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Author Topic: iStock New Sub. Model Just Announced!  (Read 25520 times)

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« Reply #125 on: March 04, 2014, 20:37 »
0
The end game here is a transfer from the developed world to the developing world. The future of micro stock is lower prices.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 08:06 by goober »


Uncle Pete

« Reply #126 on: March 04, 2014, 22:48 »
0
I think it is only for the back end function of paying contributors. They don't want to/can't/are afraid to try to come up with some sort of connector to track and pay for the Hemera (StockXpert) content that's on Thinkstock. Clunky as it is, they can use the old code to avoid breaking things introducing new code.

For those who weren't around then, StockXpert was acquired by Jupiter Images and StockXpert content was later included in subscriptions on photos.com and JIunlimited. SockXpert contributors were paid via their StockXpert account. When Getty acquired Jupiter and then decided to start Thinkstock, all the Jupiter properties contributed to Thinkstock. Then Getty closed StockXpert as a sales site or way to contribute, but left all the files there to keep them on Thinkstock.

Walter Scott - Marmion

« Reply #127 on: March 05, 2014, 02:19 »
+13
I think Jo Ann hit the nail on the head when she said she couldn't understand the management strategy behind this move.  I've thought about it, and I can't understand it either.  Unless, that is, there are larger strategic things going on.

What confuses me (and probably everyone else) is that Getty has put so much effort into Thinkstock.  Getty's CEO even announced a year or two back that they planned to 'aggressively grow their Thinkstock business'.  Aggressive was the word he used.  And indeed I personally thought that Thinkstock was making good progress - I've had my portfolio there from the beginning so I've seen the tremendous growth in sales.  And some of the people on the 'refund' thread were showing big numbers, so clearly their sales must have been pretty good.  Not Shutterstock, of course, but pretty impressive for a two year start-up, albeit one probably funded by transferring thousands of customers away from iStock and other Getty sites.  Perhaps that's the problem - perhaps it's been Peter paying Paul and no genuine organic growth.

At the same time they've run down iStock.  It's clear to anyone that iStock lacks resources.  Just look at the landing page Valentine fiasco.  And the unpaid subs.  And the search that still doesn't work after more than a year.  And the long list of bugs never resolved.  And no customer support worth talking about.  It gives the impression of a shoestring operation, struggling through from one day to the next.

And now we get this subs announcement.  It's clearly aimed at stemming the flow of customers to Shutterstock.  There might even be a plan to revitalise iStock.  But without resources?  And no live sales reporting?  And lack of staff?

And then what happens to Thinkstock?  Are they going to kill Thinkstock and put all those resources, advertising etc into iStock?  That would be counter to everything they've done to iStock over the last two or three years.  And would make iStock a direct competitor to Thinkstock.

Doesn't make the slightest bit of sense to me.  Unless, of course, there's something more important going on and they've had independent analysis that tells them they've been wrong with their iStock strategy and a new period of investment and growth will ensue.

« Reply #128 on: March 05, 2014, 03:05 »
+13
What confuses me (and probably everyone else) is that Getty has put so much effort into Thinkstock. ... Not Shutterstock, of course, but pretty impressive for a two year start-up, albeit one probably funded by transferring thousands of customers away from iStock and other Getty sites.

I don't know how you came up with "two year start-up". My first PP downloads are from 2009. They were miniscule. After promises of a new push I decided to put more images back into the PP in the mid of 2011 but numbers were pretty small again. It's only now when I turned non-exclusive that the numbers got important for me in 2013. But this is mainly due to the fact that I now only get 17% at iStock, so the PP is doubling my overall IS income.

And when you mention people reporting big numbers in the refund thread: Yes, there are some in the four digits. Which means they are making some $500 or $1000 through the PP in regular month. But some of those have 5,000 or 10,000 professional level images, so they are likely to make five times more on SS with the same images.

