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Author Topic: Exclusive or Independent?  (Read 5610 times)

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« on: September 10, 2010, 01:43 »
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The decision to go exclusive with istock or remain independent has always seemed something of a line ball for most people, financially speaking. Surely the significant decrease in royalties for most active istock exclusives (not talking about the bulk of inactive/bronze contributors here) makes this decision much easier. Quite apart from righteous anger as an excuse to jump ship, won't istock see a much smaller growth in new contributors henceforth? Maybe they don't care as the majority of their sales come from just a few top contributors anyway.


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 02:00 »
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Independent forever.

This is completely unrelated to the recent events at IS - which are just a confirmation of what I've always been thinking: it's too dangerous to be exclusive anywhere.

The only downside of being independent is a lot of additional work.

Financially, I think it's possible to earn more by submitting to many sites.
Furthermore, it's important for me to feel FREE.

>won't istock see a much smaller growth in new contributors henceforth?
not sure about that: as long as IS is among the top 4 sites, most contributors will join despite low commissions
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 05:34 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2010, 02:09 »
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I've been exclusive since I was eligible mainly because at the moment I don't have time to upload to different agencies. I'm not making a kneejerk reaction to cancel exclusivity, but I don't have the 'warm fuzzies' any more about the benefits I'm getting for the painful restrictions I get as an exclusive.
On one hand, there will always be newbies happy to sell for a small amount. On the other hand, the inspection standards are getting ever higher (for technical issues: I'm seeing really bad compositions getting in recently, which presumably are technically perfect), so it will be harder to get in.
I'm speculating that a lot of the new stuff which is being pulled in is 'wholly owned' by Getty, so will get pushed in searches. Didn't ever see that one coming.
If I was independent, I wouldn't even be considering becoming exclusive now.
As a current exclusive, I'm keeping a watching brief.

« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2010, 02:26 »
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I'm exclusive now but was an independent for 2 years. If I was an independent today there is no way in hell I would go exclusive now. But since I am already committed I am going to wait and see just what effect these changes will have on my bottom line before I make any decisions.

« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2010, 03:34 »
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I am exclusive on istock, Three days ago I was a very happy exclusive member. I still want to be exclusive, but if the new changing royalty structure are going to happen next year. I really have to think about it.

« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2010, 04:05 »
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It's very hard for a diamond exclusive to leave. Basically you lose about two thirds your income at istock. if you were making $6000 you'll shouldenly be making $2000. Then you have to quickly upload your port to numerous over sites where you will have to start from the bottom with poor image placement.

Having said that I am seriously thinking about it out of principle, even though I would definitely lose money.

lagereek

« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 04:20 »
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Just the very word Exclusivity scares people stiff after recent events and who can blame them?  exclusivity is something that worked with RM agencies because of Copyrights, worldrights, etc.

The very thought that you can control Exclusivity in a digital world with Gazillions of files is insanity personified.

« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 09:41 »
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I'm exclusive on i-Stock. My income has been level for months in spite of continued uploading. Recently, I've been getting a lot more rejections. All in all, I've been getting increasingly concerned about iStock but have been hanging on because in 250 more downloads I go gold. I think I'm in for a flat (at best) future on i-Stock as I'll never be able to keep up with the new targets.
So, if I went independant and signed up to, say ten other sites, uploading my 1000 or so photos on i-Stock to them, would this give me the same income? How long would I experience a dip in income for? Presumably other sites have upload limits that would mean I couldn't get all my photos up all at once. I'd welcome anyone else's experience.
Thanks
Jonathan

lisafx

« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 09:44 »
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I have spent years on the proverbial fence, undecided about whether to go exclusive or stay independent.  This time I was pushed off the fence with the force of a pro wrestler!  Heck, the fence has been bulldozed. 

There is no way I would go exclusive at IS or anywhere else now. 

« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2010, 09:53 »
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Jonathan,

I can only give you my experience.  When I started out, iStock was my best earner.  It stayed that way for about three years, although its contribution to the  total began sliding from 34% in year one to 30% in year three.  Shutterstock overtook iStock in year four, and it's been in the lead ever since.  At present iStock is 20% of my total; Shutterstock is 28%, Fotolia is 13%, 123RF & Dreamtime are 9% each, BigStock is 6% and a bunch of smaller fry fill in the rest.

One of the reasons for iStock's decline is their severe upload limits.  I shoot a lot of studio stuff these days, and can produce a lot of images from a single shoot.  These are sufficiently different that Shutterstock and others will accept quite a few.  My SS portfolio is now three times what I have on iStock.  Nobody else is as restrictive as iStock, so that ratio will only grow.  Or at least it would have; thanks to recent events, I've turned off uploading and begun to delete my first few images from iStock.

Good luck!

« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2010, 10:17 »
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I'm exclusive on i-Stock. My income has been level for months in spite of continued uploading. Recently, I've been getting a lot more rejections. All in all, I've been getting increasingly concerned about iStock but have been hanging on because in 250 more downloads I go gold. I think I'm in for a flat (at best) future on i-Stock as I'll never be able to keep up with the new targets.
So, if I went independant and signed up to, say ten other sites, uploading my 1000 or so photos on i-Stock to them, would this give me the same income? How long would I experience a dip in income for? Presumably other sites have upload limits that would mean I couldn't get all my photos up all at once. I'd welcome anyone else's experience.
Thanks
Jonathan

It's very hard to predict how much your income will suffer and how long it will take to recover that loss.

Individual experiences differ greatly between the different agencies, I for example usually make more on Fotolia and on Shutterstock than on Istock, all others are less (but all together again add up...).

Staying on Istock is the "safe" way short term, because you can more or less predict how your income will react on the recent changes.
But in the long term you stay dependant on an agency that may well throw another set of changes at you...

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2010, 10:20 »
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I'm exclusive on i-Stock. My income has been level for months in spite of continued uploading. Recently, I've been getting a lot more rejections. All in all, I've been getting increasingly concerned about iStock but have been hanging on because in 250 more downloads I go gold. I think I'm in for a flat (at best) future on i-Stock as I'll never be able to keep up with the new targets.
So, if I went independant and signed up to, say ten other sites, uploading my 1000 or so photos on i-Stock to them, would this give me the same income? How long would I experience a dip in income for? Presumably other sites have upload limits that would mean I couldn't get all my photos up all at once. I'd welcome anyone else's experience.
Thanks
Jonathan

Nobody can really say how much you are going to make. Everybody has a little bit different mix when it comes to their income. Mine is roughly 30% IS, 30% SS, 10% DT, 10% FT and some others making up the rest. I've been on all these sites for a while, so I'm not sure what it would be like joining today. Upload limits are pretty loose on other sites. I think DT's is around 300 or 400 a week, and I don't think SS or FT have limits.

I'm definitely glad I decided not to go exclusive in January. It would have been a lot of work (time wise and financially) just to get stabbed in the back. I feel for all those people that went exclusive to lock in canister levels and because of the new prices. Looking at 5-25% income reductions as an independent isn't too pretty, but being bate and switched as a new exclusive is a dirty trick.

« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2010, 10:20 »
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I have never been interested in going exclusive, never even clicked on the Istock link that goes to the exclusivity simulation.  

In case it has not been mentioned yet in any other forum post about the Istock-disaster :  Dreamstime almost immediately reacted with this announcement :

"In this economic turmoil it's sad that the end consumer is usually the one taking the biggest hit especially when talking about sacrifices. When most countries and world economies expect positive growth, it's not the best time for a race to the bottom. We at Dreamstime are looking at today's competitive landscape and are worried about contributors being sacrificed for the sake of accelerated growth. Microstock is already a powerful industry and it is the acknowledged mainstream of stock photography these days. It has already had a fantastic growth.

We're announcing a new promotion via our referral program that is directed to these competitive changes. Although it's a small gesture, butterfly's wings are sometimes everything required.

We've been always fans of our contributor base and beyond. Agencies' strategies and policies need to be well prepared in the best interest of all parties. The entropy will continue to increase in any universe (physics, mathematics and beyond). Mundane everyday updates or long term strategies need to keep this in mind in order to avoid chaos.

Sorry for the long message, here are the details:

1. Every exclusive-elsewhere member that starts to upload to Dreamstime will receive the upload bonus that we award to our exclusive photographers:
$0.20/approved image. This goes into effect today and ends November 15. All you need to do is email us the link that shows you are an exclusive contributor elsewhere and your account with us. On November 15 we will count your uploads and will award the bonus for all accepted files.

2. Same offer applies to exclusive-elsewhere members that have disabled images on Dreamstime. They will receive the upload bonus for all newly uploaded files (not for enabling the disabled files though). Naturally, these re-enabled files will gain their previous search placement and price level, so they will enjoy much better sales and royalties than from new uploads.

3. We will award the 10% share of the bonus+future earnings to all members referring such users (you just need to include your referral's username in your email or use it at registration time). Additionally, existing members who will motivate exclusive-elsewhere contributors to re-open their Dreamstime account (should they already have one), will be awarded as their referral users. An email to support is all that is needed. We've been bombarded with emails about disabled files. If they appear in your Disabled files section, you can enable them. If not, it means they were deleted and you need to re-upload.

These may seem as small things but that's what the butterfly effect is about. Generating big changes from small ones. Referring 10 users will bring the same revenue as it would from your own Dreamstime portfolio. We expect a hig number of submissions and the best 4 months of the year. We've seen a significant increase of activity for our referral program in the last two days so you better start sending your links to your friends.
Depending on the impact, we reserve the right to end this promotion sooner.


