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For independent contributors - in light of Istock's new policy of mirroring all non-exclusive content in the Partner Program, will you be agreeing to the new ASA or leaving the site?

I will be pulling my portfolio from Istockphoto
52 (21.8%)
I will be staying and allowing my content in the PP
104 (43.7%)
Not sure right now.
47 (19.7%)
Going exclusive.
10 (4.2%)
I left already.
18 (7.6%)
Never joined
7 (2.9%)

Total Members Voted: 214

Author Topic: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?  (Read 40759 times)

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« Reply #100 on: September 01, 2011, 07:08 »
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After a couple days of mulling it over, I've started by deactivating my larger illustration files or more creative files from iStock to save them from being drafted into the unholy PP army. I've never had a large portfolio there, and I've never made that much doing the illustrations there, my purpose for being there has been as a creative outlet. I have a day job, so I'm not super concerned about the money I'll lose for not having my best stuff on iStock. However, I won't sell what I feel is my most creative work for a pittance. At the same time, my day job isn't as creative an outlet as I would like, so that has kept me from closing my account at iStock altogether. I currently contribute at Shutterstock (low royalties, high volume, not the place for complicated stuff), veer (I'm new-low sales I've heard), and stockfresh (so new that sales are low). In light of iStocks new ASA, can anyone suggest alternative sites for my complex illustrations that used to be on iStock?


Microbius

« Reply #101 on: September 01, 2011, 07:16 »
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Graphic leftovers gives you over 50% and you can price your vectors yourself.

« Reply #102 on: September 01, 2011, 10:32 »
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I don'tBloody right!  you tell them!  all too easy to jack something in when youve got side-incomes from other places. Ive also noticed this nonsense,  the ones with hardly anything to lose are the ones with the biggest mouth,  urging everybody to do this and that.

You are correct, and the reason is that those with the biggest mouth who only have side incomes, urging everyone to do this and that, is for that very reason. They(we) are also the ones who have the least power. The end result is going to be the same for EVERYONE...independent or exclusive, full-time career or part-time "loser" (as some here think part-time photographers are). Commissions are going to be lowered, buyers are going to be directed to who ever istock wants them to be directed to. If you aren't one of the chosen few, YOU ARE GOING TO BE A LOSER TOO at some point. If you are going to be one of the chosen few, then you have no worries.

Those who are urging the ones with the big portfolios and the most to lose are doing so because it will hit the agency the hardest and help everyone, not just the part-timers. It's certainly not because anybody here wants anybody else to lose out on income and family. For gosh sakes, we're all in the same boat.

And if you don't think it costs people to give up istock's income when they did, even when they are lowly part-timers, you are VERY wrong. Just because people don't have children doesn't mean they don't have bills and obligations. And what some people also don't have is another income in the household. Sometimes they are doing it all by themselves. Sometimes they have children and still don't have another income in the household.

Everyone has the right to do whatever they want. If someone would rather sacrifice a smaller amount of income to help the larger picture, you should be grateful instead of condescending. If you choose to stay, that's your right. But certainly you are smart enough to see why people are urging the big guns to help.  ::)

KAPOW!!! Great points, very well put.

nruboc

« Reply #103 on: September 01, 2011, 10:40 »
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I don'tBloody right!  you tell them!  all too easy to jack something in when youve got side-incomes from other places. Ive also noticed this nonsense,  the ones with hardly anything to lose are the ones with the biggest mouth,  urging everybody to do this and that.

You are correct, and the reason is that those with the biggest mouth who only have side incomes, urging everyone to do this and that, is for that very reason. They(we) are also the ones who have the least power. The end result is going to be the same for EVERYONE...independent or exclusive, full-time career or part-time "loser" (as some here think part-time photographers are). Commissions are going to be lowered, buyers are going to be directed to who ever istock wants them to be directed to. If you aren't one of the chosen few, YOU ARE GOING TO BE A LOSER TOO at some point. If you are going to be one of the chosen few, then you have no worries.

Those who are urging the ones with the big portfolios and the most to lose are doing so because it will hit the agency the hardest and help everyone, not just the part-timers. It's certainly not because anybody here wants anybody else to lose out on income and family. For gosh sakes, we're all in the same boat.

