MicrostockGroup

Agency Based Discussion => iStockPhoto.com => Topic started by: lisafx on August 29, 2011, 19:09

Title: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 29, 2011, 19:09
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: click_click on August 29, 2011, 19:14
Same here. For some reason iStock has gone up for me in the last 3 months, despite summer, despite paycut, despite their awful practices. Too big of a chunk to lose (at this point). Once it widdles down to a much smaller amount I might pull my content but not now.

Probably within the next 6-12 months we'll finally see where this is (officially) heading. Until then, hanging in there...
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: disorderly on August 29, 2011, 19:21
I'll continue to delete my photos.  I've been removing five a day since the assault on royalties, and this just encourages me to keep going.  iStock represents 15% or my modest stock income over the past year, and is down to 13% this month.  I'll miss it, but I'd miss my dignity and sense of worth more.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RacePhoto on August 29, 2011, 19:35
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.


As usual I'll complain about the survey (sorry) but you might have added something besides the all or none, forced answers.  ;D What about, I'll sit and think about it, as in #3 Maybe? Or maybe, #4 Already left IS!  ??? or #5 Going exclusive, which is odd, but could happen?

For the record, look back at this on January 1st, maybe that's a fair date since th new contract goe into effect on the 28th if nothing is done. (I still don't get that?)

(http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/3577/isaug2011masthead.jpg)

As of today - total contributors 37132, Exclusive 5653 = 15.22%. If people leave the exclusive percentage should go up (in theory?) and the total contributors should drop or at least stagnate.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on August 29, 2011, 20:01
Deleting. It will hurt financially, but iStock is really just a mid-tier agency for me now.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Noedelhap on August 29, 2011, 20:02
As Istock is one of my two main sources for income (the other being SS), I can't affort to pull out unless SS offers exclusivity.

I also don't HATE the PP-program, since it gives me a fair payout without cannibalizing my IS sales (as far as I can see). But I still want the option to opt-out of the PP program, whenever I feel like. I also see this as a sign that things will get worse and they will stop at nothing to minimalize our incomes.

But I can't afford to pull out at this moment. Although it should be the most respectable thing to do.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on August 29, 2011, 20:03
I'm not happy but I'm staying. Too much of my income comes from iStock to leave (as I'm sure they realize). I won't lift a finger to help them, but I'm not going to hurt my income any further by pulling out.

The less money they make me, the easier they make it to leave them, but at the moment, they haven't cut my income enough to make it easy to walk away :)

I just hope that like a good movie plot, at some future time all the bad karma will come back to bite Getty on the arse.. Life doesn't always oblige that way, but one can only hope :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: le_cyclope on August 29, 2011, 20:06
I'll stay.

  Lisa, you should add another option, Becoming exclusive to not have your photos in PP.  Sounds weird but it is an option...

Claude
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: brm1949 on August 29, 2011, 20:08
Already sent a support ticket asking to terminate. I really can't afford it, but I stopped making any money there months ago.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Noedelhap on August 29, 2011, 20:08
I recently got the option of going exclusive, but I feel exclusives will get screwed too, eventually.

On short term, it might increase my income, but that means I will be stuck with the worst company ever to sell microstock.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: hoi ha on August 29, 2011, 20:22
I'm not happy but I'm staying. Too much of my income comes from iStock to leave (as I'm sure they realize). I won't lift a finger to help them, but I'm not going to hurt my income any further by pulling out.

The less money they make me, the easier they make it to leave them, but at the moment, they haven't cut my income enough to make it easy to walk away :)

I just hope that like a good movie plot, at some future time all the bad karma will come back to bite Getty on the arse.. Life doesn't always oblige that way, but one can only hope :)

This - but I too keep waiting for the karma to come round and kick them in the guts - a cut off your nose feeling from me me I know but it's honest - but I have not uploaded any new images in almost a year - has made virtually no difference to my income which is kinda sad and very deflating.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on August 29, 2011, 20:31
Think I'm finally pushed over the edge. Not 100% sure, but definitely leaning that way tonight. Going to sleep on it for a few days and see if I change my mind.

The way I see it, this is a job, and like any job you need to be willing to walk away when things get to a point that you are no longer comfortable being involved with the company. Even if financially speaking it's not the most sensible decision. At this point, after another and another and another slap in the face, it's hard to stick with istock anymore. I can make up the lost income somewhere else. Lost pride is something that I can't get back if I sit here and do nothing.

ThinkStock is being positioned to not only compete with Shutterstock, but to do so at an increasing level with the increased supply from the Partner Program. TS wasn't a threat to SS before. Now, they could be. I'm not ready to cannibalize my growing SS earnings to save my dwindling istock earnings. I also strongly believe that istock will cut royalties again, reinstate fraud deductions (that's in this new ASA), and further extend inclusion in the partner program, possibly to mandate that exclusives participate at some level.

I said back in September that it was only the beginning of the unfavorable changes we'd see at istock in the coming year. Seems that prediction was correct, and this latest set of changes is certainly not the end.

My vote is to leave. The decision is subject to change after a few days away and giving it some more thought. But as of now, I'm headed towards the door.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RacePhoto on August 29, 2011, 20:34
Already sent a support ticket asking to terminate. I really can't afford it, but I stopped making any money there months ago.

Please add a thread when it happens and report how the process went for you.

I'm a #3, not appearing in the above survey ;) which is wait and see. I may try to exit the program in Dec. and keep the income all in 2001 for easier tax tracking. Just wondering how fast it gets done. If it's a long process and there are leftover commissions, I may have to think about Nov 30th closing. In the meantime I want to see how sales are going, If it's anything like July and August, they won't miss me and I won't be missing much either.

IS has fallen off the face of the planet for me. Was 50% of my sales, now StockXpert is competing with them for licensing and that's all subscriptions for both. Maybe my photos suddenly became old or something, but if they sold for three years, why did all sales stop two months ago. Very strange!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: madelaide on August 29, 2011, 20:53
I really don't know, but all these changes - FT, now IS, will DT come next? - make me think of leaving microstock altogether. As I consider my microstock images "lost", in the sense they don't value much, being repeatedly found everywhere (legally or not), I may well leave them there. I haven't uploaded for over 2 years anyway.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on August 29, 2011, 21:50
The new agreement seems to say that they'll now sell my stuff anywhere, on any web site, partner, or 'channel' they choose, and pay me whatever they feel like.  I'd expect one new bargain basement outlet after another, and steadily eroding commissions .

I'm tired of even trying to figure out what terms like this mean.  How about just selling my photos via your web site, with a clear simple price structure?  Does it have to be more complicated than the federal tax code, and more mysterious than North Korea?

If I drop IS now, that leaves SS, DT and GL.   SS and DT have actually been picking up steadily.  GL makes a sale now and then.   Like others, I'll chew on this for a while but may well decide I've done enough screwing around with IS for one lifetime and not even wait for the first 5 cent sales to come in before pulling the plug.  
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on August 29, 2011, 22:35
Things are only going to get worse for independents at IS. Now they want to force us into supplying a bargain basement ghetto that will ultimately devalue our work. And if they succeed in crushing SS, we are all screwed, and that includes exclusives. If we allow this to happen, we have only ourselves to blame. I know what the right thing to do is, I just don't know if I've got the courage to leave.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on August 29, 2011, 23:17
I'm certainly leaning towards pulling the plug there. The income and % of my income from IS has been steadily declining, so it really won't hurt me that much except for the pain of all the hoops I had to jump through to get the content up there. I will miss the $, but I fear I would miss my dignity more. I guess I have 'til the 28th to decide. Actually I am tempted to pull it all the 29th just to make more work for them.

(I am not on FT for similar reasons).
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: xst on August 30, 2011, 00:19
I'll be staying but monitoring my sales on SS and overall monthly income from all sites.

If I see sudden drop in sales on SS I'll reconsider this matter.

Also,
I always uploaded my content first in IS and then on other sites.
I'll probably start delaying new content and sending it to IS 2-3 later, after other sites.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on August 30, 2011, 01:26
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.

Im surprised they havent done it much earlier!  I knew this was coming well over a year ago, the pattern was all too familiar. Started with the new RM-contract, signing away certain shots to TS, etc.
I will be staying as well!  whats the point of beefing about it? but Im not happy at all. Lets see if they for, just ONCE, can proove us wrong?

best.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: rubyroo on August 30, 2011, 01:51
I'll be staying but monitoring my sales on SS and overall monthly income from all sites.

If I see sudden drop in sales on SS I'll reconsider this matter.

I agree with this.  I certainly don't want to hurt Shutterstock. I also agree with Jsnover's post above.

I'm considering a third option, which is to just send 'good enough' files to iStock in future, and to reserve my very best work for agencies I trust to treat my work more respectfully.   I like the idea of taking that kind of considered control over my port, and making the greatest effort for those I feel are most deserving.  Also I won't feel so miserable about having my best work 'junked' into the PP for a pittance.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microbius on August 30, 2011, 02:20
ETA sorry wrong thread
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: hofhoek on August 30, 2011, 02:28
I think I'll leave. I will not let hem sell my images for free and therefore not selling at the more expensive agencies. If all these great images of all of us are practically given away for free why would buyers go elsewhere? Delete , delete, delete...
But how to delete? I don't know how to do this anymore. Can anyone give me some information on this?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: borg on August 30, 2011, 03:05
So probably many of us will stay on IS... That may be OK for now...
But we have to make plan on long period and on a personal level, some kind of process through time how to bring customers on agencies with better deal for us...
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on August 30, 2011, 03:23
This time I am considering leaving - Istock has become a low earner to me anyways (I am happy if I make 25US$ there a month), so it should not hurt too much. I fail to see the bright side of this new ASA.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: iclick on August 30, 2011, 03:28
Just leaving the dross there removing my better performing files.....

 you get what you pay for  ;)  

Not being able to upload any new content will not concern me as will be concentrating on making the opposition stronger.

Thats is already happening without any help from little'ol me of course
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on August 30, 2011, 03:34
The other thing to do for me is also to look at alternatives of monetizing my images outside of microstock.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: iclick on August 30, 2011, 03:35
I think I'll leave. I will not let hem sell my images for free and therefore not selling at the more expensive agencies. If all these great images of all of us are practically given away for free why would buyers go elsewhere? Delete , delete, delete...
But how to delete? I don't know how to do this anymore. Can anyone give me some information on this?

To Delete go to desired Image page

under "Stock photo details"  you will see "Administration"

from the drop down you have the Deactivation option with a reason Box ;)

 That is for individual files of course should you wish to delete entire Portfolio I would assume   you would get in touch directly
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: eggshell on August 30, 2011, 04:14
Stay and upload selectively from now on .

If in the future they try to transfer all non-exclusive content to TS and make IS exclusives only , I'm out
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: hofhoek on August 30, 2011, 04:40
Stay and upload selectively from now on .

If in the future they try to transfer all non-exclusive content to TS and make IS exclusives only , I'm out

Thanks! I'll start deleting my bestsellers next month as they still make some money. I'll leave a few just to see what they'll do.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: dirkr on August 30, 2011, 04:41
I already left beginning of the year when the lowered royalties kicked in. These new changes don't make me feel like I have to reconsider that decision  ;)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: roopcreative on August 30, 2011, 05:24
I'm pulling my higher quality stuff. Guess that survey iStock conducted was pretty hollow, eh?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: ThomasAmby on August 30, 2011, 06:16
I'll leave if you leave  ;)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Slovenian on August 30, 2011, 06:36
The pole results clearly shows why they keep on screwing us. We're just a bunch of sheep
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Red Dove on August 30, 2011, 06:56
Staying. My earnings are still growing at IS and also via the PP, without any discernible effect on my earnings at SS or DT. Of course that could change but I'll worry about that if and when I see it happening....I'm more interested in whether IS/Getty changes and JJRD's mention of International Development will open up new markets for me in Asia etc

And I ain't a sheep.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mantis on August 30, 2011, 07:34
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.

Im surprised they havent done it much earlier!  I knew this was coming well over a year ago, the pattern was all too familiar. Started with the new RM-contract, signing away certain shots to TS, etc.
I will be staying as well!  whats the point of beefing about it? but Im not happy at all. Lets see if they for, just ONCE, can proove us wrong?

best.

I am curious to see if this new PP push deflates sales on Istock, thus affecting our RC levels.  I know that won't happen over night but given a 6-12 month period I think we will be able to make a reasonable inference as to whether the PP program is actually a negative to gross sales.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Eireann on August 30, 2011, 07:53
I have already left back in January.
I didn't vote (no option for me), and can't see the results but I'm pretty sure I know them already.  

No, the vast majority of Independents will not leave IStock. 19% commission, 15, 10 or 5 it's all the same. Independents will stay put.
A sale is a sale and 0.7 cent is better than nothing. No matter the consequences.

What's interesting is that for some strange reason nobody can afford to leave IStock.
10 dollars a week or 1000, it's all the same. They can't afford it.

@XST, Red Dove
monitoring sales?
So you're saying that you will be carefully keeping an eye on your sales.
The day your sales at SS/DT start going down - ThinkStock goes up, is the day you will be deleting your port at IStock?
Is that what you mean?
It's just that it seems strange.
You can't afford to leave IStock today, while SS is still going strong, how will you afford to leave them then, with SS taken over by ThinkStock's crappy sales?
Nope.
That's not going to happen.
You will not be able to afford it :)
Now, or ever.

And I tend to agree with Slovenian. Go on Getty, give us 5% commission and 0.5 cent sales. No matter how low, we will take it all in.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pauloresende on August 30, 2011, 07:55
I will stay... I need the money!! We are all slaves from the money... and they know that!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on August 30, 2011, 08:01
Is it possible to reactivate images after you have deactivated them? Or is deactivation permanent? It would be easier to deactivate my portfolio if I knew that I could retain the option of reactivating it if things ever improve at IS in the future.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Cogent Marketing on August 30, 2011, 08:24
Is it possible to reactivate images after you have deactivated them? Or is deactivation permanent? It would be easier to deactivate my portfolio if I knew that I could retain the option of reactivating it if things ever improve at IS in the future.

