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Author Topic: What's the perfect solution Contributor / Agency  (Read 6825 times)

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« on: July 22, 2018, 10:32 »
0
Hypothetical:  There's a new agency and it looks very professional, they have a lot of great images and videos, they have a decent advertising budget and the CEO is willing to listen to Contributors before anyone else.

The CEO has watched the rise and fall of larger agencies like Getty and the generosity of Videoblocks (to a point)

So here's a blank canvas and a chance to air our views.  What do we as contributors consider a fair balance.  How do we help an agency survive and thrive while we make a good return for our hard work.  I look forward to your needs, wants and wishes.

Why am I asking this? I will be launching a new site in September and want to do things differently.  We have a good launch investment and a very experienced stock team.  Let's do it the right way and stay that way!


« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2018, 10:37 »
+3
Quote
The CEO has watched the rise and fall of larger agencies like Getty and the generosity of Videoblocks (to a point)
So what did you learn from what you've seen?

« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2018, 10:40 »
+3
Average contributor royalties for images have held steady at $1 for a while. That may have worked well in the past when larger volumes were easier to obtain, but not so much now. I've thought for a while that average royalty should be in $5 to $10 range to maintain a lot healthier and profitable model for contributors. Selling images for $20 and receiving $10 (or 50%) would be great. There's not much chance of that happening as long as subscription services dominate the landscape.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2018, 10:40 »
+1
Keywording, keywording, keywording.
RM not RF.

farbled

« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2018, 10:41 »
+2
Proper curating of images is a biggie. If you go for volume at least have tiers so that crap can go for a buck, and better images go for a higher price, same with exclusive images, reward people who commit to your business. Have a reason for us to grow and advance to the next level.

Stick to what you promise contributors initially, if you have to cut, cut from your side.

Have a commission that actually is attractive for a contributor. 

Have opt-ins for affiliate programs.

Have a clearly stated minimum earning that someone can earn per image (including from affiliates). No one likes seeing a photo go for hundreds of dollars and then get 38 cents in commission.

Sales from day one.Too many start-ups over promise and under deliver. Few want to take a chance anymore. My 2 cents.


« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 10:45 »
0
istock is the ideal/dream agency

« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2018, 11:32 »
+4
Listen to customers before anyone else too many sites offer a great %age payout and prices for contributors but can't actually sell anything. Businesses are driven by customers not suppliers. I'm not a buyer but I would guess for them an accurate search engine that delivers quality images would be a huge advantage. Whether we like it or not attracting contributors is not a problem agencies often face.

niktol

« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2018, 11:40 »
+1
the CEO is willing to listen to Contributors before anyone else.

If he's willing to listen to contributors before anyone else, it's not very likely that I will subscribe.

nobody

« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2018, 11:58 »
+1
out of the companies (over 20) that I submit to I feel Adobe Stock is the best overall.  Fairly easy to upload, good support and promotions. 

« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2018, 12:38 »
+6
If it doesnt have a USP for buyers, its not worth worrying about.

nobody

« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2018, 12:44 »
+2
If it doesnt have a USP for buyers, its not worth worrying about.

for some that might not know what a USP is:

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2018, 13:58 »
+4
Quote
How do we help an agency survive and thrive while we make a good return for our hard work.

I'm skeptical because it seems that I've heard it all before and when it comes to earning money from sales of new "exciting" agencies, it's slow going, at least for me.

Take Picfair as an example, they want to revolutionise the business but sales are low. 80% royalties from $0 is lower than 15% royalties from $0.01+. Wemark with their block-chain concept will launch soon and are supposed to be a game-changer, time will tell. I'll give them a chance. Almost everything ends up in Getty anyway and that's bad news for contributors!

Quote
decent advertising budget

How is a "decent advertising budget" useful  SS and Getty allegedly have preference on Google search results (ref: Dreamstime v Google complaint - source: https://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2693&context=historical)

-----

So without sounding pessimistic, how can a new entrant compete with old and tired methods? Subs seem to be the preferred choice of most buyers but heading down this direction is nothing new or exciting. Perhaps a curated RM/RF exclusive site with a specific niche catering to clients' needs (like LGBT-specific or only drone aerials or 8K video, etc).

Curious to find out more info and hope it leads to a fruitful & constructive discussion (which can be quite rare on here).


« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2018, 15:05 »
+4
The object of an agency is to connect suppliers to customers and customers to suppliers. This can only be a three way proposition, suppliers, agency, customers. All must be considered. If you are only focusing on suppliers you have already failed and just don't know it.

