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Messages - KevinM

Pages: [1] 2 3
1
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: Yesterday at 23:27 »
Curious how going exclusive on Pond5 makes financial sense for anyone. I ran the numbers on my 2018 earnings - Pond5 was slightly more than 25% of my earnings, so even at 60% commission and even if my sales at Pond5 doubled, it would still be an overall 36% loss of income to go exclusive. Not even close to making sense. Are others making so much on Pond5 compared to SS, Abobe, etc. that the math actually works?

Also don't understand when some people say they won't make their current content exclusive but they'll make their future content exclusive. If it's an overall loss to make you current content exclusive, it's going to be the same for the footage you shoot next month.

2
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: Yesterday at 18:06 »
Time will tell, but I doubt that's a working long-term strategy. I think buyers are pretty conditioned to pay around $80 for an HD clip ($40 commission at 50%). Jacking that up to $100 for an HD clip ($40 commission at 40%) could very well bring a drop in sales.

3
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: Yesterday at 16:22 »
This 10% cut in commissions means a 20% cut in the amount of money we take home. If you formerly made $50 on a $100 sale and now only make $40, that's a 20% drop in earnings.

I'm very much against uploading footage to bargain basement agencies. It's bad for the whole industry and should not be ignored. I mentioned I'm in favor of Pond5 enforcing their rule about not letting contributors sell the same clips for peanuts on Envato, Bigstock, etc. And right along with that, Pond5 needs to realize that by cutting commissions they're pushing people to upload to other sites to make up for lost income. So they're feeding the price war they say they're against. Just one more point I plan to share with Jason Teichman in trying to get him to see that lowering commissions is not only unfair but also detrimental in the long term for several reasons.

What other thoughts do people have about the commission cut? Please keep 'em coming.

4
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: Yesterday at 14:21 »
Let me narrow this down a bit in relation to the upcoming conversation with Jason Teichman. My specific grievance is the 20% rate cut for non-exclusive contributors. I hope that exclusivity helps maintain value and pricing in the market overall (as Pond5 expects), and certainly it warrants a higher royalty percentage than non-exclusive clips. But that does not have to coincide with lowering the commission on non-exclusive clips, which is unjustified and grossly unfair to content creators. Since going the exclusive route would be a net loss for many contributors and therefore a non-starter, all Pond5 is really doing is taking money from our pockets and lowering the incentive for people to create quality content.

I contend that if Pond5 thinks exclusivity is going to be fantastic, they should do it without penalizing non-exclusive contributors with a rate cut.

I also contend that their concerns about stock footage pricing collapsing the way stock photo pricing collapsed is not a wholly accurate comparison. The markets are different, the uses and buyers in many cases are different, and I would simply point out that the HD single clip price at Shutterstock has been $79 since at least 2012. That has become the market norm adopted as well by Adobe, Storyblocks, and many users on Pond5. To maintain that, the big agencies need to go to war on bargain sellers like Bigstock, and also make it unprofitable for the irresponsible people who contribute to sites like that. It's already in Pond5's user agreement that we cannot sell the same content for a substantially lower amount on other sites. I'm all for enforcing that for the good of the industry. If someone is selling an HD single clip for a few dollars, Pond5 should match and lock the clip price on their site, hopefully encouraging that user to abandon those bargain basement sites that hurt the whole industry.

Any thoughts specifically about the 20% rate cut for non-exclusive contributors?

5
I received a personal response from CEO Jason Teichman, and we will have a phone conversation soon to discuss the matter. If contributors would like me to ask certain questions to him or make a certain point beyond what I've expressed above, please let me know.

6
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: Yesterday at 11:36 »
Just emailed this to Pond5 support and cc'd CEO Jason Teichman at jteichman@pond5.com

Pond5 decision-makers,

As a long-time contributor to Pond5, I am writing in anger that you are cutting our profit share of non-exclusive sales by a massive 20%. Pond5 attracted artists in large part because it offered a fair 50/50 split, and now youre lightly dropping that as not competitive. Let me ask, is management also taking a pay cut to stay competitive? Do you hire employees and tell them, Work hard, do great, and maybe in a few years well cut your pay by 20%? You chose to take a huge amount of earnings away from the content creators in an effort to squeeze them into working for you exclusively. That is an incredible betrayal. On a basic human level you should be ashamed of your actions and greed.