So who-ever steps over from Istock exclusivity to Dreamstime, don't forget to use the referral link of one of the Microstockgroup members, even if you're already registered and you have disabled files.  

« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2010, 10:26 »
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Independent forever.

This is completely unrelated to the recent events at IS - which are just a confirmation of what I've always been thinking: it's too dangerous to be exclusive anywhere.

The only downside of being independent is a lot of additional work.

Financially, I think it's possible to earn more by submitting to many sites.
Furthermore, it's important for me to feel FREE.

>won't istock see a much smaller growth in new contributors henceforth?
not sure about that: as long as IS is among the top 4 sites, most contributors will join despite low commissions

+1

Absolutely on the same line of thought.
And one thing I still don't know and don't understand. How do we can considerate stock agencies, from a mere commercial standpoint?
Are they our agents? Our commercials distributors? Or are they our special kind of customers? The question makes all difference in the world.
In many ways, I think that stock agencies are our customers much more than the buyers (where in the world you sell to a buyer who you don't know, you don't talk and you never have a direct contact?)
And if they are customers, why do I have to "sell" to one single customer, rather than many? If the customer, let's say, ends his money, what will I do then?

« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2010, 10:27 »
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I have spent years on the proverbial fence, undecided about whether to go exclusive or stay independent.  This time I was pushed off the fence with the force of a pro wrestler!  Heck, the fence has been bulldozed. 

There is no way I would go exclusive at IS or anywhere else now. 

You and me both!!

The recent events have been an excellent illustration of why NOBODY should voluntarily go exclusive at any agency. You are simply giving the agency too much power, in the case of Istock ... WAY TOO MUCH POWER.

I hope that Istock's extraordinary greed will eventually be rewarded by a massive reduction in the power they have held over the microstock industry. That would be so much better for all of us contributors.

« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2010, 14:13 »
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[/quote]

You and me both!!

The recent events have been an excellent illustration of why NOBODY should voluntarily go exclusive at any agency. You are simply giving the agency too much power, in the case of Istock ... WAY TOO MUCH POWER.

I hope that Istock's extraordinary greed will eventually be rewarded by a massive reduction in the power they have held over the microstock industry. That would be so much better for all of us contributors.
[/quote]

I BELIVE THIS IS THE TURNINGPOINT FOR iSTOCK.... They have finally exposed themselves as greedy thives, and the "community" are in uproar - and rightly so.
Many smaller independents and exclusive will leave, and take many buyers with them. Some buyers - the more ethetical one will leave too.
Hi ranking exclusives, and those very dependend on their IS income, og those too afraid to seen new ways will stay.
In a year or two their income will have been brought down to 20% Content will be more boring, more expensive, and buyers will migrate.
After this the exclusive deal at istock is dead - with 15% royalty newcomers will thing twice before joining, thus promote further decline.

I eagerly await IS next move in this - do they continue to shoot themselves in their feet - og do they come up with a small bone for contributers?

I think the latter - I'm allready awaiting the "whauuu Istock - tank you for listning - you rock" crowd, who dosen't realise, that they are just gonne be screwed again in say 6 months time.

« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2010, 14:26 »
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Exclusive + microstock sounds weird to me ;)

Microbius

« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2010, 14:28 »
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It's very hard for a diamond exclusive to leave. Basically you lose about two thirds your income at istock. if you were making $6000 you'll shouldenly be making $2000. Then you have to quickly upload your port to numerous over sites where you will have to start from the bottom with poor image placement.

Having said that I am seriously thinking about it out of principle, even though I would definitely lose money.
If I was a platinum exclusive I would totally contact the other sites and negotiate my way in so I wouldn't have to start from scratch. If it means putting the knife into IStock I'm sure many would consider fast tracking portfolios/ letting you in with a tier boost.

« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2010, 16:31 »
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If I was a platinum exclusive I would totally contact the other sites and negotiate my way in so I wouldn't have to start from scratch. If it means putting the knife into IStock I'm sure many would consider fast tracking portfolios/ letting you in with a tier boost.
Hmm, I hope these guys don't pass ahead of us in the Stockfresh long waiting queue...

« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2010, 17:13 »
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It's very hard for a diamond exclusive to leave. Basically you lose about two thirds your income at istock. if you were making $6000 you'll shouldenly be making $2000. Then you have to quickly upload your port to numerous over sites where you will have to start from the bottom with poor image placement.

Having said that I am seriously thinking about it out of principle, even though I would definitely lose money.

yep and istock know it hence they can hit them hard.

although I'd expect a number of sites to very quick to cut deals (like DT's paid upload) with any istock diamonds :)

I was another fence sitter always a bit too worried something would go wrong :)

« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2010, 17:23 »
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After this debacle at IS I will never consider any kind of exclusivity.

KB

« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2010, 17:38 »
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After this debacle at IS I will never consider any kind of exclusivity.
Just keep this to yourself. If your spouse were to find out ....  ;D


 

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