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Author Topic: Anyone cancel exclusive contract yet?  (Read 51037 times)

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« Reply #200 on: May 14, 2011, 13:49 »
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Cathy, I agree with most of the things you said. When I said I never had any fights with the admins, I was only talking about myself, and didn't mean to infer you or anyone else.

I remember the time you were thinking about going exclusive. Being a victim of iStock's false promise myself, I also look at iStock with suspicion and concerns. I am glad that other sites have been bug-free since September, it's a pity that I became exclusive before that!

I was simply trying to offer a more balanced view. I found iStock could sometimes be quite tolerant of discussions when it concerns its major policy changes. As for refund, do you remember Fotolia also had refund issue due to credit card fraud a couple of years ago (can't remember the exact time)? Refunds are more frequent at Alamy and we don't get any notice as to why.




I don't believe I said the other sites were "so good". They all have their faults and the biggest of all, for ALL of them, is that they take a huge piece of the pie. Everyone has their reasons for going exclusive, I myself considered it early last year and had stopped uploading to other sites and was within a couple of weeks of going exclusive at istock. My reasons for considering exclusivity were because of the promise of a company treating exclusives better, making more money, and only having one agency to upload to. I started getting bad feelings, backed out, and in September it all became clear that I had made the right choice. No regrets since.

My opinion differs from yours and that's ok. I don't perceive any agency as "a greener pasture." But since last September, the other sites have few to no problems with fraud, aren't constantly fiddling with their "best match" system so my sales remain consistent or better all the time, aren't constantly bringing new pricing schemes into the picture, haven't gone back on their word, and in general, don't project a lot of drama. They conduct themselves as a business, not a club. And now, it appears as though buyers are shifting away from the nonsense at istock and moving to the other sites, because I have seen a noticeable jump in sales at the other sites. Which only reaffirms that my choice to NOT go exclusive was the right one.

I've been around almost as long as JoAnn. We were uploading and supporting istock at the same time. It was a natural transition for her to go exclusive...she made microstock her career, and she has more than twice the images on istock that I had. I am not in the same position. I never intended to become a full-time microstock photographer. Becoming exclusive at istock does not make sense for me (though I thought it did once). istock has taken such a HUGE turn in a completely different direction, one that doesn't make sense for me. Guess not for JoAnn either. And a lot of other exclusives, apparently.

When people see their sales dropping and dropping because of constant uproar by the agency, I'd say that making a move to do something different is a sound business decision. There may be emotions connected to it too, but everyone is entitled to their reasons for leaving exclusivity. Whether you think it is a bad decision and emotional is irrelevant.

P.S. I've never had fights with admins in any sites either, maybe you were speaking generally when you said that? Or you're confusing me with someone else?


« Reply #201 on: May 14, 2011, 14:12 »
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Cathy, I agree with most of the things you said. When I said I never had any fights with the admins, I was only talking about myself, and didn't mean to infer you or anyone else.

Sorry I misunderstood.

Quote
I was simply trying to offer a more balanced view. I found iStock could sometimes be quite tolerant of discussions when it concerns its major policy changes. As for refund, do you remember Fotolia also had refund issue due to credit card fraud a couple of years ago (can't remember the exact time)? Refunds are more frequent at Alamy and we don't get any notice as to why.

No problem. Everyone sees things in their own way. As for Fotolia, no, don't remember. I bailed from there a few years back and mostly don't follow threads relating to them. I can't even keep up with the ones relative to the sites I do contribute to!  :)

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #202 on: May 15, 2011, 00:25 »
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FWIW in response to an earlier comment, I'm not a big Vetta or Agency contributor. E+ garners me good sales on a daily basis. I  don't think it's accurate to say that iStock only has room for V/A contributors these days. my experience suggests otherwise.

« Reply #203 on: May 15, 2011, 00:54 »
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FWIW in response to an earlier comment, I'm not a big Vetta or Agency contributor. E+ garners me good sales on a daily basis. I  don't think it's accurate to say that iStock only has room for V/A contributors these days. my experience suggests otherwise.

Same here , with 0 E+ files.

« Reply #204 on: May 17, 2011, 08:35 »
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FWIW in response to an earlier comment, I'm not a big Vetta or Agency contributor. E+ garners me good sales on a daily basis. I  don't think it's accurate to say that iStock only has room for V/A contributors these days. my experience suggests otherwise.