That's probably the real message behind it: Whatever IS / Getty / TS tried, they never won significant numbers of clients but Shutterstock did. Getty has a huge client base and it just kept many of them from switching to Shutter by having a TS subscription in addition to their existing Getty and IS accounts. But I doubt they have ever managed to get more than 10-20% of the Shutterstock revenue with Thinkstock. Now they are making another try by turning IS into a subscription platform.

Business-wise it would make sense in a way. Most agencies today offer both, a full subscription offer and a credit or image pack offer. However, Getty has never been inventive, creative or acted as a leader. They are a company founded with investment money, run by investment bankers and owned by investment bankers. They buy, they merge, they leverage, they restructure, they optimize. They have never been, are not and never will be leading anything anywhere.

And that's why this news strategy is going to fail as well: They are trying to match an existing offer but they are offering less service, less quality, less reliability. So the only advantage they have is their sales force and connections to big media and advertising companies. But they will never be able to connect to the average small business owner, website startup or designer that iStock once made. They think corporate and won't ever be able to understand the masses of small people. So they won't ever win them back as clients.

« Reply #129 on: March 05, 2014, 03:33 »
+13
SS is a modern, technology focussed company that understands that both their customers as well as their suppliers are entrepreneurs. They see themselves as a service platform and put all their energy and considerable brain power of their staff to providing the best service in the industry.

Like Michael said - Getty doesnt lead. They dont innovate. And when it comes to istock they never even made the effort to really understand the business they bought. Or how doing business on the internet really works.

They dont really think things through, they just make very half hearted attempts of copying something someone else already does.

All their ideas come from buying someone else (or a company with ideas).

But today this is just not enough.

Thinkstock was never really set up to compete professionally with SS. Which is why it probably only reached their own istock customers and not too many new ones. So now they are trying to offer a subs service on istock itself, again mostly to prevent their own customers from leaving to SS.

But since istock is not getting more staff,more money,and no professional internet brainpower to lead it... I really dont see how they have a chance against SS.

Most agencies are offering subs in addition to credit sales. Many agencies are cheaper than SS.

But nobody has the growth of SS.

SS has very smart leadership with now over 10 years of experience. And they have tons of money to spend on infrastructure and growth instead of billions in debt like Getty.

This subs plan looks desperate. You cant see a longterm secret business master plan, because there is none.

Ron

« Reply #130 on: March 05, 2014, 03:43 »
+11
The day Bruce left Istock, Istock lost the race.

« Reply #131 on: March 05, 2014, 05:16 »
+3
Subscriptions are a benefit to the seller if the website is easy to use,search works well and downloading is quick and easy. Customers end up downloading extra images just because they have to fill their plate at the buffet to feel like they got their money's worth.

Shutterstock is unique (and successful) as they managed to build alot of credit / on demand sales etc. My RPD at Shutterstock last month was over $1 .

Dreamstime with their level structure for credit sales should be making me the highest RPD but last months was $0.41 basically it was 90% subcriptions sales there last month. Disappointed with the trend there, I believe that their subscription pricing has migrated the buyers there mostly onto subscriptions. Unfortunately the pricing war on subscriptions has cut into credit sales. 

I believe that IStocks pricing for their subscription offer will just transform any serious buyer into a subscription customer. (The few that are left). I have no confidence in that their actions will increase the amount of money I make. Either at Istock or in the industry as a whole. (another subscription offer to compete with)

With migration to subs and no RC's then I doubt if many contributors will be able to make much above 16-17% tiers. or equivalent for exclusives.

If the returns for contributors continue to fall they risk falling (some would say continue to fall) into the death spiral where a lot of contributors couldn't be bothered uploading there as the returns won't be worth it.

With lowest % returns, some of the lowest pricing for non-exclusives and below average subscription rates it would appear it would be in my interest as a non-exclusive for the customers to go elsewhere and istock fall to 10th on the earning list.



 

ShadySue

« Reply #132 on: March 05, 2014, 06:38 »
+6
Short and to the point extract from filo:
"It seems like every change that is made does harm to contributors. "
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=359606&messageid=6990980

« Reply #133 on: March 05, 2014, 07:02 »
+4
An offer for subscription relies on offering a huge choice for the customer and the "all you can eat" download buffet.

