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Author Topic: iStock Partner Program Royalties Subtracted Including Extended License!  (Read 13914 times)

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« on: March 07, 2014, 15:11 »
+20
I've been reading this forum for quite a while but never really got involved, however, with the recent istock partner program sales and sale reversals I had to say something!  Istock just emailed me a spreadsheet showing the royalties I was paid and how they are reducing every single amount to $0.28.  So, they paid me a pretty good chunk of change during September and October and now they are reducing every sale to $0.28.  This also includes a RFIMGPCKEXT1 sale for $39.84 that they are reducing to $0.28!  That is clearly not what the partner program royalty rate describes on iStock's website!  This is the first time I've seen details for partner program sales and it's appalling.  Here is a copy of the email I sent to them in reply:

For #26404734/RFIMGPCKEXT1 why in the world would a royalty of $39.84 be reduced to only $0.28?  Isnt that Royalty Free Image Pack Extended 1?  So, I only get $0.28 per download no matter what happens through the partner program, even extended or product licenses?  That is clearly not what the iStock royalty rate schedule explains.  Here is my source: http://www.istockphoto.com/help/sell-stock/rate-schedule.  As I can see based on the spreadsheet you sent me you are taking away money from my royalties because I was paid more than $0.28 per sale through the partner program.  That is not right and is clearly not what the iStock royalty rates state.  Please correct this issue and deposit this money back into my account.  If not, thats a huge slap in the face and definitely encourages me to no longer contribute and possibly pull the rest of my images from iStock, not to mention the legal implications of what is happening here.  If this is what is happening (I could be confused or mistaken here, but it's not looking that way) Im sure I will end up being part of a class action suit at some point to recover royalty rates.  I also would like to quote an admin from the forum post announcing the partner program with iStock in 2009 We want to sell more pictures without compromising things here. We want to do it in a way that's fair and sustainable for all of us.  The way things are being done is neither fair or sustainable to photographer contributors.  Thank you for fixing this issue!  Feel free to contact me via email or phone to get this issue resolved.  I have seen many reports and forum posts about upset contributors never getting reply emails.  I'm sure this will not be the case.  Thank you!

Joshua


« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 15:13 »
+20
Welcome!

Pick up your "Getty H8TR" button on the table by the door ;) .

« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014, 15:16 »
+10
Welcome!

Pick up your "Getty H8TR" button on the table by the door ;) .

Can you just mail it to me or something?  Does it cost $0.28?

« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 15:21 »
0
Good luck, Joshua. Please come back and give us a report if/when you hear back from IS.

« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 15:23 »
+2
That is what I wrote in another thread about the new Istock sub. model:
"The new iIstock sub. model will drastically decrease contributor's income.
It is not about playing with RC 35% vs 30% or even 20%.
It is about getting 28 cent - 75 cent for XXXL image sale!!!
Istock site is so buggy and so complicated - it will not move even single buyer back from SS.
This move will accelerate the race to the bottom as many exclusives will drop the crown and flood the market with their ports."


« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 15:24 »
0
@ joshuarainey
Few days ago I sent them similar email... still waiting for reply...  ;) And propably, as always, I'll get it after third email to them.
 :-\
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 15:27 by Ariene »

« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 15:28 »
+8
I had 2 EXT sales in the PP list they sent me :

21141711       2013-10-08 04:47:20       EXT1       39.84       0.28       39.56
21914614       2013-10-16 06:45:36       EXT1       39.84       0.28       39.56

Now there are 2 possibilities :
1. They made a mistake while correcting the mistake
2. TS has been paying us 28 cents per Extended License for YEARS (so it's not a mistake, but intentional).

VERY interested in the reply ... if you every get one.

« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 17:10 »
+4
Welcome!

Pick up your "Getty H8TR" button on the table by the door ;) .

Can you just mail it to me or something?  Does it cost $0.28?

No - $39.84 :)

I think istock's argument is that their database was effed up - my guess is they were trying to consolidate codes across photos.com, Thinkstock and iStock.

So if you imagine that on photos.com a subs sale was code 200 and an image pack sale was 220 and an extended license 250

On Thinkstock, let's say the codes were subs 250, image pack 300 and extended license 400

In the new combined system, subs are 50, image pack 200 and extended license 250.

There should have been a conversion program to translate the sales codes from the old ones to the new. Let's say it wasn't run (or it could have been broken). Perhpas it was only run on a portion of the months' sales.

The result would be you get a bunch of subs sales on photos.com (code 200) and it incorrectly pays you using the new code rate - for image pack sales. You get a subs on Thinkstock and it pays as extended license under the new codes.

This is only the mechanics of how they could have made a stupid mistake - how they managed not to notice it, not to check on the runs done after the change, not to pay any attention to contributors telling them things were much higher than usual is a mystery.

It is at least theoretically possible that what the customer purchased is the new lower amount they say you're owed. It's also possible that they have no clue what the customer purchased because they wiped out records when they "converted" - leaving a slime trail is obviously an important thing to do with changes like this, but so is testing which they apparently don't do, or do so poorly it's as if they didn't.