I wish I could say the same. In my case, E+ can only partly offset the damage to my income, which I can quite definitely trace to every instance that V/A was pushed ahead by iStock. Unless they bring back the V/A filter, the writing's on the wall for me. Which leads me to my question and why I'm posting here:

Is there any iStock ex-exclusive diamond here who gave up exclusivity within the past year and has matched or exceeded their exclusive level of income as an independent? All I've ever read are qualified reports like "I'm doing great at Shutterstock but haven't uploaded everything yet, so we'll see", that kind of thing. What I haven't come across is someone saying "Hey I'm an iStock diamond and since giving up my crown six months ago I'm already earning as much as I did before". Do such new independents exist?

ayzek

« Reply #205 on: May 17, 2011, 08:58 »
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Is there any iStock ex-exclusive diamond here who gave up exclusivity within the past year and has matched or exceeded their exclusive level of income as an independent? All I've ever read are qualified reports like "I'm doing great at Shutterstock but haven't uploaded everything yet, so we'll see", that kind of thing. What I haven't come across is someone saying "Hey I'm an iStock diamond and since giving up my crown six months ago I'm already earning as much as I did before". Do such new independents exist?

i am reading for a long time this forum and i also didnt see someone said that. i can not say that to :) Cause i am independent for 10 days. i made this move cause i just dont want to watch someone pushing me where he wants. i can not change all world trends but i can change my refferall links to where i want to now.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 09:40 by ayzek »

« Reply #206 on: May 17, 2011, 08:59 »
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FWIW in response to an earlier comment, I'm not a big Vetta or Agency contributor. E+ garners me good sales on a daily basis. I  don't think it's accurate to say that iStock only has room for V/A contributors these days. my experience suggests otherwise.

I wish I could say the same. In my case, E+ can only partly offset the damage to my income, which I can quite definitely trace to every instance that V/A was pushed ahead by iStock. Unless they bring back the V/A filter, the writing's on the wall for me. Which leads me to my question and why I'm posting here:

Is there any iStock ex-exclusive diamond here who gave up exclusivity within the past year and has matched or exceeded their exclusive level of income as an independent? All I've ever read are qualified reports like "I'm doing great at Shutterstock but haven't uploaded everything yet, so we'll see", that kind of thing. What I haven't come across is someone saying "Hey I'm an iStock diamond and since giving up my crown six months ago I'm already earning as much as I did before". Do such new independents exist?

I highly doubt it is possible, at least not in two years, but it depends on the size of your port with other agencies.

« Reply #207 on: May 17, 2011, 09:28 »
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snip
Is there any iStock ex-exclusive diamond here who gave up exclusivity within the past year and has matched or exceeded their exclusive level of income as an independent? All I've ever read are qualified reports like "I'm doing great at Shutterstock but haven't uploaded everything yet, so we'll see", that kind of thing. What I haven't come across is someone saying "Hey I'm an iStock diamond and since giving up my crown six months ago I'm already earning as much as I did before". Do such new independents exist?

I think most of the unrest came last September, and those giving up exclusivity have done so within the last 3-4 months. It takes time to get portfolios uploaded and performing. Why would you expect an exclusive leaving istock who took maybe 5 years to get where they are, or even 1 or 2 years, to suddenly get to the same place in a couple of months? It isn't going to happen like that. Especially considering the number of files online 5 years ago as compared to now. I think you might have to have a little patience and wait for a few more months to be hearing excellent reports from some contributors. That's my opinion, anyway.

« Reply #208 on: May 17, 2011, 09:30 »
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Is there any iStock ex-exclusive diamond here who gave up exclusivity within the past year and has matched or exceeded their exclusive level of income as an independent? All I've ever read are qualified reports like "I'm doing great at Shutterstock but haven't uploaded everything yet, so we'll see", that kind of thing. What I haven't come across is someone saying "Hey I'm an iStock diamond and since giving up my crown six months ago I'm already earning as much as I did before". Do such new independents exist?
Maybe not but few, if any, have really gone full-out for it. It does take time to build your sales at all agencies (just like at IS). Your images need to gain rightful sort-order position, you need to climb the commission levels at SS & FT and your images have to climb the Levels at DT. DT also has upload limits. At FT however you may be able to negotiate a higher starting ranking.

It probably took you considerably longer than six months to become Diamond at IS and it is just the same elsewhere. It is going to take a lot of work and a fair bit of time to climb to the top at each agency. Of course if Istock is steadily losing market share, as many of us independents believe, then you are probably better making the jump sooner rather than later. With every month that passes it is becoming more difficult for new images to become best-sellers at each agency. It will be harder and take longer to make the jump in six month's time than it would be today. There is not much doubt which way the wind is blowing in microstock now though and it looks to me as if Istock's best days may have passed. To make your decision you have to consider where each agency might be in 2-3 years from now. That's probably how long it will take you to reap the full rewards of being independent.

