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Poll

Would you support or invest in a new agency owned by a collective of contributors

No, I wouldn't contribute content or support
Yes, I'd contribute content
Yes, I'd invest and contribute content

Author Topic: New co-op owned RF/RM agency  (Read 13081 times)

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« on: September 16, 2010, 02:40 »
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There have been discussions in the past about unions and co-operative agencies.

I thought it would be timely to create a poll about whether people would be prepared to actively take part in establishing a new agency, owned by contributors that pays a significantly higher percentage of royalties to contributors.

The model I'm thinking of is based on some of the contributions on the threads in past. that is an agency made up of:
-of non-exclusive content based on traditional a microRF license
- exclusive content (per-image exclusivity) priced higher and licensed under a new micro-Rights Managed license.
This would allow current IS exclusives to contribute images under the RM license, and provide an avenue for independents to sell all images on a contributor owned site, including some at significantly higher rates and margins.

Financial contribution:
Clearly we're not looking for a commitment here, just an in principle indication. A broad aim could be 1000 contributors investing $1000 - to arrive at start-up capital of $1M.


« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 02:51 »
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Change that investment to a 100 dollar, and I'm in....

1000 $ is too steep, and hasent anything to do with a coop - you compleately misunderstood the consept of a coop.

The coop concept is: one man - one vote - regarless the folie size or sales

To be able to deliver to a coop - you would have to join the coop/be a part of a coop finansially that is - own a part of the coop.

So it should not be possible to contribute to a coop agency, without having invested in it.

So the fee to be a coop member should be like 50 or 100 USD.

Also coop's traditionally finased the coop and investments, by witholding a small part of the members payment for a year, i.e. 5 or 10%. Those would then be payed out at the end of each year. This ensures the coop work capital.

If you are smart, you place the coop in denmark, whre coop's founded under the danish coop rules are taxfree.

« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2010, 02:55 »
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In realation to a REAL coop your poll is meaningless, as you got to own a part of the coop to be able to deliver to the coop - otherwise it's not a coop.

Better take a closer look on what a coop is - with your current lack of knowledge shown here about how a coop is set up and work, I would not trust you to start one :)

« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2010, 03:07 »
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In realation to a REAL coop your poll is meaningless, as you got to own a part of the coop to be able to deliver to the coop - otherwise it's not a coop.

Better take a closer look on what a coop is - with your current lack of knowledge shown here about how a coop is set up and work, I would not trust you to start one :)

My aim wasn't really to get into a definitional argument about what a co-op is or isn't, or even about the final structure of what any organisation would look like. More about whether there is in principle agreement about an agency, owned and controlled by a broad base of contributors to license content.

In the past most of these threads have become bogged down in the detail - which is something I was trying to avoid in framing the poll (obvioulsy not trying hard enough ;) )

To me the economic reality is that any entity would need a significant amount of capital to draw from to start with. Whether this comes from contributions in the form of shares, from co-op fees or from some sort of loan agreement is something that would come several steps down the track.

I'm also not volunteering to run the agency - clearly it would need to be someone with more experience than me.

Microbius

« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2010, 03:26 »
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It would have to be owned by everyone that contributed or owned in trust for them.
Many agencies are started by contributors then they get greedy. There would have to be safeguards.

« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 03:33 »
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I would invest in it but I think we would do much better if we had investment from image buyers.  Why not get them involved in building an agency?  They would be much more likely to use it and they could give us lots of great advice.  It would also cut marketing costs.

« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 03:54 »
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OK - but I'll write something about it later, maybee in the weekend. A real COOP is VERY different from other types of companies, and theres plusses and minusis.

Before discussing anything, one should be fully aware of what one's discusses :)

Thus having a meaningfull discussion :)

« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 03:55 »
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 05:44 »
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I would be willing to take part, but not at micro prices.  US$1000 for me is too high, as I have a very small portfolio. Maybe charging a fee for each image would be more adequate for the various portfolios. It would also incentivate a more selective portfolio.

I think it would be easier to start with a small group, but this would also require a higher initial investment per capita.

« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 06:44 »
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I'm going to concentrate on macro for a while, but still be interested in either coop or very large partnership type arrangement (the less I spend the better but I think it will take at least $400-500 each).

lagereek

« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2010, 06:47 »
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Agencies where all contributors are part-owners have already been tried and tested and with a misserable outcome of greed, jealousy and beefing about whom are to have the biggest shares.
Not a good idea. count me out please.

« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2010, 06:49 »
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How about contacting a programmer/designer and ask what we can expect the cost to set up a complete market to be? I guess it's a lot, but that would give us something to aim for in terms of donations for a start.

I would invest, but not a $1000. More like $100

« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2010, 06:59 »
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I would submit and invest under one condition:
The royalty percentage (~50% is fine for me) needs to be in the contract as unchangeable. I am an iStock exclusive and I was very happy with them until about 2 weeks ago. Now my biggest fear is that this royalty change is just a first step and the royalties are going to drop further.

« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2010, 10:21 »
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I would submit and invest under one condition:
The royalty percentage (~50% is fine for me) needs to be in the contract as unchangeable. I am an iStock exclusive and I was very happy with them until about 2 weeks ago. Now my biggest fear is that this royalty change is just a first step and the royalties are going to drop further.

The challenge will be to have a royalty structure that maximises the payout to contributors, while still providing enough cashflow to sustain a professional agency. Maybe a fixed percentage in addition to a regular distribution of profits in proportion to income earned?

Whatever the case is would need to be written in black and white without a "we can change it at our discretion" type clause.

Microbius

« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 10:37 »
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I think that was the option discussed previously.
Contributors would get a small percentage then all profits would be divided at the end of each year and distributed as an adjustment to that percentage.
So people would say get 20% throughout the year and an additional percentage based on company profits as a "bonus" at the end of the year.
The company would solely be run for the benefit of the contributors.

« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2010, 11:11 »
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The more I think about it, starting a new site is a lot of work, I was keen a few years ago but there was little interest.  And there is the likelihood that we would waste all our time arguing about how it should be run.  Doing a deal with one of the sites that already pays us a decent commission would be more straightforward.

« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2010, 11:35 »
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How would you market it? That's the downfall of going it alone, marketing is expensive whether you are a co-op or not. Who is going to edit the members' submissions? Just a couple of many problems.

« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2010, 11:45 »
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I think that was the option discussed previously.
Contributors would get a small percentage then all profits would be divided at the end of each year and distributed as an adjustment to that percentage.
So people would say get 20% throughout the year and an additional percentage based on company profits as a "bonus" at the end of the year.
The company would solely be run for the benefit of the contributors.


Yep. As someone mentioned in an earlier thread a good example of such a business is the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. The business was bequeathed to it's employees who became 'partners'. They earn a normal salary and then receive a profit-based bonus annually. You can read about it on Wiki;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Partnership
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 11:50 by gostwyck »

« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2010, 11:49 »
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The more I think about it, starting a new site is a lot of work, I was keen a few years ago but there was little interest.  And there is the likelihood that we would waste all our time arguing about how it should be run.  Doing a deal with one of the sites that already pays us a decent commission would be more straightforward.

Certainly more straightforward, but it wouldn't have any of the safeguards that a contributor owned site would have, and wouldn't allow any of the IS exclusives to participate without taking a huge gamble.

It does take work to run a site, which is why we'd be paying people to do it for us. At the moment IS contributors pay $3-5Million a week in royalties from our content to istock to run that agency. ($3million assumes they pay contributors 36% of revenue, $5M is based on 25% - and both relying on the $1.7M a week in royalties as in the latest announcement)

We don't really have figures for the other sites, but if you do some basic calculations I'm sure you can get an idea of how much you've contributed to each agency's revenue share.

« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2010, 11:56 »
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I think that was the option discussed previously.
Contributors would get a small percentage then all profits would be divided at the end of each year and distributed as an adjustment to that percentage.
So people would say get 20% throughout the year and an additional percentage based on company profits as a "bonus" at the end of the year.
The company would solely be run for the benefit of the contributors.


Yep. As someone mentioned in an earlier thread a good example of such a business is the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. The business was bequeathed to it's employees who became 'partners'. They earn a normal salary and then receive a profit-based bonus annually. You can read about it on Wiki;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Partnership


A good read and probably a good model to work from.

« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2010, 12:40 »
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I'm in. Just $1000 is a fortune to me.

« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2010, 13:06 »
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Some of us have complete portfolio on Sumgmug or Photoshelter, would be easier to group them and market them using $100 we put each on the pot?

helix7

« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2010, 13:09 »
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Waste of time. I think we'd all be better served by an already existing agency or a startup that already is underway. There are a few new companies that pay fairly and are priced right. I'd rather throw some support behind one of these fair-trade agencies than bother with a coop that require me to invest not only time but money as well.

alias

« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2010, 13:15 »
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Agency co-ops are always very argumentative. Even with say 50 people.  Thousands of people are not going to form a successful co-op agency. It won't happen. Any agency also needs vision, direction, style, leadership. Lots and lots of little agencies might work however.  Perhaps under some sort of loose affiliation or guild like structure. Even a guild of independents. Perhaps with a common look and feel. Perhaps representing each others' product somehow. Perhaps with common pricing. Break it down into smaller chunks. Photoshelter is starting to seem quite interesting. Think about how you can provide buyers with a legal guarantee that you own the work. What about model releases etc ?

Fotonaut

« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2010, 13:22 »
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Photoshelter search is not up to the task.

« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2010, 11:25 »
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Agency co-ops are always very argumentative. Even with say 50 people.  Thousands of people are not going to form a successful co-op agency. It won't happen. Any agency also needs vision, direction, style, leadership. Lots and lots of little agencies might work however.  Perhaps under some sort of loose affiliation or guild like structure. Even a guild of independents. Perhaps with a common look and feel. Perhaps representing each others' product somehow. Perhaps with common pricing. Break it down into smaller chunks. Photoshelter is starting to seem quite interesting. Think about how you can provide buyers with a legal guarantee that you own the work. What about model releases etc ?

