MicrostockGroup

Agency Based Discussion => Pixmac => Topic started by: Maui on January 17, 2011, 11:06

Title: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Maui on January 17, 2011, 11:06
I just received this email:

Quote
Recently you asked us why you have your images with Pixmac.com. We had contracts with Dreamstime and Fotolia, but those contracts are no longer in operation. However, if you would like to to profit from Pixmac sales anyway, then now is the best time to upload your portfolio to Pixmac!

We guarantee a fast review of your images and if you are uploading the same portfolio as you have at Fotolia or Dreamstime (and let us know), this will make the approval process even faster. Premium support will be included we promise.

Good luck with your images!

It seems that Fotolia and Dreamstime cancelled their agreements with Pixmac. Anyone got the same email?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: ibogdan on January 17, 2011, 11:16
Yes, me. And that's a very good news. Pixmac is a very weird agency.

But this announcement makes me wonder, do they really have over 11.000.000 images as state on their frontpage?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Maui on January 17, 2011, 11:26
Something looks rather fishy...
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: sam100 on January 17, 2011, 11:38
I just received this email:

Quote
Recently you asked us why you have your images with Pixmac.com. We had contracts with Dreamstime and Fotolia, but those contracts are no longer in operation. However, if you would like to to profit from Pixmac sales anyway, then now is the best time to upload your portfolio to Pixmac!

We guarantee a fast review of your images and if you are uploading the same portfolio as you have at Fotolia or Dreamstime (and let us know), this will make the approval process even faster. Premium support will be included we promise.

Good luck with your images!



Just checked, mine are (almost all) still there... so what other agency is partnering with Pixmac.?...
Patrick.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 17, 2011, 11:48
I just received this email:

Quote
Recently you asked us why you have your images with Pixmac.com. We had contracts with Dreamstime and Fotolia, but those contracts are no longer in operation. However, if you would like to to profit from Pixmac sales anyway, then now is the best time to upload your portfolio to Pixmac!

We guarantee a fast review of your images and if you are uploading the same portfolio as you have at Fotolia or Dreamstime (and let us know), this will make the approval process even faster. Premium support will be included we promise.

Good luck with your images!



Just checked, mine are (almost all) still there... so what other agency is partnering with Pixmac.?...
Patrick.

As far as I know, BigStockPhoto is too.

This is an interesting development.

After the BigStock/pixmac/media bakery/colossus fiasco, I would have thought BigStock would terminate their relationship with them. Nothing has been said about whose fault that whole thing was. I believe that pixmac contends that it was media bakery who changed all of the contributor's copyright information, but a lid has been put on the whole can of worms, so I doubt we will ever know the whole truth.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: rimglow on January 17, 2011, 12:13
The email starts off with "Recently you asked us why you have your images with Pixmac.com."

No, I didn't.  Never heard of them.  So the first thing out of their mouth is a lie. That makes a terrible first impression. Reminds me of robo calls in my voicemail that start off  "Sorry I haven't returned your call before now, about this great business opportunity...."
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Blufish on January 17, 2011, 12:21
Has anyone tried to contact dreamstime or fotolia directly? You would think if they have dissolved their partnership, there would have been some sort of announcement...
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: disorderly on January 17, 2011, 12:24
Has anyone tried to contact dreamstime or fotolia directly? You would think if they have dissolved their partnership, there would have been some sort of announcement...

Why would you think that?  Was there an announcement when they partnered in the first place?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Blufish on January 17, 2011, 12:29
What was I thinking??  Wishfully I suppose. I've checked out both sites and nothing at all.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 17, 2011, 12:36
Has anyone tried to contact dreamstime or fotolia directly? You would think if they have dissolved their partnership, there would have been some sort of announcement...

Why would you think that?  Was there an announcement when they partnered in the first place?

Exactly. These partnerships are on the down-low. We're not supposed to know about them, we're not entitled to know where our images have gone, or how much money we have actually made off of them.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Maui on January 17, 2011, 12:54
But this announcement makes me wonder, do they really have over 11.000.000 images as state on their frontpage?

A search without search terms returns slightly over 5.000.000 results.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: red on January 17, 2011, 14:05
Hmmmmm, Achilles just posted this on DT -

As you all know, Dreamstime sells content using a large distribution network, additional to our own site.  From time to time, we audit our distribution partners to ensure that everything is going as it should.

Earlier last week, we have decided to remove the access to one of our distributors for a serious infringement of the terms of our contract with that distributor.  More specifically, we discovered that the distributor has been selling some images at a higher price point than agreed with Dreamstime, with the extra amount not being reported by the distributor.  The added amount per image varied from a few percentage points up to several times the acceptable price.  Furthermore, some of the files were duplicated and used, via a caching system, to allow future downloads from new and previous customers, without any payments sent to Dreamstime or its photographers.  Dreamstime considers this to be a serious violation of its contributor’s rights – one which we intend to see remedied by any and all available means.

We have consequently removed their access to all Dreamstime images, and we’re currently preparing a legal action towards this company.  I will not name the company here, due to the nature of the legal process.  Once this process ends, and we recover any royalties due, we will add any additional missing royalties due.

We are making this post to publicly advise our distributors and contributors that we will not tolerate any kind of infringements.  Similarly, we will not quietly end an infringement, endorsing suspected instances of fraud this way.  Strong ethics must prevail and should be the very first thing one analyzes before joining a partnership, no matter its type.

We will keep you posted.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 17, 2011, 14:12
Hmmmmm, Achilles just posted this on DT -

As you all know, Dreamstime sells content using a large distribution network, additional to our own site.  From time to time, we audit our distribution partners to ensure that everything is going as it should.