If they really did mess it up that badly, I think the sane thing to have done would be not claw back anything and eat their mistake, but then this is Getty we're talking about...

« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 13:21 »
0
Joshua, any reply yet from iStock?  I'm very interested in how they respond, as it's very unclear how much we actually make for a PP extended license sale.  Have you been able to confirm that your originally recorded extended license PP sales were mistakes, as was claimed by iStock?  I hope you're able to get some clear and definitive answers!  (not holding my breath, though)...

« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2014, 14:26 »
+2
wow, just noticed this thread..

I have 3 extended license sales that are reduced to 0.28

just sent them an email now.. will report here when I hear back..

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2014, 01:48 »
0
I have got one extended reduced to 0.28 too?
Where to send the email?
To their "support ticket" as always? Or there is another way?
(I am still waiting answers to questions asked 2 months ago using a ticket)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 02:00 by Beppe Grillo »

« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 02:30 »
+4
(I am still waiting answers to questions asked 2 months ago using a ticket)

Not the only one... Most of my tickets gone into black hole...  Totally mess  ::)  In many cases I forgot what were my questions about...
This is professionalism?

« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 06:03 »
+1
I have got one extended reduced to 0.28 too?
Where to send the email?
To their "support ticket" as always? Or there is another way?
(I am still waiting answers to questions asked 2 months ago using a ticket)

I replied to their email which they sent me the details of recoupment..

« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 08:53 »
0
I have 13 of these extended license sales paying me around 1% or considerably less. I will also be emailing support.

« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 08:58 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:36 by tickstock »

« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 09:03 »
0
That is what I would like cleared up. The alternative is that ELs have always been paid at 28c, and the error was paying the higher rate, not in the type of licence. I would like to know definitively, have they made a statement about this?

« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 09:05 »
-1
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:36 by tickstock »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 09:18 »
+2
That is what I would like cleared up. The alternative is that ELs have always been paid at 28c, and the error was paying the higher rate, not in the type of licence. I would like to know definitively, have they made a statement about this?
Hmmmm, what they said was, "The overpayment issue was caused by a database numbering overlap which caused certain subscription downloads to be labeled as image pack downloads thereby resulting in a higher royalty rate being paid on those transactions. To arrive at our correction we identified the incorrectly labeled downloads and calculated the difference between the erroneous image pack royalty rate and the correct subscription royalty rate."
Unless 'image pack downloads' are recorded as extended licences, which I doubt but have no idea about, the EL thing is different.
Though I agree that if you don't usually get many ELs, it's suspicious to get 13 in one month, unless one buyer needed that many for a particular use

Another  (purely speculative on my part) possibility is credit card fraud, in which case it woul be clawed back as a different issue.

So, if Image Pack sales are not counted as ELs (I have no idea, others will be able to confirm/deny), you should take out a CR ticket, as Lobo has not said that ELs were in the recoupment.
Is your EL issue part of the recoupment (are you being given stages to repay it) or was the money all clawed back in one, which would suggest cc fraud?

Houwever, you may not get a fast reply, and possibly they'll just hit a button to tell you the repayment was correct.

« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 09:40 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:35 by tickstock »

« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 09:51 »
0
I am talking about the spreadsheet they sent out with regards to recouping the overpayment. 

13 of the 500+ sales being clawed back are ELs for between $24.02 and $39.84.

They don't appear suspicious in terms of spacing and some are labelled RFIMGPCKEXT25 down to RFIMGPCKEXT1 (I guess Royalty Free Image Pack Extended License followed by the number of images in the pack?) .

Is there a way to check if I had any other partner program extended licenses sold in September/ October so I can see if they do normally pay a decent commission on them? The orange bars on the stats tables are for ELs sold on IStock right, not in the PP? I am getting very confused.....

« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2014, 09:53 »
+3
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:35 by tickstock »

« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2014, 10:02 »
0
Thanks tickstock, guess I have some research to do before I shoot off any emails.

And thanks sue for the explanation, I guess they could have just been normal sub-sales misreported as ELs, it would be great if someone from IStock gets back to someone who's emailed with an official response

ETA is there a link somewhere to pricing for extended licenses on Thinkstock?
I found this:
http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/legal/license-information
and
http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/subscribe

But can't find the actual pricing, can subscribers upgrade licenses to ELs for specific images?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 10:06 by Christos Georghiou »

« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2014, 10:09 »
0
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 23:35 by tickstock »

« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2014, 10:23 »
0
Can someone explain to me how some contributors alledgedly only have been overpaid by less than 10$? It doesnt seem to fit into the the numbers and that it was indeed a problem with imagespacks and EL's being wrongly marked.... Sounds fishy to me.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2014, 10:24 »
0
But can't find the actual pricing, can subscribers upgrade licenses to ELs for specific images?

Apparently so, but they have to phone them directly to find out the price, apparently.
http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/Legal/license-information?isource=pricing_viewlicensedetails
(second line under the header).
Wonder how many buyers even know about this?

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2014, 10:26 »
0
Can someone explain to me how some contributors alledgedly only have been overpaid by less than 10$? It doesnt seem to fit into the the numbers and that it was indeed a problem with imagespacks and EL's being wrongly marked.... Sounds fishy to me.