I believe you have to resubmit all over again as if it were the first time... Perhaps someone who has tried to do it ay iSP can give a view?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 08:25

As usual I'll complain about the survey (sorry) but you might have added something besides the all or none, forced answers.  ;D What about, I'll sit and think about it, as in #3 Maybe? Or maybe, #4 Already left IS!  ??? or #5 Going exclusive, which is odd, but could happen?


Great ideas Pete & Le_Cyclope.  I'll see if I can change it to add "not sure" and "going exclusive".  

Although IMO going exclusive to avoid the PP is only going to be a short term fix.  In future "iterations" I think it's a safe bet that eventually opt out will disappear for exclusives too.  They just removed the opt out for having exclusive files xferred "upstream" to their other distributors already.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 08:41
I have already left back in January.
I didn't vote (no option for me), and can't see the results but I'm pretty sure I know them already.  

I added your option so you can see the results :)

But you're wrong about there being no limit to what they can get away with.  Currently my income from Istock is a couple of thousand $ a month.  If it ever drops into the hundreds I would not have any qualms at all about leaving.

I am sure I am not the only one with some bottom limit in mind, below which it isn't worth doing anymore.   
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: tanedesign on August 30, 2011, 08:46
Im an exclusive, still dont like the way this was put and I think exclusives will be hurt too, less people will be willing to pay what a good work is worth when you have the option of having it for pennies. Right now Im in the process of being a total independant, get a representative and quit microstock for good. Lately exclusiveness means 1 to 2 sales per day, a couple of months ago my files "suddenly" stopped selling and I have hardly any views in my new files. Before I used to have an average of at least 14-20 downloads per day so right now its almost as if I were a brand new contributor with no portfolio. Its very very strange, no summer slow down has been like this before, specially when summer is almost over and instead of seeing sales pick up they have lowered more than before. And now this...after that survey....
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Artemis on August 30, 2011, 09:01
Its so sad to see how many of us are beaten completely numb and just shrug and accept this very bad deal because the income can't be missed (altho i understand, i live alone so the only one suffering the consequences is me, not my family).
I need a little more time to think but im pretty positive i'm going to pull my port (maybe i'll keep the real drab there just to have my account and future options open). I REALLY can't miss the income either but i'll find other ways to compensate. Apart from not wanting to see my pics on that disgrace of a TS i definitely dont want to wait every month for their lousy, sketchy reporting where no one knows whats what and which is even more untransparent than the RC system. I'm not ok with my pics going wherever they decide at what rate they decide and take their worth-less-than-nothing word for it that the amounts are correct, and those amounts not added to my istock credits while actively driving away traffic from istock AND more important, shutterstock. I dont want my pics to get stolen, and i definitely dont want to pay for it! I dont want to give my pics for free to advertise for istock,or worse, TS or some other sketchy partner and not even get credited for it either ("we'll credit where possible"). Not to mention the numerous "glitches", always in our disadvantage.
I dont want to bend over for their arrogance any longer, i regret so many non-exclusives will carry on like nothing happened, but im sure those will follow soon as the next "iterations" are announced. It's not going to get better, only worse... our new "distributor" has started "Race to the bottom Pt. 2, where the ship really sinks". Soon enough it wont be sustainable for any of us non-exclusives, apart from the ones willing to take a couple of cents.
Funny how exlusivity used to mean extra perks and advantages, while (for) now it only means "getting shafted a tiny bit less".
I just wished SS would come with a countermove (image exclusivity please!), or nasty istock at least would let us keep P+ away from the PP.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockmarketer on August 30, 2011, 09:08
Does anyone realize the real impact this survey will have?  Someone at ISP is no doubt watching these results and saying to a co-worker, "See, I told you we could stick it to them even harder than last time and they'd end up asking for more."

Apparently there's no breaking point at which people will say No More.  And if ISP didn't know it before, they do now.

I respect everyone's right to make a decision on their own, but I fear this type of forum is essentially organizing a response from some of ISP's most prolific and successful contributors to send a loud and clear message: "We're OK with this.  Keep the abuse coming."
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: PixelsAway on August 30, 2011, 09:32
I derive 1/2 of my living from microstock and 40% of that is coming from IS.
So far, it doesn't look that SS or DT can provide any replacement for IS, FT is a way down.
I am rather thinking about putting more efforts into my non photography activity and less time for microstock.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on August 30, 2011, 09:41
Does anyone realize the real impact this survey will have?  Someone at ISP is no doubt watching these results and saying to a co-worker, "See, I told you we could stick it to them even harder than last time and they'd end up asking for more."

Apparently there's no breaking point at which people will say No More.  And if ISP didn't know it before, they do now.

I respect everyone's right to make a decision on their own, but I fear this type of forum is essentially organizing a response from some of ISP's most prolific and successful contributors to send a loud and clear message: "We're OK with this.  Keep the abuse coming."

As I hinted at earlier, for a long time the vast majority of people here have been singing the praises of Shutterstock - a site where a buyer can license an XXL image for which the contributor receives 38c or less, why when other sites lower commissions or take moves like this recent one by iS people are surprised or outraged is beyond me.

Dress it up however you want but we all (well probably 99% or us) value our work at 38c or less for an XXL. My RPI has been and no doubt still will be higher at iS than any of the other microstock sites, and yes there are many things I grudge about iS but as long as they continue to bring me the most revenue for my portfolio each month I'll stay there.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 09:44
Yeah, I agree.  The "big" contributors that "can't" leave should just go exclusive.  The "small" contributors that can leave should.  Its not the "big" contributors that fill in all the millions of holes that keep them floating as an image bank.


No "Big contributor" with half a brain would consider going exclusive with Istock at this point.  Anyone who thinks the shafting is going to stop at non-exclusives only hasn't been paying attention.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on August 30, 2011, 09:57
Actually right now I am leaning towards pulling almost all of my content. If I have any images like a screw or something that reflect how I feel right now I'll leave them up just to keep my account sales totals alive in case they are sold and it makes sense to re-contribute in the future.

This is only one step down the line, I expect at some time in the future some content will be not just mirrored but completely moved. Then the exclusives will have no choice but to see their stuff at the pp. This is only the first iteration folks, and Getty has a lot more shoes they can drop.

They already said what their goal is and it is 20% or less commission.

I am sorry to see what has become of IS, but it is what it is.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on August 30, 2011, 10:01
What I get from this thread is that while some people are actually walking away from IS right now, for most of us it's more a matter of all motivation being gone.  

I'm not doing any microstock right now,  and when I do some again I won't even submit it to IS.   They've made it clear that this is a declining business for photographers and that they plan to pay us less and less as time goes by.    

In this new announcement they didn't even bother with any hype about how the changes would benefit their contributors. It was just "here's what we're doing to you now, take it or leave it".  No vision for the future, not even a fake one.  If they'd at least pretend, I could too.  It is indeed a loveless marriage.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 10:29
In this new announcemen they didn't even bother with any hype about how the changes would benefit their contributors. It was just "here's what we're doing to you now, take it or leave it".  No vision for the future, not even a fake one.  If they'd at least pretend, I could too.  It is indeed a loveless marriage.


Yes, there is certainly no pretense anymore that they care about contributors.  Very sad state of affairs, but completely predictable.  

But at least they've managed to keep JodiJacobson happy.  ROFL!  I'll have some of what she's smoking please ;D

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394 (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: LSD72 on August 30, 2011, 10:38
I left a long while back. It did not hurt me then because my pics just did not sell well enough there to justify staying with the early warning signs. DT was a better performer and SS has always been in the money for me. SS is still doing good residuals for me after I stopped shooting RF to work on my RM months ago.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Elenathewise on August 30, 2011, 11:13
I don't see a point in leaving. If they decide at some point they want exclusive content only (and that is probably coming soon enough), I won't be uploading of course, but meanwhile why not make some money. If they remove my entire portfolio from Istock and move it to their subscription sites, and I am not happy with the results I'll leave then. Although I don't see how it would be a good business decision for them - my port alone makes them 20K+ a month, and some top non-exclusives like Yuri earn them way more. Why would they want to lose that profit.
And by the way now it's clear that Photo+ collection was introduced in anticipation of this decision - they wanted us to lock in our files so we won't be able to delete them when they make changes to the agreement. Like I said back then, there is always a "catch", at least with Istock.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 11:25
And by the way now it's clear that Photo+ collection was introduced in anticipation of this decision - they wanted us to lock in our files so we won't be able to delete them when they make changes to the agreement. Like I said back then, there is always a "catch", at least with Istock.

I completely agree with the first part of your post.  But just FYI, you CAN delete your Photos + images from the site anytime you want.  You just can't delete them from P+ and still keep them on the site (for 6 months). 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on August 30, 2011, 11:26
...And by the way now it's clear that Photo+ collection was introduced in anticipation of this decision - they wanted us to lock in our files so we won't be able to delete them when they make changes to the agreement....

This just isn't the case. You can delete (deactivate) your files at any time with no notice, P+ or not. The only thing you can't do for 6 months is move a P+ file back to the main collection
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: jamesbenet on August 30, 2011, 11:39
Jodi Jacobson is assuming if a sale doesn't happen in 18mo it should go elsewhere and find a a place to sell.

Files older than 18mo are being targeted regardless of sales.   I think there is a lot of contributor confusion there.

As an exclusive "I Agreed" to the terms last night after a full day of reading and thought.  As exclusive it is actually changing very little on my end. I already have most of my footage on Getty, I have most of my non sellers on PP since 4mo ago and some content will migrate to Vetta/Agency and video to other partner sites.

In video we have been asking for lower prices for more mundane and not so spectacular shots and it seems the way they want to go about it is by offering them on other sites without adjusting prices down on iStock.    Ive been doing fairly well with video on Getty and time will tell how much better it gets if at all.    We have to compete with sites like Pond5 which give HD videos almost away at $10 in many instances.   This is a way to do it.

The master grand plan of this whole announcement is for iStock/Getty to flood the market of lower priced sites with the images that are available on Shutterstock, DT, FT, Canstock etc...  That way they will have a chance at diluting the market and maybe even offer lower prices for customers in order to hurt the competition with the same content for cheaper.  Non exclusives IMO are the main target of this and they know they can do it because most non exclusives have most of their images on so many sites that iStock calculates that one more site or multitude of sites wont be a burden since it will be automatically ingested, it will be instant dilution of the market.   Getty will offer competition from the bottom to the top.

Now for Exclusives I see it as a minor adjustment but for Non Exclusives it can be quite a step.  In any case the PP for non exclusives should in some way allow artists to include or exclude files from the offering.  This is probably the main problem with this whole thing.  I know that it is extremely important that as an exclusive PP files can be selected and excluded just like before.   If I didn't have that option I wouldn't have agreed. But since that isn't changing for Exclusives I see no major change in my case.  As a non exclusive it seems you have your work cut out for you.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Elenathewise on August 30, 2011, 11:40
And by the way now it's clear that Photo+ collection was introduced in anticipation of this decision - they wanted us to lock in our files so we won't be able to delete them when they make changes to the agreement. Like I said back then, there is always a "catch", at least with Istock.

I completely agree with the first part of your post.  But just FYI, you CAN delete your Photos + images from the site anytime you want.  You just can't delete them from P+ and still keep them on the site (for 6 months). 
Are you sure? I though "locking in" meant you can't move or delete. Well there must be some other catch then:) Coming soon:)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 12:02

Are you sure? I though "locking in" meant you can't move or delete. Well there must be some other catch then:) Coming soon:)

Go to the "administration" area on one of your P+ files.  You still have the option to "change status"/delete it.  At least for now...

But you're right, there is always another catch ;)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: etienjones on August 30, 2011, 12:06
In this new announcemen they didn't even bother with any hype about how the changes would benefit their contributors. It was just "here's what we're doing to you now, take it or leave it".  No vision for the future, not even a fake one.  If they'd at least pretend, I could too.  It is indeed a loveless marriage.


Yes, there is certainly no pretense anymore that they care about contributors.  Very sad state of affairs, but completely predictable.  

But at least they've managed to keep JodiJacobson happy.  ROFL!  I'll have some of what she's smoking please ;D

[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394[/url])



I love this part:

"I make more than enough money here on IS, . . . . . . . "

Well, that's just dandy  :D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on August 30, 2011, 12:13
In this new announcemen they didn't even bother with any hype about how the changes would benefit their contributors. It was just "here's what we're doing to you now, take it or leave it".  No vision for the future, not even a fake one.  If they'd at least pretend, I could too.  It is indeed a loveless marriage.


Yes, there is certainly no pretense anymore that they care about contributors.  Very sad state of affairs, but completely predictable.  

But at least they've managed to keep JodiJacobson happy.  ROFL!  I'll have some of what she's smoking please ;D

[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394[/url])



I love this part:

"I make more than enough money here on IS, . . . . . . . "

Well, that's just dandy  :D


Yeah that's smart: assure them they're still paying us more than they really need to.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on August 30, 2011, 12:19
...The master grand plan of this whole announcement is for iStock/Getty to flood the market of lower priced sites with the images that are available on Shutterstock, DT, FT, Canstock etc...  That way they will have a chance at diluting the market and maybe even offer lower prices for customers in order to hurt the competition with the same content for cheaper.  Non exclusives IMO are the main target of this and they know they can do it because most non exclusives have most of their images on so many sites that iStock calculates that one more site or multitude of sites wont be a burden since it will be automatically ingested, it will be instant dilution of the market.   Getty will offer competition from the bottom to the top.
...

All this is premised on the assumption that iStock can actually get the partner program transfer working - something that's been broken for a very long time. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that they can, and keep it working to deliver new content from iStock to the PP sites.