Earlier last week, we have decided to remove the access to one of our distributors for a serious infringement of the terms of our contract with that distributor.  More specifically, we discovered that the distributor has been selling some images at a higher price point than agreed with Dreamstime, with the extra amount not being reported by the distributor.  The added amount per image varied from a few percentage points up to several times the acceptable price.  Furthermore, some of the files were duplicated and used, via a caching system, to allow future downloads from new and previous customers, without any payments sent to Dreamstime or its photographers.  Dreamstime considers this to be a serious violation of its contributor’s rights – one which we intend to see remedied by any and all available means.

We have consequently removed their access to all Dreamstime images, and we’re currently preparing a legal action towards this company.  I will not name the company here, due to the nature of the legal process.  Once this process ends, and we recover any royalties due, we will add any additional missing royalties due.

We are making this post to publicly advise our distributors and contributors that we will not tolerate any kind of infringements.  Similarly, we will not quietly end an infringement, endorsing suspected instances of fraud this way.  Strong ethics must prevail and should be the very first thing one analyzes before joining a partnership, no matter its type.

We will keep you posted.

Hurray for it's about time DT. I certainly hope they follow through and I hope they pass on some royalty money to the contributors who were ripped off. I personally opted out early on, so I don't think I will be affected, but there must be many more who will be.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: WarrenPrice on January 17, 2011, 14:18
Doesn't say much for the ethics of people who so strongly vouched for the "honesty and integrity" of PixMac. 
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on January 17, 2011, 15:47
Hurray for DT. I certainly hope they follow through and I hope they pass on some royalty money to the contributors who were ripped off. I personally opted out early on, so I don't think I will be affected, but there must be many more who will be.
'Hurray' is a bit strong to say the least __ after all it was DT that chose Pixmac as a partner and who gave them access to our property.  I'm glad that DT appear to have caught them with their hand in the till but we still have no way of knowing how long this has been going on or to what extent.

I don't understand the need for these 'partners'. Our agencies already take a big enough slice of the money our sales generate, certainly enough to do their own marketing. Introducing further middlemen can only dilute our cut yet further, reduce the transparency of the transactions and open our work to theft. We don't have a clue what is going on with these partnerships and have no way of finding out either.

Btw, from a few cursory searches it would appear that my images have disappeared but they do still have lots from contributors on here (e.g. Lisa 1800 images, Baldrick's T 900 images, Yuri 28K, etc).
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 17, 2011, 15:54
Hurray for DT. I certainly hope they follow through and I hope they pass on some royalty money to the contributors who were ripped off. I personally opted out early on, so I don't think I will be affected, but there must be many more who will be.
'Hurray' is a bit strong to say the least __ after all it was DT that chose Pixmac as a partner and who gave them access to our property.  I'm glad that DT appear to have caught them with their hand in the till but we still have no way of knowing how long this has been going on or to what extent.

I don't understand the need for these 'partners'. Our agencies already take a big enough slice of the money our sales generate, certainly enough to do their own marketing. Introducing further middlemen can only dilute our cut yet further, reduce the transparency of the transactions and open our work to theft. We don't have a clue what is going on with these partnerships and have no way of finding out either.

Btw, from a few cursory searches it would appear that my images have disappeared but they do still have lots from contributors on here (e.g. Lisa 1800 images, Baldrick's T 900 images, Yuri 28K, etc).

Actually, the way I understood it to work was that pixmac would NOT have access to hi rez images, only thumbnails. And anytime someone bought from pixmac, the buyer would be directly sent back to DT to purchase. That's how it was explained in the beginning. Somewhere along the way, something changed, then apparently pixmac had access to hi rez files and could manipulate the sales. Exact same thing happened at pixmac/BigStock/colossus. And I'm guessing the fraud has been going on for months.

So yes, you are correct, hurray might be too strong a word because this should have been caught a long time ago. So I take back my hurray.  ;)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on January 17, 2011, 16:08
So yes, you are correct, hurray might be too strong a word because this should have been caught a long time ago. So I take back my hurray.  ;)

Hurray to the taking back of your 'Hurray'  :)

I've checked and it turns out I was always opted out of partnerships at DT. I became very sceptical about the wonders of 'partnerships' when Istock kept breathlessly announcing partnerships or affiliations with various other business but none of them appeared to amount to anything.

Pixmac used to have some of my images though, possibly through FT. Does anyone know how/whether you can opt of of these partnerships at FT?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 17, 2011, 16:53
So yes, you are correct, hurray might be too strong a word because this should have been caught a long time ago. So I take back my hurray.  ;)
snip
Does anyone know how/whether you can opt of of these partnerships at FT?

IIRC, someone said you cannot opt out at FT, and I even think one person left because of it. But I am going by memory and I suffer from CRS*.


*CRS=can't remember sh*t
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: stormchaser on January 17, 2011, 16:54
PM is also scraping from 123RF, or at least they were as of about 2 weeks ago. Just FYI.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on January 17, 2011, 17:11
^^^ Thanks but I never bothered with 123. Something about the tone of their wording put me off at the time and I've never heard much reason to bother ever since.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: RacePhoto on January 17, 2011, 18:51
Has anyone tried to contact dreamstime or fotolia directly? You would think if they have dissolved their partnership, there would have been some sort of announcement...

Why would you think that?  Was there an announcement when they partnered in the first place?

Exactly what I was thinking. We're find out second hand, after the fact.

Only reason I ever looked to see if I had anything up Partnered on Pixmac was because of what people posted here. No sales and now un-partnered by reading here. Oh wait, it's Microstock, no regulation, no open communications, fly by the seat of your pants, change the rules whenever it helps the agency and keep the suppliers in the dark or try to hide the truth.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 18, 2011, 03:47
Hello,

Thank you everybody for posting this here. Pixmac is currently gathering all the data for our supplier and going to reply to their letter today. I will inform you here later about the results of the communication.