For anything to work it would need to be managed by full time staff and supervised by an elected board. A traditional style co-op probably wouldn't function in an effective way. The John Lewis Partnership Gostwyck provided a link for seems to be a pretty good model for what we're trying to do.

The way smugmug works may be useful in a way too - each contributor could have the option of a personalised landing page that can be either incorporated as their own domain or a sub-domain of their website.

« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2010, 11:34 »
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Have you talked to SmugMug though?  I tried to approach them last week about a mirror site.  They don't post any contact information and you send a personal message to the Pres and GM and they ignore.  I think Zenfolio may be a better choice than SmugMug anyway. 

« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2010, 11:47 »
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This isn't going anywhere if people are balking at a $1000 investment - in terms of generating startup capital that's chicken feed. And getting 1000 semi-pro people to pony up that amount: you're already seeing the odds are long, so good luck with that. Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near it unless you were asking for a $10k minimum investment and had a board of directors selected who together had decades of experience in dot-com startups, internet marketing, and stock photography.

« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2010, 11:54 »
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I have always thought it was a good idea and think an amount like $1000 would be a good sum for joining the coop.  I think there would be a lot of strong opinions on the best way to run it though and probably a lot of controversy :)

People who submit to the site can be both coop owners and non-owners.  If you try and shop and any coop grocery store you will be asked if you are a member.  If you are not a member you will buy your goods like normal, no big deal.  If you are a member of a coop your purchase is registered to see how much you will get back at the end of the year.

So, the poll I think is valid.  Some people may want to submit to a coop but not invest in the coop.  Others may want to invest and submit.

« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2010, 11:58 »
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This isn't going anywhere if people are balking at a $1000 investment - in terms of generating startup capital that's chicken feed. And getting 1000 semi-pro people to pony up that amount: you're already seeing the odds are long, so good luck with that. Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near it unless you were asking for a $10k minimum investment and had a board of directors selected who together had decades of experience in dot-com startups, internet marketing, and stock photography.

I agree with you too.  I think the actual number of people who would be interested in investing any amount of money is pretty small, like a 100-200 max.  However those 100-200 people would probably be willing to invest a serious amount if $$ of the coop was really well organized.  I think it would be a smarter plan to purchase a company that already exists than to build up a new company. Surely one of the promising start up stock sites or would sell for 1 million.... the staff could also stay on.  How much would Yay sell for??

« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2010, 12:02 »
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The challenge will be to have a royalty structure that maximises the payout to contributors, while still providing enough cashflow to sustain a professional agency. Maybe a fixed percentage in addition to a regular distribution of profits in proportion to income earned?

Whatever the case is would need to be written in black and white without a "we can change it at our discretion" type clause.

I would think the exact reverse to be better. Why not create a new breed of agency that is totally transparent to its investors, where commission rates vary on monthly/weekly/daily basis according to revenue and expenses? Saturday and Sunday are low-selling days, so you could have those as 0% commission days at startup or when you're saving for a special project (e.g. upcoming seasonal promotion). Need cash to upgrade systems? Uh oh, we have to reduce commissions. Want to reward the patience of contributors or celebrate a milestone? Wooyay, it's a 100% commission day!

« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2010, 12:15 »
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I think variable commissions from day to day could get confusion and seem quite unfair when you get 20 extended licenses on Sunday, 0% commission day.

But having variable commissions by the month, or year would certainly seem wise to me.  Or else have something like 20% or 10% commissions as standard then pay out 'bonuses' at the end of the year based on your overall earnings that year and the net income of the site.

« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2010, 12:41 »
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Why not create a new breed of agency that is totally transparent to its investors ...

I quite like the idea of a totally transparent agency even if it wasn't totally owned by the contributors. I'm sure lots of businessmen would be happy accepting a certain percentage of sales as their earnings for running it. The microstock market today is worth something like $500M annually and is still growing. If our theorectical agency could do what Istock has done and grab half of the market it would be serious money. Even 10% of $250M annual earnings would be pretty healthy payment for running it. Some of the profit would be re-invested in the business and the rest paid out to the owner-contributors as bonuses.

Maybe we need to talk to Peter of Stockfresh or one or two other guys already in the business? The main reason that most agencies fail or never get anywhere is simply lack of funding. They can't afford the marketing and they have to pay out a comparatively high percentage to contributors to make up for the few sales. It's kind of a vicious circle which means they never get to compete with the big boys.

Fotolia have demonstrated how quickly a well-funded outfit can grow in this game. It could be done again __ but this time by us. Once the formula was proven to work it could have a snowball effect as contributors flocked to join removing their ports elsewhere. Three to five years from now it could be the only game in town.

jareso

  • Boris Jaroscak
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2010, 12:42 »
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Leaf, I think it will be possible to find much more than just 100-200 people that would want to invest in it. But there will need to be some real plan that will help them to decide.

Btw. I personally like this idea of photographers owned agency very much... :)

CPI

« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2010, 12:47 »
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Yes , both

« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2010, 12:57 »
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I was for that last time we discussed about that , and I'm even more for something like that now , so count me in.