For all subscription sites, they need more than a good size, comprehensive library. They need a stream of new content - without that, existing subscribers get restive and at some point don't renew. What independents could choose to do, with some cost to them, but not as much as pulling their portfolios from iStock, is give new content to other sites first - for a few months - and only to iStock later.

When buyers see that so-and-so's great new content is on SS but not on Thinkstock, they may decide that switching isn't a great idea.

And as far as drawing buyers away from SS with cheaper content, there are already other cheaper sites and still SS thrives, so it remains to be seen if Getty can "kill" SS even with the addition of independent iStock content.

And I will get a huge laugh if the exclusive IS supporters of the partner program start wailing loudly when their PP sales drop because of all the new content in the program (which will of course happen). If they then pull out of the PP as the sales aren't as good, Getty will then make PP mandatory for exclusives. It'd be funny if it wasn't our livelihoods those jerks were messing with.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: disorderly on August 30, 2011, 12:41
But at least they've managed to keep JodiJacobson happy.  ROFL!  I'll have some of what she's smoking please ;D

[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469394[/url])


Did anybody else notice the post from imgorthand a few down from Jodi's (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469400)?  iStock now claims the right to pass private information along to its partners, including models' contact information.  Given how little I trust them, I'm sick at the idea of them entrusting all that personal data to firms as sleazy as they.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: gostwyck on August 30, 2011, 13:34
... As an exclusive "I Agreed" to the terms last night after a full day of reading and thought.  As exclusive it is actually changing very little on my end. ...

... The master grand plan of this whole announcement is for iStock/Getty to flood the market of lower priced sites with the images that are available on Shutterstock, DT, FT, Canstock etc...  That way they will have a chance at diluting the market and maybe even offer lower prices for customers in order to hurt the competition with the same content for cheaper.  Non exclusives IMO are the main target of this and they know they can do it because most non exclusives have most of their images on so many sites that iStock calculates that one more site or multitude of sites wont be a burden since it will be automatically ingested, it will be instant dilution of the market.   Getty will offer competition from the bottom to the top.

Now for Exclusives I see it as a minor adjustment but for Non Exclusives it can be quite a step.  In any case the PP for non exclusives should in some way allow artists to include or exclude files from the offering.  This is probably the main problem with this whole thing.  I know that it is extremely important that as an exclusive PP files can be selected and excluded just like before.   If I didn't have that option I wouldn't have agreed. But since that isn't changing for Exclusives I see no major change in my case.  As a non exclusive it seems you have your work cut out for you.

Sorry but you are quite wrong __ these changes are much more worrying for exclusives. As an exclusive the big change for you was that Istock suddenly became your distributor and not your agent. Legally that lets them off the hook of any duty of care to you and your income in the future. It's the same for independents of course but in our case we do not have all our eggs in one basket. If ever there was a time to reconsider your exclusive status it is now.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 30, 2011, 13:38

Did anybody else notice the post from imgorthand a few down from Jodi's ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333754&messageid=6469400[/url])?  iStock now claims the right to pass private information along to its partners, including models' contact information.  Given how little I trust them, I'm sick at the idea of them entrusting all that personal data to firms as sleazy as they.


I did catch that.  It definitely concerns me. But I will hold off freaking out on that particular issue until I get some idea of the details.  

What I take it to mean is that when our images go on the distributor sites, the releases will be made available to them too.  This is standard at all the micros - you have to have releases there with your images.  What I DON'T take it to mean is that confidential information will be shared publicly, or with people who license the images.  
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on August 30, 2011, 13:42
... As an exclusive "I Agreed" to the terms last night after a full day of reading and thought.  As exclusive it is actually changing very little on my end. ...

... The master grand plan of this whole announcement is for iStock/Getty to flood the market of lower priced sites with the images that are available on Shutterstock, DT, FT, Canstock etc...  That way they will have a chance at diluting the market and maybe even offer lower prices for customers in order to hurt the competition with the same content for cheaper.  Non exclusives IMO are the main target of this and they know they can do it because most non exclusives have most of their images on so many sites that iStock calculates that one more site or multitude of sites wont be a burden since it will be automatically ingested, it will be instant dilution of the market.   Getty will offer competition from the bottom to the top.

Now for Exclusives I see it as a minor adjustment but for Non Exclusives it can be quite a step.  In any case the PP for non exclusives should in some way allow artists to include or exclude files from the offering.  This is probably the main problem with this whole thing.  I know that it is extremely important that as an exclusive PP files can be selected and excluded just like before.   If I didn't have that option I wouldn't have agreed. But since that isn't changing for Exclusives I see no major change in my case.  As a non exclusive it seems you have your work cut out for you.

Sorry but you are quite wrong __ these changes are much more worrying for exclusives. As an exclusive the big change for you was that Istock suddenly became your distributor and not your agent. Legally that lets them off the hook of any duty of care to you and your income in the future. It's the same for independents of course but in our case we do not have all our eggs in one basket. If ever there was a time to reconsider your exclusive status it is now.

No!  James is right!  and YOU ARE WRONG,  as usual. sigh.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: jamesbenet on August 30, 2011, 13:48
And I will get a huge laugh if the exclusive IS supporters of the partner program start wailing loudly when their PP sales drop because of all the new content in the program (which will of course happen). If they then pull out of the PP as the sales aren't as good, Getty will then make PP mandatory for exclusives. It'd be funny if it wasn't our livelihoods those jerks were messing with.

Very insightful and well its probably going to be a reality going forward.    Now the PP is kind of happening because its under-fed and when all of this new content floods it, it will probably tank for current PP supporters, it will be a mess.   

Since I'm focusing on Video since the big black days of last year RC plan, I am affected less and less as time goes by.   

What I see in the not too distant future is more consolidation and less sites out there, some copycat sites will die, others absorbed and in the end it will all stabilize into 2-3 major companies. We know that Getty will remain in a strong form considering the amount of properties it has absorbed. SS seems to be positioned as a strong contender with their possible future ownership of other sites with Corbis being a third. In Video Pond5 seems to be doing good and it may very well survive but couldn't leave out the possibility of it being bought out.

I frankly see no easy way out of the current situation.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: rubyroo on August 30, 2011, 13:59
What independents could choose to do, with some cost to them, but not as much as pulling their portfolios from iStock, is give new content to other sites first - for a few months - and only to iStock later.

I think that's a brilliant suggestion.

I'm thinking that I'll stick with only giving my best work to the other agencies and sending lesser works to iStock, but I'm going to incorporate this idea too.  .
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on August 30, 2011, 14:02
What I see in the not too distant future is more consolidation and less sites out there, some copycat sites will die, others absorbed and in the end it will all stabilize into 2-3 major companies. We know that Getty will remain in a strong form considering the amount of properties it has absorbed. SS seems to be positioned as a strong contender with their possible future ownership of other sites with Corbis being a third. In Video Pond5 seems to be doing good and it may very well survive but couldn't leave out the possibility of it being bought out.

I actually see the exact opposite. My income has been slowly spreading out between multiple agencies over the last two years. Companies like iStock are moving closer and closer to the rest of the pack. New players and older smaller players can easily come into the market and compete. If anything, I think the market is primed for a new big player with a contributor focus or multiple smaller focused niche shops.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on August 30, 2011, 14:19
What independents could choose to do, with some cost to them, but not as much as pulling their portfolios from iStock, is give new content to other sites first - for a few months - and only to iStock later.

That's been happening for years for a lot of independents, especially the large producers - because of the upload limits.

In some ways it only goes to strengthen the iStock "campaign" of having the best quality images, because by the time it comes to being able to upload content you did from a shoot 6,12,18 months ago you already know which are the best sellers so you upload them to iStock.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on August 30, 2011, 14:24
What independents could choose to do, with some cost to them, but not as much as pulling their portfolios from iStock, is give new content to other sites first - for a few months - and only to iStock later.

That's what would make sense - except "later" will probably become "never".   They won't get anything new from me unless I see my earnings there actually going up as a result of these changes - which seems  unlikely.   
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: xst on August 30, 2011, 19:47


give new content to other sites first - for a few months - and only to iStock later.

That's exactly my plan, making 3-4 months delay.

Lisa,

would you go with this?

If we can really somehow publicize this idea and let as much contributors on board, as possible - it may make a difference.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: NitorPhoto on August 31, 2011, 02:31
Many of my older images are already placed on TS via the old StockXpert collection
(they make a pathetic income). Sales and revenue at IS are constantly decreasing since 2-3 years now so I very rarely upload any new images there.
My response is simple: I do not change my policy.
1. I leave my port there,
2. But I do not upload new content.
It means they sell my older images while other agencies are selling the new and fresh content. If this is what IS wants I do not mind.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Wim on August 31, 2011, 03:12
.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: rubyroo on August 31, 2011, 03:42
The thing is that none of us know where . any of this is going.  This is all happening under H&F's authority, but when they sell it off, who will take the helm and what will they do?  We simply have no idea.

For that reason, I'm keeping a toe in the water there.  But my best work will go elsewhere, as I insist on asserting my right to determine what goes in the PP.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: madelaide on August 31, 2011, 05:22
....

Signed:  sunnymars

You definitely have serious emotional problems . I don't know what exactly brought you to that state but it is obvious - your choice of words , constant overstatement , unfocused anger and unconscious search for something to be mad at . You thrive on situations like this . In reality you don't even have a point .

But sunnymars is not completely wrong. The thread shows how most contributors are so dependent on the sites (they are not independents! :D ) that they don't leave no matter what, and of course the sites count on that. 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.

What surprises me more is actually people discussing new uploads. What has been uploaded is already there generating income, even if decreasing income. I've been earning money in the past two years without any new upload (andthis is basically the reason I stay). But if it really worth the time remaining in this field? Putting hours and hours of work, investing on equipment, models, props - for what? I wonder if all the knowledge and creativity of people here would not be better used in another activity.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 31, 2011, 06:08
The thing is that none of us know where . any of this is going.  This is all happening under H&F's authority, but when they sell it off, who will take the helm and what will they do?  We simply have no idea.

For that reason, I'm keeping a toe in the water there.  But my best work will go elsewhere, as I insist on asserting my right to determine what goes in the PP.

To get an idea of where this is all going, think like an agency instead of a contributor.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: rubyroo on August 31, 2011, 06:20
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.

 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: heywoody on August 31, 2011, 07:54
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 31, 2011, 08:26
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 :) )
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lthn on August 31, 2011, 08:50
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on August 31, 2011, 09:02
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 :-)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Madgickle on August 31, 2011, 10:00
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 31, 2011, 10:07
Great post Madgickle! 

...And a nice return to topic after quite a bit of ranting and personal attacks :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on August 31, 2011, 10:13
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.  ;)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Madgickle on August 31, 2011, 10:15
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lthn on August 31, 2011, 10:46
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]
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: admin on August 31, 2011, 11:35
A stack of posts have been removed for back and forth attacks and not discussing the topic at hand.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 31, 2011, 11:44
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? 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: nruboc on August 31, 2011, 11:45
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
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on August 31, 2011, 11:50
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).
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Risamay on August 31, 2011, 12:04
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: chromaco on August 31, 2011, 12:12
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on August 31, 2011, 14:15
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 31, 2011, 14:23

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
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Artemis on August 31, 2011, 14:25
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Eireann on August 31, 2011, 19:25
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Smiling Jack on August 31, 2011, 19:57
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
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on August 31, 2011, 22:06
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 :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on September 01, 2011, 01:23
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: madelaide on September 01, 2011, 05:22
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 01, 2011, 07:00
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.  ::)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: roopcreative on September 01, 2011, 07:08
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?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microbius on September 01, 2011, 07:16
Graphic leftovers gives you over 50% and you can price your vectors yourself.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: gostwyck on September 01, 2011, 10:32
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: nruboc on September 01, 2011, 10:40
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
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Chico on September 01, 2011, 11:24
I'm not independent and i'll stay, but i lose all my motivation. Almost 6 months without upload new illustrations.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Zephyr on September 01, 2011, 11:38
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/ (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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 01, 2011, 12:53
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.  
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 01, 2011, 13:02
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.  :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 01, 2011, 13:07
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 01, 2011, 13:12
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 01, 2011, 13:27
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.
 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: leaf on September 01, 2011, 14:09
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Zephyr on September 01, 2011, 14:12
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: michaeldb on September 01, 2011, 14:45
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 01, 2011, 15:06
...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 :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 01, 2011, 15:47
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.  :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on September 01, 2011, 15:48
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.)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 01, 2011, 16:16
...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.
 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: brm1949 on September 01, 2011, 16:20
I have changed my mind on terminating. I really can't afford it. They know they got us.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 01, 2011, 17:40
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.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: jamirae on September 01, 2011, 17:50
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?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: brm1949 on September 01, 2011, 17:57
From what I understand, that has been a problem there since day one.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 01, 2011, 19:09
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 (http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/search/#%22Alistair%20Forrester%20Shankie%22/c=431,253,28,34,260,13,268,515,477,215,445,2,452,451,109,277,68,344/f=PIHV) 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..."
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Ed on September 01, 2011, 21:30
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)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 01, 2011, 22:24
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.  :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on September 01, 2011, 22:28
I'm surprised that all these people posting lately about getting laid off don't seem to want to find jobs in their career field, instead choosing what everyone here thinks is something really unstable.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lthn on September 02, 2011, 03:13
It's interesting to see how ppl talking about 'the future of microstock' almost always excuse themselves from considering the fact that tens of thousands of shots are uploaded every week. : ) Of course you never achieve anything, you can't even have an honest conversation about the situation with yourelves! Just childish... yeah i'm a * troll, sure...
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 02, 2011, 04:00
^^^It's still quite easy to find things that have little competition.  Most people seem to upload similar stuff, I don't do people photos.  I'm not bothered about the number of new images being uploaded every week, the commission cuts and other continual detrimental changes are my main concern.  The fact that the sites can change the rules whenever they want and I get a financial hit takes away my motivation to continue working with them.  I still think they would make more money by paying us a reasonable commission and not making so many changes.  They should be looking at other ways to increase profits, I'm sure most of the sites could improve the EL licences and sell a lot more of them.  They could be much tougher with the copyright violators and make more people aware that high quality licensed images enhance their business.  Taking money from their suppliers and making detrimental changes might work short term but I don't see it as a good long term strategy.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lthn on September 02, 2011, 05:10
^^^It's still quite easy to find things that have little competition.  Most people seem to upload similar stuff, I don't do people photos.  I'm not bothered about the number of new images being uploaded every week, the commission cuts and other continual detrimental changes are my main concern.  The fact that the sites can change the rules whenever they want and I get a financial hit takes away my motivation to continue working with them.  I still think they would make more money by paying us a reasonable commission and not making so many changes.  They should be looking at other ways to increase profits, I'm sure most of the sites could improve the EL licences and sell a lot more of them.  They could be much tougher with the copyright violators and make more people aware that high quality licensed images enhance their business.  Taking money from their suppliers and making detrimental changes might work short term but I don't see it as a good long term strategy.