And if you don't think it costs people to give up istock's income when they did, even when they are lowly part-timers, you are VERY wrong. Just because people don't have children doesn't mean they don't have bills and obligations. And what some people also don't have is another income in the household. Sometimes they are doing it all by themselves. Sometimes they have children and still don't have another income in the household.

Everyone has the right to do whatever they want. If someone would rather sacrifice a smaller amount of income to help the larger picture, you should be grateful instead of condescending. If you choose to stay, that's your right. But certainly you are smart enough to see why people are urging the big guns to help.  ::)

Exactly... and a heart for someone who sees the big picture

« Reply #104 on: September 01, 2011, 11:24 »
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I'm not independent and i'll stay, but i lose all my motivation. Almost 6 months without upload new illustrations.

« Reply #105 on: September 01, 2011, 11:38 »
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I'm not independent and i'll stay, but i lose all my motivation. Almost 6 months without upload new illustrations.


The Thinkstock train will soon be picking up Istock customers and I have to agree with you that my motivation has reached an all-time low. We aren't the only ones, take a look at the top 100 Istock contributors at http://istockcharts.multimedia.de/ and look at the "new files in 30 days" column. There are still some people working hard but there are also a lot of goose eggs and single digits.

lisafx

« Reply #106 on: September 01, 2011, 12:53 »
0
Everyone has the right to do whatever they want. If someone would rather sacrifice a smaller amount of income to help the larger picture, you should be grateful instead of condescending. If you choose to stay, that's your right. But certainly you are smart enough to see why people are urging the big guns to help.  ::)

Cathy, the above bolded statement is the difference between your comments, and some of the inflammatory ones that were removed.   I respect the stand you and others have taken very much.  What I don't respect are people who hurl insults at anyone who makes different choices than them or is in a different situation.


what I don't understand is that people like you still see microstock, given all the negative changes these main sites have been imposing every year, still see it viable for the future. I mean, what is there already making you money, fine. But will the future working hours pay off with these ever decreasing commissions? I don't mean just IS.

You guys&gals have such a talent and technical skills for much more that microstock seems to offer right now and its perspective for the future. I know a fellow photographer who I met at Shutterpoint, she now works as a wedding photographer, but not just the traditional wedding photography, she does it very creatively. She also does portraits and pet photography, I believe it is in an improvised studio at home. A friend of mine had a photographer shoot him and his wife when she was pregnant, some very beautiful unusual and outstanding B&W photos. Here there is a growing market for creative wedding photography, and even bizarre things like in-water and underwater wedding photography.

Just because I am still contributing to microstock does NOT mean I see it as viable in the long-term.  Not at all.  But for now, it is still making me enough money to be worthwhile.  Five years from now, or ten?  No, at some point the "agencies" or "distributors" or whatever they want to be called, will squeeze contributors dry and it won't be worthwhile doing this anymore.  

Until that time comes, I am exploring other options, such as my own site, a contributor coop, and commercial assignment work.  However, unlike many others here, I actually was a wedding/portrait photographer for several years before getting into micro.  From that grueling and unpleasant experience I can tell you that none of those other options is likely to pay as well as micro currently does for the same amount of time and effort.  

ATM, microstock is still paying me enough to be worth my while, and I plan to keep doing it until or unless that is no longer the case.  
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 13:27 by lisafx »

« Reply #107 on: September 01, 2011, 13:02 »
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Cathy, the above bolded statement is the difference between your comments, and some of the inflammatory ones that were removed.   I respect the stand you and others have taken very much.  What I don't respect are people who hurl insults at anyone who makes different choices than them or is in a different situation. 

I totally missed the fireworks that have been deleted but I can imagine what it consisted of...

I know you respect my (and others) position and I totally believe that if you could find any way at all to be right there, you would be too.  :)

« Reply #108 on: September 01, 2011, 13:07 »
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I do understand that, but as I said in my post, what I don't understand is that people like you still see microstock, given all the negative changes these main sites have been imposing every year, still see it viable for the future. I mean, what is there already making you money, fine. But will the future working hours pay off with these ever decreasing commissions? I don't mean just IS.

I'm still optimistic about the future. I think the demand is still there at fair prices and fair royalties. The major players will probably change, but I don't think the demand for microstock is going anywhere.

