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Messages - Jo Ann Snover

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1
I missed this ground-breaking news (haven't tried the feature as I've switched to an Android phone and this is just for iPhone).

https://www.dpreview.com/news/4159992671/shutterstock-ar-feature-lets-customers-preview-stock-images-as-wall-artwork

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/view-in-room-augmented-reality-tool

http://investor.shutterstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251362&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2394627

I have no idea how this got to be a priority, but perhaps they're looking for "innovations" to tout on the Q1 earnings call coming up next Thursday?

2
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Terms
« on: April 10, 2019, 22:47 »
Viewed from the Adobe contributor interface, a Fotolia credit sale will say Standard; Subscriptions are at various prices - $3.30, 99 cents, 66 cents and 38 cents mostly if it's an AS sale. FT subs sales are rare these days but they're rank based.

The sales marked as Custom are from the large corporate accounts and those numbers don't follow any pattern. Today I had one for $8.40; yesterday one for $5.86. There are a lot at 38 cents marked custom too.

3
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Terms
« on: April 03, 2019, 09:27 »
...As a result, also all existing contributors had to accept the terms of use dated June 2018 upon login to the portal.

Kirsten,

Thank you for explaining the background of this login surprise for contributors. However benign the intentions were here, I think this highlights an area which would really benefit from improvement in contributor communications.

At least two other agencies - Shutterstock and Alamy - provide clear explanations of what changed whenever the upload agreement/contributor terms of use are updated. As these documents are long and dense, it is hard otherwise to figure out what the changes are. They also send contributors email, as well as information on the contributor web site prior to requiring acceptance of the new terms.

It really helps to build trust with contributors when the agencies communicate with us over pricing, licensing and upload/contract changes.

Examples, FYI

Shutterstock terms - note the helpful summaries of each section on the right

https://submit.shutterstock.com/legal/terms

SS summary of changes the last time they happened in 2015

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/2015-contributor-terms-of-service-updates

Alamy's terms and their contract change record


https://www.alamy.com/terms/contributor.asp

https://www.alamy.com/terms/contributor-contract-changes.asp

4
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Terms
« on: April 02, 2019, 16:15 »
I can almost guarantee this is a reaction to Pond5. This is actually a positive step if they are noticing Pond5! Now everyone needs to pay 60%!

Not likely as the 90 day notice has been in place since at least 2016

There is one sentence added to the 2018 version that wasn't in that Managing your Work paragraph in 2016:

"We may remove Work or terminate your account at our sole discretion without prior notice"

5
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Terms
« on: April 02, 2019, 15:42 »
I just came here to see if I was seeing something odd - as you noted, it's bizarre that terms supposedly 10 months old are suddenly presented in a tiny box requesting our agreement. I intend to read it first - as an example I was not aware that there was a Dreamstime-like requirement to keep a portion of the work online until a 90-day notice had elapsed (edited to add that this isn't new - see below).

It doesn't look as if anyone really took care when writing these terms as paragraph 62 is probably intended to be 6.2 as a sub paragraph of section 6.

I will see if the internet archive can get us prior versions for comparison to see what might have changed.

Here is a July 2016 version of the terms and the 90 day restriction is there, so it's not new. Still looking to see what other versions I can locate

https://www.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/en/legal/servicetou/Adobe_Stock_Contributor_Agreement-en_US-20160721_1200.pdf

And here's a PDF of the new terms (easier to read than in that minuscule box presented when we try to access our account information)

https://wwwimages2.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/en/legal/servicetou/Adobe_Stock_Contributor_Agreement_Addl_Terms_en_US_20180605.pdf

I really think Mat needs to explain to us what the changes were from the prior version and why we're now being asked to acknowledge our agreement.

6
DepositPhotos / Re: Crello - competitor to Canva
« on: March 28, 2019, 21:00 »
A google search turned up a video advertising Crello from June 2017, so the service has been around a while

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0be1NVAE9M

Here's a "review" site that covers Crello and Canvas - also 2017

https://www.bittbox.com/reviews/free-online-graphic-design-editors

And another comparison from October 2017

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/crello-graphic-design-tool/

So whatever contributors are getting paid, it should have been showing up for nearly 2 years (I don't supply Deposit Photos so know nothing about the contributor interface).

