Agency Based Discussion => iStockPhoto.com => Topic started by: kacper on August 02, 2006, 04:42

Title: Is it just me?
Post by: kacper on August 02, 2006, 04:42
Or is iStock really starting to suck big time? Lowest commission of all sites, big corporate sell-outs, massively censored forums, FREE use of OUR images on blogs with no benefit to the photographer, ridiculous favoritizing of exclusive photogs, the louziest affiliation program of all. It used to be my best selling site providing a serious payout every single month, but now I'm considering dropping it entirely! It's still a good money maker, but with Dreamstime and Fotolia catching on fire, I might not need those couple hundred dollars each month from the big ugly monster.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: grp_photo on August 02, 2006, 06:56
No its not just you! Really sad that microstock started with the by far worst model of all! But the gap between istock and the others is getting smaller my biggest hope for the future are stockxpert,dreamstime and fotolia. If one company dominates a market thats always the worst thing that can happen.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: CJPhoto on August 02, 2006, 06:59
iStocks best marketing ploy is their exclusives and their quality.  They have some good photographers there submitting full time.

For this reason, iStock will always be popular with designers.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 02, 2006, 10:48
well i think their exclusive agreements is their pot of gold.  I have heard of  a few people dropping the exclusivity.. and perhaps more will over time.

but as other sites get more and better photographers designers will also go elsewhere.

I am afraid i agree.  istock is loosing their lead in many ways, such as comissions, company / photographer reltaions, ease of use.. and so on and so on.  I wouldn't be surprised if in a year there was a new strong leader.  I would have to say that Istock still leads the pack...... unfortunatly.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: kacper on August 02, 2006, 14:34
I'm so glad I found you guys  8)

I obviously wish that every site got millions of sales (well... every site I'm on), just between the choices I obviously support the ones that treat us (the photogs, illustrators) with A) respect and B) reward us financially. Obviously there are sites that do that: I don't want to push my favourites here but Dreamstime comes to mind first. They pay well (with their credit discounts I recon we get something like 60-70% of the revenue), their rejections are usually informative (not always, but better than "we don't need that image" or Fotolia's famous rejection that covers "purple fringing OR not in focus OR too dark/bright OR bad composition OR too many in db").

Besides the obvious fact that iStock pays the louziest and makes a killing off of us, what I hate MOST is their arsehole attitude of "we are boss: it is thanks to us that you make money". I've actually had a "conversation" by mail with one of the admins that basically suggested that we should be happy that they're allowing us to submit photos there. I don't want to rant, but who . do these guys think they are? WE are the ones who pay their wages. WE are the ones that made that  50 million dollars sale to Getty possible. Without photographers and illustrators there is an empty space filled with their staff's work. And I've seen Bitter's portfolio: it's banal utmost shite, possibly with the exception of pictures in which Transferred is modeling (she's a juicy minx, isn't she?).

Okay, anyways, iStock rant off my chest. First and last.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: nruboc on August 02, 2006, 14:54

Defintiely not just you, I stopped uploading there a few months back. I refuse to sell a photo for 20 cents anymore. Also, the most cumbersome upload process makes it just not worth the time.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 02, 2006, 16:43
   it would be interesting to have an istock exclusive photog. in this forum, but i suppose they stay in the bubble on the istock forums.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 20, 2006, 20:59
I am an iStock exclusive artist and have wandered outside the bubble...I have openly challenged certain policy changes or new features of iStock from time to time and wholeheartedly agreed with others.  I have to say some things in this thread, to me, certainly fall under the category of "defamatory, hateful and/or vulgar" that this very site admonishes against in it's terms of use that I just had to agree to to be able to post here.  Specifically calling Bruce's portfolio "shite" (that's classy,) and rude comments about Brianna. 

All that aside, I'm not here to start any trouble and I do think it's interesting to read uncensored opinions outside of iStock's forums.  Also the last post in this thread says it would be interesting to hear from and iStock Exclusive, so here are my opinions on the matters in this thread. 

1) Low Commisions: As an exclusive at the silver level I earn .30, 1.50 and 3.00 per download.  My average commission per sale is $1.73.  Currently my royalties from iStock pay about 65% of my monthly expenses.  I have been building my portfolio there since Feb. 2004 and a member (buyer) since Jan. 2003.  It is still the only place I buy from as a designer, mostly out of habit.  Another reason I am comfortable with my percentage is the amount of advertising money iStock spends, which clearly shows it's value in the amount of traffic and sales produced.