« Reply #109 on: September 01, 2011, 13:12 »
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I do understand that, but as I said in my post, what I don't understand is that people like you still see microstock, given all the negative changes these main sites have been imposing every year, still see it viable for the future. I mean, what is there already making you money, fine. But will the future working hours pay off with these ever decreasing commissions? I don't mean just IS.

I'm still optimistic about the future. I think the demand is still there at fair prices and fair royalties. The major players will probably change, but I don't think the demand for microstock is going anywhere.

I agree.

helix7

« Reply #110 on: September 01, 2011, 13:27 »
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There are so many ways to look at all of this. So many points of view, so many personal factors that lead each one of us to our own opinions about what we're going to do, if anything. For me, the issue that's really making this hard to decide is the issue of how this affects other agencies and what my contribution to helping istock propel ThinkStock could potentially be. It makes me sick to think that if I stay with istock and help build up the ThinkStock library, I could potentially be contributing to the most direct competitor of Shutterstock, which is far and away my best earner. On the other hand I realize that I'm a small fish in this huge pool of independent artists, many of whom (probably at least half of those who contribute to istock) will end up agreeing to have their images ported over to ThinkStock and making my possible hold-out insignificant. My fears about ThinkStock someday being a real threat to SS would probably happen regardless of my involvement.

So then it becomes more of a personal moral decision. Am I comfortable with being a cog in the ThinkStock machine, even if it's a small cog, just to maintain my istock earnings and gain in some lesser way from ThinkStock while TS cannibalizes my SS earnings? Would TS increase their market share regardless of whether I or anyone else declines to participate? And if so, is it better to just go with the flow and get my $0.28 at TS while things slow down at SS?

I don't really have an answer to any of these questions, which is why I'm still completely lost as to what I want to do here. It may take me all the way up to September 28th to make a decision.

All I know right now is that it makes me sick to my stomach to have to make a decision like this. And I wonder if I'll feel more or less sick about it based on which way I ultimately decide to go.
 

« Reply #111 on: September 01, 2011, 14:09 »
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I do understand that, but as I said in my post, what I don't understand is that people like you still see microstock, given all the negative changes these main sites have been imposing every year, still see it viable for the future. I mean, what is there already making you money, fine. But will the future working hours pay off with these ever decreasing commissions? I don't mean just IS.

I'm still optimistic about the future. I think the demand is still there at fair prices and fair royalties. The major players will probably change, but I don't think the demand for microstock is going anywhere.

I agree.

ditto.  There is always going to be a need for images and always going to be a need for images created by professionals... or at least by people needing to be compensated in some way.  How that all comes around however, could look strikingly different than it does today.  It is always hard to imagine an industry giant toppling and things radically changing (sometimes even for the better) but it happens all the time.

« Reply #112 on: September 01, 2011, 14:12 »
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I see Thinkstock as a much larger threat to Istock than SS. The bulk of the higher level exclusives will resist putting quality work on Thinkstock as long as they are allowed. Once they are forced onto Thinkstock the game could change some but at that point I bet a lot of people will become independent simply out of frustration and lack of motivation.

I can't speak for all exclusives but I have been resistant to subscriptions. If I choose or am forced to sell in that model at Thinkstock then I might as well sell at SS too. Only the arrogant and naive think that buyers won't choose to buy the same image at a much lower price when it's a simple click away.

« Reply #113 on: September 01, 2011, 14:45 »
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Graphic leftovers gives you over 50% and you can price your vectors yourself.
+1 Still lots to love about microstock, I think. Most sites are fair and easy to deal with. This month I'm starting my 7th year of micrstocking and as I look back at all the changes, most have been for the better IMO. And I think there will be lots of good things ahead.

@madelaide: DON'T GO!!! We need more nice people not fewer.

« Reply #114 on: September 01, 2011, 15:06 »
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...All I know right now is that it makes me sick to my stomach to have to make a decision like this. ...

Big +1 on that. 

Lobo wouldn't answer the question that he himself raised when he said (in reply to a comment saying "The ability (for now) of staying opted out of the PP may be one of the biggest perks of being exclusive....")

"That is interesting. There are actually a high percentage of exclusives in the PP. So, hrmm."

I said that my guess would be the large percentage would be for bronze/silver exclusives and that for gold/diamond/black diamond the percentage would be much smaller. He said to stay on topic of ASA changes.

For as long as the heavy-hitter exclusives stay out of the partner program, Thinkstock has a problem - it can't do better than SS on content, only on price.

