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Author Topic: Why NOT to submit images for Colourbox  (Read 14808 times)

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« on: June 21, 2013, 12:06 »
+19
Today Colourbox was removed from my list of images, which I submit images for. Here is why:

For some time I have been monitoring the average payment per download on all the 13 agencies I submit images for. The average payment per download is about 0,69 USD for these 13 agencies. Colourbox was among these agencies and only pays $ 0,26 per download (0,20 Euro). By far the lowest payment per download among all the agencies. The second-lowest (Deposit Photos) pays $ 0,56 per download. For some time I believed that the easy upload system could compensate for the low payment per sale. But....

As I'm trying to make a serious business of my work I started looking at the big picture. I came to realize that I was actually supporting a company that was pushing the limit for how low you can pay the photographers in this business. Colourbox sells single downloads for as much as 9,5 Euro and pays the photographer 0,20 Euro. So they keep 98% of the sale price!

As I was looking at the numbers I realized that Colourbox is raking in money on selling our images and leaving pennies for the photographers.

Back in January 2013 I decided to contact Colourbox and hear about their royalty structure. I was corresponding with the CEO Esben Darling Meng. He wrote me a mail explaining how Colourbox was offering photo contests and fame as one of the benefits of being a contributor at Colourbox. Furthermore he wrote, that the they in March (2013) would start to pay "good photographers" as much as 50% more per sale. I decided to stay to see the changes in commissions.

I waited until April and there was no news from Colourbox. I contacted them again and CEO Esben Darling Meng wrote, that they would implement the new commission structure within a couple of months.

Today I had a phonecall with Esben Darling Meng from Colourbox. We had a 25 minute conversation. He told me that they had been busy employing new people and expanding their business. Therefore they hadn't had time for implementing a new royalty-structure and he couldn't promise me when they would do this.

This made me decide to remove my 1100 images from Colourbox. I hope that other Colourbox contributors will think about this and that selling your images for  0,20 euro (with up to 98% commission for the agency) does to the business of selling stock images. It helps them to create an agency that compete with e.g. Shutterstock, iStockPhoto and other more sustainable agencies and in the end forcing other agencies to lower their commissions. I decided that I didn't want to support that.


EmberMike

« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 12:58 »
+10
Colourbox is the worst in the business, hands down. On single image sales of vectors they take $12.50 from the buyer and pay $0.46 to the artist. It amounts to a roughly 3.7% royalty rate.

Adding insult to injury it sounds like they've got plenty of money to hire new people and expand their own business internally, but no time to address the ridiculous royalty structure.

Absolutely horrendous.

Amazingly they're boasting on their homepage that they add 8,000 new images to the collection every day. I don't know who is supplying those images, but if it's anyone here, I think you need to seriously reconsider. I don't often suggest that anyone not do business with any particular company, but in this case I think I can make an exception.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 13:02 by EmberMike »

« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 13:02 »
+2
Colourbox is the worst in the business, hands down. On single image sales of vectors they take $12.50 from the buyer and pay $0.46 to the artist. It amounts to a roughly 3.7% royalty rate.

Adding insult to injury it sounds like they've got plenty of money to hire new people and expand their own business internally, but no time to address the ridiculous royalty structure.

Absolutely horrendous.

How do they have any images? I wonder about contributors sometimes.

« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 13:09 »
+1
Colourbox is the worst in the business, hands down. On single image sales of vectors they take $12.50 from the buyer and pay $0.46 to the artist. It amounts to a roughly 3.7% royalty rate.

Adding insult to injury it sounds like they've got plenty of money to hire new people and expand their own business internally, but no time to address the ridiculous royalty structure.

Absolutely horrendous.

How do they have any images? I wonder about contributors sometimes.

Same question.
Problem isn't the agency. But I'm sure that in a couple of years some agencies will give us the opportunity to pay to give them the photos.

« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 13:17 »
0
But I'm sure that in a couple of years some agencies will give us the opportunity to pay to give them the photos.

