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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 40717 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

rubyroo

« Reply #75 on: August 31, 2011, 06:20 »
0
I hear you Paulie Walnuts (still the best name on the Internet IMO)... but at the moment I can't think beyond the investment's company's position - i.e. get ROI + maximum profit, then sell off.

What happens when new buyers step in I just can't imagine at this point.  It depends on who the buyer is.

 


« Reply #76 on: August 31, 2011, 07:54 »
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The agency has the contributor by the short an curlies and knows it.  Options appear to be either take a principled stand and leave resulting in loss of earnings to the contributor but little or no impact to the agency or suck it up and stay.  The contributor population is very large, diverse and not organised.  The price paid is driven by the market and will continue to decline until people reach the point, on an individual basis, where it is just not worth while playing the game any longer.

lisafx

« Reply #77 on: August 31, 2011, 08:26 »
0
I may leave all microstock sites and that would not make any difference in my life. I'm lucky to have a good full-time job.


And here you have come to the crux of the issue.  As usual, the ones urging the most drastic actions are the ones who don't really have much at stake.  

I don't have to answer to anyone in these forums for my actions.  I answer to my family, and I'm not going to put a hardship on them just to satisfy some anonymous (or pseudonymous) poster on an internet forum  ::)

(btw, Maria, these observations are not directed at you - your comment just illustrated my point :) )
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 08:35 by lisafx »

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #78 on: August 31, 2011, 08:50 »
0
yep. Istock has been pretty much worthless for me, which means I'm pretty much worthless for them too. I'v made whopping 90+$ with them while in the same time I'm nearing the 3000$ tier at shutterstock. For me they are just a sheeitty site and they suck at selling my shots.

« Reply #79 on: August 31, 2011, 09:02 »
0
I sure took the worst time to join the microstock business.

No, that's not true.  A year from now it will be even worse :-)

« Reply #80 on: August 31, 2011, 10:00 »
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This is my first post on this forum - I registered simply to add my thoughts on this thorny topic.

I've been with iStock since 2006 when Bruce Livingstone was still at the helm and it was a friendly site with good earnings potential. I stayed independent and reached Silver status. I've never been a big player in stock imagery but its made me some good pocket money over the years and so to see this sad decline is painful.

First we had the whole disambiguation fiasco, then it became clear that a big push to win exclusives was their driving force. Suddenly the iStock forum became almost like a no-go area for we independents. The wooyay brigade held sway. Then we had Vetta and changes to price structures and the whole thing became almost incomprehensible. We've suffered decreases in royalties and still we've taken it on the chin.

Well, this is one contributor who's had enough. Unlike Lisa (I feel your pain) I no longer earn enough there to hurt me if I pull my port, so that's what I'm about to do.

Its such a hateful place now and, to be honest, I certainly shan't miss the tedious upload process. This actually motivates me to start producing more work, after not uploading for a few months, and really trying to send some quality images to the other sites!

Everyone must make their own decision about this based on their own circumstances. For those of you who choose to stay and see what happens, I'll wish you well and I respect your decision.

lisafx

« Reply #81 on: August 31, 2011, 10:07 »
0
Great post Madgickle! 

...And a nice return to topic after quite a bit of ranting and personal attacks :)

« Reply #82 on: August 31, 2011, 10:13 »
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Instead you to sit here, wasting more and more time whining day in and day out about IS screwing you over while you make less and less each year.  A year ago you were all whinging when commissions were cut and a year later you're still here, crying "IS is mean to me"  LOL.  You're just battered housewives who choose to stay and I have zero sympathy for people who get what they ask for.

LOL. I don't think I've ever worked at any company where the employees (me included) didn't complain and grumble. That doesn't mean I hated working there. It just means I thought there was room for improvement. I've actually enjoyed most of my jobs.

