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Author Topic: Unsustainable!  (Read 34401 times)

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mlwinphoto

« Reply #125 on: April 16, 2014, 12:21 »
+1
Can't disagree with that. Or the part about each individual makes their own choices.

Funny that we found the opposite solution, but to each their own. I dropped all agencies (in the process of a couple based on next payout) except SS and IS. Could be we have different ideas of the direction we wish to go, but that's not a problem. Free choice.

I'm still in favor of fair pay, for fair work. A fair percentage of nothing, is still nothing, so I'd say the agencies somehow need to raise the perceived value of our efforts. Instead they just keep chopping the values down, which creates a depression in the entire market.


I also disagree about the "But, there aren't enough of us disgruntled to the point where we are willing to do something about it." Don't you read here? I'd bet that the majority of people are very disgruntled about the cuts and situation.

I read here.  Maybe you don't read what I write or what I read.

You're obviously not too happy with the situation.  What are you doing about it?  I've dropped iStock and will be dropping SS when I reach payout.  How about you?

Talk is cheap.  Good luck getting the 'majority' organized to do something about it.

I'm not trying to organize, I'm saying that it's not possible, and that's why I say we are powerless. Some people want to say that's a weakness, I'm saying it's facing the facts.

iS and SS are the only micros I am/have been with for any length of time and they are the last ones left for me to drop....unless you consider Macrografiks (and Stockbo) a micro, which I don't.  Coming from the good old days of stock it's difficult to accept what is happening in today's marketplace; 33 cents for a hi-rez file....I've had enuf of that and in retrospect never should have participated in the first place.
I'll plug along with self-marketing, RM, and some of the higher priced/higher commissioned RF sites....just my way of 'rebelling' against what's happening....definitely not recommended for everyone....


farbled

« Reply #126 on: April 16, 2014, 12:27 »
0
Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value? High resolution is easy enough to get with any new camera. Where is the inherent value in an image? Is an isolated apple (again, just an example) done by a pro more valuable than one done by a new shooter if they are (for all intends and purposes) the same image?

Is it scarcity of a popular subject? Concept? Artistic-ness (is that a word?)? Or is it just file size? When is an image actually worth 38 cents or 300 dollars? What is it for you (the forum)?

« Reply #127 on: April 16, 2014, 12:35 »
+4
Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value? High resolution is easy enough to get with any new camera. Where is the inherent value in an image? Is an isolated apple (again, just an example) done by a pro more valuable than one done by a new shooter if they are (for all intends and purposes) the same image?

Is it scarcity of a popular subject? Concept? Artistic-ness (is that a word?)? Or is it just file size? When is an image actually worth 38 cents or 300 dollars? What is it for you (the forum)?

I'm going with pure saleability. If you can sell them at that price consistently, then they are worth that price. That said, I don't know what the ceiling is on my images because I haven't really tried to push that far.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #128 on: April 16, 2014, 14:57 »
+1
Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value? High resolution is easy enough to get with any new camera. Where is the inherent value in an image? Is an isolated apple (again, just an example) done by a pro more valuable than one done by a new shooter if they are (for all intends and purposes) the same image?

Is it scarcity of a popular subject? Concept? Artistic-ness (is that a word?)? Or is it just file size? When is an image actually worth 38 cents or 300 dollars? What is it for you (the forum)?

You estabish/determine the value of your images.....by deciding where to market them.   If you value your work at 38 cents then go with the subs, $300 go RM.

The buyer, in part, validates that determination by purchasing its use, or not.

shudderstok

« Reply #129 on: April 16, 2014, 19:46 »
-2
We are powerless as a group, and that's probably what makes most artists angry when they look at the situation. Frustration out of the inability to actually make any significant change in how Microstock is run or how it pays the workers.
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I disagree.  As a group we hold all the power.  But, there aren't enough of us disgruntled to the point where we are willing to do something about it.  And if there were I doubt we could get organized and agree to take any significant action.

It's up to each individual to decide if MS is right for them cuz it isn't going to change without us, collectively, forcing that change.