I know this was a joke, but it might actually be an improvement. If you got the full royalty and just paid a flat monthly fee to be part of an agency, you might actually make more. At the very least, it might stifle competition.

« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 13:27 »
0
. It amounts to a roughly 3.7% royalty rate.



Image bank with 6M+ royalty-free images, vectors and videos. Find the right photo for your next creative project. More than 8000 photos added daily.


It seems that there are plenty of photographers who don't mind being paid 3.7%

« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 13:48 »
0
cthoman I think that if an agency really believe in your work, will never ask for money to get your illustrations. If we speak about big company as istock ss etc, their focus is quantity, so they never promotes artists, it's impossible; if we speak about small agency they need to change the current trend and stop behaving like the big agencies and starting to consider their contributors like a value.
But I think that isn't the trend nowadays.
Also, if we consider the 98% kept by colourbox what I wrote is pretty close to the truth. Shooting time, PP, keywording, upload the files, and 0,2 is less than what you spend for some work. Yes I know a pictures can sell many times but really I can't see how this can be profitable.
To the OP I'm happy that you left this agency, and best wishes for your business.

« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 14:19 »
0
cthoman I think that if an agency really believe in your work, will never ask for money to get your illustrations.

It's really a difference of paying them on the front end or paying them on the back end. I don't mind paying upfront if the payoff is there. If the right site came along offering that I wouldn't turn it down. That was my point.

At this point (for me), it is less about them believing in me and more about me believing in them. They have to sell me on why I should be part of their agency. Most of those sales pitches aren't very good though.

ShadySue

« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 17:46 »
0
But I'm sure that in a couple of years some agencies will give us the opportunity to pay to give them the photos.

I know this was a joke, but it might actually be an improvement. If you got the full royalty and just paid a flat monthly fee to be part of an agency, you might actually make more. At the very least, it might stifle competition.

Isn't that kinda how Photoshelter works? (though they also take 8 - 10% as a 'sales transaction fee').

« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2013, 02:44 »
-4
Colourbox is the worst in the business, hands down. On single image sales of vectors they take $12.50 from the buyer and pay $0.46 to the artist. It amounts to a roughly 3.7% royalty rate.

Adding insult to injury it sounds like they've got plenty of money to hire new people and expand their own business internally, but no time to address the ridiculous royalty structure.

Absolutely horrendous.

How do they have any images? I wonder about contributors sometimes.

I can only speak on my own behalf. But as a new contributor I just appreciated any sale/commision I could get from my photos. 

« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2013, 03:22 »
+4
Giving an agency virtually all the money, 96.3% of it, should put people off but unfortunately it doesn't.  There's a minimum wage in lots of countries, I think there should be a minimum percentage that agencies have to pay.  20% with istock felt like the minimum I was willing to accept, when they had higher sales volume.  When they went below 20%, my enthusiasm for them was destroyed.  When we see that sites like Pond5 can do very well paying 50%, there's really no excuse for the sites paying a fraction of that.

« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2013, 05:29 »
0
Giving an agency virtually all the money, 96.3% of it, should put people off but unfortunately it doesn't.  There's a minimum wage in lots of countries, I think there should be a minimum percentage that agencies have to pay.  20% with istock felt like the minimum I was willing to accept, when they had higher sales volume.  When they went below 20%, my enthusiasm for them was destroyed.  When we see that sites like Pond5 can do very well paying 50%, there's really no excuse for the sites paying a fraction of that.
Somebody should create a union of stock photographers who made a list of "approved" agencies that provides fair conditions for the contributors.

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 05:39 »
+2
Giving an agency virtually all the money, 96.3% of it, should put people off but unfortunately it doesn't.  There's a minimum wage in lots of countries, I think there should be a minimum percentage that agencies have to pay.  20% with istock felt like the minimum I was willing to accept, when they had higher sales volume.  When they went below 20%, my enthusiasm for them was destroyed.  When we see that sites like Pond5 can do very well paying 50%, there's really no excuse for the sites paying a fraction of that.
Somebody should create a union of stock photographers who made a list of "approved" agencies that provides fair conditions for the contributors.
That'll fit onto a postage stamp, and even smaller if you also include 'and decent returns'.  :(

« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 09:04 »
+5
Somebody should create a union of stock photographers who made a list of "approved" agencies that provides fair conditions for the contributors.