It appears they are offering some new paid plans effective April 2 - here's some information that includes "free" premium photos with some plans - they're 99 cents otherwise. It'd be good to know contributors were getting paid for the freebies...

https://support.crello.com/hc/en-us/articles/360020026033-Crello-PRO-VS-Advanced-plan


7
Look.  It's been done.  It didn't work out. 
http://aspp.com/stock-artists-alliance-closing/


...That does not mean, however, that contributors cannot organize in a different way. Even a simple website with a blog can attract a following if it's relevant, and in turn help spread the word about agency practices and host calls to action.


There have been lots of contributor actions over the years microstock agencies have been around (or at least that I'm aware of since starting in the fall of 2004). Many in the early days had good results, largely because there were more agencies and none of them had much market power at that time. They all needed content and so the balance of power between contributors and agencies was less unequal than it is now.

If you want to effect change you need leverage. Calls to action aren't leverage and in an age of widespread gig economy abuse (such as Uber's treatment of drivers), the problems faced by microstock suppliers don't really stand out from the many simlar situations. So it's not clear to me how you get negative social media buzz of a sort and size that publicly shames any of the agencies for their actions and grabs buyers' attention.

One piece of leverage that often worked in the early days was withholding uploads - sites need a constant stream of new content to keep buyers coming back. That's great for contributors because it's leverage that doesn't hurt our income so badly. I don't think it works any more because the collections are so huge that I doubt anyone would notice.

OnePixel was trying to get off the ground without the one advantage that initially buoyed up the awful Dollar Photo Club - OnePixel had no content whereas DPC had the entire Fotolia library (contributors were not initially allowed an opt out). Refusing to supply OnePixel shut them down, thankfully. But with DPC, a lot of people deleted a lot of content from Fotolia to force  FT to offer an opt out - I believe there was a 6 million image drop at one point.

For a while, video contributors had some leverage because agencies were trying to build their video collections and needed content, but that fades as the collections grow, and with it the option to withhold new content as a way to get the agencies to behave more fairly.

If you don't understand who holds power and has leverage, you can't force changes. It is true that for the most part, all the agencies would have completely empty web sites if contributors pulled their content - there's very little wholly owned content. Without some union-like organization to wield that club, it's effectively absent from the business landscape and so can't constrain the profit grabs of the agencies.

Figure out how to create leverage from the large, global and unorganized pool of contributors and you can do what the Stock Artists Alliance could not.

8
Interesting idea - I know why everyone would love to automate keyword generation - but it really isn't up to the job. At least my experiments with several of my own stock images showed that in terms of keywording as well is the "stock photo score" the tool doesn't really know enough about what it's looking at to be useful.

I ran through a couple of kitchen remodel images  and a couple of external shots of places where the important information was where it was in the world, not just what was in it. As these images have all been sold - in one case just shy of one thousand times across several agencies - I have an idea of what the important keywords actually are, primarily using SS's sales info that tells me the keywords often used for purchases.

In no case did the tool identify the place on the exterior shots and in the kitchen remodel cases, it missed all the key what-is-going-on elements and just picked up the filler - Residential Building, Home Interior, Architecture, Wood - Material...

In the case of one image, that was of an island ferry dock, it concluded that there was a Pipeline, a Factory, Construction Industry and Fuel and Power Generation - all totally incorrect. Plus it put the scene in Europe (it was off the west coast of the USA. Adding keywords like Nautical Vessel for boat may work with Getty's CV, but it's worse than useless elsewhere. No user types in these awkward terms and other sites don't translate them into the type of English real people speak.

Oh, and one of my really solid long-term sellers rated a stock photo score of 11.6%.

I think I tried enough different images to give the tool a fair evaluation, but I wouldn't use it.

9
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe's Categories
« on: March 23, 2019, 14:17 »
I can't see much value for categories when you have such huge collections (SS especially, but also AS).

The sites must have some stats on whether anyone ever clicks on them as a way to browse. And if they did, I'd have to imagine that a quick translation into a few important keywords would allow on the fly category searches without any need for the contributor to do anything.

10
Pond5 / Re: Letter to pond5 and quick Poll for contributors
« on: March 21, 2019, 19:15 »
...Being forced to raise prices or become exclusive, if that's not a total lack of respect towards your contributors, I don't know what is.