For most independents, they have more files on SS than on IS anyway (because of upload limits and SS's very different editorial choices about what they accept). Not to mention those independents who aren't on IS anyway. So putting independent IS content onto TS & photos.com is unlikely to hurt SS in any way. My guess is that this move will hurt the earnings of those who are already in IS's partner program though - big influx of competition for existing subscriber dollars.

So I could make the argument that other than hurting my pride by (a) having no control of my images being there and (b) TS & photos.com being Getty's dumping ground for not so good content, I wouldn't be hurting SS by having my images in the partner program.

If that logic holds, then the point I should pull out of IS altogether is when Getty mandates that exclusives have all their content in the partner program - at that point Thinkstock would have something SS doesn't have and might be able to gain some subscription defections as a result.

Or I could have it all a** backwards :)

« Reply #115 on: September 01, 2011, 15:47 »
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There are so many ways to look at all of this. So many points of view, so many personal factors that lead each one of us to our own opinions about what we're going to do, if anything. For me, the issue that's really making this hard to decide is the issue of how this affects other agencies and what my contribution to helping istock propel ThinkStock could potentially be. It makes me sick to think that if I stay with istock and help build up the ThinkStock library, I could potentially be contributing to the most direct competitor of Shutterstock, which is far and away my best earner. On the other hand I realize that I'm a small fish in this huge pool of independent artists, many of whom (probably at least half of those who contribute to istock) will end up agreeing to have their images ported over to ThinkStock and making my possible hold-out insignificant. My fears about ThinkStock someday being a real threat to SS would probably happen regardless of my involvement.

So then it becomes more of a personal moral decision. Am I comfortable with being a cog in the ThinkStock machine, even if it's a small cog, just to maintain my istock earnings and gain in some lesser way from ThinkStock while TS cannibalizes my SS earnings? Would TS increase their market share regardless of whether I or anyone else declines to participate? And if so, is it better to just go with the flow and get my $0.28 at TS while things slow down at SS?

I don't really have an answer to any of these questions, which is why I'm still completely lost as to what I want to do here. It may take me all the way up to September 28th to make a decision.

All I know right now is that it makes me sick to my stomach to have to make a decision like this. And I wonder if I'll feel more or less sick about it based on which way I ultimately decide to go.
 

I know what you mean. But regarding the bolded type...just remember, a few small fish equal a big fish.  :)

« Reply #116 on: September 01, 2011, 15:48 »
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On the poll I voted that I'd pull the port.  Truth is I am not 100% sure, but still leaning towards pulling. I will admit, I am an extremely small fish - I stopped uploading 1.5 years ago, and my earnings dropped since March to - well - very low. A small bag of groceries can be bought from it.
Someone argued elsewhere that all this does is adding some more selling outlets for everyone. Maybe I could recover my losses again - maybe they'd be sold in the other outlets?
However I am getting queezy. To me this is not just another partner programm thing I have to join (after all, FT does not let me opt out - so what's my worry?).
With FT (and correct me if I am wrong) I am paid based on FT commission structure (haven't seen any evidence of that being different). With this PP I'd be paid based on the PP'site's commission structure. With FT every PP sale counts toward my rank, with the PP on IS it won't count towards my RC - effectively locking me in at 15% comission starting next year (and most likely driving down my RPD even further). I also expect this move will drive buyers more towards the lower priced collections (where I expect most of my stuff to be "mirrored" - since it is not unique to IS anyways and they seem to push a strategy to drive away market share from the other agencies). Another difference is with FT the partner sites are independent sites - independent of FT. With IS - PP profits remain in the Getty family, hence strengthening Getty to further dominate the market with those shares. The more Getty dominates the more it makes the rules - for buyers but specifically for contributors and I do not expect them to get better. The more Getty dominates the market, the more competitors may want to undercut what Getty has (which may increasingly become difficult) - on the backs of the contribs. Only sensible way for me to not help this nonsense is to pull at least all selling files from IS.  But maybe I have it all wrong???
(Of course, since I am a "bag of groceries earner", maybe I do not even have the right to speak.)

helix7

« Reply #117 on: September 01, 2011, 16:16 »
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...For most independents, they have more files on SS than on IS anyway (because of upload limits and SS's very different editorial choices about what they accept). Not to mention those independents who aren't on IS anyway. So putting independent IS content onto TS & photos.com is unlikely to hurt SS in any way. My guess is that this move will hurt the earnings of those who are already in IS's partner program though - big influx of competition for existing subscriber dollars.

