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Author Topic: Old files and poor sellers - Partner Program?  (Read 5475 times)

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« on: July 29, 2010, 21:00 »
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Right now I'm opted out of iStock's partner program - because I'm opposed to the poor royalties and don't want my work devalued in that way. But now I'm wondering if maybe I should opt in my older, lower quality poor sellers on an individual basis. Still, I'm conflicted about the ethics of this, I don't want to contribute to the downfall of microstock just to make a few extra $$'s. Would it be wrong to treat Thinkstock as a bargain center type storefront for my 'clearance items'? Or is Thinkstock such an abomination that it would be unethical to participate in it at all?


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 21:18 »
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Very interesting question Allsa.  I have wondered the same thing.  Particularly now that they are selling image packs with much higher returns per sale.

There are a couple of obstacles as I see it.  To opt in files individually is agonizingly slow.  Really, truly, mindbogglingly slow.  Try opting in just one page of 20 images one by one and you will see what I mean.   I think this is to make it difficult to do and lead people toward hitting the one simple button to include everything.

More importantly, Istock exclusives, who can only include their istock images that are over 18 months old, report that their search positions are very bad on TS and it is affecting their sales.  Because there is a bias toward newer images in the TS search engine, independents who have their whole ports opted in are reporting better sales.   So as an independent opting in only old files will not yield good returns. 

So to me it still seems like it is more of an all-in or nothing-in proposition.  And I have the same concerns as you about contributing to the downfall of the industry. 

« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 02:44 »
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I don't think you will make any significant income opting in poor selling images to a site that pays such a low commissions.  They will like it if we gradually give in and accept $0.25, I just can't see how it will make us more money.  Other sites will probably reduce their commissions if thinkstock can get away with it.  I use my spare time working on an RM portfolio on alamy.  If I had any more time, I would be working on selling prints.

The question I keep pondering is if I should be using microstock at all?  I will keep going for now but I don't like the way commissions have been cut by some sites when their costs must be coming down.  If it gets any worse, I will be trying something else.

« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2010, 04:58 »
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Or is Thinkstock such an abomination that it would be unethical to participate in it at all?

IMHO Thinkstock is an abomination for contributors on too many levels to list __ but let's give it a go anyway!

Lowest commissions in the industry undercutting other agencies that are much fairer to contributors. No direct uploading or control of portfolios. All 'support', for want of a better word, is via the somewhat disinterested third party of IS. Desperately slow reporting of commissions (via IS a month or two later). No means for contributors to verify the accuracy of the reports and we know that the same people have a long history of 'losing' sales numbers at PC/JIU (it was only when contributors compared notes on this forum that the issue was (eventually) addressed). Default search results are the only option for buyers and and appeared to be skewed towards TS's wholly-owned content on which they pay no commissions. No acknowledgment of the artist's name so therefore no credits when used for editorial or in books. Many reports of dissatisfaction from contributors with portfolios being withdrawn (or attempts to do so anyway with varying degrees of success). Little obvious investment or ongoing development of the site which is poor compared to the competition. All in all it's a very poor show.

abimages

« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 05:06 »
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Or is Thinkstock such an abomination that it would be unethical to participate in it at all?

IMHO Thinkstock is an abomination for contributors on too many levels to list __ but let's give it a go anyway!

Lowest commissions in the industry undercutting other agencies that are much fairer to contributors. No direct uploading or control of portfolios. All 'support', for want of a better word, is via the somewhat disinterested third party of IS. Desperately slow reporting of commissions (via IS a month or two later). No means for contributors to verify the accuracy of the reports and we know that the same people have a long history of 'losing' sales numbers at PC/JIU (it was only when contributors compared notes on this forum that the issue was (eventually) addressed). Default search results are the only option for buyers and and appeared to be skewed towards TS's wholly-owned content on which they pay no commissions. No acknowledgment of the artist's name so therefore no credits when used for editorial or in books. Many reports of dissatisfaction from contributors with portfolios being withdrawn (or attempts to do so anyway with varying degrees of success). Little obvious investment or ongoing development of the site which is poor compared to the competition. All in all it's a very poor show.