2) The "We're the boss attitude"  Well....they are.  But I wanted to share this link to Bitters response to community disapproval over the VOX fiasco and to quote this line specifically: "We had some hard time around the table with this, but in the end it came down to asking ourself one question: Are we the kind of company that's going to make up it's mind and bull ahead, regardless of what people think? Or are we the kind of company that's serious about listening to the people who got us where we are? When we put it to ourselves that way, the answer was pretty clear."..."
We believe in this Vox deal ...But if the majority of members don't believe this is good for us all, well, that's all there is to it - we'll turn it off. Simple as that. Our community is the reason for our success, and we will not act against your wishes."

Here is a link to that whole thread: http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=38036&page=1

3) Why be exclusive? I wanted to share my MAIN reason I elected to go for exclusivity with iStock, and that's legal protection.  Having had my images stolen on more than one occasion, it is MUCH easier to prove where the image was acquired form and therefore I automatically have the iStock legal department backing me and enforcing their License agreement, and they have proved themselves to me on several occasions in this department with flying colors.  If I have my images at two or three sites, let alone ten, when misuse comes up I'm up the creek as far as getting any one of my multiple suppliers to back me up.  After all, legal teams are expensive and why should they spend their time/money defending me and my image when there is only a one in 10 shot that the person misusing it actually acquired it from their site?

Of course there is convenience too and to be honest I'd rather spend my time producing images than uploading, keywording, describing & categorising for multiple sites.

But I completely understand why it just works better for others to be able to operate on several venues, and I've never said it doesn't have merit in some situations.

It's a personal choice, and to be honest it's not always easy.  What really irritates me personally is when people suggest that all iStock exclusives are stuck in a bubble or that we're brainwashed and all "admin favorites".  If that were true there would be a whole lot of "favorites" since there is a high perctnage of exclusivity within the 23,000+ contributer base.

We don't go out of our way to bash people who submit to several sites, so I don't understand why there are so many negative feelings toward exclusive contributers on independent forums like this one.

At the end of the day, we gave up some freedoms and signed a contract that restricts us to iStock.  In return we were promised some privileges and they deliver consistently.  It just makes good business sense, and if it wasn't working it wouldn't be causing such controversy. ;)
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: Greg Boiarsky on August 20, 2006, 23:00
Amanda, thanks for taking the time to respond so respectfully to this forum.  It shows class, and I for one appreciated it.  However, I suspect that some of the anger here comes from a few problems we run into with Istock:

1.  They are very slow with the reviewing process.  On the one hand, we appreciate a thorough, thoughtful review of our images.  On the other hand, it's frustrating to wait up to two weeks or more to get a rejection for what appears to be a frivolous reason.  Not that other sites don't do this (just read the forums, and you'll see which sites are most frustrating in this regard), but the field leader should be more efficient, in my opinion.  I had a file under review for well over a month; I wrote a polite request to have that file reviewed, only to be ignored.  I eventually pulled the file from consideration.

2.  The upload restrictions can be quite onerous.  I noticed that, to reduce the queue backlong, Istock imposed a 30% reduction in upload limits on non-exclusive photographers, but didn't touch those limits for exclusives.  That kind of behavior smacks of bullying, especially when you consider that upload limits per week were decreased back in June.  People like Phil shouldn't have to put up with this kind of attitude, particularly since he outsells most exclusives and has one hell of a portfolio.

3.  The base commission is the lowest in the industry.  I don't care if I sell more images on Istock than elsewhere (I do); I still deserve to be paid reasonable rates.  I know of no other industry with such low commissions; the industry leader should not be setting such a poor example.

I'm glad the arrangement works so well for your situation.  I suspect that it works well because you create vectors (very nice ones, in fact) and vectors sell well.  However, exclusivity doesn't make sense for me because my portfolio at the moment isn't very well oriented to microstock and I need the sales across multiple sites so I can buy more equipment.  I may yet go exclusive with an agency, but it won't be for an agency that provides such a small commission.  I also don't want to tie myself permanently to microstock, as I have hopes of mid-level stock and some fine-art sales.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 20, 2006, 23:24
Absolutley, in interest of full disclosure I should have mentioned I do vectors, because to be totally honest, I'm a dunce with a camera! :D  What the lense cap has to be off?! lol But just the same I am a microstocker and an exclusive iStocker. :)  (Not brainwashed BTW, lol, I saw that in another forum about "people who post at IS fourms?!)

