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Author Topic: Zack Arias on microstock  (Read 22533 times)

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lisafx

« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2010, 17:58 »
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Tonight, on a very special Blossom ...


I think you better make it a "Very special episode" of The Big Bang Theory these days ;D


helix7

« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2010, 18:03 »
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Some things are dead wrong:
- not sustainable for the stock companies  it is very sustainable the only reason thompson said this was to get more money to istock and less for the contributors.

I would think that this is true.  I have no proof though.  Can you provide some proof?

How about the fact that any business keeping 80% of the money coming in on a product they don't have to manufacture would be considered a highly successful business by any definition? Or the fact that countless other microstock companies are sustainable on far less of a profit margin?

lisafx

« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2010, 18:11 »
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How about the fact that any business keeping 80% of the money coming in on a product they don't have to manufacture would be considered a highly successful business by any definition? Or the fact that countless other microstock companies are sustainable on far less of a profit margin?

There you go using logic again Mike... ;)

Surprised it's even necessary to say something so obvious, but apparently it is.

« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2010, 08:57 »
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Some things are dead wrong:
- not sustainable for the stock companies  it is very sustainable the only reason thompson said this was to get more money to istock and less for the contributors.

I would think that this is true.  I have no proof though.  Can you provide some proof?

How about the fact that any business keeping 80% of the money coming in on a product they don't have to manufacture would be considered a highly successful business by any definition? Or the fact that countless other microstock companies are sustainable on far less of a profit margin?

Still see no numbers.  Just words...

« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2010, 09:05 »
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Still see no numbers.  Just words...
What part of "15%" has words?

« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2010, 10:08 »
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Normally it wouldn't catch my attention when a photographer does a blog post about microstock, but in this case it's Zack Arias doing the post, and he's a guy I have a lot of respect for. He's just a cool guy, with a very refreshing outlook on photography and creativity in general. And you know you've seen his "Transform" video and loved it.

Anyway, he did a blog post about his views on microstock as a photographer who admittedly doesn't have any desire to participate in microstock and believes that the microstock business is headed towards collapse. Can't say I totally disagree with him there.

It's a good, long read, definitely worth the time: http://www.zarias.com/microstock-sim-cards-in-cameras-big-foam-fingers/


Those who can do, do. Those who can't do, teach. Or blog. Or complain:)

« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2010, 10:20 »
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Those who can do, do. Those who can't do, teach. Or blog. Or complain:)

True. I thought Arias's blog was largely misinformed nonsense.  His real problem is that the competitive heat in the microstock kitchen is too much for him to withstand. If he thought his work was good enough to make serious money then he'd be doing it. So he complains about it instead. Nothing new there.

« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2010, 10:23 »
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Still see no numbers.  Just words...
What part of "15%" has words?

15% has no meaning to me because you aren't representative of the entire company.  I want to see a model, with costs and cash flows - you know, the business side of things that include revenues, costs, financing, etc.  That way I can actually study something more than "15%" and your most likely misdirected, biased, angry posts

WarrenPrice

« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2010, 11:31 »
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Still see no numbers.  Just words...
What part of "15%" has words?

15% has no meaning to me because you aren't representative of the entire company.  I want to see a model, with costs and cash flows - you know, the business side of things that include revenues, costs, financing, etc.  That way I can actually study something more than "15%" and your most likely misdirected, biased, angry posts

Dream on.

« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2010, 11:58 »
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"As the company grows, the overall percentage we pay out to contributing artists increases."

Would someone please explain to me why that's true? 

« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2010, 13:29 »
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Hi Stockastic and all,

 I think they are saying with the growth in sales as well as a growth in the pricing that those that continue in Micro will see continued growth as well. I don't think this business has infinite growth as their are none throughout history that don't eventually reach maturation. Where and when that point is reached then something will have to give and that is usually thrown first on the backs of the workers. What those changes are I can only guess but from my experience it has followed that percentages get cut, selections get tighter, inclusion into the agencies get's more difficult and communications get tougher and tougher. I hope that Micro doesn't follow the path that all stock agencies have in the past. Nurture the machine when it is working, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Also to the agencies, be very careful of greed it will kill you off every time.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2010, 13:37 »
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It is not true. It is nonsense of course.
When you pay me 40 percent and keep 60, the biggest part is always yours.
When I make a 100 dollars for you, you can have 60, when I make you a 100.000, you can have 60.000 dollar.
And even when you should pay ALL your contributors 40 percent, you still keep the biggest part.
The more my sales increase: your part is still 60 percent and it is still the biggest part of the cake.
And when you get to struggle with an 'unsustainable business model', you should buy yourself a mirror.

