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Poll

What kind of symbiosis is between agencies and contributors?

Mutualism
17 (50%)
Commensalism
2 (5.9%)
Parasitism
15 (44.1%)

Total Members Voted: 31

Author Topic: What kind of symbiosis is between agencies and contributors?  (Read 6000 times)

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« on: June 15, 2009, 18:48 »
0
Mutualism - when both species involved benefit from the relationship.
Commensalism - when one species benefits and the other isnt affected.
Parasitism - when one species benefits, and the other is harmed in the process.


puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 18:58 »
0
You know what it is? It's because being global, it is more difficult to get any of these sites considered illegal. What makes it any different from the nigerian scam or any other crooked deals to squeeze money out of the public? It's all done via the net, so which country has the jurisdiction to get the owners to court? No one. That is why this is the best way to make money out of everyone. The perfect crime, huh?

bittersweet

« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 18:59 »
0
Is it true parasitism if the host is a willing participant?

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 19:02 »
0
Is it true parasitism if the host is a willing participant?

If you mean guest, as the site is the host, then you are right. It's more like getting into a business deal where your "partners" are the most corrupted and have schemes to soak you out of every penny. Similar to embezzlement.

« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 19:07 »
0
Not willing participants. The agencies have amended the agreements many times as they see fit. Most of us go along with them because of the imbalance of power.

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 19:19 »
0
Or like, we have poison in our blood (inability to sell images ourselves), so we get a doctor to attach leeches (microstock agents) to our skin in the hope it gets rid of the poison.. the reality is that the leeches merely drain your blood, leaving you in a worse condition than when you started, while they get fat and happy  ;)

« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2009, 22:25 »
0
Maybe it's too early in the voting, or maybe it's just me, but seeing that 6/8 people have selected 'parasite' makes me wonder why I'm still bothering to visit this forum.

My question to the six people (so far) who view their agencies as parasites is this: Why are you still involved with them? If you view all microstock agencies as parasites, why are you still involved in this industry?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 22:38 by sharply_done »

bittersweet

« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2009, 23:19 »
0
My question to the six people (so far) who view their agencies as parasites is this: Why are you still involved with them? If you view all microstock agencies as parasites, why are you still involved in this industry?


Exactly the point I was trying to make.


« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2009, 00:26 »
0
I can't imagine what would make anybody stay in what they perceived as a parasite situation. 
I make a lot of money out of stock the fact that the sites make more than I do in most cases is besides the point the same happens in my day job.  I have more respect for sites like DT that give us a better cut but it doesn't mean that the others are parasites.

« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2009, 02:11 »
0
I hope my relationship with the sites is on a more professional basis than that of a parasite and host.
We both benefit, so it cannot be a parasitic relationship. No one here uploads their pictures for nothing.
If you think it is a scam, like the Nigerians, then stop uploading. Simple.

What I do feel is lacking in the case of some of the agencies, is respect.

What I feel is wrong is to put all the agencies under one label. Some are much better than others. My recent interaction with three different smaller agencies has been great, leaving me feeling that they are people who care.

I was looking for a word like racism that applies to stock agencies. I don't think it has been invented yet, but it is what we a doing here.

« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2009, 02:14 »
0
Mutualism - when both species involved benefit from the relationship.
This is the most likely,  as both benefit from the relationship, the Photographer benefits by getting thier products in front of the customer and receiving the revenue without any of the marketing overhead, the stocksites benefit by having a ready supply of content to licence, there might be a case for how fair the percentages are, but both parties do benefit.

Parasitism - when one species benefits, and the other is harmed in the process.
This has been choosen by most, but this is a double edged sword, look at the websites that have gone under in the last couple of years, they might argue that photographers had the benefit of having their images inspected for free, and got good feedback to help the photographer improve their business skills, but the stocksite was harmed by a quantity of sub-standard content that was uploaded, after review and feedback some contributors still uploaded sub-standard content and the cost of reviewing this content damaged the stocksite by increasing the cost to market.
I would think that because content review requires manual interaction this would be the largest cost in getting an image to market, taking the raw cost paid to the reviewer to review each image, add in a percentage to cover reviewing images that then get rejected, and another percentage for accepted images that never sell, then storage and bandwith.