I think having to upload the same thing as anybody else is one of the the biggest failures of microstock, and it is the cause of being expandable. I tried doing a bit more unique variations on popular themes and they only lead to lot less / little / no sales, even slight variations, nothing extraordinary... just as I expected. Imho the 'be unique' line is total bulls**t for micro. It might work on RM where a big sale on 'your special item' thats someone falls in love with gets wortwhile money - in micro you likely to get the same rare sale on it.....  for $1.  You do the same generic things as everybody else or sales are useless. Implications are obvious.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Smithore on September 02, 2011, 06:08
Actually, I don't have the choice too...
I'm keeping my files on istock and stop uploading, like at fotolia, it's finally a good news: the upload process on these two sites were a real pain and last upload almost never sell...
I'm planning also to remove some selective files in the istock portfolio.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microbius on September 02, 2011, 06:32
..... Imho the 'be unique' line is total bulls**t for micro. It might work on RM where a big sale on 'your special item' thats someone falls in love with gets wortwhile money - in micro you likely to get the same rare sale on it.....  for $1.  You do the same generic things as everybody else or sales are useless. Implications are obvious.

Sadly I think this is true for the most part. Someone here recently said we should be thinking like, say, an organic food shop or boutique that opens next to a supermarket, offer something a bit different and unique. The problem is that in those examples you can pick a different price point to make it worth your while supplying the niche.
Selling through the micros is completely different, the organic food that costs twice as much to produce and appeals to a far smaller niche would have to sell for the same price a the supermarket food. No quicker way to go out of business.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: jbarber873 on September 02, 2011, 07:51
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.

    Maria, you make a good point. There are many artists here that could easily compete in the general market for assignment work, whether it's in the advertising, business to business, or local markets. I had a professor at RIT many years ago that used to say " give me a camera and drop me into any city in the country, and I can make a living". Having done so all my life, I agree. But there is something very seductive about microstock. First of all, there is no direct contact from the client. Yes, there's the review process, but that's really not the same as standing in front of a client waiting to be judged( and paid). Second, the sales start right away, where in the traditional stock world you can wait 6 months to see your images online, and much longer for a sale. It's a very comfortable environment to let someone else do the marketing and fulfillment. You don't have to deal with the whining art director who wants all his money refunded because his client hates the shots he chose. You just shovel it in, and money comes out. For the casual amateur getting the thrill of a sale, and the chance to pretend to be a pro, it works fine. But for someone with real talent, and i put Lisa right at the top here, there are better ways to make money from your skills. You just need to identify markets and go after the clients. I did weddings when i was young, and I wouldn't do another one unless you held a gun to my head, but for many people, it's a great business. there are always local companies that need images of their products, and they aren't going to find that on IS. Local businesses need images that illustrate what they do. The point is, don't sell yourself short. there are many very talented people in this industry, but you need to step out of your comfort zone. Here's an idea for free: A "photo shoot birthday party" aimed at teenage girls. They would come to the studio and do each other's hair and makeup with your advice and direction, you do a photoshoot of each girl, and give them a contact sheet and headshot printed out when they leave. You could email them a shot for their facebook page. Then you do a group shot. The birthday girl could get a full portfolio. Do it like they do in the movies- loud music playing, lots of lights flashing when you shoot. You would make money off of reprints. Don't have a studio? Do a tie in with a local restaurant or hotel with an extra meeting room and let them sell the birthday cake and pizza. Maybe it's a stupid idea, but my point is that there are many ways to make money in the world. Microstock was fun while it lasted, but don't be the one to have to turn out the lights after it's gone.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Madgickle on September 02, 2011, 08:04
Its good to see this thread back on track and that people are 'thinking out loud' and sharing their fears.

As I posted last Wednesday, I have submitted my ticket to iStock to ask that my account be terminated. As of yet I still haven't heard back from them so maybe they're being inundated with similar requests! So, I'm still earning the occasional few cents in the meantime.  ;)

When I sent that request I can tell you that it felt SO good. I really hadn't realised how many negative feelings I'd been harbouring towards iStock.

For anyone who's on the fence and undecided and, like me, doesn't earn huge sums through their work, then one thing you can do is to take a more pro-active approach and really try to submit high quality work to the other sites. Its not always quantity that counts after all. Make sure that iStock will be missing out on your gems! This decision has really spurred me on.

What do you think went on in those boardroom meetings - wouldn't you love to have been a fly on the wall? One phrase that sticks in my mind is the bit where they mentioned the fact that so many good images are buried and they needed to change that. Simply 'mirroring' independents' images to another site won't alter that so that's what convinces me that the 2nd iteration will almost certainly be that iStock will become an exclusives only site.

Am I wide of the mark or is that the general consensus now?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on September 02, 2011, 08:41
    Maria, you make a good point. There are many artists here that could easily compete in the general market for assignment work, whether it's in the advertising, business to business, or local markets. I had a professor at RIT many years ago that used to say " give me a camera and drop me into any city in the country, and I can make a living". Having done so all my life, I agree. But there is something very seductive about microstock. First of all, there is no direct contact from the client. Yes, there's the review process, but that's really not the same as standing in front of a client waiting to be judged( and paid). Second, the sales start right away, where in the traditional stock world you can wait 6 months to see your images online, and much longer for a sale. It's a very comfortable environment to let someone else do the marketing and fulfillment. You don't have to deal with the whining art director who wants all his money refunded because his client hates the shots he chose. You just shovel it in, and money comes out. For the casual amateur getting the thrill of a sale, and the chance to pretend to be a pro, it works fine. But for someone with real talent, and i put Lisa right at the top here, there are better ways to make money from your skills. You just need to identify markets and go after the clients. I did weddings when i was young, and I wouldn't do another one unless you held a gun to my head, but for many people, it's a great business. there are always local companies that need images of their products, and they aren't going to find that on IS. Local businesses need images that illustrate what they do. The point is, don't sell yourself short. there are many very talented people in this industry, but you need to step out of your comfort zone. Here's an idea for free: A "photo shoot birthday party" aimed at teenage girls. They would come to the studio and do each other's hair and makeup with your advice and direction, you do a photoshoot of each girl, and give them a contact sheet and headshot printed out when they leave. You could email them a shot for their facebook page. Then you do a group shot. The birthday girl could get a full portfolio. Do it like they do in the movies- loud music playing, lots of lights flashing when you shoot. You would make money off of reprints. Don't have a studio? Do a tie in with a local restaurant or hotel with an extra meeting room and let them sell the birthday cake and pizza. Maybe it's a stupid idea, but my point is that there are many ways to make money in the world. Microstock was fun while it lasted, but don't be the one to have to turn out the lights after it's gone.

Your post is well intended but I find it strange you're encouraging someone like Lisa with 'real talent' to go after local business or do "photo shoot birthday party" type stuff, I can't speak for the rest of the world but here in the UK pretty much every town has a photographer who is a jack of all trades wedding/portrait/commercial set up, and generally speaking their stuff is OK but bordering on the mediocre side, the type of shoots you're describing are fine for those sort of photographers and the quality is OK for local business shoots and the portrait/wedding market, but someone with real talent in this industry would be losing money - local businesses don't have the budget to compete with what a top stock photographer would be making - I have a rough idea of what someone at Lisa's level is making and I don't think things are quite that bad yet.  :D

I appreciate what you are trying to say and I would be the first to agree that we are not being paid the commissions our talent deserves, but it's a sad fact of the corporate world that the vast majority of businesses don't have or are not prepared to pay the budget for real talent.

Speaking personally doing stock was a choice I made having spent a fair time doing commercial jobs, it pays better and the working conditions are great in comparison.

My reply to your statement "There are many artists here that could easily compete in the general market for assignment work, whether it's in the advertising, business to business, or local markets" would be - Yes there are but in many cases to compete with a photographer who has less talent and who's prepared to do the job for less money would be a step backwards.

 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: wiser on September 02, 2011, 09:39
I'm surprised that all these people posting lately about getting laid off don't seem to want to find jobs in their career field, instead choosing what everyone here thinks is something really unstable.

I got laid off two years ago, started uploading illos to assorted sites in hope to earn some extra cash in-between freelance gigs. I now have a full-time job in my chosen field and have not uploaded anything in a year. There is no way I could make a living at micro. The field is too bloated and too many people better than me.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: jbarber873 on September 02, 2011, 09:45
Quote

My reply to your statement "There are many artists here that could easily compete in the general market for assignment work, whether it's in the advertising, business to business, or local markets" would be - Yes there are but in many cases to compete with a photographer who has less talent and who's prepared to do the job for less money would be a step backwards.


  Wel i guess you're right. People seem to be complaining about a downward spiral, so I was only trying to point out that there are alternatives. And to "compete with a photographer who has less talent and who's prepared to do the job for less money" seems to be a description of microstock as well.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 02, 2011, 10:19
It's interesting to see how ppl talking about 'the future of microstock' almost always excuse themselves from considering the fact that tens of thousands of shots are uploaded every week. : ) Of course you never achieve anything, you can't even have an honest conversation about the situation with yourelves! Just childish... yeah i'm a  troll, sure...

That is a concern, but I think things will move more niche for some people. At least, that's where I think my future is. I see selling from my own site and a few other smaller sites. I'll probably sell a lot less, but get to keep more. That's just my theory.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 02, 2011, 10:56
I'm surprised that all these people posting lately about getting laid off don't seem to want to find jobs in their career field, instead choosing what everyone here thinks is something really unstable.

Says a lot about the job market these days that people are opting for the volatility of the microstock market vs. more traditionally safe methods of making a living with a camera/pen/brush/computer.

Can't say I blame them. Finding a job nowadays is hard enough, and when you do find one, it's usually a crappy deal. Employers know they hold all the cards now, so they're taking advantage of it. Lower pay than a few years ago, less (or no) benefits, no retirement contributions, etc. I know a lot of people working salary jobs who no longer get health insurance, which for a lot of folks is the main draw to a salary job over self-employment.

I'll gripe about microstock and a few companies in particular, but that doesn't mean I'd ever go back to a regular job as long as I can still make a living between this and some freelance work.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 02, 2011, 11:37
...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. ...

From your post this morning in the IS thread, it seems you've bought into my thread of reasoning :) I'm still thinking (about 3 weeks left, and that's assuming they can actually get the connector working; given the shambles on the site last night and this morning, that's a very big if)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 02, 2011, 11:56
...From your post this morning in the IS thread, it seems you've bought into my thread of reasoning :) I'm still thinking (about 3 weeks left, and that's assuming they can actually get the connector working; given the shambles on the site last night and this morning, that's a very big if)

Yeah, I'm a lot less concerned about TS as it relates to SS now. Although I do think TS would be a threat with exclusive content included. That's the only distinguishing factor that would make any difference. On price, TS is actually more expensive than SS on a monthly basis, and only slightly cheaper on an annual plan. And loading TS full of the same independent content that SS already has isn't going to bring buyers over. In fact, TS will have far less independent content due to istock's years of stricter acceptance standards and upload limits. There is nothing in this new ASA policy that will boost TS to the point where it is any more of a threat to SS than it is today.

That said, I also know that the istock/getty execs aren't stupid and they have to know that loading TS only with independent content isn't going to make a difference. They need their istock exclusive content in there as well. So I think it's just a matter of time before there's another ASA change that requires at least partial exclusive participation in the partner program.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: gostwyck on September 02, 2011, 12:21
... There is nothing in this new ASA policy that will boost TS to the point where it is any more of a threat to SS than it is today.

True. SS has more content, better content and the presentation is far superior too with search order choices, etc. Even if TS subscriptions were half the price of SS it wouldn't seem good value. I really can't think of any reason why a buyer would choose TS over SS ... unless of course they want dowdy images of businessmen wearing brown suits using cell phones the size of house-bricks.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 02, 2011, 12:25
... unless of course they want dowdy images of businessmen wearing brown suits using cell phones the size of house-bricks.

There's my niche! No one's doing images like that...
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: rubyroo on September 02, 2011, 12:32
Dang.  You beat me to it.  OK you get that one... 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 02, 2011, 12:45
But for someone with real talent, and i put Lisa right at the top here, there are better ways to make money from your skills. You just need to identify markets and go after the clients. I did weddings when i was young, and I wouldn't do another one unless you held a gun to my head, but for many people, it's a great business. there are always local companies that need images of their products, and they aren't going to find that on IS. Local businesses need images that illustrate what they do.

Your post is well intended but I find it strange you're encouraging someone like Lisa with 'real talent' to go after local business or do "photo shoot birthday party" type stuff, I can't speak for the rest of the world but here in the UK pretty much every town has a photographer who is a jack of all trades wedding/portrait/commercial set up, and generally speaking their stuff is OK but bordering on the mediocre side, the type of shoots you're describing are fine for those sort of photographers and the quality is OK for local business shoots and the portrait/wedding market, but someone with real talent in this industry would be losing money - local businesses don't have the budget to compete with what a top stock photographer would be making - I have a rough idea of what someone at Lisa's level is making and I don't think things are quite that bad yet.  :D

SNIP

My reply to your statement "There are many artists here that could easily compete in the general market for assignment work, whether it's in the advertising, business to business, or local markets" would be - Yes there are but in many cases to compete with a photographer who has less talent and who's prepared to do the job for less money would be a step backwards.

