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Author Topic: The Graph Say It All - sales vs $  (Read 15188 times)

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« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2013, 03:03 »
+2
My graph shape is very similar too.
Will it continue to go down?
Or should we consider (hope) that it is only a moment of adjustment after the setting of new prices?
Don't you think getting rid of the low upload limits they used to have and reducing the review standards is also a factor?  Istock is swamped by low commercial value images now.  The search might sort that out if it works well but otherwise buyers will have a lot of images to wade through.  I think that has already lead to earnings dilution, as it has with every other site I've used that has had a big increase in the collection.  That can be very hard to recover from.


Beppe Grillo

« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2013, 04:26 »
0
My graph shape is very similar too.
Will it continue to go down?
Or should we consider (hope) that it is only a moment of adjustment after the setting of new prices?

Don't you think getting rid of the low upload limits they used to have and reducing the review standards is also a factor? 


Yes, I have even open a thread about that
http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/what-is-happening-to-istock-is-it-the-end/

But I have no answer, I am new on microstocks and I have not a great experience.
In fact mine was a question (Will it continue to go down?) not an answer ;)

But I have a certain experience of life and this experience tells me: "only time will say".
Two months to make conclusion about such a change are a little short I think.
And I think that we must consider too that july and august are probably not the best months to make some statistics as a lot of customers could be in vacation.
But I repeat I am new on microstocks and I did not understood yet how things move (fast, slow, or what else).

« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2013, 06:09 »
+5
I am confused on this restructure. First according to Lobo it is not finished, but when they say we will get an update it doesn't happen. Next we had another GM change and the new GM might not like some of the changes that were in the pipe so now who knows. I am amazed at the so called "professionals" that run this company. They said communication was important and bam now hardly any from them except Lobo. I would be thrilled if they pulled an ace out and people come running back but I just can't see it at the moment.

ShadySue

« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2013, 07:17 »
+1
Two months to make conclusion about such a change are a little short I think.
And I think that we must consider too that july and august are probably not the best months to make some statistics as a lot of customers could be in vacation.
But I repeat I am new on microstocks and I did not understood yet how things move (fast, slow, or what else).
Historically there was a 'summer slump' for many contributors, but those who have been selling for some years can also compare figures from previous July-Augusts, and in many cases, that comparison isn't reassuring (from July sales posts on iS and here).

« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2013, 07:38 »
+6
My stats look very much like Lisa's :(

This is the closest I've ever been quitting IS. Their cumbersome (and slow!) upload system is just too much work considering that their earnings have dropped dramatically and I also hate them deeply. I haven't been able to stop uploading there because the earnings from IS have been a significant part of my income. As it looks now, they make me only 10 to 15% of my earnings. I really could afford quitting this time (and I would of course leave my portfolio there to earn some small change)

I'll wait for a couple more months, and if they downhill continuess I will stop uploading there (what a relief that would be!)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 07:41 by Perry »

« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2013, 07:45 »
+3
The final factor in this whole IS debacle will be to see how many levels we drop after Dec 31, 2013 and if that makes back anything near what they are losing today by cutting prices/commissions.  Looking at my numbers it looks like I will EASILY drop two levels from my current 17%.  To my eye, it Just doesn't look like they can make up enough revenue through the upcoming drop in levels.  This tells me, as some of you have pointed out, that IS is changing their game plan, expectations, etc simply to be able to keep the business afloat until:

1. They realize a gain from the levels drop
2. They attract more customers with the low pricing
3. Make up some degree of revenue losses through customer volume rising, purchasing frequency
4. Lost margins, to a degree, made up by revenue enhancement to yield a dollar profit amount similar to the "good ol days.  For example (this is completely fictitious), they used to make a $1M bucks in sales, and profit $100K (10% margin).  Now they would have to get $1.5M in sales to net $100K in profits (6.7% margin). Still getting their $100K but at a much higher sales volume to get there.

Something along these lines and I suspect they will see if this works and make more changes accordingly.  If the damage is irreversible they wil have to accept low profits and/or have to find a trick to remove their "FOREVER" pricing and maybe raise prices again using some form of marketing/contributor trickery. 