Vita, CEO of Pixmac
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 18, 2011, 07:25
1. We have sent the email mentioned above only to photographers that requested information about Pixmac’s source of photos during the partnerships. The emails were taken from our customer support history of questions only. We thought it is fair to tell those photographers about the change.

TO rimglow: Please, could you state your email here? We will get back to you with n exact date and time when you communicated with Pixmac customer support. We’re not crazy to do any “robo calls”.

2. The statement about 11 million images was taken off the homepage.

3. BigStock was never a direct partner of Pixmac, it was Colossus Agency (Media Bakery). And after the discovery of the issues discussed elsewhere, Pixmac immediately took offline the content and ceased the partnership few days later. We asked Colossus for more information about the issue, but we don’t have it yet.

4. Unfortunately downloads of photos supplied by agencies are not reported in photographer reports on sourcing agencies. There’s no way how Pixmac can change that. Our way to change this was to set and stick to the Declaration of Fair Stock Photo Agency, where photographers clearly see which downloads are via the agency directly and which are via distributor such as Pixmac. For example, this already allows Pixmac's direct photographers to sign-off any distributors of Pixmac if they want. With a single click.

5. The reason why Pixmac might bring extra value "as a middleman" is that we might be smarter and more effective in marketing. And we can reach new customers in several other countries. In the end all parts of the chain should be happy. On the other hand we take all the issues discussed here or on other forums always very seriously and we are taking steps to explain and avoid any of them in the future.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 18, 2011, 07:43
1. We have sent the email mentioned above only to photographers that requested information about Pixmac’s source of photos during the partnerships. The emails were taken from our customer support history of questions only. We thought it is fair to tell those photographers about the change.

TO rimglow: Please, could you state your email here? We will get back to you with n exact date and time when you communicated with Pixmac customer support. We’re not crazy to do any “robo calls”.

2. The statement about 11 million images was taken off the homepage.

3. BigStock was never a direct partner of Pixmac, it was Colossus Agency (Media Bakery). And after the discovery of the issues discussed elsewhere, Pixmac immediately took offline the content and ceased the partnership few days later. We asked Colossus for more information about the issue, but we don’t have it yet.

4. Unfortunately downloads of photos supplied by agencies are not reported in photographer reports on sourcing agencies. There’s no way how Pixmac can change that. Our way to change this was to set and stick to the Declaration of Fair Stock Photo Agency, where photographers clearly see which downloads are via the agency directly and which are via distributor such as Pixmac. For example, this already allows Pixmac's direct photographers to sign-off any distributors of Pixmac if they want. With a single click.

5. The reason why Pixmac might bring extra value "as a middleman" is that we might be smarter and more effective in marketing. And we can reach new customers in several other countries. In the end all parts of the chain should be happy. On the other hand we take all the issues discussed here or on other forums always very seriously and we are taking steps to explain and avoid any of them in the future.

So the Partner Program is really a partner of a partner program.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 18, 2011, 08:35
So the Partner Program is really a partner of a partner program.

In the Colossus case it seems so. Usually it is forbidden by the supplier. We were never allowed to resell the content we got from agencies like Fotolia or Dreamstime or any other agency to third parties.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: FD on January 18, 2011, 08:49
The reason why Pixmac might bring extra value "as a middleman" is that we might be smarter and more effective in marketing.

Vita, with all due respect but you didn't counter the allegations of fraud by DT at all: thread here (http://www.dreamstime.com/thread_25551). You have been talking very elegantly and smoothly about transparency, mistakes by others. being smart etc... ignoring the elephant in the room.

Apparently DT did an audit (controlled test-buying by a third party, I presume) and they claim to have found out that you [an unnamed sublicenser] sold their sublicensed content at a higher price point without reporting it. This hurts the DT contributors too since they are paid by DT, not by Pixmac [an unnamed sublicenser].

It was also stated that - even if you [an unnamed sublicenser] only seem to have access to the DT thumbs - you [an unnamed sublicenser] installed a cache system. This means that (if I guess it well) you [an unnamed sublicenser] intercepted the traffic between the full sizes on DT and your(?) own client, you [an unnamed sublicenser] stored those copies in your(?) system, and when another client bought that file you [an unnamed sublicenser] sold him the cached copy. DT didn't get its commission and we, contributors, were robbed. In that case (if it's true) you [an unnamed sublicenser] infringed in a premeditated and fraudulent way on our copyright and you [an unnamed sublicenser] stole our earnings.

DT has been around very long time and it has a very good reputation as to transparency to contributors. If they did an audit and they found irregularities, they will certainly have repeated that audit thoroughly and with all due legal precautions. If DT decides to nail you [an unnamed sublicenser] for those practices they will have had very good reasons. The allegations are very serious.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: rimglow on January 18, 2011, 08:55
TO Zager:
 I received the same email as stated in the original post. I sent you a private message with a copy, and my email address. I don't recall ever contacting your site.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 18, 2011, 09:01
Issue with rimglow was discussed via Personal Message.

Local time of initial request:
Friday, December 12, 2008 4:55 PM

Local time of Pixmac reply:
Fri, 12 Dec 2008 16:58:57 +0100
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: rimglow on January 18, 2011, 09:02
Okay. It seems I did contact you 2 years ago asking about why you had my portfolio.

Sorry for the bad vibe.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 18, 2011, 11:09
Vita, with all due respect but you didn't counter the allegations of fraud by DT at all: thread here ([url]http://www.dreamstime.com/thread_25551[/url]). You have been talking very elegantly and smoothly about transparency, mistakes by others. being smart etc... ignoring the elephant in the room.


To FD-regular: it's not ignoring the elephant as I stated before. It's being really serious about the issue. I could state an immediate reply to the allegations but I preffer to take the time to do a serious discussion and investigation together with the other party. After that I'd like to make an explanatory statement (ideally together with the other party).