Pond5 has repeatedly spoken against a race to the bottom in pricing. But by cutting artist pay, youre pushing a race to the bottom in how much artists are compensated for their own work. Did you really think it would be more acceptable because you simultaneously launched the 60/40 exclusivity offer? We see the earnings cut for what it is - a profit-grab out of the pockets of artists and an attempt to push contributors into exclusivity by making non-exclusivity less profitable. But for most contributors exclusivity would not cover the loss from leaving other sites, and so your greed is just part of a slow, inevitable disincentive for artists to create good work. Why would I sign exclusively with a company that betrays its contributors on the very day it launches the exclusivity program? You've just proven that contributors can't trust you to maintain commissions.

I received a personal response from CEO Jason Teichman, and we will have a phone conversation soon to discuss the matter. If you would like me to ask certain questions to him or make a certain point beyond what I've expressed above, please let me know.

7
Just emailed this to Pond5 support and cc'd CEO Jason Teichman at jteichman@pond5.com

Pond5 decision-makers,

As a long-time contributor to Pond5, I am writing in anger that you are cutting our profit share of non-exclusive sales by a massive 20%. Pond5 attracted artists in large part because it offered a fair 50/50 split, and now youre lightly dropping that as not competitive. Let me ask, is management also taking a pay cut to stay competitive? Do you hire employees and tell them, Work hard, do great, and maybe in a few years well cut your pay by 20%? You chose to take a huge amount of earnings away from the content creators in an effort to squeeze them into working for you exclusively. That is an incredible betrayal. On a basic human level you should be ashamed of your actions and greed.

Pond5 has repeatedly spoken against a race to the bottom in pricing. But by cutting artist pay, youre pushing a race to the bottom in how much artists are compensated for their own work. Did you really think it would be more acceptable because you simultaneously launched the 60/40 exclusivity offer? We see the earnings cut for what it is - a profit-grab out of the pockets of artists and an attempt to push contributors into exclusivity by making non-exclusivity less profitable. But for most contributors exclusivity would not cover the loss from leaving other sites, and so your greed is just part of a slow, inevitable disincentive for artists to create good work. Why would I sign exclusively with a company that betrays its contributors on the very day it launches the exclusivity program? You've just proven that contributors can't trust you to maintain commissions.

8
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: Yesterday at 10:32 »
Just emailed this to Pond5 support and cc'd CEO Jason Teichman at jteichman@pond5.com

Pond5 decision-makers,

As a long-time contributor to Pond5, I am writing in anger that you are cutting our profit share of non-exclusive sales by a massive 20%. Pond5 attracted artists in large part because it offered a fair 50/50 split, and now youre lightly dropping that as not competitive. Let me ask, is management also taking a pay cut to stay competitive? Do you hire employees and tell them, Work hard, do great, and maybe in a few years well cut your pay by 20%? You chose to take a huge amount of earnings away from the content creators in an effort to squeeze them into working for you exclusively. That is an incredible betrayal. On a basic human level you should be ashamed of your actions and greed.

Pond5 has repeatedly spoken against a race to the bottom in pricing. But by cutting artist pay, youre pushing a race to the bottom in how much artists are compensated for their own work. Did you really think it would be more acceptable because you simultaneously launched the 60/40 exclusivity offer? We see the earnings cut for what it is - a profit-grab out of the pockets of artists and an attempt to push contributors into exclusivity by making non-exclusivity less profitable. But for most contributors exclusivity would not cover the loss from leaving other sites, and so your greed is just part of a slow, inevitable disincentive for artists to create good work. Why would I sign exclusively with a company that betrays its contributors on the very day it launches the exclusivity program? You've just proven that contributors can't trust you to maintain commissions.

9
Pond5 / Re: Letter to pond5 and quick Poll for contributors
« on: March 23, 2019, 19:06 »
Can you explain how encouraging people to buy clips with a 30% royalty because P5 is giving 40% makes any sense?  Seems to me that the anger should be directed towards the sites with lower royalty rates.