I agree. Most people seem to be fairly happy. I don't get it, but they are.


It is called learned helplessness http://tinyurl.com/l7frvvo

We do hold the power we just need to wake up to that fact. The site are hoping we don't and that is why they canned Sean, they know we hold the power and they knew we were listening to Sean.  Yuri built a functional site and that changed the power dynamic for him as well.


you were listening to sean and some others, but to say "we" is nonsense. and the real reason they canned sean has nothing to do with the listeners site mailing some selected people trying to go private on facebook groups and accord stock etc to create a mutiny, or to create a script that was easy to delete all your images. it had nothing to do with that at all. sean shot himself in the foot he let his own ego get the better of himself.
i admire sean for being the voice of many, and he had balls for doing so, and for that i am thankful, but he was also working a few different angles while doing it, and getty found out. i don't think it was so much as what sean was saying openly on our behalf that got him canned, i think it was what was really transpiring in the background that got him canned.
were you invited to be in the secret facebook group? were you invited to the secret accord stock? if you saw what was being posted in both of those, specifically accord stock, then yes, if your were getty you would have canned him too.


Sean is an honest and above board guy, who spoke out when many were afraid to and I respect him for that.  If all of the sites conducted business with integrity they would have not have to worry about large groups of contributors talking about business as usual. They canned Sean as a result of their own business decision and the backlash those actions "finally" created among large groups of its contributors. 

There will always be backlash if the micros do not choose to treat the contributors who power their success fairly. Fair treatment would include paying them a reasonable % of the profit that has been generated as a result of contributor resources and hard work. And it would include pricing those assets in a range that will bring returns that allows contributors a reasonable standard of life.


i am not questioning sean's honesty. and i am also thankful he stepped up to the plate when nobody else did. understood?
i am however suggesting there were other factors at play in the background and that he got a little too big for his britches.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #130 on: April 17, 2014, 00:54 »
+2
I'd say right, once you establish your personal ceiling, that's what you can get.

Also mlwinphoto is right. What you accept will establish what they are worth. There's also something else, the general perception of buyers, of the value.

How many of these popular photographers are making big BIG dollars because of their name or some fad styling. It's not easy.

But the marketplace has changed, and no matter how hard people work or how big their camera, many times, there are multiple people here with excellent skills and quality. The perceived value has decreased with the advent of digital and Internet. And of course with giant collections of Microstock.

But I won't blame Microstock for the change, I'd say the world and market and equipment changed that. If SS and IS, and the rest, didn't exist today, someone would invent them tomorrow. It's finding a need and inventing the product that meets that demand.

I might be wrong, but at this point, photography is pretty much a commodity. Illustrations are leaning more towards "art" But that doesn't say that a photographer can't be an artist, and sell RM, or limited edition prints... just that it's more difficult now to be distinctive or stand out from the rest.

That's correct farbled, picture value isn't just about quality or size. It's the buyers perception of the value for their needs. No one will pay $300 for an image that has 10,000 similar and quite equal images offered for $10. But someone will pay a high price for something that's unique or very distinctive.

Same holds true for pretty much every commodity or product in the world.

Economics Basics: Supply and Demand

http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics/economics3.asp



Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value? High resolution is easy enough to get with any new camera. Where is the inherent value in an image? Is an isolated apple (again, just an example) done by a pro more valuable than one done by a new shooter if they are (for all intends and purposes) the same image?

Is it scarcity of a popular subject? Concept? Artistic-ness (is that a word?)? Or is it just file size? When is an image actually worth 38 cents or 300 dollars? What is it for you (the forum)?


