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Author Topic: WE NEED A UNION!  (Read 22742 times)

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larsfrisk

« on: September 08, 2010, 04:10 »
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I guess this have been discussed before, but isn't it time to start an International Microstock Union? An organization that could take the fight for us, try to keep royalties up and try to get buyers to think more about what the contributors get at the different microstock sites. They could also contact the media exposing the greedy microstock sites, giving them bad publicity.

We're being treated like slaves, and it's seems it just gets worse and worse (I guess you all know about the recent horrible changes at iStockphoto for instance...). We can't do ANYTHING about changes for the worse, except just sit there and kindly accept getting our royalties lowered over and over again. We have to fight back somehow!

We need the microstock agencies, but they need us just as much. A royalty around 50% would be fair.

There must be someone with english as native language and the right education and experience to start a union! I would GLADLY pay a monthly fee to be a member.


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 04:19 »
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Someone also proposed a new stock agency organised as a co-op, by photographers for photographers

I think it's a good idea, in addition or in conjunction to the union.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 04:24 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

larsfrisk

« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 04:27 »
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Yeah! That's a great idea! An agency runned by us.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 04:32 »
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Yeah! That's a great idea! An agency runned by us.

I stopped uploading to the new agencies because it's usually a waste of time.
But in this case - an agency runned by us - thinks would be very different: I would subscribe immediately, with a lot of motivation besides immediate results.
It may also be easier to organise the union, starting from our agency.

Of course this takes a lot of technical knowledge and money to start. But free viral marketing by enthusiastic photographers may help a lot.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 04:36 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 04:35 »
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None of these ideas have happened, probably because most of us don't have the time to run a union or a site.

I just think we should keep it simple and only use sites that offer a fair deal to contributors and buyers.  It would be easy to have a list of recommended sites and let the others know why we wont use them, so they can make changes if they want our business.

Microbius

« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2010, 04:40 »
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Those who run the site would draw a wage from it. This wouldn't be some hippy dippy idea where it would all be done voluntarily. Again, think of the John Lewis model. All contributors would be partners and profits shared amongst them, but those working for the site would still be paid before profits were calculated. It has been shown that a company run like this can out-compete the best companies run along the old model. Workers (us) are a lot more motivated to do their best for a site when they own it!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Partnership

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2010, 04:46 »
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Thanks "Microbius", I was thinking about your post I read on another thread when I said "someone" proposed this idea.

The "crap" idea of supporting the fairest agencies is also good. But has its difficulties as well: they are also the less rewarding (in absolute terms). And when I have zero sales (literally) at one agency with the same portfolio which is doing pretty well at the top 4, I feel a bit discouraged. The feeling of belonging to our own agency would overcome this initial problem for me.

EDIT: I didn't write CRAP, someone added it. Are we hacked?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 05:46 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2010, 04:56 »
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I don't think a union is the answer.  Taking your business to agencies which treat you properly is the loudest statement you can make.  And you can make that statement immediately (or in 30 days if you are exclusive, lol).  Forming a union would take much longer, and you would have no assurances that the most important contributors would join or that the most important agencies would adhere to it.

Microbius

« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2010, 04:58 »
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It would be so great if this could work. Someone has just said that IStock was the best at working the "community" game and that's why they were successful. The problem is that with a company run by external shareholders the community spirit is just something artificial to be exploited, which eventually kills off the very advantage that it bought.
With a site owned by its contributors there would be a genuine community, where we'd all be partners in the enterprise. A truly crowd sourced company.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2010, 05:04 »
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I would add that I am not angry towards the big commercial sites, expecially those which are pretty fair to us such as SS (despite the low starting price for subs).

And I don't see this proposed new site owned by us as in opposition to them but just as a new model running alongside, which could also influence positively the behaviour of commercial sites as well in the long run.

Microbius

« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2010, 05:04 »
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The problem with taking our business to competing sites is that it's only a short term solution.

As soon as the other sites reach a level where they are really successful they get sold off to companies that know how to exploit their contributors (eg. to Getty in the case of Stockxpert or IStock, and in future probably Stockfresh too!) or capitalise on their success by screwing contributors for every penny they can get (Fotolia). That's just how the system works.

Then we have to move again, to some other site that pays great percentages but is unsuccessful and on and on. We never get anywhere.  