I like more the idea to start from nothing than to try to buy existing site , but its not so important.   

Xalanx

« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2010, 13:21 »
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Of course it's easier to buy an existing agency, it will spare a lot of time regarding many aspects. As long as its features would take less time to change (to fit our needs) than to build new ones from ground up.

« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2010, 13:45 »
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Of course it's easier to buy an existing agency, it will spare a lot of time regarding many aspects. As long as its features would take less time to change (to fit our needs) than to build new ones from ground up.

I guess a new brand would be nicier once many buyers or contributors are not happy with those existent agencies..

What are the steps to create this new agency?? After getting the $...? Getting a web designer?

Xalanx

« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2010, 14:01 »
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Of course it's easier to buy an existing agency, it will spare a lot of time regarding many aspects. As long as its features would take less time to change (to fit our needs) than to build new ones from ground up.

I guess a new brand would be nicier once many buyers or contributors are not happy with those existent agencies..

What are the steps to create this new agency?? After getting the $...? Getting a web designer?

Oho, too many steps. And a rebranding will be ok. Everyone will find out soon enough that the agency X is now a co-op. And here comes the big cash to be invested in marketing...

« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2010, 14:12 »
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This isn't going anywhere if people are balking at a $1000 investment - in terms of generating startup capital that's chicken feed. And getting 1000 semi-pro people to pony up that amount: you're already seeing the odds are long, so good luck with that. Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near it unless you were asking for a $10k minimum investment and had a board of directors selected who together had decades of experience in dot-com startups, internet marketing, and stock photography.

I agree with you too.

« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2010, 14:17 »
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Have you talked to SmugMug though?  I tried to approach them last week about a mirror site.  They don't post any contact information and you send a personal message to the Pres and GM and they ignore.  I think Zenfolio may be a better choice than SmugMug anyway. 


My account with them comes up in Oct - I'm probably not going to renew it. Their support seems to be a little -well- smug. My point wasn't so much about actually having any connection with them, more about a similar feature - the ability to have personalised galleries and URLs for members who want that feature. So for example at the moment my smugmug gallery is at http://photos.veoelmundo.com/.

« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2010, 14:19 »
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This isn't going anywhere if people are balking at a $1000 investment - in terms of generating startup capital that's chicken feed. And getting 1000 semi-pro people to pony up that amount: you're already seeing the odds are long, so good luck with that. Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near it unless you were asking for a $10k minimum investment and had a board of directors selected who together had decades of experience in dot-com startups, internet marketing, and stock photography.

I agree with you too.

so 10M ?

« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2010, 14:24 »
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I think variable commissions from day to day could get confusion and seem quite unfair when you get 20 extended licenses on Sunday, 0% commission day.

But having variable commissions by the month, or year would certainly seem wise to me.  Or else have something like 20% or 10% commissions as standard then pay out 'bonuses' at the end of the year based on your overall earnings that year and the net income of the site.

I think the commission rate should be fixed and at least 50%. We are trying to make something better than other microstock sites? Is that correct?

« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2010, 14:27 »
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Why not create a new breed of agency that is totally transparent to its investors ...

I quite like the idea of a totally transparent agency even if it wasn't totally owned by the contributors. I'm sure lots of businessmen would be happy accepting a certain percentage of sales as their earnings for running it. The microstock market today is worth something like $500M annually and is still growing. If our theorectical agency could do what Istock has done and grab half of the market it would be serious money. Even 10% of $250M annual earnings would be pretty healthy payment for running it. Some of the profit would be re-invested in the business and the rest paid out to the owner-contributors as bonuses.

Maybe we need to talk to Peter of Stockfresh or one or two other guys already in the business? The main reason that most agencies fail or never get anywhere is simply lack of funding. They can't afford the marketing and they have to pay out a comparatively high percentage to contributors to make up for the few sales. It's kind of a vicious circle which means they never get to compete with the big boys.

Fotolia have demonstrated how quickly a well-funded outfit can grow in this game. It could be done again __ but this time by us. Once the formula was proven to work it could have a snowball effect as contributors flocked to join removing their ports elsewhere. Three to five years from now it could be the only game in town.

You are aiming too high

« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2010, 14:29 »
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There's no reason why you couldn't have several levels of investment - for the top 200 contributors, $1000 represents less than 1 weeks income at current levels. At the top 2000 level its probably more like 1 months income. At these levels, yes 1000 is a pretty small investment, but at lower levels its a lot to commit to.  
 

« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2010, 14:31 »
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This isn't going anywhere if people are balking at a $1000 investment - in terms of generating startup capital that's chicken feed. And getting 1000 semi-pro people to pony up that amount: you're already seeing the odds are long, so good luck with that. Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near it unless you were asking for a $10k minimum investment and had a board of directors selected who together had decades of experience in dot-com startups, internet marketing, and stock photography.

I agree with you too.

so 10M ?

please

« Reply #46 on: September 17, 2010, 14:48 »
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You are aiming too high

No I'm not. If anything I'm massively under-selling the concept. This is the internet age. Look what happened at Google; look how fast Facebook took off __ and a ton of other businesses too. You can go from virtually zero to total market dominance inside of 2-3 years.

