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Author Topic: WE NEED A UNION!  (Read 22753 times)

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helix7

« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2010, 13:02 »
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Well, I am one that mentioned changing direct links...

Sorry Lisa, should have clarified. I was referring to people who send buyers a direct link to a specific image. Which, of course, you could still do just out of convenience, or using the same logic regarding the lightboxes (direct a buyer to a lightbox of similar images instead of a single image). And the business card thing I think a lot of people did, maybe because exclusives had cards so why not us non-exclusives, too.

But I do think it's a little crazy to link to a single image, directing a buyer to an image you know they are going to buy, at a site that will pay 20% of that sale. When most of us are already involved with sites that pay much more and could just as easily send the buyer to that other site that will pay 30%, 40%, 50% or more.

I think maybe a lot of people, you included, did link some things to istock without even thinking much about it. Hell, I did the same at one point. And when exclusives were getting their business cards, I did think to myself, "Well that's silly, I can get cards printed at Overnightprints.com for $40 with an istock referral link on them.

That was all also a few years ago. Obviously the game has changed quite a bit, especially in light of recent announcements.

In the context of whether we should be forming a union or not, I still vote no. And as mentioned earlier, I think we can do more good by making changes to the way we do business with istock and how we regard them as the top of the heap in microstock, when clearly they should no longer be regarded in such a way.


alias

« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2010, 13:22 »
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@Leaf: have you thought of doing it as an offshoot of MSG ? You already exist. This could be the hub of the new site. Everyone is here already. Maybe what you are thinking and what FD is thinking is complimentary.

Initial inspection ? Easy: peer review - provide a link showing that another site we all respect has already accepted it. That will cover the first 5 million images at least :) Fastest growing site in history. Will it scale ? Will the bandwidth be too expensive ?

« Reply #52 on: September 08, 2010, 13:35 »
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Well, I am one that mentioned changing direct links...

But I do think it's a little crazy to link to a single image, directing a buyer to an image you know they are going to buy, at a site that will pay 20% of that sale. When most of us are already involved with sites that pay much more and could just as easily send the buyer to that other site that will pay 30%, 40%, 50% or more.
 

I think it's a little crazy to link any image you have promoted to any agency. Would it not be better to sell it yourself?

« Reply #53 on: September 08, 2010, 13:36 »
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Moreover, anybody running the site will be perceived as a competitor by the existing stock sites, and personally, I don't like to give up my earnings and karma at DT or SS. Because, they will retaliate (rightly so).

This is a very serious issue indeed. While I am ready to invest (and possibly lose) $1000 on a project I trust, I am not ready to resign from the major sites, it would be an unsustainable loss for me.

I think that both you and FD made very good points. It's true that a new stock site needs exclusive contents in order to stand out and on the other hand that it's too risky to quit all major sites. My incomes depend on stock photography and microstock is still my core business.

Said that, I really hope that a coop will be put in place next time one of the big4 will come up with a royalty cut  ;)
Thinking loudly....instead of resigning from all agencies, what about stop uploading there and give all our contents (old and new) to the coop site?

Any idea is welcome!

« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2010, 13:37 »
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And as mentioned earlier, I think we can do more good by making changes to the way we do business with istock and how we regard them as the top of the heap in microstock, when clearly they should no longer be regarded in such a way.

The problem is when I get my check every month, they are top of the heap. It would be great for these others sites with better policies to overtake the big 4, but that isn't happening without us packing up our toys and leaving. I suppose the path of least risk would be to stop feeding the beasts and feed the young and promising agencies. That may go against the independent spirit of everyone gets everything though. I guess you could try a variety of exclusive collections at individual agencies too (ones that offer image exclusivity). With things being slow this year and more and more agencies pulling BS, I've been thinking more and more about strategies for the future.

« Reply #55 on: September 08, 2010, 13:42 »
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@Leaf: have you thought of doing it as an offshoot of MSG ? You already exist. This could be the hub of the new site. Everyone is here already. Maybe what you are thinking and what FD is thinking is complimentary.

Initial inspection ? Easy: peer review - provide a link showing that another site we all respect has already accepted it. That will cover the first 5 million images at least :) Fastest growing site in history. Will it scale ? Will the bandwidth be too expensive ?

Really excellent ideas. (Maybe Alias is not an IS spy after all?) MSG is UGC, a stock site would be a natural outgrowth.