 

Thanks Jim, for the vote of confidence.  Coming from someone with your abilities and experience, I am quite flattered. 

But I have to side with Richard on this one.  I mentioned earlier that I tried the "local market", and was quite disappointed with it.  From my experience, it was far less about photographic ability and far more about marketing ability.  The successful folks on the local market A)make far less money than I do, and B)have a completely different skill set. 

The reason there are so many mediocre photographers making a living in the local markets is that business and marketing skills will trump photographic and artistic skills every time in that type of situation.  If I had business and marketing skills, and enjoyed that type of thing, I would be far better off working a corporate job than chasing my tail as a bottom feeding local photog.

Stock is completely different - your work can speak for itself.  You don't have to chase after customers, and deal with all their personalities and idiosyncrasies, nor do you have to chase after the money when it's time to be paid. 

I am actually quite surprised that so many people fail to understand that someone who is ideally suited to shooting stock is very likely completely unsuited to assignment/event work. 

And FWIW, I don't mind being used as an example of a larger issue, but this thread was never intended to be my own personal jobs counseling program ;)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: rubyroo on September 02, 2011, 12:47
...and you might not have a fan club in Australia for 'Romancing The Toes'  ;D

I loved reading about that, and loved the shot too.  Good for you Lisa  :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: disorderly on September 02, 2011, 12:56
Stock is completely different - your work can speak for itself.  You don't have to chase after customers, and deal with all their personalities and idiosyncrasies, nor do you have to chase after the money when it's time to be paid. 

It's like you read my mind, Lisa.

I've spent my career in the computer business, largely in marketing and sales support.  I've had colleagues who went off and created very lucrative consulting gigs, getting paid rather more for the same work I did as an employee.  But much as I may have envied them, I knew I'd never do as well.  The problem with consulting or any other freelance work is that you have to be good at drumming up business.  And I'm not; I'd rather clean sewers for a living than cold call potential customers.

Which is what's so appealing about microstock.  I shoot, submit and somebody else does the marketing and the selling.  As Lisa says, the photographers who do well at events are good at selling themselves.  The quality of their work is secondary.  I'd never want to shoot weddings; the stress and the personalities would eat holes in my stomach lining.  The events I've shot were as favors for friends, sometimes paid and sometimes not.  I explained the difficulties and set expectations, and they were pleased with the results.  But underselling and overdelivering is no way to make a living.  I'd stink at overpromising, and would hate starving because I can't or won't do it.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 02, 2011, 13:19
...and you might not have a fan club in Australia for 'Romancing The Toes'  ;D

I loved reading about that, and loved the shot too.  Good for you Lisa  :)

Thanks Ruby!  It was definitely the highlight of my day - maybe week!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: leaf on September 02, 2011, 14:36
...and you might not have a fan club in Australia for 'Romancing The Toes'  ;D

I loved reading about that, and loved the shot too.  Good for you Lisa  :)


Thanks Ruby!  It was definitely the highlight of my day - maybe week!


Here's the rest of the story (http://www.microstockgroup.com/14113/14113/msg216971/#msg216971) for those who missed it.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Anyka on September 02, 2011, 14:58
I absolutely agree that stock photography is our n1 choice as a photography job :  shoot what you like, and forget about marketing.  But right now, I am considering to drop my day-job by the end of this year and become a fulltime photographer.
Would it be wise to go for 100% stock photography?  I think not.  Isn't diversification the best defense against the downward spiral of our commissions?  And I'm not only talking about shooting events and portraits, but also about product shoots, pet portraits, food shots, teaching photoshop ... anything except weddings (that's the last thing I will do!).
I've been reading a lot about marketing lately, and cold calling potential customers is now almost entirely replaced by e-marketing on facebook, twitter and blogs. 
So during the first year(s) of my fulltime photography, I will slowly start diversifying, and only speed it up if/when my stock income goes down.
Makes sense?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lthn on September 02, 2011, 19:04
It's interesting to see how ppl talking about 'the future of microstock' almost always excuse themselves from considering the fact that tens of thousands of shots are uploaded every week. : ) Of course you never achieve anything, you can't even have an honest conversation about the situation with yourelves! Just childish... yeah i'm a  troll, sure...

That is a concern, but I think things will move more niche for some people. At least, that's where I think my future is. I see selling from my own site and a few other smaller sites. I'll probably sell a lot less, but get to keep more. That's just my theory.

I wish you luck, and it would great news if thats succesful, but I have serious doubts. : /
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on September 03, 2011, 21:21
'shoot what you like,'

Not necessarily.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 04, 2011, 02:25
'shoot what you like,'

Not necessarily.
It works with alamy and they seem to sell photos that are rejected by the big microstock sites.  I love having the freedom to not have to think if a photo will get accepted before taking it.  That was really influencing me.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Anyka on September 04, 2011, 03:10
'shoot what you like,'

Not necessarily.
It works with alamy and they seem to sell photos that are rejected by the big microstock sites.  I love having the freedom to not have to think if a photo will get accepted before taking it.  That was really influencing me.

Actually, you're both right.  As long as you're not fulltime stockphotographer, you can really shoot what you like.  If it does not sell, well that's bad luck.  But if stock photography is your only income, I'm sure Sean is right to say that you often have to shoot what sells, even if you don't really like it. 
It's just that even as a fulltime photographer, I prefer to diversify and NOT depend on stock photography only.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: grp_photo on September 04, 2011, 04:53
... There is nothing in this new ASA policy that will boost TS to the point where it is any more of a threat to SS than it is today.

True. SS has more content, better content and the presentation is far superior too with search order choices, etc. Even if TS subscriptions were half the price of SS it wouldn't seem good value. I really can't think of any reason why a buyer would choose TS over SS ... unless of course they want dowdy images of businessmen wearing brown suits using cell phones the size of house-bricks.
LOL :-)
Actually I think TS would have good stuff via the Hemera collection but the majority of these collection are hid behind their dated wholly owned stuff, now wonder sales via the TS/StockXpert - route are so ridiculous specially compared to what one did make at StockXpert. But with the new ASA they have all the good and new stuff from the Independents if they are place it right they can compete with SS and they will do that is their plan obviously!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: grp_photo on September 04, 2011, 04:58
And to "compete with a photographer who has less talent and who's prepared to do the job for less money" seems to be a description of microstock as well.
;-)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on September 04, 2011, 06:58
'shoot what you like,'

Not necessarily.
It works with alamy and they seem to sell photos that are rejected by the big microstock sites.  I love having the freedom to not have to think if a photo will get accepted before taking it.  That was really influencing me.

Well, you don't have to attempt to sell every image you capture.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 04, 2011, 11:25
Actually I think TS would have good stuff via the Hemera collection but the majority of these collection are hid behind their dated wholly owned stuff, now wonder sales via the TS/StockXpert - route are so ridiculous specially compared to what one did make at StockXpert. But with the new ASA they have all the good and new stuff from the Independents if they are place it right they can compete with SS and they will do that is their plan obviously!

I really don't think they can compete. The independent stuff is a fraction of the content from the same artists that's available at SS. Upload limits prevent all of the same content from making it to TS. On top of that you have the EPS8 restriction at istock, which also prevents that content from getting to TS.

And don't forget that istock is it's own worst enemy. SS has flourished with a simple search engine and a solid site that doesn't get in it's own way. TS will likely suffer the same effects of the istock mentality.

I was concerned that TS might become a threat to SS, but really when I think about it, it's actually hard to imagine TS really ever getting to that level. Throw in all the exclusive content and maybe they've got something there. But right now, without anything in the ASA requiring exclusives to participate, TS doesn't have much of a distinguishing factor in place to ever pull in buyers from other sub sites and seriously compete with SS.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microstock Posts on September 04, 2011, 13:13
Actually I think TS would have good stuff via the Hemera collection but the majority of these collection are hid behind their dated wholly owned stuff, now wonder sales via the TS/StockXpert - route are so ridiculous specially compared to what one did make at StockXpert. But with the new ASA they have all the good and new stuff from the Independents if they are place it right they can compete with SS and they will do that is their plan obviously!

I really don't think they can compete. The independent stuff is a fraction of the content from the same artists that's available at SS. Upload limits prevent all of the same content from making it to TS. On top of that you have the EPS8 restriction at istock, which also prevents that content from getting to TS.

And don't forget that istock is it's own worst enemy. SS has flourished with a simple search engine and a solid site that doesn't get in it's own way. TS will likely suffer the same effects of the istock mentality.

I was concerned that TS might become a threat to SS, but really when I think about it, it's actually hard to imagine TS really ever getting to that level. Throw in all the exclusive content and maybe they've got something there. But right now, without anything in the ASA requiring exclusives to participate, TS doesn't have much of a distinguishing factor in place to ever pull in buyers from other sub sites and seriously compete with SS.

Perhaps they never intended to compete, but just grab a share of the sub market. Better to be in it than out of it completely.  ??? 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: madelaide on September 04, 2011, 21:42
   Maria, you make a good point. There are many artists here that could easily compete in the general market for assignment work, whether it's in the advertising, business to business, or local markets. (...)

I don't mean that necessarily one needs to works as an assignment photographer or a wedding photographer. For instance, one can think of teaching photography or running workshops (I know one photographer who lives basically out of that).

Those of you with succesful portfolios would still make a considerate income from them, I was only considering that maybe when you balance the work effort required to produce more images versus the low commissions these images will generate, then maybe you could find something more profitable for your time - in or out photography.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 05, 2011, 13:21
Perhaps they never intended to compete, but just grab a share of the sub market. Better to be in it than out of it completely.  ??? 

I'm sure. That's how Getty ended up buying istock, figuring that if another agency was going to take business away from them, it had better be their own agency.

Knowing the istock/getty mentality, though, I have a hard time believing that they only want TS to be in the game. I'm more inclined to believe that they want TS to be a major player, maybe even the major player in the subscription market, and unseat the current microstock leader. istock used to be the top microstock agency. Now that's Shutterstock. I'm sure there has been talk around getty and istock HQs about regaining that top spot and doing something about that thorn in their side (SS). In fact I wouldn't be surprised to hear someday that getty attempted to buy SS. That's the getty way, buy up the competition.

Except in the case of SS, that didn't happen for whatever reason. So the next best thing is to put some energy behind a similar microstock subscription property.

I think they intend to compete and grab a significant share of the subscription market. They didn't kill off the internal istock subscription program just because it wasn't working. They killed it off to pave the way for a more Shutterstock-style subscription agency. Now the next goal in that process has to be to take over the market. And the next step in doing that is to leverage the one distinct thing istock has over SS, that being the exclusive content.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 05, 2011, 14:32
I wonder what SS will do to protect themselves?  If it looks inevitable that TS will get all the istock exclusive content, perhaps it will push SS in to offering image exclusivity, giving us a choice to use just them for some of our images?  I think they could build a great exclusive images collection quite quickly if they wanted to.  They could charge a premium to buyers for exclusive images and pay us a bigger commission.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on September 05, 2011, 15:25
"They didn't kill off the internal istock subscription program just because it wasn't working. They killed it off to pave the way for a more Shutterstock-style subscription agency."

The IS subscription plan is working fine.  I get 10-20 sub dls a day.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on September 05, 2011, 17:27
I hate being forced into this position, but I will most likely leave iStock over this. I felt like a sellout when I stayed in spite of the commission cut and now they want to force me into having my work on The Abomination Known as Thinkstock? I have to give up control of my work just to have my images on their site! I will be giving up few hundred a month over this, so it's been a very difficult decision to make. If their intent is to drive Shutterstock out of business, they'll have to do it without my help.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 06, 2011, 06:22
I've gone from thinking I will accept this to thinking I will leave istock.  As I don't upload any new images, my earnings are going to dwindle away.  This could be a good time to just dump them.

I think that if I accept this, they will just carry on making things worse for me, more commission cuts and more moving my images to the end of the search.  If I leave after my images are mirrored on the PP sites, how long will it take them to remove them?

I also wonder what will happen if a significant number of us remove our portfolios?  The other sites already seem to be getting some of the old istock buyers, hopefully more would look elsewhere and the loss of earnings wouldn't be too severe.

I detest the 17% commission I'm getting for stills and the 15% I'm getting for footage, it really feels like a good time to get out of there.  Going along with this just makes the other sites think they can do whatever they want.

The loss of earnings would hit me really badly but hopefully it would motivate me to work much harder.  I've lost motivation at the moment and perhaps this is what I need.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lthn on September 06, 2011, 06:53
I'm a few bucks from a payout, if that's done, I'm gone. It's miniscule money they made me, but losing even that to these crooks would be infuriating, and I don't trust a word of imps like Lobo or that JJwhateva' guy about getting the money.

My last word about this is that leaving them and taking some hit is actually an investment in your future.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: tdoes on September 06, 2011, 07:50
I'll be leaving!   I've stopped uploading new images a while back but staying for 15% commissions will only strengthen the case for lower commissions at the other agencies I submit to!  I'm not the best photographer around but

The question I have is where on the site can you pull your portfolio?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: tdoes on September 06, 2011, 07:56
I'll be leaving!   I've stopped uploading new images a while back but staying for 15% commissions will only strengthen the case for lower commissions at the other agencies I submit to!  I'm not the best photographer around but I know the images that have been accepted have more value elsewhere than keeping them at this agency!

The question I have is where on the site can you pull your portfolio?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 06, 2011, 08:07
I'll be leaving!   I've stopped uploading new images a while back but staying for 15% commissions will only strengthen the case for lower commissions at the other agencies I submit to!  I'm not the best photographer around but I know the images that have been accepted have more value elsewhere than keeping them at this agency!

