (if the bloke didn't sound too much like a 70s TV evangelist.) Start from about 3' 20"
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ravens on April 01, 2019, 02:55
I believe the suggested plan can be realized. This team effort should be well structured, so that everybody stays informed, knows the plan and and stays motivated, and more importantly we need the leverage of a group.

So basically what is suggested is an organized "financial suicide", right?

Because even if your "plan" will work and agencies will change pricing (losing customers in the meantime), your portfolio won't be there anymore to reap the benefits of this "revolution". And it will never get back to the same positions. Never ever.

What can be more stupid than that, I can't imagine...
Swiss, Are you trolling?

I simply said that an unified group has leverage while an individual efforts lacks it. Without the support of the group the effort will evaporate, it won't get noticed and we won't achieve the desired outcome. You are free to disagree but do not twist my words.

Financial suicide is staying in a miserable financial position and repeating the same destructive behaviour over and over again, in hopes that something will miraculously change while making no actual changes for improvement.
 
Why not improve things? That's what the original initiative is all about, and that's what we should really focus on.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 01, 2019, 03:07
The original post and the N1 "suggestion" is:

How will this be enforced
  • By moving out of agencies that aid the race to the bottom. I'm sure not everyone will move out, but if we can pull enough quality content from there then the users are sure to follow.

So I had no idea to which part of it you were replying then.

It's not the fact that the majority is in a "miserable financial position"...
There are teams working in the industry full time that have big expenses and somehow manage to do it.
It wouldn't be possible otherwise.

Why not improve things? That's what the original initiative is all about, and that's what we should really focus on.

I fully agree :)
If it means to build something new and better instead of killing portfolios and years of work - it's all wonderful and I'd be ready to participate with time and money in it.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: izzikiorage on April 01, 2019, 09:08
Would it really be too bad if we started off just by making a ton of noise. I've been reading a little and as of now it seems like the most fair agencies are Alamy (images) and Storyblocks (vidoes). Can we start raising this to creatives on twitter, instagram, facebook. A simple message along the lines of take your business to these players to help us make better content by giving us more money/time to invest.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ArenaCreative on April 01, 2019, 09:29
The ugly side of crowd-sourcing that we heard about back in 2005 has been showing its face for too long.  In my opinion, no matter how little these agencies decide to pay for content, they will still have no lack of new content.  For every contributor that wants to try and safeguard their royalties, there are 100 others who are thirsty and motivated; living in 3rd world countries (with good enough technology to create stock) and thankful for anything they can get.

Best wishes with your endeavors - many contributors like myself have simply stopped contributing across the board, and are just replacing the dwindling royalty payments with other commercial work. 

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Asthebelltolls on April 01, 2019, 09:56
In my opinion, no matter how little these agencies decide to pay for content, they will still have no lack of new content. 

I think the fact that this topic is still alive is encouraging. The key for success is getting the BIG contributors (25,000 or more images) to submit strictly to agencies that pay highest. Keep all your portfolios with various agencies intact but focus, from now on, with the agencies that pay the highest. Large contributors are the leaders/front runners and can set the standard if done collectively.

Things wouldn't change overnight but it WOULD gain the attention of ALL agencies that lowering image prices is not a means for success.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 01, 2019, 10:54
@arena and the OP

Agencies that treat people badly have a much smaller library. Shutterstock has 400 million (?) files and get up to 2.5 million new files a week because they are a reliable business partner.

The other places will have 10 million files, maybe 30 million if they are around for 10 years.

The stock producer community is very smart, they don‘t waste time on places that give no returns.

There are hundreds of agencies worldwide, but only a tiny group offer something diverse enough to please the customers that are regular buyers. And they are the only ones that count.

For those who want to organize something would be to focus on a certain highly thought after theme - maybe everything to do with elderly people, retired lifestyle, dementia, healthcare, family support.

Then pick an agency that has a lot of buyer traffic and had been around for a very long time. pond5, photoshelter or talk to Alamy etc...

videoblocks is very new...nobody knows if they will be around in 10 years or sold and gone...you don‘t want your content locked into a tiny place that might not be around for long.

Then start producing high quality content and fill up your virtual agency or pond5 gallery.

Don‘t wait for any of the large producers. These people often have their own specialized deals, even if they upload to places with low royalties, you don‘t know what they are being paid. Your problems are not their problems.

If you want to unite people, go for all the single artists. Give them a subject or theme to shoot around, give them a place to upload too...then go and evangelize that.

1000 small time single artist that aggressively evangelize and promote their virtual agency...that can leave quite a large online footprint.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

But I would absolutely NOT wait for other people to take the lead.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: wds on April 01, 2019, 11:15
There is room for a Stocksy style coop for the common folk.  Stocksy has done a great job of creating an artsy boutique agency... a larger big tent coop could also succeed. 

Symbiostock failed because it did not unite everyone around a simple effective search engine and user interface.  A uniformed landing page with clear licensing terms would do better than a collection of different looking semi-connected portfolio templates.

pond5 still pays 50% for photos just like Stocksy, but you can set your own prices. If you want to organize something, why not on a place that already exists?

Maybe talk to pond5 and ask them if you can open a joint exclusive account or something like that, with a fixed price for all the content. Then you just have to organize people legally under one umbrella for that exclusive content and decide who will preselect and edit content.

Or just generally support pond5 and promote them with your content. Who knows, if their exclusive video content with 60% works well, maybe they will offer exclusive photos at some point?

Photoshelter also offers the option for producers to set up a virtual agency, where the content is pooled. So the framework for accounting etc...is already there.

https://photographersselection.org/what-is-a-virtual-agency/

Photoshelter pays out 90% or so, depending on the contract. I don't know how much they charge for the VA.

I don't know which place would give more sales, but at least being part of a much larger setup, means you don't have to go it all alone.

So basically, if a group of people wants to unite and pool their content at a certain price point, or over a certain theme, you can just go and do it. The tools are all available out there.

Isn't doing something better than complaining how the industry takes advantage of you...? :)

Regarding photos on P5; they seem to have (almost literally) no photo sales. So while it is great that you set your own price, to build something there around photos wouldn't be very useful.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Year of the Dog on April 01, 2019, 12:03
As much as I would like to see conditions for microstockers improved, I don't know that having an entire forum dedicated to it would have much point. 

Periodically some "hero" comes along who is going to save us all from our drudgery.  They start some grandiose thread and get everyone stirred up. But inevitably it always devolves into the same old gripes and circular arguments, followed by the departure of whoever stirred the pot in the first place. 

Bottom line is as long as supply continues to outstrip demand by such a wide margin we don't have a lot of leverage...  I wish it was different. 

A trade organization or union has been discussed over and over, but most are not interested, and of those of us who would support the idea, nobody has the time or know-how to step up and take charge.


The issue is, and we all witness it everyday in the forums, is that the companies hold ALL the power yet contributors are an integral part of their business. We are rarely, if ever, consulted yet the very existence of the microstock industry depends on talented, creative professionals.

This is a classic example of how and why Unions are formed. It's just a matter of time before microstock contributors will organize and work as one powerful, cohesive unit.

Your voice is silent. Our voices are loud.

Then a couple of different attempts to form link farms, to direct advertising for self hosted sites. Both of those are gone.

When you get a plan on how to start a union and how to hold power over any agency or leverage as people say, come back. Just saying, we need to form a union is like saying I need to make $100,000 next year, without any plan or how. Tell me the how, I'll be a member.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 01, 2019, 12:04
I thought the point was to pick a place, rally around it and then promote it heavily through social media?

Some people seem to want to start an agency from nothing.

It is up to you, if I was going to build something, I would prefer to start somewhere, where inspections, accounting etc...are all already availbable. This way you can focus directly on creating content.


Again...up to whoever wants to do it.

There are a lot of agencies to work with, but most don‘t allow you to pick your own prices.

Feel free to start your organization elsewhere...
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 02, 2019, 03:25
I wrote to photoshelter to ask about the VA, costs etc...unfortunately they wrote back that the virtual agency has been discontinued.

They have a different product targeting companies now.

So, did anyone else make the effort to find something out? Did someone write to Alamy or any agency you like or contact IT people?

Any practical effort? (besides complaining)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ravens on April 02, 2019, 03:27
Would it really be too bad if we started off just by making a ton of noise. I've been reading a little and as of now it seems like the most fair agencies are Alamy (images) and Storyblocks (vidoes). Can we start raising this to creatives on twitter, instagram, facebook. A simple message along the lines of take your business to these players to help us make better content by giving us more money/time to invest.

There's already noise. Noise gets ignored.

What we need is a realistic plan.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 02, 2019, 04:16
If I may comment again,

posts sound focusing to compete agencies with own sites or platforms and customers
and conversation is more oriented on photography rather than all media (and contributors).
Perhaps it is my poor English or i get it wrong reading the thread.

Unions i think, work well if there is an initial statement of mission and targets.
"Give me the money" line worked only in the "usual suspects" movie :P
Yes, money is what we are all here for. But reading threads here, there are so many other
issues, no good communications or payments, thefth of course, you all know better than me.

I wouldn't enter any union as a small time, random newbie.
Tomorrow I may deliver pizza or whatever.
But I would gladly sign any print or electronic declaration (not the appropriate word, sorry)
addressed to agencies and stating a request for better
treatment, communications safeguarding work and prices.

A simple one page site or blog with carefully selected text is enough to bring power to the authors. And inform / educate the public. Unbiased, just the facts. Especially if it is signed from thousand of contributors and why not? professional models used in shots.

:)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: ravens on April 02, 2019, 04:34
Cobalt,
>>I thought the point was to pick a place, rally around it and then promote it heavily through social media?
Georgep7:
>>But I would gladly sign any print or electronic declaration (not the appropriate word, sorry)
addressed to agencies and stating a request for better
treatment, communications safeguarding work and prices.

I would support both ideas. Everybody just needs to know what exactly is the agreed and planned action, so we can all follow through.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cthoman on April 02, 2019, 07:57
The ugly side of crowd-sourcing that we heard about back in 2005 has been showing its face for too long.  In my opinion, no matter how little these agencies decide to pay for content, they will still have no lack of new content.  For every contributor that wants to try and safeguard their royalties, there are 100 others who are thirsty and motivated; living in 3rd world countries (with good enough technology to create stock) and thankful for anything they can get.

Best wishes with your endeavors - many contributors like myself have simply stopped contributing across the board, and are just replacing the dwindling royalty payments with other commercial work.

Yep. I made the push a few years back to grow a better industry. It worked for a while, but smaller agencies have been getting squeezed out a bit and the larger ones aren't changing. I thought at one point the whole thing might collapse at some point, but it seems like there will always be somebody to contribute. It was a good run and I'll probably collect royalties for a while. I guess I can always shop my catalog if I want one last big payday.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 02, 2019, 13:56
I wrote to photoshelter to ask about the VA, costs etc...unfortunately they wrote back that the virtual agency has been discontinued.

They have a different product targeting companies now.

So, did anyone else make the effort to find something out? Did someone write to Alamy or any agency you like or contact IT people?

Any practical effort? (besides complaining)

Interesting way of putting that. A Virtual Agency, within an established agency, that we upload our own work, we set our prices and they take a small percentage for hosting them and handling the transactions. Maybe there is still someplace that does that? I'm not interested but it is a good thought.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 02, 2019, 14:10
I remember looking at the va interface many years ago, it was pretty simple. Everyone has their normal portfolios, but you all share that one VA gallery and webshop.

It was well designed.

However, unlike a normal  agency there is no inspections or quality control at photoshelter.

I think it would be best, if one could have this kind of interface on an agency or plattform that already exists and has an inspectionnteam that also keeps checking for legal standards, missed logos or badly written model releases. Of course tzen, you can‘t have a 90% royalty, all of this costs a lot of money.

I wonder if it would also work if normal agencies just gave us the ability to create joined lightboxes. This could work well for a small group of people ready to work together. You could pick a theme - all gardening images, all schooldchildren and their daily life, all images related to plumbing and then from your mixed portfolio designate images for specialized collections.

Basically instead of agency editors sorting files, or maybe in addition to them,  it could be crowd sourced to the community.

I have always thought that the editing talent of the crowd is not being used.

Why leave all the traffic to pinterest?

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: PrincessFerf on April 02, 2019, 14:33
Wow, this thread has gotten long quickly. 

In the world of microstock, I'm still a newbie.  But I have already learned in 6 months these things:
1. I'm not going to bother with an agency who has no problem paying me $.03 for a sale of my photo.  (iStock - I'm not uploading to them anymore)
2. With the advent of better cameras on smart phones, people all over the world can make a decent photo.  BUT, if the content of your photo isn't valuable to someone else, then it won't ever sell.
3.  I feel like the mass uploading of junk from people referenced in point #2 will eventually burn itself out.  If you're making crap and no one buys it, how long will you continue to do it?  My guess is that maybe a year at best.
4. People have short memories these days and even less patience.  I think people making quality photos who put care and concern about the content and quality will continue to do well.  I always ask myself... if I were in marketing, would I use this?  Is the quality good enough?  Does this photo tell a story or convey an emotion?  If I answer no to any of those questions, then I don't invest the time in uploading and keywording it.
5. Buyers of microstock will look for other agencies if they can't find the content they need on the "regular" sites.  So if an agency like SS becomes too filled with garbage those buyers might go elsewhere.  Loyalty to a brand is fleeting, especially when you can't deliver a quality product anymore.

I do think there is still money to be made in microstock.  And there probably always will...  for those who provide quality content. 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 02, 2019, 16:47
I remember looking at the va interface many years ago, it was pretty simple. Everyone has their normal portfolios, but you all share that one VA gallery and webshop.

It was well designed.

However, unlike a normal  agency there is no inspections or quality control at photoshelter.

I think it would be best, if one could have this kind of interface on an agency or plattform that already exists and has an inspectionnteam that also keeps checking for legal standards, missed logos or badly written model releases. Of course tzen, you can‘t have a 90% royalty, all of this costs a lot of money.

I wonder if it would also work if normal agencies just gave us the ability to create joined lightboxes. This could work well for a small group of people ready to work together. You could pick a theme - all gardening images, all schooldchildren and their daily life, all images related to plumbing and then from your mixed portfolio designate images for specialized collections.

Basically instead of agency editors sorting files, or maybe in addition to them,  it could be crowd sourced to the community.

I have always thought that the editing talent of the crowd is not being used.

Why leave all the traffic to pinterest?

You just described Dreamstime. iStock also.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 02, 2019, 18:04
istock does not have a publicly searchable gallery system. Not anymore. Only private galleries, that doesn‘t help, all agencies have that.

Does dreamstime have a system where the galleries are public, the buyer can „follow“ them to create his or her own feed?

Just like pinterest?

Can you set your own fixed prices on dreamstime?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 03, 2019, 01:42
Yes iStock is a bit different as they are not searchable on the website, but you can still share the link to the board via direct email if you've got a customer base or on social media.

DT definitely does, collections become publicly available once 5 contributors join the same collection:
https://www.dreamstime.com/collections_list (https://www.dreamstime.com/collections_list)

Prices are fixed on DT, unless you want to sell the rights, you can set your own price. They do have a commission level structure per image, based on how many times this specific image has been downloaded. I think this is quite good, so you get more from images that sell more often. Downside is that sales aren't that great on DT.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 03, 2019, 01:57
Wow, this thread has gotten long quickly. 