Is startup capital is needed, if half of the top 2% of microstockers put in $1000 each, for one share in the new venture, that would be a sizable sum to start off with. The shareholders would have self-serving reasons to make sure that they uploaded their ports to the site as quickly as possible, and in helping the venture succeed in other ways.

helix7

« Reply #56 on: September 08, 2010, 13:58 »
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I think it's a little crazy to link any image you have promoted to any agency. Would it not be better to sell it yourself?



Right, obviously, and I do. But it's not always feasible. Some clients want to license an image from a reputable company, and while I consider myself reputable, I'm not an incorporated company.

Whenever someone contacts me directly about an image, I try to sell them directly. But I'm not going to say "no" if they ask to buy through an agency, and if I have a choice in the matter, I'll send them to the agency that give me the biggest cut.

« Reply #57 on: September 08, 2010, 13:59 »
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I think that "share holding macro+micro agency" for photographers is a very good idea, better than Union...
The idea of the union will be "operating principle" of that new agency...
Also to allow new photographers in the future to purchase new shares from the agency through the IPO...That will be new money for development...
Then all profit will be (after all costs, marketing, servers, etc.) in hands of a photographers, and imagine the future and impact on the development of this business in general... :o :o :o
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 14:00 by borg »

« Reply #58 on: September 08, 2010, 14:14 »
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Exactly.
I imagine myself in the place of Getty/IS management watching this thread and the others which propose threats to me. Which threats really scare me?
2. The threat of a campaign by thousands of microstock creators smearing Getty and IS in the eyes of graphics designers, as a company which unfairly exploits artists. Every company which sells the the public has to worry about PR and many spend millions on it. This kind of PR cannot be good for Getty.
1. Microstockers start a new company to sell their images in a new and better way. It's how iStock got started, and changed the whole world of RF image licensing, and not in a way that was good for Getty. If I were Getty (and SS and DT and so on) this would scare me the most.

"Getty bought a community. That was what crowd-sourcing was all about. That was why IS was such a thing. That is still where the next opportunity lies." Alias, http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/istock-changing-royalty-structure/200/

"...The only hope is that in our connected world things change so quickly that a much better alternative for photographers might arise at any given point. The middle man is taking now the largest straw......but for how long ?" Cristian http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/istock-changing-royalty-structure/225/


I think that "share holding macro+micro agency" for photographers is a very good idea, better than Union...
The idea of the union will be "operating principle" of that new agency...
Also to allow new photographers in the future to purchase new shares from the agency through the IPO...That will be new money for development...
Then all profit will be (after all costs, marketing, servers, etc.) in hands of a photographers, and imagine the future and impact on the development of this business in general... :o :o :o

« Reply #59 on: September 08, 2010, 14:22 »
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I think it's a little crazy to link any image you have promoted to any agency. Would it not be better to sell it yourself?



Right, obviously, and I do. But it's not always feasible. Some clients want to license an image from a reputable company, and while I consider myself reputable, I'm not an incorporated company.

Whenever someone contacts me directly about an image, I try to sell them directly. But I'm not going to say "no" if they ask to buy through an agency, and if I have a choice in the matter, I'll send them to the agency that give me the biggest cut.


Why not use photoshelter, photodeck, clustershot etc.?

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #60 on: September 08, 2010, 14:34 »
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instead of resigning from all agencies, what about stop uploading there and give all our contents (old and new) to the coop site?
Any idea is welcome!

I think this is actually the way to go. As I already said, I am not angry with existing agencies: they're just doing their interests, each in a more or less acceptable way for us contributors; I'm looking for any means to do our own interests as well.

I wouldn't even stop uploading to them; the important thing is to upload to the new coop site as well: full portfolio, not just exclusive images (which is unsustainable); and maybe even resuming uploads to minor existing sites: although I promised to myself long ago to stop uploading to minor sites - and I actually did - as they are presently a waste of time, maybe it's time to give them a chance again, not looking for immediate results but thinking to long term.

I am not looking for revenge, I am looking for a long term sustainable future for us in microstock: this means moving slowly towards a better model, but in the meanwhile we must take care not to damage ourself too much; microstock is an important revenue for many of us, and destroying the current system before a new better one is ready means starving. And while we're starving, it's difficult to have the strenght to fight for a better future.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 14:40 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #61 on: September 08, 2010, 14:35 »
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Would be a nice Idear. I suggest it to be based in Denmark, as a Coop under danish regulations are taxfree.