David


David  ;)

  
« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 02:21 by Adeptris »

« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2009, 02:28 »
0
I really believe that anybody who is seeing agencies as parasites and not canceling their contributions is a hypocrite or a masochist. If you don't profit from a business relationship, why would you continue otherwise?

« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2009, 02:43 »
0
^^^ Exactly.

The 'Big Six' (probably soon to become the 'Big Five') are paying out something like $8-9M PER MONTH to contributors __ about $100M per year. Even under the current economic conditions that figure is still accelerating too.

If you already happened to own a camera, a lens and a PC (as most of us did)then submitting to microstock was effectively a risk-free operation.

Hundreds of amateur photographers around the world have been delighted to give up their 'day job' and are now able to earn a living, many of them a very good living, working from their home as professional photographers.

It is simply absurd to describe the agencies as 'parasites'.

« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2009, 18:28 »
0
I agree that choosing anything other than mutualism doesn't make sense, but I believe it is resentment about site changes that made people choose parasitism.  Just for the protest, I guess, not an accurate description of the real situation.

« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2009, 21:05 »
0
I think it would be mutualism if the commission split was 50/50.

One can always argue that the costs of doing business; advertising, server maintenance, bandwith etc, etc, would dictate that our 'agents' deserve the bigger slice of the pie.... so lets give them 60%  ;)
However, ANY business bears these costs regardless.
Most businesses have to pay for their stock and then make whatever % over cost that they can.
Some (furniture stores) markup is 100%.
Other models call for a 30% margin.
In the very expensive end of things (diamonds for instance) sometimes the margins may be as little as 10%!
Yet all these business models seem to work and often the owners make a very good living. Some even become quite wealthy.

Enter this business model, where the product (our work) is free and they only pay us what? 20-25% IF it sells.
Few of us are getting rich in this scenario, many are losing money or are just in it to have fun...but the site owners (the successful ones anyway) are getting wealthy from our blood sweat and tears.

Parasitic is too strong a word, but exploitation does come to mind.

I am in no way speaking about ALL the sites. Some do seem to be more fair than others, and that is where I choose to sell my wares  ;D


« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2009, 21:10 »
0
I didnt vote as I feel it is very unbalanced and feel that things have gotten worse over the past year, part of this I feel is just the industry, increased competition, and overall economic climate etc.  

I do see that changes were made by the agency at StockXpert when they brought in subs, lesser but still some changes at fotolia when they did the same, and most recently changes at istock re photos.com, so I dont feel it is entirely "parasitic". However each of these changes (and in particular the original offerings, especially original photos.com) and my recent dealings with pixmac have left me with the feeling that the agencies dont care a great deal about contributors and consider them a mob of gullible sheep who will go along with any new deal, even to their detriment.  Maybe its wrong but I dont feel there is a lot of respect for contributors and couldnt agree with idealistic equal mutualism.  

but I gain income, skills, knowledge etc and really the most important thing is that it is a choice that I make.  It could be better but no-one makes me upload to these sites and I can go so far as to remove my images when I please (albeit with some delays), to me that rules out parasites.  I think if you are really thinking that the agencies are parasitic, you really have to ask yourself why are you doing this, is this the situation you really want, perhaps it is time to rethink doing stock and look at other areas, something you will enjoy more :)


« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2009, 22:05 »
0
Why are you still involved with them? If you view all microstock agencies as parasites, why are you still involved in this industry?

Because living with a parasite is better than no life at all?  ;D

The question is too generalizing. Some sites behave like parasites, some don't at all. I would never describe SS and certainly DT as "parasites". About a couple of others, I have my doubts. I have left those or never joined.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 22:11 by FlemishDreams »

« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2009, 02:17 »
0
Most businesses have to pay for their stock and then make whatever % over cost that they can.
Some (furniture stores) markup is 100%.
Other models call for a 30% margin.
In the very expensive end of things (diamonds for instance) sometimes the margins may be as little as 10%!
Yet all these business models seem to work and often the owners make a very good living. Some even become quite wealthy.