In the world of microstock, I'm still a newbie.  But I have already learned in 6 months these things:
1. I'm not going to bother with an agency who has no problem paying me $.03 for a sale of my photo.  (iStock - I'm not uploading to them anymore)
2. With the advent of better cameras on smart phones, people all over the world can make a decent photo.  BUT, if the content of your photo isn't valuable to someone else, then it won't ever sell.
3.  I feel like the mass uploading of junk from people referenced in point #2 will eventually burn itself out.  If you're making crap and no one buys it, how long will you continue to do it?  My guess is that maybe a year at best.
4. People have short memories these days and even less patience.  I think people making quality photos who put care and concern about the content and quality will continue to do well.  I always ask myself... if I were in marketing, would I use this?  Is the quality good enough?  Does this photo tell a story or convey an emotion?  If I answer no to any of those questions, then I don't invest the time in uploading and keywording it.
5. Buyers of microstock will look for other agencies if they can't find the content they need on the "regular" sites.  So if an agency like SS becomes too filled with garbage those buyers might go elsewhere.  Loyalty to a brand is fleeting, especially when you can't deliver a quality product anymore.

I do think there is still money to be made in microstock.  And there probably always will...  for those who provide quality content.
Mostly I agree it seems to me though that buyers are very loyal perhaps surprisingly. Remember though for corporate buyers switching agencies may need to go through lots of committees and those actually buying are probably required to use a restricted list of companies. Going "off piste" and buying from a different source can cause the bean counters all sorts of headaches.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 03, 2019, 07:50
@not today

Thank you, I didn‘t know that about dreamstime. I will try that with a fea friends at some point.

The istock lightboxes are like private galleries everywhere, To be successful, I think they should also be easily visible on the site.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 03, 2019, 09:43
I do think there is still money to be made in microstock.  And there probably always will...  for those who provide quality content.

(https://i.postimg.cc/YqC3vC8g/cheers.gif) Ferf good answer.

IS has galleries that aren't galleries and we can't set prices, and DT has groups if we find five people but we can't set prices, except for outright sales. Which to me says, no there are not places that are what was suggested, A Virtual Agency, within an established agency, where we could set our own prices for licenses.

Good idea, and I'm still wondering if there is anyplace like that that exists? Part of the concept would be, they are hosting, not reviewing, not legally responsible, just offering us our own photo gallery to sell as we please.

Wait a minute. Seems that FAA does a fine job of ignoring copyrights and laws, and lets people put up what we want, and hey look, we can set prices too? Didn't they open some kind of site for RF as well? How did that go? Wasn't there some Pixels place? Or only POD?

Is there a virtual agency? A real one?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 03, 2019, 10:26
I believe it should be a place that offers inspections. You have to protect the customer from our mistakes and make sure there is a minimum level of quality. Also if the place offers legal guarantuees with an extended license that would be useful for the customer as well. Also somebody with professional international accounting, especially for eu sales tax and also data protection regulation

So I do believe it would need to be some kind of existing stock agency that would welcome exclusive content from people who are ready to self market via social media.

These things don‘t come for free.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 03, 2019, 10:44
I believe it should be a place that offers inspections. You have to protect the customer from our mistakes and make sure there is a minimum level of quality. Also if the place offers legal guarantuees with an extended license that would be useful for the customer as well. Also somebody with professional international accounting, especially for eu sales tax and also data protection regulation

So I do believe it would need to be some kind of existing stock agency that would welcome exclusive content from people who are ready to self market via social media.

These things don‘t come for free.

True, then we shouldn't expect them to only take a nibble instead of a full bite out of our commissions.  ;D

I still think you are making a good point and if we could upload and set out own prices, that would bring back much of the control to the artists own choices and decisions. I didn't catch the exclusive the first time around. I suppose that makes sense since they wouldn't want the same things sold for $2 that we have priced at $200. Logical business decision.

Reminds me kind of like what P5 is doing now, at 60%, we can set prices, part of an established agency, yes I know that's video. But some people don't like that?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 03, 2019, 11:19
Picfair allows to set own prices and set your own shop for £5/month (with own domain) + their marketplace, and they have some inspection as I understand - haven't tried to send them copyrighted stuff :) so don't know how good it is.

And there is no sales so far 8) since I don't promote it.

"Moderation process"
https://support.picfair.com/hc/en-us/articles/213996825-What-happens-after-I-ve-uploaded-my-images-
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 03, 2019, 17:19
I believe it should be a place that offers inspections. You have to protect the customer from our mistakes and make sure there is a minimum level of quality. Also if the place offers legal guarantuees with an extended license that would be useful for the customer as well. Also somebody with professional international accounting, especially for eu sales tax and also data protection regulation

So I do believe it would need to be some kind of existing stock agency that would welcome exclusive content from people who are ready to self market via social media.

These things don‘t come for free.
Surely the only agency that would make this even remotely viable in the current climate would be adobe? If you wanted to do this I don't think there is anything to stop people forming a co-operative and submitting exclusive work to them now is there? The only issue would be sharing the spoils.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 03, 2019, 17:59
I believe it should be a place that offers inspections. You have to protect the customer from our mistakes and make sure there is a minimum level of quality. Also if the place offers legal guarantuees with an extended license that would be useful for the customer as well. Also somebody with professional international accounting, especially for eu sales tax and also data protection regulation

So I do believe it would need to be some kind of existing stock agency that would welcome exclusive content from people who are ready to self market via social media.

These things don‘t come for free.

Sounds like a description of Pond5 to me.  Form a syndicate or two, one for Premium and one for the chaff and you are ready to self market via social media.  Trouble is finding enough people to take part, but everybody should do it.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 03, 2019, 18:09
Just for the record, personally I am fine with my current upload system.

But I believe this is overall a worthy discussion to explore what is possible and feasable.

Pond5 could be an ideal candidate.

Maybe give them time to build up their exclusive content and market that.

And hopefully they can redo their IT structure, I am sure it needs a lot of investment.

However, I think the most interesting challenge would be for agencies to nurture the editing talent of the crowd.

I keep enjoying pinterest, love to follow interesting galleries and really wish a system like that was available for me as a buyer at the agencies.

To be able to create your own personal feed from galleries I follow, artists I follow, my top ten favorite searches plus whatever the software recommends for me.

Combine that with the ability for artists to create mutually shared galleries, then I think you have something really valuable and different from what is available now.

I mean just artists from the same city or region, teaming up their content on a mutual lightbox.

Or a group of people with a medical background pooling their work.

etc...

Pond5 allows you to set your own prices, which I think is crucial for any kind of producer driven gallery.

If pond5 considered to allow some kind of networking over mutual themes by the artists, provided the content is exclusive, I can see a lot of people teaming up to work on their thing and promoting that.

pond5 will still have editor driven galleries, but adding mutual galleries, plus a personal feed for the customer, that would be something really new.

Not sure if they are interested or reading here.

There is a lot you can do with crowd sourcing and community. Give people the right tools, then watch how it all becomes self organizing.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 03, 2019, 20:20
Since trying exclusive with Pond5 I am uploading my images as exclusive there as well now. I spoke to them on the phone about doing the same for photo and promoting it and they were interested. Not a bad option.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 04, 2019, 00:18
Good to hear.

However, if you do talk to them, please ask them to seriously consider a modern gallery system that allows anyone, including buyers, to have public galleries and to also allow people to share these galleries and upload together like mentioned above.

All agencies will have billions of files one day, the only way to future proof them is to start offering tools for self organizing and crowd editing.

And to give buyers the option to follow any galleries they want, instead of just following artists. If I only want cheese and wine videos and images, I don‘t need to see the artists travel images.


Offering customers personalisied feeds, in addition to the ability to do a traditional search, is IMO the only logical next step.

And it is something noone is offering in an intelligent way at the moment.

Then couple that with the option to add exclusive images and the ability to set a fixed price point for shared galleries. (This setting should be optional, some people might prefer to just rally around a theme and leave pricing to the individual artist - not all files are equally expensive in production)

Give people the right business tools and the marketplace will manage itself in many ways.


Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 01:39
Since trying exclusive with Pond5 I am uploading my images as exclusive there as well now. I spoke to them on the phone about doing the same for photo and promoting it and they were interested. Not a bad option.
Going exclusive with images  on a site that sells almost zero photos sounds like a risky strategy to me.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 02:00
Seems to me these "solutions" are getting more and more complex. I think the best that could be realistically hoped for is some kind of "fair trader" certificate where members of the "club" only upload to those agencies. Even then I doubt we could agree on the criteria for that to be honest.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on April 04, 2019, 06:21
Since trying exclusive with Pond5 I am uploading my images as exclusive there as well now. I spoke to them on the phone about doing the same for photo and promoting it and they were interested. Not a bad option.

Ye gads, why?  You'd never sell a photo again.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 04, 2019, 06:35
For me photo is a very very small% of what I do in stock. I am a video producer. Now for business outside of stock I do a LOT of photography. I am just tired of the penny sales so just using Pond5 to set my prices. Probably will never see a sale agin but I don't really care.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 06:44
Probably will never see a sale agin but I don't really care.

Would be great, if people with such attitude would add this line every time when they make their decision public :)

Here is a lot of newbies who can look up to them as authorities and will follow the same action, not knowing that the advice was actually: "How to try hard not to make money on microstock" and then as a result complain about bad earnings and race to the bottom stuff.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 07:00
For me photo is a very very small% of what I do in stock. I am a video producer. Now for business outside of stock I do a LOT of photography. I am just tired of the penny sales so just using Pond5 to set my prices. Probably will never see a sale agin but I don't really care.
So you agree then it seems uploading images there is a bad option.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 04, 2019, 07:45
Quote
Here is a lot of newbies who can look up to them as authorities

I find it hard to believe that people deciding to enter the Stock world come with no knowledge or search for authorities.

Both newbies and old-time contributors know that there is the actual production world where everything has a price tag

and the "I got five stars in my photo" dream one where people do look for authorities,
exposure, and don't care for actual money rather than fame or likes or just *ss kissing each other.
(Sorry for that).

Just my impression, I may be wrong. Eitherway we are (?) all adults and take responsibilities of our actions.

:)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 07:48
Quote
Here is a lot of newbies who can look up to them as authorities

I find it hard to believe that people deciding to enter the Stock world come with no knowledge or search for authorities.

Both newbies and old-time contributors know that there is the actual production world where everything has a price tag

and the "I got five stars in my photo" dream one where people do look for authorities, exposure, and don't care for actual money rather than fame.

Just my impression, I may be wrong. Eitherway we are (?) all adults and take responsibilities of our actions.

:)
There are a lot of "newbies" who come into this with wildly optimistic beliefs about what they can earn and next to no knowledge of the industry. But yes people are responsible for their own research and decisions of course.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 04, 2019, 08:31
I am pricing my photos at $10 which is fair and they can buy cheaper at lower Res. I still get 50% which is good for me so to me it is very worth it. Now if a lot of artist did the same then where do you think buyers would go? The whole problem with this is that people don't value their work because it is so easy to take a digital picture. Now getting a model and property release is harder and should be valued more! I am an old pro at this by now and don't have trouble making decisions nor do I have trouble changing my mind if I am not happy!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 04, 2019, 08:50
Seems to me these "solutions" are getting more and more complex. I think the best that could be realistically hoped for is some kind of "fair trader" certificate where members of the "club" only upload to those agencies. Even then I doubt we could agree on the criteria for that to be honest.

I agree, basically I am fine the way things are.

But if you really want to change something, or have a „stocksy for the masses“, you have to be really very specific and come up with a real plan.

Otherwise, you can just post a list somewhere: agencies we like...please upload here...

If people only want to rant together, fine. But I think it would also be unteresting to hear something more specific.

You will not get any improvements, if there is no plan and people don‘t know what they want.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 04, 2019, 09:14
Seems to me these "solutions" are getting more and more complex. I think the best that could be realistically hoped for is some kind of "fair trader" certificate where members of the "club" only upload to those agencies. Even then I doubt we could agree on the criteria for that to be honest.

I agree, basically I am fine the way things are.

But if you really want to change something, or have a „stocksy for the masses“, you have to be really very specific and come up with a real plan.

Otherwise, you can just post a list somewhere: agencies we like...please upload here...

If people only want to rant together, fine. But I think it would also be unteresting to hear something more specific.

You will not get any improvements, if there is no plan and people don‘t know what they want.

I agree with the list, that's a good starting point, informing ourselves and new contributors about what is happening.

Would be great to have a list with all the different prices offered by the main agencies, and what commission we get from it, so we can decide on which ones we want to support.

So the question is, who is going to make the list and keep it updated, and where?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 09:24
I am pricing my photos at $10 which is fair and they can buy cheaper at lower Res. I still get 50% which is good for me so to me it is very worth it. Now if a lot of artist did the same then where do you think buyers would go? The whole problem with this is that people don't value their work because it is so easy to take a digital picture. Now getting a model and property release is harder and should be valued more! I am an old pro at this by now and don't have trouble making decisions nor do I have trouble changing my mind if I am not happy!
The point is though it doesn't matter what you price them at if no one wants to buy them from that site. I can get why people would see a case for video as Pond5 seem to understand that market very well. From what I can see for stills they are hugely down the pecking order.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 04, 2019, 09:33

Would be great to have a list with all the different prices offered by the main agencies, and what commission we get from it, so we can decide on which ones we want to support.

So the question is, who is going to make the list and keep it updated, and where?

There are several people with stockblogs or newsletters that regularly post about agencies.

Maybe one of them is reading here can update their page or add something about worthy fair trade sites..

Some also regularly ask readers to join a poll or post their experiences. I know Robert Kneschke does.

Most of the info is out there already.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 09:43
Seems to me these "solutions" are getting more and more complex. I think the best that could be realistically hoped for is some kind of "fair trader" certificate where members of the "club" only upload to those agencies. Even then I doubt we could agree on the criteria for that to be honest.

I agree, basically I am fine the way things are.

But if you really want to change something, or have a „stocksy for the masses“, you have to be really very specific and come up with a real plan.

Otherwise, you can just post a list somewhere: agencies we like...please upload here...

If people only want to rant together, fine. But I think it would also be unteresting to hear something more specific.

You will not get any improvements, if there is no plan and people don‘t know what they want.
THe other part of this would to be engage with sites so they could use an "ethical trader" type logo. In the UK and I dare say other countries we have a "fair trade" logo. Only if buyers showed some sympathy to the cause could this have an effect.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 04, 2019, 09:50
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: PhotoBomb on April 04, 2019, 09:54
A long but interesting take on the state of photography

https://medium.com/@Zimberoff/disrupting-stock-photography-fffe1c7d5b99
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 09:55
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.

We all can choose to sell at 90-100% at our own shops. Why do we choose not to? And are you sure you will be able to sell with even 30% profit after all the business expenses?

Maybe the reason why there is no sales at 50% sites is because they don't have enough money for a good marketing?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 04, 2019, 10:01
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.