Who decides what is "approved"? I think I 'd prefer if my peers didn't make those decisions. They don't have a great track record. There was a poll recently on MSG to pick the most fair agency that we all should be supporting and SS won. Now, I have nothing against Shutterstock, but I wouldn't describe them as the most fair for contributors.

EmberMike

« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2013, 10:26 »
+3
Who decides what is "approved"? I think I'd prefer if my peers didn't make those decisions. They don't have a great track record. There was a poll recently on MSG to pick the most fair agency that we all should be supporting and SS won. Now, I have nothing against Shutterstock, but I wouldn't describe them as the most fair for contributors.

100% agree. The harsh reality in this business is that most people don't know what's good for themselves. I know I won't make any friends with that statement, but it's true, and that poll is evidence of it. Shutterstock is a good company, but we all know they don't pay out nearly as much of a percentage of what they take in as other companies do.

I have very little faith in the community to decide what's best for any of us.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2013, 10:40 »
-1
Who decides what is "approved"? I think I'd prefer if my peers didn't make those decisions. They don't have a great track record. There was a poll recently on MSG to pick the most fair agency that we all should be supporting and SS won. Now, I have nothing against Shutterstock, but I wouldn't describe them as the most fair for contributors.

100% agree. The harsh reality in this business is that most people don't know what's good for themselves. I know I won't make any friends with that statement, but it's true, and that poll is evidence of it. Shutterstock is a good company, but we all know they don't pay out nearly as much of a percentage of what they take in as other companies do.

I have very little faith in the community to decide what's best for any of us.

That last sentence is something we can agree on but there is no way you or any one of us should make such a statement as "We All Know."

 8)

EmberMike

« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2013, 11:09 »
0
That last sentence is something we can agree on but there is no way you or any one of us should make such a statement as "We All Know."

Sure we all know. They're a public company, we all know exactly where their money goes and how much of it we see.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 11:50 »
-1
Who decides what is "approved"? I think I'd prefer if my peers didn't make those decisions. They don't have a great track record. There was a poll recently on MSG to pick the most fair agency that we all should be supporting and SS won. Now, I have nothing against Shutterstock, but I wouldn't describe them as the most fair for contributors.

100% agree. The harsh reality in this business is that most people don't know what's good for themselves. I know I won't make any friends with that statement, but it's true, and that poll is evidence of it. Shutterstock is a good company, but we all know they don't pay out nearly as much of a percentage of what they take in as other companies do.

I have very little faith in the community to decide what's best for any of us.

Public or not ... I still don't know this to be a fact.  How did you calculate an answer?


« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2013, 12:16 »
0
Public or not ... I still don't know this to be a fact.  How did you calculate an answer?

It's opinion, but it has been stated that SS pays around 25-30%. I would assume most contributors would think that they deserve more than that. But, that is just an assumption. Like was said above, it's hard to predict what everyone is thinking. It can be very surprising what they are thinking (especially after seeing that poll).

WarrenPrice

« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2013, 12:28 »
-2
Public or not ... I still don't know this to be a fact.  How did you calculate an answer?

It's opinion, but it has been stated that SS pays around 25-30%. I would assume most contributors would think that they deserve more than that. But, that is just an assumption. Like was said above, it's hard to predict what everyone is thinking. It can be very surprising what they are thinking (especially after seeing that poll).

Yeah... just a matter of semantics.  I don't know how we can all know when there can't even be an agreement on what we do know.   ;D

EmberMike

« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2013, 12:29 »
0
Public or not ... I still don't know this to be a fact.  How did you calculate an answer?