Yuri is based i Aarhus, Denmark - he's the kind of person who has to drive to launch a thing like this.

50%50% split - 10% of earning reserved for payout after 12 months - to further found the coop - a 100 $ downpayment for a part of the coop, and the right to contribute pictures. Alternatively the firs 100$ in earnings to to buy you in.

A good stockcompagny - micro or not - stands or falls with it's abaility to marketing the content. IS has been very good at this, but a coop could be e really good idear, and very strong finansially.

« Reply #62 on: September 08, 2010, 14:49 »
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Ok! We need the best country to register "the company"... Denmark is quite good... ;)
Also we don't need completely new shell. Probably there is on market, one surviving agency with needed infrastructure "servers, office etc.)
Then collect initial capital from photographers, issuance of shares of the first round, new brand and logo, etc.
Idea of 50%-50% is ok, all those earnings that remain in the agency ( the other 50 % ) will be back anyway to photographers through annual dividend ... Of course, after tax, marketing, maintenance etc.
Transparent agency for every photographer all the time...

Also , protection from "hostile takeover" through a contract that will guarantee 51% of shares  remain in the hands of photographers constantly...

Fotonaut

« Reply #63 on: September 08, 2010, 15:07 »
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Yay has been kind enough to outline how they have built their system upon open source: http://yaymicro.com/view.action?page=open_source_stock_photo_yaymicro

« Reply #64 on: September 08, 2010, 15:13 »
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I think this is actually the way to go. As I already said, I am not angry with existing agencies: they're just doing their interests, each in a more or less acceptable way for us contributors; I'm looking for any means to do our own interests as well.
The main admin and the driving members of such a coop can kiss their ports goodbye on DT and SS. Anything a contributor can do is steer his sales to the best sites by catching random traffic by soaring on the free thermals of Google. If you start a competitive site, you will have to soar on expensive fuel under "enemy" fire.

« Reply #65 on: September 08, 2010, 15:33 »
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Yay has been kind enough to outline how they have built their system upon open source: http://yaymicro.com/view.action?page=open_source_stock_photo_yaymicro

Great link, I had no idea.

I don't know anything about the business climate or structure in Denmark, but the rest of Borg's ideas seem well worth thinking about. Now might be the perfect time to start a new stock agency.

It's possible that microstock is about to undergo major changes. If Paypal does what they have announced here:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100813/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_paypal_micropayments
then the subscription and credit models may become unnecessary. Why would buyers buy sets of credit or subscribe if single images can be sold for a very low transaction fee? I know a lot of people do not like Paypal, but the credit card companies/banks have similar micropayment products in the works.

And like FD-Regular, plan to use Google for your search engine in part, or maybe in whole eventually. And like Alias said, don't pay reviewers, just accept images which have been reviewed elsewhere. These things might make your costs so low that you could actually undercut the current agencies on price and still make a profit for investors, and pay contributors a fair percentage, near 50%.

"The main admin and the driving members of such a coop can kiss their ports goodbye on DT and SS." FD-Regular
Would we have to make the names of the investing/owning contributors public?

ap

« Reply #66 on: September 08, 2010, 15:57 »
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i think instead of starting a brand new co-op, or at least till it's set up (at some indeterminate future), we should just negotiate with an agency already up and running, and throw ALL our support to them. right now, the two candidate are cutcaster and stockfresh for their higher commissions and their vast experience.

so, if one can't be king, we can still be the king maker. 


helix7

« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2010, 16:01 »
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i think instead of starting a brand new co-op, or at least till it's set up (at some indeterminate future), we should just negotiate with an agency already up and running, and throw ALL our support to them. right now, the two candidate are cutcaster and stockfresh for their higher commissions and their vast experience.

so, if one can't be king, we can still be the king maker. 

I think StockFresh stands a better chance. No offense to John, but Cutcaster isn't exactly making any progress these days.

Fotonaut

« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2010, 16:18 »
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i think instead of starting a brand new co-op, or at least till it's set up (at some indeterminate future), we should just negotiate with an agency already up and running, and throw ALL our support to them. right now, the two candidate are cutcaster and stockfresh for their higher commissions and their vast experience.

so, if one can't be king, we can still be the king maker. 