Just because 30% royalty is terrible, that doesn't mean 40% isn't bad as well. ANY lowering of our cut is bad, it's all part of a race to the bottom in what we get paid for our work. So I agree that pressure should be directed to the lowest paying sites as well, but that doesn't excuse Pond5 from cutting our rate. The petition encourages buyers to buy from Storyblocks, which still has a 50/50 split.
It kind of does, doesn't it?  If contributors are willing to put the same exact clips on sites with 30% why should any site pay more?

When I sign with a company the deal is for a certain rate. Whatever that rate is, if the company lowers it, I push back. Both because they're taking earnings from me and because rate drops anywhere can feed an industry-wide race to the bottom. You seem to only want to empathize with the agency side, so tell you what, why don't you contact Pond5 and invite them to lower your commission to 30% because that's what other companies pay? Then if any other agency drops commissions further, be sure to update Pond5 about it so they can match it. If that sounds inane because it's lacking in rational self-interest, well then now you know how your posts sound.
For me, I'll stop uploading to other sites and put everything up exclusively with Pond5.  I was leaning towards doing that before this change.  It's not that I want royalty rates lower it's that it seems inevitable if people put the same work on different sites.  The value will move towards the worst place.  Sites that pay lower royalties can use that money to market more or make the site nicer and in turn sell more content.  From the agencies' side if contributors are happy accepting less then why should they pay more, what's the benefit for them?

To your point, the responsibility is on contributors to let agencies know they're NOT happy accepting less, unless perhaps it comes with higher volume and overall more money. For example, Shutterstock pays me a lower commission but I make more money with them than with Pond5 (so exclusivity with Pond5 would not work for me). I do not upload to sites that have poor commissions and poor sales, or low prices. Part of the problem is there's no true transparency in regard to agency marketing costs - a cut in our earnings could be going to marketing or simply to their pockets. They're not trustworthy enough to assume the former, despite what they say. I agree that value can move to the worst place, and no matter what way we come at this, the only balance against agency profit greed is a strong response from contributors. I wish we were organized enough to have a powerful influence, but unfortunately we're all incredibly scattered and disjointed in our voices. 

10
Pond5 / Re: Letter to pond5 and quick Poll for contributors
« on: March 23, 2019, 18:11 »
Can you explain how encouraging people to buy clips with a 30% royalty because P5 is giving 40% makes any sense?  Seems to me that the anger should be directed towards the sites with lower royalty rates.

Just because 30% royalty is terrible, that doesn't mean 40% isn't bad as well. ANY lowering of our cut is bad, it's all part of a race to the bottom in what we get paid for our work. So I agree that pressure should be directed to the lowest paying sites as well, but that doesn't excuse Pond5 from cutting our rate. The petition encourages buyers to buy from Storyblocks, which still has a 50/50 split.
It kind of does, doesn't it?  If contributors are willing to put the same exact clips on sites with 30% why should any site pay more?

When I sign with a company the deal is for a certain rate. Whatever that rate is, if the company lowers it, I push back. Both because they're taking earnings from me and because rate drops anywhere can feed an industry-wide race to the bottom. You seem to only want to empathize with the agency side, so tell you what, why don't you contact Pond5 and invite them to lower your commission to 30% because that's what other companies pay? Then if any other agency drops commissions further, be sure to update Pond5 about it so they can match it. If that sounds inane because it's lacking in rational self-interest, well then now you know how your posts sound.

11
Pond5 / Re: Letter to pond5 and quick Poll for contributors
« on: March 23, 2019, 16:55 »
Can you explain how encouraging people to buy clips with a 30% royalty because P5 is giving 40% makes any sense?  Seems to me that the anger should be directed towards the sites with lower royalty rates.

Just because 30% royalty is terrible, that doesn't mean 40% isn't bad as well. ANY lowering of our cut is bad, it's all part of a race to the bottom in what we get paid for our work. So I agree that pressure should be directed to the lowest paying sites as well, but that doesn't excuse Pond5 from cutting our rate. The petition encourages buyers to buy from Storyblocks, which still has a 50/50 split.