I'm going with pure saleability. If you can sell them at that price consistently, then they are worth that price. That said, I don't know what the ceiling is on my images because I haven't really tried to push that far.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 01:01 by Uncle Pete »

« Reply #131 on: April 17, 2014, 03:10 »
+3
Microstock certainly exposes the fallacy that there is "strength in numbers". In reality, there is weakness in numbers because it makes it easy to divide and rule. That's why we don't actually have the power, there are too many of us and not enough of us will act in concert in order to achieve an aim that is contrary to the interests/wishes of the agencies.
Even the idea that artists like Sean or Yuri are of huge importance to an agency has taken a tumble in the last year. Having seen the lack of impact the loss of Yuri has had on SS must have left Getty wondering whether it had been wise to give him special terms. Yuri's old SS sales may be spread among 100 different artists now, but if the buyers can still find something that does the job without chasing over the iS to find Yuri, then whether any "star" has real commercial leverage becomes a moot point.

farbled

« Reply #132 on: April 17, 2014, 09:56 »
0
Good to know, thanks for the replies on that.

« Reply #133 on: April 17, 2014, 10:02 »
+4
What we believe to be true becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. If we believe that we can not bring about change, that will most certainly be true. That is why it is never helpful to spread that mindset. If we say it often enough, eventually we start to believe that it is actually true.

Since the early 1500 & 1600's there have been untold groups of people that have been told the same things and a good many of them eventually formed uprisings and unions that changed and tipped the scales.  Some of these people even gave up their lives for change, not just their incomes.

If large producers did not actually make a difference to the micros they would not be offering them special deals. And they would not see those who speak out about or make attempts to make changes in the face of unfair practices as a threat.

What they do discount is how their own actions change perception about them among contributors.  You can see this on the site forums when the sites make various joyous announcements. The response is nothing more than a few whoooo yays with the majority choosing to keep their actual thoughts to themselves. Trust and respect have dropped more than a few notches and for good reason.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 10:35 by gbalex »

« Reply #134 on: April 17, 2014, 10:16 »
0
+1 well said


My Very Best :)
KimsCreativeHub.com

« Reply #135 on: April 17, 2014, 10:41 »
0
Microstock certainly exposes the fallacy that there is "strength in numbers". In reality, there is weakness in numbers because it makes it easy to divide and rule. That's why we don't actually have the power, there are too many of us and not enough of us will act in concert in order to achieve an aim that is contrary to the interests/wishes of the agencies.

It depends on what the majority actually wants and what is really good for them. If I got my way, it might not work for a lot of contributors. So, they are probably simultaneously protecting themselves and hurting me. I can't really blame anybody for that.

Tror

« Reply #136 on: April 17, 2014, 10:43 »
+1
What we believe to be true becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. If we believe that we can not bring about change, that will most certainly be true. That is why it is never helpful to spread that mindset. If we say it often enough, eventually we start to believe that it is actually true.

Since the early 1500 & 1600's there have been untold groups of people that have been told the same things and a good many of them eventually formed uprisings and unions that changed and tipped the scales.  Some of these people even gave up their lives for change, not just their incomes.

If large producers did not actually make a difference to the micros they would not be offering them special deals. And they would not see those who speak out about or make attempts to make changes in the face unfair practices as a threat.

What they do discount is how their own actions change perception about them among contributors.  You can see this on the site forums when the sites make various joyous announcements. The response is nothing more than a few whoooo yays with the majority choosing to keep their actual thoughts to themselves. Trust and respect have dropped more than a few notches and for good reason.

Well said.
Say _yes_ to self responsiblity and a sustainable, self assessed strategy.
Say _no_ to abusive corporate behaviour and false trust in entities which exclusively focus on their own interests.

Without that self-confidence which we doubtlessly deserve - we, as the origin of content which creates a billion dollar business - we are lost.

farbled

« Reply #137 on: April 17, 2014, 10:54 »
+2
I think the best thing I've seen in a while is that #notlessthan50% tweet that went around a little. Might be nice to reply to any budding agency that approaches a contributor with it.

« Reply #138 on: April 17, 2014, 11:14 »
0

Uncle Pete

« Reply #139 on: April 17, 2014, 11:38 »
+1
Can someone please point me to the Microstock Artists Association? A lobby group, the membership place for this "union" or something besides a theoretical, power base.

No denying people are unhappy, or that we are under valued and under rewarded.

But write all day on the forums, how we are empowered and strong and nothing changes. It's just talk.