The way you know it's disrespectful is that it's exactly what Getty did to PumpAudio contributors when they acquired that formerly good stock music agency in 2009. In that case a 50/50 split went to 35/65 except for those they chose to become exclusive who could keep the 50/50

11
I think the problem is that you can't really predict the future with any useful degree of accuracy. Given that, spreading the risk around makes a lot of sense.

I was an exclusive at IS (mostly for photos, but some illustrations) but too far ago to be relevant to your choice. When they were the #1 microstock agency and progress (2004 to 2008) was strong, it looked like the risk was worth taking. Between mid-2008 and mid-2011 a lot of things changed and I saw what I interpreted to be the writing on the wall and decided that the risks were too great and I'd do better to return to diversification before things hit bottom.

The overall financial health of an agency is relevant to you, in addition to the money you're making. If you later decide to leave, you aren't able to pick up where you left off - there's always a step back before things pick up.

I have a hard time imagining why it would make sense for anyone with an existing portfolio that has demonstrated its sales ability to go exclusive with iStock. YMMV

12
General Stock Discussion / Re: The Getty debt
« on: March 19, 2019, 08:48 »
It's popular to make successful companies look like they are in debt, because it can then be used as a tax writeoff.

If indeed this is true (haven't read the article or investigated it) - then I'd say there is some creative accounting going on. Legitimate - but creative - to make it look like a liability when in fact it is profitable.

The debt is real and is the legacy of the mangling Getty suffered at the hands of two private equity companies, Hellman & Friedman and then Carlyle. Both of those companies couldn't sell Getty at a profit so they paid themselves via adding debt - dividend recapitalization.

The reason both of these private equity firms were very bad news for contributors is that it reduced/eliminated most of the money for growing the business or paying suppliers a fair royalty. Private equity firms don't care about the long term health of a business, only getting their return and getting out.

You can read more about both of these acquisitions in old posts here. It takes big companies a long time to fail unless they're hemorrhaging cash; the problem is, with lots of debt to service, you have very little flexibility.

In February they sought to raise $400m new debt to pay off some old and Moody's rated it lower than Getty's overall rating because of the risks:

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-assigns-Caa2-rating-to-Getty-Images-new-senior-unsecured--PR_394938

"...reflects its high pro forma leverage ...following the planned debt refinancing and recapitalization, low-single digit free cash flow to adjusted debt ratio and still early transformation from legacy products to high volume enterprise subscription and high margin Royalty-Free products. It also considers clients' changing demand for stock imagery, which has shifted to non-exclusive lower-priced products and fostered aggressive competition. There is financial risk associated with the proposed issuance of a rapidly accreting payment-in-kind (PIK) preferred equity instrument that expands to roughly $700 million principal balance three years after closing from $500 million initially, which we believe could lead to volatile leverage metrics if refinanced with debt in the future."

The above followed a rating for $1.55 billion new debt in January.

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-upgrades-Getty-Images-CFR-to-B3-from-Caa1-assigns--PR_391551

There is apparently some optimism - they've removed Getty from a credit watch status - among some of the finance folks based on the recent debt juggling

https://www.ademcetinkaya.com/2019/02/getty-images-inc-upgraded-to-b-from-ccc.html

You'll note in that last article a comment that risks include "...inability to realize expected cost savings, greater price-based competition, or insufficient demand for its subscription offerings" I don't know if those subscriptions are something other than iStock - Thinkstock is still supposedly retiring in "mid 2019" according to its web site.

13
Shutterstock.com / New SS exec - Co-COO
« on: March 18, 2019, 19:01 »
I missed this from last week:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shutterstock-announces-stan-pavlovsky-to-join-as-co-chief-operating-officer-300811868.html

This is his LinkedIn page and Twitter account (doesn't appear to be active there)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stan-pavlovsky-ab26181/

https://twitter.com/spavlovsky?lang=en

Not quite sure if this signals any shift in how SS as a business sees itself.

Why did they set April 1 as his start day? :)

14
Dreamstime tried it and I don't think it worked well for them. It's always hard to tell which of many changes might have turned the former #3 agency into a footnote, but complex and confusing pricing certainly played a part, IMO

Fotolia had a worse model in that it allowed top selling artists to increase prices on their entire portfolio, including stuff that didn't sell. After a while they introduced a new rule that if it didn't sell over a certain period its price was set back to the basic level.

The problem with all of this is buyer confusion or alienation - for example, lightboxing images which then aren't the same price when they later come back to buy it. As a seller, if your high price image stops selling as buyers find alternatives, then you're not any better off either.

