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Author Topic: Should the microstock industry be regulated?  (Read 7822 times)

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« on: September 24, 2010, 22:04 »
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I think the lack of transparency with the agency's doing whatever they want with no repercussions is terrible. How do we know that our agencies are not ripping us off blind.

Clear example of something fishy with the istocks payout. I do vectors and sell them as a series.. lets say music. Today i get 3 downloads apprarently from the same buyer because they were downloaded at the same time. These are 14 credit files and i get three different commission rates and they are not subscription. If its one account buying, wouldnt this be impossible unless something unethical is going on here? Im confused.

How does an industry start getting regulated? do we write and bitch to our senators to pass a bill??


« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 22:09 »
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Senators of which country? istock is Canadian, Fotolia is based in Europe I think, SS in the States, not sure about Dreamstime (France?).

« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 22:25 »
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Oops
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 10:19 by Kone »

Pixel-Pizzazz

« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 23:08 »
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Glitches, or display errors, or what have you, exist for the download count:

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=249632
here:
http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=1819074
and here:
http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=1259118
and here:
http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=570106
and here:
http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=717739

And I'm not sure what has come of the other issue - the image views 'glitch'.

I think help of some sort is needed.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 23:11 by Pixel-Pizzazz »

« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2010, 14:30 »
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averil good point...

pixel.... thats not what im talking about..... my 14 credit files... all 3 of them which is related to one another was downloaded by the same buyer. unless he bought those same files with 3 different accounts, I wouldnt be getting a cut for $6.16, $6.04, and $5.88. im silver... all downloaded the same time. Doesnt this seem fishy to you?

« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2010, 14:56 »
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Aren't you allowed to instigate and audit of your sales figures if you have doubts? Of course, the cost would be prohibitive but that provides for theoretical transparency. What more could you get from legislation?

Pixel-Pizzazz

« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 15:22 »
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@VB inc

I get what you are saying.  What our concerns have in common is a question of 'integrity'.  I think there needs to be answers that instill some confidence in the accuracy of data until the reportiing and or matters are resolved.  Lagging, unpredictable, and  'buggy' numbers don't make me feel very confident.

Perhaps your situation could have been caused by a blend of credits/bundles purchased at differing prices.  I suppose that would be a possible explaination for it, since your get paid based on the net value of the credits used for the purchase.  I don't know the pecking order for credits - whether it is first in first out, etc.

« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2010, 01:46 »
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If you wanna totally kill an industry, regulate it, works like a charm...

« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 03:32 »
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If you wanna totally kill an industry, regulate it, works like a charm...

I wouldn't want to see government interference with stock photography but reality doesn't seem to match your political prejudices (just look at the banks).

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2010, 00:35 »
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and iStock isn't really Canadian anymore. it is operated by Canadians, but it is owned by Getty, pays out in USD etc. regulating the industry, that's all we need is more bureaucracy in our ASA

Microbius

« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2010, 03:02 »
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The only thing that needs regulating is Getty, by a monopolies and mergers committee. Where does the law stand on buying out the competition just to shut it down?

« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2010, 03:18 »
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Almost everyone pays in dollars, I don't know why. Istock always has right from the beginning. It doesn't make it an American company. If it was, we would be getting re-shafted over withholding taxes, just to add to the misery. And Getty doesn't have a monopoly even though it is dominant enough to influence the whole industry.

Microbius

« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 03:54 »
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I was thinking in terms of Antitrust la. It's frowned upon almost everywhere in the world to buy a rival company with the sole intention of shutting it down, it's generally seen as the pursuit of monopoly power.
"Antitrust merger law seeks to prohibit transactions whose probable anticompetitive consequences outweigh their likely benefits."
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Mergers+and+Acquisitions

« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2010, 08:55 »
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.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 12:11 by Sadstock »

Microbius

« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2010, 09:09 »
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Yeah I think that is the over riding concern, but they look at that in terms of the amount of competition out there.
More competition means more choice and better value for the consumer.
Getty buying up other agencies that pretty much have the same content as agencies they already own so they can shut them down in an attempt to get a virtual monopoly and raise prices could, in my opinion, be seen as detrimental to competition.
A good example of the sort of thing I mean is buying Stockxpert and shutting it down after buying IStock and raising the prices there. You take out the competition rather than trying to out compete them on price/ service.
The regulations are there to stop that kind of thing happening. Otherwise you get companies from outside an industry with masses of cash compared to those competing in the industry (eg. bankers) buying up the industry and stamping out competition. For free markets to operate there has to be some regulation.

