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Author Topic: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry  (Read 14026 times)

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« on: March 28, 2019, 01:57 »
+10
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
  • 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.
  • By ensuring that we and artists we know are routed to the fair agencies because that's where they'll find the best content
  • Calling out the unfair agencies on social media, through discussions with artists, creative firms etc

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.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 03:32 by izzikiorage »


« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 02:18 »
+2
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.

:)

dpimborough

« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 03:20 »
+15
Whilst a good idea sadly getting stock contributors to do anything as a collective group is like herding cats  :(

« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 03:20 »
+3
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

« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2019, 03:25 »
0
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

« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 03:30 »
+8
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.

« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 03:34 »
0
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

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2019, 03:34 »
+3
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 :)

dpimborough

« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 05:21 »
+6
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.


dpimborough

« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 05:23 »
+2
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
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 05:26 by Sammy the Cat »

« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2019, 05:31 »
0
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


« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2019, 05:33 »
0
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

« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2019, 07:09 »
+1
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?

« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2019, 07:25 »
+2
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 agencys money is better than nothing at all. Every couple of months, a noob comes up with this idea. Check the threads here about it. Its a great idea, but unless you have a boatload of money to do something concrete, you are just spinning your wheels. It takes money.

ShadySue

« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 07:39 »
+1
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 agencys money is better than nothing at all. Every couple of months, a noob comes up with this idea. Check the threads here about it. Its 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.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 07:41 by ShadySue »

Shelma1

« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2019, 07:45 »
+7
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.

ShadySue

« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2019, 07:54 »
+7
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).


« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2019, 09:56 »
+1
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?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 10:00 by cathyslife »

« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2019, 10:17 »
+3
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.

« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2019, 10:31 »
+10
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

wds

« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2019, 10:35 »
+2
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...

« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2019, 10:47 »
+2
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.

« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2019, 11:18 »
+5
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 dont 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 dont share the negative attitude.

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2019, 11:42 »
+4
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).
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 11:44 by swisschocolate »

« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2019, 11:57 »
+8
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 its 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 ITS 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 WONT be done though. But please, somebody prove me wrong.


 

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