MicrostockGroup Sponsors

Envato Elements

Author Topic: iStock penalising Diamonds ?  (Read 5259 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: August 04, 2014, 06:17 »
+4
From an unscientific trawl of the last couple of months posts about downloads/earnings, I get the impression that an increasing number of Diamond and Black Diamond contributors are reporting very bad figures. 

I am not in that league, being on the minimum percentage, where monthly variations are statistically insignificant, so I cant add any useful data.

However it would make sense (from a bean-counter perspective) to reduce sales where the contributor get 40% and promote sales at 25%, thus improving the bottom line at the stroke of a Best Match twiddle.

Of course, iStock would never do that to their beloved contributor base, would they?   ::)


« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2014, 06:33 »
+3
Bean counters would. Agents working as a fiduciary would not. Based on recent history - which is iStock?

« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2014, 06:42 »
+3
i think that only big contributors can have an real idea of what is happening in microstock market, in Istock only diamonds and black diamonds can say if sales are really going down or not (and they say that sales are bad)...this because small and new contributors (like me freshly bronze) are uploading many pictures and they don't see a real down trend....my experience is a perfect example: i am a two years contributor, this means i started to upload exactly in the microstock crisis, and despite this crisis my sales are going up, but this is because i started from 0 and reach 1000 pics in one year, so the growth of my sales is not really rapresenting the market itself

« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 06:53 »
0
First 500 exclusives selling still ok.
If You are not there Ciao,amigo...
 ;)

« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 06:54 »
+5
It's just the effect of new contributors taking huge numbers of sales away from established players.  If 10 new people upload and start getting 1,2,3 sales, they repeat 'large increases' while the aggregate takes down the older contributors.

ArnoldLame

« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 07:00 »
0
From an unscientific trawl of the last couple of months posts about downloads/earnings, I get the impression that an increasing number of Diamond and Black Diamond contributors are reporting very bad figures. 

I am not in that league, being on the minimum percentage, where monthly variations are statistically insignificant, so I cant add any useful data.

However it would make sense (from a bean-counter perspective) to reduce sales where the contributor get 40% and promote sales at 25%, thus improving the bottom line at the stroke of a Best Match twiddle.

Of course, iStock would never do that to their beloved contributor base, would they?   ::)

Interesting conspiracy but how could istock reduce the sales of just diamond contributors? The only way I can think of is by them reducing their placing in the best match, which could affect sales.

There don't seem to be any significant reports from diamond contributors reporting that their files have dropped in the best match. I don't see how they could be targeted to have lower sales any other way. If this was happening, surely we would see them all reporting their files not showing up well in searches, as they have done before when the best match has changed, but there are no such reports.

I think sales have just been bad for a lot of people. I don't think its targeted.


« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 07:45 »
+13
They don't need to do anything as specific as that.

The RC system keeps their contributor % payouts at a level that is manageable for them. Each year they can control how many are at each level - they don't care how many are at diamond level as long as the aggregate payout % of all contributors is within specified acceptable/sustainable boundaries, which they can control by raising and lowering the RC level tiers.


« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 08:21 »
+3
They don't need to do anything as specific as that.

The RC system keeps their contributor % payouts at a level that is manageable for them. Each year they can control how many are at each level - they don't care how many are at diamond level as long as the aggregate payout % of all contributors is within specified acceptable/sustainable boundaries, which they can control by raising and lowering the RC level tiers.

I plussed you because you just summed up the definition of RC systems and why agencies go in that direction in a short, succinct paragraph.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 09:30 by Mantis »

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2014, 09:25 »
+6
First 500 exclusives selling still ok.
If You are not there Ciao,amigo...
 ;)

And you know this how?

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2014, 09:28 »
+14
i think that only big contributors can have an real idea of what is happening in microstock market, in Istock only diamonds and black diamonds can say if sales are really going down or not (and they say that sales are bad)...this because small and new contributors (like me freshly bronze) are uploading many pictures and they don't see a real down trend....my experience is a perfect example: i am a two years contributor, this means i started to upload exactly in the microstock crisis, and despite this crisis my sales are going up, but this is because i started from 0 and reach 1000 pics in one year, so the growth of my sales is not really rapresenting the market itself

I am a diamond with over 100k  sales, my sales are down to the point where I said in the past I would give up exclusivity, haven't made that decision yet but it can't be that far off. What drives me mad is the monthly sales thread, when people start boasting of BME, invariably when I check their sales they've sold about 200 files in 5 years.

« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2014, 11:21 »
+2
i think if u read SS forum, it is the same trend as well. the issue of "capping earnings" experienced by certain earners, not just as you say top earners, or "having their portfolio invisible".  just to quote two from that forum.
not sure why they would do this perharps the commission structure , smaller percentage?
or that bigger earners tend to be moving elsewhere (Stocksy, Offset, Yuri where he goes..no one knows,etc).
with sleepy site , there is the increase cost of the image when you change color.

but the seeming trend is to cut earnings for any earners, that's for sure. still, i am not a "top" earner, and i too see that "capping" effect.  ie. as soon as u get a big 105 single sale, the next week till payout suddenly drops to zero to ** cts days.
too much of a coincidence that it happens monthly. 
the only hoorays coming in are from those with a portfolio of less than one or two years...
as witnessed on SS forum too (show your latest earner or whatever).


so, not just IS; not just diamonds not just top earners. just about anyone and most everyone who is earning better than the "cap"
...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 11:32 by etudiante_rapide »

Uncle Pete

« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2014, 17:21 »
0
Also - There is an advantage for exclusive images in Best Match.

It's just the effect of new contributors taking huge numbers of sales away from established players.  If 10 new people upload and start getting 1,2,3 sales, they repeat 'large increases' while the aggregate takes down the older contributors.

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2014, 18:17 »
+5
Also - There is an advantage for exclusive images in Best Match.
Depends on the search.
I've just done one of my regular two-word searches, and there is a huge preponderance of recent indie files with 0 sales, many of which don't even have the subject in them.

Batman

« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2014, 01:19 »
+1
Also - There is an advantage for exclusive images in Best Match.
Depends on the search.
I've just done one of my regular two-word searches, and there is a huge preponderance of recent indie files with 0 sales, many of which don't even have the subject in them.

Mary and Lobo say the search favors exclusive, bnut don't say how much. My sales are way down this month on IS but I'm no exlcusive.

« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2014, 01:23 »
+5
They don't need to do anything as specific as that.

The RC system keeps their contributor % payouts at a level that is manageable for them. Each year they can control how many are at each level - they don't care how many are at diamond level as long as the aggregate payout % of all contributors is within specified acceptable/sustainable boundaries, which they can control by raising and lowering the RC level tiers.

Adding to that: Ever since they introduced it, they never had to raise the limits. Actually they had decided to keep contributors at least on their older levels. Which shows that people on average are doing even worse than what they had calculated at the start. Funny enough "not raising the bar" is an indicator of the business running not as good as expected in this case, isn't it?

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2014, 03:24 »
+1
Also - There is an advantage for exclusive images in Best Match.
Depends on the search.
I've just done one of my regular two-word searches, and there is a huge preponderance of recent indie files with 0 sales, many of which don't even have the subject in them.

Mary and Lobo say the search favors exclusive, bnut don't say how much. My sales are way down this month on IS but I'm no exlcusive.

Mine are well down and I'm an exclusive, so it's lose/lose all round!

« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2014, 04:22 »
+9
They don't need to do anything as specific as that.

The RC system keeps their contributor % payouts at a level that is manageable for them. Each year they can control how many are at each level - they don't care how many are at diamond level as long as the aggregate payout % of all contributors is within specified acceptable/sustainable boundaries, which they can control by raising and lowering the RC level tiers.

Adding to that: Ever since they introduced it, they never had to raise the limits. Actually they had decided to keep contributors at least on their older levels. Which shows that people on average are doing even worse than what they had calculated at the start. Funny enough "not raising the bar" is an indicator of the business running not as good as expected in this case, isn't it?

And they've spun it as "we'll keep you at your last year's level, lucky you!" and people thank them for the underperformance and think they're lucky.... marketing spin done well....

« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2014, 04:46 »
+10
RCs levels should be going down every year to compensate for file dilution with millions of new uploads. Keeping them at the same level or even raising them makes it impossible for contributors to stay at their level. You cannot outshoot the upload volume.

RCs also require optimal marketing and growth from an agency, because if the agency is losing market share, it is not the fault of the contributor, they have no influence on that.

They should just abolish the system and go back to the old canister levels.

« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2014, 07:09 »
+3
Cobalt you are totally right ! I'm mad at istock since the canister level system don't exist anymore. The work and the sales we generated for years at istock are not consider. RC is very very bad for us. I'm dimamond but It's now very hard to reach high RC level with the sub and PP. This is really really bad and getting worst. Make me sick ...

« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2014, 07:15 »
+3
All very true and valid points made here. This month so far is absolutely terrible for me, and I know it is for others. At least 50% down after the last best match change at the end of July.
There are only two options for contributors who wish to continue there though.
Nothing we say or do there makes the slightest difference. It hasn't for years.
 

« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2014, 07:21 »
+2
They don't need to do anything as specific as that.

The RC system keeps their contributor % payouts at a level that is manageable for them. Each year they can control how many are at each level - they don't care how many are at diamond level as long as the aggregate payout % of all contributors is within specified acceptable/sustainable boundaries, which they can control by raising and lowering the RC level tiers.
Adding to that: Ever since they introduced it, they never had to raise the limits. Actually they had decided to keep contributors at least on their older levels. Which shows that people on average are doing even worse than what they had calculated at the start. Funny enough "not raising the bar" is an indicator of the business running not as good as expected in this case, isn't it?

And they've spun it as "we'll keep you at your last year's level, lucky you!" and people thank them for the underperformance and think they're lucky.... marketing spin done well....
The whole place is spinning so fast, that before long a lot of people will need to get off.

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2014, 07:37 »
0
"June was my best month ever in vector sales. July seems to be even better,"

There's someone doing well in vector sales though, Frank Ramspott quoted above in the Illustration forums at IS. He must be the only person doing well, maybe being an inspector helps?

« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2014, 07:44 »
+2
"June was my best month ever in vector sales. July seems to be even better,"

There's someone doing well in vector sales though, Frank Ramspott quoted above in the Illustration forums at IS. He must be the only person doing well, maybe being an inspector helps?

From memory he has quite a few original veery nice football illustrations, which probably gave him a bit of a boost this month... he's a talented guy though.

And I'm sure that was just a throwaway comment, but of course inspectors don't get special treatment, I was, I'm not now, and I didn't.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 08:53 by Colonel »

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2014, 08:20 »
+1
"June was my best month ever in vector sales. July seems to be even better,"

There's someone doing well in vector sales though, Frank Ramspott quoted above in the Illustration forums at IS. He must be the only person doing well, maybe being an inspector helps?

From memory he has quite a few original veery nice football illustrations, which probably gave him a bit of a biist this month... he's a talented guy though.

And I'm sure that was just a throwaway comment, but of course inspectors don't get special treatment, I was, I'm not now, and I didn't.

He was claiming his high sales were due to the number of new files he's uploaded recently, can't say I see new files getting anything much in the way of sales, and looking at his most recent ones, can't say I've seen his new files selling much either. Maybe he was just sent in to add a 'wooyay' to what is always a depressing thread.

BoBoBolinski

« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2014, 09:08 »
+5
"June was my best month ever in vector sales. July seems to be even better,"

There's someone doing well in vector sales though, Frank Ramspott quoted above in the Illustration forums at IS. He must be the only person doing well, maybe being an inspector helps?

From memory he has quite a few original veery nice football illustrations, which probably gave him a bit of a boost this month... he's a talented guy though.

And I'm sure that was just a throwaway comment, but of course inspectors don't get special treatment, I was, I'm not now, and I didn't.

It wasn't a 'throwaway comment', it was genuine speculation. I don't know any vector contributors who are having anything other than a very hard time at IS, and I know quite a few, some of them very big sellers. The vector sales thread is normally devoid of more than 1 or 2 responses because everyone has lost heart to such a degree that no one bothers to post there, yet suddenly someone pops up with a best month ever, not only that but a middle weight seller who has been at IS for a long time, through the period when sales were high and everyone was very optimistic, yet only now, at the end of a big 3 year downward trend, he is suddenly doing better than ever. I'm just a teeny bit suspicious, that's all.

« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2014, 09:17 »
+12
As an Istock diamond with crashing sales month after month I don't think it is Istock penalizing anyone. It is just that buyers have left the place. That simple. Exclusivity  Istock and Getty (I contribute to PC and house collections) are no longer a viable photography business. I give them 6 more months to change that trend, thats when my cut will drop from 40 to 35, then I will be out. I hope my psychological health will improve after that :-)

« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2014, 10:11 »
+1
As an Istock diamond with crashing sales month after month I don't think it is Istock penalizing anyone. It is just that buyers have left the place. That simple. Exclusivity  Istock and Getty (I contribute to PC and house collections) are no longer a viable photography business. I give them 6 more months to change that trend, thats when my cut will drop from 40 to 35, then I will be out. I hope my psychological health will improve after that :-)

nary a worry, chum. even if your psych-health dips into looneymania,
u  & your IS diamonds will have enough chums from Shutterstock ... to welcome u at the microstock looney-bin.
at least the monthly fee is reasonable, +- 33 cents per day , increasing to 38 cents
premium single-room only for fotolia members $1.

 ;D ;D ;D


ShadySue

« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2014, 10:22 »
0
"June was my best month ever in vector sales. July seems to be even better,"

There's someone doing well in vector sales though, Frank Ramspott quoted above in the Illustration forums at IS. He must be the only person doing well, maybe being an inspector helps?

What is interesting is that some of his recent work is very 'simple', yet others have had illos rejected for being 'too simple'.

From memory he has quite a few original veery nice football illustrations, which probably gave him a bit of a boost this month... he's a talented guy though.

And I'm sure that was just a throwaway comment, but of course inspectors don't get special treatment, I was, I'm not now, and I didn't.

« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2014, 10:52 »
0
As an Istock diamond with crashing sales month after month I don't think it is Istock penalizing anyone. It is just that buyers have left the place. That simple. Exclusivity  Istock and Getty (I contribute to PC and house collections) are no longer a viable photography business. I give them 6 more months to change that trend, thats when my cut will drop from 40 to 35, then I will be out. I hope my psychological health will improve after that :-)
If it just the buyers leaving then all I can say is that quite a few of them must have left with the last big best match change 2-3 weeks back.
There may be less buyers, and there are almost certainly more contributors after the DLs, but those would mean slower drops over time, which we have of course seen.
It's not that iStock penalises any particular persons or group deliberately, it's just "business"
Their business that is. Our's doesn't count.

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2014, 11:40 »
0
As an Istock diamond with crashing sales month after month I don't think it is Istock penalizing anyone. It is just that buyers have left the place. That simple. Exclusivity  Istock and Getty (I contribute to PC and house collections) are no longer a viable photography business. I give them 6 more months to change that trend, thats when my cut will drop from 40 to 35, then I will be out. I hope my psychological health will improve after that :-)
If it just the buyers leaving then all I can say is that quite a few of them must have left with the last big best match change 2-3 weeks back.
There may be less buyers, and there are almost certainly more contributors after the DLs, but those would mean slower drops over time, which we have of course seen.
It's not that iStock penalises any particular persons or group deliberately, it's just "business"
Their business that is. Our's doesn't count.

To quote Lord Cutler Beckett at the end of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End "He actually expects us to honor our agreement.  Nothing personal Jack, it's just good business."

Sounds to me like Disney copied this line from iStock's current business plan.

« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2014, 18:45 »
0
As an Istock diamond with crashing sales month after month I don't think it is Istock penalizing anyone. It is just that buyers have left the place. That simple. Exclusivity  Istock and Getty (I contribute to PC and house collections) are no longer a viable photography business. I give them 6 more months to change that trend, thats when my cut will drop from 40 to 35, then I will be out. I hope my psychological health will improve after that :-)
If it just the buyers leaving then all I can say is that quite a few of them must have left with the last big best match change 2-3 weeks back.
There may be less buyers, and there are almost certainly more contributors after the DLs, but those would mean slower drops over time, which we have of course seen.
It's not that iStock penalises any particular persons or group deliberately, it's just "business"
Their business that is. Our's doesn't count.

I am thinking we may be seeing the effect of buyers switch to subs. Subs were many more in June than May.  Will be interesting to see if trend continues into July.  And subs are so cheaper than credit sales that explain some part of latest income drops.

ShadySue

« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2014, 19:50 »
+1
Mary and Lobo say the search favors exclusive, but don't say how much.

Who is Mary?
Lobo says what they want him to feed us.
As for exclusives being favoured, it depends on the search. Business is heavily favoured to exclusives on top of the first page, others, not at all. I'm looking at a low-supply, low demand nature species just now where 52 of the top 53 images are 0 dl by one indie (mostly from one shoot), one is a 0 dl by another indie, and the bottom ten are all exclusive, seven of these with sales.

« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2014, 19:58 »
+12
Algorithms can be incredibly complex and they can be tweaked to maximise profits for istock at the expense of photographers be they long term faithful contributors or newbies. They can share the views and downloads around to increase production amongst new or part-time contributors.

IS is so opaque. Opaque in best match. Opaque in leadership. Opaque in financial reporting.

I'm a black diamond and after 9 years full-time with IS I'm now looking for a job. I've had two dramatic drops in income level this year along with a steady downward trend. By April next year I'll be lucky to be earning anything.

If I thought that improving keywords or improving image quality or subject matter could make a difference I would do it but I think the system is bent on sharing the views, increasing the contributions from part timers and taking out as much cash as possible for the parent companies.

« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2014, 01:49 »
+4
Algorithms can be incredibly complex and they can be tweaked to maximise profits for istock at the expense of photographers be they long term faithful contributors or newbies. They can share the views and downloads around to increase production amongst new or part-time contributors.

You need to exchange "can" with "could". Like in "hypothetically". Given iStock always having been "technologically challenged" I have serious doubts they actually can do anything like that. Even if they wanted to, why would this be the only technical plan that they didn't screw up?

« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2014, 03:01 »
+3
I'm a black diamond and after 9 years full-time with IS I'm now looking for a job. I've had two dramatic drops in income level this year along with a steady downward trend. By April next year I'll be lucky to be earning anything.

Don't despair - one of my friends with good work has got his dollar per image per month rate back over $1 (which I think is a reasonable target) a few months after quitting exclusivity by uploading mainly to SS and a few others.

I think there is light at the end of the exclusivity tunnel if you can survive the initial drop in earnings.

You're right about iStock though, the trend is tapering to zero or bumping just above it.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2014, 21:00 »
0
From searching, she is apparently the SearchFairy.  http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=353233&page=1

Lobo: "...The Best Match will always benefit Exclusive content over non-Exclusive. We have a few days to see how things shake out. I think it's important to see how things shake out before we pass judgement."

He didn't say, go to the head of the class, king of the hill, or first page. Just "benefit". I think most of the time, Lobo only knows what they tell him to know. If he knows more, he's not allowed to say so.


Mary and Lobo say the search favors exclusive, but don't say how much.


Who is Mary?
Lobo says what they want him to feed us.
As for exclusives being favoured, it depends on the search. Business is heavily favoured to exclusives on top of the first page, others, not at all. I'm looking at a low-supply, low demand nature species just now where 52 of the top 53 images are 0 dl by one indie (mostly from one shoot), one is a 0 dl by another indie, and the bottom ten are all exclusive, seven of these with sales.

« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2014, 22:20 »
0
Algorithms can be incredibly complex and they can be tweaked to maximise profits for istock at the expense of photographers be they long term faithful contributors or newbies.

They can share the views and downloads around to increase production amongst new or part-time contributors.

IS is so opaque. Opaque in best match. Opaque in leadership. Opaque in financial reporting.

I'm a black diamond and after 9 years full-time with IS I'm now looking for a job. I've had two dramatic drops in income level this year along with a steady downward trend. By April next year I'll be lucky to be earning anything.

If I thought that improving keywords or improving image quality or subject matter could make a difference I would do it but I think the system is bent on sharing the views, increasing the contributions from part timers and taking out as much cash as possible for the parent companies.


+110%

I feel exactly the same about more than one site. Those who jump to SS, DT, FT will find the same scenario once their newb status wears off in the searches.

Once SS lures a lions share of IS exclusives over, they will focus on bringing in fresh new and more profitable contributors with skillfeed. http://tinyurl.com/q6h8y4c

Envato ElementsMicrostock Insider

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
2 Replies
4828 Views
Last post July 25, 2006, 06:12
by leaf
5 Replies
9568 Views
Last post August 22, 2006, 15:49
by amanda1863
7 Replies
14436 Views
Last post June 08, 2008, 13:41
by mantonino
8 Replies
2707 Views
Last post December 05, 2013, 16:07
by heywoody
12 Replies
3502 Views
Last post May 18, 2018, 18:17
by Jeffrey

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

Envato Elements