Edited to add: just read the post above, I'm not angry either, under their model of ownership they have to act as they do, it's best for the shareholders. I just think we should also be acting in our own self-interest.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 05:28 by Microbius »

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2010, 05:14 »
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I would start our new site immediately, but I am pretty sure that it would be completely useless.

What we need is a real professional who knows how to run an agency. If done properly, it's not a naive idea but a pretty realistic one.

I would also abandon (not that you proposed it, I just read it somewhere else) the romantic idea of selling at macro prices. Micro is here to stay, it must just be a bit fairer for us.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 05:17 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2010, 05:15 »
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As I see it, there are two keys to any such move being successfull.

1. Being organised
2. Cash

If anything is going to work, key contributors need to be onboard. That means key a high percentage of IS black-diamond and diamond exclusives, not to mention the high-volume independents.

The second key as I see it is some sort of fund which could be used to start a new agency as well as an understanding that key players need to be able to survive without their exclusive income for an extended period.

Either way, now is the time to start saving your pennies for when things get bumpy.

« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2010, 05:23 »
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IF you want some organization to help there it is:

SAA

http://www.stockartistsalliance.org/

They should be able to show teeth ;-)

« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 05:28 »
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If we're going to really get this running we need to recruit contributors through facebook and twitter to get our message out.

If we can gather enough "significant contributors' or even enough standard contributors to sign up to the group we can start to have some weight.

Threatening to abandon exclusivity on istock as a response to their latest royalty alterations, just gives them a bigger share of the pie, we need to sign up cont ribtors  and go to istock with a list of, say 3000 names saying these people are willing to close their accounts if  a fairer system is not realised.

But something needs to be done while the momentum is still here, I'd say this week if someone started a twitter campaign a fair few people would be interested, nothing will do but total withdrawal of contributor accounts from istock.

Ask yourself what is istock without it's contributors? Someone at the top seems to have forgotten that, and are willing to bet that us contributors do not have the balls organise ourselves and fight back. Voices complaining in the forums will not change a single thing, a facebook group with 5000 member of a twitter following will turn some serious heads if we can get the numbers.

Microbius

« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2010, 05:30 »
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someone has hacked the site and inserted words in my posts that I can't get rid of!!! I didn't write "crap" term I wrote short term. Leaf, help!!

Microbius

« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2010, 05:33 »
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and its happened there too I wrote s h o r t


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2010, 05:42 »
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me too:

someone changed my post: The "s ha r p s h o t " idea of supporting the fairest agencies is also good
into:  The "crap" idea of supporting the fairest agencies is also good

sorry, it's not me - had this site been hacked?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 05:54 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2010, 05:58 »
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me too:

someone changed my post: The "s ha r p s h o t " idea of supporting the fairest agencies is also good
into:  The "crap" idea of supporting the fairest agencies is also good

sorry, it's not me - had this site been hacked?

sorry all... it was a censored words filter gone bad.
I had a setting to change sh*t to crap, but apparently the software took the * as a variable meaning anything starting with sh and ending in t would be changed to crap.

Sorry.. I have fixed it now.

Microbius

« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2010, 06:01 »
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that's very funny, and a relief, thanks for clearing that up. Any particular reason why the word sh*t is showing up more on the forums today?  ;D

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2010, 06:02 »
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what about launching a site called "GETTYSUCKS.com" ?

corporates hate these things....

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2010, 06:12 »
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Thanks Leaf for clarifying, I was already imagining scary scenaries :D.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 06:14 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2010, 07:30 »
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We need "MSGstockphoto" agency....

For contributors who will appreciate good working conditions for photographers...
The best contributors with experience will lead the Marketing...
Every photographer will be able to see a financial structure of business...
Also system of ESOP share holders...

Leaf, what are you waiting for, that can be big opportunity for all of us in this crucial moments...??
Many of us are willing to help and participate...
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 07:32 by borg »

« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2010, 07:51 »
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it has been suggested many times to create an agency from scratch owned by photographers. Basically, no middlemen.
This happens every time that we hear this kind of announcements from IS or FT. But after a few days people give up because it requires too much efforts.
Are we sure this is not the right time to do it?? Can we do a poll to see who is interested (I apologize but I don't remember if a poll has already been done in the past....)

Best

« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2010, 07:55 »
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Count me in...I would be up for some kind of co-op arrangement.

Here is a stock site that is for sale...we just need to re-brand it! http://flippa.com/auctions/104239/Creative-Stock-Website ;D


 

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