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Author Topic: Considering Closing Account in 2008  (Read 34792 times)

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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2008, 14:36 »
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To come full circle with this thread, I have indeed officially requested my account be closed at iStock.
I'm curious. You're upset about the 80/20 split yet you're still on SS? The subscription model is by far the worst business model for photographers, especially if you're worried about the value given to your photos.

I completely understand being upset about the 80/20 split, but I don't see how people can be upset about that and yet be ok with only making .25-.30 per license at another place. Especially since the size of the photo downloaded doesn't change your royalty.

My biggest problem with the industry is the number of prints per license. I hated seeing one of my image used in a major ad campaign and realizing that it didn't go over the allowed usages. $1.56 for use in a major ad campaign makes me want to cry.


« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2008, 15:27 »
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First,
Happy 2008 !!!

Seems that we agree. that is why Zymmetrical.com offers a 70/30 split to ALL contributors, detailed rejections, self pricing,  and we listen very closely to the needs, demands and concerns of our members. We be eive strongly that happy contributors make for a healthy and wealthy site.

Looking forward to seeing more of your images on zymmetrical.com this year !!

« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2008, 15:32 »
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I don't understand why people mock $0.30 when they are prepared to average $1 with per image sites.  If I was concerned about the amount I made per sale, I would only contribute to the traditional sites.

I have no problems with the shutterstock $0.30 as they sell huge quantities.  I would rather have 100 $0.30 a day than 20 $1.

Isn't this a similar argument the people at the traditional sites use about microstock?  They are used to selling for hundreds of dollars and can't see that sometimes selling lots at $1 makes more money.


DanP68

« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2008, 15:36 »
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To come full circle with this thread, I have indeed officially requested my account be closed at iStock.
I'm curious. You're upset about the 80/20 split yet you're still on SS? The subscription model is by far the worst business model for photographers, especially if you're worried about the value given to your photos.



This is a difficult one for me to resolve.  I have not yet decided where I stand with regard to subscription models, and the money I make at Shutterstock.  In terms of commission percentage, its anybody's guess what share we are taking.  I did some rough paper estimates and came up with 35%-45%.

However the 25c/30c price tag is awfully difficult to get past for me.  I never said I was happy with the Shutterstock model, even if it makes me money.  I opted out of StockXpert subscriptions too.  I do know that I sell a lot of images which probably otherwise would be very slow movers.  And as Sharpshot wrote, the volume is amazing.  Also, the SS share of EL's is quite nice, and I have had far more EL's in less time with SS than I ever had with iSP. 

You bring up a very valid point.  I won't argue with it, as it is always on my mind.  My guess is subscription prices will rise quite a bit, now that iStock is raising the bar on pricing.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2008, 15:39 by DanP68 »

« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2008, 15:43 »
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This designer posted a link to her own blog on the LO Forum, in it she refers to LO as her new boyfriend and  "I am really glad to have found you, especially since my *insult removed* of an ex-boyfriend, iStock, has raised prices for the new year. (The cycle of abuse just never ends over there, Im telling you.) I am so done with that, and so ready for a new gig with you."

http://sabrinadent.com/?p=166

It's a nice little read from a designer - it's also good to know that IS pisses off designers as well as us.

« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2008, 16:00 »
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This designer posted a link to her own blog on the LO Forum, in it she refers to LO as her new boyfriend and  "I am really glad to have found you, especially since my *insult removed* of an ex-boyfriend, iStock, has raised prices for the new year. (The cycle of abuse just never ends over there, Im telling you.) I am so done with that, and so ready for a new gig with you."

http://sabrinadent.com/?p=166

It's a nice little read from a designer - it's also good to know that IS pisses off designers as well as us.

That blog read like a diary of a crazy teenage girl. Notice that she was mainly complaining about LO in the blog.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2008, 18:28 by yingyang0 »

DanP68

« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2008, 23:43 »
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Notice that she was mainly complaining about LO in the blog.

She had best be careful.  I wouldn't want to upset the bearded lady.   :D

« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2008, 03:13 »
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My view: interesting decision Dan, but BIG mistake.

« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2008, 12:24 »
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That blog read like a diary of a crazy teenage girl. Notice that she was mainly complaining about LO in the blog.