In this article Michael made an interesting comparison between the numbers of files reaching SS and istock in 2013. Although istock now takes nearly everything and many indies are uploading the rest of their portfolios, SS is still leading with over 3 million more files accepted.

http://www.michaeljayfoto.com/agency-news/how-did-the-istock-collection-develop-in-2013/

These numbers show the obvious: the community of stock artists trust SS a lot more to sell their content, be a reliable business partner and bring in profit.

SS high quality reputation results in MILLIONS more files entrusted to them per year.

So they will always be able to offer their customers more choices than istock.

You might not get thousands of posting on the industry forums every day. But people read. Share information. And understand where the future is going.

Trust is Money. Business communication is Money. A companies reputation is Money.

The only one who doest understand that is Getty.

EmberMike

« Reply #134 on: March 05, 2014, 08:21 »
+10

iStock could make a subscription offering work and be successful with it. But they won't. They've already overcomplicated it to the point where it will likely fail.

What iStock seems to be unable to figure out is that Shutterstock keeps things simple, at least on the outside. Buying images is easy. Subscriptions are dirt simple. Pay the fee (a fee that really hasn't changed much in years) and you're on your way. Even on the contributor side, it's dirt simple. We get real-time stats, simple and easy to understand data, etc.

Shutterstock was often criticized for having too basic of a website. No zoom, not a particularly great design, too simple, bare, etc. But the genius of it was that it worked well at the basics. It was reliable, fast, easy to use, and although didn't have all of those "advanced" features iStock  and others touted, it also didn't have to worry about those "features" getting in the way of doing what their core function was: getting people to quickly and easily buy images. 

iStock doesn't have it in their DNA to do anything simple anymore. It's always complicated, and always buggy to start. So they stumble out of the gate with a mediocre offering and spend years struggling to make it better, rarely succeeding in that effort.

This subscription model will be no different, and it's doomed to fail right from the start.

« Reply #135 on: March 05, 2014, 08:28 »
0
Shows what a waste of time that what if post about what if SS lowered rates was - who predicted this one.? I stock seem hell bent on self destruction

« Reply #136 on: March 05, 2014, 08:33 »
-3
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:51 by tickstock »

« Reply #137 on: March 05, 2014, 08:38 »
+8
When we speak of IS vs. SS, what catches my eye is that IS keeps jumping all over the place, trying things to see if they stick. That's my personal impression.  SS on the other hand, pilots one strategy on a subset, validates it, then either expands the pilot or pulls it back to make tweaks so its gaps don't become readily obvious to their contributors and buyers. Once they prove it out, it's fully launched, as a new process should be handled.

« Reply #138 on: March 05, 2014, 08:41 »
+6
Shows what a waste of time that what if post about what if SS lowered rates was - who predicted this one.? I stock seem hell bent on self destruction
I'm sure lots of people saw this coming.  Shutterstock is growing rapidly, making tons of money, paying contributors next to nothing, and they are loved for it.  Sounds like a great business plan to me.

Well, I have the same images on SS and IS.  My monthly income on SS is 40% more per month/year than IS.  IS has "Istock AND Thinkstock" and they pay pathetically.  Need I say 28 cents for a TS DL? Not sure why you continue to bash SS royalties when IS/TS is at best close in royalties, and in many cases less (TS), for independents anyway. BTW, I have NEVER had an .08 cent royalty on SS, but I have on IS. And don't forget the OD & SOD in case you try to use the credit argument.

Edit: BTW I would love for SS to raise sub royalties, I am not saying it is the best income stream a photographer could hope for, just that it is far better than IS with the same amount of work, apples to apples in terms of my work and resulting income.  Now if you want to split hairs, the IS upload system SUCKS and is way more time consuming than SS, so if you really want to divide my time by monthly revenue, add another feather in the cap of SS.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 08:48 by Mantis »

« Reply #139 on: March 05, 2014, 09:19 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:51 by tickstock »

« Reply #140 on: March 05, 2014, 10:07 »
0

iStock could make a subscription offering work and be successful with it. But they won't. They've already overcomplicated it to the point where it will likely fail.