Enter this business model, where the product (our work) is free and they only pay us what? 20-25% IF it sells.
You would be amazed at the number of products in the high street that are there on SOR 'sale or return', much fresh produce is supplied like this, pay for what is sold and destroy whats left, and other products where the supplier supplies on a SOR basis and still the store owners dictate what the supply price will be.

Just like this industry the stores cover all the overhead costs of bringing the product to market, and pay the vendor only when there is a sale, more popular goods will get more exposure and a higher position on the shelf, poor performing products get moved to less space and a lower shelf until the store or supplier pulls the product.

Part of this relationship is that the stores will do the work to know what the competition is doing and what price the market will bear at the time, based on what market the store is aiming for will attract different products from their suppliers range, high volume products to the superstores, high value to the specialist and niche stores.

We just need to think like the suppliers and target our goods based on quality and content into the different stores to maximise the return, if you sell specialist or niche products through a superstore for a high volume low value return then that is your choice, or just a result of you not knowing where your product fits in the market, do you ever think 'that was a bargin I would have paid a lot more for that'.

I work in IT where the charge out rates are over $2000 a day and the resource or contractor rate is 30% of that, you would think that the companies are making a very high net profit but many fail and others report profits of between 3% - 5%, what tends to happen is we only focus on the raw selling and cost prices and not the overheads, extra costs of sale values.

If the websites could charge a lot more for the products they would, but they have to be realistic and fluid with their model to reflect changes in the market and manage customer expectation to survive, when a stock site fails the supplier may loose a couple of hundred dollars in effort, the investors in these failures loose millions, so have a far higher risk.

If you do not trust a website then you should not contribute to it, that is a choice you have in a free market.  

David  ;)
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 02:19 by Adeptris »

Squat

  • If you think you know, you know squat
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2009, 08:29 »
0
Wow, us, Agencies really need a makeover.  I hope people don't feel that way about our company. What a nightmare of a feeling and perception and i am sorry that some of you feel that way.  I see it being completely mutual and helping one another. 

I wonder how buyers would answer this question.

i did not vote at all.  i don't think it makes a diff. but like John said, i wonder how buyers would answer this question. even more importantly I wonder big time how the sites' CEOs would answer to this.

the latter is the only thing that matters to us contributors.

« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2009, 10:34 »
0
It's not parasitism - it's a textbook "abusive relationship".  You used to be worth $1, but one day I say you're only worth 50 cents. Take it or leave it, that's how it is.

... well now I think you're only worth 30 cents.  Here's the money, walk away if you want.

... did I say 30 cents? I meant 25 cents.

... your lousy pictures are worth 12 cents.  I'm tossing the coins at your feet, I want to watch you pick them up.

... 6 cents, you scum.  Count yourself lucky.

... 2 cents, dog.

... want me to look at your pictures? Give me 10 cents...



« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 10:59 by stockastic »

lisafx

« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2009, 11:05 »
0
I agree that choosing anything other than mutualism doesn't make sense, but I believe it is resentment about site changes that made people choose parasitism.  Just for the protest, I guess, not an accurate description of the real situation.

This sounds right to me.  

Obviously there is a mutual relationship.   But over the last year or so the balance of benefits does seem to be subtly shifting more to the agency side and away from the contributors on a number of sites, and that probably accounts for the anger and feelings of "parasitism".  In a genuinely mutual relationship the scales should be pretty close to equal.

If it was truly a parasitic relationship then, as Whatalife suggests,  the host (contributors) in this analogy would stop willingly participating.

I am not going to vote because I don't think the relationship is accurately characterized in any of the three choices.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 11:07 by lisafx »

« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2009, 13:27 »
0
50% votes for parasitism ??? Must be a joke.   ( Or Old Hippy cloned into 14 new idiots)  Start an own site, and see how cheap it is...

« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2009, 14:57 »
0
Well said Sharply Done.

Thx,
Jonathan

« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2009, 20:11 »
0
Right on Sharply_Done.
Smiling Jack


 

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