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Author Topic: Uniting contributors for better royalty, price control and safeguarding this industry  (Read 11839 times)

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ShadySue

« Reply #125 on: March 31, 2019, 18:11 »
+1
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"


« Reply #126 on: April 01, 2019, 02:55 »
+1
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.

swisschocolate

  • A girl from the Alps
« Reply #127 on: April 01, 2019, 03:07 »
0
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.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 08:34 by swisschocolate »

« Reply #128 on: April 01, 2019, 09:08 »
0
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.

« Reply #129 on: April 01, 2019, 09:29 »
+4
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. 


« Reply #130 on: April 01, 2019, 09:56 »
0
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.

« Reply #131 on: April 01, 2019, 10:54 »
+2
@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 dont 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 dont 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.

Dont 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 dont 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.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 10:57 by cobalt »

wds

« Reply #132 on: April 01, 2019, 11:15 »
+3
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.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 11:17 by wds »

« Reply #133 on: April 01, 2019, 12:03 »
+2
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.

« Reply #134 on: April 01, 2019, 12:04 »
0
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 dont allow you to pick your own prices.

Feel free to start your organization elsewhere...

« Reply #135 on: April 02, 2019, 03:25 »
+2
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)

« Reply #136 on: April 02, 2019, 03:27 »
+3
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.

« Reply #137 on: April 02, 2019, 04:16 »
0
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.

:)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 04:27 by georgep7 »

« Reply #138 on: April 02, 2019, 04:34 »
+3
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.

« Reply #139 on: April 02, 2019, 07:57 »
+2
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.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #140 on: April 02, 2019, 13:56 »
+1
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.

« Reply #141 on: April 02, 2019, 14:10 »
+1
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 cant 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?



« Reply #142 on: April 02, 2019, 14:33 »
0
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. 

« Reply #143 on: April 02, 2019, 16:47 »
0
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 cant 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.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 17:03 by Not Today »

« Reply #144 on: April 02, 2019, 18:04 »
0
istock does not have a publicly searchable gallery system. Not anymore. Only private galleries, that doesnt 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?

« Reply #145 on: April 03, 2019, 01:42 »
+2
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

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.

« Reply #146 on: April 03, 2019, 01:57 »
0
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.

« Reply #147 on: April 03, 2019, 07:50 »
0
@not today

Thank you, I didnt 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.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #148 on: April 03, 2019, 09:43 »
+1
I do think there is still money to be made in microstock.  And there probably always will...  for those who provide quality content.

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?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 10:07 by Uncle Pete »

« Reply #149 on: April 03, 2019, 10:26 »
0
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 dont come for free.



 

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