Will someone please do something or show me some real unity, organization or action group? That would be POWER. The rest is philosophy.


Shelma1

« Reply #140 on: April 17, 2014, 12:22 »
0
Or someone could just start an online petition (asking for something specific from someone specific) and fly it up the flagpole to see what kind of reception it gets.

EmberMike

« Reply #141 on: April 17, 2014, 15:53 »
+1
Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value?...

I think it's half personal value (what you believe your work is worth) and half market value (what the market will bear and what people will pay for your work).

I'm hearing that people are getting sales at Offset, so it does seem that not every apple photo is created equal. And I think we can see that. A microstock apple photo is certainly not (usually) the same as a $500 apple photo.

And herein lies the problem... That half-and-half criteria I mention for what makes an image valuable is, in part, determined by the artist, and so there will always be a lot of folks thinking their work is worth $500 when it is definitely not. So we end up with lots of people clamoring for these higher price points and more "fair" pricing, when really their stuff is truly worth a few bucks at most. And that makes it really hard to make the argument that microstock in general is undervalued.

I think if we're going to talk about fair value, we all need to be willing to take a look at our work and be honest about what it's worth. Or what percentage of our work is worth more. I can honestly say that I think absolutely nothing of what I have in microstock right now is worth Offset prices. If we're all being honest with ourselves and each other, I suspect that most folks here would have to say the same. None of us would be selling their stuff in microstock if it was really good enough to demand hundreds of dollars per license.

« Reply #142 on: April 17, 2014, 16:04 »
+1
I'm hearing that people are getting sales at Offset, so it does seem that not every apple photo is created equal. And I think we can see that. A microstock apple photo is certainly not (usually) the same as a $500 apple photo.

This always seems to come up with the $1 versus $100+ dollars. I guess I've always seen it more as $1 versus $20 or $30. I guess some people might want to price higher though. Really, the only fair way to do it is let people set their own prices and let them fail or succeed on their own decisions.

Shelma1

« Reply #143 on: April 17, 2014, 16:28 »
+6
Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value?...

I think it's half personal value (what you believe your work is worth) and half market value (what the market will bear and what people will pay for your work).

I'm hearing that people are getting sales at Offset, so it does seem that not every apple photo is created equal. And I think we can see that. A microstock apple photo is certainly not (usually) the same as a $500 apple photo.

And herein lies the problem... That half-and-half criteria I mention for what makes an image valuable is, in part, determined by the artist, and so there will always be a lot of folks thinking their work is worth $500 when it is definitely not. So we end up with lots of people clamoring for these higher price points and more "fair" pricing, when really their stuff is truly worth a few bucks at most. And that makes it really hard to make the argument that microstock in general is undervalued.

I think if we're going to talk about fair value, we all need to be willing to take a look at our work and be honest about what it's worth. Or what percentage of our work is worth more. I can honestly say that I think absolutely nothing of what I have in microstock right now is worth Offset prices. If we're all being honest with ourselves and each other, I suspect that most folks here would have to say the same. None of us would be selling their stuff in microstock if it was really good enough to demand hundreds of dollars per license.

I'm amazed, honestly, that some of my files rake in hundreds of dollars per year, which means I'll make thousands from each of those files in my lifetime. And I am NOT a talented illustrator. So for me, microstock opened up an opportunity to make money I simply did not have before.

lisafx

« Reply #144 on: April 17, 2014, 17:07 »
+5
Here's a question (and not a poke at anyone). What establishes picture quality and value?...

I think it's half personal value (what you believe your work is worth) and half market value (what the market will bear and what people will pay for your work).

I'm hearing that people are getting sales at Offset, so it does seem that not every apple photo is created equal. And I think we can see that. A microstock apple photo is certainly not (usually) the same as a $500 apple photo.

And herein lies the problem... That half-and-half criteria I mention for what makes an image valuable is, in part, determined by the artist, and so there will always be a lot of folks thinking their work is worth $500 when it is definitely not. So we end up with lots of people clamoring for these higher price points and more "fair" pricing, when really their stuff is truly worth a few bucks at most. And that makes it really hard to make the argument that microstock in general is undervalued.

