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Author Topic: iStock finds another way to cheat contributors  (Read 10176 times)

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KB

« on: September 08, 2011, 10:47 »
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Apparently all the ways theyve come up with so far havent been enough, so now theres another way they can cheat some contributors out of a few bucks.

From the What are redeemed credits and how do royalties work? link:
If you reach a new level during 2011 you will immediately move up to a higher royalty rate .

So I reached a new level during 2011 and waited and waited and waited.  The sale that took me over the arbitrary line happened on a Tuesday around Noon, and the higher royalty rate did not kick in until Friday morning. That was 2 complete days and one half day of sales (including, as it turned out, my best day ever for $, excluding ELs).

CRs response was that its a caching issue (notice how EVERYTHING is a caching issue?), and there was nothing that could be done about it. I think they meant it was a cash issue. So another $20 or so stolen from my pockets and into iStocks. A pittance compared to what theyve taken from me this year, but this time the theft is so blatant it even violates their own written policy.


lagereek

« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2011, 10:57 »
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Youre an idependant? you dont get anything for moving up a pinhole, as an indie, commission stays the same, doesnt it?

« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2011, 10:59 »
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Hmmm.  Do you remember if there was a similar, unavoidable 'caching' issue when you moved down from 20%?

« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 11:02 »
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Youre an idependant? you dont get anything for moving up a pinhole, as an indie, commission stays the same, doesnt it?

Once upon a time, when all was 20% for independents, that was true. Now, you move up from 15% to 20% as you climb the RC ladder.

@KB

There is something that can be done - they can issue a manual payment the way they have for other site eff-ups. When the EL bonus was incorrectly removed months early, as an example. FWIW, I'd pursue this with contributor relations. I think they are contractually obligated to pay you the higher rate for the sales following you reaching that milestone, and I think it'd be worth arguing the point with them.

You might not win, but I do think it's important you don't just accept their initial "no" at face value. This is a bit like dealing with insurance companies that just say "no" to almost everything in the first place because they know that a huge portion of people will just let it go, thus saving them money.

[nostalgia mode]Many, many moons ago when I was a relatively new iStock contributor I had a very large jump in my balance one day. When I looked, there were six large sales of the same image, just seconds apart. I figured this had to be a misclick mistake on the buyer's part, so I contacted whatever contributor relations was called then to ask them to refund the duplicate sales. I got a reply back which included a comment that it was contributor attitudes like that that made the site a great place. How much things have changed since then[/nostalgia mode]
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 11:19 by jsnover »

ShadySue

« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 11:07 »
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Youre an idependant?
Why would you assume that from the OP?

KB

« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2011, 11:15 »
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Hmmm.  Do you remember if there was a similar, unavoidable 'caching' issue when you moved down from 20%?
Ha, ha!  :D

Actually, I'm not an independent; not any more. I was one of those suckered in by the "grandfathering" promise. I signed an official grandfathering contract whereby I stated I'd become exclusive by Aug 1 (IIRC) and they stated they'd grandfather me for my next canister level. Of course, I thought I was being grandfathered for the commissions at that canister level -- silly me.

But come to think of it, my commission cut did not go into effect on Jan 1 -- wasn't it more like mid-month? So maybe this is their way of getting some of that back?

« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 11:18 »
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I got to 16% a month or so ago and I dont know if I am getting the 16%, actually I believe they should send an email or something telling the retroactive payment no? I have sent a ticket will see how it goes

helix7

« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 11:20 »
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Youre an idependant? you dont get anything for moving up a pinhole, as an indie, commission stays the same, doesnt it?

Nope. We climb the impossible ladder just like the exclusives.

« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 11:26 »
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Nope. We climb the impossible ladder just like the exclusives.

Climbing? That insinuates going up.  ;D

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 11:45 »
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I don't blame you for being upset and I would suggest contacting CR for further discussion and to resolve any monies owing to you. I'm all for calling them on what they are doing wrong--and there are enough issues presently to do so--but to state they are intentionally stealing from you is ridiculous, not to mention libelous. just saying.

KB

« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 11:47 »
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There is something that can be done - they can issue a manual payment the way they have for other site eff-ups. When the EL bonus was incorrectly removed months early, as an example. FWIW, I'd pursue this with contributor relations. I think they are contractually obligated to pay you the higher rate for the sales following you reaching that milestone, and I think it'd be worth arguing the point with them.
I actually phoned and argued. I got nowhere. The person I spoke with was quite adamant that that was the way it was. She did say she'd pass on the request to her supervisor, but I never heard anything further.