It is only not enough when you want the whole cake for yourself.
But even then the problem with the 'unsustainable business model' will not be solved I am afraid... ::)

What about the agencies that pay 50 or 60 percent to their contributors? They all must be in deep trouble...!

« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2010, 13:43 »
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Those who can do, do. Those who can't do, teach. Or blog. Or complain:)

I think, what he was trying to say, is that micro sites sell images far too cheaply. I have to agree with him. Regardless of the obvious gouging taking place by iStock, Fotolia and others on photographers, image prices on these sites are far too low. I do think images could be sold for twice what they are selling for now. Easily. But more accurately I should say could have, because it's hard to climb up now. Elena, 15 years ago, with your ability, you would likely have been pulling in $50k per month, maybe more and this would have continued up until a few years ago where you likely would have peaked in the $100k per month range. There used to be images that grossed $250,000 in a 5 year sales history. I don't know where you are at now and can only speculate about you and the past but I don't think I'm that far off. I know your doing just fine but it is a good idea to ask the simple question. Am I selling my images for their true value? Or, as Zack contends, maybe you are not. Looking at history and where things have come to. How consolidated and pushy the industry has become in such a short period of time. I guess it's complaining by definition but you have to understand how badly you are being ripped off, even if complacency and acceptance is your choice.

« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2010, 14:00 »
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"As the company grows, the overall percentage we pay out to contributing artists increases."

Would someone please explain to me why that's true?  

As the company was growing and time was passing, more exclusives were reaching new canister levels. Every time an exclusive artist reached a new canister level, more royalties had to be paid to him/her.  And Getty doesn't like that at all!
We all know Getty believes they should pay no more than 20% in royalties, but they also know no one would be IS exclusive for just 20%.  So from January 2011, the 30%, 35%, 40%, and even 45% in royalties will still there, but reaching them will be just impossible for most of the people.  

grp_photo

« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2010, 14:02 »
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Still see no numbers.  Just words...
What part of "15%" has words?

15% has no meaning to me because you aren't representative of the entire company.  I want to see a model, with costs and cash flows - you know, the business side of things that include revenues, costs, financing, etc.  That way I can actually study something more than "15%" and your most likely misdirected, biased, angry posts
These figures are probably top secret at every microstockagency and probably with reason. But there are some hints: StockXpert was a very successful Microstock - Agency that paid their contributors 50%. I think it was even in this forum where Peter (Founder, CEO etc.) admitted that the costs to run a Microstock-Company are very low and it will be no problem to keep the 50/50 share.
There are lot of other hints including common sense that everyone that is not totally brainwashed knows that the Agencies making lots and lots of easy money with our work. It is pretty new that photographers have to keyword this was part of the work that had the agency to do for a lot lower share than today. What kind of work that is really costly and labour-intense has a Microstock-Agency to do nowadays?

« Reply #40 on: November 25, 2010, 14:09 »
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I think, what he was trying to say, is that micro sites sell images far too cheaply. I have to agree with him. Regardless of the obvious gouging taking place by iStock, Fotolia and others on photographers, image prices on these sites are far too low. I do think images could be sold for twice what they are selling for now. Easily. But more accurately I should say could have, because it's hard to climb up now. Elena, 15 years ago, with your ability, you would likely have been pulling in $50k per month, maybe more and this would have continued up until a few years ago where you likely would have peaked in the $100k per month range. There used to be images that grossed $250,000 in a 5 year sales history. I don't know where you are at now and can only speculate about you and the past but I don't think I'm that far off. I know your doing just fine but it is a good idea to ask the simple question. Am I selling my images for their true value? Or, as Zack contends, maybe you are not. Looking at history and where things have come to. How consolidated and pushy the industry has become in such a short period of time. I guess it's complaining by definition but you have to understand how badly you are being ripped off, even if complacency and acceptance is your choice.
The reason that images used to cost a lot more is due to the technology of the day and the highly restricted marketplace with most potential suppliers effectively excluded. Nowadays the technology is absurdly cheap and the suppliers are producing far more than the market actually needs. But at least it is now largely being governed by market forces.