12
Pond5 / Re: Letter to pond5 and quick Poll for contributors
« on: March 23, 2019, 12:42 »
Exclusivity benefits Pond5 while a contributor is sure to have an overall income loss. Its an insulting smokescreen to offer such a lame deal while at the same time lowering our cut to 40% - a whopping 20% earnings cut. Its a profit-grabbing betrayal by a company that has always marketing itself as artist-friendly, and it should to be called out as such.

Some asked, why call them out for cutting commissions when others pay even less? Because all of it is unfairly low 30% is too low and 40% is too low. Pond5 says they dont want a race to the bottom, but by cutting artist pay theyre participating in a race to the bottom in how much artists are compensated for their own work. Is the CEO getting a pay cut? Is any employee there getting a pay cut? So why . should the creators be OK with a 20% earnings cut?

The only good option here is to push back strongly against the commission cut. If Pond5 wants to go 60/40 for exclusive footage, fine, but that has absolutely nothing to do with what everyone else is paid. Stock companies can look to other areas of their business model for profit or accept the profit they're making, but they need to stop thinking they can take more money from contributors just because they want it.

Pushing back against Storyblocks worked because tons of people wrote emails and posted online. I wrote the petition against them and just created this petition against Pond5. Please sign this petition and share with everyone you know! https://www.change.org/p/jason-teichman-pond5-don-t-cut-the-already-low-compensation-for-stock-artists

And please contact Pond5 to let them know its not OK for them or any other site to cut our earnings for the work we create. Email is support@pond5.com, and cc CEO Jason Teichman at jteichman@pond5.com.

13
General Stock Discussion / Re: Pond5 "Good News"!
« on: March 23, 2019, 12:32 »
I am thrilled with this offer! I remember the days I was iStock Exclusive and loved it. I am so happy to have a place that pays fair for my hard work! I will be focusing my full energy on my new exclusive content now!

Jeff, respectfully, why don't you pause being thrilled long enough to realize you're actually being suckered? The key points are that exclusivity at 60% will never earn as much as using multiple sites, so it's an overall loss for you, but more importantly THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A 20% CUT IN ARTIST PROFIT SHARE. If exclusivity holds value for Pond5, they could have simply announced a 60/40 deal for exclusive contributors - period. Few would take such a deal, but fine. Instead they used it as a smokescreen to cut all non-exclusive content rates from 50% to 40% - including yours - and you're whistling about how thrilled you are. Do you not realize you're making things actively worse by encouraging them as they take more money from us?

Any time a stock footage company decides it wants more profit and the way to get it is to grab it from the artists, it's wrong and needs to be pushed back against. If they want more profit they can look to other areas of their business model, but to think they can just take from our pockets is bs.

We pushed back against Storyblocks with good success because people spoke up. I hope people will do it again by emailing Pond5 at support@pond5.com and cc CEO Jason Teichman at jteichman@pond5.com. I've also started a petition here, please sign and share it: https://www.change.org/p/jason-teichman-pond5-don-t-cut-the-already-low-compensation-for-stock-artists

14
Pond5 / Re: Pond5 login
« on: March 23, 2019, 09:18 »
I contacted Microstockr about the issue. We can't access Pond5 data through Microstockr anymore because Pond5 added a captcha requirement. Here is the full email I received from Microstockr. I've already emailed Pond5 asking them to fix this.

Pond5 introduced a captcha on their website effectively blocking us from logging in.

We've recently asked the agency for an API and the response was it's not on their priority list.
Perhaps they will change their minds if more people request it.

We encourage our users to send them an email at submit@pond5.com with a message like the one that follows. Feel free to change it:

"Hi Pond5,

My name is ... and I'm a contributor to your agency. I also am a Microstockr Pro user which is an app that helps me track my sales and which I use regularly.
I've noticed you recently added a captcha to your login screen that blocks the app from logging in.
Since these statistics are very useful to me, is there a way you can provide an API the app can use to get the sales data?
I know you are concerned with account security but I've been using this app for a while now and I never had problems with it.

Please consider it as it would make our lives a bit easier.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks."