What iStock seems to be unable to figure out is that Shutterstock keeps things simple, at least on the outside. Buying images is easy. Subscriptions are dirt simple. Pay the fee (a fee that really hasn't changed much in years) and you're on your way. Even on the contributor side, it's dirt simple. We get real-time stats, simple and easy to understand data, etc.

Shutterstock was often criticized for having too basic of a website. No zoom, not a particularly great design, too simple, bare, etc. But the genius of it was that it worked well at the basics. It was reliable, fast, easy to use, and although didn't have all of those "advanced" features iStock  and others touted, it also didn't have to worry about those "features" getting in the way of doing what their core function was: getting people to quickly and easily buy images. 

iStock doesn't have it in their DNA to do anything simple anymore. It's always complicated, and always buggy to start. So they stumble out of the gate with a mediocre offering and spend years struggling to make it better, rarely succeeding in that effort.

This subscription model will be no different, and it's doomed to fail right from the start.

Completely agree

EmberMike

« Reply #141 on: March 05, 2014, 10:13 »
+4
I think I've made my position clear before.  I don't think being nonexclusive at iStock is a good choice either.  If I were to drop exclusivity I wouldn't continue with iStock.  It's perfectly consistent to say that nonexclusivity at iStock AND contributing to Shutterstock are both bad for artists.

You could say the same for most microstock agencies. Are any of them good for artists?

It's just how the business is today. For me, to make a living doing this I need to do business with Shutterstock. I could do without iStock but at this point it's helpful to stick with them. I'm not Yuri or Andres, I need the middle and low earners to help pay the bills.

But none of them are "good" for me. The number of companies out there offering good deals for artists in microstock, I could count them on one hand after a tragic accident that takes a few of my fingers.

« Reply #142 on: March 05, 2014, 10:35 »
+1
While Shutterstock has done many things right there is no need to look at them thru rose colored glasses. Shutterstock has been able to gain market share, because they kept things simple, they undercut pricing long term and their largest competitor became greedy, arrogant, treated it's suppliers with contempt, lost focus, did not invest in its infrastructure, etc etc etc. Shutterstock's price undercutting to gain market share has been detrimental to the entire industry and should not be lauded.

To start, I do not see IS taking a significant share of the sub market if they do not make major investments in their infrastructure. That said Shutterstock infrastructure also has problems that need to be addressed, the site is not as advanced as many here seem to believe. Stable functioning sites do not go down as often as SS does, ports, images and keywords do not go missing. Nor they do they leave themselves open to hacker attacks by using end of life open source software.

If we look at shutterstock or any site with rose colored glasses and fail to take care of our own interest the owners will have no problem taking profit from our failure to protect our business assets and interests. For a reality check shutterstock has its own issues as detailed by people who work there.  In my opinion, instead of offering glowing reviews we need to take all of the sites to task to make sure that our assets are taken care of.

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Shutterstock-Reviews-E270840.htm

Snip

opacity, secrecy and arrogance
Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Shutterstock full-time for more than a year

Pros the industry they are working in is normally interesting. What they made of it, unfortunately, does not correspond to people expectations.

Cons Very poor management- Culture of secrecy, opacity and total lack of communication. Old Good Top down methodology.
Request, emails, questions remain unanswered.

Doubtful promotion system, where friends and acquaintances rise very quick while others struggle.

H.R take employees for a commodity to be used and abused, and lied to.

Advice to Senior Management Success when it's too quick leads can lead to complete arrogance. This is exactly what happened to the executives and founder of this company.

Wake up and respect other people around including clients, users and employees..

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company
Was this review helpful?
Yes | No Add Employer Response Flag Review

Snip
Software engineer Intern
Software Engineer (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Shutterstock as an intern for less than a year

Pros Flat structure, good food, good people and very interesting.

Cons Most of stuff is perl, old perl. Kind of hard to understand what is really going on.