I have several local photog (and one other vector artist) friends that contribute to multiple sites and do very well!  Sometimes it just workes better.  I also realize that if I weren't exclusive I would most likely be much more frustrated by inspection times and higher comissions.  As it is I like to dream big and I see that 40% level as jsut a matter of time and hard work, so I can hold out for a while.  Plus with bulk discounts for credit it actually works out to be more than 40% for the top level much like other sites.

Don't get me wrong, I ocassionaly get curious about the grass on the other side of the fence (every couple of months or so,) and I do some research at the other sites' forums and independent ones like this, but to be honest I usually reconfirm that I want to stay exclusive for now, and seeing a whole bunch of threads with really snide comments about exclusive members irritates me!  Even if someone is frustrated with the  system at iStock, doesn't mean the blame should fall on those that chose to be exclusive.  It's a business decision and a personal choice, certainly not meant to annoy or harm other photogs/artists!

As one more thing to consider when frustrated by the exclusive benefits, this might make you feel vindicated to some extent...remember that when one of our images gets rejected, we have absolutley no RF outlet for it!  I know rejections are frustrating for everyone (and IS certainly has a rep for the most stringent standards) but it's definitley a bit heartrending to see one of your babies shut out of your portfolio (and all other RF sites) forever! 

I really do respect others opinions and there are valid ones here (like professorgb's), I just think name calling and bashing people's portfolios is a bit out of line.

I am hoping to learn a few things from this forum, (if I don't get kicked out!) since the micostock industry is so relativley new there is a lot of gorund to cover!
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 21, 2006, 00:18
Welcome here amanda, like I said before, it is nice to have an istock exclusive here and hear some other thoughts and opinions.  I can see the point in being exclusive as far as having someone to back you up with legal problems with a picture, and the luxury of only having to upload to one site, however for me, numberous sales venues and having my eggs in more than one basket seems to far outweigh the advantages (for now). 

In regards to stealing pictures though, there is really no way to tell if someone used a stolen picture or not unless you sell your images Rights Managed (where the use, buyer and length of use are reported).  So I don't see any advantage to being exclusive in this regards.  If the images are mis-used on the other hand.... it could be helpful to have some backing.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 21, 2006, 00:38
You're right about image stealing, there will always be those out there who remove watermarks unfortunatley! :(

In my case though, each of the three times iStock had to step in it was clear misuse involving merchandising of images on clothing, reselling images as "custom" and template sales, none of which are allowed by the iStock licesnse agreement and all of which were bad for business as they are all things I do seperatly on the side.

Luckily I could prove where the images were aquired and didn't have to put any more effort in than a quick email to support to have them taken care of.  That was when I decided to go exclusive.  I do think that may be something that is more prominent with vectors too though, at least the reselling as custom work.  >:(

Thanks for the welcome!
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: madelaide on August 21, 2006, 18:45
Hi amanda!

It's very nice to read some thoughts from exclusive contributors. 

I must say that I get annoyed by some approvals from exclusive photographers I see at IS.  Of course it's comprehensible that inspectors are more tolerant with exclusives exactly because they are commited with the site, but then I see some images with flaws that are so easy to correct, whilst we get rejections for the most incomprehensible reasons (sometimes with the nasty "no resubmit" status)!  I mean, I can understand that they approve an exclusive's shot that they have already tons of similar ones in the site, but when we see a obvious unintentional tilted horizon or a slighty purplish image... Well, will asking the photographer to adjust that compromise their relationship?  I think not.

Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 21, 2006, 21:35
I respectfully disagree and could post several very nitpicky rejections (yes from whule I was exclusive) to prove the contrary.  I also think that the sheer volume of exclusive contributors that complain on the iStcok forums about all the files they don't have outlet for would point to a healthy amount of rejections for exclusives.

I can honestly say I have never been happy getting a rejection, I've very sedlom agreed with the reasoning (my most common rejection is "not stock") but going back a few weeks later I usually see how much it could have been improved and learn from that.  It is well documented how much contributers improve and learn over time due to rejections and strict standards.