Before that, any statement would be subjective opinion only.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on January 18, 2011, 11:47
To FD-regular: it's not ignoring the elephant as I stated before. It's being really serious about the issue. I could state an immediate reply to the allegations but I preffer to take the time to do a serious discussion and investigation together with the other party. After that I'd like to make an explanatory statement (ideally together with the other party).

Before that, any statement would be subjective opinion only.

I think you're 'ignoring the elephant' too. Markedly so. I await your explanatory statement with great interest.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cthoman on January 18, 2011, 12:07
Obviously, we want to know more about what's going on, but I guess waiting for an explanation will have to do. Hopefully, it will come soon.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: trek on January 18, 2011, 21:00
If Pixmac is no longer a partner of Dreamstime, Fotolia or Big Stock... why are 147 of my images still there?  Kinda curious.... do they have other "partners"?

 
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cthoman on January 18, 2011, 21:05
If Pixmac is no longer a partner of Dreamstime, Fotolia or Big Stock... why are 147 of my images still there?  Kinda curious.... do they have other "partners"?

I was curious about this as well. The number of images I have on there didn't seem to correspond with any agency. Also when flipping through my images, I noticed there were a lot without previews. I didn't know if some of these were eliminated, but the server hadn't updated yet.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: FD on January 19, 2011, 01:03
but I preffer to take the time to do a serious discussion and investigation together with the other party. After that I'd like to make an explanatory statement (ideally together with the other party).
Well I really hope it is one giant mistake. Nothing to have Schadenfreude about. I think everybody is waiting for the explanation when the dust is settled.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Artemis on January 19, 2011, 02:59
...and the longer it takes the more damage Pixmac's name takes. If they're straight in their shoes it shouldnt take long, eh? ::)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: stormchaser on January 19, 2011, 03:54
If Pixmac is no longer a partner of Dreamstime, Fotolia or Big Stock... why are 147 of my images still there?  Kinda curious.... do they have other "partners"?

 

123RF - is that about the amount that you maybe have on 123RF?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: MikLav on January 19, 2011, 04:10
If Pixmac is no longer a partner of Dreamstime, Fotolia or Big Stock... why are 147 of my images still there?  Kinda curious.... do they have other "partners"?
  
I don't remember seeing any note about cancellation of Fotolia partnership, I think it's still there.

[upd] ok, I don't see Fotolia in Pixmac's own web page of partners, but on the other hand Colossus is still there even though Pixmac said it's terminated.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: sharpshot on January 19, 2011, 04:23
To FD-regular: it's not ignoring the elephant as I stated before. It's being really serious about the issue. I could state an immediate reply to the allegations but I preffer to take the time to do a serious discussion and investigation together with the other party. After that I'd like to make an explanatory statement (ideally together with the other party).

Before that, any statement would be subjective opinion only.

I think you're 'ignoring the elephant' too. Markedly so. I await your explanatory statement with great interest.
This made me smile, thinking of 2 ignored elephants in the room :)  I hope they both give us updates soon.  Ignoring the elephant in the room would make a good stock photo.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: rubyroo on January 19, 2011, 05:06
It's been done too well already (second picture down):

http://www.microstockdiaries.com/generating-ideas-the-foundation-of-good-stock-photography.html (http://www.microstockdiaries.com/generating-ideas-the-foundation-of-good-stock-photography.html)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: FD on January 19, 2011, 05:34
([email protected] - idea taken)

(http://www.rense.com/1.imagesH/elez.jpg)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: trek on January 19, 2011, 06:52
If Pixmac is no longer a partner of Dreamstime, Fotolia or Big Stock... why are 147 of my images still there?  Kinda curious.... do they have other "partners"?

 

123RF - is that about the amount that you maybe have on 123RF?

I have far more images (1000+) at 123.  But that could explain it. 

Thanks
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: NancyCWalker on January 19, 2011, 09:05
There was a posting on Twitter about DT and FT dropping Pixmax with this link to their listed affiliates.

http://www.pixmac.de/partneragenturen#utm_source=2279&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=aff3 (http://www.pixmac.de/partneragenturen#utm_source=2279&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=aff3)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 19, 2011, 10:05
There was a posting on Twitter about DT and FT dropping Pixmax with this link to their listed affiliates.

[url]http://www.pixmac.de/partneragenturen#utm_source=2279&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=aff3[/url] ([url]http://www.pixmac.de/partneragenturen#utm_source=2279&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=aff3[/url])


So they are still showing Colossus as a partner? Even after colossus (or pixmac, or someone) changed the contributors copyright info and uploaded 292,000 images to pixmac that way? And then zager reported that all 292,000 images had been removed from pixmac? After zager stated that colossus is a partner of pixmac, and colossus is a partner of BigStock. So in case you didn't follow: BigStock > colossus > pixmac (partner of a partner)?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cthoman on January 19, 2011, 11:45
So they are still showing Colossus as a partner? Even after colossus (or pixmac, or someone) changed the contributors copyright info and uploaded 292,000 images to pixmac that way? And then zager reported that all 292,000 images had been removed from pixmac? After zager stated that colossus is a partner of pixmac, and colossus is a partner of BigStock. So in case you didn't follow: BigStock > colossus > pixmac (partner of a partner)?


Yeah, that redistribution and re-redistribution thing is pretty annoying. These partners programs really should be a decision by us. It seems like a simple enough request that I should be able to know and decide where MY IMAGES are being sold. Here's the same link in English:

http://www.pixmac.com/image-partners (http://www.pixmac.com/image-partners)

Not that it helps because I don't know any of these companies and yet I still have images there.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: WarrenPrice on January 19, 2011, 11:45
To FD-regular: it's not ignoring the elephant as I stated before. It's being really serious about the issue. I could state an immediate reply to the allegations but I preffer to take the time to do a serious discussion and investigation together with the other party. After that I'd like to make an explanatory statement (ideally together with the other party).