« Reply #209 on: May 17, 2011, 13:24 »
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I canceled photo exclusivity. I have been accepted at Veer, but have tried twice at SS, and the same thing happened both times received a response within 12 hours that all my submissions were rejected. These were my top photos at iSrock, including a couple of my best watercolor maps. The latter were rejected for "composition." Huh-wha? It's a map. What am I supposed to do, add another panhandle to Florida to make it more interesting?

Does SS just have it out for iS contributors. or what? I know I'm not a great photographer, but these are all selling well at iS.

« Reply #210 on: May 17, 2011, 13:50 »
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Does Shutterstock just have it out for iS contributors. or what? I know I'm not a great photographer, but these are all selling well at iS.

The issue you're bumping into is the difference between the sort of thing SS wants to sell vs. iStock's preferences. I'm slowly feeling my way back into a SS groove with small-ish batches so I can see what they will and won't take.

Think of all the frustrated folks you've encountered in the past at IS saying that the items IS rejects are selling well elsewhere and IS says, in effect "we don't care about sales elsewhere" - same thing with SS just with different files :)

I took a look at your photos on IS sorted by download and I can guess why SS isn't happy. For them, some of the subtle, muted colors and useful, but visually a bit dull images (I'm thinking the big stacks of newspapers) have a hard time, especially for an application. Your earth-egg, for example, is much more up their street.

I know you can't upload raster versions of illustrations you have at iStock, but you might see how you fare with other raster illustrations - and perhaps upload your next batch of ten candidates here, or in the SS forums for other people's opinions. Have a browse through the popular images at SS to get an idea of what they're looking for.

« Reply #211 on: May 17, 2011, 13:55 »
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"Huh-wha? It's a map. What am I supposed to do, add another panhandle to Florida to make it more interesting?"


I think maybe Florida would be more interesting with a mountain and maybe another set of keys instead of a second panhandle.

It does sound like SS is getting pretty picky with their applications. In my experience they are worth fighting and jumping through the hoops to get in though. I did find that what SS accepted was often not what IS took and vice versa. (sometimes it seemed like IS only accepted my worst sellers)

lagereek

« Reply #212 on: May 17, 2011, 15:39 »
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Is there any iStock ex-exclusive diamond here who gave up exclusivity within the past year and has matched or exceeded their exclusive level of income as an independent? All I've ever read are qualified reports like "I'm doing great at Shutterstock but haven't uploaded everything yet, so we'll see", that kind of thing. What I haven't come across is someone saying "Hey I'm an iStock diamond and since giving up my crown six months ago I'm already earning as much as I did before". Do such new independents exist?
Maybe not but few, if any, have really gone full-out for it. It does take time to build your sales at all agencies (just like at IS). Your images need to gain rightful sort-order position, you need to climb the commission levels at Shutterstock & Fotolia and your images have to climb the Levels at Dreamstime. Dreamstime also has upload limits. At Fotolia however you may be able to negotiate a higher starting ranking.

It probably took you considerably longer than six months to become Diamond at IS and it is just the same elsewhere. It is going to take a lot of work and a fair bit of time to climb to the top at each agency. Of course if Istock is steadily losing market share, as many of us independents believe, then you are probably better making the jump sooner rather than later. With every month that passes it is becoming more difficult for new images to become best-sellers at each agency. It will be harder and take longer to make the jump in six month's time than it would be today. There is not much doubt which way the wind is blowing in microstock now though and it looks to me as if Istock's best days may have passed. To make your decision you have to consider where each agency might be in 2-3 years from now. That's probably how long it will take you to reap the full rewards of being independent.


Have to agree with you on that one!  winds are changing, thats for sure. Frankly, I dont think it matters anymore, P+, E+, or whatever collections they care to come up with, the damage is done.
I dont know how these Vetta/agency files are going and Im not really interested either but Im rather convinced especially after talking to exclusive friends within IS,  the traffic has decreased considerably.
Neither can it be coincidence that the other major 3 agencies are really skyrocketing.

« Reply #213 on: May 17, 2011, 16:50 »
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...  winds are changing, thats for sure. Frankly, I dont think it matters anymore, P+, E+, or whatever collections they care to come up with, the damage is done.
I dont know how these Vetta/agency files are going and Im not really interested either but Im rather convinced especially after talking to exclusive friends within IS,  the traffic has decreased considerably.
Neither can it be coincidence that the other major 3 agencies are really skyrocketing.

Yep. The sudden introduction of P+ in particular (in effect considerably reducing the benefits of exclusivity) makes me think of deckchairs being re-arranged on a certain ship.