We all can choose to sell at 90-100% at our own shops. Why do we choose not to? And are you sure you will be able to sell with even 30% profit after all the business expenses?

Maybe because the reason why there is no sales at 50% sites is that they don't have money for a good marketing?

Point is that our competitors, other contributors, choose to sell at 15%. I can't compete with that.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 10:03
Point is that our competitors, other contributors, choose to sell at 15%. I can't compete with that.

Yes, but you don't compete on %, but on final price of the product. If you mean IS, then, as I remember, their subscription is more expensive for a customer than SS.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 04, 2019, 10:13
Point is that our competitors, other contributors, choose to sell at 15%. I can't compete with that.

Yes, but you don't compete on %, but on final price of the product. If you mean IS, then, as I remember, their subscription is more expensive for a customer than SS.
You did just say that the lower the royalty rate for us the better the agencies can market.  Prices and royalty rates matter and both are the reason there is a race to the bottom.   
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 04, 2019, 10:15
There are a lot of ways to do business but if you want to change the industry do not feed the places that do not value your work! Now I don't care from there where or how you decide to run your business that is your business :-) As for me now when I sell an image on Pond5 I can afford TWO bean burritos at Taco Bell once a year :-)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 10:16
A long but interesting take on the state of photography

https://medium.com/@Zimberoff/disrupting-stock-photography-fffe1c7d5b99

Thanks for the reminder, read this article a while ago and it was very insightful.
But as I understand, the author suggestion is to build one mega agency which will include all photography content that exists...

"There can’t be three Facebooks or six Googles. Those companies became institutions because, ultimately, there remained only one of each in its class. Right now, there is no “go-to” platform, no home for the worldwide community of commercial photographers and publishers to congregate."

Having one entity to control it all, sounds like Getty's dream come true :D It can lead to a total lose of control.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 10:19

You did just say that the lower the royalty rate for us the better the agencies can market.  Prices and royalty rates matter and both are the reason there is a race to the bottom.

Yes, I agree with you.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 04, 2019, 10:23

You did just say that the lower the royalty rate for us the better the agencies can market.  Prices and royalty rates matter and both are the reason there is a race to the bottom.

Yes, I agree with you.
You do?  I thought you said there was no race to the bottom.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 04, 2019, 10:29
I am pricing my photos at $10 which is fair and they can buy cheaper at lower Res. I still get 50% which is good for me so to me it is very worth it. Now if a lot of artist did the same then where do you think buyers would go? The whole problem with this is that people don't value their work because it is so easy to take a digital picture. Now getting a model and property release is harder and should be valued more! I am an old pro at this by now and don't have trouble making decisions nor do I have trouble changing my mind if I am not happy!

You can price photos for much more than 10 dollars. Especially all your medical/hospital stuff.

Think 300-600 or at least 80-120, if the content is exclusive. Why not try it?

It is your business of course, I really wouldn’t want to interfere, but my humble suggestion that the content you price at 10 dollars, would then be more useful as non exclusive content that goes everywhere.

I price my non exclusive photos between 5-15 dollars. If I had exclusive, good quality content up there, I would price it higher.

Exclusive content will compete with exclusive content from midstock or macro, not the micros.

Westend61 has a selection of their images there at standard macrostock pricing, so do others.

You might be surprised what you get. Maybe talk to pond5 also what they would suggest for premium content. Perhaps they also want to make a high quality collection that they can market alongside their high quality videos.

But of course totally up to you.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 10:33
You do?  I thought you said there was no race to the bottom.

I agree with the logic of what you're saying, it should work like that, but practically I don't know where IS spends those money :D because it doesn't help them. And they sell at 15% for few years already, other big agencies didn't follow it.

I can't compare RPD etc, because I was exclusive, so my old images sell for higher prices there. But seeing the dynamic of my fresh new portfolios on other sites, I expect IS being just a few % of total income in the future.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 10:34
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.
Really? Are the laws of supply and demand suspended from this marketplace?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 04, 2019, 10:41
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.
Really? Are the laws of supply and demand suspended from this marketplace?
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.  And to add to this, not all content is equal.  If there are 1,000,000 images of apples but none of oranges what does supply and demand say about the price of oranges?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 10:51
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.

In theory. It really sounds great.

But you can't have one perfect store where every customer would be happy to shop forever and the management won't go crazy next month for whatever reasons.

It's an utopia.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 04, 2019, 10:53
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.

In theory. It really sounds great.

But you can't have one perfect store where every customer would be happy to shop forever and the management won't go crazy next month for whatever reasons.

It's an utopia.
I'm not saying that.  If lots of people move to a higher paying site then other sites will pay more to stop losing content, a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 11:01
I'm not saying that.  If lots of people move to a higher paying site then other sites will pay more to stop losing content, a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom.

Or they will turn into "free generous communities" and start making money with advertising and that will be the end of story :D

I understand what you're saying. It just doesn't seem possible to predict, organize and execute without risk of losing it all. Risks are too high to try even for me (and I'm not a business (yet, maybe :D) with hundreds of thousands images).
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 11:40
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.
Really? Are the laws of supply and demand suspended from this marketplace?
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.  And to add to this, not all content is equal.  If there are 1,000,000 images of apples but none of oranges what does supply and demand say about the price of oranges?
They won't all put their photos on the highest priced site will they? Over supply will drive down prices in any market. You could try and choke off supply but I doubt it will happen.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 11:49
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.

In theory. It really sounds great.

But you can't have one perfect store where every customer would be happy to shop forever and the management won't go crazy next month for whatever reasons.

It's an utopia.
I'm not saying that.  If lots of people move to a higher paying site then other sites will pay more to stop losing content, a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom.
The risk is that buyers will find the content they need from lower paying sites and move there. That seems to be the more likely outcome based on the evidence.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 04, 2019, 11:55
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.

In theory. It really sounds great.

But you can't have one perfect store where every customer would be happy to shop forever and the management won't go crazy next month for whatever reasons.

It's an utopia.
I'm not saying that.  If lots of people move to a higher paying site then other sites will pay more to stop losing content, a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom.
The risk is that buyers will find the content they need from lower paying sites and move there. That seems to be the more likely outcome based on the evidence.

Yes, because contributors keep supplying them, I don't deny your pessimism, but it's not the lower paying sites that are to blame it's contributors and the answer is in their hands.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 04, 2019, 11:56
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.
Really? Are the laws of supply and demand suspended from this marketplace?
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.  And to add to this, not all content is equal.  If there are 1,000,000 images of apples but none of oranges what does supply and demand say about the price of oranges?
They won't all put their photos on the highest priced site will they? Over supply will drive down prices in any market. You could try and choke off supply but I doubt it will happen.
Not necessarily the highest priced, what I said was "highest paying".  I meant sites that pay higher royalty rates.  Supply is harder to define here not all content is a commodity maybe images of apples are but other subjects aren't.  Just because there are millions of apples doesn't mean that will be useful for people looking for oranges.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 04, 2019, 12:09
Agencies and buyers are not the problem, it's contributors who undervalue their work, they could sell at 50% at a reasonable price, but they choose not to.
Really? Are the laws of supply and demand suspended from this marketplace?
I don't follow.  If everyone chose to put their work on the highest paying sites then the lower paying sites would go out of business.  For the most part they don't own any of the supply, we do.  And to add to this, not all content is equal.  If there are 1,000,000 images of apples but none of oranges what does supply and demand say about the price of oranges?
They won't all put their photos on the highest priced site will they? Over supply will drive down prices in any market. You could try and choke off supply but I doubt it will happen.
Not necessarily the highest priced, what I said was "highest paying".  I meant sites that pay higher royalty rates.  Supply is harder to define here not all content is a commodity maybe images of apples are but other subjects aren't.  Just because there are millions of apples doesn't mean that will be useful for people looking for oranges.
I tend to think we all make a decision based on what works for us. (or should). If I had images that were hard to produce and therefore scarce I wouldn't be putting them on Microstock.  Microstock is just one sales channel.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 04, 2019, 17:47
A long but interesting take on the state of photography

https://medium.com/@Zimberoff/disrupting-stock-photography-fffe1c7d5b99

Thanks for the reminder, read this article a while ago and it was very insightful.
But as I understand, the author suggestion is to build one mega agency which will include all photography content that exists...

"There can’t be three Facebooks or six Googles. Those companies became institutions because, ultimately, there remained only one of each in its class. Right now, there is no “go-to” platform, no home for the worldwide community of commercial photographers and publishers to congregate."

Having one entity to control it all, sounds like Getty's dream come true :D It can lead to a total lose of control.

Not the same as one Google and by the way there are many other search engines. Google has grown from nothing in 1998 and diversified, they are smart. There are other social media platforms. There will never be one single go to photo platform. eBay is the top, but there are specialized auction sites. So lets look at the other reality.

There are many soft drink makers, a few larger, but many others that are a success. There are some big fast food corporations and small chains and local restaurants. There are many companies that make candy or soup or pasta. Yes some have a larger market share, but there's room for a number of successful businesses.

There could be and eventual sorting out of Microstock agencies which would be good for us, because the major agencies would get the majority of the business and they would be hosting our images. Getty isn't one of them, because they are a different market and product.

My view is, the specialty shops, RM agents and then the open market, Shutterstock, Adobe, Alamy and Pond5. Someone could break in like Pond5 did with Music or audio or a selected kind of content, there's room for a large dedicated Vector and Illustration site?

I look forward to the parasite agencies and the places that pay low and sell low going out of business. They don't help us or the industry at all, they just drag us down into the lowest level and have created stock photograph as a cheap commodity market.

The rest is a wonderful, informative read. "Why is the passive capture of digital image files important? Because the commercial class of pro photographers categorically refuses to contribute their valuable assets to the stock photo pipeline, let alone to do so proactively." And many more well thought out observations.

What he's saying is, very little of the highest quality work is actually making it into the market via online stock agencies. I think he's right, except for a few highly respected and skilled people who make a living at Microstock. But the stock agencies are filled with numbers, not quality. A serious buyer with serious money, isn't going to come to even the top agencies as a regular source for images.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: UIcomments on April 04, 2019, 18:24


Yes, because contributors keep supplying them, I don't deny your pessimism, but it's not the lower paying sites that are to blame it's contributors and the answer is in their hands.

I wouldn't call it pessimism, rather understanding of the law of supply and demand. Laws of economics work because they operate within large groups of people with different interests. Just because one person's interests aren't met doesn't mean that there isn't a huge group of people whose interests are fully satisfied.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 04, 2019, 18:56


Yes, because contributors keep supplying them, I don't deny your pessimism, but it's not the lower paying sites that are to blame it's contributors and the answer is in their hands.

I wouldn't call it pessimism, rather understanding of the law of supply and demand. Laws of economics work because they operate within large groups of people with different interests. Just because one person's interests aren't met doesn't mean that there isn't a huge group of people whose interests are fully satisfied.

Well if contributors are following the gibberish you call the Laws of Economics no wonder they are in a mess.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: UIcomments on April 04, 2019, 21:56


Yes, because contributors keep supplying them, I don't deny your pessimism, but it's not the lower paying sites that are to blame it's contributors and the answer is in their hands.

I wouldn't call it pessimism, rather understanding of the law of supply and demand. Laws of economics work because they operate within large groups of people with different interests. Just because one person's interests aren't met doesn't mean that there isn't a huge group of people whose interests are fully satisfied.

Well if contributors are following the gibberish you call the Laws of Economics no wonder they are in a mess.

They are not in a mess. Maybe people you know are, but that's just a percentage.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 04, 2019, 23:28
A serious buyer with serious money, isn't going to come to even the top agencies as a regular source for images.

Who is a serious buyer for you? :)

For years I find my images used by global brands and publishers, like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Nivea, ELLE, Danone, found images in Hollywood tv shows, etc.

They don't use stock for their commercials obviously, but for other purposes they are the main clients in the industry (in my experience). This is for whom "Premium Access" and other special deals were invented, agencies fight for them offering the best deals, because they have a huge continuous daily volume of demand.

"Why is the passive capture of digital image files important? Because the commercial class of pro photographers categorically refuses to contribute their valuable assets to the stock photo pipeline, let alone to do so proactively."

They were paid for their work already and they rarely have rights to upload it to stock, since it was exclusive for the client. And even if they can, there is no garantee that their "valuable assets" would sell. Making work for a specific client isn't the same as making stock for a broad range of different customers.

I create images just for stock and wouldn't exchange it for client's work. I want to shoot and sell what I want, not what some brief told me to do.

These are two different styles of work and philosophies behind it and absolutely different markets.
And that's why they don't intersect. (And I hope never will.) Which is a great thing :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 05, 2019, 09:30
A serious buyer with serious money, isn't going to come to even the top agencies as a regular source for images.

Who is a serious buyer for you? :)

For years I find my images used by global brands and publishers, like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Nivea, ELLE, Danone, found images in Hollywood tv shows, etc.

They don't use stock for their commercials obviously, but for other purposes they are the main clients in the industry (in my experience). This is for whom "Premium Access" and other special deals were invented, agencies fight for them offering the best deals, because they have a huge continuous daily volume of demand.

"Why is the passive capture of digital image files important? Because the commercial class of pro photographers categorically refuses to contribute their valuable assets to the stock photo pipeline, let alone to do so proactively."

They were paid for their work already and they rarely have rights to upload it to stock, since it was exclusive for the client. And even if they can, there is no garantee that their "valuable assets" would sell. Making work for a specific client isn't the same as making stock for a broad range of different customers.

I create images just for stock and wouldn't exchange it for client's work. I want to shoot and sell what I want, not what some brief told me to do.

These are two different styles of work and philosophies behind it and absolutely different markets.
And that's why they don't intersect. (And I hope never will.) Which is a great thing :)

I find my work used in all kinds of places, some major publications. Yes a Shutterstock image, at least once, has been a magazine cover, such as on Time. But that's not what he's writing about. Not the one off or the uncommon sales, because Microstock is full of trash and realistically disorganized, under priced and unattractive to established pros.

His point that the new agencies didn't disrupt, but they just bought the competition, is pretty much true. Yes, there's the other side, where the majors couldn't compete with the Micro prices. That's for general consumers and the broader market, especially the web.

Enterprise-level photo publishing, is a much higher value, more demanding and pays better. That's the point. Microstock has ignored that market. The top professionals have ignored Microstock. And there we are? Anyone with a camera can make any photos they want and put them up for sale. Sometimes we make a sale. I'm part of the we, as I'm not an elite media or art photographer.  :)

We are missing out on the higher value contracts, and being underpaid to do that. Somewhere, in the future, there will be other sites that vet the images, have higher standards and demands and pay us more. Microstock will survive just fine in the low pay area. But don't expect the enterprise-level photo publishing business to come to Microstock for their images. They will keep sourcing from known professionals.

Yeah, the briefs are bogus. Who's going to go out, invest and shoot, so a client can pick the winner. Or as many saw with Image Brief, pick through the submissions for ideas, then pay a pro to shoot.

I'd have to watch those magazines you list or TV shows to know if my images have been used. I don't. I have had friends tell me I was in a magazine. This is microstock, I agree with you. I'm not fine art or exceptional and I don't have much that's not reproducible in some form, by someone else.