So I could make the argument that other than hurting my pride by (a) having no control of my images being there and (b) TS & photos.com being Getty's dumping ground for not so good content, I wouldn't be hurting SS by having my images in the partner program.

If that logic holds, then the point I should pull out of IS altogether is when Getty mandates that exclusives have all their content in the partner program - at that point Thinkstock would have something SS doesn't have and might be able to gain some subscription defections as a result...

Could be true. It does make sense. It stands to reason that this could all hurt current PP opt-ins more than anyone.

I may be a bit too alarmist in my worries about the impact this could have on SS, as well. Much as I hate to help TS grow in any way, I also have to remember that even with all of that independent content, TS will still pale in comparison to SS. It might make TS more attractive to people who don't currently subscribe to a microstock plan, but it probably won't make much difference to current SS subscribers. The new content at TS is just the same content they've already had at SS.

I think this decision is going to come down to what will cause me to lose less sleep at night: Dropping a good chunk of money I currently have coming in every month from istock and causing some slight discomfort to my family's financial well-being, vs. leaving a dirtbag company that causes me intestinal discomfort every time I think about yet another slap in the face that I'll be taking from them.

I honestly have no idea which way I'm leaning anymore. Both options suck.
 

« Reply #118 on: September 01, 2011, 16:20 »
0
I have changed my mind on terminating. I really can't afford it. They know they got us.

« Reply #119 on: September 01, 2011, 17:40 »
0
I've already lost motivation with microstock and this doesn't help.  I really don't want my portfolio on TS and earnings are going to be massively diluted there now.  I haven't managed to make enough money from the other sites to compensate for the loss of earnings if I leave istock.  I also don't like letting the people that have made close copies of my best sellers have more money by removing my portfolio.

I'm not uploading more there but I don't want to rush in to removing my portfolio.  I would love to see us get together and do something about this but too many people just carry on like nothing has changed.

« Reply #120 on: September 01, 2011, 17:50 »
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I was just checking out stinkstock...er, I mean thinkstockphotos.com and I notice that the photographer/artist name is not attached to any of the images - they are just listed by collection.  is that really how it is or am I missing something in how you can tell who the artist is for a particular image?

« Reply #121 on: September 01, 2011, 17:57 »
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From what I understand, that has been a problem there since day one.

« Reply #122 on: September 01, 2011, 19:09 »
0
I was just checking out stinkstock...er, I mean thinkstockphotos.com and I notice that the photographer/artist name is not attached to any of the images - they are just listed by collection.  is that really how it is or am I missing something in how you can tell who the artist is for a particular image?


If you know a person's real (copyright) name, you can search for it in quotes and find their portfolio on Thinkstock - here's shank_ali as an example. They don't make it straightforward, and I'm not even sure there's been an explicit promise to fix it - something like "we're aware of the the problem..."

Ed

« Reply #123 on: September 01, 2011, 21:30 »
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I am getting laid off in June.  I will be going full time at that time - no choice.  I am actively building my portfolio at all the agencies I contribute to - some which are slow, others which produce a monthly payout.  My opinion is "so what?".  iStock has never been a huge producer for me and their upload process sucks.  There are other agencies that are easier to contribute to and produce more revenue.  I'll contribute to those agencies first.

For me, the issue is income - multiple sources of income is what will help me to survive.  iStock is just another source of income - nothing more, nothing less (and I did make that same analogy on their survey)

lisafx

« Reply #124 on: September 01, 2011, 22:24 »
0
I am getting laid off in June.  I will be going full time at that time - no choice.  I am actively building my portfolio at all the agencies I contribute to - some which are slow, others which produce a monthly payout.  My opinion is "so what?".  iStock has never been a huge producer for me and their upload process sucks.  There are other agencies that are easier to contribute to and produce more revenue.  I'll contribute to those agencies first.

For me, the issue is income - multiple sources of income is what will help me to survive.  iStock is just another source of income - nothing more, nothing less (and I did make that same analogy on their survey)

Sorry to hear about the layoff Ed.  Hope the microstock works out as a FT gig for you.  :)


 

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