I don't think most contributors are aware just how staggeringly profitable microstock really is. All the 4 main agencies were profitable enterprises when images cost a fraction of what they do now. Since then they've mostly reduced commissions (i.e. costs) whilst also enjoying economies of scale and put up prices several times.

You generally know what commissions are paid on your own sales so run the figures backwards and work out how much money your images actually sold for in any given month. In my own case I reckon my actual sales are roughly 4x what I actually receive. With our own agency I am positive that we could at least double our earnings whilst still leaving plenty left to cover all cost and re-investment in the business.

Would we offer subscriptions in our own agency? That would be an interesting one to discuss!

« Reply #47 on: September 17, 2010, 15:08 »
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Would we offer subscriptions in our own agency? That would be an interesting one to discuss!

I think it would be best to firmly commit to not offering subscriptions, then turn around and offer subscriptions with no opt-out once everyone had uploaded a massive number of files... ;)

« Reply #48 on: September 17, 2010, 15:12 »
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You are aiming too high

No I'm not. If anything I'm massively under-selling the concept. This is the internet age. Look what happened at Google; look how fast Facebook took off __ and a ton of other businesses too. You can go from virtually zero to total market dominance inside of 2-3 years.

I don't think most contributors are aware just how staggeringly profitable microstock really is. All the 4 main agencies were profitable enterprises when images cost a fraction of what they do now. Since then they've mostly reduced commissions (i.e. costs) whilst also enjoying economies of scale and put up prices several times.

You generally know what commissions are paid on your own sales so run the figures backwards and work out how much money your images actually sold for in any given month. In my own case I reckon my actual sales are roughly 4x what I actually receive. With our own agency I am positive that we could at least double our earnings whilst still leaving plenty left to cover all cost and re-investment in the business.

Would we offer subscriptions in our own agency? That would be an interesting one to discuss!

Of course gostwyck, there are some successful companies, but at same time many also try and fail. Let's hope you are right.
Subscriptions, that is the question!

Microbius

« Reply #49 on: September 17, 2010, 15:16 »
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I think variable commissions from day to day could get confusion and seem quite unfair when you get 20 extended licenses on Sunday, 0% commission day.

But having variable commissions by the month, or year would certainly seem wise to me.  Or else have something like 20% or 10% commissions as standard then pay out 'bonuses' at the end of the year based on your overall earnings that year and the net income of the site.

I think the commission rate should be fixed and at least 50%. We are trying to make something better than other microstock sites? Is that correct?

This is the wrong way to look at it.
It has to feel and be different to the other sites.
Photographers wouldn't get anything but a minimal percentage on an ongoing basis, but the company would be run for them. All profits would be made for their benefit and they would get them as a bonus at the end of the year.
People have to believe/ know that the site is run for them. If they work to make the site a success there's no limit to what they could earn, but if the site fails then they only get the minimal payout.
All financials would be transparent to all members.
All members should have a way of really getting their voices heard on an ongoing basis. There would have to be a board, but maybe one much larger than traditional companies. Perhaps made up of the 100 biggest sellers from the previous year, they could get to vote on all major changes to the site.

« Reply #50 on: September 17, 2010, 15:18 »
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I think it would be best to firmly commit to not offering subscriptions, then turn around and offer subscriptions with no opt-out once everyone had uploaded a massive number of files... ;)

Very good Holgs!

One side of my thinking says that there is a huge market for subscriptions and, if total market dominance was our ultimate objective, then we would need to supply it. Don't forget, if we had all the best microstock photographers, then we'd have much more leeway to adjust pricing to our liking.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks that I see is that any owner-photographer could be determined a 'competitor' by the existing agencies and have their account closed. Being as most of the biggest and best contributors rely on their microstock income how would they cope in the transition time required for the new agency to grow?

Microbius

« Reply #51 on: September 17, 2010, 15:20 »
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I'd be totally up for subs.
The problem with the model is that it separates the contributors interests from the site owners. They no longer act as an agent, the more downloads you get the more money they lose.
With a company where profits are split between contributors this conflict disappears.

« Reply #52 on: September 17, 2010, 15:27 »
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I'd be totally up for subs.
The problem with the model is that it separates the contributors interests from the site owners. They no longer act as an agent, the more downloads you get the more money they lose.
With a company where profits are split between contributors this conflict disappears.

Absolutely. That's it exactly. Not sure you could sell it to Madelaide though!

« Reply #53 on: September 17, 2010, 15:37 »
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I'd be totally up for subs.
The problem with the model is that it separates the contributors interests from the site owners. They no longer act as an agent, the more downloads you get the more money they lose.
With a company where profits are split between contributors this conflict disappears.

Absolutely. That's it exactly. Not sure you could sell it to Madelaide though!

I agree that there should be subs too. Although there's no reason you couldn't give the option to opt out of subs for content that was exclusive to the site and for premium content.