It's in the annual reports. In 2012 Shutterstock spent $64 million on "cost of revenue" which includes our royalties, credit card processing fees, paying reviewers, customer service expenses, infrastructure costs related to maintaining the website and associated employee compensation and non-cash equity-based compensation, facility costs, and other supporting overhead costs. That's 37% of their $169 million revenue for that year. I can't find where exactly the contributor royalties numbers are (the report is a bit long and I'm not much for financial reading) but at the very best, we can say that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in, probably more like 20-25%. Our royalties are among that 37% that also includes a lot of other expensive items, and even though they are the largest part of that 37%, as indicated in the report, I doubt very much that they account for anything over 30% of the cost of revenue.
 
I'm sure there is a more specific number in this report somewhere, so if anyone knows what it is, please share. But anecdotally, I can say with great certainty that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in from sales, and in all likelihood it's more like high 20% numbers at best.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2013, 12:32 »
-3
Public or not ... I still don't know this to be a fact.  How did you calculate an answer?

It's in the annual reports. In 2012 Shutterstock spent $64 million on "cost of revenue" which includes our royalties, credit card processing fees, paying reviewers, customer service expenses, infrastructure costs related to maintaining the website and associated employee compensation and non-cash equity-based compensation, facility costs, and other supporting overhead costs. That's 37% of their $169 million revenue for that year. I can't find where exactly the contributor royalties numbers are (the report is a bit long and I'm not much for financial reading) but at the very best, we can say that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in, probably more like 20-25%. Our royalties are among that 37% that also includes a lot of other expensive items, and even though they are the largest part of that 37%, as indicated in the report, I doubt very much that they account for anything over 30% of the cost of revenue.
 
I'm sure there is a more specific number in this report somewhere, so if anyone knows what it is, please share. But anecdotally, I can say with great certainty that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in from sales, and in all likelihood it's more like high 20% numbers at best.

Don't you agree, Mike, that very few of us read an SS Annual Report?  Even those of us who do are unlikely to understand or interpret the information correctly.

Ain't no way "We all Know."   ;D

« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2013, 12:54 »
0
I'm sure there is a more specific number in this report somewhere, so if anyone knows what it is, please share. But anecdotally, I can say with great certainty that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in from sales, and in all likelihood it's more like high 20% numbers at best.

I think they said customers pay on average $2.10 per image (I'd have to look it up again and it might have increased in the latest report), so I guess you could calculate your percentage from your average RPD. I'm usually around $0.6 per download, so I guess mine is around 28%.

« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 12:55 »
-2
Public or not ... I still don't know this to be a fact.  How did you calculate an answer?

It's in the annual reports. In 2012 Shutterstock spent $64 million on "cost of revenue" which includes our royalties, credit card processing fees, paying reviewers, customer service expenses, infrastructure costs related to maintaining the website and associated employee compensation and non-cash equity-based compensation, facility costs, and other supporting overhead costs. That's 37% of their $169 million revenue for that year. I can't find where exactly the contributor royalties numbers are (the report is a bit long and I'm not much for financial reading) but at the very best, we can say that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in, probably more like 20-25%. Our royalties are among that 37% that also includes a lot of other expensive items, and even though they are the largest part of that 37%, as indicated in the report, I doubt very much that they account for anything over 30% of the cost of revenue.
 
I'm sure there is a more specific number in this report somewhere, so if anyone knows what it is, please share. But anecdotally, I can say with great certainty that SS pays us no more than 30% of what they take in from sales, and in all likelihood it's more like high 20% numbers at best.

Don't you agree, Mike, that very few of us read an SS Annual Report?  Even those of us who do are unlikely to understand or interpret the information correctly.

Ain't no way "We all Know."   ;D

oh my god, I am sorry to say but your comments are pointless (one after another)

I wonder if you take anything serious, aren't you old enough to have a good discussion?

its a pity to see a contributor talking this way really, how immature...

BTW most relevant info is easily found on tables at the reports

« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2013, 12:59 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 12:49 by Audi 5000 »

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