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Author Topic: Fotoarabia: first gets our photos, then cut our earnings.  (Read 4676 times)

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MxR

« on: September 23, 2014, 08:32 »
+5
Trust them because they offered a fair commission and I could produce images of that style. You judge the message that I received today.

In the coming days, FotoArabia will be rolling out significant changes to our products, pricing and contributor payments. This is an update on what were planning.
Introducing subscriptions

FotoArabia will soon introduce new subscription products for buyers looking for regular access to images. Subscriptions will be offered as either 10, 25 or 50 image downloads per month.
Simpler products and prices

As we continue to grow, we learn more about our buyers, and we are evolving our products and prices to reflect this. Multiple image sizes will be replaced with just two easy-to-understand sizes: web-resolution and print-resolution. Image credits will also be replaced with simpler and more user-friendly image download quotas, for both package and subscription purchases.

Prices across all products will be lowered slightly, and package and subscription purchases will offer incredibly good value for bulk and regular buyers.
Exclusive content will pay higher

Our sales volumes in the past months demonstrate a clear trend: content exclusive to FotoArabia is much more popular with buyers than content also found on other websites. Many of our buyers are already users of generic stock services and are therefore able to find this content elsewhere.

To reward contributors who take the time to submit exclusive high-quality content to FotoArabia and to encourage our contributors at large to do the same, contributor pay-out rates for exclusive content will remain at 50%, whilst the pay-out rate for non-exclusive content will be reduced to 30%.
Payment processing fees to be shared

Up until now, FotoArabia has covered all payment processing fees associated with buyer purchases as well as transfers to contributors. As the volume of payments made on the platform continues to grow, it is now becoming significant. FotoArabia will continue to pay all fees associated with contributor payments, but processing fees for image purchases on the website will now be shared equally between FotoArabia and the contributor. This additional cost will at most be 3% of the value of the purchase.
Upload offer ends

We currently offer $0.25 per upload to all contributors. Our upload offer has been received with great enthusiasm and contributors have taken advantage of the offer by uploading tens of thousands of Middle Eastern and Arabic-themed images in just a few short months. A big thanks to all our contributors! By the end of this week, were ending the offer and we will no longer be paying for regular uploads. We may introduce new offers in the future, but for the time being, well take a moment to consolidate the content that weve received and work to ensure that our buyers are able to find the high-quality images that they are looking for from our growing library.

We look forward to working with you in the coming days and weeks, as we roll out these exciting changes. If you would like to discuss any aspect of our update further, please dont hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards,
- The FotoArabia Team


« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2014, 08:47 »
+28
Boot 'em.  If they can't cover their own processing fee cost, cut royalties and introduce a subscription plan, then kick 'em to the curb. 

MxR

« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2014, 08:52 »
+13
I am out... :)

« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2014, 09:50 »
+6
Did the paid upload program come with a time commitment for the images to remain on the site? If so, and they have effectively obtained the images with one set of terms and conditions and now those who uploaded are stuck, cut the amounts paid, that seems deeply scummy.

Can contributors delete their own images? If not, can you edit the images to remove all the keywords and edit the description?

See some of the tactics people used to leave albumo (after their required year was up and they wouldn't delete images)

http://www.microstockgroup.com/albumo-com/bye-bye/msg57997/#msg57997

If these folks wanted to encourage exclusive content, they could have raised the royalty rate for that versus cutting it for independent content. The idea that when they keep 70% of the gross they can't pay for the processing fees (no more than 3%) is laughable.

« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2014, 10:01 »
+6
This is one of the most underhand things agencies do and I don't think we've directly addressed it here before. It has happened quite a few times in recent years.

When a pay cut is planned the agency precedes it with a recruitment drive based on the existing pay structure. Pixta just did a similar thing. Emailing round contributors selling what a great deal they offer for us to get sign ups, then slashing rates soon after.

« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2014, 11:27 »
+5
One thing I learned is to never trust agencies that offer money for uploads... they will charge back later and if they were good as they say, people would upload anyway. 30% and charging payout is a bad joke. I went to delete my files and found out I'm locked until the end of the year. It was their strategy from the start... never had a sale there so they can explode themselves.

« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2014, 13:54 »
-4
I had a meeting with them today. They're a start-up who are trying to find their feet as a niche supplier in a difficult industry. I think these changes reflect an initial miscalculation by them which they are trying to correct. It's unfortunate - but is anybody making enough money from sales there for this to make a noticeable difference to your monthly earnings?
If this had blossomed into a rip-roaring success then the changes would be scandalous but I think some of the comments may be a bit hard on them when you take into consideration that they are a small outfit struggling to get off the ground.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 14:12 by BaldricksTrousers »

« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2014, 15:30 »
+3
No argument about the business being very difficult, especially for a newcomer. However...