« Reply #41 on: November 25, 2010, 14:24 »
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The reason that images used to cost a lot more is due to the technology of the day and the highly restricted marketplace with most potential suppliers effectively excluded. Nowadays the technology is absurdly cheap and the suppliers are producing far more than the market actually needs. But at least it is now largely being governed by market forces.

Absolutely market forces are the governing factor. Lots of supplies, lots of demand, lots of providers, easy access for buyers, easy access for sellers. Let's have at it! I love it. And I love the preposterous ramblings of critics.


« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2010, 15:16 »
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It's not quite governed by "market forces", or at least it's far from an ideal market, in which buyers and sellers can easily and directly connect with each other and negotiate prices.   The microstock business is more like the coffee business, where growers are held in poverty by a small number of big corporations who control access to consumers.   

Microstock agencies have the same warm, nurturing relationship with photographers that TicketMaster has with musicians.

« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2010, 15:18 »
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Those who can do, do. Those who can't do, teach. Or blog. Or complain:)

I think, what he was trying to say, is that micro sites sell images far too cheaply. I have to agree with him. Regardless of the obvious gouging taking place by iStock, Fotolia and others on photographers, image prices on these sites are far too low. I do think images could be sold for twice what they are selling for now. Easily.

Totally agree. And we see that in DT with levels, for instance. But we agree to sell them too cheap, and the big-budget buyers benefit from it.

« Reply #44 on: November 25, 2010, 18:01 »
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and your most likely misdirected, biased, angry posts
Huh? I didn't intervene in the IS bashing threads at all.

« Reply #45 on: November 25, 2010, 18:24 »
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I want to see a model, with costs and cash flows - you know, the business side of things that include revenues, costs, financing, etc.  

I'd like to see that too. I also want to see similar calculation of a site that pays non-exclusives more, for example in the 35% area. I really would like to see where IS puts the extra 20% they take from their contributors.

lisafx

« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2010, 08:49 »
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I don't think this business has infinite growth as their are none throughout history that don't eventually reach maturation. Where and when that point is reached then something will have to give and that is usually thrown first on the backs of the workers. What those changes are I can only guess but from my experience it has followed that percentages get cut, selections get tighter, inclusion into the agencies get's more difficult and communications get tougher and tougher. I hope that Micro doesn't follow the path that all stock agencies have in the past.

Completely agree with this assessment.  Only it is not some future event.  All these things are already happening in the micro industry.  No point in hoping it won't happen when it already has.  :(

« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2010, 09:20 »
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... Dan Heller made the same argument, that microstock priced itself way too low at the outset and are paying for it to this day. ...


I think what gets left out of most of these types of op-eds is the fact that microstock was started by content consumers (as in potential customers) doing an end run around existing content suppliers because they didn't want to pay high prices for content they discovered they could create themselves. In other words the agency didn't start out with the goal of making money, but rather saving money on content they needed for their web development needs. The oldest micro-agencies were founded by people with web development businesses/backgrounds. iStock's biggest evangelist at the beginning, long before Guy Kawasaki, was Zeldman.

« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2010, 15:31 »
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Hi Lisa,

 Yes, this has been going on for a while and some saw it coming. I was trying to help boost moral for those with long faces but I think you are correct, there will be no turning back only guessing at what the next change will be and positioning yourself for that change. There is always a way to stay near the top of an industry, right now one problem is will the industry offer the rewards it did to keep their mass base of shooters from wanting to stay or even produce anymore.
 An agency in Micro will have trouble sustaining itself if the part timers quit because of the immense volume they bring to an agency. Micro's are reliant in the number of images they carry as being part of their business model. If an agency wants to be successful for long term they need new contributors and fresh work to keep coming in. Micro has established that it needs millions of images to compete, maybe that will change as well. I don't know, just guessing here.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #49 on: November 26, 2010, 15:33 »
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Well put Rob.

Thx,
Jonathan

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