This sums it up very well. Thanks for that :)

Dook

« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 05:20 »
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I agree with Lisa - it is time consuming. And one more thing - bad pictures don't sell anywhere. No matter if it's an 0.25 site or RM, low sellers are low sellers.
This kind of attitude - I will give only my worst files for cheap reminds me of macro stock photographers some  few years ago. But, that's another story.

ShadySue

« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 05:44 »
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What Gostwyck said, plus they said at the beginning the program was to attract new buyers. As an exclusive, the idea of 'stealing' some of SSs buyers that we wouldn't otherwise have access to was attractive. However, soon after the launch, they bulk-mailled some of the biggest iStock buyers suggesting that they might like to consider Thinkstock instead. As a business move, I can't see how that made sense (except for the wholly-owned content aspect of course), but it certainly broke my trust.

@Dook: to a great degree that's true, but only yesterday I noticed that two of my Dollar Bill files, which had never sold in the main collection, have sold 74 and 65 (or vv!) times respectively in the DB. Of course, I've got plenty files in there which haven't sold.

@Allsa: another thing to remember is that old files can sell eventually, maybe only a few times, or maybe something happens. This week I sold one of my very first uploads from the first time since Jan '07. And even at XS it was a lot more than I'd get in the PP. There have been several first time sales of files uploaded in 2007 this month, which has been an all-time low month for numbers of sales (for me). Also, I had a 'sleeping' file: uploaded in Nov '07, it got one sale in Sept 08, then a whole year until its next sale, but it is now selling a couple of times a month. Not Black Diamond status by any means, but still better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Anyway, although I opted out after the bulk email went out, and am still out, I'm keeping a watching brief. There may come a time ... (I wish they'd allowed us to submit our 'natural light' images which were rejected for being 'too flat'.)

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 06:07 »
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Right now I'm opted out of iStock's partner program - because I'm opposed to the poor royalties and don't want my work devalued in that way. But now I'm wondering if maybe I should opt in my older, lower quality poor sellers on an individual basis. Still, I'm conflicted about the ethics of this, I don't want to contribute to the downfall of microstock just to make a few extra $$'s. Would it be wrong to treat Thinkstock as a bargain center type storefront for my 'clearance items'? Or is Thinkstock such an abomination that it would be unethical to participate in it at all?

Hi,

while I respect your decision of not opting in, for the reasons you stated... I opted in with all my port and - to my surprise - my best sellers in the partner program ARE my lower quality poor sellers on IS

On a side note, the partner program is not only TS but also (and maybe mainly) photos.com; and most of us where already contributing there from StockXpert. And Crestock (both old and new) has the same low $.25 commission; and some XS regular sales at various agencies are not significatively better; in my opinion, one is either exclusive (and ethics count) or non exclusive (in which case you have to choose a threshold - $.25 for me - and just hope to sell somewhere)

michealo

« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2010, 06:15 »
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Right now I'm opted out of iStock's partner program - because I'm opposed to the poor royalties and don't want my work devalued in that way. But now I'm wondering if maybe I should opt in my older, lower quality poor sellers on an individual basis. Still, I'm conflicted about the ethics of this, I don't want to contribute to the downfall of microstock just to make a few extra $$'s. Would it be wrong to treat Thinkstock as a bargain center type storefront for my 'clearance items'? Or is Thinkstock such an abomination that it would be unethical to participate in it at all?

Right now I don't think it is even an option as the connector is broken (it has been now for several months) and there seem to be no plans to fix it.

I opted in but less that 20% of my files have been made available on partner sites

« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2010, 07:21 »
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Probably I will remove all my files  from partner program only because there is no my name with pics..
Our fundamental right is to have author's name with our photos...

« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2010, 07:29 »
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I opted in initially following iStock's original criteria, which was files that hadn't sold at all after 18 months, or had sold less than 5 times after two years - and I've continued to add some on a monthly basis, using the same criteria, although as mentioned they don't seem to be getting moved across any more and there has been no word as to why this is or whether it will ever be fixed.  I suspect it is not a priority for iStock!

That amounts to about 387 files as I recall - so far, my best month was 28 downloads on those, for $8.96.  Not very good!

Non-exclusives have reported better sales, presumably because they have their entire portfolio there, and as mentioned it seems the age of the file affects the placement, so that old files are going to be at the end of the search.

So as far as I'm concerned, it's been barely worth the effort... but your mileage may vary.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 07:38 by Gannet77 »


 

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