Problem is; how to guarante the new king won't be sold to Getty once it has momentum. History speaks against Stockfresh in that regard.

ap

« Reply #69 on: September 08, 2010, 16:24 »
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that's where the negotiations come in. we as microstockers/photographers must come into agreement about what our relationship with the agency should be and how the agency should be accountable to us. an agency on their balls may see this as a great opportunity to capture a significant size of the market, right now.

« Reply #70 on: September 08, 2010, 16:29 »
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i think instead of starting a brand new co-op, or at least till it's set up (at some indeterminate future), we should just negotiate with an agency already up and running, and throw ALL our support to them. right now, the two candidate are cutcaster and stockfresh for their higher commissions and their vast experience.

so, if one can't be king, we can still be the king maker. 

Problem is; how to guarante the new king won't be sold to Getty once it has momentum. History speaks against Stockfresh in that regard.
Good point  ;D
If we are to be kingmakers, my vote for king would be GL. I've already earned a payout at GL, in half the time I have been waiting to be accepted at StockFresh. And I have dealt with a GL person and know a bit about their organization and they are good people.

But I don't like kings, and would prefer to establish a republic, and get rich. I guess that's the American in me.

« Reply #71 on: September 08, 2010, 16:36 »
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@Leaf: have you thought of doing it as an offshoot of MSG ? You already exist. This could be the hub of the new site. Everyone is here already. Maybe what you are thinking and what FD is thinking is complimentary.

Initial inspection ? Easy: peer review - provide a link showing that another site we all respect has already accepted it. That will cover the first 5 million images at least :) Fastest growing site in history. Will it scale ? Will the bandwidth be too expensive ?

Even though MicrostockGroup itself has a neutral stance on things it it still owned by me so I think having an off-shoot stock site that was a co-op would be a clash of interests.  A co-op should be totally independent unto itself and not an off-shoot of someone's site.

That said, MicrostockGroup would definitely support it.

« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2010, 16:37 »
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i think instead of starting a brand new co-op, or at least till it's set up (at some indeterminate future), we should just negotiate with an agency already up and running, and throw ALL our support to them. right now, the two candidate are cutcaster and stockfresh for their higher commissions and their vast experience.

so, if one can't be king, we can still be the king maker.  

I think StockFresh stands a better chance. No offense to John, but Cutcaster isn't exactly making any progress these days.

I wonder if they would want to sell StockFresh to a crowd of eager microstockers ;)

I think this is actually the way to go. As I already said, I am not angry with existing agencies: they're just doing their interests, each in a more or less acceptable way for us contributors; I'm looking for any means to do our own interests as well.
The main admin and the driving members of such a coop can kiss their ports goodbye on DT and SS. Anything a contributor can do is steer his sales to the best sites by catching random traffic by soaring on the free thermals of Google. If you start a competitive site, you will have to soar on expensive fuel under "enemy" fire.

Yeah, this would keep me treading quite carefully too.  I make my living from Microstock and am dependent on it. 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 16:40 by leaf »

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #73 on: September 08, 2010, 16:46 »
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I wonder if they would want to sell StockFresh to a crowd of eager microstockers

They are so worried we could buy them that they don't even allow us inside :D


Yeah, this would keep me treading quite carefully too.  I make my living from Microstock and am dependent on it.  

Me too. That's probably why we will never start a new agency despite our dreams expressed here.
However, supporting the low-earners is something we can do.

« Reply #74 on: September 08, 2010, 16:49 »
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I agree that a union is impossible.  We don't even agree with the simplest aspects here.

A group of photographers joining to create their own site is possible. It needs however a lot of work to make this successful. One should accept to lose money for a while before having a return. Are we all willing to take that risk?

Is it more risky than accepting everything from an agency?

I am not saying this is not a good idea, but people must accept a commitment without expecting a low term result. As others saids, the best thing would be having exclusive images - another strong commitment. I remember at some point in the past, when this idea was discussed, a proposition of a 6-month exclusivity period.

There are many aspects to be discussed to create a new company, especially a coop. There are legal, financial and commercial aspects. Maybe not a difficult thing when we talk about 10 people living in the same area (EEC, for instance), but a bit more complicate when we talk about a few dozen members in many different countries with portfolios varying in size and subject.


 

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