The question I have is where on the site can you pull your portfolio?

You have to go into each image individually and deactivate it. Click on your image in your portfolio, and on the details page, in the right bottom corner, I think it says Administration. Open that section and you will see where you can deactivate (sorry, I don't have any images left there now, so I can't go check for the exact procedure).

Or, you might be able to email support and have them do it, but if you want it done quickly, you should do it yourself. I'm guessing it will take them months to get to it.

edit: Or, maybe not...with them being in such a big hurry to get rid of independents off their site, maybe they will be happy to oblige!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: tdoes on September 06, 2011, 08:16
Thanks,

I've actually found the email address to request my account termination!  Should take approx. 30 days to complete!

I'll be leaving!   I've stopped uploading new images a while back but staying for 15% commissions will only strengthen the case for lower commissions at the other agencies I submit to!  I'm not the best photographer around but I know the images that have been accepted have more value elsewhere than keeping them at this agency!

The question I have is where on the site can you pull your portfolio?

You have to go into each image individually and deactivate it. Click on your image in your portfolio, and on the details page, in the right bottom corner, I think it says Administration. Open that section and you will see where you can deactivate (sorry, I don't have any images left there now, so I can't go check for the exact procedure).

Or, you might be able to email support and have them do it, but if you want it done quickly, you should do it yourself. I'm guessing it will take them months to get to it.

edit: Or, maybe not...with them being in such a big hurry to get rid of independents off their site, maybe they will be happy to oblige!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 06, 2011, 09:15
Thanks,
I've actually found the email address to request my account termination!  Should take approx. 30 days to complete!

Is that somewhere on the IS site, maybe you could link to...or care to share?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 06, 2011, 09:53
^^^ Have a look here

Quote
Q  How do I say no to the new ASA?
A  Contact artists@istockphoto.com to close your account.


http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333842&page=1 (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333842&page=1)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on September 06, 2011, 12:52
^^^ Have a look here

Quote
Q  How do I say no to the new ASA?
A  Contact artists@istockphoto.com to close your account.


[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333842&page=1[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=333842&page=1[/url])

Thanks for the link. I read the rest of the page and I'm still a little confused about the process of closing my account. I had assumed that I could simple give my notice before Sept 28, and continue earning royalties up until that point. Then I read this:
Quote
qIf Im non-exclusive and I deactivate certain files from my portfolio, will that be enough to keep them from being added to the Partner Program?
a Yes. As of September 29th the new ASA takes effect. So you will have 30 days from today to remove whatever content you would like. If you decide to deactivate your content after September 29th, it will take up to 30 days to remove your content from the Partner sites, in accordance with the new ASA.

Now I'm wondering if I have the luxury of waiting until the end of Sept to give notice and still manage to keep my images off of Thinkstock...
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: disorderly on September 06, 2011, 12:58
Now I'm wondering if I have the luxury of waiting until the end of Sept to give notice and still manage to keep my images off of Thinkstock...

In theory, no.  If you wait until the end of September, your images will qualify for PeePeeing for the thirty days it'll take to remove them.

In practice, you probably do have until the end of September.  iStock's migration process is so screwed up, I seriously doubt they'll get everything possible moved over the day the ASA goes into effect.  More likely it'll take them weeks to get it going, so your cancelation will arrive either before or not long after your images enter ThinkStock.

Then again, what are the odds that they'll actually get them removed in the promised 30 days?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 06, 2011, 13:04
Now I'm wondering if I have the luxury of waiting until the end of Sept to give notice and still manage to keep my images off of Thinkstock...

In theory, no.  If you wait until the end of September, your images will qualify for PeePeeing for the thirty days it'll take to remove them.

In practice, you probably do have until the end of September.  iStock's migration process is so screwed up, I seriously doubt they'll get everything possible moved over the day the ASA goes into effect.  More likely it'll take them weeks to get it going, so your cancelation will arrive either before or not long after your images enter ThinkStock.

Then again, what are the odds that they'll actually get them removed in the promised 30 days?

Yeah, I wouldn't really trust that 30 day promise. It took me months to get images removed from there, after I had already been opted out of PPs, and after I asked them to be removed (somehow they automatically found their way from StockXpert, even though I opted out, even though I closed my StockXpert account immediately, before the process was even supposed to happen).

Thanks for posting the link.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: gostwyck on September 06, 2011, 13:07
Yeah, I wouldn't really trust that 30 day promise. It took me months to get images removed from there, after I had already been opted out of PPs, and after I asked them to be removed (somehow they automatically found their way from StockXpert, even though I opted out, even though I closed my StockXpert account immediately, before the process was even supposed to happen).

Did you ever actually get paid for the sales whilst your images were being held hostage?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on September 06, 2011, 13:09
Initially I thought I'd keep the account going and see what sales came in after the mirroring.  My tiny portfolio actually does pretty well on IS despite all the churning of search and placement that's gone on.   But I'm coming around to the idea that IS is just trying to take out SS by creating an even cheaper bargain basement on TS - and if that's what's really happening, I'll leave.  

It's like they have ADD and are trying some new crazy scheme every few weeks.

  
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 06, 2011, 13:15
Yeah, I wouldn't really trust that 30 day promise. It took me months to get images removed from there, after I had already been opted out of PPs, and after I asked them to be removed (somehow they automatically found their way from StockXpert, even though I opted out, even though I closed my StockXpert account immediately, before the process was even supposed to happen).

Did you ever actually get paid for the sales whilst your images were being held hostage?

What sales? Seriously, I had a couple of downloads that were reported after the images came down and yes, I got paid that whole +or- $1.00 or whatever it was.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 06, 2011, 13:49
...iStock's migration process is so screwed up, I seriously doubt they'll get everything possible moved over the day the ASA goes into effect...

Historically, whenever istock does something for their own internal (or financial) benefit, or counter to the interests of the contributors, the change happens immediately as scheduled. The royalty rate cut, for example.

I suspect that as this is yet another major change that screws us over, it will go into effect as planned.

The changes that often take a long time to implement and are repeatedly delayed are those silly little things like bug fixes, search improvements/fixes, buyer feature requests, etc.

;)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Artemis on September 06, 2011, 14:10
...iStock's migration process is so screwed up, I seriously doubt they'll get everything possible moved over the day the ASA goes into effect...

Historically, whenever istock does something for their own internal (or financial) benefit, or counter to the interests of the contributors, the change happens immediately as scheduled. The royalty rate cut, for example.

I suspect that as this is yet another major change that screws us over, it will go into effect as planned.

The changes that often take a long time to implement and are repeatedly delayed are those silly little things like bug fixes, search improvements/fixes, buyer feature requests, etc.

;)
Oh yes! This benefits them, so i'm sure the migration will happen promptly at the end of september (at least if the code isnt ""accidentally"" pushed early), but im also sure they'll stick to not being able to do something correct when it comes to us, contributors. So i'm positive we'll see big delays in payouts, buggy reporting of (completely nontransparent) stats, nobody knowing if and when payout is complete for which month etc etc.
I don't want my pics stripped from my name and put on Getty's bargain sites, but the above really is another incentive to pull. iStock's nontransparent stats reporting system is a catastrophe... their PP reporting is even hundred times worse; i dont think i can handle that.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 07, 2011, 10:20

Historically, whenever istock does something for their own internal (or financial) benefit, or counter to the interests of the contributors, the change happens immediately as scheduled. The royalty rate cut, for example.

I suspect that as this is yet another major change that screws us over, it will go into effect as planned.

The changes that often take a long time to implement and are repeatedly delayed are those silly little things like bug fixes, search improvements/fixes, buyer feature requests, etc.

;)

Absolutely!  Very well put!  :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: OhGoAway! on September 07, 2011, 21:25
I immediately said I would leave completely. Now I am toying with the idea of leaving only the old dregs of my point and shoot days and removing all else. As other have noted, after making considerable stink on their forums over the years, if I close my account completely, I'll likely never get in again, if things ever turn around.

I haven't uploaded in more than a year at this point, and don't miss it. I went independent in January over the previous arguments -- I can't even remember what the straw was that broke my back -- and sales are so pitiful that now I can't be bothered to give a *. I'm trying out some other sites, slowly, as I have time, but mostly I'm just enjoying photography and not shooting anything that looks like good stock to me. And it's making me happier.

What I won't miss, regardless of if my portfolio stays or goes, is the constant turmoil that iStock consistently brings to my life every September and January. The love affair is over. And like any good breakup, I hope only painful things for them in future.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on September 07, 2011, 22:23
I immediately said I would leave completely. Now I am toying with the idea of leaving only the old dregs of my point and shoot days and removing all else. As other have noted, after making considerable stink on their forums over the years, if I close my account completely, I'll likely never get in again, if things ever turn around.

I haven't uploaded in more than a year at this point, and don't miss it. I went independent in January over the previous arguments -- I can't even remember what the straw was that broke my back -- and sales are so pitiful that now I can't be bothered to give a . I'm trying out some other sites, slowly, as I have time, but mostly I'm just enjoying photography and not shooting anything that looks like good stock to me. And it's making me happier.

What I won't miss, regardless of if my portfolio stays or goes, is the constant turmoil that iStock consistently brings to my life every September and January. The love affair is over. And like any good breakup, I hope only painful things for them in future.

That is the direction I am leaning - removing all the images that sell on other sites and leaving a few to keep the account open. I think I'll make them all p+ before I delete the others.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: dirkr on September 08, 2011, 02:35
I don't think you need any active images to keep the account open. My account still works, but no images there... Maybe they will close it after a while though.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 08, 2011, 05:51
I immediately said I would leave completely. Now I am toying with the idea of leaving only the old dregs of my point and shoot days and removing all else. As other have noted, after making considerable stink on their forums over the years, if I close my account completely, I'll likely never get in again, if things ever turn around.

I haven't uploaded in more than a year at this point, and don't miss it. I went independent in January over the previous arguments -- I can't even remember what the straw was that broke my back -- and sales are so pitiful that now I can't be bothered to give a . I'm trying out some other sites, slowly, as I have time, but mostly I'm just enjoying photography and not shooting anything that looks like good stock to me. And it's making me happier.

What I won't miss, regardless of if my portfolio stays or goes, is the constant turmoil that iStock consistently brings to my life every September and January. The love affair is over. And like any good breakup, I hope only painful things for them in future.

I thought the same as you. Last September, I took all but five images down. I wanted to keep a foot in the door, as there was talk that maybe they were going to sell, etc. Since that time, things have only gone downhill. My contributions just don't fit their "plan" so I deactivated the last 5 last week. I still have my account open, mainly because I want to be able to refer to my profile page if I need to. If they dump it after a time, so be it. I just can't see things ever turning around for me with them, personally. I don't have plans of ever making stock photography my profession.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: OhGoAway! on September 08, 2011, 07:15
I agree; it's a very unlikely scenario. But you know, I think some of my old point and shoot stuff will look great on ThinkStock.  Harshly lit, white balance not quite right, bad edge masking... it's worth 0.28 by my estimate :D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on September 08, 2011, 14:43
Some of you have made the excellent point that we may want to keep our accounts open, in case IS is sold to someone who wants to run a better business.   I hadn't thought of that, but there's always hope.   
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 08, 2011, 14:54
Keeping accounts open is a good idea for a couple of reasons.

One is that you wouldn't want someone to start selling stock with your account name and effectively you're reserving your name by having an account there.  Another is that if there are benefits that accrue on the basis of having been a member since mmyyyy, or having sold so many images,  then you can have those if you want to later reactivate your portfolio.

Another is that you get contributor news (for those that do such things) which can be helpful if you want to keep up with what's going on.
 
When I went exclusive I kept my accounts at all the sites I was able to (FT deleted mine). There's no conflict having an inactive account anywhere
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on September 08, 2011, 16:10
I hadn't thought of that - but if I don't close my account, won't I have to manually deactivate every single image? I have around 1,000 images on iStock. They can't be placed on PP sites if they're deactivated, can they?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on September 08, 2011, 16:14
Can I change my answer on the survey? I had originally selected 'not sure' and I'd like to change it to 'taking my portfolio off iStock'; is that possible?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on September 08, 2011, 16:28
I was thinking that if you close your account, you'd have to go through approval again to participate in any new incarnation of IS.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 08, 2011, 16:59
I hadn't thought of that - but if I don't close my account, won't I have to manually deactivate every single image? I have around 1,000 images on iStock. They can't be placed on PP sites if they're deactivated, can they?

You can ask if contributor relations will deactivate all images but leave your account open - worst they can do is say no :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 08, 2011, 17:00
Can I change my answer on the survey? I had originally selected 'not sure' and I'd like to change it to 'taking my portfolio off iStock'; is that possible?

Allsa, you are the second person who asked about doing that.  I have looked and I don't see the ability to change votes under the edit capability.  Probably you have to be a site admin to do that.  I will contact Tyler and see if he knows how to set the poll so people can change their votes...
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 09, 2011, 04:34
A few more days thinking about this and I'm still reluctant to leave istock.  It would mean that I am then relying on income from sites like FT and they're just as bad.  I'm tired of the rejections with DT and SS has become inconsistent with reviews.  I don't like having to rely on 1 or 2 sites.  The other sites don't make enough money to pay my bills.

I think I will just have to try and make as much money from microstock as I can until I am making enough elsewhere.  Unfortunately I can't live on my principles.  As this is my only source of income, I just can't dump sites that pay my bills.  Most of the big contributors have their portfolios on every site and I might as well do the same.

I have no confidence in the future of microstock but I can't live off my earnings from alamy, that's going to take a few years.  Most of the sites that still pay a decent commission are low earners and I can't see that changing soon.  The only sensible option for me is to go against my principles until I don't have to rely on microstock income.