But... if we are all missing a major part of the market, there's opportunity and income that's being missed. That only applies to people who want to get paid. Otherwise we can post on Instagram and FB for exposure and admiration.

Show Me The Money
(https://i.postimg.cc/JhtPMwJW/money-animated-gif-13.gif)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 05, 2019, 13:01
I find my work used in all kinds of places, some major publications. Yes a Shutterstock image, at least once, has been a magazine cover, such as on Time. But that's not what he's writing about.

I wasn't replying to what he was writing :) I was replying to your statement: "A serious buyer with serious money, isn't going to come to even the top agencies as a regular source for images."

It is just not true.

We are missing out on the higher value contracts, and being underpaid to do that.

I'm not missing out on any contracts and all the headache they would bring to my life. I hate being hired and I feel happy and lucky I've found stock.

Let those "known professionals" deal with that. If they like it. I would never ever want to do what they do.

I understand what you're saying. But I don't understand why there is such awe for "real pro photographers", while devaluing stock photographers.
These are two different worlds and each one with its own rules.

But don't expect the enterprise-level photo publishing business to come to Microstock for their images. They will keep sourcing from known professionals.
And here we go again... I just said that I constantly find stock images used by them for a decade and you keep saying they don't use it and never will.

Sorry, but it's impossible to discuss something that is just so far from the reality.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 05, 2019, 13:07
.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 05, 2019, 16:47
I find my work used in all kinds of places, some major publications. Yes a Shutterstock image, at least once, has been a magazine cover, such as on Time. But that's not what he's writing about.

I wasn't replying to what he was writing :) I was replying to your statement: "A serious buyer with serious money, isn't going to come to even the top agencies as a regular source for images."

It is just not true.

We are missing out on the higher value contracts, and being underpaid to do that.

I'm not missing out on any contracts and all the headache they would bring to my life. I hate being hired and I feel happy and lucky I've found stock.

Let those "known professionals" deal with that. If they like it. I would never ever want to do what they do.

I understand what you're saying. But I don't understand why there is such awe for "real pro photographers", while devaluing stock photographers.
These are two different worlds and each one with its own rules.

But don't expect the enterprise-level photo publishing business to come to Microstock for their images. They will keep sourcing from known professionals.
And here we go again... I just said that I constantly find stock images used by them for a decade and you keep saying they don't use it and never will.

Sorry, but it's impossible to discuss something that is just so far from the reality.

Difference of opinion and possibly the content we make. Used for a decade? Was that for 39 cents or $200?

Discussion is good, even if we disagree.

I didn't say no one or never will, just that they won't as a regular source. There's big difference. I think you understand that?

I'm not in awe of the professionals, because may Microstock people are just as good. Or maybe I am in awe, because there are some very professional Microstock producers? If the people who license our work are unhappy with their choices, and go direct, that doesn't help our market, value or appearance of quality.

Please stop putting your interpretations into my thoughts and turning what I write into something I didn't write.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 06, 2019, 09:18
Just a thought, what if the low paying agencies actually violate the antitrust laws, I'm thinking predatory pricing...? If they're doing something illegal and it's brought to light, then they will have to stop.

predatory pricing: the pricing of goods or services at such a low level that other firms cannot compete and are forced to leave the market.

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/antitrust-law.asp (https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/antitrust-law.asp)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Tryingmybest on April 06, 2019, 09:34
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(

It is difficult to organize any group of individuals for united action. The difference between those who are successful and those who are not is those who never give up trying.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 06, 2019, 09:55
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(

It is difficult to organize any group of individuals for united action. The difference between those who are successful and those who are not is those who never give up trying.

Plus you can be as organized and caring and unified as you want, but without power or leverage, over the agencies, you have nothing but wishes and philosophy.

If anyone can come up with a realistic plan or way to hold some power over the agencies, I'm in.

Until then we are just willing victims of our own making. I create, I upload, I get some pittance. My other choice is, don't upload, don't get anything. (I'm never going to stop making photos)

Best of this recent round was Virtual Agency. That would possibly work. I don't see one that's active or practical. Just some close to that, places.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 06, 2019, 11:18
Watching closely SS "great news" for illustrators thread... https://forums.submit.shutterstock.com/topic/96928-shutterstock-has-made-uploading-vectors-easier-than-ever

Such moment may be a good opportunity to form a union, if someone would have a plan how to actually make it...

Otherwise looks scary. Wondering if illustrators will find a way to change the decision.
As for now, there is a petition and many many posts.

What else could help them? Stop uploading all together? But what is the instrument to organize such big virtual crowd?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: eZeePics on April 06, 2019, 11:26
As long as there are contributors ok with “I would rather make pennies than nothing at all”, nothing will change. Contributors with big portfolios say they will “just stop uploading”, as if the sites care, rather than taking their business elsewhere, because after all, still taking the agency’s money is better than nothing at all. Every couple of months, a noob comes up with this idea. Check the threads here about it. It’s a great idea, but unless you have a boatload of money to do something concrete, you are just spinning your wheels. It takes money.

Completely agree. I don't upload any more at iStock for months. They must raise the commission rate for non-exclusive contributors. I cannot accept to sell my images for two cents. About this idea I agree with Cathy, is an utopia, impossible to realize.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 07, 2019, 09:56
Watching closely SS "great news" for illustrators thread... https://forums.submit.shutterstock.com/topic/96928-shutterstock-has-made-uploading-vectors-easier-than-ever

Such moment may be a good opportunity to form a union, if someone would have a plan how to actually make it...

Otherwise looks scary. Wondering if illustrators will find a way to change the decision.
As for now, there is a petition and many many posts.

What else could help them? Stop uploading all together? But what is the instrument to organize such big virtual crowd?

That would be true, maybe someone can come up with an idea.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 07, 2019, 10:52
The closest I can think of in terms of community and virtual agency for videos, that's Blackbox. They only upload to SS, AS, P5, SB, and VS, so not to the low payers and require 'exclusivity' on these clips, they also have a real community via Facebook where people help each other. Revenue sharing is also encouraged which is more fair for actors or anyone else involved in the process (rather than getting a flat fee upfront, they get a % of sales for as long as clip sells).
Blackbox does take 15% of net sales however, so that's not for everybody.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 07, 2019, 11:57
Blackbox does take 15% of net sales however, so that's not for everybody.

...and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.

But it is a great way to get lost in the mix. ;)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Daryl Ray on April 08, 2019, 07:22
It's hard to get past the raw idea stage when just the mere mention of contributor empowerment triggers a bunch of defeatist negativity. What is your goal, exactly? Again, you guys don't think it will work, you think it's been tried as best as it's ever been tried and that's all the proof you need. Good for you. Will you be happy once everyone that has a glimmer of hope is knocked down to your level?

You read too much into this.  Feel free to go ahead with whatever you like, but in six months, we'll just be pointing back to this thread when the next person posts "Let's form a union!!!".  That's experience talking.

I read too much into this? All I suggested was that people relax for a second with the constant "I know it all. I've seen it all. You can't have an original idea without my consent" commentary flooding these sorts of threads and let the thread live or die on it's own. And here's exactly the smug, arrogant, no-vision-having sort of response I expected. Seems like you people get off on coming in here and smashing to bits any hopes of even getting to a brainstorm point of improving contributor empowerment. Some of you are even sitting there with a finger hovering over the reply button waiting to disagree with anything that critiques the stock companies, within seconds. Are you actually being compensated by them or are you trolling against your own best interests for free?

I ask again, for the third time, WHAT IS YOUR GOAL? Why are you people so oddly motivated to act and speak up AGAINST fellow contributors that want to improve life for ALL CONTRIBUTORS? You refuse to answer, why? Where are all of you when it's time to push back on the latest stock company greed move? Noticeably silent. Unless it's a blanket defense of the company. Yet, you're so confidant and persistent with your criticisms of even the vague concept of putting power back in artists hands. How many times have these negative people chimed into this thread? A lot, huh? Weird, right? What are they afraid of?

For every "hey. maybe there's an idea....", there's 50 posts ripping it to bits. This thread will die BECAUSE of you and the other fatalists that have no vision and are scared to death of angering the stock companies. You come into here before any concepts can even be halfway formed and spread the same repeated bs lines, over and over. You clearly WANT this to fail. Do you even know what your agenda is??

If I could make one suggestion, as I can't stomach reading the misguided arrogance in this thread: A fresh topic should be started for ideas on this concept, with the REQUEST that all defeatist commentary without any substance (such as the quote above) be left out and keep it only a thread to actually discuss possible ideas to improve contributor empowerment. Those with a positive forward vision are clearly outnumbered by negative reactionists, so it would be a unique experiment to see if something positive could grow from it when free from the over-whelming negative premature conclusions. Of course, it could only work if these trolls could control themselves instead of relentlessly salting the earth, actively fulfilling their own predictions of failure.

Worst case scenario: no good ideas come of it, and it dies due to lack of interest. Would it be too much to ask to let that happen on it's own?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pictureman75 on April 08, 2019, 07:55
Great post ... I agree with you 100%!!!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on April 08, 2019, 08:05
“This thread will die BECAUSE of you and the other fatalists that have no vision and are scared to death of angering the stock companies.”

Oh, the drama!

Sorry, I didn’t realize we elected you to moderate.  This is a discussions board and everyone is free to contribute to the discussion as they like.  If you’re going to actually DO something, then go right ahead.  Nobody is stopping you.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Daryl Ray on April 08, 2019, 08:17
“This thread will die BECAUSE of you and the other fatalists that have no vision and are scared to death of angering the stock companies.”

Oh, the drama!

Sorry, I didn’t realize we elected you to moderate.  This is a discussions board and everyone is free to contribute to the discussion as they like.  If you’re going to actually DO something, then go right ahead.  Nobody is stopping you.

Do you understand that I'm simply requesting that this thread not be flooded with biased commentary without substance?

What if me and several other contributors decided to chime into every polite iStock and Stocksy sales discussion thread with our opinions on those companies? Over and over and over? It would be arrogant, rude, something that should be discouraged, wouldn't it? You'd ask us to stop, wouldn't you?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on April 08, 2019, 08:35
Maybe you should start a discussion on a private site where you can control the flow to your liking.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Daryl Ray on April 08, 2019, 08:40
It's interesting how triggered some people get over asking that a given thread not be derailed from it's intended discussion by regurgitated junk. So weird that a dude with a port like yours and due respect is arguing with an anonymous person on a forum about it. Strange times indeed.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 08, 2019, 09:07
It's interesting how triggered some people get over asking that a given thread not be derailed from it's intended discussion by regurgitated junk. So weird that a dude with a port like yours and due respect is arguing with an anonymous person on a forum about it. Strange times indeed.

But you don't respect our opinion, because it doesn't agree with yours? Calling names, attacking individuals integrity, or accusing others of "Why are you people so oddly motivated to act and speak up AGAINST fellow contributors that want to improve life for ALL CONTRIBUTORS?" Calling people fatalists, defeatists and "...I can't stomach reading the misguided arrogance in this thread:"

Good luck with your ideas and plans, but don't expect that everyone will agree. You need to be open minded and accept other views, experience and information.

You see respectfully disagreement needs to be included, and I find your attacks and name calling of people who have a different viewpoint, quite disrespectful.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 08, 2019, 09:11
Daryl,

please, just go and DO something.

Anything productive would be better than your endless bickering against the artist community.

Nobody is standing in your way. You are not a victim.

Be a doer, not a complainer.

Move forward.

ETA: Or are you too lazy to even start your own facebook/social media group?

Too scared to put out real name and portfolio?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 08, 2019, 09:51
“This thread will die BECAUSE of you and the other fatalists that have no vision and are scared to death of angering the stock companies.”

Oh, the drama!

Sorry, I didn’t realize we elected you to moderate.  This is a discussions board and everyone is free to contribute to the discussion as they like.  If you’re going to actually DO something, then go right ahead.  Nobody is stopping you.

Do you understand that I'm simply requesting that this thread not be flooded with biased commentary without substance?

What if me and several other contributors decided to chime into every polite iStock and Stocksy sales discussion thread with our opinions on those companies? Over and over and over? It would be arrogant, rude, something that should be discouraged, wouldn't it? You'd ask us to stop, wouldn't you?
No you are requesting the thread not be flooded with things that don't agree with your bias. There's far more substance in the evidence of what has happened many times in the past compared with some theoretical unspecified future initiative which is now even less likely to succeed with many contributors on here alienated by your posts.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on April 08, 2019, 09:57
It's interesting how triggered some people get over asking that a given thread not be derailed from it's intended discussion by regurgitated junk. So weird that a dude with a port like yours and due respect is arguing with an anonymous person on a forum about it. Strange times indeed.

I'm neither "triggered" nor "arguing", although I'd say being anonymous adds even less weight to whatever you're trying to do, so I wouldn't point that out.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Clair Voyant on April 08, 2019, 09:57
The reason the industry has gone to shiite is because most of us enabled it too. IS was the beginning of the end, then SS and 0.25c subs was the kiss of death for the industry, with the rest to follow suite, and now the water has found it's own level. Not a heck of a lot anyone can do to make it fair and "sustainable" at this point. It's sort of an "I told you so" (circa 2007) situation for me.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 08, 2019, 10:08
The reason the industry has gone to shiite is because most of us enabled it too. IS was the beginning of the end, then SS and 0.25c subs was the kiss of death for the industry, with the rest to follow suite, and now the water has found it's own level. Not a heck of a lot anyone can do to make it fair and "sustainable" at this point. It's sort of an "I told you so" (circa 2007) situation for me.
Changes in Digital Technology and the Internet enabled it. Like many comparable industries.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 08, 2019, 10:55
Quote
and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.



Sorry, just curious. Is there a statistics page that we can check other people's sales?
Not interested in BB, asking in general, I didn't knew there is such an option.

?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 08, 2019, 12:06
Quote
and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.



Sorry, just curious. Is there a statistics page that we can check other people's sales?
Not interested in BB, asking in general, I didn't knew there is such an option.

?

Not immediately visible anymore, but the P5 search allows you to get a lot of information.

For example:

artist:blackboxguild

will show all clips from BlackBoxGuild. And artist:georgep7 would show all of your clips if that's your username.

salegt:0

will show clips with "sales greater than 0" = 1 sale or more.

So,

artist:blackboxguild salegt:0

in the search bar will show you all the clips by BlackBoxGuild that have 1 sale or more. Salegt:4 shows clips with 5 sales or more.

Very interesting to check some of the loud voices with strong opinions in the forums, with 3 sales from 2,000 clips... ;)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 08, 2019, 13:17
Hahah!? Cool.
Yes, that's my username.
Thank you for explaining.
:)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 08, 2019, 13:33
Quote
and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.



Sorry, just curious. Is there a statistics page that we can check other people's sales?
Not interested in BB, asking in general, I didn't knew there is such an option.

?

Not immediately visible anymore, but the P5 search allows you to get a lot of information.

For example:

artist:blackboxguild

will show all clips from BlackBoxGuild. And artist:georgep7 would show all of your clips if that's your username.

salegt:0

will show clips with "sales greater than 0" = 1 sale or more.