Microstock is a volume business. If you have something really unusual, it probably should be on microstock sites in the first place.

15
Dreamstime.com / Re: Megapixl.com by Dreamstime
« on: March 16, 2019, 17:31 »
I know nothing about Megapixl but my images appear not to be there. I did searches for some of mine (comparing with a Dreamstime search in another tab, you can see that only a fraction of the DT collection is at Megapixl)

Apparently three years ago I found out about them from a post here and contacted DT to ask what was up. If you read their reply, I guess what I wrote just now means my view of things hasn't changed in three years :)

My rant about Megapixl written before I did a search to see how long they'd been around, etc.:

"I had opted out of third party partnerships - because I don't want to share buyer money with multiple agencies - which I have to assume is why my work isn't there. However Megapixl isn't a third party - it's Dreamstime itself.

DT's sales are so pitiful it probably doesn't matter either way, but wholly-owned sites are not the same as third party partnerships and shouldn't be governed by opt-out choices made for third parties. Does anyone else remember when 123rf tried to claim that Inmagine was a third party and that entitled them to an extra share of the buyer payment? They backed down after everyone fussed, but does anyone know if DT is taking a partnership cut from the buyer's price when there's a sale on Megapixl? You have to hope that this scammery wouldn't happen twice, but if there's no marking "

A mind is a terrible thing to waste :)

16
Shutterstock.com / Re: Shutterstock payment delay?
« on: March 14, 2019, 15:38 »
*, you'll get your money, alway did and alway will. Just wait.

Edited to add that the quote above is not what was originally written. It's interesting that updating the post updates the quote now - it used not to. I think I may stop using the quote feature when rude messages are the topic - it makes a complete nonsense of my comment that editing the rudeness edits the quoting as well.


That's rude and inaccurate - great combination.

I've not had this happen to me, but other people have had payment mistakes from Shutterstock in the past and IMO the OP did exactly the right thing.

Checked his settings; asked if others using the same payment method had already received their payments and contacted SS directly.

There is no reason to even comment here if you have nothing constructive to contribute

17
Shutterstock.com / Re: Shutterstock payment delay?
« on: March 13, 2019, 14:32 »
I was paid on March 6th as well -  via PayPal. Probably time to contact Shutterstock to ask about this if you haven't received yours

18
General Stock Discussion / Re: Wemark hows it going
« on: March 12, 2019, 07:57 »
If you look at this other thread (started when they said they were now live), another contributor suggested someone post if they got sales - and got their money in a usable currency. There's been nothing so far

https://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/wemark-is-live!-(get-10-free-images)/msg526846/#msg526846

You'd do better to spend your time uploading to the major sites if you want to earn money, not to new sites with few/no buyers.

20
Did you report this to SS?

21
There's an overview in the Q4 earnings call transcript. 66% of total revenue is from outside the US and about half of the non-US revenue is Europe.

https://www.microstockgroup.com/shutterstock-com/q4-2018-earnings-call-transcript/


22
Site Related / Re: Leaf, cant move spam to garbage
« on: March 08, 2019, 14:08 »
ok, how about now.

can you modify your post?
can you give +1 to posts?

Gave you a plus and can edit my posts.

Still no home button at the bottom though :(

23
Shutterstock.com / Re: Account password reset emails - again
« on: March 08, 2019, 14:06 »
Nothing like that came to me - and I just checked my spam folder; nothing there either

24
Site Related / Re: Leaf, cant move spam to garbage
« on: March 07, 2019, 11:32 »
Also, unless I've gone crazy, there used to be a "Home" button at the bottom of just about every page and now it's gone. You have to scroll back to the one up top each time and I really miss the button both ends of the page.

test edit

25
Alamy.com / Re: Longest wait to get paid?
« on: March 06, 2019, 10:42 »
"...really sorry..."

"...calculated at time of invoice ..."

"...industry standard..."

If Alamy were the entire industry, that last one would be true...

Points for promptness and saying sorry, but their business model is broken, IMO. If I hadn't chased them up, twice, it's not even clear to me that I would ever have been credited for this at all.

It's as if being an Alamy customer is a combination insurance policy and lottery scheme - you use the image and may not ever have to pay for it; if you do get caught, Alamy Insurance gives you legal cover that it was a licensed use and the privilege of paying months or years after the image use.

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