This was after more than a week and two tickets going back and forth via email.

So I really don't think there's much more to be done at this case, other than maybe hire a lawyer. Probably not worth that.  ;D

KB

« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 11:48 »
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I don't blame you for being upset and I would suggest contacting CR for further discussion and to resolve any monies owing to you. I'm all for calling them on what they are doing wrong--and there are enough issues presently to do so--but to state they are intentionally stealing from you is ridiculous, not to mention libelous. just saying.
Well, I stated the facts as they were, so I don't think that can be considered libelous. It is intentionally stealing, and they admit it (they just use different words).  ;D

« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 12:02 »
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...
This was after more than a week and two tickets going back and forth via email.

So I really don't think there's much more to be done at this case, other than maybe hire a lawyer. Probably not worth that.  ;D

Entirely up to you, but I would (a) put the request in writing and (b) send it (e-mail or snail mail) to the new Getty suit in charge of iStock, joyze, and Klein at Getty.

The ASA says, in section 5, compensation: "iStockphoto agrees to pay you royalties equal to a portion of the fees collected in respect of Accepted Exclusive Content that is downloaded or otherwise purchased by end-users according to the rate schedule ... set forth on Appendix "A" to this Agreement, ... and the license or sale of Exclusive Content recorded by iStockphoto and the Distribution Partners."

As far as timing of payments, the ASA says in 5b "In response to a written request, iStockphoto will endeavor to make payment of royalties in respect of purchased downloads of Accepted Exclusive Content on a monthly basis on or about the 15th day of the month following the purchase of Accepted Exclusive Content"

The link to the rate schedule includes these words: "These targets will be used to guide a contributor's royalty rate during that year and to establish the initial royalty rate in the following year. This initial rate will be the minimum the contributor receives throughout the year, however a contributor's royalty rate increases immediately if their redeemed credits total reaches a new level. "

There are no words that say that they can avoid payment because of site limitations, and I would ask them to point out where in the contract between supplier and iStock it authorizes them to do that. Make sure you make a specific request for your back payment (because of that verbiage about making a written request).

They may still do nothing, but I think they are clearly 100% in the wrong here legally and perhaps if you can get someone high enough up to read your case, they may decide that paying you is less trouble that risking a lawsuit down the road. At some point a contributor who's also a lawyer will get cheated and their public relations black eye would be unpleasant.

ShadySue

« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2011, 12:06 »
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Maybe their interpretation of 'immediately' refers to 'the new immediate', a close relative of 'the new trust'.
Or maybe it's a 'new kind of immediate' like the 'new kind of promise' (as in 'you will be grandfathered in').

Of course, it's shameful, but they seem to need to scrape every cent nowadays.

KB

« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2011, 12:20 »
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Thanks, Jo Ann. The last time I wrote to the suits I never got a response, so I'm disinclined to try again, especially for only $20. Besides, they could interpret it this way:
"...however a contributor's royalty rate increases immediately if their redeemed credits total reaches a new level."

A "new level" means that our system stats have been updated to show that new level. Until that time, the new level has not been reached.


There are always ways for them to weasel out of it, as they have shown time & again.

Love your new IS profile pic!  ;D

helix7

« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2011, 12:21 »
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What? istock being dishonest again? I can't believe it!

;)

« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2011, 12:27 »
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When on the can system, they never paid for the time it took for the can to update.  That's just how it worked. You're not the first.

« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2011, 12:34 »
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When on the can system, they never paid for the time it took for the can to update.  That's just how it worked. You're not the first.

I don't have any old documents to back this up, but I don't recall anything saying that you'd get paid immediately. I think that language in the new rate schedule is what makes this different from before.

I wouldn't argue that it's likely they'll try to brush any request for payment  off, but the fact that you've gotten away with something for a long time doesn't make it OK. I think in the past contributors were more likely to overlook things like this because overall iStock was very fair. Lately - with the fraud clawbacks, EL payments messed up (and on and on) - things have become much more "letter of the law" from iStock's side.

He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword, as they say...

Regarding the profile pic - seemed like the only say to let people know I've been banned, rather than I'm suddenly thrilled to bits with everything iStock does :)

KB

« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2011, 13:38 »
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When on the can system, they never paid for the time it took for the can to update.  That's just how it worked. You're not the first.
You're right. But in addition to Jo Ann's points, I'd add that as I recall those updates always happened overnight, not 3 days later.

nruboc

« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2011, 13:46 »
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lisafx

« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2011, 13:59 »
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What a disgrace.  Sorry you were suckered by the "grandfathering" scam, as I nearly was also.  Now they are nickel and diming you out of sales that should have been at the higher rate?  Pathetic. 