Has anyone noticed that IS hasn't said a thing about the RC levels throughout all of these changes? They're not because I believe it is a HUGE part of their plan, and perhaps the most painful to contributors.  If they have addressed it I haven't seen it.

   
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 08:27 by Mantis »

« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2013, 07:47 »
0
*
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 08:26 by Mantis »

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2013, 08:22 »
0
Two months to make conclusion about such a change are a little short I think.
And I think that we must consider too that july and august are probably not the best months to make some statistics as a lot of customers could be in vacation.
But I repeat I am new on microstocks and I did not understood yet how things move (fast, slow, or what else).
Historically there was a 'summer slump' for many contributors, but those who have been selling for some years can also compare figures from previous July-Augusts, and in many cases, that comparison isn't reassuring (from July sales posts on iS and here).

Yes, you are right. Good point.

But I don't know if during the previous years similar changes happened, and to be able to compare we need to reason on similar bases (and they are different).
We should not compare the last years trend with the present one but the last years trend with the present one considering the influence of  the actual changes.
My concern is: do these changes have a temporary effect or will they have a permanent one?
I continue to think that it is (maybe) a little soon to draw definitive conclusions (I like to be optimist, as I can).

« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2013, 08:28 »
+2
What would worry me is that the RC targets for photos are still listed as maximum 30%. I know they said it was a bug in the facebookgroup. But it is really simple thing to change if they wanted to. What if they are trying to lock in new exclusives to these rates?

I mean, those who go exclusive now, have signed on with these rates visible, don't they? And then next year make these the targets for everyone....

I know it doesn't affect me, but it is a concern I keep hearing.

The new prices are so low, they must be losing a lot of money. And with the floodgates opened for low quality content, why pay out more than 30% on the base contract? They can always offer a higher rate on individual contracts if they really want your work.

« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2013, 12:15 »
+6
My stats look very much like Lisa's :(

This is the closest I've ever been quitting IS. Their cumbersome (and slow!) upload system is just too much work considering that their earnings have dropped dramatically and I also hate them deeply. I haven't been able to stop uploading there because the earnings from IS have been a significant part of my income. As it looks now, they make me only 10 to 15% of my earnings. I really could afford quitting this time (and I would of course leave my portfolio there to earn some small change)

I'll wait for a couple more months, and if they downhill continuess I will stop uploading there (what a relief that would be!)
In a couple more months, you'll probably put it off until the new year.  Why wait?  It feels so good not uploading there.  Putting up with such a low commission percentage and that tedious upload was really getting to me.  I'm amazed so many non-exclusive people still bother.  Removing my 500 best images felt good too but stopping uploads is a good first step.

« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2013, 12:47 »
+1
It looks like LisaFX copied my sales graph.  :-[

« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2013, 12:52 »
+3

I think the future is going to be much worse for Istock though. I (stupidly) uploaded about 100 new images to IS a couple of months ago. Since then those images have garnered about 15 sales for a total of about $10. That works out at about 5c per image/month. Yes ... I really did say 5c/image/month.

I have uploaded fewer than you have, but out of curiosity I decided to do the math. I found that over the last several months the images I have uploaded to IS have been worth about 6 cents per image per month. The same amount uploaded at Dreamstime has returned more than 5x the IS results, and believe me DT has not been gangbusters for me.

« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2013, 13:17 »
+8
Just out of curiosity, what would YOU do to turn around IStock if you had the chance to steer the ship?

It is rather presumptuous to assume anything without knowledge of what the books truly look like. But my goal would be to restore contributor confidence and make IS the #1 destination for future uploads. Why? Because
  1) I want the best images available
  2) Happy Contributors upload more, and recommend that customers purchase from my agency
  3) People who are treated well tend to be more productive and take more pride in their future work than those who feel unappreciated.

I would begin by immediately pushing up contributor commissions and completely eliminating the RC/crown system. Set non-exclusives at a 30% commission rate, probably similar to or higher than SS and just below DT. That would be a huge message that things have drastically changed in favor of artists. Commission rates would be even higher than they were during the Bruce era. Push exclusives into the 35% to 40% range, and try to come up with added incentives to keep them around.

