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Author Topic: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry  (Read 13082 times)

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« Reply #75 on: March 29, 2019, 08:07 »
0
How much time have you invested?
Less than one month  :D


Shelma1

« Reply #76 on: March 29, 2019, 08:07 »
+2
I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
Ive 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 couldnt 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 months 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
Or find more details on the subject in my blog here.

Should you feel tempted too, Ill 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.

« Reply #77 on: March 29, 2019, 08:11 »
0
Now after a months 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? ???


swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #78 on: March 29, 2019, 08:15 »
+2
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.


swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #79 on: March 29, 2019, 08:23 »
0
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 :)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 08:30 by swisschocolate »

ShadySue

« Reply #80 on: March 29, 2019, 08:45 »
0

« Reply #81 on: March 29, 2019, 08:49 »
0
I'd love someone to come up with disruptive innovation to drive prices back up.
Ive 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 couldnt 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 months 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
Or find more details on the subject in my blog here.

Should you feel tempted too, Ill 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.

« Reply #82 on: March 29, 2019, 08:54 »
+1
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  :)

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #83 on: March 29, 2019, 08:57 »
+1
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.

« Reply #84 on: March 29, 2019, 10:33 »
+2
Yes, yet another member using the SEO from this site to build up their own site.  ::)

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #85 on: March 29, 2019, 11:40 »
+3
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.

« Reply #86 on: March 29, 2019, 12:40 »
+3
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.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 12:46 by Daryl Ray »

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #87 on: March 29, 2019, 12:55 »
+2
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
« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 13:00 by swisschocolate »

« Reply #88 on: March 29, 2019, 13:10 »
+11
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.

« Reply #89 on: March 29, 2019, 14:02 »
+2
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.

« Reply #90 on: March 29, 2019, 14:20 »
+1
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.

« Reply #91 on: March 29, 2019, 14:30 »
+2
Nobody is stopping him from forming a union or trying whatever he wants. Just go ahead and do it, instead of complaining.

I really dont 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.


« Reply #92 on: March 29, 2019, 14:30 »
+4
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

« Reply #93 on: March 29, 2019, 14:35 »
+2
...
 
 

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

« Reply #94 on: March 29, 2019, 14:57 »
+1
..
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 months 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 
 

« Reply #95 on: March 29, 2019, 15:30 »
0
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 companys 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.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #96 on: March 29, 2019, 15:51 »
+1
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.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 15:55 by Uncle Pete »

« Reply #97 on: March 29, 2019, 15:58 »
+1
..
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 months 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...

« Reply #98 on: March 30, 2019, 02:42 »
+1

.

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.

« Reply #99 on: March 30, 2019, 03:01 »
0

.

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.


 

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