KB

« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2011, 14:06 »
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Thanks, Lisa.

Regarding that, adding insult to injury, I was only 200 RCs shy of the next level last year (for this year). 200 RCs. You can imagine how that felt.  >:(

« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2011, 14:07 »
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*snip*

Regarding the profile pic - seemed like the only say to let people know I've been banned, rather than I'm suddenly thrilled to bits with everything iStock does :)
They didn't ban you because of your comment in the "Feast" thread, did they?! >:(
(that one really made me LOL)

KB: :( really a disgrace...; i'd definitely also go for the BBB!
It's not too complicated and about the only thing you can do to fight back....

KB

« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2011, 14:08 »
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You can always try the BBB, worked for me and apparently a few others:

http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/everyone-with-a-complaint-about-istock-this-worked/msg194202/

An interesting idea; thanks. Sounds like it might work.  But given some of the tactics we've heard employed from some other agencies, I'd be afraid of potential retaliation. I was hesitant to even start this thread, but couldn't stand it any longer!

I think I'll just eat it and forget it.

« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2011, 14:21 »
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*snip*

Regarding the profile pic - seemed like the only say to let people know I've been banned, rather than I'm suddenly thrilled to bits with everything iStock does :)
They didn't ban you because of your comment in the "Feast" thread, did they?! >:(
(that one really made me LOL)

Yes

« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2011, 14:26 »
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Regarding the profile pic - seemed like the only say to let people know I've been banned, rather than I'm suddenly thrilled to bits with everything iStock does :)

I had to go take a look...LOL!  :D

« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2011, 14:26 »
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*snip*

Regarding the profile pic - seemed like the only say to let people know I've been banned, rather than I'm suddenly thrilled to bits with everything iStock does :)
They didn't ban you because of your comment in the "Feast" thread, did they?! >:(
(that one really made me LOL)

Yes

I would miss so much fun without stock in my life, what a joy everyday! :)

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2011, 15:39 »
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*snip*

Regarding the profile pic - seemed like the only say to let people know I've been banned, rather than I'm suddenly thrilled to bits with everything iStock does :)
They didn't ban you because of your comment in the "Feast" thread, did they?! >:(
(that one really made me LOL)

Yes

I love that profile picture....it really gets the point across without saying a word!!!

KB I'd go with the better business bureau or at least threaten to turn them over if they don't treat you fairly. Sometimes it just takes saying the word "BBB" to get their attention and then they will do what you ask. If they don't then do it.

« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2011, 03:18 »
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When on the can system, they never paid for the time it took for the can to update.  That's just how it worked. You're not the first.

You mean it's just how they work. KB, you're not the first to get shafted and you certainly won't be the last. You just have to accept it, it's just how it works.  ;D

..or u could try this. Not sure if it will work, but no harm in trying. If what you're saying is true, it's not outright theft, but it is certainly not acceptable for any agency to officially promise something then not deliver, unless it's Royalty cuts of course.  ;)

http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/everyone-with-a-complaint-about-istock-this-worked

KB

« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2011, 09:58 »
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..or u could try this. Not sure if it will work, but no harm in trying.

My fear would be I might have the identical result:
A few days after complaining, my images were down.

 ;D

« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2011, 10:06 »
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Sales down?  Last week I had multiples every day and this week I think 2 sales all week.  Not just you mate!

« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2011, 10:34 »
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..or u could try this. Not sure if it will work, but no harm in trying.

My fear would be I might have the identical result:
A few days after complaining, my images were down.

 ;D

The contributor wanted their images down off TS (after already waiting 6 months), but this only happened a few days after complaining to the Better Business Bureau. In my opinion you have a perfectly legitimate grievance. You are owed that money.

KB

« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2011, 13:10 »
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I know, I was just kidding.

Except, I do have a fear of retaliation, unfounded though it might be. It just doesn't seem worth it for the money, or the principle.

But I do appreciate the suggestions and encouragement. A better person would pursue it further, I'm sure.

« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2011, 16:00 »
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I know, I was just kidding.

Except, I do have a fear of retaliation, unfounded though it might be. It just doesn't seem worth it for the money, or the principle.

But I do appreciate the suggestions and encouragement. A better person would pursue it further, I'm sure.

Maybe not a better person, but a richer person, who could afford any consequences.


 

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