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Author Topic: A newbie question regarding exclusivity in microstock agency (IS)  (Read 5244 times)

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« on: December 21, 2010, 10:13 »
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Hello all,

I'm pretty new in this microstock world (joined the "Big 4" in November 2010), and have been an occasional lurker here in this forum. This site has helped me a lot by providing plenty of useful information about the microstock business, so thank you!  :D

I'm not a photographer, and I only sell my vector illustrations. I guess that makes me a 'vector contributor', right? Anyway, so far things have been going quite well for me, and I really enjoy the fact that I can now fun-doodling for some money. SS is my biggest earner at the moment, but I'm starting to think about aiming to be an exclusive contributor to IS. Now my question is... can you be an exclusive contributor to IS while still submitting totally different illustrations to the other sites? For example, I will create more complex and detailed illustrations just to submit to IS but at the same time I will still submit some different, more 'effortless' cartoons to the other sites. Is that allowed?

I also have this idea of selling my exclusive works on my website in the future. Of course I will be selling illustrations that have never been submitted to any of the microstock agencies, but I'm a bit concerned about the term 'exclusive contributor' in IS: are the images that really matter, or the contributor in person?

I would really appreciate any input or infos. Thank you in advance!


helix7

« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 10:36 »
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... can you be an exclusive contributor to IS while still submitting totally different illustrations to the other sites?

No.


I also have this idea of selling my exclusive works on my website in the future. Of course I will be selling illustrations that have never been submitted to any of the microstock agencies, but I'm a bit concerned about the term 'exclusive contributor' in IS: are the images that really matter, or the contributor in person?


It's the contributor. Being exclusive at istock means you sell royalty-free images exclusively through istock.

As an aside, I think you're crazy to consider exclusivity at istock given how low the royalty percentage is there. And in general, illustrators especially rend to do better non-exclusively. I sell my illustrations at 13 sites, and istock represents 10% of my total microstock earnings. It's hard to imagine I'd do any better financially if I dropped the other 12 sites and sold only through istock.

Microbius

« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 10:47 »
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^^^^ all correct.
Exclusive= IStock owns you. No work on any of the other sites.
You should definitely go for exclusivity. Your work's very good and I could do without the competition on the other sites!!!

rubyroo

« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 11:16 »
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Nothing to add to what others have said - but I just wanted to say...  I love your portfolio!  Great work.

lisafx

« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 11:43 »
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Nothing to add to what others have said - but I just wanted to say...  I love your portfolio!  Great work.


Definitely!  Nice work!

If you are seriously considering exclusivity, you should give these two threads a read:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/istock-f5-epic-fail/]
[url]http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/istock-f5-epic-fail/
[/url]
http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/buyers-bailing-on-istock/

Not to mention that illustrators have gotten treated even worse by recent changes in the Istock royalty structure than photographers. 

« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 11:47 »
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Thanks for the confirmation (and the kind compliments) guys, I really appreciate it! I guess I will have to reconsider then. I surely don't want a single exclusivity decision ruin my future work planning.

I do know from the forum that IS is really being unbelievably harsh to its contributors recently, but since I'm pretty new in all this, it's still hard for me to see the bigger picture here (long term benefit vs loss etc). *Edit: Thanks for the links Lisafx, will definitely check those threads thoroughly!

PS: seen plenty of your works around, Helix. You do awesome works! Nice website too, exactly what I'm planning to do in the near future  ;)

« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 11:54 »
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Thanks for the confirmation (and the kind compliments) guys, I really appreciate it! I guess I will have to reconsider then. I surely don't want a single exclusivity decision ruin my future work planning.


I think the best route might be to upload to a few sites, get a feel for the different agencies, see what works best and go from there. If it turns out to be too much work for you or you think financially you could do better as an exclusive, then make the leap. If you have read other threads here, you will see that going exclusive for a time and then turning non-exclusive might be a little more difficult.