Leaving my crazy teenage girlishness aside for the moment, I would characterise what I was doing in that post as providing feedback for LO rather than complaining. The actual people behind LO got in touch with me on the back of that post and have been very receptive to my points, so I continue to feel like my relationship there is a positive one. Obviously, every individual experiences their own ride, and I'm a buyer not a photographer so YMMV.

And yes, IS annoys me for any number of reasons and I've decided to abandon my existing credits there and just not deal with them any longer.

But what I really popped in to say is this:

I came here through my referrer links in my logs. As a buyer, I am largely unaware of the splits made for photographers on stock image sites. I'm very surprised at some of the numbers I've read in this thread.

I suspect most stock buyers are unaware of photographers' issues around specific vendors - splits, late payments, unreasonable levels for payments, whatever they are. But I also think that people like me would be interested in being educated about things like that. I'm not a power consumer but I spend probably $500 a year on stock images for myself and my blog, $100 for pet projects, and a couple of K on behalf of clients.

If I can spend that money ethically, for lack of a better term, with vendors who treat their artists right and pay reasonable money, then I will. But I have to know who those vendors are, and nothing about that has ever crossed my radar.  Sounds like a grassroots education movement waiting to happen!

« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2008, 13:08 »
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At the moment, of the reasonably sized sites, I think featurepics give contibutors a good deal, 70% commission for non-exclusive images.

Stockxpert, Dreamstime and Bigstock are good at 50%.

Fotolia is poor starting at 33% but it does increase with lots of downloads.

Lucky Oliver is poor at just 30% but those lucky enough to get 100 downloads can get 50% from the sideshow.

istock is the worst at 20%

« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2008, 13:44 »
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Sabrina, thanks for posting here.   And, LOL, we all like to complain but whenever we discuss the grassroots educational uprising not much happens with it.  Guys, maybe it's time we discussed that co-op thing again?

P.S.  I visit http://deepakchopra.com/ from time to time... now I'll think of you every time I visit!  If I was making an entry in my teenage diary I would say how wicked cool it was that I've "talked" to the designer...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 13:46 by Pixart »

« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2008, 14:08 »
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Looking at this from the contributor's perspective:  the truth is that most of us are in this for the money, whether it's just to keep us in camera gear for our hobby or whatever other reason, the money matters.  If you're dubious about that, just peruse this and other archives for all the heated threads about payment problems from stock sites, and you'll see just how much the money matters!  Unfortunately, Istock is at the top 1 or 2 total earnings spot of many if not most contributors' lists, the other one being Shutterstock.    Istock are a royal pain to deal with for contributors (tedious uploading, weird rejections, and on and on), but they pay well on volume even at 20% commission, and I almost never hear about them paying late.  It's definitely a love-hate relationship for many.  The cold hard fact is that contributors try to go where they get the best (read "most") pay, except for pure hobbyists who care more about community and the fun of getting their pictures sold anywhere (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, if that's what you like). 
  At this moment, LuckyO is not famous for bringing in large financial returns to the majority of their contributors, but hopefully that will change over time and they are definitely one of the most open and user-approachable sites out there.
  Now if FeaturePics at 70% could have the same volume of payments as IS....wow.  I think FP has the best overall interface for contributors of any site, but sadly they are lagging far behind the others in financial returns.
  So there's no easy answers for you.  The sites that are the most contributor-centered and pay the highest % also pay the least amount overall.  The coldest and least user-friendly sites have the lowest per-picture % but pay the most overall in terms of total $$.

« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2008, 14:44 »
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Well... not sure how to enter into a discussion about closing an iStock account... but since LuckyOliver came into the discussion... I'll add my two cents.

1. Sabrina, your insights are extremely valuable. Thank you.

2. To clarify the payout structure that sharpshot highlighted (it's not really apples to apples), our non-exclusive rate is .30 cents per token spent (but on volume purchases of tokens we absorb the discount, so the actual % is higher). We pay .50 cents per token spent for extend license and buyouts (we actually get a fair amount of extended license purchases). We also run image drives in which payouts on images are up to .60 cents per token spent.

The Sideshow is a free market system that allows artists to price their own work and also receive .50 cents per token spent. 