------------

If they send you a response, please let us know.
In the meantime we will try and see if we can open that captcha in a pop-up inside the app.
An API would solve this issue for both Microstockr Pro and Mobile.

15
I also got this email.

Anyone who does not belong to the selected few?

I did not get the email. I have about 700 video files on SS.

I am against this move because any program that reduces the value of our product is a bad idea. For long-term sustainability it's better to have fewer sales at a good price than more sales at a steadily dropping rate.

When clips don't sell, contributors can learn from that and make better or more relevant content. But when some clips are sold at a lower price than others of the same resolution, it creates the very dangerous precedent that really all clips can/should be sold for less. Competitors are forced to respond by dropping prices, and it becomes a race to the bottom. SS is trying to dance around that by offering lower priced clips only on certain PLATFORMS. But that still opens the Pandora's box of conditioning people to think prices should come down (not to mention technological risks like how Wix buyers were able to download SS clips by simply right-clicking!)

This shows the fundamental conflict between SS and contributors. Contributors want DOLLARS PER UNIT. We don't want to have to create 100,000 clips to earn a living. SS wants dollars period, and it has such a glut of content it is quite willing to sell much of it cheaply. Our only recourse is to push back by contacting SS and telling them we're against this because lowering prices in any avenue invites a race to the bottom in which contributors are hurt far more than the stock agencies.

16
General - Stock Video / Re: Pond5 removing 4k pricing
« on: February 15, 2019, 09:56 »
Here is the response I got from Pond5: "This particular test will run for 8 weeks and the prices will be set back to their original amount when it's finished. What we learn with the test it will help us to make better recommendations to our artists about the optimal price of 4K content to help them to make the most revenue. We appreciate your cooperation and we're here to solve any questions that you may have."

And the response I sent to them: "Cristobal, that was a tone-deaf response that ignored the key point here - Pond5 should not be changing prices, even as a test for a couple months, without informing contributors and getting their permission. It is a violation of a core element in the contributor relationship, namely contributors having control over their own pricing. Pond5 should have contacted contributors about the test and asked them to either opt in or opt out. I read almost everything stock sites send to me for contributor communications, and I did not see any communication about this at all, much less an opt in/out element. What I want to hear from Pond5 is: 1) they recognize that setting prices is a key prerogative for contributors; 2) they admit communication here was extremely poorly handled; 3) they make a commitment that in the future they will not change prices, even as a test, without consent from contributors. Please make these points known to the decision makers at Pond5."

I do read almost everything the stock sites email, and I didn't see anything about a 4K pricing test. Did anyone receive advance notification of this? Were you allowed to opt out?

17
General - Stock Video / Re: Pond5 removing 4k pricing
« on: February 14, 2019, 12:23 »
Just changed all my 4K pricing back to where it was and sent an angry email to Pond5. One of their key features for contributors is allowing us to set our own prices. To violate that and not even seek permission for the pricing test is a serious breach of trust. They need to hear from contributors that that's crossing the line, they must always seek permission before changing prices. I encourage others to email them as well so they don't continue to do this. support@pond5.com

18
You can change the price in batch in setting. Account>Preferences.. most bottom column. by default web priced at 50% of your HD price.

Thanks for mentioning that! It's not an easily apparent feature, to access it you have to click the bottom box for "Customize down-converted price percentages."

It's a quick way to adjust the percentage difference between the 4K/HD/web prices. I compressed the price spread between 4K/HD/web. I think the default was something like 100%-50%-20%. I changed it to 100%-53%-33%. Then I went to my uploads and raised the price on all my 4K clips, so that the 4K and web versions are now more expensive but the HD price is where is was before.

19
The quality of your gear reflects not just your pocketbook but also your love for a truly great image. Both can change over time. I've been happy with a Sony FS7 for years, but lately when I see Red images I do linger and feel an impulse to step up to the next level. There is an undeniable gorgeous quality to the camera, its detail and dynamic range. Buyers may not search for "Red" but they may unknowingly choose footage shot on Red simply because they love the look. Sure, a great DP can get great images out of any camera, but you can consistently get better images out of a Red. I'm feeling the pull of the beauty, may have to buy one.