Secondly I would hire a team to completely revamp the uploading procedure. Even if I feel a need to keep categories, I need to decide if the merits of my own keywording system are not enough to overcome the snag in the upload process. My goal is get the upload procedure at least as efficient as DT, and hopefully SS.

Third, I would swallow my idiotic pride and humbly ask Sean to return with his full portfolio. I would acknowledge that he, and many others, were treated unfairly when they fought against the Google fiasco. Regardless of how much they rocked the boat, their position had strong merit.

Fourth, I would make a decision about the forum. The current forum is a mess, and buyers see it. If the forum is going to remain a Gestapo run cesspool, then it is going to give us a bad image. Why continue wasting company resources on it? Either clean up the forum and its administrators, or simply eliminate it. Where is there a rule that says a stock agency has to have a forum?

I may be a Pollyanna and I don't know what their books look like. But I think that if they shocked contributors with this type of goodwill, they would see a stampede of people returning to them. The goodwill would likely slowly spread back to the buying community, just as all of the bad will in recent years soured it.

« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 13:20 by djpadavona »

mlwinphoto

« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2013, 14:34 »
+1
Just out of curiosity, what would YOU do to turn around IStock if you had the chance to steer the ship?

It is rather presumptuous to assume anything without knowledge of what the books truly look like. But my goal would be to restore contributor confidence and make IS the #1 destination for future uploads. Why? Because
  1) I want the best images available
  2) Happy Contributors upload more, and recommend that customers purchase from my agency
  3) People who are treated well tend to be more productive and take more pride in their future work than those who feel unappreciated.

I would begin by immediately pushing up contributor commissions and completely eliminating the RC/crown system. Set non-exclusives at a 30% commission rate, probably similar to or higher than SS and just below DT. That would be a huge message that things have drastically changed in favor of artists. Commission rates would be even higher than they were during the Bruce era. Push exclusives into the 35% to 40% range, and try to come up with added incentives to keep them around.

Secondly I would hire a team to completely revamp the uploading procedure. Even if I feel a need to keep categories, I need to decide if the merits of my own keywording system are not enough to overcome the snag in the upload process. My goal is get the upload procedure at least as efficient as DT, and hopefully SS.

Third, I would swallow my idiotic pride and humbly ask Sean to return with his full portfolio. I would acknowledge that he, and many others, were treated unfairly when they fought against the Google fiasco. Regardless of how much they rocked the boat, their position had strong merit.

Fourth, I would make a decision about the forum. The current forum is a mess, and buyers see it. If the forum is going to remain a Gestapo run cesspool, then it is going to give us a bad image. Why continue wasting company resources on it? Either clean up the forum and its administrators, or simply eliminate it. Where is there a rule that says a stock agency has to have a forum?

I may be a Pollyanna and I don't know what their books look like. But I think that if they shocked contributors with this type of goodwill, they would see a stampede of people returning to them. The goodwill would likely slowly spread back to the buying community, just as all of the bad will in recent years soured it.

All good points.  But, they make too much sense and will never happen; any of them.

Shelma1

« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2013, 14:42 »
+2
They already bumped up commissions, at least for some people (like me), and it doesn't seem to have helped. They tried the half-price sale for a day and got feedback from contributors that while downloads were up, earnings were down, and they rolled the darned thing out anyway. And by promising "forever," they're now locked in to a bad decision.

If I were them, I'd look at what my successful competitors were doing and emulate that....along with hiring away some of the people that spearheaded that success. At the very least they need someone new to oversee and revamp their IT department, because everything about the site is painfully slow and always chock full of glitches.

But I'm not sure the investment corporation that owns them is particularly interested in their success.

« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2013, 14:53 »
+2
Just out of curiosity, what would YOU do to turn around IStock if you had the chance to steer the ship?

It is rather presumptuous to assume anything without knowledge of what the books truly look like. But my goal would be to restore contributor confidence and make IS the #1 destination for future uploads. Why? Because
  1) I want the best images available
  2) Happy Contributors upload more, and recommend that customers purchase from my agency
  3) People who are treated well tend to be more productive and take more pride in their future work than those who feel unappreciated.