Before that, any statement would be subjective opinion only.

I think you're 'ignoring the elephant' too. Markedly so. I await your explanatory statement with great interest.
This made me smile, thinking of 2 ignored elephants in the room :)  I hope they both give us updates soon.  Ignoring the elephant in the room would make a good stock photo.

 ;D ;D ;D

One "Gotcha."  
 ;D
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Pixart on January 19, 2011, 12:17
Yeah, that redistribution and re-redistribution thing is pretty annoying. These partners programs really should be a decision by us. It seems like a simple enough request that I should be able to know and decide where MY IMAGES are being sold. Here's the same link in English:

[url]http://www.pixmac.com/image-partners[/url] ([url]http://www.pixmac.com/image-partners[/url])

Not that it helps because I don't know any of these companies and yet I still have images there.


Sorry, I don't understand - does this page show where they are getting their content FROM or where it is going TO.  Around 1/3 of my stuff is on Pixmac, and I'm not with those sites and can't really tell where it's coming from.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 19, 2011, 13:17
Yeah, that redistribution and re-redistribution thing is pretty annoying. These partners programs really should be a decision by us. It seems like a simple enough request that I should be able to know and decide where MY IMAGES are being sold. Here's the same link in English:

[url]http://www.pixmac.com/image-partners[/url] ([url]http://www.pixmac.com/image-partners[/url])

Not that it helps because I don't know any of these companies and yet I still have images there.


Sorry, I don't understand - does this page show where they are getting their content FROM or where it is going TO.  Around 1/3 of my stuff is on Pixmac, and I'm not with those sites and can't really tell where it's coming from.


I am assuming that is where their content is coming from, but I certainly could be wrong. In any case, I am thinking that not ALL of the partners will be shown, in either instance.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: lisafx on January 19, 2011, 14:45

Btw, from a few cursory searches it would appear that my images have disappeared but they do still have lots from contributors on here (e.g. Lisa 1800 images, Baldrick's T 900 images, Yuri 28K, etc).

Don't know how I managed to overlook this thread...?!  If Fotolia and DT are no longer partnered with Pixmac, then I was wondering how I still have images there.  Just checked at BigStock and for some reason I was opted in to their reseller sales program.  I had thought I opted out of that months ago.  Just opted out again.  Hope it takes this time.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 19, 2011, 14:49

Btw, from a few cursory searches it would appear that my images have disappeared but they do still have lots from contributors on here (e.g. Lisa 1800 images, Baldrick's T 900 images, Yuri 28K, etc).

Don't know how I managed to overlook this thread...?!  If Fotolia and DT are no longer partnered with Pixmac, then I was wondering how I still have images there.  Just checked at BigStock and for some reason I was opted in to their reseller sales program.  I had thought I opted out of that months ago.  Just opted out again.  Hope it takes this time.

That's exactly what happened to me re: BigStock. I'm wondering if something happened when BigStock redesigned their site. I know I opted out of everything, but when the whole pixmac/BigStock/colossus thing came up the first time around, I checked, and sure enough I was opted in.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 19, 2011, 17:04
I am assuming that is where their content is coming from, but I certainly could be wrong. In any case, I am thinking that not ALL of the partners will be shown, in either instance.

At Pixmac website, you can pick and choose who will be reselling your images if those are uploaded to Pixmac directly. As for the link to partner agencies, it's outdated and Colossus will be removed by tomorrow. That page contains some of our supplier partners.

As for the main issue, it's still in the investigation progress. Sorry for the delay, but I need to be clear that we examined the data and everything well. Will keep you posted...
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 24, 2011, 07:06
Explanation of the issue was just posted here:
http://blog.pixmac.com/2274/explanation-of-technical-error/ (http://blog.pixmac.com/2274/explanation-of-technical-error/)

Thank you everyone for the patience.

Vita
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: shiyali on January 24, 2011, 08:13
Thank you for the update and explanation. I hope it is all sorted out now.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 24, 2011, 09:57
Here is the explanation.

Quote
We had discovered a technical error in tracking transactions in our internal system that affected one of our suppliers. Out of 9.753 transactions during 14 months there were 58 transactions not reported to the supplier. Total value of  transactions is $283.60. We will send that amount to the supplier.

We will include information about what photographers should be paid with details about image IDs, credits and size. The error technically happened when our customer purchased a previously downloaded image. Only single image purchase was affected. Downloads by customers using prepaid credits were not affected by this error.

The error also caused transactions that reported downloads in the suppliers’s system but were not sold to an end-user in total value of $600.30. Pixmac have already paid these extra costs while not charging customers.

The error was fixed immediately after its discovery and we have carefully checked the transaction history again during last several days. We are sorry for the error. We assure you, that we will do anything technically possible to avoid such issues. Mainly by adding several cross controlling mechanisms that would notify us in case there is any difference in the communication between Pixmac and the supplier’s API.

On a general note – internal system of Pixmac is a complex solution. There are currencies, credit pack discounts, refunds, bonuses, individual discounts, price changes, affiliates etc. There are many controlling mechanisms already. Pixmac website and its backend is changing constantly. Same as all the other agencies sites are under development. We are open to discuss any improvements and we are flexible to answer any questions anytime.

It is not our interest to do anything against contributors or suppliers. That is not a scenario working long term. We know that. We are trying to build a fair company although we make mistakes.

If you are interested more in our philosophy, we recommend you to read recent MicrostockGroup article: Major Press Release from Pixmac – Fairness in Front and also The Idea of an Open Company.

If there are any further questions on this matter we would like to answer any of those by email at [email protected] and phone +420 296 566 268 (9-17 CET).