So,

artist:blackboxguild salegt:0

in the search bar will show you all the clips by BlackBoxGuild that have 1 sale or more. Salegt:4 shows clips with 5 sales or more.

Very interesting to check some of the loud voices with strong opinions in the forums, with 3 sales from 2,000 clips... ;)

Great information and interesting.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 08, 2019, 14:15
Watching closely SS "great news" for illustrators thread... https://forums.submit.shutterstock.com/topic/96928-shutterstock-has-made-uploading-vectors-easier-than-ever

Such moment may be a good opportunity to form a union, if someone would have a plan how to actually make it...

Otherwise looks scary. Wondering if illustrators will find a way to change the decision.
As for now, there is a petition and many many posts.

What else could help them? Stop uploading all together? But what is the instrument to organize such big virtual crowd?

That would be true, maybe someone can come up with an idea.

Posts on forum and petition worked.

Shutterstock:

"Hi everyone,

Thanks again for all your feedback, which we are closely reviewing! In light of the information that has been shared here, we are postponing the implementation of the 4MP requirement as we continue to look into ways to accommodate the needs of all artists and their artwork. We should have another update tomorrow."
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 09, 2019, 00:21
Blackbox does take 15% of net sales however, so that's not for everybody.

...and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.

But it is a great way to get lost in the mix. ;)

That's very interesting data, thanks for that.

Although, it would be even more interesting to compare it to total sales of P5 since BB has been implemented, cause the meaning of stats can be twisted easily when isolated. Who knows, maybe P5 has not been performing that well in the last 2 years - They did mention that they are losing clients to competitors.  8)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 09, 2019, 00:53
On another note, we should petition SS, AS, IS and P5 to implement a new (or better) contributor level in order to reward long term contributors and/or video content that sells regularly.

Currently:
SS: contributor level does not apply to videos
AS: seems to be discontinuing FT contributor level
IS: only applicable to exclusive content
P5: doesn't exist

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 09, 2019, 01:20
IS: only applicable to exclusive content

With targets which they raise every year... It became just another instrument to pay less, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 09, 2019, 03:25
Blackbox does take 15% of net sales however, so that's not for everybody.

...and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.

But it is a great way to get lost in the mix. ;)

That's very interesting data, thanks for that.

Although, it would be even more interesting to compare it to total sales of P5 since BB has been implemented, cause the meaning of stats can be twisted easily when isolated. Who knows, maybe P5 has not been performing that well in the last 2 years - They did mention that they are losing clients to competitors.  8)

Then let me further brighten your day! :)

I cannot give you the data for ALL clips since BlackBoxGuild started selling, but I can give you the data for all clips uploaded since BlackBoxGuild started selling, which might even be a better comparison. Although 0.7% of clips sold is absolutely terrible by almost any time frame (down to a month or so), let's dive deeper.

---

Pond5 make it incredibly difficult to browse a large portfolio like BlackBoxGuild's (another reason for not selling with others), but this is the first clip they uploaded:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/55100531/caribou-cross-frozen-tundra.html (https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/55100531/caribou-cross-frozen-tundra.html)

This was around July of 2015.

---

itemgt:"item number" will show all items uploaded after that number, and the opposite is true for itemlt:"item number".

itemgt:55100530 artist:blackboxguild will show all clips uploaded by BlackBoxGuild (55100531 being the first one).

itemgt:55100530 will show ALL clips uploaded to Pond5 since BlackBoxGuild uploaded that first clip.

---

Feel free to do the sale searches yourself, but these are the results (hopefully I didn't screw anything up):

BlackBoxGuild:

0.68% of clips sold.

PRICE WAS SET TO $78 and above before any of the price activists freak out, but the results were very similar even with all price points. ;)

Pond5 total since July 2015, not counting clips uploaded before July 2015:

2.94% of clips sold.

BlackBoxGuild:

1 out of 20,000 clips sold 5 times or more.

Pond5 total:

1 out of 693 clips sold 5 times or more.

---

Decent portfolios should have MUCH better results, at least 10-15% of all clips sold after a couple of years. Even that I think is low...

---

So we can clearly see that the BlackBoxGuild results were absolutely terrible compared to the overall average, and that's even with the BlackBoxGuild clips pulling the average DOWN.

---

I had to run the numbers again WITHOUT the BlackBoxGuild clips pulling down the P5 average (using !artist:BlackBoxGuild to exclude those clips):

3.2% of clips sold.

0.16% or 1 out of 620 clips sold 5 times or more. An even bigger difference.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 09, 2019, 03:49
Blackbox does take 15% of net sales however, so that's not for everybody.


...and less than 0.7% of their clips on Pond5 have sold, so what happened to "great visibility"? :)

Only 27 clips out of half a million have 5 sales or more, and they've been around for a while now.

But it is a great way to get lost in the mix. ;)


That's very interesting data, thanks for that.

Although, it would be even more interesting to compare it to total sales of P5 since BB has been implemented, cause the meaning of stats can be twisted easily when isolated. Who knows, maybe P5 has not been performing that well in the last 2 years - They did mention that they are losing clients to competitors.  8)


Then let me further brighten your day! :)

I cannot give you the data for ALL clips since BlackBoxGuild started selling, but I can give you the data for all clips uploaded since BlackBoxGuild started selling, which might even be a better comparison. Although 0.7% of clips sold is absolutely terrible by almost any time frame (down to a month or so), let's dive deeper.

---

Pond5 make it incredibly difficult to browse a large portfolio like BlackBoxGuild's (another reason for not selling with others), but this is the first clip they uploaded:

[url]https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/55100531/caribou-cross-frozen-tundra.html[/url] ([url]https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/55100531/caribou-cross-frozen-tundra.html[/url])

This was around July of 2015.

---

itemgt:"item number" will show all items uploaded after that number, and the opposite is true for itemlt:"item number".

itemgt:55100530 artist:blackboxguild will show all clips uploaded by BlackBoxGuild (55100531 being the first one).

itemgt:55100530 will show ALL clips uploaded to Pond5 since BlackBoxGuild uploaded that first clip.

---

Feel free to do the sale searches yourself, but these are the results (hopefully I didn't screw anything up):

BlackBoxGuild:

0.68% of clips sold.

PRICE WAS SET TO $78 and above before any of the price activists freak out, but the results were very similar even with all price points. ;)

Pond5 total since July 2015, not counting clips uploaded before July 2015:

2.94% of clips sold.

BlackBoxGuild:

1 out of 20,000 clips sold 5 times or more.

Pond5 total:

1 out of 693 clips sold 5 times or more.

---

Decent portfolios should have MUCH better results, at least 10-15% of all clips sold after a couple of years. Even that I think is low...

---

So we can clearly see that the BlackBoxGuild results were absolutely terrible compared to the overall average, and that's even with the BlackBoxGuild clips pulling the average DOWN.

---

I had to run the numbers again WITHOUT the BlackBoxGuild clips pulling down the P5 average (using !artist:BlackBoxGuild to exclude those clips):

3.2% of clips sold.

0.16% or 1 out of 620 clips sold 5 times or more. An even bigger difference.


Thanks, still raining over here thou ;)

Did some digging in the forum and we'd need the calculations from end 2016 - beginning 2017 to be as accurate as possible :-[

"BlackBoxPat
I shoot video
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2017, 20:56 »
Quote #link0  Vote Up
Hey there, I'm the Founder of newbielink:http://www.BlackBox.global [nonactive]. We've been up for almost a year and creators that are using the platform seem very happy. BB is an "upload once get to many" platform that also afford members the ability to collaborate and share in the revenue streams that the footage generates. We try to make the process simple so you can stop dealing with the agencies and concentrate on making great footage. Have a look for yourself. Thank you."


Anyway, I wasn't advertising for them, just that some people mentioned a coop or virtual agency within an agency so I've used BB as an example of what is currently around, so if someone wants to start something similar but do it differently, they can check what works and what doesn't.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 09, 2019, 04:09
Thanks, still raining over here thou ;)

Did some digging in the forum and we'd need the calculations from end 2016 - beginning 2017 to be as accurate as possible :-[

"BlackBoxPat
I shoot video
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2017, 20:56 »
Quote #link0  Vote Up
Hey there, I'm the Founder of newbielink:http://www.BlackBox.global [nonactive]. We've been up for almost a year and creators that are using the platform seem very happy. BB is an "upload once get to many" platform that also afford members the ability to collaborate and share in the revenue streams that the footage generates. We try to make the process simple so you can stop dealing with the agencies and concentrate on making great footage. Have a look for yourself. Thank you."


Anyway, I wasn't advertising for them, just that some people mentioned a coop or virtual agency within an agency so I've used BB as an example of what is currently around, so if someone wants to start something similar but do it differently, they can check what works and what doesn't.


Fair enough, I did those numbers, and it's not looking much better for BlackBoxGuild...

BlackBoxGuild numbers since beginning of 2017:

0.61% sold at least once.

1 out of 57,000 sold 5 times or more. That's 10 clips.

---

Pond5 total since beginning of 2017 (without BlackBoxGuild, price set to $78 and above):

2% of clips sold at least once.

1 out of 1,752 sold 5 times or more.

---

So, the Pond5 average was 3.27 times better for 1+ sales, and 32-33 times better for 5+ sales. Remove 15% from BlackBoxGuild sales and it's not getting any better...

---

I didn't accuse you of advertising for them, you just inspired me to run the numbers since several people (here and on YouTube etc.) did promote them intensely, because they were promised that nice referral $$$.

The only winner here is of course BlackBoxGuild. They got half a million clips they didn't have to film themselves, or even pay for, awesome!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 09, 2019, 04:14
Quote
Then let me further brighten your day! :)

Well, it was informational but not brightening for some of us :P
Following your instructions I applied those "commands" to me and
got a return of only 12 clips curator rated 3, all 450 others are below this from 2 to zero.
(like I didn't knew my clips suck...)

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 09, 2019, 04:19
Quote
Then let me further brighten your day! :)

Well, it was informational but not brightening for some of us :P
Following your instructions I applied those "commands" to me and
got a return of only 12 clips curator rated 3, all 450 others are below this from 2 to zero.
(like I didn't knew my clips suck...)

Sorry about that! But at least in Greece you get plenty of sun!

Anyway, I don't know how much those ratings really mean. My bestseller has a lower rating than most of my other clips. It might matter when they pick clips for their collections.

...and there are plenty of BlackBox clips with the highest rating that are quite bad, with 0 sales.

For example, this clip has the highest rating: https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/105008987/duck-swimming-day.html (https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/105008987/duck-swimming-day.html)

You might almost think that the reviewer might be using BlackBox. ;)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 09, 2019, 04:27
Yeah BB is definitely the winner, but also people sharing revenue.

It's nice to try and unite all photographers for better royalties, but I think it's nicer when we involve all other people working in the same industry, people that we hire and work with (actors, make up artists, location scouts, editors and so on...). That's the big plus that only BB offers (for the time being), and I'm really fond of this, giving people I work with the choice to get either a % or a flat fee. With a %, they also give a better performance as otherwise they might not care as much if it sells or not.

We can also reach a broader audience by involving them and then have more weight on agencies great and exciting news.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 09, 2019, 04:39
Yeah BB is definitely the winner, but also people sharing revenue.

It's nice to try and unite all photographers for better royalties, but I think it's nicer when we involve all other people working in the same industry, people that we hire and work with (actors, make up artists, location scouts, editors and so on...). That's the big plus that only BB offers (for the time being), and I'm really fond of this, giving people I work with the choice to get either a % or a flat fee. With a %, they also give a better performance as otherwise they might not care as much if it sells or not.

We can also reach a broader audience by involving them and then have more weight on agencies great and exciting news.

BlackBox are great at marketing (their service, not your clips). In fact, they were phenomenal at marketing themselves. And taking your money. :)

I'm sorry, but that's how it is (in my opinion). I share revenue just fine without them.

If you want to maximize revenue, control your assets as much as you can. We must work with middlemen to some extent, but I think it's really important to minimize it.

What happens when you want to update tags or descriptions? I do this pretty much WEEKLY to optimize performance in the various search engines.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 07:50
I have about the same sales ratio with bb or selling direct, although I am still new there and only have 160 files listed sofar. Started uploading last autumn, got sales pretty quickly.

On pond5 roughly 12% of my files have sold at least once, but it did take 18 months before my portfolio really started selling.

I think you are underestimating BB, they really are new.

When I joined last autumn, they had 4000 contributors, now they have over 30 000. So the majority of the content is extremly fresh.

Look again in 2-3 years and then see what the community says.

It also depends how much stock experience you have. I am now much better at producing saleable content then I was 6 years ago when I started with video.

Interesting to see that so many of the more loud mouthed contributors on pond5 with extremly large portfolios have very low sell rates, often below 3%.

Some of them are probaly balancing that out with high prices, but the upload time alone with such a result would frustrate me.

I am still learning about different themes, completly new to editorial video. Also surprised that simple walk around clips of animals, flowers are actually selling.

Video is an interesting journey, hoping to add 2000 clips in total this year.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: increasingdifficulty on April 09, 2019, 08:04
When I joined last autumn, they had 4000 contributors, now they have over 30 000. So the majority of the content is extremly fresh.

Like I said, their marketing toward producers is very good.

If you're happy with it, that's all that matters, but people should just be aware that:

Advantages = Less upload time.

Disadvantages = Everything else.

---

When your clips are lost in a portfolio pool of half a million other clips it is virtually impossible for a buyer to find clips they didn't happen to find with a very exact search.

On the other hand, if you have 500 clips, and a buyer finds your style interesting, they might just go to your portfolio and find clips they wouldn't have searched for.

And their title strategy is just sad - copying the description, while cutting it off mid-word or mid-sentence. It makes me cry inside. ;(
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 08:22
It works for me.

I am treating blackbox as an additional agency and in time I will find content that I prefer to send there.

But so far I am really happy, it makes quite a big difference to my workflow, uploading costs a lot of time.

I agree that customers cannot bookmark you and you cannot sort your content by theme like on pond5 and now on shutterstock.

But I have a lot of files that are really generic.

Also, it does have the advantage that people cannot see all you have. While on pond5 you can see the bb bestsellers, the personal strategy gets lost in the collection. So part of my portfolio will be a more hidden moneymaker.

It is similar to working with image distributors like cavan or westend or eyeem. Although these places also offer direct sales, most sales come from a wide range of partners.

Again, everyone has to decide what is best for them. This works for me.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 08:57
I don't get why anyone would pay 15% of their sales to get videos uploaded to Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Pond5, Storyblocks and VimeoStock? 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 09, 2019, 09:23
I don't get why anyone would pay 15% of their sales to get videos uploaded to Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Pond5, Storyblocks and VimeoStock?
I'm kind of lost too....its actually 18% it seems "BlackBox charges a 15% commission plus a transaction fee (approximately 3%) on a “back end” basis. ". For doing hugely less than an agency. Isn't this just adding a link to feed in the food chain? Or am I missing something?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 09:42
It saves a lot of time.

Those 30 000 people who signed up are not stupid.

BB has excellent collaboration tools for people who work in teams or want to pay talent, location owners, post processors with a percentage.