I unfortunatley wasted a good portion of my day reading the entire iStock forum here at microstockgroups and got really irritated at the all the flaming. I also saw a lot of misinformation.  It's a bit sad and I don't think I'll be back. If you all really wanted a forum that is an unbiased discussion between all facets and different contributors to the microstock industry, there would need to be a lot fewer sensless insults to the exclusive iStock contributers.

I don't honestly believe form my observations and reading that this communtiy is open to all opinions.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: nruboc on August 22, 2006, 00:27
Well, not insulting any exclusives, just giving my own personal experience. Of the 7 agencies I submit to, Istock has by FAR the most inconsistent reviews of all. I stopped submitting to them a couple months back because of that, not to mention the worst upload process, and the lowest commissions, I believe they won't be on top for long. Obviously, exclusives disagree and I don't have any problem with that.

Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 22, 2006, 01:38

I don't honestly believe form my observations and reading that this communtiy is open to all opinions.

This community is open to all opinions in the respect that no opinions are censored, and posts aren't censored if they talk negativly about a site (unlike the forums on the individual microstock sites themselves).

If you feel the members here are misinformed about istock in particular, perhaps it is because no one is argueing to the contrary (until now).
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 22, 2006, 01:43
Sorry I should have been more specific, most people here seem sort of ...maybe kind of.... sometimes neutral ..... but for example the person who started this thread has repeatedly posted things I find personally insulting. Totally offensive.  And no one here seems to disagree or call him on it.  I also find it funny how he is happy to bash away doesn't provide a link to his portfolio?  There is always a small possibility when someone doesn't do well at somehting that it just might have something to do with their own actions/talent  :o  But I know how easy it is to blame it on someone else.

It's just a shame I would love to have an unbiased forum where I could hear whats going on with the industry in general and learn about the other sites out there without flaming around every corner and seeing people I consider friends and peers being called every name in the book not to metnion the singling out of actual people (business owner, genius, villian...whatever you want to call Bruce Livingstone, he is still human last time I checked,) and ripping their portfolios, not to mention making vulgar sexist comments about one of iStock's most talented models AND photogs AND admins!

My point is there are much more civil ways to discuss both up sides and downsides to different microstock sites.  So far I haven't read a genuinley poitive post about iStock anywhere on this forum without major bitching.  I  take that back ...Fintastique (sp?) Have a really nifty comparison chart that I read with interest and actually learned something from.

Leaf & Professorgb also seem to be very civil, intelligent and in the spirit of sharing information not flames.  It would be nice to see more of that and less of  Kacper's flaming. Then it might actually be a more enjoyable read that might gain readership faster and be even more helpful, as it is one of the most complete sites I've come across as a general microstock resource and has bigger potential than turning into a bitch session.

Just wanted to add that you posted while I was typing Leaf and I do think lack of cencorship is important as long as it follows the terms of use that we agree to when joing and I think there are clear exapmles of being over the line by the OP in this particular thread.  Also there might be a wider variety of iStock posters here or people 9that do well there) willing to provide the positives and tips and things, but it won't happen in this environment. Isn't singling out a particualr person's portfolio and labeling it "shite" over the line?

Censorship sucks but smut's not cool either.

Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: grp_photo on August 22, 2006, 02:28
The Problem with istock is their attitude and their not fair and in my opinion arrogant treatment of their contributors.
They prooved that they are great businessmen and i respect them for that i'm pretty sure they don't believe the community-hype theirselves but its a part of their great marketing.
In general its never good for an industry that there is one company that rules the market, so i would really like to see istock comes down to the same level as the others which would be the best for all contributors and i'm sure istock would become much more friendlier ;).
The trend is against istock more and more agencies comes around the corner which understand about marketing as well (not loosers like canstock nice people but bad businessmen) and offers fairer treatment to their contributors.
Also new "big boys" like dashek, kurhan and logos (yuri) seems to have no interest at all to become an exclusive. Istock is protecting their old stars with their upload limits but missing the new stars which already have over thousand of pictures at the other sites and only a few hundred at IS.
I think 2007 will be the big turning point for the whole industry and especially for IS.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: Boylet on August 22, 2006, 02:51
So ....  do we vote for "censorship" or "smut"??? (Just kidding  ;D )

Hi amanda1863, welcome to Microstock Group.