« Reply #54 on: September 17, 2010, 15:41 »
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We want a new agency, where we will control "the profit" because we believe that the current state of redistribution of income is not fair to the photographers.We produce images but stock agency perform the technical part of business and almost whole marketing (smaller part is still on contributors). So we think that someone in this "bipolar community" is overestimated his / her work and takes too big part of cake... That is main reason why idea about "contributors agency" exist...

Microstock market is limited, and large agencies keep most of that market. So if you would like to establish a non-exclusive agency, we have to rip off part of the market from existing agencies...For that, must be some good reason why customers  want to move from IS or SS etc. at our new agency... If the "new agency" is non-exclusive for contributors, that means that all portfolios on the "new agency" are still available on other existing agencies.... So, there is no reason for switching customers to the new agency, except maybe cheaper prices ...The only good reason could be a new exclusive agency, and completely withdraw of big part of photographers and their portfolios from existing agencies to the "New agency"...

There is no revolution with any kind of new non-exclusive agency... :( Just another "Low earner"...
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 03:38 by borg »

« Reply #55 on: September 17, 2010, 15:48 »
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The only good reason could be the a new exclusive agency, and completely withdraw of big part of photographers portfolios from existing agencies...

There is no revolution with new non-exclusive agency... :( Just another "Low earner"...

Exactly. I think the agency would probably have to start mainly non-exclusive (on images) but hopefully with as much exclusive content as contributors could afford to give. The transition time whilst it grows is always going to be the difficult bit. The ultimate goal would be for all images to be exclusive __ why would you want to make profits for others by selling them elsewhere.

Noodles

« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2010, 15:49 »
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There is a window of opportunity here - I'd like nothing better than to see a small, up and coming MS company change the status quo!

« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2010, 16:27 »
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Subs? Count me out.   :-\

« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2010, 17:15 »
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I don't think subs are a good idea or that they would be necessary. New systems are coming which will make microtransactions a lot less costly. This one is supposed to be coming from Paypal soon:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100813/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_paypal_micropayments

If you don't like Paypal, the credit card banks are working on their own super-cheap microtrans systems. When they arrive, there will be no need to make customers pay for credit packages or subscriptions because the overhead expense for a single transaction will be so small.

These new microtrans systems should shake things up in the microstock agency business and could be an opening for a new agency started by microstockers which would not require credits or subs and which could give contributors a higher percentage and still make a profit or, if a co-op, break even.
 

« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2010, 17:31 »
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Subs would be great, if they are priced right and we were paid a fixed percentage commission.  Buyers like subs, so I don't see much point in eliminating a large market.

« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2010, 17:55 »
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I want a real agent one who loves me and wants to make lots of money, a co-op would be great I buy my groceries at them. I'd like some where that only makes money if I do I would not give anyone money to sell or manage my work but I would happily give them a reasonable cut. I would join a real image co-op.

Sometimes I am just annoyed with the lack monetary worship I receive, and when I look at other peoples work I think my wonder there is so much amazing talent in the world so much beauty why do we not honer this kind of action with some good wadges. We sure need many avenues.

I would produce different levels of work, subs are paying my bills so its is viable on a effort based pay, kind of like an hourly wadge that pays you endlessly.

I like people who pay for my work, its nice makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I like companies that pay me monthly just like my bills come in. I like dreaming with other people about possibilities some do create change. I want to have coffee and snacks with my fellow artists and plot against the machine.

« Reply #61 on: September 18, 2010, 01:27 »
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 .
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 14:36 by attator »

« Reply #62 on: September 18, 2010, 02:15 »
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^^^Or we could just use alamy.  They already give most of their profits to medical research and pay 60% commission.  Perhaps they could be persuaded to open a microstock site, they already sell microstock images in their main collection and many contributors and buyers don't like that.

« Reply #63 on: September 18, 2010, 02:32 »
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Agencies where all contributors are part-owners have already been tried and tested and with a misserable outcome of greed, jealousy and beefing about whom are to have the biggest shares.
Not a good idea. count me out please.

In a properly set up coop, everybody are paied the same. They the the agreed commision per picture sales. At the coop's general asembly it can be desided to payout profits to the owners each year, and this is payout in porportion to how much the contributer contributed of sales.

Perfectly democratic and fair.

« Reply #64 on: September 18, 2010, 02:49 »
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.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 14:35 by attator »

RacePhoto

« Reply #65 on: September 20, 2010, 14:32 »
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Agencies where all contributors are part-owners have already been tried and tested and with a misserable outcome of greed, jealousy and beefing about whom are to have the biggest shares.
Not a good idea. count me out please.

In a properly set up coop, everybody are paied the same. They the the agreed commision per picture sales. At the coop's general asembly it can be desided to payout profits to the owners each year, and this is payout in porportion to how much the contributer contributed of sales.

Perfectly democratic and fair.

Good that you mentioned that because some people want the investors to be more like benefactors, and make nothing. Why should I "invest" in a business/co-op when I get nothing back? The reason for investing is the same as the reason why artists want money for their work. Everyone needs to make a fair share of the profits, or it fails.

Then someone says, they want high commissions, but low prices, to attract buyers and make more for artists. Hey, where does that money come from? There has to be a balance, where the profits are paid fairly but the prices are also held up, or there's no profit to operate the business and the whole thing shuts down. Overpaying contributors is the fastest way to drive a nail in the coffin of a business. Sell on the basis of price competition alone, will also kill a business.

