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Author Topic: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry  (Read 13123 times)

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« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2019, 12:19 »
+2
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.


« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2019, 12:25 »
0
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 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.

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2019, 12:38 »
+2
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?

« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2019, 12:42 »
+2
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

« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2019, 12:49 »
+1
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.

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2019, 13:02 »
0
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
"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 :)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 13:06 by swisschocolate »

« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2019, 13:05 »
+5
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/


« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2019, 13:20 »
+1
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 ;-).

« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2019, 13:21 »
+4
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/


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.

« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2019, 13:22 »
+3
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!!

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2019, 13:32 »
+3
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".
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 13:40 by swisschocolate »

« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2019, 13:41 »
+1
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
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 13:43 by izzikiorage »

« Reply #37 on: March 28, 2019, 13:43 »
0
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 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


« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 14:04 by izzikiorage »

« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2019, 13:44 »
0
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.

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2019, 13:48 »
0
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?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 13:50 by swisschocolate »

« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2019, 13:58 »
+1
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.

« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2019, 14:10 »
+1
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! Thats how it works. Or doesnt work, I should say.


« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2019, 14:10 »
+1
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. 

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2019, 14:13 »
0
.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 14:15 by swisschocolate »

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2019, 14:15 »
+3
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.

« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2019, 14:17 »
0
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 

ShadySue

« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2019, 14:45 »
+2
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.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2019, 16:35 »
+5
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.

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.

« Reply #48 on: March 28, 2019, 16:55 »
+3
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 dont 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.


swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #49 on: March 28, 2019, 17:09 »
+1
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.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 17:16 by swisschocolate »


 

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