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Messages - sharply_done

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Photoshop Tutorials / Re: Advanced Photoshop Compositing Tutorial
« on: February 17, 2012, 18:39 »
Very nice work, cardmaverick, but at 52+ minutes this video is waaay TLDR for even the hardiest photoshopper.

I applaud your effort, and I'm sorry of this offends you, but you really need to cut down on the talk-talk and speed up on the the click-clicks - if you want to be successful in the 'how-to' arena you'll need to lean more towards concise and succinct and away from verbose and pedantic.

I think the easiest solution to this iStock problem might be to simply list iStock twice: iStock (Exclusive) and iStock (Independent) - whether that will result in anything meaningful is anyone's guess, but it'll more than likely paint a more accurate picture than the current one.

It's either that or exclude all data from exclusives.

3 / Re: Getty's 20%
« on: January 23, 2012, 19:17 »
Since we're making predictions, here's mine:  Artist exclusivity and exclusive commissions and perks will become a thing of the past within a couple of years.  I'm betting the "bug" preventing people from applying for exclusivity wasn't an accident and won't get fixed.    

Exclusive artists with Vetta, TAC, and maybe some E+ will be invited to have those images all moved over to Getty as image exclusive (hasn't this already happened?), at the standard Getty 20%.  The rest of their ports, presumed to be of low interest or over saturated subject matter, will be shuttled to TS, and also freed up to be uploaded to other micros.  

Superstars like Lise and Sean may be able to negotiate special deals.

Non-exclusives will also be given the opportunity to create unique exclusive content for Getty collections.  

Istock will probably not exist in two years.  I imagine that the url will be redirected to TS and/or Getty.  

Nobody freak out - this is just my guess about where things are headed.  I would LOVE to be wrong!

As long as we're speculating, how's this: Commissions are lowered to 20% while at the same time making iStock an exclusive-only agency. This would reduce the iStock catalogue to ~1.5M images, which is more than robust enough to succeed, while at the same time reducing competition for sales by about a factor of 6. If the typical contributor experienced a (conservatively-estimated) four-fold increase in DLs, this would mean his/her income would at least double. iStock can control contributor income by limiting the number of contributors, allowing new members to join only if they have a proven sales record and can create files that the catalogue needs. 20% commission and closed-door/invitation-only membership: pretty much right along Getty policy lines.

The implications of this to independent contributors are pretty big: Indie income will drop by perhaps 20% (which seems to be a good number for an iStock average), and there'll now only be a 'Big3'.

Your use of the term "portfolio management" spiked my interest.I don't want your trade secrets or business strategies. But if you could  give a general statement that would start me thinking in the right direction I would appreciate it.

Nope, and sorry - I wrote a proper response to you, but I think it's best for me to lay low for a while and keep my mouth shut.

Ok, granted, my estimate was on the low side. At say an average of $4 per sale (the figure given to me by a couple of exclusives) ...

Here's the very last I'm going to say:

One of the reasons I became exclusive was so that I could spend more time doing portfolio management. I know that most people here scoff at such a thing, but by investing the time I've saved by going exclusive into more efficiently marketing my portfolio, I've been able to substantially increase the revenue I generate from it. In my opinion, those Diamond exclusives who are only averaging $4 per DL would be wise to do the same. There's more involved in microstock than shooting, keywording, and uploading, and ignoring the management side of things can cost you a lot of money.

Definitely! Somewhere between 70 - 100 would be my guess, probably on the lower end of that scale. Working from my own data (as an independent) you'd probably need to be averaging something like 2200 sales per month.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, gostwyck, you can't extrapolate your data as an independent to accurately calculate what an exclusive makes. I don't know why you don't believe me - doing things like that only leads to foolishness. Like making silly $10 bets. (grin)

That being said, I think my guess is indeed a little high, but not by that much - I'll change it to 275.

From where I'm sitting I'd say that is an overestimate :-\

Okay, what's your guess?

I based mine on my own data together with iStockcharts showing 716 Diamonds, with a little over half of them earning enough to stay Diamond.

8 / Re: Looking to purchase Istock portfolios.
« on: September 25, 2010, 15:14 »
sharp: I guess you are right, I didn't think that IS would have problem with such a move, but I will ask them just in case (in the next few minutes).
I am dead serius about buying portfolios. I mean not waste anyones time!
Ineed an NPV formula will be used in my end in order to calculate economic worthyness to us.