Just like what Leaf said, maybe this is the first time that someone has passionately expressed her sentiments about IStock. If you feel that people here are misinformed about Istock, why not stay a while  so you could share first hand opinion being an exclusive of IStock. I think this will be beneficial for  everyone since we could all hear the two sides of the story. Maybe in the end you'll see that not everybody here is vindictive of IStock as you initially thought.

Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 22, 2006, 06:29
In response to Amanda

Yes I do agree that singling out ones portfolio and calling it 'shite' is over the line.  I do think however think that a person has the right to not like another's portfolio and express that opinion.  However, how they say it, does not have to be crude.  So Kacper, please watch how you use your language.  However the insult of one portfolio, doesn't warrent the insult of another  (amanda)

however, i don't feel the rest of Kacper's original post was over the line.  If he feels that Istock is being pompus he has the right to say so... it is the job of other people to disagree.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 22, 2006, 12:17
In the spirit of Leaf's post I have toned down my post above, because he's right, me bashing Kacper doesn't prove anything excpet bringing me down to the same level.

I have also decided to stick around and try to provide some valuable iStock information where I can so that people can make informed decsiions with opinions form both sides of the fence on this apparently controversial site.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 22, 2006, 12:31
Well I am glad you are deciding to stick around... I look forward to hearing your opinion (it is always good to have some controversy (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=controversy))

This site is only unbiased if there is people presenting from both sides.  As it is now, or was before you came, the istock side is fairly lonely.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: StockManiac on August 22, 2006, 13:09

There are a few major reasons why people have the attitude that they have towards iStock.

1. Try posting a "controversial" thread on iStock and see how fast the Admins will lock the thread.  And if you are real lucky, you might even receive a warning from them.

One of the things that I find unbelievable is the amount of locked threads on that site.  Yet they continue to talk about their "community" and how much they care about their members.  Hogwash!

Peehead is a real idiot.  He curses constantly and thinks that he is the cats meow.  The only reason nobody says anything to him is because they are scared of being banished.

2. There is a definite "conceited" attitude at iStock.  This shows up on their boards, in their reviews, and how they make announcements without consulting any of the "community" that they purport to love so much.

The Vox announcement is just the latest in a string of ideas that blew up in their face.  And it shows that they have no regard towards their contributers.  They just want to pad their already overflowing pockets.

3. There is no real way to challenge rejections.  I know, I know.  Scout.  But what percentage of photos are actually overturned.  From what I have read, a very small percentage.

I had a rejection once that basically said it was not suitable for stock.  I opened up a ticket with Scout because I thought that the Inspector had gotten it wrong.  I told Scout that they already had a few accepted images that were similar to mine in their database and I wanted to know how they could accept those, but not mine.  I waited a few months (yes, a few months) for Scout to tell me that the images that they had accepted (about 2 or 3) were sufficient to represent the subject and they didn't need anymore.  What a bunch of BS!  2 or 3 images in a database of over 1 million is supposed to be representative of the unique subject matter that I was trying to present?  Well that image has been accepted at over a half dozen other agencies, including Shutterstock and Dreamstime, and has been selling quite well.

4. Last, but not least, IS has the lowest payscale (for purchasing single images) in the industry.  20 cents for an image is a real travesty.  When do you think they will become the market leader (that they claim to be) and raise the bar on image prices?  Or when do you think they might start to give some of those buckets of money back to the contributors that made them who they are today?

Basically, all of these things (and a lot more) all add up to the resentment that you are seeing.

And it is the reason why this site and the Yahoo Groups site were started in the first place.  To enable the open discussion of the microstock industry.

If it was within their power, I guarantee that they would shut these sites down quicker than one of your photos could be rejected...
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: Striker77s on August 22, 2006, 13:14

I'm glad you decided to stick around to.  kacper can be a bit blunt sometimes but he also contributes a lot of good ideas.  My strategy for flaming is to ignore it, replying usually just makes it worse.  And probably that is what most people around here feel, and thus no one replied to his comments.  I for one don't complain to loudly about IStocks commission.  Yes it is low but if the sales volume is much higher than it is worth it.  It doesn't matter how much per image per sale I get but the total income per image.  But I do agree that they tend to be a little arrogant and their upload process is a nightmare.  If another new company copied their upload system they wouldn't get past a 100 images before they died.  They have replied to e-mails stating they don't take suggestions so don't bother.  I mean come on.  But once again from a business point of view if they bring in enough income to make it worth it, you just deal with it.  From my point of view istock isn't my highest money maker; shutterstock is.  In fact Istock is less than 25% of my income from microstocks.  So my desire to deal with their arrogant admins and horrible upload process is lacking.  Once again Amanda welcome to the group and I hope to hear more of your thoughts.

Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 22, 2006, 13:29
Stockmaniac: Thanks for the post, it was well laid out and I agree with a number of your points, however, as has been mentioned previously in this thread.  People bashing isn't too popular here.  ie. your comments about peehead
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 22, 2006, 14:01
To Stockmaniac:

1) Old threads lock automatically after 3 months stagnant to avoid the confusion of people bringin up old thread with invalid information.  As far as controversial threads there that are locked, Bitter let one very controversial thread about why people shouldn't be exclusive there go for 4 days and 120+ posts before personally chiming in that he had read the whole thread, realized there were some valid opinions and locked it since people were beginning to get too personal.

iStock is a business.  I don;t know of many businesses that will allow endless list of complaint aout their business practises on practically the front page of their business website.  That wouldn't really be smart!

But they do censor some things possibly more than neccesary.

2) I fail to see how VOX has blown up in their faces?  For every vocal contributor against it there are many more who think it's a great business move, myself included, and no matter which side your on it's much to early to judge it a success or failure in the long run.

As one of their contributers I see it as a valuable marketing opportunity to me and since they aren't making money off of it I fail to see how it pads their pockets. Another point to make here is I am a designer & marketing consultant as well as an illustrator, and working in marketing I have a lot of respect for the creative and innovative way they get their business in front of people.

3) Peebert, (Pete Rockwell) is a personal friend of mine.  I'll leave it at that as Leaf has already addressed this.

4) (Yo might want to sit down for this,) ...I truly agree with you on all counts when it comes to Scout and "not stock" rejections.  It can be very irritating.

5) I keep hearing 20 cents.  Yet my average comission is $1.73.  Also, not matter how you slice it, if you get a .50 cent comission on a site with 1/10 of the downloads you still make more at iStock.  And they still have the most traffic. Besides why is 25 cents (SS) So much better than 20c?  Even as a non exclusive pre bronze canister at iStock you will make between 20 cents and $8.00 per downloade depending on the size and price of the file.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: grp_photo on August 22, 2006, 14:36
Out of interest Amanda are you an andmin or an inspector i'm asking because you say you know Peebert personally i guess to know someone personally you must met him more often then sometimes at istockalypse.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: Greg Boiarsky on August 22, 2006, 14:44
In the interests of greater balance, I must agree with Amanda that I make much more per image at Istock than at other sites--a bit over 50 cents per sale, and as much as 70 cents per sale for some images.  While I get more per sale at some sites--notably StockXpert and FeaturePics--the volume at Istock makes it a better income source for me.  I suspect that Amanda makes more per sale because she sells vectors.

Having said this, though, I wouldn't mind a bit of a raise at Istock to make the percentage of selling price more comparable to other sites.  Not only would it benefit me, but it would also go a long way to helping the site with its PR.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 22, 2006, 14:46
No I am not an admin or inspector nor do I own any part of the company. I said he is a friend, as in someone I like, admire and talk to occasionaly over the past three years. :) FYI the admins and inspectors (there are around 45 inspectors alone, not sure how many admins) are scattered around the globe and I believe some have never met in person.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 22, 2006, 14:50
Professorgb makes a valid point.  There is room for a raise in royalties and it has been brought up many times in the forums.  I do hope/think there may be some changes on that front at some point in the future. I intend to stick it out after having seen their response to demand for higher prices.  When I started there images were something like 25 and 50 cents, so it has been fun to watch the progress!
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: IRCrockett on August 22, 2006, 14:55
5) I keep hearing 20 cents.  Yet my average comission is $1.73.  Also, not matter how you slice it, if you get a .50 cent comission on a site with 1/10 of the downloads you still make more at iStock.  And they still have the most traffic. Besides why is 25 cents (SS) So much better than 20c?  Even as a non exclusive pre bronze canister at iStock you will make between 20 cents and $8.00 per downloade depending on the size and price of the file.