I think if we're going to talk about fair value, we all need to be willing to take a look at our work and be honest about what it's worth. Or what percentage of our work is worth more. I can honestly say that I think absolutely nothing of what I have in microstock right now is worth Offset prices. If we're all being honest with ourselves and each other, I suspect that most folks here would have to say the same. None of us would be selling their stuff in microstock if it was really good enough to demand hundreds of dollars per license.

For exactly the reasons you state, I think it would make sense for reviewers to nominate files for offset if particularly good and/or unique ones come through the Shutterstock queue.  Sort of like Istock used to do with vetta back in the day. 

 Because image creators have such a hard time being objective about their work, I'd like to see the sites make an effort to assign more appropriate values.  I know this is what Getty are attempting to do on some level, but they seem to have made a mess of it.  For one thing, as long as they continue to keep ALL indie content on the lowest price, they will have trouble selling comparable exclusive content at much higher price points.

stock-will-eat-itself

« Reply #145 on: April 17, 2014, 17:52 »
+2
I think it would make sense for reviewers to nominate files for offset if particularly good and/or unique ones come through the Shutterstock queue.  Sort of like Istock used to do with vetta back in the day.

If SS were smart they would do exactly this and wrap it up in an exclusivity program. It would be in their interest to move the higher production work over to Offset and away from the competition.

As it stands Getty still has the upper hand by a wide margin, they have all the best artists wrapped up in exclusive deals and all the best of the indy artists shunted out at prices to undercut any competition as they see fit.

SS need to be bold if they want to see their share price go up.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 17:57 by stock-will-eat-itself »

mlwinphoto

« Reply #146 on: April 17, 2014, 18:34 »
+1
I think it would make sense for reviewers to nominate files for offset if particularly good and/or unique ones come through the Shutterstock queue.  Sort of like Istock used to do with vetta back in the day.

If SS were smart they would do exactly this and wrap it up in an exclusivity program. It would be in their interest to move the higher production work over to Offset and away from the competition.

As it stands Getty still has the upper hand by a wide margin, they have all the best artists wrapped up in exclusive deals and all the best of the indy artists shunted out at prices to undercut any competition as they see fit.

SS need to be bold if they want to see their share price go up.

I agree. 

And to add to the discussion as to what determines the value of an image I think exclusivity does....it certainly increases its value to the agency and, to a certain extent, to the buyer (more so in the case of RM than RF).  Stocksy has it right in making their images exclusive and, I hate to say it, but iStock has it right with their exclusive content as well.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #147 on: April 17, 2014, 21:42 »
0
I like that, another good idea. Set our own prices.

I'm hearing that people are getting sales at Offset, so it does seem that not every apple photo is created equal. And I think we can see that. A microstock apple photo is certainly not (usually) the same as a $500 apple photo.

This always seems to come up with the $1 versus $100+ dollars. I guess I've always seen it more as $1 versus $20 or $30. I guess some people might want to price higher though. Really, the only fair way to do it is let people set their own prices and let them fail or succeed on their own decisions.

EmberMike

« Reply #148 on: April 18, 2014, 10:32 »
+1
I like that, another good idea. Set our own prices.

I'm actually not a fan of setting our own prices. It makes pricing too random and frustrates buyers. We've always heard that buyers like simplicity. iStock buyers have expressed frustration over the years about finding a photo they want and then realizing that it's a $100+ photo when they were more accustomed to images costing $10-20 at iStock. Pricing at a particular site needs to be consistent.

But it can be consistent and better at the same time. I think most of us would be happy with pricing in the range of $10-50, so an agency with that kind of pricing would be pretty well received.

« Reply #149 on: April 18, 2014, 10:48 »
+1
I agree, $10-20.00 is the sweet spot for micro stock a price range where buyers feel a good value and contributors feel compensated.




My Very Best :)
KimsCreativeHub.com


 

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