I have no problem with your idea, I even must say I like it even more then paying everything up front.
I am open to any other creative payment/sharing plans as well.

I think you need to come up with a formula and publish it so that people can plug their numbers in and make a decision before approaching you. Something using monthly or quarterly earnings for the past few years would be simple enough that you'd get a lot of people trying it out, which would increase your chances of attracting some serious sellers. This way you'll only have to deal with people who are downright serious about this, and not the just curious. I'm certainly not going to tell you what my income is without knowing up front how much it's worth to you!

How many diamond exclusives do you reckon are on $80k+? There can't be very many.

Offhand, I'd say 300+. Probably closer to 400 than 300.

10 / Re: Looking to purchase Istock portfolios.
« on: September 25, 2010, 14:53 »
pepito: good assumption.
sjlocke: many questions are raised indeed. do the files transferd retain their BE placemnt and current downloads ?   is such a transaction sanctioned by IS at all ?
I am sure such port sales have been done in the past...

If you're at all serious about this, you should have done your homework and got the answers to these questions before going public. Apart from that, can you provide some information about how you intend to go about evaluating the value of a portfolio? I assume you'll be using some sort of Present Value calculation.

Also, instead of paying up a large up-front sum for the portfolio, it might be more economical to simply transfer a percentage of the royalties to the owner for a period of time, say three years, and then pay a smaller amount up front for the remaining life of the portfolio. An offer like this may attract more people, as they'd get money up front while still maintaining their income for a while. I know that I would certainly entertain that offer more seriously than one to purchase my portfolio outright.

How many of the very highest income producers do you think will see their royalties fall, the structuring of the reductions is evidence in itself.  I think it is naive to believe that Istock did not open dialog with some of the very top producers before the announcements and I would not be surprise that communication is ongoing because of the conseqences to the bottom line should those contributors decide to leave. Not rocket science by any means.

Again referencing this chart, you don't have to be one of the highest income producers to see your royalties remain unchanged - iStock Diamond exclusives earning $79,500 or more per year, for example, will not see a commission reduction. Sure, royalties will fall a bit from EL & subscription reductions, but my numbers show that this will result in a royalty reduction of less than 1%.

Interestingly enough, after running the numbers with the new Vetta pricing, it looks to me like they might have been able to achieve more of their profit margin goals by adjusting only Vetta pricing and commissions, which would have gone a very long way in keeping everyone happy.

12 / Re: iStock changing royalty structure
« on: September 24, 2010, 15:55 »
Istockphoto's heading south mate __ seriously. The good old days are history. Trust Uncle Gostwyck.

Oh brother. I hope I don't have to listen to you go on like this for a year and a half.

13 / Re: iStock changing royalty structure
« on: September 24, 2010, 15:46 »
Soooo __ are you giving up exclusivity now? I wasn't expecting to have a drink on you quite this soon!

I can't make up my mind: Are you counting your chickens before they hatch, or are you simply trying to gloat? Hmm, maybe both.

14 / Re: iStock changing royalty structure
« on: September 24, 2010, 15:30 »
Yeah, it's a sad shocker, alright. No matter the reason he might give for leaving, people are going to chalk it up the commission restructuring - it's the natural thing to do.

15 / Re: iStock changing royalty structure
« on: September 23, 2010, 17:37 »
If you ignore someone their posts do have a small Show button you can use to remind yourself why you ignored them in the first place.

Yeah, I do that sometimes (press the 'Show' button), but 99% of the time it just serves to remind me why I pressed the 'Ignore' button in the first place. As they say, a tiger can't change it's stripes ...

16 / Re: A Fable for those considering exclusivity
« on: September 23, 2010, 17:17 »
Since, I'm guessing... If I was to guess who will win the bet, I'd have to go with Sharply. I think people will leave IS in the new year and things will probably get worse there, but it won't be bad enough for long time contributor to leave. I'll put my magic eight ball away now.  ;D

If there's one thing I've learned the hard way, it's this: There's no such thing as a sure thing.
It may very well turn out that my best course of action is return to being independent. I can't see things changing so much that it'll happen, but you never know.

17 / Re: A Fable for those considering exclusivity
« on: September 23, 2010, 15:18 »
Seriously though, it sounds like an interesting bet. It basically sound like you two are betting on the future of IS in the next 18 months.