I would begin by immediately pushing up contributor commissions and completely eliminating the RC/crown system. Set non-exclusives at a 30% commission rate, probably similar to or higher than SS and just below DT. That would be a huge message that things have drastically changed in favor of artists. Commission rates would be even higher than they were during the Bruce era. Push exclusives into the 35% to 40% range, and try to come up with added incentives to keep them around.

Secondly I would hire a team to completely revamp the uploading procedure. Even if I feel a need to keep categories, I need to decide if the merits of my own keywording system are not enough to overcome the snag in the upload process. My goal is get the upload procedure at least as efficient as DT, and hopefully SS.

Third, I would swallow my idiotic pride and humbly ask Sean to return with his full portfolio. I would acknowledge that he, and many others, were treated unfairly when they fought against the Google fiasco. Regardless of how much they rocked the boat, their position had strong merit.

Fourth, I would make a decision about the forum. The current forum is a mess, and buyers see it. If the forum is going to remain a Gestapo run cesspool, then it is going to give us a bad image. Why continue wasting company resources on it? Either clean up the forum and its administrators, or simply eliminate it. Where is there a rule that says a stock agency has to have a forum?

I may be a Pollyanna and I don't know what their books look like. But I think that if they shocked contributors with this type of goodwill, they would see a stampede of people returning to them. The goodwill would likely slowly spread back to the buying community, just as all of the bad will in recent years soured it.

I'd get rid of the exclusive contract in it's present form, and offer the option for exclusive images or maybe exclusive shoots (this to prevent people putting similars elsewhere).

I'd abandon all the scams, and put some effort into demonstrating that IS is a company that can be trusted.

« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2013, 15:09 »
0
I'd get rid of the exclusive contract in it's present form, and offer the option for exclusive images or maybe exclusive shoots (this to prevent people putting similars elsewhere).

I'd abandon all the scams, and put some effort into demonstrating that IS is a company that can be trusted.

Great idea. I think I'd appoint you as the next GM of Istock.

ShadySue

« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2013, 15:16 »
+5
. But I think that if they shocked contributors with this type of goodwill, they would see a stampede of people returning to them. The goodwill would likely slowly spread back to the buying community, just as all of the bad will in recent years soured it.
Trouble is, no-one trusts them now. They made promises before, then reneged on them.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2013, 15:20 »
+3
Just out of curiosity, what would YOU do to turn around IStock if you had the chance to steer the ship?

It is rather presumptuous to assume anything without knowledge of what the books truly look like. But my goal would be to restore contributor confidence and make IS the #1 destination for future uploads. Why? Because
  1) I want the best images available
  2) Happy Contributors upload more, and recommend that customers purchase from my agency
  3) People who are treated well tend to be more productive and take more pride in their future work than those who feel unappreciated.

I would begin by immediately pushing up contributor commissions and completely eliminating the RC/crown system. Set non-exclusives at a 30% commission rate, probably similar to or higher than SS and just below DT. That would be a huge message that things have drastically changed in favor of artists. Commission rates would be even higher than they were during the Bruce era. Push exclusives into the 35% to 40% range, and try to come up with added incentives to keep them around.

Secondly I would hire a team to completely revamp the uploading procedure. Even if I feel a need to keep categories, I need to decide if the merits of my own keywording system are not enough to overcome the snag in the upload process. My goal is get the upload procedure at least as efficient as DT, and hopefully SS.

Third, I would swallow my idiotic pride and humbly ask Sean to return with his full portfolio. I would acknowledge that he, and many others, were treated unfairly when they fought against the Google fiasco. Regardless of how much they rocked the boat, their position had strong merit.

Fourth, I would make a decision about the forum. The current forum is a mess, and buyers see it. If the forum is going to remain a Gestapo run cesspool, then it is going to give us a bad image. Why continue wasting company resources on it? Either clean up the forum and its administrators, or simply eliminate it. Where is there a rule that says a stock agency has to have a forum?