3. Exclusive images are .60 cents per token spent.  While our volume isn't quite there yet, longer term it's important to reward people for only having images at LuckyOliver.  It's not for everyone, but we have a lot of artists that want to earn money with only one company. 


« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 14:48 by bryan_luckyoliver »

« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2008, 14:45 »
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And yes, IS annoys me for any number of reasons and I've decided to abandon my existing credits there and just not deal with them any longer.

This benefits IS even more. By not using credits that you have paid for IS  gets to keep all the money instead of passing at least 20% of it on to the photographers.

DanP68

« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2008, 15:03 »
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I agree Sabrina.  At least use your credits up.  Follow the link to someone's portfolio who is still active with iStock, and give them a New Year's present.  With all the talent in these forums, you are sure to find plenty.

I don't know a good way to communicate with buyers regarding which agencies best treat its contributors.  Obviously we are all very happy that you are concerned enough to learn.  I would suggest to any buyer that they read through these forums to see who the artists are, how they work, and how they are treated.


« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2008, 15:40 »
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Extraordinary thread that asks all the wrong questions and gets all the wrong answers (except HSI's input).

CUSTOMERS, ladies and gentlemen.  What a business needs is CUSTOMERS.  Without customers we are all doomed to failure.

And to get customers an agency needs to invest in marketing, development, PR and systems.  That takes money.

Paying too much to artists leaves little money to get customers.  No customers = no sales.

Anyone looked at iStock's 'most popular' list lately?  Some of those pictures have sold up to 8,000 copies in three months.  Let me repeat that - 8,000 in THREE MONTHS.

Now simply ask yourself this question: "would you like 20% of 8,000 sales, or 50% of nothing?"

As HSI points out - the two agencies that generate the most income for most people pay the lowest per sale.  But they both invest heavily in marketing to generate customers.  That benefits them, and it benefits the artist.

Don't tell me about percentages, because any % of zero will always be zero.  Tell me about customers.

And this is why Dan's decision is the worst one he could have made - he's focussed on % and not on customers; he's just said goodbye to the agency with easily the largest number of customers; it's equivalent to removing his goods from Wal-mart's stores or saying "no" to having his product bundled with Windows because Microsoft would only offer him 20c per sale instead of 50c.

Customers are the most valuable asset a business can have.  It doesn't make any sense to say goodbye to them.

Yuri_Arcurs

  • One Crazy PhotoManic MadPerson
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2008, 15:42 »
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I think IS will reconsider the commission structure within a year or two. The thing is, that it is becoming increasingly easy to beat IS in income on other agencies. Maybe all the other agencies only amount to half the Alexa traffic of IS, but at twice the commission or more, they win in both income and ethics. I am having a lot of thoughts about what agencies I want to submit pictures, I have started to think twice especially about the subscription model.

I know from a backend source that the average subscribers only use about 15 - 30% of the full potential of their membership. This means that most pictures in a subscription sell at a 5-6USD price-point in average, giving us about 35 cents in commission. A bottom-line commission of about 5 percent. Even if I was totally wrong and every subscriber actually downloaded the double of what I have heard, the commission would still only be 10%.

Yuri_Arcurs

  • One Crazy PhotoManic MadPerson
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2008, 15:48 »
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Now simply ask yourself this question: "would you like 20% of 8,000 sales, or 50% of nothing?"



That is a very odd business calculation model you got going here. Everywhere I go I hear the exact opposite. Microstock could easily handle a 500 percent raise in prices and would probably lose 50% of their customers doing so. Net result is 250% more in income. When FT allowed me to price my images at 3 credits per image because of being in the highest contributor category, this gave me an instant raise of about 30% (going from 2 to 3 credits as minimum) with no visible loss of amount of pictures sold per day.

« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2008, 15:52 »
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As HSI points out - the two agencies that generate the most income for most people pay the lowest per sale.  But they both invest heavily in marketing to generate customers.  That benefits them, and it benefits the artist.

Istock does a huge amount of marketing and it costs them a lot and they pay us 20% or so. 

I understand the arguments for the 80/20 split - namely the intense marketing iStock puts forth which certainly generates sales for contributors. 

I have heard many people talk about how much marketing IS does, but I have never seen any proof of this.  Does anyone have facts about how much money IS is spending on marketing (vs the competitors)?  I'm just wondering why everyone seems to think that IS does so much marketing, but have never read any stats on this.