As far as iStock, I've said positive and negative things about them over the years . Since I don't have local microstock coworkers to grab a drink with, public forums have really become the only place to vent frustrations or suggest improvements. My friends and family only want to listen so much.  ;D Maybe, I'm stupid or just optimistic, but I think it's good to voice your opinion about changes in hopes that things might actually improve.

I don't regret signing up for any of the agencies I signed up for (except for maybe Lucky Oliver because they closed down a few weeks after I uploaded). I feel joining each agency was the right thing to do at the time. I've learned a lot over the years about illustration and the microstock business. Learning more about the business, made me realize the deals I was getting could be better. That and agencies only really started squeezing in the last couple years.

Creating a microstock portfolio took a lot of time and was a good amount of work, so removing my portfolio because of some frustration seems a bit foolish. That said, I have left certain agencies and have focused my business to better paying agencies and my own site. I can't say if it will pay off or how long it will take, but there was no guarantee when I started at iStock five years ago. And I've created a pretty solid business since then. One that I think I can make even better with a little hard work. There will probably be some complaining and grumbling along the way though.  ;)

« Reply #83 on: August 31, 2011, 10:15 »
0
Great post Madgickle! 

...And a nice return to topic after quite a bit of ranting and personal attacks :)

Thanks Lisa.  :)

I have just sent iStock my request to remove my port. I'm hoping that others have been correct in saying that they will pay us what they owe even though the minimum payout has not been reached.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #84 on: August 31, 2011, 10:46 »
0
Great post Madgickle!  

...And a nice return to topic after quite a bit of ranting and personal attacks :)


Thanks Lisa.  :)

I have just sent iStock my request to remove my port. I'm hoping that others have been correct in saying that they will pay us what they owe even though the minimum payout has not been reached.


good, good. as for those whining about giving up certain % of their income which comes from istock, they don't even get the utter simple concept that its worth taking a hit to show you protect your interests, or you will be left with nothing later and nowhere to turn. Ppl that shortsighted deserve to shafted till they look like a freakin unicorn. I'v got this song for them:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSJZ12iMzvQ[/youtube]

« Reply #85 on: August 31, 2011, 11:35 »
0
A stack of posts have been removed for back and forth attacks and not discussing the topic at hand.

lisafx

« Reply #86 on: August 31, 2011, 11:44 »
0
A stack of posts have been removed for back and forth attacks and not discussing the topic at hand.

I noticed the thread just got quite a bit shorter ;)

So as we stand now it looks as though 41% are either definitely leaving Istock over this, or are considering leaving, compared to the 50% who are staying put for the time being.  If you add in the percentage that left over the last changes, that is 48.5% that Istock risks losing over recent changes of terms. 

I realize this group is self-selected for being more active and probably higher earning than the average contributor, but surely this number should be a bit worrying to Istock/Getty? 

nruboc

« Reply #87 on: August 31, 2011, 11:45 »
0
I sure took the worst time to join the microstock business.

No, that's not true.  A year from now it will be even worse :-)

+ 1, sad but true

« Reply #88 on: August 31, 2011, 11:50 »
0
I don't make much use of the ignore button, but it is helpful when someone wants to derail a discussion. Don't reply and they'll eventually stop posting.

Back to the original topic, I have been mulling over just leaving iStock altogether. It feels like being stuck in abusive relationship where you keep hoping things will get better, so you stay. You remember how it used to be and feel angry and sad. I'm under no illusions that they would give a hoot, but it might help me focus better on something positive.

I don't want to act in anger given that I would have a lot to lose - but the battering stream of negatives is doing a number on my optimism :)

Perhaps the best compromise is leave the portfolio and just don't upload there any more, but the notion of assisting Getty with Thinkstock photos.com and clipart.com is repulsive. They can call it "downstream" (versus upstream, meaning Getty Images & pals) but it's clear it's their bargain basement.