I'm not uploading anything new to istock or FT but unfortunately leaving isn't a realistic option for me at the moment.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on September 09, 2011, 05:00
I immediately said I would leave completely. Now I am toying with the idea of leaving only the old dregs of my point and shoot days and removing all else. As other have noted, after making considerable stink on their forums over the years, if I close my account completely, I'll likely never get in again, if things ever turn around.


I think I am leaning towards that way too by now.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Chico on September 09, 2011, 05:57
I would like to open a new topic, but i think this new FEAST site is so useless that it's waste of space, but I have to ask friends. What you think about FEAST this site?

footnote: last 9/7 was a birthday of the great cut of royalties day. I never forget.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: ShadySue on September 09, 2011, 06:11
I would like to open a new topic, but i think this new FEAST site is so useless that it's waste of space, but I have to ask friends. What you think about FEAST this site?

Discussion of FEAST has taken over this thread: http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/is-it-not-just-a-tad-ironic (http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/is-it-not-just-a-tad-ironic)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: imageegami on September 13, 2011, 22:44
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 hear you. Ironically, if all independents decided to cancel their portfolio on iStock on the same day, iStock would sink in an instant and everyone would benefit by getting getting charged less commissions elsewhere. In todays connected world, stranger things have happened, you never know.  (Not holding my breath though).
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on September 14, 2011, 01:01
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 hear you. Ironically, if all independents decided to cancel their portfolio on iStock on the same day, iStock would sink in an instant and everyone would benefit by getting getting charged less commissions elsewhere. In todays connected world, stranger things have happened, you never know.  (Not holding my breath though).


Yeah sure!  dream on ::)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microstock Posts on September 14, 2011, 02:40
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 hear you. Ironically, if all independents decided to cancel their portfolio on iStock on the same day, iStock would sink in an instant and everyone would benefit by getting getting charged less commissions elsewhere. In todays connected world, stranger things have happened, you never know.  (Not holding my breath though).


Yeah sure!  dream on ::)

Do u think iStock wouldn't sink if the majority of their collection was to disappear? It won't happen of course as contributors are dispersed and unable to form a united front about anything. The agencies know that too, hence they act the way that they do.   
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 14, 2011, 03:41
It's such a shame that we can't all just leave and point the buyers to sites that pay better commissions.  There's too many contributors that will put up with absolutely anything.  That's why I'm now thinking that I might as well forget about the future of microstock, I just can't see me putting up with lower commissions each year and all these detrimental changes.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on September 14, 2011, 05:53
It's such a shame that we can't all just leave and point the buyers to sites that pay better commissions.  

Absolutely, it's a shame there isn't one.

I get an average of $5+ for an XL, $4+ for Large and $3 for Medium downloads on iStockphoto, Shutterstock pays me $2.85 (or for 80% of my sales there 38c ) for an XXL download, Dreamstime have a sliding scale but the average is way lower than iS.

As soon as a site comes along that pays better commissions and has the number of sales that iStock does, I'll take suggestions like yours seriously.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Allsa on September 14, 2011, 09:15
I'm leaving - the only decision I have left to make now is whether I close my account completely, or disable most of my portfolio. I may leave a couple of old images active to keep my account open, just in case iStock management changes for the better someday (dream on). I expect that if I stay things will keep getting worse - earnings will continue to decrease over time, and the terms of the ASA will become even more unreasonable. I'm jumping off the sinking ship now, and plan on working very hard to create my best new images for iStock's competitors. I see it as sacrificing short term gain for long term stability, both for myself and for the industry as a whole. The alternative is to give in to hopelessness and let iStock kick me around to the bitter end. Call me deluded, but I'm casting my vote in favor of hope.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 14, 2011, 09:15
Absolutely, it's a shame there isn't one.

I get an average of $5+ for an XL, $4+ for Large and $3 for Medium downloads on iStockphoto, Shutterstock pays me $2.85 (or for 80% of my sales there 38c ) for an XXL download, Dreamstime have a sliding scale but the average is way lower than iS.

As soon as a site comes along that pays better commissions and has the number of sales that iStock does, I'll take suggestions like yours seriously.

I agree, but when you start averaging in subs from Thinkstock and Photos.com, that's going to bring that average way down. Then, they are just another agency with a poor RPD and a pathetic royalty rate.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on September 14, 2011, 09:35
A year ago I stopped uploading new images there. Now I've picked the images I'll keep on there and I put them into p+ (if they weren't already) - a mix of decent sellers that didn't get accepted or never really sold much at other sites and smaller images and old crappy ones. As the 28th approaches I'll start removing the rest. I'll be sorry to lose all the work that it took to get them up and the shrinking income I still get there, but I am sick of their heavy handed approach and greedy ways. I have no reason to believe that things will get any better there, so I am going to make this move. I wish everyone would do the same, as it would make Getty and the others take notice, but I can understand why people don't.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 14, 2011, 09:40

I get an average of $5+ for an XL, $4+ for Large and $3 for Medium downloads on iStockphoto, Shutterstock pays me $2.85 (or for 80% of my sales there 38c ) for an XXL download, Dreamstime have a sliding scale but the average is way lower than iS.

Are you talking P+ images here? Those IS averages sound very high compared to what I see for regular collection images. I'm making 18%, so even if you're on a higher percentage, I'm not sure that would account for the difference. P+ has helped a lot, but I'm not sure even that would pull my averages up that much.

Also, on other sites, I haven't seen the 12 cents for an XS download that I have seen on IS (again regular collection). That's not the average, but it's pretty painful to see some of the numbers when IS has heavily discounted the credits.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on September 14, 2011, 09:48
Will we be able to recognized the TS sales, other than by the low price?

I'm thinking of leaving my images there for now; but if I start seeing lots of sales from TS , I'll leave IS rather than help them bring down SS.  



We have few options left at this point.  All the agencies will be steadily  moving to subscription plans.  That breaks down the whole idea of 'commission' on a sale, and payment to the photographer becomes an arbitrary, token amount.  The very few that offer fair prices (like GL) might make enough sales to support themselves, but not their contributors.

Prices are now so low that many of us have essentially stopped doing new microstock shots, and are just leaving the old ones online because there's no other way to get any money out of them.   None of these agencies have any long-term vision for the business and don't really care if experienced photographers are dropping out - they think crowdsourcing can keep them supplied forever.    
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RacePhoto on September 14, 2011, 21:14
Will we be able to recognized the TS sales, other than by the low price?


Yes, green bars are partner program, blue bars are IS.

I keep kicking this back and forth. If the files are already there, why not just leave them and stop uploading new ones. Then I'd still get some sales, but not add anything newer and hopefully better. In effect dropping IS but still benefiting?

Or the other way, pull everything, which doesn't hurt them, just myself.

Before someone points out that I dropped DT and FT, (and some other smaller sites), yes, but they have distribution, mystery partners, and commission issues that put me over the limit of what I could stand. IS makes sales at a decent rate, even with the cuts and making things almost all sub now for me. Money talks!  ;D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on September 15, 2011, 03:04
Are you talking P+ images here? Those IS averages sound very high compared to what I see for regular collection images. I'm making 18%, so even if you're on a higher percentage, I'm not sure that would account for the difference. P+ has helped a lot, but I'm not sure even that would pull my averages up that much.

Also, on other sites, I haven't seen the 12 cents for an XS download that I have seen on IS (again regular collection). That's not the average, but it's pretty painful to see some of the numbers when IS has heavily discounted the credits.

No I took a mixture of regular and P+, hence I used the term average, and having done another check I can confirm the figures I used are correct.

I agree about the 12c, but as you said it's for an XS and I can't remember the last time I had one of those.

Either way my point still stands that to make the statement 'lets all point buyers to sites that pay a better commission' when in fact there isn't one is a bit silly IMO.

@cthoman - As the saying goes, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, for now I like to deal in the present not guess the future.

I have lots of gripes about iS but their commission rates compared to the other top microstock sites isn't top of my list.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 16, 2011, 04:43
I decided to agree to being in the PP.  Got sick of seeing the page come up every time I log in.  I really don't think enough people are going to leave istock to make a difference.  I can't afford to lose any more earnings right now.  I have no confidence in the future of microstock, so I might as well make as much as I can now.  Earnings are going to get diluted when all the opted out content hits TS, it probably wont be worth having a portfolio there but I really can't afford to lose istock right now.  I'm going to do what most of the big contributors have done and ignore commission %.

I'm going to concentrate much more on building a separate portfolio with alamy and doing other things like selling prints.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: ShadySue on September 16, 2011, 05:17
Before someone points out that I dropped DT and FT, (and some other smaller sites), yes, but they have distribution, mystery partners, and commission issues that put me over the limit of what I could stand. IS makes sales at a decent rate, even with the cuts and making things almost all sub now for me. Money talks!  ;D
Yup, we're all hos, we're just haggling over the price.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lisafx on September 16, 2011, 08:33
I have no confidence in the future of microstock, so I might as well make as much as I can now. 

Sadly, I have come to pretty much the same conclusion.  I've joined a bunch of smaller sites I wouldn't have bothered with a year or two ago as part of a strategy to maximize my earnings on my existing portfolio. 

It's all well and good for us to plan ahead and do what we can to support (and even police) the industry for the long term, but developments in the last year have me questioning whether there is a long term for microstock - at least from the contributor perspective.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: stockastic on September 16, 2011, 15:57
I think there's a bottom-line metric for these agencies: how often do buyers report they couldn't find what they wanted for a specific need, and ended up not buying an image (or going elsewhere)?  When that number gets low enough, the agency in some sense has enough images.     

At that point they probably start caring a lot less about contributors, and the cost of reviewing new images is harder to justify.   To increase profits, they can either raise prices to buyers or lower payments to contributors, who (as we all know) are unlikely to actually remove the images already approved and online.





  
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on September 17, 2011, 16:22
Well, I deactivated half of my portfolio.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: michaeldb on September 18, 2011, 14:45
Well, I deactivated half of my portfolio.
Good for you! You have some very stocky concept images and isolations in your port - I am sure that buyers will find them on other sites (that has been my experience since I stopped submitting to IS many months ago).
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on September 18, 2011, 15:01
Thank you, I am sure they will. Especially since I have almost twice as many images elsewhere anyways as I had stopped uploading after the commission cut last year.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mantis on September 18, 2011, 15:52
I have no confidence in the future of microstock, so I might as well make as much as I can now. 

Sadly, I have come to pretty much the same conclusion.  I've joined a bunch of smaller sites I wouldn't have bothered with a year or two ago as part of a strategy to maximize my earnings on my existing portfolio. 

It's all well and good for us to plan ahead and do what we can to support (and even police) the industry for the long term, but developments in the last year have me questioning whether there is a long term for microstock - at least from the contributor perspective.

Same here...uploading to a few smaller sites hoping something will make it worthwhile.  I have been on several smaller sites in the past and deleted my ports due to few sales.  Now, with less income due to wife getting let go, I am borderline desperate.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 20, 2011, 07:26
I have no confidence in the future of microstock, so I might as well make as much as I can now. 

Sadly, I have come to pretty much the same conclusion.  I've joined a bunch of smaller sites I wouldn't have bothered with a year or two ago as part of a strategy to maximize my earnings on my existing portfolio. 

It's all well and good for us to plan ahead and do what we can to support (and even police) the industry for the long term, but developments in the last year have me questioning whether there is a long term for microstock - at least from the contributor perspective.

I've narrowed the focus down to SS, and my confidence in that one company. I have zero confidence in istock, and very little in most other companies. I'm optimistic about companies like StockFresh, but realistically my confidence in them is slipping. So really it just comes down to SS for me. I'm opting to stay with istock and let my stuff into the PP, as long as it doesn't impact my earnings at SS. I make the majority of my microstock earnings with SS, and doing what I can to keep that going is the priority. Which could eventually mean that if ThinkStock manages to pick up and become a real threat to SS, my images will no longer be at istock or TS.

But for now, I'm betting that ThinkStock won't be a threat to SS, even with all this new independent content, and SS will remain the top player. As long as my SS earnings remain steady, I'm staying where I am for now.

I'm not sure what the future of microstock is, but if it does indeed start to fall apart, I'd rather ride out the sinking ship with SS than anyone else. At some point that may mean bailing on istock and some others. But we're not there just yet.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microstock Posts on September 20, 2011, 07:40
I just deactivated the few files I had on istock. Kind of a nice feeling actually. :D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pixel86 on September 20, 2011, 09:35
I just deactivated the few files I had on istock. Kind of a nice feeling actually. :D

I felt the same way.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on September 20, 2011, 10:27
I have no confidence in the future of microstock, so I might as well make as much as I can now. 

Sadly, I have come to pretty much the same conclusion.  I've joined a bunch of smaller sites I wouldn't have bothered with a year or two ago as part of a strategy to maximize my earnings on my existing portfolio. 

It's all well and good for us to plan ahead and do what we can to support (and even police) the industry for the long term, but developments in the last year have me questioning whether there is a long term for microstock - at least from the contributor perspective.

I've narrowed the focus down to SS, and my confidence in that one company. I have zero confidence in istock, and very little in most other companies. I'm optimistic about companies like StockFresh, but realistically my confidence in them is slipping. So really it just comes down to SS for me. I'm opting to stay with istock and let my stuff into the PP, as long as it doesn't impact my earnings at SS. I make the majority of my microstock earnings with SS, and doing what I can to keep that going is the priority. Which could eventually mean that if ThinkStock manages to pick up and become a real threat to SS, my images will no longer be at istock or TS.

But for now, I'm betting that ThinkStock won't be a threat to SS, even with all this new independent content, and SS will remain the top player. As long as my SS earnings remain steady, I'm staying where I am for now.

I'm not sure what the future of microstock is, but if it does indeed start to fall apart, I'd rather ride out the sinking ship with SS than anyone else. At some point that may mean bailing on istock and some others. But we're not there just yet.