Number One: it would be a nice working co-op if someone could come up with a way to balance... a fair commission, profit sharing, operating expenses and investors getting a good return for their money.

Then the other part is marketing, exclusive images, and attracting buyers, or there's no reason for #1. I don't think that competing with subs is important. On Demand for people who need one photo now and then. Buyers credits for people who buy more, would give them their price advantage. Just like anything else, volume buyers get a lower price. That means lower profits for the supplier. You can offer a deep discount (like losing money on every sale with subs!) and make bushels of money at the same time, to pay all the people in Number One.

« Reply #66 on: September 20, 2010, 15:17 »
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Here is how a real coop work:
- xxx number of contributer join and form a coop, at a general assembly. Coop but me open to any contributer.
- the rules and laws of the coop are defines, and agreed upon at general assembly.
- They each come up with an equal amount of money, and so buy in to a qqual part of the coop (one one part pr. contributer)
- A group of representative are selected among the contributers.
- A board of director are selected among the contributers, by the board of representatives. All elections are by voting among all contributers.
- Manegement and staff are hired.
- coop i up and running
- Contributer gets for instance 60% royalty on sales
- 10% is let at coop for 12 months for funding.

Each year elections are held for: Board of representatives, which again selects the borad of directors. Board of directors hires and fires management.

Each year, theres a general assembly, at which among other things, the distribution of profit (if any) are desided. For instance if profit is good and money not needed for company delevopment, an amount of the coop profit can be payed out to the owners, porportional to how much money each contributers sales made the previous year.

Good luck - btw - it works - some of the biggest european companies within agricultural products and distribution are coop's.

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #67 on: September 20, 2010, 15:50 »
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Would it be possible that those who contributed money in the funding of the coop as well as those who join the funding in the future, receive a set amount according to the amount they contributed. Some contributors could not afford $1000. Some can afford more like $100. The amount of money you put it would determine the amount you would receive in bonuses at the year end. Just like stocks...the more stocks you own the more you make..the less you own the less you make. If any given contributor wants to contribute more money annually then they would receive a higher percentage based on the amount of capital they invest. As for the % they would receive per sale....I think that should be a set percentage straight across the board. I even think that it should be open to other contributors that don't have to pay. Those who don't pay get their regular commission, but wouldn't get bonuses at the year end. The option should be left open annually to contribute more for a higher rate of return or if they have not contributed, have the option to do so. A lot of math needs to be done to project the cost of advertising and marketing because that is where the expense needs to be. Don't know if it would work but that's my thoughts.

« Reply #68 on: September 20, 2010, 15:57 »
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Would it be possible that those who contributed money in the funding of the coop as well as those who join the funding in the future, receive a set amount according to the amount they contributed. Some contributors could not afford $1000. Some can afford more like $100. The amount of money you put it would determine the amount you would receive in bonuses at the year end. Just like stocks...the more stocks you own the more you make..the less you own the less you make. If any given contributor wants to contribute more money annually then they would receive a higher percentage based on the amount of capital they invest. As for the % they would receive per sale....I think that should be a set percentage straight across the board. I even think that it should be open to other contributors that don't have to pay. Those who don't pay get their regular commission, but wouldn't get bonuses at the year end. The option should be left open annually to contribute more for a higher rate of return or if they have not contributed, have the option to do so. A lot of math needs to be done to project the cost of advertising and marketing because that is where the expense needs to be. Don't know if it would work but that's my thoughts.

The it has nothing to do with a coop. The coop everybody is equal. You could put in more money, but it would not give you any extra money out or any more influence. A coop is a "one man" - "one vote" system.
The coop is selvfunding through the money that comes from the submitter when they buy in, and through witholding a percentage of the commision for for instance 12 months.

« Reply #69 on: September 20, 2010, 15:58 »
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You can't keep letting people buy in, because their resulting payout based on investment percentage would go down and down.

« Reply #70 on: September 20, 2010, 15:58 »
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Good luck - btw - it works - some of the biggest european companies within agricultural products and distribution are coop's.
In Russian, a coop is a sovjet, I think.  ;)
Why do they work in Europe? The agricultural ones certainly because they take (well paid) politicians in as board members and they have a monopolist and political agenda. They eradicated all competition from private companies and they dominate the market - while the politicians on their board form a powerful lobby to keep the EU subsidies up: 50% of the EU budget goes to farming subsidies, just crazy. Having a tax-exempt coop is a sweeter way to maintain collectivism than a communist coup.  :P

This has nothing to do with a photographers' coop of course, but don't mention the big monopolistic anti-free market agricultural coops in continental Europe as an example.

I also have to advise strongly against Denmark as the seat for such a coop, for purely monetary reasons. Denmark is a half-hearted member of the EU with many opt-outs, and very small country with its own currency, not the euro.
I assume the bookkeeping will have to be done in the Danish currency. What if the international markets decide the Danish currency would be a nice target to speculate against a la baisse? They tried it with the euro last May but they failed since the euro-zone has very deep pockets. Greece would have gone down the drains if it wasn't in the eurozone. What if a contributor asks payout and the Danish currency overnight dropped by 40%?