It is a collaboration plattform, have a look at the excellent and helpful community vibe in their facebook group.

And the place is new, who says that 2 years down they don‘t open their own store or offer a premium collection or a plattform for more than stock clips?

They also offer a network of curators and post processors, so if you have hard drives full of files, but no time, you can turn it over to them and they will extract and process and upload it all for you. They then again get paid a percentage that you are free to negotiate.

Some people just want to shoot and not everyone has a team at home with assistants...or a wife or other magical house elf...:)

I am too stingy to give my files to a processor, but I can see myself teaming up with talent or for projects that I am not sure I would commit cash too.

Image distributors often take 50%, so I think this is a very affordable offer.

But it is not for everyone, I agree.

ETA: BB has their own contracts with agencies for better royalty and placements, so you don‘t always lose the full 15%.

So var my results are good.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 09:53

ETA: BB has their own contracts with agencies for better royalty and placements, so you don‘t always lose the full 15%.

What rates with what sites?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 09, 2019, 09:54
It works for me.

I am treating blackbox as an additional agency and in time I will find content that I prefer to send there.

But so far I am really happy, it makes quite a big difference to my workflow, uploading costs a lot of time.

I agree that customers cannot bookmark you and you cannot sort your content by theme like on pond5 and now on shutterstock.

But I have a lot of files that are really generic.

Also, it does have the advantage that people cannot see all you have. While on pond5 you can see the bb bestsellers, the personal strategy gets lost in the collection. So part of my portfolio will be a more hidden moneymaker.

It is similar to working with image distributors like cavan or westend or eyeem. Although these places also offer direct sales, most sales come from a wide range of partners.

Again, everyone has to decide what is best for them. This works for me.

Same here I'm using it as an additional agency that I use for partnerships. For my other work, I'm still uploading directly to each website.

With the 15%, you just upload to one website, and they re-distribute to all of them, which is good if you don't have a speedy internet connection. They also take care of the royalty split when involved with others, as this would be too much of a headache to deal with. And they provide a platform where you can upload your footage, and look for people to edit and/or keyword for a share of the footage in return. So basically you can just focus on what you like and do best, and leave the tasks you don't enjoy to others.

I agree thou with the 15% being excessive and I'd be happy to collaborate somewhere cheaper but haven't found any other place just yet.

If you like shooting & editing alone and have a fast internet, then you probably have no use for them.


Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 10:04

I agree thou with the 15% being excessive and I'd be happy to collaborate somewhere cheaper but haven't found any other place just yet.

If you like shooting & editing alone and have a fast internet, then you probably have no use for them.
Doesn't "collaboration" cost more than 15%?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 10:13

ETA: BB has their own contracts with agencies for better royalty and placements, so you don‘t always lose the full 15%.

What rates with what sites?

You will have to ask the BB management, just like everywhere.

I also don‘t know what deals eyeem has with getty or alamy or wherever else they send files.

Or any other distribution program...I also found some of my pond5 files on vimeo, I have no idea what their deal is and what percentage I am getting as a result.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 10:16

ETA: BB has their own contracts with agencies for better royalty and placements, so you don‘t always lose the full 15%.

What rates with what sites?

You will have to ask the BB management, just like everywhere.

I also don‘t know what deals eyeem has with getty or alamy or wherever else they send files.

Or any other distribution program...I also found some of my pond5 files on vimeo, I have no idea what their deal is and what percentage I am getting as a result.
Are you saying you don't know what rates they get?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 10:18

I agree thou with the 15% being excessive and I'd be happy to collaborate somewhere cheaper but haven't found any other place just yet.

If you like shooting & editing alone and have a fast internet, then you probably have no use for them.
Doesn't "collaboration" cost more than 15%?


Of course, but that is entirely up to you and your project partners. How much you want to pay actors, camera people, post processor...that is entirely up to you.

Or, you pay them cash, which is what I have been doing so far with people.

Some people have assistants they pay a monthly wage to, quite a few of my friends have that.

This way I could find people to team up with and we share the results.

It is an option that you can use.

Of course you can do the sharing right now yourself, but if the tool is built in, you don‘t have to worry about it.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 10:21

I agree thou with the 15% being excessive and I'd be happy to collaborate somewhere cheaper but haven't found any other place just yet.

If you like shooting & editing alone and have a fast internet, then you probably have no use for them.
Doesn't "collaboration" cost more than 15%?


Of course, but that is entirely up to you and your project partners. How much you want to pay actors, camera people, post processor...that is entirely up to you.

Or, you pay them cash, which is what I have been doing so far with people.

Some people have assistants they pay a monthly wage to, quite a few of my friends have that.

This way I could find people to team up with and we share the results.

It is an option that you can use.

Of course you can do the sharing right now yourself, but if the tool is built in, you don‘t have to worry about it.
In those agreements what happens if you take your videos off Black box and put them up on the sites yourself?  What's the copyright situation with these works?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 10:23
I ave absolutely no idea what pond5 has negotiated with vimeo or any other partner, or eyeem with getty.

I get 50% of whatever eyeem gets and with pond5 now 40% for non exclusive content.

Have you NEVER worked with distribution?

It is also not just about royalties, on many agencies large studios or aggregators also negotiate placement of files in differntly tiered rankings.

Have a look at gettyimages, they have over 200 feeder partners plus their own artists and those from istock.

What shows up on the first page is mix of negotiated rankings plus search algorythms.

Some collections or partners always show up on page 1, others are always way back.

They keep shifting these things around and renegotiate with partners all the time.

The only way to avoid this, is if you only upload to agencies that have no partners or if you always opt out of partner distribution.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 10:28



- In those agreements what happens if you take your videos off Black box and put them up on the sites yourself?  What's the copyright situation with these works?



That is something you negotiate with your partners. Blackbox does not own the copyright. They just offer a money sharing tool, the legal stuff is always your responsibility.

You also still need releases, like always.

Don‘t like BB, don‘t work with them.


Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 10:29
You said they get a higher royalty rate so I'm asking what that is? 
You talk about benefits of collaboration so I'm asking how copyright is handled, what if decide to pull that content from Black box and upload it on your own?
I'm not criticizing distributions deals on their own I'm trying to figure out how this one works.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 10:31



- In those agreements what happens if you take your videos off Black box and put them up on the sites yourself?  What's the copyright situation with these works?



That is something you negotiate with your partners. Blackbox does not own the copyright. They just offer a money sharing tool, the legal stuff is always your responsibility.

You also still need releases, like always.

Don‘t like BB, don‘t work with them.
So you have to negotiate how long you'll keep the file on black box and all the other terms for each project?  One of their selling points is that you don't need a lawyer to handle that kind of boring business drudgery. 
"Pay somebody else to do it.
Yes, you can pay lawyers and accountants and managers and administrators and marketers to take care of the business drudgery for you, if you have the money… up front, before your creative product has started generating revenue for you. And even if you can afford to pay someone else up front, you can’t escape the business drudgery entirely because you still have to stay on top of all the people you’re paying to make sure things are getting done and getting done the right way.

FACT: The business drudgery takes money and it takes time.

So, you’re not going to do it yourself and you have no money or time to have somebody else do it? There’s one more option and it’s a pretty good one.

Use BlackBox"
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 10:40
Why don‘t you ask BB directly? It is a very valid question.

Personally I would always do my own contract when it comes to copyright and otherwise people would simply be paid in royalties instead of cash, the way it is done now.

You also need to consider what happens if BB disappears?

How will sales be handled then?

The place is new, nothing is perfect. I think it is an excellent option for what I do.

But I haven‘t done any collaborations yet, too stingy :)

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 09, 2019, 10:48

I agree thou with the 15% being excessive and I'd be happy to collaborate somewhere cheaper but haven't found any other place just yet.

If you like shooting & editing alone and have a fast internet, then you probably have no use for them.
Doesn't "collaboration" cost more than 15%?


Of course, but that is entirely up to you and your project partners. How much you want to pay actors, camera people, post processor...that is entirely up to you.

Or, you pay them cash, which is what I have been doing so far with people.

Some people have assistants they pay a monthly wage to, quite a few of my friends have that.

This way I could find people to team up with and we share the results.

It is an option that you can use.

Of course you can do the sharing right now yourself, but if the tool is built in, you don‘t have to worry about it.
In those agreements what happens if you take your videos off Black box and put them up on the sites yourself?  What's the copyright situation with these works?

I don't think it is possible to delete your content once uploaded to all websites otherwise it would be too easy to have your editing and metadata done by someone for a %, and then remove it all and upload to your own websites (but probably if all 'sharers' agree to have it removed and message support that should be possible).

As for the copyright situation, it is split between the 'sharers'.
''BlackBox will not own any content, only members can own content. we offer creators the ability to collaborate and “share” in the ownership of content.

What are "Shares"?
Shares are the percentage of a given piece of content that you own and therefore, the portion of revenue that you will make when the content sells, often for years.''

For a collaborative project, each creator that contributes to the creation of the content becomes a “Sharer.”

More info here: https://www.blackbox.global/faq (https://www.blackbox.global/faq)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 10:55
I don't think it is possible to delete your content once uploaded to all websites otherwise it would be too easy to have your editing and metadata done by someone for a %, and then remove it all and upload to your own websites (but probably if all 'sharers' agree to have it removed and message support that should be possible).

As for the copyright situation, it is split between the 'sharers'.
''BlackBox will not own any content, only members can own content. we offer creators the ability to collaborate and “share” in the ownership of content.

What are "Shares"?
Shares are the percentage of a given piece of content that you own and therefore, the portion of revenue that you will make when the content sells, often for years.''

For a collaborative project, each creator that contributes to the creation of the content becomes a “Sharer.”

More info here: https://www.blackbox.global/faq (https://www.blackbox.global/faq)
I see you need to get permission to take down "jointly created content" which seems to include videos that someone else just keyworded.  It doesn't say anything about how that is determined or if they will ever agree to it.  Seems like a huge risk if something happens and all your work is stuck there.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 11:21

I see you need to get permission to take down "jointly created content" which seems to include videos that someone else just keyworded.  It doesn't say anything about how that is determined or if they will ever agree to it.  Seems like a huge risk if something happens and all your work is stuck there.

It is the same risk you have when uploading to Gettyimages directly as a house contributor or to many other places. They also don't allow you to remove individual files, you can just delete your account. Same for any other macro distributor that takes exclusive content. BB works the same way.

Getting a sharer permission is an additional step, but logical.

You need a large team to be able to chase down individual deactivations at partner agencies, it is not that easy. It has to be done manually from what I have heard elsewhere (not BB). With 40 000 contributors I understand that this would be expensive to do. Might also lead to what is described above, BB gets used for processing and metadata, then content gets deleted and goes elsewhere.

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 11:35

I see you need to get permission to take down "jointly created content" which seems to include videos that someone else just keyworded.  It doesn't say anything about how that is determined or if they will ever agree to it.  Seems like a huge risk if something happens and all your work is stuck there.

It is the same risk you have when uploading to Gettyimages directly as a house contributor or to many other places. They also don't allow you to remove individual files, you can just delete your account. Same for any other macro distributor that takes exclusive content. BB works the same way.

getting a sharer permission is an additional step, but logical.

You need a large team to be able to chase down individual deactivations at partner agencies, it is not that easy. It has to be done manually from what I have heard elsewhere (not BB). With 30 000 contributors I understand that this would be expensive to do. Might also lead to what is described above, BB gets used for processing and metadata, then content gets deleted and goes elsewhere.
I didn't know you needed to get permission from most sites to leave?  I haven't heard of that before.  What if they don't give you permission, it seems clear they could just say no.  "The above licenses will continue unless and until you receive agreement to, and remove, Jointly Created Content from the Site, in which case the licenses will terminate within a commercially reasonable period of time."  It's not even clear who the permission needs to come from, the site or the keyworder, the model, the studio, all of them?   What is a "commercially reasonable" time, a day, a year, a decade?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 11:54
Many agencies have provisions in case you delete content. Usually to let customers who have light boxed the file have a grace period where they can still license it, even if you have left.

How long that period lasts is not always clear. Getty apparently licenses files years after people have left, but there might be real reasons for it.

Again, if you have any questions, talk to the agencies, or in this case BB.

But it is really not new. "Reasonable commercial period" will if in doubt be decided by the courts...

But you probably have that risk also in some places you are currently uploading to. After the mass deactivations we did in protest, many agencies changed the small print, making deactivations very difficult.

On Istock you can delete nothing, Getty and many macro houses also nothing. You can just close your account and then hope your content gets removed fast. But Getty has hundreds of partners and api users...it can take ages.

Just talk to people who want to go artist exclusive somewhere, how hard it is and how long it takes to have all your files removed.

If you have partner distribution enabled, it becomes even worse, even if you close your account with agency A, or just delete one file, if they have hundreds of partners, you have to keep checking yourself that it gets deleted. even if they themselves send a deactivation notice in time, nobody can tell you how long it will take for their partners to react.

Dealing with deleting content is not high on any agencies agenda.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 11:58
But it is really not new. "Reasonable commercial period" will if in doubt be decided by the courts...

On Istock you can delete nothing, Getty and many macro houses also nothing. You can just close your account and then hope your content gets removed fast. But Getty has hundreds of partners and api users...it can take ages.
I can always go to court is not reassuring. 

On iStock you can delete everything, on Black Box it's not at all clear if you can ever delete your videos even if all that was added was keywords.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 09, 2019, 11:59

Just talk to people who want to go artist exclusive somewhere, how hard it is and how long it takes to have all your files removed.

I think we have seen that over the years. Getty sure makes the rest look easy and more adaptable. All or nothing, no kidding.  :-\

But it is really not new. "Reasonable commercial period" will if in doubt be decided by the courts...

On Istock you can delete nothing, Getty and many macro houses also nothing. You can just close your account and then hope your content gets removed fast. But Getty has hundreds of partners and api users...it can take ages.
I can always go to court is not reassuring. 

On iStock you can delete everything.

Also right!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:04

Just talk to people who want to go artist exclusive somewhere, how hard it is and how long it takes to have all your files removed.

I think we have seen that over the years. Getty sure makes the rest look easy and more adaptable. All or nothing, no kidding.  :-\
I wouldn't say all the rest but it's good to understand the terms before you contribute.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 12:08
On iStock you can delete everything, on Black Box it's not at all clear if you can ever delete your videos even if all that was added was keywords.

Since when?? I was told, you can only delete your full account, not individual files. We used to be able to delete files, but they took that right away in 2013 when so many people walked out.

Did they give artists the right back, to delete a file?

I haven't been on Istock in ages, you mean artists can now have mass deletions again whenever they want to?

As for BB, it works the same way like Gettyimages. Don't like it, don't upload, very, very simple. And if you make a contract with people to share revenue it is logical you need their permission if you want to delete content. Otherwise you have to pay them upfront, like any assistant.

I really don't see the problem. Add your own keywords, if that worries you.

You can work with whoever you like. If you have an assistant already, you can ask them to sign up and then work with your own people. You don't have to work with strangers. BB doesn't have a fixed team of curators that you are forced to use, you can chose whoever you like. That is the whole point.