ETA that I've removed my vectors from iStock - I won't sell those for 28 cents a pop (I don't on any other site with subscriptions either). I wouldn't mind having the JPEGs as a subscription product but iStock doesn't permit that (JPEGs derived from vectors).
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 16:24 by jsnover »

« Reply #89 on: August 31, 2011, 12:04 »
0
I will be staying.  I am not at all happy about the heavy-handedness of this new ASA, but I have been expecting something like this for months.  Can't afford to give up more than 1/3 of my income.

I'll be staying as well.

I already had my content in the PP and honestly, iStock can do what it likes with my content at this point. Not because I love the company and have so much faith in its business decisions, on the contrary.

I stopped giving a hoot about iStock a long time ago. I don't even get mad anymore. iStock's heyday was yesterday, or the day before that. Ancient history, at this point. I just shake my head and laugh at what a mess they continue to make for themselves. The choices they're making are poor at best and it will ultimately lead to their undoing, and I'm not willing to spend any time dismantling my portfolio there. I've seen a bit of a boost in recent weeks/months from the + program for independents, and that is a nice surprise. But like all other boosts past, I don't expect it to last worth a lick.

What I won't be doing and haven't been doing is uploading new content to iStock. I'd considered submitting editorial there, but I don't think I will. And my new work sells so little there (in past experience) as the overall collection grows ever larger and my presence/portfolio grows ever more diluted, I feel like it'd be a wasted effort. So I'm focusing my photo mojo elsewhere, and even if I'm not currently raking it in, I'm exponentially happier. Which totally rocks.

Blah, blah, blah. iStock. The best thing that came out of that experience for me, over and above the money and new-found skills or confidence in myself as a photographer, is the wealth of awesome souls I had the chance to connect with. A handful of whom I can't imagine now not knowing.

iStock - You suck.

iStockers - You rawk.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 12:07 by Risamay »

« Reply #90 on: August 31, 2011, 12:12 »
0
I'm newly independent and asked a few questions yesterday to try to get up to speed. Thank you to everyone who responded the result has been enlightening. Being brand new to most of these sites, but also being fairly successful with my portfolio as an exclusive gives me perhaps a unique perspective on this situation and I see a bit of a silver lining.

Here it is. Despite what you think, THE SITES NEED YOU! This is why.
You say the new contributors are coming in droves -- I say they are being discouraged in droves.
It seems to be very hard to get images accepted. The upload process is complicated and time consuming and when you do get accepted you get $.25 for your effort. Anyone who is new is going to upload 20-50 images and have 50% rejected if they are lucky. At the end of the 1st month they will look at their income and see it is $2.50 for the 15 or more hours they put in and decide not to upload anymore. And then there is the very big assumption that those accepted files are going to even be marketable.

The only contributors really worth anything to the sites are the ones who already have portfolios. The sites are doing everything they can to keep new contributors out of the market. Why would you start now? Unless you already have a job or it is a hobby, it doesn't make any sense. If this is a hobby then you can't contribute the quantity that the sites need to keep the product fresh and odds are your quality/marketability isn't as good as the guys who have been doing it for a while.

If you guys with established portfolios were to pick one agency and give them your 300 best selling images and leave the rest where they are it would have a huge impact on the market. 2000 contributors at 300 images is 600,000 images. Not a lot of images but they are the 600k best images in the market all in one place. Where do you think the buyers are going to go? The place with a lot of images that are mediocre or the one site with all the quality? I realize that this may be unrealistic but think what would happen if a site lost it's 600k best selling images in the same month.

The sites may not realize it right now but down the road its you guys they need.
Like I said I'm new and there is a lot I don't understand but I know this... microstock is not easy, and those of you who have figured it out are a lot more important than you think.

« Reply #91 on: August 31, 2011, 14:15 »
0
A stack of posts have been removed for back and forth attacks and not discussing the topic at hand.