Snip
 A great place for developers!
Project Manager (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at Shutterstock full-time for more than a year

Pros Great work life balance
Google-like perks
Quick Project Delivery
Challenging work
Encouraged and driven to be faster, smarter, and better designed
Great culture

Cons Terrible management - Considers itself a technology shop and desires to foster innovation but this works only for developers. Other disciplines not well understood or managed or seen as bringing value.

High turnover.

Advice to Senior Management Learn how to manage in ways that motivate, not demotivate.

Snip

High turnover due to clique-y environment
Designer (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at Shutterstock full-time for more than a year

Pros Good equipment
Pizza fridays
Smart co-workers (developers)
Hackathon
Rally (Agile)
Manhattan location

Cons Product management is done behind closed doors

All top-down

Some people don't make eye contact when they talk to you (ever)

High turnover

Crappy, corporate looking offices

If you're not friends with certain managers forget ever going anywhere
Some managers take credit for subordinates work

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company Manhattan location

« Reply #143 on: March 05, 2014, 11:47 »
+5
^^ I've worked for three of the biggest IT companies on the planet and I could say the same thing about any of them. Doesn't mean much really until you put it in context.

As for SS, I like what they do with my work and the money they make for me is way above the top six agencies combined. I still watch their every move though....but I'm not obsessive about it.

« Reply #144 on: March 05, 2014, 11:59 »
+7

I'm sure lots of people saw this coming.  Shutterstock is growing rapidly, making tons of money, paying contributors next to nothing, and they are loved for it.  Sounds like a great business plan to me.

So tickstock turns it into an anti-SS pissing match. Compare what he just said in another thread:


But hey if you want to turn everything into an iStock vs. Shutterstock pissing match, I'll bow out of this exchange.

Make your mind up, dude. Either you are happy with adversarial comments or you aren't.

Right now, you're making it look like it's OK to rubbish SS but you don't want comparison that puts iS in a poor light to be posted.

Odd, that.

« Reply #145 on: March 05, 2014, 12:04 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:51 by tickstock »

« Reply #146 on: March 05, 2014, 12:10 »
+2
I wouldn't be surprised if/when Thinkstock gets merged into iStock. I'm not happy with the idea of getting paid less per image, but I am hoping in the least they will merge them all to one site and integrate real-time reporting...that may be too much for them to handle. It makes sense to me that Getty would want iStock to be a typical subscription site. From Getty's viewpoint they offer the high quality and iStock offers the cheaper content for subscriptions...covering their bases and making it much more simple sustainable model. With that said...sucks for us contributors. The returns vs the time and effort put in is becoming too even to make it worthwhile.

« Reply #147 on: March 05, 2014, 12:15 »
+5
This explains the move some time ago to increase the allowable submission rates from a very controlled few to near infinity.

« Reply #148 on: March 05, 2014, 12:23 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:50 by tickstock »

« Reply #149 on: March 05, 2014, 12:28 »
+5

I'm sure lots of people saw this coming.  Shutterstock is growing rapidly, making tons of money, paying contributors next to nothing, and they are loved for it.  Sounds like a great business plan to me.

So tickstock turns it into an anti-SS pissing match. Compare what he just said in another thread:


But hey if you want to turn everything into an iStock vs. Shutterstock pissing match, I'll bow out of this exchange.

Make your mind up, dude. Either you are happy with adversarial comments or you aren't.

Right now, you're making it look like it's OK to rubbish SS but you don't want comparison that puts iS in a poor light to be posted.

Odd, that.
I think the reason for iStock starting a subs program is Shutterstock, it seems 100% relevant to me.  I think this is a furthering of the race to the bottom.  Shutterstock is doing well and iStock is responding.

You might well be right about that, but to me it looks as if it is a consequence of iStock being devoid of leadership and ideas. So what do businesses do when they are like that? Just try to copy someone else who is making a better job of things. If iS had a clue of what is was or where is should go it would not have to try to turn itself into a second-rate SS, would it?


 

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