An agency creates it's worth by connecting one supplier to many customers. It also earns it's worth by connecting one customer to many suppliers. In effect, a pipe connecting many to many. The agency has to facilitate the connections and generally makes it's earnings by a percentage of the pass-through transactions. Concentrating only on any one (or two) of the the three parts is a death nell to the system. Customers want low, or at least competitive, prices. Suppliers want high, or at least competitive, prices. Agencies want a viable percentage of throughput to run their business and pay salaries. Ignoring any of the three is disaster. Each single point of view plays against the remaining two.

So being in the middle of a transaction, your place is to ask and answer this question of suppliers and buyers: What can I do to help?  That is: What are the problems of getting your sale/purchase connected and completed and how can I facilitate that? So you have to provide a Win (sale) to your suppliers and a Win to your buyers (purchase) before you can collect a percentage of the pass through. What is your unique technique to make this three way plan work? What failures have you seen already in the industry and where/why did they fail in the transaction process? What will you do differently?

« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2018, 15:07 »
+1
At least 50% cut and set own pricing, plus agency can add supplementary selling models like Pond5 did  ;D this is the most democratic and fair offer.

oh and also don't try to 'fix' search engine to make it 'fair' to everyone, because you can't and ended up make it even more buggy ;D just don't touch it let it grow by contributor merit.

« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2018, 15:16 »
+1
Agreed with Brazilnut, at this point a niche market would be the best option and also you should  require all your contributors to submit images exclusively to avoid having millions of duplicated images that are already available on 10 different sites. But to get exclusive contributors youd have to offer them a pretty good deal :)

« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2018, 15:59 »
+1
...But to get exclusive contributors youd have to offer them a pretty good deal :)

As always, I can easily be bought. The phone lines are open. :D

« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2018, 16:20 »
0
Agreed with Brazilnut, at this point a niche market would be the best option and also you should  require all your contributors to submit images exclusively to avoid having millions of duplicated images that are already available on 10 different sites. But to get exclusive contributors youd have to offer them a pretty good deal :)
Thats just not going to happen is it?


« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2018, 16:27 »
+8
For me, I'd need to hear a good answer to why a customer would want to license content from you versus Shutterstock or Adobe Stock (if you're including video, there might be other agencies to compare yourself to).

If you can't answer that realistically, there's nothing else to discuss.

Some unrealistic answers might include "I'll have more content", "I'll have a great looking web site", "I'll have the best search", "I'll have better content than existing agencies", "I'll be cheaper than other agencies", "I'll have subscriptions with unlimited downloads".

If you're thinking of exclusive content at your agency, you really need to be specific about what you had in mind. If you have an exclusive image of some citrus slices, that's really a fudge, because everyone else has citrus slices that are functionally equivalent even though your specific shots are nowhere else. What can you offer that other existing agencies don't? For contributors, exclusive work with a brand new agency is a huge ask - something Stocksy was able to do when it started in part because of the reputation of the founders.

Regarding the notion of doing things right and staying that way, one of the elements (among many) that has made really bad behavior easy for existing agencies is the contributor agreement that allows them to modify the agreement at any time just by updating the web site, in many cases with no notice requirement. Agencies can close contributor accounts with minimal notice and for any or no reason. There are no contributor rights to information about agency deals - such as a situation where an agency does a deal with a large purchaser - like Google or Facebook - and the agency gets a large fee structured separately from the licensing of individual images, meaning that money doesn't get shared with contributors. There are typically too few (or no) opt-out rights for contributors who don't like certain deals.

Although new agencies need content to get going, once an agency is successful, the power imbalance shifts, and with the right to modify a contributor agreement essentially at will, agencies run roughshod over those who brought them to the party and made them the success they are. Given an agency spends a ton of money on building an online marketplace and attracting customers, investors are understandably nervous if there's any leverage given to contributors who could, theoretically, empty the store if they're not happy.

So, without the agency being legally on the hook to stick to its promises, a savvy contributor will treat all initial assurances about things in the future as pretty words with no real meaning.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 21:16 by Jo Ann Snover »

« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2018, 16:50 »
+1
I do think that having a better search is not unrealistic though I have to admit I'm not an expert in that area but it seems to me that's the biggest weakness in the current sites.

« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2018, 17:04 »
+2
Hypothetical:  There's a new agency and it looks very professional, they have a lot of great images and videos, they have a decent advertising budget and the CEO is willing to listen to Contributors before anyone else.


I feel I'm being primed, you say you are "willing to listen to Contributors before anyone else.", but you have the money, the team and a launch date.  What bull, who havn't you listened to before coming here?

namussi

« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2018, 20:29 »
+1
Before the launch, contributors have (some) bargaining power with a new agency.