If at some point Thinkstock sales go up and SS sales go down, will you be willing to abandon the significant % that TS and IS represent to stick with a sinking SS ship?
(unlikely SS would totally go away, but if IS customers get moved to TS and they market heavily they could take some of SS's customers too.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: helix7 on September 20, 2011, 10:52
If at some point Thinkstock sales go up and SS sales go down, will you be willing to abandon the significant % that TS and IS represent to stick with a sinking SS ship?
(unlikely SS would totally go away, but if IS customers get moved to TS and they market heavily they could take some of SS's customers too.

Yep, that would be the point where I couldn't really stay with istock/TS.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 20, 2011, 12:34
I'm out. I deactivated all my files except one. I couldn't deactivate one of them because the page wouldn't load. I guess I'll have to contact support [rolls eyes and grumbles under his breath].

Here's the link for the one file I couldn't get rid of:

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-4354925-dream.php (http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-4354925-dream.php)

If anyone has any suggestions, otherwise I'll just contact support.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RacePhoto on September 20, 2011, 13:01
I'm out. I deactivated all my files except one. I couldn't deactivate one of them because the page wouldn't load. I guess I'll have to contact support [rolls eyes and grumbles under his breath].

Here's the link for the one file I couldn't get rid of:

[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-4354925-dream.php[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-4354925-dream.php[/url])

If anyone has any suggestions, otherwise I'll just contact support.


Maybe it's gone? All I get is a blank page. On the other hand, maybe you should leave one photo, that won't sell, so you can potentially have an account should things change? (http://s1.postimage.org/1fbj05qx0/2cents.gif)

One that doesn't show seems appropriate?  ;D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 20, 2011, 13:34
Maybe it's gone? All I get is a blank page. On the other hand, maybe you should leave one photo, that won't sell, so you can potentially have an account should things change? ([url]http://s1.postimage.org/1fbj05qx0/2cents.gif[/url])

One that doesn't show seems appropriate?  ;D


No, it's still there it's the only one that shows up in my upload section. The others say this file has been deactivated when you go to their pages, so I guess it's just a hiccup. I left on file at FT when I left there, and in hindsight, I wish I'd just deleted them all. Oh well, I'm off to support.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 20, 2011, 14:07
I also want to apologize to the employee at iStock that I have been feeding and clothing for the last couple of years. I won't be able to pay your salary next year. You'll have to find someone else to adopt you.  :'(
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Artemis on September 24, 2011, 13:15
As the deadline approaches i made my final decision. I'm not ditching them completely but have started to deactivate anything thats worth something... it hurt to deactivate flames but in the end i'll feel better having my good stuff only on sites that dont give me nausea :(

I'm so tempted to put a poisonous message in the title field of the remaining files and have that hauled over to TS (my mini private war), but i guess it would mean a certain ban, so i'll just bend over and grab their mere pennies for my not-so-good files.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microstock Posts on September 24, 2011, 13:26
As the deadline approaches i made my final decision. I'm not ditching them completely but have started to deactivate anything thats worth something... it hurt to deactivate flames but in the end i'll feel better having my good stuff only on sites that dont give me nausea :(

I'm so tempted to put a poisonous message in the title field of the remaining files and have that hauled over to TS (my mini private war), but i guess it would mean a certain ban, so i'll just bend over and grab their mere pennies for my not-so-good files.

I didn't expect to receive emails from them with the reason I gave when deactivating files.

We regret to inform you that image.....has been deactivated from the iStockphoto database of Royalty Free Images.

Reason for deactivation:
Because I love you ;-)

Best Regards,
iStockphoto Administrator
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on September 24, 2011, 13:40
That e-mail's been around for a long time - standard for all deactivations, not something they implemented recently  as part of this descent into microstock hades
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: ShadySue on September 24, 2011, 20:28
Maybe it's gone? All I get is a blank page. On the other hand, maybe you should leave one photo, that won't sell, so you can potentially have an account should things change? ([url]http://s1.postimage.org/1fbj05qx0/2cents.gif[/url])

One that doesn't show seems appropriate?  ;D


No, it's still there it's the only one that shows up in my upload section. The others say this file has been deactivated when you go to their pages, so I guess it's just a hiccup. I left on file at FT when I left there, and in hindsight, I wish I'd just deleted them all. Oh well, I'm off to support.

Strange, I jus get a blank page too, not the usual message that the file is no longer available - contact support.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microstock Posts on September 26, 2011, 07:48
Thanks to all of you who gave your quotes or allowed me to use your quotes from msg (most of you are in this thread), for the blog post Opt in Or Close Account (http://www.microstockposts.com/istockphotos-opt-in-or-close-account-ultimatum/). There were many other quotes I would have liked to use, but I think the blog post is long enough. 
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 26, 2011, 11:16
Strange, I jus get a blank page too, not the usual message that the file is no longer available - contact support.

Yeah, I put my ticket in about a week ago. No response yet. How long does it take to respond to these things? I have a feeling they won't get to it and the image will migrate to the partner sites. Then, I'll need more emails to get it off of those. Maybe, I need to jump up and down and act like a child to get results?
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on September 26, 2011, 15:19
so, there is only one image left as of now in my istock port - everything else disabled. The last one will go down tomorrow.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: halfshag on September 26, 2011, 16:31
I've been a bit busy, only about 20% gone so far but I'm determined to hit the deadline. Probably going to leave the chaff up there.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 28, 2011, 10:18
It's official. I got my last image off the site last night.

Can I get a Wooyay!?!?  ;D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: halfshag on September 28, 2011, 10:20
It's official. I got my last image off the site last night.

Can I get a Wooyay!?!?  ;D

Wooyay!  :D

I'm down to 169
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Pixart on September 28, 2011, 10:24
Wooyay Cory, have you slept though thinking about that poor bloke you used to feed and clothe has now lost his job?

Well, today is the 28th.... still haven't signed the contract.  Shall I stay or shall I go....
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on September 28, 2011, 10:30
Well, if this latest best match, is the future ? and with the coming migration to TS,  I am not too sure there is anything in it, anymore, not much more really then the revenues from say 2 or 3, of the low-earners agencies.
Going a step further, in allowing ones best and most commercial sellers into TS, well other agencies arent going to be too happy, are they?  hence the trouble with FT already starting.

Im going to hang in there for a few weeks and if nothing happens, well I will probably take a rain check on IS,  it was a good run for some years but lately its just become a frustrating pain,  nothing EVER seems to work with this site.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: luissantos84 on September 28, 2011, 10:41
It's official. I got my last image off the site last night.

Can I get a Wooyay!?!?  ;D

I admire you! You left FT now IS! Congrats for the move, I cannot do it and I am a "newbie" comparing earnings with you, you have balls!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on September 28, 2011, 10:57
WooYay!

I deactivated over half my portfolio the last few days. I'm going to leave a mix of a few files that do ok at IS but never took off elsewhere and some of my earliest smallest p&s pics up there. My IS best sellers come down today. It is truly amazing how far IS has come from where they were just a few years ago.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: cthoman on September 28, 2011, 11:29
I admire you! You left FT now IS! Congrats for the move, I cannot do it and I am a "newbie" comparing earnings with you, you have balls!

It's either that or I'm a total idiot for leaving.  ;D I hope I'll eventually make that money up somewhere else, although income seemed to be dwindling at those two agencies anyway.

I do kind of feel like that scene in Old School where Will Ferrell says, "C'mon everybody! We're going streaking!". Then, it's just me running in the street naked by myself.  ;D

Anyway, congrats to all the others that left too. I know it wasn't an easy decision.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: pancaketom on September 28, 2011, 13:07
yeah, "up to the quad and then the gymnasium.."

Ultimately although it would be nice if more people would take a stand I think you have to do it for yourself.  It feels good to no longer contribute to what IS has become.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Mellimage on September 28, 2011, 13:23
It's official. I got my last image off the site last night.

Can I get a Wooyay!?!?  ;D

I am out there too ... disabled my last image there last night.
Had a buyer's request for reactivation of one of my images a few days ago... .
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: sharpshot on September 28, 2011, 14:52
The exodus seems to be gathering some momentum.  I still think what we really need is more buyers using the sites that pay a good commission.  I hope they go and look there and not at the other sites that are almost as bad as istock.

If all the former Stockxpert buyers went to Stockfresh, they would get good prices and we would get a good commission.  Still seems like a fantasy though, istock is taking a hit but I still don't see a lot happening with the sites that are more contributor friendly.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: ManicBlu on November 02, 2011, 11:33
I haven't contributed to any sites in at least 2 years due to home foreclosure and health problems. I was never a top seller and even less so now yet, my sales at iStock stayed consistent and in the past year increased on the old images that remain which spoke volumes to me. Unlike other sites where it seems my images were not even being promoted iStock kept me in the loop.
I don't know how the sites run these days but, I will always be grateful for the increased sales I made with iStock during one of the worst years of my life. I lived in a tent for 6 mos. $100 every couple of mos. was a God send. I no longer worry about changes I just accept and stick.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on November 02, 2011, 11:58
Nowdays, I am really in two minds, I have covered the IS losses by uploading lots to SS,DT and FT and its paid off handsomely. I really cant see the point in all this IS hassle. I have already deactivated about 100 files, some blue and red flames, put them into RF and they are selling very well.

Trouble is, IS, nowdays is a time-waster, uploading precidure is terrible, long reviewing times and for what? so that it can be mirrored in TS or end up on page 50 in this worthless best match, no thanks.

I will probably pull my port just before the migration. As I said, I have found a better place for them.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on November 02, 2011, 12:55
Nowdays, I am really in two minds, I have covered the IS losses by uploading lots to SS,DT and FT and its paid off handsomely. I really cant see the point in all this IS hassle. I have already deactivated about 100 files, some blue and red flames, put them into RF and they are selling very well.

Trouble is, IS, nowdays is a time-waster, uploading precidure is terrible, long reviewing times and for what? so that it can be mirrored in TS or end up on page 50 in this worthless best match, no thanks.

I will probably pull my port just before the migration. As I said, I have found a better place for them.

From all your recent posts I don't understand why you've still got any files with iS, if I felt the way you clearly do I'd remove mine immediately, I'd be concerned that spending countless hours moaning on and on about a site and yet still supporting them would make me look foolish.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on November 02, 2011, 15:10
Nowdays, I am really in two minds, I have covered the IS losses by uploading lots to SS,DT and FT and its paid off handsomely. I really cant see the point in all this IS hassle. I have already deactivated about 100 files, some blue and red flames, put them into RF and they are selling very well.

Trouble is, IS, nowdays is a time-waster, uploading precidure is terrible, long reviewing times and for what? so that it can be mirrored in TS or end up on page 50 in this worthless best match, no thanks.

I will probably pull my port just before the migration. As I said, I have found a better place for them.

From all your recent posts I don't understand why you've still got any files with iS, if I felt the way you clearly do I'd remove mine immediately, I'd be concerned that spending countless hours moaning on and on about a site and yet still supporting them would make me look foolish.

Why RT,  you sound really bothered? I didnt know you cared that much. Very kind of you indeed. You dont have to be so concerned though, I mean losing sleep over it and all. Things will work out in the end,  you wait and see. :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on November 02, 2011, 15:29
Ummm....... I don't think you've read and understood what I've written, I'm not concerned or bothered about anything.

I'll explain - You keep moaning about iS and how your images have slipped from every best match change they make, how you're making more on other sites and have successfully removed some 'flame' images that are now selling better elsewhere and then you keep threatening to remove all your images from the site - Christian they don't care, they're not suddenly going to change things because of your empty threats and you're not big enough to be a special case, either do it or don't but to keep going on and on whilst doing nothing is ruining your credibility. Friendly advice take how you please.
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on November 03, 2011, 01:35
Ummm....... I don't think you've read and understood what I've written, I'm not concerned or bothered about anything.

I'll explain - You keep moaning about iS and how your images have slipped from every best match change they make, how you're making more on other sites and have successfully removed some 'flame' images that are now selling better elsewhere and then you keep threatening to remove all your images from the site - Christian they don't care, they're not suddenly going to change things because of your empty threats and you're not big enough to be a special case, either do it or don't but to keep going on and on whilst doing nothing is ruining your credibility. Friendly advice take how you please.

RT !  with due respect but sometimes I notice, you are reading postings slightly wrong or getting the wrong message?  Now if I threatened? I certainly wouldnt write here, in the MSG, would I ? I would ofcourse write a private mail to the IS-Admin, complaining, right?  well then, threatening here in the MSG, is like throwing water over a duck, no effect at all.
What Im trying to convey, is that the world doesnt start or stop with IS.  Besides, you cant just pull a port, just like that, any half brain can do that,  you got to be selective about it. Also the fact that Photo+, is locked for 6 months, or have you forgotten? :)
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on November 03, 2011, 02:03
Also the fact that Photo+, is locked for 6 months, or have you forgotten? :)

No as you've been told before Photo+ files are only internally locked into the iS collection (meaning of you can't swap your files in and out of photo+ until they've been there 6 months), they can be deleted at any time.

As for reading your posts wrong!
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: gostwyck on November 03, 2011, 04:17
Also the fact that Photo+, is locked for 6 months, or have you forgotten? :)

No as you've been told before Photo+ files are only internally locked into the iS collection (meaning of you can't swap your files in and out of photo+ until they've been there 6 months), they can be deleted at any time.

As for reading your posts wrong!

"Game to RT. Lagereek to serve. New balls please"
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: Microstock Posts on November 03, 2011, 04:21
Also the fact that Photo+, is locked for 6 months, or have you forgotten? :)

No as you've been told before Photo+ files are only internally locked into the iS collection (meaning of you can't swap your files in and out of photo+ until they've been there 6 months), they can be deleted at any time.

As for reading your posts wrong!

"Game to RT. Lagereek to serve. New balls please"

 :D :D :D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: RT on November 03, 2011, 05:28
"Game to RT. Lagereek to serve. New balls please"

 :D
Title: Re: Independents - do you plan to leave Istock or not?
Post by: lagereek on November 03, 2011, 05:31
New balls?  that was only first serve! ;D