I noticed the thread just got quite a bit shorter ;)

It's a shame. I like the fiery posts and there were some decent points like why wasn't your daughter going to my Alma mater? Very disappointing. Kidding.  ;D

Seriously though, I like the fiery enthusiasm of some of the deleted posts. I need an occasional good kick in the pants to get me going. I know I've been critical in the past of people not doing more to better their situation. I'd like to think that I was encouraging (maybe a little mean) for others to open their own shops and stop waiting around for others to do it for them. This isn't directed at any one person. Just a general statement about the content that got removed.

lisafx

« Reply #92 on: August 31, 2011, 14:23 »
0

It's a shame. I like the fiery posts and there were some decent points like why wasn't your daughter going to my Alma mater? Very disappointing. Kidding.  ;D


LOL!  Yeah, on-topic stuff like that :D

« Reply #93 on: August 31, 2011, 14:25 »
0
I'm still doubting whether to pull my port entirely, or delete my bestsellers and leave the true drab for their 'bargain basement' as Jsnover put so nicely,  or cull everything apart from my bestsellers who have been sold to death already so are devaluated in that sense.... tough one.

I know one thing for sure though:
Cito ignominia fit superbi gloria (arrogance goes before the fall, or however the expression goes in english :))
Can't wait.

« Reply #94 on: August 31, 2011, 19:25 »
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Thank you Lisa for adding an extra option and allowing me to vote :)

I have now done so and I can see the results.
They are very much what I expected.

33 people 'will' be pulling their ports. The keyword here is 'sometime', in the future...

75 people remain with IStock.

26 people are not sure right now.
My bet is that 99% of the 'undecided right now' will stay where they are. And keep on contributing - to Istock and ThinkStock and Clip.Art alike.

I do not believe in the 'I will be monitoring my sales' theory. Neither do I believe that (most) contributors will stop uploading their best work to IStock.
Nope, with very few exceptions, that's not going to happen either.

I seem to remember, a few months back, a discussion about ThinkStock. It happened here, on this forum. People were talking about the possibility that IS will, one day, force independents to contribute to their crappy site.
Photographers were outraged. 'When this happens I will be pulling my port immediately!' - some of them promised.
But of course, today, they're not doing it.
Because 10 dollars or a 1000 dollars a week, it's all the same.
For some strange reason nobody can afford to leave IStock.

Take good note, Getty!
Go as low as you want, we're here to take it all in.

« Reply #95 on: August 31, 2011, 19:57 »
0
Hi Lisa. I would like to add one more option.
Because of things I learn about Getty from another age( yes I am that old) I never join Istock.
Smiling Jack

lisafx

« Reply #96 on: August 31, 2011, 22:06 »
0
Hi Lisa. I would like to add one more option.
Because of things I learn about Getty from another age( yes I am that old) I never join Istock.
Smiling Jack

Done.  In retrospect it was probably a very good decision :)

lagereek

« Reply #97 on: September 01, 2011, 01:23 »
0
I may leave all microstock sites and that would not make any difference in my life. I'm lucky to have a good full-time job.


And here you have come to the crux of the issue.  As usual, the ones urging the most drastic actions are the ones who don't really have much at stake.  

I don't have to answer to anyone in these forums for my actions.  I answer to my family, and I'm not going to put a hardship on them just to satisfy some anonymous (or pseudonymous) poster on an internet forum  ::)

(btw, Maria, these observations are not directed at you - your comment just illustrated my point :) )


Bloody 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.

« Reply #98 on: September 01, 2011, 05:22 »
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I may leave all microstock sites and that would not make any difference in my life. I'm lucky to have a good full-time job.


And here you have come to the crux of the issue.  As usual, the ones urging the most drastic actions are the ones who don't really have much at stake.  

I don't have to answer to anyone in these forums for my actions.  I answer to my family, and I'm not going to put a hardship on them just to satisfy some anonymous (or pseudonymous) poster on an internet forum  ::)

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.

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.

« Reply #99 on: September 01, 2011, 07:00 »
0
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.  ::)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 07:13 by cclapper »


 

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