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2010, 10:35 »
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Almost everyone pays in dollars, I don't know why. Istock always has right from the beginning. It doesn't make it an American company. If it was, we would be getting re-shafted over withholding taxes, just to add to the misery. And Getty doesn't have a monopoly even though it is dominant enough to influence the whole industry.

I agree, more accurate then my point. but ownership of iStock is technically by a US company now. would be interesting to see how they deal with the tax issue. because until I get my W7 done, Getty takes a whopping 30% of my income.

« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2010, 12:42 »
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If you wanna totally kill an industry, regulate it, works like a charm...

I wouldn't want to see government interference with stock photography but reality doesn't seem to match your political prejudices (just look at the banks).

The banks in the US are all part of a cartel led by a government created central bank. That is total regulation - as in forced recklessness - but I digress.

« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2010, 13:06 »
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regulation .. LMAO yeah that's going to happen. I'm sure that any gov or organization would take one look at the situation and go hmmmmm yeah we have better things to do right now. A more realistic approach would be for contributors to step up and manually give the micro-industry a well overdue enema .. flush out all the dookie. At least make the attempt to think professionally. When a source is no longer desirable ... drop it ... forget it ... move on. Let's just pretend for a moment that everybody here owns a huge company. What is your main goal? TO MAKE MONEY !!!! .. Take a business course and your professor will say that the only purpose of a business is to make money .. a business is not a charity .. they're not out to hold hands with you and sing campfire songs ... making money ... That's it ... Period. Now think about it. They can lower it all they want because they know that 99% of the uploaders are just going to say blah blah blah we should do this and we should do that .. oh wait my uploads are almost done be right back .. like I was saying we should do something about it .. stop uploading !!!! ... It's common sense. If you want a fire to go out you don't stand there pouring gasoline on it.  :o

lisafx

« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2010, 15:59 »
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Let's just pretend for a moment that everybody here owns a huge company. What is your main goal? TO MAKE MONEY !!!! .. Take a business course and your professor will say that the only purpose of a business is to make money .. a business is not a charity .. they're not out to hold hands with you and sing campfire songs ... making money ... That's it ... Period.

I agree completely.  The goal of a business is to make money.  The problem is that too many people are still making significant money at Istock for them to just walk away. 

Over the long term I think these changes will really hurt most istockphoto contributors' incomes there, and when that happens you can expect to see more of them leaving.  At the moment the folks leaving and/or calling for other people to leave are (mostly) the ones that have the least to lose. 

RacePhoto

« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2010, 16:43 »
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Senators of which country? istock is Canadian, Fotolia is based in Europe I think, SS in the States, not sure about Dreamstime (France?).

I have to agree with you. Doesn't matter, local regulation doesn't relate to independent business on the international scene and the Internet.

Some of the other points and questions from others.

The reason banking is regulated is that it's other peoples money and investment which is being held in trust.

Back to us selling photos or images, we are being held hostage, we are independent producers of products and we can stay or leave and sell through whomever we wish. We aren't regulated either.

I'd hate to see someone who's calling for a union (which is silly) also call for government regulation of our products and services as well as the people selling it. See what a can of worms this would open!

My answer remains unchanged. If someone doesn't like the agencies, drop them. Stop supporting the price cutting sub sites, even though they get people into selling out for some lousy upload credits. It just weakens the whole industry. If someone doesn't like IS or ThinkStock, then stop supplying them.

Either that or people need to stop whining and complaining. We are NOT prisoners, we are doing this voluntarily. We can leave at any time or change agencies.

The microstock Ponzi scheme/MLM/Pyramid, make money with your old files just sitting on your computer... friends sales network is showing some signs of collapsing under it's own weight. Talk about pom poms and cheerleaders. People recruited friends and promoted all kinds of affiliate links. Now the agencies claim they can't keep paying and selling at the rates they promised. You know the line, long term returns for your years of work up front. Oops, someone cut the tail short on that return, so now people who worked hard to attain levels (canisters) on various agencies and finding it was an empty promise designed to get them hooked into the business.

They have our photos and all we can do is drop out or swallow a bitter pill, including less commission and a cut in pay. The agencies can make more money for the owners or investors. Doesn't that make people feel used and taken for a sucker? It would if I was someone with years of hard work, a big portfolio and relying on the investment paying back. Now it's getting cut and there's nothing anyone can do.

Selling new people on how good Micro is just got a little bit harder, didn't it? Or maybe it just got exposed and the truth is out. Not only is it hard work for pennies, the people who sell for us, are also screwing the artists, and there's nothing we can do to stop it.


 

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