And a community of 40 000 will give a huge choice, in case you want to team up with a specialist for something.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:11
On iStock you can delete everything, on Black Box it's not at all clear if you can ever delete your videos even if all that was added was keywords.

Since when?? I was told, you can only delete your full account, not individual files. We used to be able to delete files, but they took that right away in 2013 when so many people walked out.

Did they give artists the right back, to delete a file?

I haven't been on Istock in ages, you mean artists can now have mass deletions again whenever they want to?

As for BB, it works the same way like Gettyimages. Don't like it, don't upload, very, very simple. And if you make a contract with people to share revenue it is logical you need their permission if you want to delete content. Otherwise you have to pay them upfront, like any assistant.

I really don't see the problem.
I'm not sure why you are making this about Getty?  You can close your account and take all your videos down there.  At Black Box it's not at all clear that you can ever take down your videos.   You need permission from someone but who?  If it's the site will they let you leave ever?  If it's a keyworder will they let you?  What if they die, quit the site, or just don't want to?
It's not about not liking it, it's about what do the terms even mean?  You said they were great for collaboration but don't seem to know how that even works.  You said they get better royalty rates but don't seem to know what they are. 

I'll also add that if I agree to give a % to someone I work with doesn't mean that I agree that they control where I put my work.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 12:20
If you don't share, you can close your account like just like anywhere else.

If you share you have a contract with partners, just like if you make the contract outside of BB. They expect to be paid, obviously. You can't cheat people out of their money whenever you like. they put their time and effort into it.

Nobody is forcing you to share anything. Pay your assistants with a salary, like always. Or do it all yourself...

On Getty you cannot delete individual files. Same on many other places. I thought you were worried about individual deactivations.

So...on Istock you still cannot delete individual files, right?

Where exactly is the problem??
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:21
If you don't share, you can close your account like just like anywhere else.

If you share you have a contract with partners, just like if you make the contract outside of BB. They expect to be paid, obviously. You can't cheat people out of their money whenever you like. they put their time and effort into it.
If I ever had an agreement with someone to give them a percentage of my sales I would not let a keyworder, or model, or studio determine where I put the work.  Giving up control of your work to someone who just does keywording seems like a very bad idea.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 12:30
That is your personal decision.

BB is not taking anything away from you. They offer an additional option, again, why is that such a problem if you are not using that option??

I do everything myself. I also pay people, if I use their services.

But I can think of a few projects where the BB sharing model might be really useful. Especially projects that would usually be too expensive for me to even attempt.

There are people on BB who do larger projects, real films, not just simple stock clips. They have other needs and use collaboration contracts all the time already.

Other people have hard drives full of content from years of travel. They just turn it over to someone and let them sort it out. If they have to pay for that in advance, it would be really expensive, especially if they don't know if the content sells.

BB is one more option in the stock world

40 000 people seem to like it the idea and are trying it.

Nobody is forcing them.

I don't quite understand what worries you so much, sounds like the place is simply not a solution for you. Just stay away from it :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:31
I was curious when you said they are great for collaboration and they get higher royalty rates.  The collaboration part looks very risky at best and I haven't seen any evidence of higher royalty rates so I'm sure it's not for me.  It looks a lot more like giving up control of your work and paying alot extra to save a couple minutes.

Besides giving up control of your work it's hard to see how paying someone nearly 20% to upload to a few sites you can do yourself would help the industry or contributors?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 12:40
On Getty I paid 80% to have my files distributed, on Istock my files are paying 85% for that honor...eyeem takes 50% etc...so BB really is very, very cheap...

Distributors are not new, they have been around since forever. That they negotiate other royalties and rankings than individual artists is standard.

Are you really just learning about them now??

Don't you have a Getty house contract? They distribute over hundreds of partners. They keep 80% and you have no idea what royalty or ranking they negotiated.




Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 09, 2019, 12:46
I was curious when you said they are great for collaboration and they get higher royalty rates.  The collaboration part looks very risky at best and I haven't seen any evidence of higher royalty rates so I'm sure it's not for me.  It looks a lot more like giving up control of your work and paying alot extra to save a couple minutes.

Besides giving up control of your work it's hard to see how paying someone nearly 20% to upload to a few sites you can do yourself would help the industry or contributors?

Interesting how this thread has taken a turn again from the original. I'm not sure that BB is a virtual agency anyway but assuming it's as close as we get, and allows partners, or group publishing, interesting.

No I'm not going to pay anyone 15% to distribute for me, and I don't want to grant a further percentage to new shares, based on their data work. At least you questions have brought out some interesting answers about the program and how it works.

Now... anyone doing this for stills? Are they? I can't find the site.

When I search, I'm reminded how I wish BB had picked a different name.  ;)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:47
On Getty I paid 80% to have my files distributed, on Istock my files are paying 85% for that honor...so BB really is very, very cheap...

Distributors are not new, they have been around since forever...

Are you really just learning about them now??
You realize you don't need to pay them an extra 20% to upload to Shutterstock, Adobe, and Pond5 right?  You can do that all on your own.  Instead of uploading to one site you can upload to five and keep 20% more money.  I can't see how that makes sense if you expect your videos to get a couple sales in the next decade and if you don't why bother shooting, editing, and uploading in the first place?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:51
I was curious when you said they are great for collaboration and they get higher royalty rates.  The collaboration part looks very risky at best and I haven't seen any evidence of higher royalty rates so I'm sure it's not for me.  It looks a lot more like giving up control of your work and paying alot extra to save a couple minutes.

Besides giving up control of your work it's hard to see how paying someone nearly 20% to upload to a few sites you can do yourself would help the industry or contributors?

Interesting how this thread has taken a turn again from the original. I'm not sure that BB is a virtual agency anyway but assuming it's as close as we get, and allows partners, or group publishing, interesting.

No I'm not going to pay anyone 15% to distribute for me, and I don't want to grant a further percentage to new shares, based on their data work. At least you questions have brought out some interesting answers about the program and how it works.

Now... anyone doing this for stills? Are they? I can't find the site.

When I search, I'm reminded how I wish BB had picked a different name.  ;)
If you want I'll keyword your shots and upload them to five sites and keep 30% and decide if you can take them down in the future.   "Dream big, work hard, make professional grade content, and the trust the Power of BlackBox tickstock."

ETA:  They need to edit their marketing too, there is an extra "the" in the sentence.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 12:57
-  You realize you don't need to pay them an extra 20% to upload to Shutterstock, Adobe, and Pond5 right?  You can do that all on your own.  Instead of uploading to one site you can upload to five and keep 20% more money.  I can't see how that makes sense if you expect your videos to get a couple sales in the next decade and if you don't why bother shooting, editing, and uploading in the first place?



My time is valuable.

Uploading and distributing videos is a lot of work. If I didn't believe this would make me money, do you seriously think I would be doing it??

I am still uploading to all the places, except Vimeo. Does Vimeo take individual artists?

But I am trying to optimize my uploads, some stuff goes into my personal ports, the others go into the Blackbox. I think they are very aptly named.

It works really well for me.

I can understand that it looks strange, but like I said, please avoid them if you don't see any value in it. It is just an option.

I also signed up for an additional exclusive port on pond5...still need to come up with a good concept for that as well.

More options are good, at least for me.

But if people think 15% is too expensive...what are they expecting a stock union site is supposed to cost?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 09, 2019, 12:57
I was curious when you said they are great for collaboration and they get higher royalty rates.  The collaboration part looks very risky at best and I haven't seen any evidence of higher royalty rates so I'm sure it's not for me.  It looks a lot more like giving up control of your work and paying alot extra to save a couple minutes.

Besides giving up control of your work it's hard to see how paying someone nearly 20% to upload to a few sites you can do yourself would help the industry or contributors?

Interesting how this thread has taken a turn again from the original. I'm not sure that BB is a virtual agency anyway but assuming it's as close as we get, and allows partners, or group publishing, interesting.

No I'm not going to pay anyone 15% to distribute for me, and I don't want to grant a further percentage to new shares, based on their data work. At least you questions have brought out some interesting answers about the program and how it works.

Now... anyone doing this for stills? Are they? I can't find the site.

When I search, I'm reminded how I wish BB had picked a different name.  ;)
If you want I'll keyword your shots and upload them to five sites and keep 30% and decide if you can take them down in the future.   "Dream big, work hard, make professional grade content, and the trust the Power of BlackBox tickstock."

ETA:  They need to edit their marketing too, there is an extra "the" in the sentence.

Unless the word is then? I don't know, I'm going to try to avoid anything more on this topic until the next round, when it changes costumes again.  ;D

If someone can come up with a union, co-op, association or anything else, by any other name, that can stand up for the artists, maybe make for better treatment and of course, most of all, better percentages. They have my full support and best wishes. I'd love to see someone make that work.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 12:59
My time is valuable.

Uploading and distributing videos is a lot of work. If I didn't believe this would make me money, do you seriously think I would be doing it??

I am still uploading to all the places, except Vimeo. Does Vimeo take individual artists?

But I am trying to optimize my uploads, some stuff goes into my personal ports, the others go into the Blackbox. I think they are very aptly named.

It works really well for me.

I can understand that it looks strange, but like I said, please avoid them if you don't see any value in it. It is just an option.

I also signed up for an additional exclusive port on pond5...still need to come up with a good concept for that as well.

More options are good, at least for me.
Didn't even know vimeo had stock and more options are good as long as they benefit contributors.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 13:02
I read about Vimeo stock and was then surprised to find my files from blackbox and pond5 there. Not everything, looks like they take a selection.

But from what I read at the moment I cannot join as an individual artist.

If both have the same contract, then my income from BB should be higher than pond5. However..unless I buy my own files I will never know ;)

For a new place it is a good way to source content. They don't have to deal with masses of contributors and just pick and chose what they like.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 13:07
Wonder what they pay, it says up to 70% but doesn't say an average or a minimum.  Maybe it's good maybe it's terrible who knows?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 13:18
Do they sell??

But...one more option...and I don't have to add extra work to find out. :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 09, 2019, 13:19
Do they sell??

But...one more option...and I don't have to add extra work to find out. :)
But you also don't know what they pay, would it be good if you found out they pay 15%?  Not saying that's what they pay but they could.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 09, 2019, 13:26
I probably get less than that on one of the many partner portal deals I signed up to. I probably get a lot less from the Eyeem/getty deal? Maybe Eyeem only gets 5% on getty, who knows?

Part of the risk I take.

You have to trust that pond5 and BB negotiate good deals for themselves and their artists. I certainly have more faith in them than Depositphotos...

Otherwise, just sign out of partner deals wherever you can and never upload to gettyimages.

BB and pond5 are not distributing to Istock, so I guess they have some standards.

And vimeo could have sourced from deposit or getty, probably getting 4k for a dollar per sale, but they decided to go with more artist friendly partners.





Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 10, 2019, 06:16
Here is a weird idea.

What if everyone producing video, instead of debating on P5,
made a second exclusive account in P5. No losses till here.
Having earnings as usual from existing footage
but uploading all new stuff in P5 as exclusive.
Having a pattern text email informing all other agencies for this;
"We contributors, etc, etc, because we believe etc.etc.
in order to get my new files in "agency", we ask for etc.etc.etc."

This might worked to pressure all agencies, and P5
with a massive opt out fear from their part
if they start playing with prices and features.

Like I said. Just another non applicable weird idea.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 10, 2019, 06:49
What about starting a new agency with high prices that requires exclusivity and offer 99% to contributors (and take only 1%)? They wouldn't need to do any marketing since they'd own all the content.

 8)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: trek on April 10, 2019, 07:20
I read about Vimeo stock and was then surprised to find my files from blackbox and pond5 there. Not everything, looks like they take a selection.

But from what I read at the moment I cannot join as an individual artist.

If both have the same contract, then my income from BB should be higher than pond5. However..unless I buy my own files I will never know ;)

For a new place it is a good way to source content. They don't have to deal with masses of contributors and just pick and chose what they like.

I just found a few dozen of my videos at Vimeo via Pond 5.... Surprising because I am opted out of the Pond 5 partner program (and all video partner programs).  They are also showing my real name, not my company / contributor name.  Anyone else "surprised" to be selling there?

Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 10, 2019, 10:03
I don't have time to write all that I went over with this new Storyblocks deal. I feel this is very important to this community! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 10, 2019, 10:18
I don't have time to write all that I went over with this new Storyblocks deal. I feel this is very important to this community! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70)
I'll go out on a limb and predict this will not be optional in a year.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: swisschocolate on April 10, 2019, 10:46
I don't have time to write all that I went over with this new Storyblocks deal. I feel this is very important to this community! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70)

Brilliant :D
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: George_ on April 10, 2019, 11:26
Quote
I don't have time to write

Here is an offtopic quick tip, everything you say in the video, it can be added in video description tab.
Helps with search and ranking options in Youtube. Words in description work also as keywords.
I dunno if you can extract it from auto translation feature as .srt or similar form of text.

:)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: trek on April 10, 2019, 12:10
I read about Vimeo stock and was then surprised to find my files from blackbox and pond5 there. Not everything, looks like they take a selection.

But from what I read at the moment I cannot join as an individual artist.

If both have the same contract, then my income from BB should be higher than pond5. However..unless I buy my own files I will never know ;)

For a new place it is a good way to source content. They don't have to deal with masses of contributors and just pick and chose what they like.

I just found a few dozen of my videos at Vimeo via Pond 5.... Surprising because I am opted out of the Pond 5 partner program (and all video partner programs).  They are also showing my real name, not my company / contributor name.  Anyone else "surprised" to be selling there?

.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 10, 2019, 13:16
I don't have time to write all that I went over with this new Storyblocks deal. I feel this is very important to this community! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70)

That made my day, almost as much as the free pizza truck handing out samples. I'd never get that letter, but at least you warn anyone who might, to read carefully and consider what they are really saying.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 10, 2019, 14:49
Here is a weird idea.

What if everyone producing video, instead of debating on P5,
made a second exclusive account in P5. No losses till here.
Having earnings as usual from existing footage
but uploading all new stuff in P5 as exclusive.
Having a pattern text email informing all other agencies for this;
"We contributors, etc, etc, because we believe etc.etc.
in order to get my new files in "agency", we ask for etc.etc.etc."

This might worked to pressure all agencies, and P5
with a massive opt out fear from their part
if they start playing with prices and features.

Like I said. Just another non applicable weird idea.

Not weird at all, many people are doing just that.

I would however, point out that it is in our interest to support several agencies to have options.

You are not an owner on pond5. If the company is sold or there are new managers and they decide to only pay out 20% for exclusive content...

It is what happened to us at istock, so, I truly recommend to always spread your risk.

You simply don‘t know what can happen in the future.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: tickstock on April 10, 2019, 15:01
It's not in our interest to support lots of sites fighting to see who can be the cheapest or take the biggest cut to increase market share.  The problem is exactly that, all these sites have the same content so they compete on price adding more to the mix doesn't do anyone any good. If Pond5 changes you can always leave.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 10, 2019, 16:26
Just FYI I just sent my video to the CEO of Storyblocks via private message on LinkedIn
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 10, 2019, 17:25
If Pond5 changes you can always leave.

Have you ever left a place where you were exclusive for years??

I have.