According to DT, high rez images were cached on your system and sold directly from your site and that is NOT how the whole API partner program was supposed to work. You don't address anything about that.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Maui on January 24, 2011, 10:04
You are only talking about one of your suppliers. Why were the contracts with two suppliers canceled?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 24, 2011, 10:21
According to DT, high rez images were cached on your system and sold directly from your site and that is NOT how the whole API partner program was supposed to work. You don't address anything about that.

'The error technically happened when our customer purchased a previously downloaded image.'

To avoid technical problems such as broken download, bad connection, non-responsive servers and other technical issues the caching system allows to store the purchased files for a limited time for the buyers. Without the need to pay twice for the files while the customer is the same. Although it is an added value for the customer it is a thread for the contributor.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 24, 2011, 10:25
You are only talking about one of your suppliers. Why were the contracts with two suppliers canceled?

The other partnership was terminated on 31.1.2010 after mutual discussion between the parties in November 2010.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 24, 2011, 10:42
According to DT, high rez images were cached on your system and sold directly from your site and that is NOT how the whole API partner program was supposed to work. You don't address anything about that.

'The error technically happened when our customer purchased a previously downloaded image.'

To avoid technical problems such as broken download, bad connection, non-responsive servers and other technical issues the caching system allows to store the purchased files for a limited time for the buyers. Without the need to pay twice for the files while the customer is the same. Although it is an added value for the customer it is a thread for the contributor.

That isn't how I was told it would happen. I was told that when a client finds my image on your site, they click on the image and the thumb takes them directly to my port on DT (or whatever partner) where the client purchases the image. That's not at all how it is happening. You have circumvented that whole process by making your site become an actual site in competition with the other sites, rather than just being a partner site.

Here's the quote from DT:

   
Quote
As you all know, Dreamstime sells content using a large distribution network, additional to our own site.  From time to time, we audit our distribution partners to ensure that everything is going as it should.

Earlier last week, we have decided to remove the access to one of our distributors for a serious infringement of the terms of our contract with that distributor.  More specifically, we discovered that the distributor has been selling some images at a higher price point than agreed with Dreamstime, with the extra amount not being reported by the distributor.  The added amount per image varied from a few percentage points up to several times the acceptable price.  Furthermore, some of the files were duplicated and used, via a caching system, to allow future downloads from new and previous customers, without any payments sent to Dreamstime or its photographers.  Dreamstime considers this to be a serious violation of its contributor’s rights – one which we intend to see remedied by any and all available means.

We have consequently removed their access to all Dreamstime images, and we’re currently preparing a legal action towards this company.  I will not name the company here, due to the nature of the legal process.  Once this process ends, and we recover any royalties due, we will add any additional missing royalties due.

We are making this post to publicly advise our distributors and contributors that we will not tolerate any kind of infringements.  Similarly, we will not quietly end an infringement, endorsing suspected instances of fraud this way.  Strong ethics must prevail and should be the very first thing one analyzes before joining a partnership, no matter its type.

We will keep you posted.

I have bolded the relevant words, which seem to indicate more than a one or two time infringement. I can't imagine that DT is preparing legal action based on you just allowing a client to re-download an image they have already paid for, once or twice. And the fact is, it shouldn't be happening at all, because I was under the impression that you only got thumbnails, no high rez images. I was told they were all stored on DT (or wherever). So the high rez images should be in DTs caching system, not yours.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 24, 2011, 11:16
to cclapper:

I'll try to explain the difference between a third party reseller and affiliate. Pixmac is not an affiliate partner that takes the buyer to the original site (via link). Pixmac is a re-seller that shows watermarked images on its website and when the customer is decided to download the particular image it asks the supplier's site for the hires file while paying for it in the same moment 'in the background'. That's the API connection thing.

All the original hires files were always in the suppliers system only. Pixmac only gets hires files that have been purchased by a buyer. To be able to send the file to the buyer. Caching system temporarily stores files that were recently purchased only. Not all the files available at suppliers server nor all the resolutions without paying for each of them.

As for the bold parts in your quote, I can't comment them now. Sorry for that.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: WarrenPrice on January 24, 2011, 11:40
Zager,
This would all have more validity coming from Dreamstime.  If you have this settled, why not have Serban post a retraction?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: FD on January 24, 2011, 13:48
All the original hires files were always in the suppliers system only.
Yap.
Pixmac only gets hires files that have been purchased by a buyer.
Yap.
To be able to send the file to the buyer.
Obviously, unless the temporary download link points to a third server without the DT domain in it. This is the reasonable thing to do. It won't be a server under Pixmac control.
Caching system temporarily stores files that were recently purchased only.
So, there was a local caching mechanism on servers controlled by Pixmac. Fine.
Not all the files available at suppliers server nor all the resolutions without paying for each of them.
Yes we know that. You can only cache the copies that the customer bought. Whenever a customer bought a DT hires file, he got a download link to it on a DT controlled server. You intercepted that link and saved a copy of the image for yourself on a Pixmac controlled server and you set a flag in the DB: "we have copy".
The next time a customer wants that file, you check your DB and if you copied cached the file, you just sell your cached copy and there is no way DT can know that, nor the contributor. Fine.

The problem of course arises when a third auditing party buys a popular file that has probably been "cached" by you. You'll give him the download link on a Pixmac controlled server and not on a DT controlled server. That's how the auditor knows. He then just has to check with DT if the "conveniently" cached file has been reported. Obviously not since DT made a big fuzz about it. They must have had an eye for a while on these creative practices to be sure and gather enough evidence.
As for the bold parts in your quote, I can't comment them now. Sorry for that.
You'd better not.  :P
On the Pixmac blog a technical "mistake" was mentioned as to the under-reporting. The elephant in the room, the caching, was ignored once again. Can we cut the [email protected] about "transparency" and just get that huge Colossal beast out of the room?  ;)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 24, 2011, 14:14
Thanks for explaining all that technically, FD. That's exactly how I understood it all to be working.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on January 24, 2011, 14:15
Thanks for explaining all that technically, FD. That's exactly how I understood it all to be working. Sometimes the connection between my brain and my hands doesn't work so well.  :)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on January 25, 2011, 04:30
To WarrenPrice: I agree.