Butting in.... Everyone is going to have different numbers and one site or the other is going to be "best" for them. For example my average commission is $0.52 at iStock and $0.35 at Shutterstock. iStock may have more overall traffic but the traffic that counts is that going to your portfolio and buying your images. For me, Shutterstock generates ~8x the downloads of iStock and ~6x the overall income. So at the present time for me, Shutterstock is much better. This of course can change.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: StockManiac on August 22, 2006, 15:02

1. I was not talking about locking old threads, nor threads that are extremely inflamatory towards iStock, but rather normal threads that question some things at IS.  It seems you can't question anything there.

2. VOX is a failure for a variety of reasons:

a. Because they didn't include their "community" at any part of the process.  They didn't ask contributors how they would feel about larger than normal thumbnails with the watermark moved out of the way (making it easy to pirate the image).  They didn't ask how photographers would feel about their models being inserted (for FREE mind you) on a controversial blog.  And ultimately, they didn't provide an easy way to opt-out of the VOX deal (you have to opt out of all "Promotional Use").
b. People found out about the deal (thru the grapevine).  When they tried to discuss it on the IS forums, the thread was locked more than once.

I'm not sure how you can feel that a business deal with bloggers is going to gain you much.

3.  As far as Peebert is concerned:

If IS "is a business" (as you so aptly put), I can't understand how they can let a person with such a foul mouth run their storefront.  Don't they understand simple etiquette and business practices?  I wonder how long a person with such a foul mouth would last at the IBM forums, or even working at the local fast food restaurant?

Are they trying to run a family business or a business down in the red-light district?

I didn't have to search hard before I found a thread started by Peebert titled "Does anybody give a hot slice of crap about the Summer Olympics?"  Not only does he use his normal barrage of curses in this thread, but he also manages to disparage Christianity as a sidebar.

4. I'm glad that you agree on at least one issue.

5. For a site that sells per image sales, a 20 cent commission is the lowest in the industry.  The only reason they do it is because they can.  If they truly cared about the "community", then they might want to try and help out some of the artists that are tyring to make ends meet.

And you shouldn't compare SS, because they have a totally different model (subscription based vs. per image).  But even if you do, SS still wins.

But the bottom line is that all of the microstock sites need to raise the bar.

IS is currently one of the biggest, but mark my words that they will fall.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: leaf on August 22, 2006, 15:12
well that IS a good point amanda.. i did a little calculation and my average sale on istock is  $0.40 (i took the total $/ total sales)
dreamstime in contrast the total is $0.66
shutterstock $.25 (however this is subscription download)

so istock isn't TOTALLY as bad as it first seems, but it is still low when compared to it's other per picture competitors.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: amanda1863 on August 22, 2006, 15:12
Like I said I'll be very interested to see which way things go in the next year ;)  Personally I hope they do well and obviously I wouldn't turn down a raise in royalties!
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: IRCrockett on August 22, 2006, 15:40
shutterstock $.25 (however this is subscription download)

Shutterstock won't usually work out to $0.25 even though it is subscription because they do have some per image sales (although I've never had one) and the $0.05 CD backups and the $20 Extended Licenses. If you have referrals then it continues to be better because you get a piece of everything bought and sold rather than just a flat upfront fee if they sign up and buy credits.
Title: Re: Is it just me?
Post by: madelaide on August 22, 2006, 19:40
I respectfully disagree and could post several very nitpicky rejections (yes from whule I was exclusive) to prove the contrary.  I also think that the sheer volume of exclusive contributors that complain on the iStcok forums about all the files they don't have outlet for would point to a healthy amount of rejections for exclusives.

I could also post some approvals I saw that I can't swallow.  Examples, as I said, of images that could have been easily adjusted, so why not ask that to exclusives?  And I don't go looking for such examples, they appear to me often on the front page.  I've sent them a message in fact, and I didn't send examples because I found it unpolite, then they replied that as I didn't send any examples they can't comment and that I am not complaining about exclusives but about my own rejections. *sigh* OK, I'll be unpolite and send them some examples.

I respect IS's prominency in the stock market and maybe this is the reason for their attitude.  Do I think they are the best for a contributor?  Not to a photographer at least - to vectors artists it's another story, maybe it's indeed the best site.  If I had to go exclusive with one site, I would pick DT because they offer a better share and I earn much more there than as IS both at $/image and total $.  Now that they are accepting vector files too, maybe they will be even better overall.

DT is also much more accessible than IS to reply about a rejection or any other matter.  IS replies take ages.