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #71 on: September 20, 2010, 16:02 »
0
Would it be possible that those who contributed money in the funding of the coop as well as those who join the funding in the future, receive a set amount according to the amount they contributed. Some contributors could not afford $1000. Some can afford more like $100. The amount of money you put it would determine the amount you would receive in bonuses at the year end. Just like stocks...the more stocks you own the more you make..the less you own the less you make. If any given contributor wants to contribute more money annually then they would receive a higher percentage based on the amount of capital they invest. As for the % they would receive per sale....I think that should be a set percentage straight across the board. I even think that it should be open to other contributors that don't have to pay. Those who don't pay get their regular commission, but wouldn't get bonuses at the year end. The option should be left open annually to contribute more for a higher rate of return or if they have not contributed, have the option to do so. A lot of math needs to be done to project the cost of advertising and marketing because that is where the expense needs to be. Don't know if it would work but that's my thoughts.

The it has nothing to do with a coop. The coop everybody is equal. You could put in more money, but it would not give you any extra money out or any more influence. A coop is a "one man" - "one vote" system.
The coop is selvfunding through the money that comes from the submitter when they buy in, and through witholding a percentage of the commision for for instance 12 months.

So what would it be called??? A private corporation where shares are only sold to contributors?

« Reply #72 on: September 21, 2010, 10:22 »
0
Good luck - btw - it works - some of the biggest european companies within agricultural products and distribution are coop's.
In Russian, a coop is a sovjet, I think.  ;)
Why do they work in Europe? The agricultural ones certainly because they take (well paid) politicians in as board members and they have a monopolist and political agenda. They eradicated all competition from private companies and they dominate the market - while the politicians on their board form a powerful lobby to keep the EU subsidies up: 50% of the EU budget goes to farming subsidies, just crazy. Having a tax-exempt coop is a sweeter way to maintain collectivism than a communist coup.  :P

This has nothing to do with a photographers' coop of course, but don't mention the big monopolistic anti-free market agricultural coops in continental Europe as an example.

I also have to advise strongly against Denmark as the seat for such a coop, for purely monetary reasons. Denmark is a half-hearted member of the EU with many opt-outs, and very small country with its own currency, not the euro.
I assume the bookkeeping will have to be done in the Danish currency. What if the international markets decide the Danish currency would be a nice target to speculate against a la baisse? They tried it with the euro last May but they failed since the euro-zone has very deep pockets. Greece would have gone down the drains if it wasn't in the eurozone. What if a contributor asks payout and the Danish currency overnight dropped by 40%?

I think that luckely, you don't know much about Denmark.... Biggest problem with the Danish Krone against the euro, which it's tied to, is that the krone is too strong.... We have to keep lowering rates to keep it down....
Danish kroner is on of the most stable currencies in Europe...

A better argument for not placing it in Denmark would be the tax on the payouts, and here I don't know about the exact rules.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 10:24 by Nordlys »

« Reply #73 on: September 21, 2010, 15:02 »
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You can't keep letting people buy in, because their resulting payout based on investment percentage would go down and down.
That's only if everyone really did own a transferable 'share' of the business.

Take the example of a classic golf club which is a not-for-profit organisation in the ownership of it's members. The club's only purpose is to provide a course with club house facilities for the member's enjoyment. To join the club you pay a 'joining fee' in addition to annual subs. The joining fee is effectively a contribution to the investment of the previous members who originally set up the club but it is not a transferable share and is not refunded when the member leaves the club. A golf club is still a business with several employees but no individual member can profit or sell their share of it.

Microbius

« Reply #74 on: September 21, 2010, 15:22 »
0
The it has nothing to do with a coop. The coop everybody is equal. You could put in more money, but it would not give you any extra money out or any more influence. A coop is a "one man" - "one vote" system.
The coop is selvfunding through the money that comes from the submitter when they buy in, and through witholding a percentage of the commision for for instance 12 months.
Reasons why an actual co-op wont work. You can't run an agency with one man one vote when man A has a portfolio of 10000 images and man B has 2.

« Reply #75 on: September 21, 2010, 18:07 »
0
Danish kroner is on of the most stable currencies in Europe...
For now... I said, when the financial mob would look for new victim. I lived the euro crisis from close by and watched the local financial TV channels in Japanese. I got quite upset on how ignorant they are on Europe and the fundamentals. Don't forget the Eastern markets set the tone for the rest of the day since they are first to wake up. If it happens, a small currency has no chance.
A better argument for not placing it in Denmark would be the tax on the payouts, and here I don't know about the exact rules.
Scandinavian countries have the reputation to have the highest taxes and wages in the world. The currency should be USD or EUR, but ideally in a lower wage country since you'll need a local bookkeeper to comply with the local laws. Our friends from DepositFiles/Photos showed the way: Cyprus, or Ireland. You'll need expert financial advise though, on the best location for a coop that has members from all over the world.


 

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