You cannot just take your 10 000 files, place them elsewhere and immediately earn the same as before.

All your files and your entire portfolio need to build up their individual rankings, get light boxed by customers for future use etc...etc...

The Istock exclusives did a large scale practical experiment and most needed several years to regain their original income. Some never even made it, and gave up.

I only know of one person who regained his income in 6 months, but he was exceptionally well prepared before leaving, got himself into specialized exclusive places to help boost his sales etc...and probably got very little sleep.

So, if you really depend on your income and it pays your family bills...no...you cannot just hop up and go elsewhere.

if you do stock as more of a hobby and have a steady day job, that is a different thing.

But if you have well running portfolios, to just abandon them completely, is extremely risky.

For me supporting several places is a life insurance for my business.

Also I do not EVER want tobe  fully dependent on just one management team and their investors. No matter how nice they are.

But to each his own, those who would prefer to just have a system like when Getty totally dominated everything...good luck to you...
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 10, 2019, 17:35
I did it! and yes it takes a ton of work but for 60% to me it is worth the risk!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 10, 2019, 17:48
I don't have time to write all that I went over with this new Storyblocks deal. I feel this is very important to this community! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyeQmy3BV70)

"I did it! and yes it takes a ton of work but for 60% to me it is worth the risk!"

Good for you!

I opened an additional exclusive account and will add content...but...I will continue to upload elsewhere. Maybe in time my best content will all go to pond5, who knows.

But I am not giving up my freedom. I also don't want to abandon Blackbox, especially now that pond5 and BB together support Vimeo.

However, between the 40 000 members of Blackbox and the new exclusive option on pond5...I think the video people have excellent choices.

And Getty will have a hard time getting content for their 60 cent sales. If the BB people only upload 10 files a year to BB, that is 400 000 files a year Getty is not getting.

I really love your video.

While in the original micro stock model very high volume sales for 50 cent downloads did work for quite a while, Istock worked hard to in time increase sales price and offer higher quality content.

For stockvideo, I really do not see a high volume market ever coming along. Looking at pond5 more closely, even ports with 20 000 files sometimes just have an str of 2%.

So for content that is expensive to produce like yours, there will never ever be an option for cheap downloads with high volume.

So, I am very willing to support pond5 and Blackbox...but...after what happened with Istock and also experiences at other places, I am simply too burnt for another symbiotic stock relationship.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 10, 2019, 18:17
By the way, pond5 also has a subscription service where customers can chose from over 400 000 thousand digital files.

They sell that content for far less than regular producers are allowed to set their own prices. 4-8 dollars is what I heard for 4k video. Not sure if that is true, but it is definitely lower than I could price my stuff, if I wanted to compete with membership prices for high volume sales, but still keep my 40% share.

But they don't tell producers how many times their files have sold in the member ship program. You have no way of knowing, if what you are getting is really 50% (or 40%) of what the customers are paying.

And the normal contributors cannot nominate content for membership. Invite only.

Now...what if pond5 tries to aggressively expand this offer?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 10, 2019, 18:22
Well, I won't be supporting that either, I know they have one and have had one but you can opt out of it or not join. What Storyblocks is doing is much more underhanded as they will not limit the # therefor the payout will be a lot less. You have to value your content!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 10, 2019, 18:41
I think story blocks should have been more honest from the start and maybe paid out 70% or something for non membership content. Everyone knew the 100% model wouldn't last. Running an agency is extremely expensive.

To abruptly change it all, was going to result in a terrible backlash.

If they want content for their subs library, be upfront and honest how much people can make.

A lot of places do not understand how crowd sourcing works. They seem to think the crowd is completely stupid and unthinking.

Instead people are deeply connected and the upload streams of the important content is usually very smart. The rest follows them.

For me sales at story blocks have disappeared.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 10, 2019, 18:58
Yes, that is the big difference, they said they would promote the market more once they cut our rate. That was a full-blown lie! With pond5 they promote all our content we are not punished by not having our work in the membership. I understand the limited membership and for some it has worked well. Pond5 is also going to focus on advertising Exclusive work. If Storyblocks were honest they would have promoted the market a lot more but they chose to be sneaky and try to get artist to move to the membership plan for peanuts where you have zero control on your earnings!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 10, 2019, 19:17
Well, sometimes people learn from mistakes, we will see.

But overall we really have a lot of options. I love 2019.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: VimeoDerick on April 14, 2019, 12:32
Re: Vimeo pricing, our list (non-member) prices are $79 for HD and $199 for 4K for non-exclusive footage, and $299 HD, $499 4K for exclusive footage. Paid Vimeo members get a discount of 20%.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Mantis on April 14, 2019, 13:04
Re: Vimeo pricing, our list (non-member) prices are $79 for HD and $199 for 4K for non-exclusive footage, and $299 HD, $499 4K for exclusive footage. Paid Vimeo members get a discount of 20%.

So Vimeo wants me to pay them to sell my video?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: trek on April 14, 2019, 13:29
Re: Vimeo pricing, our list (non-member) prices are $79 for HD and $199 for 4K for non-exclusive footage, and $299 HD, $499 4K for exclusive footage. Paid Vimeo members get a discount of 20%.

Dozens of my videos are showing on Vimeo via Pond 5 despite my opt out of the Pond 5 Global Partner Program.  Please explain the details of the deal with Pond 5. 
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: VimeoDerick on April 14, 2019, 16:35
@mantis - Not sure I understand, but no, it doesn't cost anything to be a Vimeo Stock contributor. We simply have to like your work.  :)
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: VimeoDerick on April 14, 2019, 16:37
@trek - My understanding is that only contributors who have opted in to Pond5's global partner program should be available to us for distribution, so you should reach out to Pond5 to clarify.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: VimeoDerick on April 14, 2019, 16:40
Hey @cobalt - Yes, we sign individual artists. Our submission form is here: https://vimeo.com/features/stock-contact
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 15, 2019, 01:51
Hi Derick, thank you.

Do you take all the files we send to Blackbox? Or do you just pick a small selection?

Can I send content non exclusively?

Then I would send you, what I send to Shutterstock directly.

I am not a large producer.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: SpaceStockFootage on April 15, 2019, 02:31
Re: Vimeo pricing, our list (non-member) prices are $79 for HD and $199 for 4K for non-exclusive footage, and $299 HD, $499 4K for exclusive footage. Paid Vimeo members get a discount of 20%.

So Vimeo wants me to pay them to sell my video?

No, Vimeo wants people to pay them to buy your videos. Buyers get a 20% discount... contributors don't get 20% more.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: H2O on April 15, 2019, 13:02
The really big problem in MicroStock is that the business model has changed over recent years, it used to be about a partnership with the Agencies to sell our work.

What has happened is that the wealthy shareholders (the people who don't pay tax) have moved into the market financializing the companies by issuing shares to these people.

This has caused a ever need, to constantly increase dividends to these people, which basically means that most of them (except Adobe) have cut our commission rates.

Essentially by not putting up the commission rates they are exploiting artists.

What's needed is a new big player in the Market, funded by the artists and able to wipe the floor with these companies, just how to achieve this, I really don't know at the moment.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: thirdbornentertainment on April 16, 2019, 00:22
The really big problem in MicroStock is that the business model has changed over recent years, it used to be about a partnership with the Agencies to sell our work.

What has happened is that the wealthy shareholders (the people who don't pay tax) have moved into the market financializing the companies by issuing shares to these people.

This has caused a ever need, to constantly increase dividends to these people, which basically means that most of them (except Adobe) have cut our commission rates.

Essentially by not putting up the commission rates they are exploiting artists.

What's needed is a new big player in the Market, funded by the artists and able to wipe the floor with these companies, just how to achieve this, I really don't know at the moment.

Pond5 exclusive is the answer.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: pixel86 on April 16, 2019, 06:56
The really big problem in MicroStock is that the business model has changed over recent years, it used to be about a partnership with the Agencies to sell our work.

What has happened is that the wealthy shareholders (the people who don't pay tax) have moved into the market financializing the companies by issuing shares to these people.

This has caused a ever need, to constantly increase dividends to these people, which basically means that most of them (except Adobe) have cut our commission rates.

Essentially by not putting up the commission rates they are exploiting artists.

What's needed is a new big player in the Market, funded by the artists and able to wipe the floor with these companies, just how to achieve this, I really don't know at the moment.

Pond5 exclusive is the answer.
until pond5 starts screwing you over. And they will, only a matter of time, based on their past history.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: disorderly on April 16, 2019, 10:17
The really big problem in MicroStock is that the business model has changed over recent years, it used to be about a partnership with the Agencies to sell our work.

I call that revisionist history.  iStockphoto was never a partner to its suppliers, as much as they pretended otherwise.  Start with a 20% royalty for nonexclusives and then continue with the heavy handed administration of their supplier forums.  Complaints, and there were many, were beaten down quickly and forcefully.  And then there was the increasing difficulty of submitting content, with their controlled vocabulary and the lack of FTP service.  I started with iStock, but was glad to deemphasize them once Shutterstock  began to produce for me.  But most of the agencies (and all the successful ones) treated this business as a business and its suppliers as a vital part of that business.  I'd add that my experience with Fotolia was rocky from the start as well, and only really turned around with the Adobe acquisition.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 16, 2019, 12:50
You have to have some trust somewhere in this industry. I see Pond5 as the best option now for video.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 16, 2019, 14:16
The really big problem in MicroStock is that the business model has changed over recent years, it used to be about a partnership with the Agencies to sell our work.

What has happened is that the wealthy shareholders (the people who don't pay tax) have moved into the market financializing the companies by issuing shares to these people.

This has caused a ever need, to constantly increase dividends to these people, which basically means that most of them (except Adobe) have cut our commission rates.

Essentially by not putting up the commission rates they are exploiting artists.

What's needed is a new big player in the Market, funded by the artists and able to wipe the floor with these companies, just how to achieve this, I really don't know at the moment.

Pond5 exclusive is the answer.
until pond5 starts screwing you over. And they will, only a matter of time, based on their past history.
If you look at how Pond5 is funded it has the same commercial drivers as everyone else. There might be a niche for a small ethical co-operative but its not going "wipe the floor" with anyone.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Pauws99 on April 16, 2019, 14:17
You have to have some trust somewhere in this industry. I see Pond5 as the best option now for video.
Or trust no-one and spread this risk.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: thirdbornentertainment on April 18, 2019, 17:09
You have to have some trust somewhere in this industry. I see Pond5 as the best option now for video.
Or trust no-one and spread this risk.

I've changed my mind on going exclusive at all. Pond5 has been absolute trash for the past 4 months and barely making me any money at all. Shutterstock, on the other hand, has been pulling in $180 licenses for one sale. After pond5 cut our commissions by 10% along with that "web pricing" disaster I have a hard time believing this move will do much at all. Seems like a desperate play by them at this stage of the game. Sales were rocking until December and then they starting * about with the pricing and sales have dropped off a cliff.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: jjneff on April 18, 2019, 19:19
Funny Pond5 is more then double on my income vs SS this year!
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: trek on April 18, 2019, 20:08
Funny Pond5 is more then double on my income vs SS this year!

Shutterstock outperforms Pond5 for me.  So... Going exclusive does not make financial sense for my portfolio.   
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 19, 2019, 05:08
Surprisingly, AdobeStock outperforms Shutterstock and Pond5 for me (counting video only). It also doesn't make sense to make my portfolio exclusive.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 19, 2019, 06:17
I don't think it's about putting your entire portfolio on Pond5, but getting value for your best work, which Shutterstock or Adobe don't appreciate by not adding it to their own Select and Premium collections.  Pond5 exclusive gives you the opportunity to have your own premium collection that you don't have anywhere else.  The difference in value can be 5 - 10 times what you currently get depending how you price your work. Being at the mercy of the agencies can be down right depressing sometimes and valuing yourself can be good for the soul and the pocket, but even if you just break even through lower sales you know your cut is fair.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 19, 2019, 06:41
I don't think it's about putting your entire portfolio on Pond5, but getting value for your best work, which Shutterstock or Adobe don't appreciate by not adding it to their own Select and Premium collections.  Pond5 exclusive gives you the opportunity to have your own premium collection that you don't have anywhere else.  The difference in value can be 5 - 10 times what you currently get depending how you price your work. Being at the mercy of the agencies can be down right depressing sometimes and valuing yourself can be good for the soul and the pocket, but even if you just break even through lower sales you know your cut is fair.

Isn't it better to go through a macrostock agency for these higher value files?
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: obj owl on April 19, 2019, 07:54
I don't think it's about putting your entire portfolio on Pond5, but getting value for your best work, which Shutterstock or Adobe don't appreciate by not adding it to their own Select and Premium collections.  Pond5 exclusive gives you the opportunity to have your own premium collection that you don't have anywhere else.  The difference in value can be 5 - 10 times what you currently get depending how you price your work. Being at the mercy of the agencies can be down right depressing sometimes and valuing yourself can be good for the soul and the pocket, but even if you just break even through lower sales you know your cut is fair.

Isn't it better to go through a macrostock agency for these higher value files?

Go wherever you can get sales, but customers are used to paying premium prices at microstock agencies now, it's just that for the most part we are excluded from those sales.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: cobalt on April 19, 2019, 19:55

Isn't it better to go through a macrostock agency for these higher value files?

The traditional Macrostock agencies are now often selling for much less than the micros, like 2 or 3 cents for photos and 60 cents for 4k video and the Micros also have premium offerings where they suddenly dump large royalty fees into your lap.

These days you really can't go by the list prices in their web shop window anymore. Which makes it so difficult for artists to figure out what to put where.

In the end every agency is simply their own marketplace, like a small village and customers that have a contract with them, usually try to source as much as they can from one place only. Very few people or companies will have contracts with several marketplaces.

Usually people will pick one place and stay with it, if it serves most of their needs.

If you really want to maximize income, I don't see how you can avoid having non exclusive content. It is also good for artists to have several marketplaces, in case one place acts up. Competition is healthy.

But also having a fair trade place with exclusive content, in addition to spreading far and wide is very good, especially if you can set your own prices.

So the pond5 exclusive initiative is a great opportunity.
Title: Re: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry
Post by: Not Today on April 20, 2019, 04:17

Isn't it better to go through a macrostock agency for these higher value files?

The traditional Macrostock agencies are now often selling for much less than the micros, like 2 or 3 cents for photos and 60 cents for 4k video and the Micros also have premium offerings where they suddenly dump large royalty fees into your lap.

These days you really can't go by the list prices in their web shop window anymore. Which makes it so difficult for artists to figure out what to put where.

In the end every agency is simply their own marketplace, like a small village and customers that have a contract with them, usually try to source as much as they can from one place only. Very few people or companies will have contracts with several marketplaces.

Usually people will pick one place and stay with it, if it serves most of their needs.

If you really want to maximize income, I don't see how you can avoid having non exclusive content. It is also good for artists to have several marketplaces, in case one place acts up. Competition is healthy.

But also having a fair trade place with exclusive content, in addition to spreading far and wide is very good, especially if you can set your own prices.

So the pond5 exclusive initiative is a great opportunity.

Oh ok thanks, I didn't know it was that bad with the macro