See this thread:

http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/50-in-the-last-four-months-does-this-apply-you/msg176269/?topicseen#new

and this post:

Quote
BaldricksTrousers
Reply #26 on: Today at 11:44

Quote from: lisafx on Today at 11:16
For those exclusives who are going to be getting big pay cuts, are you going to stay exclusive? 
I can't imagine getting a 20% pay cut from a hugely successful company, through no fault of my own, and staying loyal to them.
^^Not meant to be snarky, BTW, just genuinely curious if anyone will stay exclusive at IS after being treated that way. 

I bet you most will, because of being scared of seeing a much larger fall in income if they give up the exclusive benefits. It's not just the percentage, they would lose their access to exclusive-+ , Vetta and the higher prices that are charged on all exclusive files. So going from 35% exclusive to 20% non-exclusive could leave them losing 60% of their remaining income and having to hope they can make it up from elsewhere.

The exclusivity trap has been carefully designed.

« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 12:17 »
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Yikes, exclusivity trap..., and I was heading right to it! Better stay away from that path then. Thanks for those links, Cclapper. For now I think I'll follow your advice: keep submitting to a few agencies and see how it goes next year.

« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 13:27 »
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You can have always RM at Alamy or other agencies but must be RM

« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 15:01 »
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it's not strange you were a little confused, I have never heard of any agency (before iStock) that required you to be totally exclusive to them for absolutey all RF content.  

Generally with exclusive contracts, the exclusivity refers to the images submitted.  Dreamstime and Fotolia both have these options... so you can upload a single exclusive image to those sites.  Macro (traditional) agencies also work this way and some require it, but it is always on a per image basis.. not EVERYTHING you produce.  The iStock exclusive deal is really very restrictive.  That said, some people (photographers mostly perhaps??) are doing very well as exclusive.

I agree with what has been said though.  Try out a few agencies - perhaps the top 6-10 and see how your earnings are and then consider exclusivity from there.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 15:02 by leaf »

« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2010, 15:06 »
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Oh yeah.. and nice port :)

It is refreshing when people arrive here as a  'newb to stock' but still have a great portfolio.

« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2010, 23:44 »
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it's not strange you were a little confused, I have never heard of any agency (before iStock) that required you to be totally exclusive to them for absolutey all RF content.  

Generally with exclusive contracts, the exclusivity refers to the images submitted.  Dreamstime and Fotolia both have these options... so you can upload a single exclusive image to those sites.  Macro (traditional) agencies also work this way and some require it, but it is always on a per image basis.. not EVERYTHING you produce.  The iStock exclusive deal is really very restrictive.  That said, some people (photographers mostly perhaps??) are doing very well as exclusive.

I agree with what has been said though.  Try out a few agencies - perhaps the top 6-10 and see how your earnings are and then consider exclusivity from there.

Yes, I was really hoping that it was more about the images, because I thought it was funny to 'own' a contributor. It just doesn't make any sense to me. If that really is the case, all the exclusive contributors should at least receive a monthly 'salary' or some sort of periodic reward/compensation for their constant image uploads, not just some short image-review time (with broken search-indexing engine anyways) and free biz card, lol.

Well here's hoping for a change of rules in the future. (Wishful thinking, I know). But there has been some discussion about IS future planning for vectors on their forums, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  ;)

And thanks for the kind comments, Leaf. Most of my first images that I submit to the sites had been collecting dust in my HD, so I'm glad that they are at least collecting real coins now. Love your site, it has been a great resource for me as a newbie microstocker. Cheers!

« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 04:57 »
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Generally with exclusive contracts, the exclusivity refers to the images submitted.  Dreamstime and Fotolia both have these options... so you can upload a single exclusive image to those sites.  Macro (traditional) agencies also work this way and some require it, but it is always on a per image basis.. not EVERYTHING you produce.  The iStock exclusive deal is really very restrictive.  That said, some people (photographers mostly perhaps??) are doing very well as exclusive.


 

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