I may be a Pollyanna and I don't know what their books look like. But I think that if they shocked contributors with this type of goodwill, they would see a stampede of people returning to them. The goodwill would likely slowly spread back to the buying community, just as all of the bad will in recent years soured it.

I'd get rid of the exclusive contract in it's present form, and offer the option for exclusive images or maybe exclusive shoots (this to prevent people putting similars elsewhere).

I'd abandon all the scams, and put some effort into demonstrating that IS is a company that can be trusted.

The idea of image exclusivity was discussed to death in the forums.  Doesn't sound like it will be happening. 
Too bad, too.  I suspect it would encourage some, like myself, who have dropped the crown to commit certain images exclusively to iStock and to begin uploading again.

ShadySue

« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2013, 15:21 »
+2
And by promising "forever," they're now locked in to a bad decision.
Don't worry, their promises ("you will be grandfathered in") and their statements ("only from iStock") don't mean what we might think is implied by a promise or statement.

Also, their promise is '1/2 of our imagery, half of the price with credits', so even if they mean it as a promise, only commits them to making sure that half of their imagery (which excludes audio, what about video or flash?) costs twice as much if you pay with cash.
Alternatively, the vast lowering of standards is resulting in an increase in the collection, most of which will seldom sell, and will be safely in the 1/2 price band for ever.
Or they could think of some other way of interpreting it.

« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2013, 16:04 »
0
Let's wait... "Smart girl' Rebbecca & Lobo are looking for jobs?

« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2013, 16:11 »
+10
I think that the biggest problem with istock is that it doesn't exist anymore.  The name is still there but that's it.  Almost everything about the site has changed in the past 5 years.  Its just part of Getty, they keep the name, like they've kept the name of some of the other sites they've assimilated.

« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2013, 16:15 »
+2
I may be a Pollyanna and I don't know what their books look like. But I think that if they shocked contributors with this type of goodwill, they would see a stampede of people returning to them. The goodwill would likely slowly spread back to the buying community, just as all of the bad will in recent years soured it.

I tend to agree with doing it positive. I think IS or DT seem to be in the best situation to actually be the contributor's choice agency, but so far they have taken steps in the opposite direction.

If I ran it, I might get rid of the exclusive program and pay everyone 40% or 50%. Simplify the pricing (for real). Maybe an $8, $16 and $24 size pricing. Then, probably add back in a premium collection of some sort. Maybe not though. Fixing the upload system definitely makes sense too. Maybe, just do it a simple FTP and have reviewers categorize images and make adjustments to titles and descriptions.

« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2013, 16:19 »
+3
I think that the biggest problem with istock is that it doesn't exist anymore.  The name is still there but that's it.  Almost everything about the site has changed in the past 5 years.  Its just part of Getty, they keep the name, like they've kept the name of some of the other sites they've assimilated.

There is a certain, painful (and yet somehow glorious) truth in what you say there. Istockphoto, as we once knew it, really doesn't exist at all. They are now a third, forth or even fifth level agency struggling to maintain their revenue. Greedy wankers. Serves them right!

« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2013, 21:42 »
-2
in every other industry they try to slash suppliers' costs to cut costs, why micro should be any different ?
we're a cost, not a scarce resource that needs to be incentivized and paid properly, IS is not a boutique agency with hard to find specialists.

yeah, they've probably noticed many contributors have stopped uploading but their management welcomed the idea of lowering the bar to allow fresh low quality images getting in.

from an agency's perspective, it's all about quantity and freshness of the archive, and in any case they're the ones putting the money on the table and investing in advertising to find new buyers, we're suppliers and our role is limited and low-risk.

as i said before, their biggest problem is the competition from SS which is now market leader, so either now they realistically accept the situation and settle for the nr.2 spot or i don't see many other options at the horizon.

by the way, it's possible that Getty knew pretty well that this would have been the obvious outcome, after all they've no grand plans to make Photos.com or Thinkstock the market leaders ... they're happy to keep them as second/third tier lowcost agencies for clients that occasionally need some cr-ap and have low budgets.






 

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