To FD-regular:

Quote
They must have had an eye for a while on these creative practices to be sure and gather enough evidence.

So far it seems to me that it was a matter of few days. I guess that if it was being watched for longer period of time we would be notified sooner that we have a bug there. So we'd fix it sooner. The technical problem was there (as described in the blogpost) and was fixed immediately after its discovery.

Quote
The elephant in the room, the caching, was ignored once again. Can we cut the [email protected] about "transparency" and just get that huge Colossal beast out of the room?

There's a blogpost about its extent and technical description above in the discussion.

Just thinking:

The whole microstock business is based on trust. And the trust is really fragile. We did a mistake, we investigated it, we posted a message about what exactly happened as soon as we could. But that is not enough. The problem when being an agency is that there's no way to communicate 'the honesty' or 'the fairness' to the contributor. You can write press releases, you can try to post open reactions on forums, you can meet people from the industry to show yourself and your intentions. But when you make a mistake it turns against you.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Maui on January 25, 2011, 06:08
There is a Forbes report about browser history sniffing that lists Pixmac (in addition to YouPorn and some other well-known sites) as one of the sites that actively use it to find out which other websites a user has visited.

Here is the link:

http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2010/11/30/history-sniffing-how-youporn-checks-what-other-porn-sites-youve-visited-and-ad-networks-test-the-quality-of-their-data/ (http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2010/11/30/history-sniffing-how-youporn-checks-what-other-porn-sites-youve-visited-and-ad-networks-test-the-quality-of-their-data/)

It doesn't seem to be illegal but it is probably worth knowing if you visit the site.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: TheSmilingAssassin on January 25, 2011, 07:07
Interesting, zager, how you’ve come in here and blamed it on a ‘technical error” to desperately try to maintain Pixmac’s innocence yet you’ve refused to respond to what exactly you’ve been accused of doing.

You’ve completely swept under the rug and justified the issue about caching, by saying that you do it temporarily “to avoid technical problems” for the buyer but the fact of the matter is that you had no right to store our files in your system and sell them directly and you know it!  You’re in the microstock business.  You can’t really play dumb and act as if you didn’t know that because if you didn’t, then you’re in the wrong business.  Furthermore, you’ve completely ignored the part about you selling the images directly at a price several times over the amount that was agreed to by Dreamstime.  Was that a system error too?

To top things off you’ve tried to brush the whole thing off by claiming that Pixmac just made a little mistake and we should all forgive you and sign up with you.   I suppose you can say that violating the terms between you and your supplier and breaking copyright laws by selling contributor images without their permission would be considered a mistake.  HUGE mistake! 

To make matters worse, after all of this Pixmac then tried to recruit us via email to upload to their site directly.  Pixmac couldn’t be more sleezy!

It’s amazing how Pixmac flushed their reputation and probably their company down the gurgler over a few lousy hundred bucks.

I hope other third parties learn from your teeny weeny “mistake”.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: hose on January 26, 2011, 04:34
the hard truth that I've been writting so many times is that we as contributors don't have ANY control of what is going on behind the scenes

the only reason all this to come up now is that one agency is stealing from another

if an agency is stealing - we can't make an audit
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: daffodil on February 02, 2011, 10:28
After following this topic, and other common writings about using re-sellers in Microstock, the following questions have raised in my mind:

Why don't we find the use of re-sellers good thing, in common? It however offers us possibility to get our images pushed harder, and it is well proven procedure in image industry.

Why the re-sellers are often not allowed to tell/show who are their partners? Is it because the various agencies do not want to tell the photographers there is someone else also creating sales - perhaps good sales? As far as I know, the re-sellers really are forbidden to show the name of the image supplier/agency. Agencies like Alamy, Corbis etc always show who are their re-sellers, and their re-sellers are openly allowed to show who they are representing. Microstock could/should learn from this habit.

Why are the agencies not showing in their sales reports the origins of the sales = the name of the re-seller - is that again because they do not want to tell the photographers there is someone else than themselves creating the sales?

Why are the agencies stating the top price the re-seller must use? Is it because they are afraid of our images could be sold with higher prices than what they use themselves? Nice way to prevent the photographers to get more money.

Why are the agencies stating/agreeing the share of photographers commission in some dollar amount only, instead of clearly showing the gross sales prices received and our agreed x% of that? When using re-sellers this gross sales price naturally should/would be the gross price the agency received from the re-seller (>original gross sales price > minus re-seller commission > net price reported to agency > in photographer's report > net price minus agreed commission %). If no re-seller is used, this system would still always leave us the certain agreed % - and not make it possible for the agency  to reduce the sales prices but still keep as much or almost as much money as earlier - and the only one suffering is the photographer

Why do we feel re-sellers could not sell images with higher prices than the original supplier? Wouldn't it only be good for us - providing we get higher fee ourselves, too.

Why do we attack the re-sellers about problems in reporting or showing the origin of images - we can do it, but at the same time we should demand information about the terms that the origins have stated to the re-sellers - from the origins. These suppliers might have their "fingers" in it anyway and the re-seller is not to be blamed about everything.

About this particular case and topic: when serious accusations like this are made, I trust the one that made this accusation in the beginning will come in public again, and tell about the result of real audit that has been conducted (?). At the same time, the other part in this case must be allowed to give their statement. The decent way to handle this case would have been to first make the audit, see the results - and only then make it public.