Namely, it needs content. No content means no customers. So it makes sense to be nice to contributors while also wooing customers.

But, after growing for a little while, an agency will be far bigger than any individual contributor, and so the balance of power shifts.

There's little need to be nice to contributors any more. There's a massive supply of them.

Customers are the people to be nice to. They supply the dollars.

And if the customers want subscriptions, etc, then they'll get them.



EDITED: Jo Ann Snover (above) makes similar points and makes some of them better than I have. Apologies Jo Ann for not noticing your post before I wrote mine.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 20:43 by namussi »

namussi

« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2018, 20:33 »
+1
Hypothetical:  There's a new agency and it looks very professional, they have a lot of great images and videos, they have a decent advertising budget and the CEO is willing to listen to Contributors before anyone else.

The CEO has watched the rise and fall of larger agencies like Getty and the generosity of Videoblocks (to a point)

So here's a blank canvas and a chance to air our views.  What do we as contributors consider a fair balance.  How do we help an agency survive and thrive while we make a good return for our hard work.  I look forward to your needs, wants and wishes.

Why am I asking this? I will be launching a new site in September and want to do things differently.  We have a good launch investment and a very experienced stock team.  Let's do it the right way and stay that way!

There are three basic strategies a company can follow: Cost Leadership (being the cheapest), Differentiation (think Apple), or Focus (niche).

Which one is your agency going to use?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 00:18 by namussi »

PZF

« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2018, 01:03 »
+1
Sales. Lots of them.

« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2018, 06:37 »
0
Set up and appointment with the new owners of Flickr, get on an aeroplane and arrive at their offices with a plan to run and manage a "monetise" strategy on their platform. Forget going it alone, you need a much stronger brand and existing content behind you to get this to work at this stage of the game.

And by the sounds of things, they are going to need some help delivering a strategy for Flickr that will work.

Get the community thing going again by ensuring that photographers / designers who buy from each other get some kind of benefit. Make sure you can actually buy pics or credits using PayPal - because that's what we get paid in the first place. Make your suppliers your best referrals like it was in the "old" days. We have become very jaded because we have all been screwed over so many times before.

Then take a look at what Stocksy has done and see if there is a way of globalising that strategy. Have at least three pricing level that are driven to first capture everyone's collective works and then do your best to get exclusive content.

I'm feeling that exclusive content is the only way contributors and agencies can sustain any kind of profitable pricing. Contributing photos to stock agencies is no longer sustainable unless you live with someone else and they pay for the food.

Pricing:

Standard Stock
Approx $5 - $15 range for pics that are already on other "cheap" agencies. And do have a premium price for extended licensing etc. The revenue split for this is 70% agency, 30% contributor. And it won't change.

Exclusive Stock
Copy Stocksy pricing exactly for "exclusive" content that is only available on Flickr. The revenue split for this is 60% to 40% - in favour of the contributor! Do the maths and see what happens when you charge more for exclusive pictures. You will make so much more at a higher price even at a lower commission! Then lock this commission in for contributors who take the chance with you now and make their entire portfolios exclusive with you and you for the next 12 months. First year offing - 60%/40% for the contributor forever. Thereafter, sorry, it's 65% agency, 35% contributor.

Premium Stock
Offer contributors the option to price their own creative works. 60% to 40% in favour of the agency unless they are full time exclusives then it's at the agreed rate.

"Paparazzi"
Auction rights to hot off the press news events from around the world. Allow news agencies to bid against each other for limited time rights. These editorial images go straight to the editorial collection if they are not purchased.

Hybrid RF/RM rights - The default license is RF, but a business can buy the file as a premium purchase for 6 months, one year, two year, and three year licenses. This would only work for exclusive content. The file is taken off the market and marked as such in the portfolio. Those who have licensed the file already can obviously still use it, but the business will know that the file they have purchased will not be sold again. The point of this is that business really, really don't like it when their competitors are using the same image as them. This hybrid system is not perfect, but it can help them protect their reputation while they use the image. And that price would be $1000 to $3000 at least for the rights to take a file off the market for a year. And the contributor can agree or disagree or name their price.


« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2018, 10:09 »
0
I agree with all of your points with the exception of Flickr. I've always thought it would make more sense for a fledgling startup with any investment capital to speak of  to make a run for one of the low earner agencies. Infrastructure, contributor base and at least some customers already in place. Build from there, rebrand and restructure as necessary more along the lines of what you outlined above. At least you are not starting from scratch.


 

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