« Reply #214 on: May 17, 2011, 18:56 »
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Yep. The sudden introduction of P+ in particular (in effect considerably reducing the benefits of exclusivity) makes me think of deckchairs being re-arranged on a certain ship.

Hmmm wonder which one that is.  ;)

« Reply #215 on: May 17, 2011, 20:21 »
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Yep. The sudden introduction of P+ in particular (in effect considerably reducing the benefits of exclusivity) makes me think of deckchairs being re-arranged on a certain ship.

Hmmm wonder which one that is.  ;)

I want my deckchair on a lifeboat. I'm already wearing 3 coats and 2 lifejackets.

« Reply #216 on: May 17, 2011, 22:37 »
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To get started with Shutterstock, can you submit your 10 for initial review before dropping exclusivity with iStock?  In other words, is it just part of the admission process or would those accepted be automatically put in your portfolio?

Thanks, Leslie 

« Reply #217 on: May 17, 2011, 22:56 »
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To get started with Shutterstock, can you submit your 10 for initial review before dropping exclusivity with iStock?  In other words, is it just part of the admission process or would those accepted be automatically put in your portfolio?

Thanks, Leslie 

yes you can get accepted there and start uploading even while you wait the 30 day waiting period for your exclusivity to end.  that is, assuming you did cancel the exclusivity and are in the 30 day wating period.  you just opt out of everything at shutterstock, then when your exclusivity is canceled at istock, opt in to the sales programs you want at shutterstock and your portfolio will go live.

« Reply #218 on: May 17, 2011, 23:20 »
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[/quote]

yes you can get accepted there and start uploading even while you wait the 30 day waiting period for your exclusivity to end.  that is, assuming you did cancel the exclusivity and are in the 30 day wating period.  you just opt out of everything at shutterstock, then when your exclusivity is canceled at istock, opt in to the sales programs you want at shutterstock and your portfolio will go live.
[/quote]

Fantastic.  Thanks!  I haven't cancelled yet.  Still working on my timeline.

« Reply #219 on: May 18, 2011, 00:16 »
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So theoretically you could upload your entire portfolio (assuming images are approved) no matter how long it takes and have it ready to go at SS the moment you reach the point of no return with iStock and cancel exclusivity? Surely SS have mechanisms in place to prevent all iS exclusives doing this?

« Reply #220 on: May 18, 2011, 00:29 »
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I don't know how things would be with a new contributor (I had an account at SS that I kept from my earlier days as independent), but I'm busy uploading now after asking them to reactivate my account and they took my word for it that I had cancelled my exclusivity contract. I wouldn't dream of uploading if I wasn't actually in the holding cell - it would be rude to waste their reviewers' time with inspections otherwise.

I can only assume that they haven't had anyone abuse their system or there'd be more checks in place - but as it's work to upload a large portfolio, I can't imagine anyone wasting their time on that if they weren't serious.

I'm doing the same thing at DT - in that case they put my account into a suspended state so that files could go through inspection but not be online immediately.

« Reply #221 on: May 18, 2011, 07:51 »
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My main concern after hearing that Shutterstock has become tougher on acceptances was not getting 7 of 10 approved and having to wait another 30 days to reapply.  I'd like to get approved first before I cancel exclusivity with istock.   And of course, it would be good to have a small portfolio in place at Shutterstock once I was cleared from iStock.

traveler1116

« Reply #222 on: May 18, 2011, 10:06 »
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My main concern after hearing that Shutterstock has become tougher on acceptances was not getting 7 of 10 approved and having to wait another 30 days to reapply.  I'd like to get approved first before I cancel exclusivity with istock.   And of course, it would be good to have a small portfolio in place at Shutterstock once I was cleared from iStock.
I don't think you should upload anything other than your first 10 (downsized to 2000x3000 probably or smaller to make sure they are perfect looking).  Your best match placement will be horrible if you upload them and they just sit there not getting downloaded, when I was there it really made a huge difference how you uploaded not just what you did.  By the way I'm near DC now if you ever want to do a shoot in the city I'm up for it.  Good luck with this.

« Reply #223 on: May 18, 2011, 11:08 »
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I don't think you should upload anything other than your first 10 (downsized to 2000x3000 probably or smaller to make sure they are perfect looking).  Your best match placement will be horrible if you upload them and they just sit there not getting downloaded, when I was there it really made a huge difference how you uploaded not just what you did.  By the way I'm near DC now if you ever want to do a shoot in the city I'm up for it.  Good luck with this.
[/quote]

Ah, good point! Thanks!  A city shoot would be fun.  Thanks for the luck - I'm gonna need it!


 

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