Very good point.
Raise it on their forum http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=359490&page=1, though I suppose you'd need to read through all the posts there to see if it's been covered already.

KB

« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2014, 10:32 »
+6
Go to iStock.
Completely off-topic, and certainly not Tickstock's meaning, so I apologize in advance.

But am I the only one who read that as "Go to hell"? 

Again, sorry.

« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2014, 10:33 »
+2
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 21:50 by tickstock »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2014, 10:58 »
0
Go to iStock.

Completely off-topic, and certainly not Tickstock's meaning, so I apologize in advance.

But am I the only one who read that as "Go to hell"? 

Again, sorry.

LOL, it wasn't meant like that.  The royalties are listed on the iStock website, not the thinkstock website.  I was being lazy, I didn't want to go find the link but here it is:  http://www.istockphoto.com/help/sell-stock/rate-schedule


Is that what iStock tell you if you do what's told on their thinkstock site and phone them?
If so, why isn't there a direct link from that page I linked to above to the iS EL page?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:58 by ShadySue »

KB

« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2014, 16:14 »
+3
Go to iStock.

Completely off-topic, and certainly not Tickstock's meaning, so I apologize in advance.

But am I the only one who read that as "Go to hell"? 

Again, sorry.

LOL, it wasn't meant like that.  The royalties are listed on the iStock website, not the thinkstock website.  I was being lazy, I didn't want to go find the link but here it is:  http://www.istockphoto.com/help/sell-stock/rate-schedule

Of course I knew that. It's just that sometimes I feel I am in (microstock) hell, so telling someone to "go to iStock" equated in my mind to ....

« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2014, 17:54 »
0
I had a couple of EL's reduced to 0.28 too .... If it has been like this in the years before I know why I still drive that old car ...

« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2014, 19:40 »
+1
I had a couple of EL's reduced to 0.28 too .... If it has been like this in the years before I know why I still drive that old car ...

The "mistake" certainly could have exposed something IS was hiding all along.  I had two EL's clawed back to 28 cents. Sent them an email too.

« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2014, 12:57 »
0
I got my csv report with all image pack and EL downloads converted to .28 cents.

However, there were two downloads that went from .28 cents to ZERO. I don't recall reading in any of the explanations regarding the database errors in addition to the image pack eff up that there were downloads that were calculated but not actually happen and removed entirely.

Has anyone else had downloads (either .28 cents or more) totally deleted to zero?

Thanks in advance for your answers

« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2014, 14:15 »
+1
istock answser:

"To answer your question: "did i earn 0.28 no matter the plan the customer select?" no, if you had sales from the other plans and image packs, then you would have received the relevant royalty.

I exported your December csv and they too are all 28 cents. Note that if you did get royalties from an image pack, those would have reported as such. We did not simply convert everything to 28 cents, that is what you actually earned.

Thinkstock is essentially our subscription site, so most, if not all, royalties from here will be 28 cents for you. We do see the occasional image pack sales, but most will be subscription.

I hope this helps to clarify things. Let me know if you still have additional questions. "


« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2014, 20:08 »
0
I had some ELs turned into 28 cents too... So they were a mistake? They were actually 28 cent downloads?

« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2014, 20:24 »
0
Can someone explain to me how some contributors alledgedly only have been overpaid by less than 10$? It doesnt seem to fit into the the numbers and that it was indeed a problem with imagespacks and EL's being wrongly marked.... Sounds fishy to me.

I presume I fall into that category. I have only a few images left on IS and PP, so I think there was only one sale reported for more than .28 during that time - 3.98 or something like that. I was disappointed when everyone else was talking about great sales numbers, but now I suppose I actually got a mini - bonus from them. Of course it probably only amounted to getting 50% of one sale or something piddly like that.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2014, 21:16 »
0
I had some ELs turned into 28 cents too... So they were a mistake? They were actually 28 cent downloads?

Yes, those sales weren't EL sales to begin with, according to iStock. I had this confirmed by the support desk.

« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2014, 07:44 »
+1
ok, thanks!

I wonder how a mistake like this could ever happen...

« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2014, 17:54 »
0
That is what I would like cleared up. The alternative is that ELs have always been paid at 28c, and the error was paying the higher rate, not in the type of licence. I would like to know definitively, have they made a statement about this?
I've had ELs paid at the correct rate, I know lots of other people have too.  Is this your first month with an EL (and you had 13), if so that should make you suspicious.

How do you know that you had ELs when they don't show you specific sale stats for the partner program?  Is there a way to find out this info?  I sent them another reply email to the latest recoupment and asked them for detailed partner program sale data to see if there are any non-subscription sales for me at all.

« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2014, 06:21 »
+1
.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 21:50 by tickstock »

gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2014, 19:11 »
0
what a mess! i've got one too, but is there any point in asking about it?

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2014, 19:41 »
0
what a mess! i've got one too, but is there any point in asking about it?
:(
You won't know until you ask. Some reps are more informative than others. Good luck.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 20:02 by ShadySue »


 

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