The way I see it, I'm not betting on iStock's future at all - I'm betting on my own. I'm not in a position to judge how the marketplace might change - I don't think anybody here is. But I am in the best possible position to judge how my fortunes might change, and wagering against me when the only knowledge you have might be gleaned from a glance at my iStock portfolio isn't exactly prudent.

Aside from that, the bet is only $10, which makes it more of a joke than anything else.

18 / Re: A Fable for those considering exclusivity
« on: September 23, 2010, 14:36 »
Hmmm. But did you 'plan' on a massive cut in your commissions for next year? I think Istockphoto's inherent greed will stretch the loyalty of even their most ardent supporter (although I am staggered to find that they still have any at all!). Time will tell!

Why do you think I'm getting a massive cut in my commissions next year?

19 / Re: A Fable for those considering exclusivity
« on: September 23, 2010, 14:17 »
Good stuff __ we're on! I'll PM you. (apologies for the delay __ just got back from the golf course)

I guess I should give you 'fair warning' too that I'm expecting Istockphoto to deliver at least one more 'crowdshafting' initiative in the next 18 months, their share of the market might fall, Stockfresh will be helping the independents' cause and Istockphoto themselves may be under new ownership by then.

Right. $10 goes to you if I become independent in the next 18 months.

As far as your fair warning goes, that's nothing but speculation. I can equally speculate that iStock's market share might rise, but it's just as meaningless a guess. What matters is that I have planned things so that I can be as secure as possible for any sort of change that the marketplace undergoes - that's the smart play. I suppose you can make the claim that being independent fundamentally guarantees security, but the things I am doing (I think) are much more efficient/effective than that strategy can ever be.

Best of luck ... you're going to need it!

General Stock Discussion / Re: Yuri Hits 1,000,000 at iStock
« on: September 23, 2010, 11:54 »
That's awesome, Yuri - way to go!

In a thread about forum privileges withdrawal we get to see the potential benefits of some moderation.

Yep, there's definitely irony here when you at the title of this thread.

Leaf must be away - he's usually quick to jump when things get out of hand. I sometimes think this place has grown up enough that he should promote a few of the seniors to moderators, but on the flip side, behaviour here is usually polite/good enough that it's rarely warranted.

Did they always pay commission as a percentage of the discounted price?

Oops, I think you got me there.

They used to pay using a system similar to the one FT uses, where 1 credit was originally $0.50 but then raised it to $1 in 2005. In 2007 they switched to using the net amount the buyer paid per credit, and when they did that any discount the buyer experienced was inherently passed on to us. So I guess you can look at that as one way they temporarily lower commissions, but the effect of it is/was small compared to the increase in income when they switched to the 'net amount' system. You can see how iStock has changed how much they pay their contributors by going here: Click Me. It's interesting to note that they haven't updated this for 2011 yet.

frankly, there are enough pissing contests to wade through, pardon the pun, over here already.

Ain't that the truth.

24 / Re: iStock changing royalty structure
« on: September 22, 2010, 23:52 »
Just try to stay out of the bar fights and you should be fine :)

Yeah, no kidding.

That's a pretty good introductory blurb, too, jsnover.

I want to add, sharply_done, that I really can't be bothered addressing someone that compares microstock exclusivity to a 9-5 day job.  From all the ridiculous things I've read on this board (and there's been a lot of them), that has to top them all.

Sorry pseudonymous, but I can't really take anything you have to say about microstock seriously when you were under the impression that commissions at iStock have been dropping (reference this post). Just so you know, everyone who's been involved in microstock for any non-trivial amount of time knows that iStock commission rates have not changed since the day they were introduced. Your thinking that iStock has a history of lowering commissions shows that you have limited knowledge of the microstock industry, and it speaks volumes about your experience in this marketplace, which severly undermines the value of your opinion - at least to me, anyway. But then again, who knows, maybe you've been involved in the traditional stock arena for decades and want to impart some of your knowledge/experience here. If that's the case you should go ahead and do so, but perhaps temper your opinions a little - microstock isn't traditional stock, and you shouldn't treat it as such. If you have to ask why not, then I'll just have to point you to back to the beginning of the what I just wrote.

Moving on, I think you misunderstood the comparison quoted above. What I was saying is that being exclusive to and collecting royalties from a single agency is in some ways similar to having a regular job and collecting a wage/salary from a single employer. That's all. I still think it's an apt analogy - it's certainly not a ridiculous one, and of that I'm confident most everyone would agree.

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