Just because they give us 20%, doesn't mean they are using the other 80% for marketing.  They could just be reaping the benefits.

« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2008, 15:56 »
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...I know from a backend source that the average subscribers only use about 15 - 30% of the full potential of their membership. This means that most pictures in a subscription sell at a 5-6USD price-point in average, giving us about 35 cents in commission. A bottom-line commission of about 5 percent. Even if I was totally wrong and every subscriber actually downloaded the double of what I have heard, the commission would still only be 10%.

I don't know if that is a good estimation.  Perhaps your source only downloads 15-30% but I am sure there are others downloading 100%.  I don't think there is a way to get a good estimate of the % commission we get from subscription sites.

« Reply #45 on: January 02, 2008, 15:59 »
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Quote
I have heard many people talk about how much marketing IS does, but I have never seen any proof of this.  Does anyone have facts about how much money IS is spending on marketing (vs the competitors)?  I'm just wondering why everyone seems to think that IS does so much marketing, but have never read any stats on this.

Just because they give us 20%, doesn't mean they are using the other 80% for marketing.  They could just be reaping the benefits.


istock usually has a full page advert on the inside cover of 'Photoshop Creative' in the UK.  I sometimes see shutterstock adverts and Crestock has a two page advert this month.  I am sure istock advertise in other magazines as well.

« Reply #46 on: January 02, 2008, 16:25 »
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Well of course I bow to your greater industry knowledge (and contacts) Yuri.

However I'm sure you understand the point I am making - % isn't everything.

I suspect that to get the best balance of % and investment for growth, the appropriate artist payment is somewhere around 40%, meaning that IS is too low and some others are too high.

If you are correct with your understanding of the subscription model and its profitability, this would explain why the other agencies (DT, 123 and StockXpert) have been so keen to jump on that bandwagon.

It would also mean that Shutterstock is considerably more profitable than I estimate.

« Reply #47 on: January 02, 2008, 17:02 »
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It would also mean that Shutterstock is considerably more profitable than I estimate.

iStock started from nothing and was sold to Getty for 50 million dollars a couple of years later. That's where the money is going to. Not to marketing, not to contributors, but to Getty that has to get its 50 million back - with interest. Getty doesn't win much, the current iStock people don't win much. The original founder(s) won much, and they count their greenbacks in the Bahamas with a big smile, Champagne and caviar on the table and a fat cigar in their mouth. It's that simple. The sweat of the Photoshoppers and shooters gets converted into caviar. Such is the magic of Capitalism. Correct me if I'm wrong; economy was never my best side  ;D
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 17:09 by FlemishDreams »

« Reply #48 on: January 02, 2008, 17:55 »
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This benefits IS even more. By not using credits that you have paid for IS  gets to keep all the money instead of passing at least 20% of it on to the photographers.

Oh, bugger. I hadn't even thought of that! You're very right. I'll go spend money and close out my credits. Thanks for pointing that out. Just goes to show how different operations look from opposite sides of the fence.

Pixart, thanks, that's so nice of you. That site was done in 4 days for an emergency facelift deadline but we're going back to it this month, should be fun!

Bryan, that was three cents. You owe me a download credit!  :P But certainly, as a buyer I appreciate it when I'm heard as a customer, so thanks for being so cool about it.

DanP68, buyers will not normally come here because this site is very specifically not targeted at them. I only came here by accident, because people were visiting my site from here and the thread URL was turning up a lot in my logs. I was interested in what I learned but I wouldn't have ever even though to search that information out.

If you really do want to put the word out, probably the best strategy is for someone to register ethicalstockphototography.com or something, stick a blog in there and put information on it that is just targeted for buyers - who pays what, who is good to their artists, and the most highly read stuff: who stinks!

Gossip and porn: what the internet was made for.

« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2008, 18:07 »
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The thing is, that it is becoming increasingly easy to beat IS in income on other agencies. Maybe all the other agencies only amount to half the Alexa traffic of IS, but at twice the commission or more, they win in both income and ethics.

Maybe that's because everyone on the internet knows you're available on the cheap at places like SS.  You're part of your own problem, wouldn't you say?


 

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