Can one justify buying a Red as a business expense for shooting stock? I actually think it's a fair gamble. Everything else being equal, if one's image quality is a bit better than competing shots due to using a Red rather than an FS7, I could see that bringing in another couple thousand a year in additional sales, and over the years paying for itself. Plus I think the quality that comes from Red gets you more "looks" from picky high-end buyers who will only use top quality shots. And then there's just the job satisfaction that keeps you motivated and producing. I love my FS7 for documentary and corporate work, but when I've shot on Red it's been like, "Dam*, this is sexy."

20
VideoBlocks / Re: Commission cut
« on: August 16, 2018, 10:42 »
Their prices are now comparable to Shutterstock and they're paying a higher commission.

Comparable to Shutterstock? I'd say a heck of a lot better than SS. On average, my HD sales at SS have been around $17 - $22. And these days, people are getting a lot of $1.50 sales for HD and 4k clips through SS. I think VB blows SS out of the water when it comes to stock footage earnings.

The sales price is comparable to Shutterstock ($79). And then VB pays a higher commission, so yes, it's a better deal for us than SS.

21
This line of "thought" is absurd conspiracy theory. If they were deviously planning both a commission cut and price raise, it would have obviously been much smarter to have done them at the same time to soften the blow of the commission cut. By doing one and then waiting 1-2 weeks, they lost portfolios, lost uploads, killed trust with their contributors, etc. Plainly NOT the best course of action from a business standpoint. What this appears to be on the surface is exactly what it was: they thought people would accept a 50% commission, since that is still tied for highest commission among major sites. But they sorely miscalculated vis a vis their low prices. When it was shown to them just how bad their thinking was by a whole lot of pissed off contributors who took the time to respond, they realized they needed to adjust, so they did.

22
The original Storyblocks 100% commission rate was great while it lasted but ultimately unsustainable. Cutting commission by 50% but not raising prices was unfair to contributors and damaging to the market. By keeping commissions at 50% but raising prices to market standards, a balance has been struck and commission dollars are good.

So they got that huge amount of footage and contributors to become just like others right after.
That was for sure par of the plan since the start... anyways - 50% of 49$ is not cool... I get it now.
I just did not see that they were going to do that move.

... I don't want to make people angry... but I still feel that Storyblock has sucessfully stop giving 100% comission and contributors are happpy with that.
If they would decided in one day to raise the prices and then take 50% everyone would be pissed - but because they "negociated" you seems all proud of what you got. Foor me Storyblock just became like other companies.

So you think 100% commission forever is sustainable and they're wrong for stopping it? I have to disagree with that perspective, and I don't think they lied when they said 100% commission was unsustainable. If they had originally came to us as contributors and said they have to make a change to stay in business, I would be fine with it as long as the change was fair and not damaging long-term to the market (i.e. low sales prices AND lowering commissions). Their idea on how to change was bad, they got stung for it, and now they've adjusted to end up in a fair place. They should have done that from the start. Think about it - they're now selling at the same price as SS but with a higher commission rate. Frankly, let's hope that lasts, we'll see if they can pull it off.

23
The original Storyblocks 100% commission rate was great while it lasted but ultimately unsustainable. Cutting commission by 50% but not raising prices was unfair to contributors and damaging to the market. By keeping commissions at 50% but raising prices to market standards, a balance has been struck and commission dollars are good.

24
Mods deleted other thread as a duplicate. It's OK, my point there was that we achieved success through speaking up! CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH HOW FANTASTIC IT IS THAT CONTRIBUTORS MADE THEMSELVES HEARD THROUGH WRITING EMAILS, DELETING PORTFOLIOS, REFUSING TO UPLOAD, ETC.! This is how we protect our interests as contributors and keep our industry viable. Great job, everyone!!


25
VideoBlocks / Re: Commission cut
« on: August 09, 2018, 10:20 »
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ENOUGH PEOPLE SPEAK UP! This is why we email with complaints, delete portfolios, refuse to upload, and yes, write petitions! Their prices are now comparable to Shutterstock and they're paying a higher commission. So the next time some pathetic loser tells you that you have no power and can't influence your industry, remember this event.

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