Royalty rates only go down. If this businesses did get off the ground, does anyone think - honestly - that they'd increase the royalty rate?

If there isn't enough working capital to cover PayPal (or other payment processor) fees, then I can't imagine they are really well positioned to succeed. It just seems like a lame reason for a second cut into contributor payments.

Stopping the payment for uploads seems perfectly reasonable, it's the other cuts that are a problem (and I'm just opining; I'm not a contributor there)

« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2014, 15:45 »
+1
I'll talk to them about the paypal fees. My first payment went by bank transfer to the UK at their expense, which was probably significantly more expensive than Paypal, it may be that sort of thing that they want to cut out. If they would cover Paypal it would at least be something.

« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2014, 19:15 »
+2
It wasn't the contributor fees for payouts, it was splitting the processing fees for the buyer's purchase with the contributor - "...but processing fees for image purchases on the website will now be shared equally between FotoArabia and the contributor. This additional cost will at most be 3% of the value of the purchase."

« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 00:58 »
0
It wasn't the contributor fees for payouts, it was splitting the processing fees for the buyer's purchase with the contributor - "...but processing fees for image purchases on the website will now be shared equally between FotoArabia and the contributor. This additional cost will at most be 3% of the value of the purchase."
Ooops! Yup, I didn't read it through to the end of the par!

« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 01:11 »
0
until now I was very positive and had great customer support -- then since last week, ftp access is out and now thos email

on the website they're still claiming to pay $.25 per accepted image until Nov 15

cutting commissions almost in half while also introducing subscriptions is underhanded at best -- I'll give them a little longer, but if they don't honor our initial contract i'm gone

« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 01:47 »
0
Are you actually getting sales with them, though?  I'd rather have lower commission and decent sales than higher commission and no sales, but I'm not sure whether my lack of sales is because my images got pushed to the back of the search because I submitted early, or if it is just that they're not getting sales.

« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 10:22 »
+1
... I'd rather have lower commission and decent sales than higher commission and no sales, ...

I said something very similar when Alamy cut royalties from 60% to 50% to fund expansion into the US. Problem is I got both lower royalties and lower sales.

I get the general point - that sales volume x modest royalty rate can easily beat a trickle of sales x 50+% but I think for a startup to try to boost sales by cutting royalties is an odd move. I think you need some capital to get things going - your own cash or find investors.

The royalty rate should be set to cover ongoing sales and marketing costs, not startup costs. I'd guess they see the lower rates elsewhere and don't want to get "stuck" with higher cost of goods than other sites.

« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 12:09 »
+2
in their reply to my email, they said they'd never posted an end date for the 25c promotion - yet it's been on their website all along!

« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2014, 22:31 »
+2
anyone had any  real world contact with this site? their ftp has been dead for over a month and they don't respond to emails

« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2014, 22:36 »
+5
It wasn't the contributor fees for payouts, it was splitting the processing fees for the buyer's purchase with the contributor - "...but processing fees for image purchases on the website will now be shared equally between FotoArabia and the contributor. This additional cost will at most be 3% of the value of the purchase."
How is that "sharing" fees?  What credit card charges more than 3% transaction fees?  Amex, and no one accepts them.  That is pushing "all" of the fees onto the contributor while profiting 1/4 or 1/2 percent.

« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2014, 02:56 »
+2
anyone had any  real world contact with this site? their ftp has been dead for over a month and they don't respond to emails

Yes, I've been to see them a couple of times. They're in the same town as me. They've got offices in one of the Doha skyscrapers. They seem to be OK when you meet them in person.

Lightrecorder

« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2014, 06:09 »
+3
Sending a mass payement at paypal cost 6 dollar F.F.S. If an agency cant cover that cost they need to start sellign lemonade from their front yard

« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 06:25 by Lightrecorder »

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2014, 18:28 »
+2
I don't submit at all, but here are my two cents:

Any agency that claims they can't (all of a sudden) cover Paypal processing fees is blatantly lying.

Their payouts increase, which means that they must've been getting more customers, more sales and more money. Their share of the royalty (and increased profits) should very well be able to cover those processing fees. If they couldn't see it coming beforehand, they're either terrible at financial planning, or they're simply extremely greedy.


Same story with lowering independents' commissions instead of raising exclusive commissions. It's just a way to make more profit from their sales, at your expense.

Get out while you still can and pray for them to go bankrupt soon, because the industry could use less of these kind of scammers.


 

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