This is how I would see fair Microsoft world.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 05, 2011, 06:13
I tried to explain the elephant here:
http://blog.pixmac.com/2394/explanation-of-single-purchase/ (http://blog.pixmac.com/2394/explanation-of-single-purchase/)

Thank you daffodil.
This might help:
http://blog.microstockgroup.com/major-press-release-from-pixmac-fairness-in-front/ (http://blog.microstockgroup.com/major-press-release-from-pixmac-fairness-in-front/)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: daffodil on February 07, 2011, 03:43
I tried to explain the elephant here:
[url]http://blog.pixmac.com/2394/explanation-of-single-purchase/[/url] ([url]http://blog.pixmac.com/2394/explanation-of-single-purchase/[/url])

Thank you daffodil.
This might help:
[url]http://blog.microstockgroup.com/major-press-release-from-pixmac-fairness-in-front/[/url] ([url]http://blog.microstockgroup.com/major-press-release-from-pixmac-fairness-in-front/[/url])


So it looks like this  "other company" first wanted you to represent them but after you started to grow bigger and more "dangerous" competitor in form of getting more images and more photographers of your own, they did not like that and terminated the contract. I must say this is exactly what should change in Microstock; "traditional" agencies do not have so many photographers of their own anymore but they too represent freelancers, and yet they are willing to have re-sellers, even in same market area as they have their own selling offices, and at the same time the re-sellers can naturally build their own business and represent photographers freely. Someone here said it is "sleezy" to invite photographers attend directly; I see nothing sleezy in that, every company, including I as a photographer, must have freedom to develop the business without any competitor or business partner trying to prevent that.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on February 07, 2011, 06:11
So it looks like this  "other company" first wanted you to represent them but after you started to grow bigger and more "dangerous" competitor in form of getting more images and more photographers of your own, they did not like that and terminated the contract. I must say this is exactly what should change in Microstock; "traditional" agencies do not have so many photographers of their own anymore but they too represent freelancers, and yet they are willing to have re-sellers, even in same market area as they have their own selling offices, and at the same time the re-sellers can naturally build their own business and represent photographers freely. Someone here said it is "sleezy" to invite photographers attend directly; I see nothing sleezy in that, every company, including I as a photographer, must have freedom to develop the business without any competitor or business partner trying to prevent that.

Oh really? <sigh>

I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on February 07, 2011, 08:12
So it looks like this  "other company" first wanted you to represent them but after you started to grow bigger and more "dangerous" competitor in form of getting more images and more photographers of your own, they did not like that and terminated the contract. I must say this is exactly what should change in Microstock; "traditional" agencies do not have so many photographers of their own anymore but they too represent freelancers, and yet they are willing to have re-sellers, even in same market area as they have their own selling offices, and at the same time the re-sellers can naturally build their own business and represent photographers freely. Someone here said it is "sleezy" to invite photographers attend directly; I see nothing sleezy in that, every company, including I as a photographer, must have freedom to develop the business without any competitor or business partner trying to prevent that.

Oh really? <sigh>

I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.

Exactly.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: WarrenPrice on February 07, 2011, 09:04
If ignorance is bliss ... I'll just ignore them and be happy.   ;D
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 07, 2011, 10:33
To:  gostwyck, cclapper

Seems so. Unfortunately these ideas are not ours although I can't prove it.

To: WarrenPrice

Thank you. In the meantime we'll do everything possible to show that our intentions were fair.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: ppdd on February 07, 2011, 10:55
I think overall this speaks of the "wild west" nature of an immature industry where quite a few things happened, all of which are understandable from a business development standpoint in an immature industry:

- It makes perfect sense that a new agency like pixmac would try to become established by partnering as much as partner agencies will allow in order to built a library and credibility and sustainability
- The technical underpinnings of these relationships are complicated and made more so by the fine line between too much and not enough information.
- These relationships get confused and strained by the vague nature of the technical relationships, as well as the lack of experience on all fronts with such an affiliation.
- The relationships outlive their usefulness on one or both sides as the relative postion of the agencies evolves.

This seems, to me, like what's happening. Sounds like it could have been handles more smoothly, by it's nice that zager is here trying to work it out. Just my .02.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: daffodil on February 07, 2011, 12:10
So it looks like this  "other company" first wanted you to represent them but after you started to grow bigger and more "dangerous" competitor in form of getting more images and more photographers of your own, they did not like that and terminated the contract. I must say this is exactly what should change in Microstock; "traditional" agencies do not have so many photographers of their own anymore but they too represent freelancers, and yet they are willing to have re-sellers, even in same market area as they have their own selling offices, and at the same time the re-sellers can naturally build their own business and represent photographers freely. Someone here said it is "sleezy" to invite photographers attend directly; I see nothing sleezy in that, every company, including I as a photographer, must have freedom to develop the business without any competitor or business partner trying to prevent that.

Oh really? <sigh>

I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.

I am not writing any press releases on behalf of Pixmac or any other agency, but just writing my thouhts and feelings about our industry in common. I also always try to figure out what might be behind the "curtains", too. And I certainly am not one of those writing here all the time, mostly complaining; if I have any problems with some of the agencies or other partners I work with, I contact them as it usually is the only way to solve matters, complaining here does not help anything. But it is great pity that we can not even try to discuss about anything without getting negative replies back - so sad.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on February 07, 2011, 12:36
I am not writing any press releases on behalf of Pixmac or any other agency, but just writing my thouhts and feelings about our industry in common. I also always try to figure out what might be behind the "curtains", too. And I certainly am not one of those writing here all the time, mostly complaining; if I have any problems with some of the agencies or other partners I work with, I contact them as it usually is the only way to solve matters, complaining here does not help anything. But it is great pity that we can not even try to discuss about anything without getting negative replies back - so sad.
On that basis I'm not sure why you're here at all __ you might as well have written to Pixmac with 'your thoughts'.

In response to your first post asking why we don't all think that re-sellers are simply brilliant ... the more layers of middlemen you introduce the lower the % to the photographer, the less control the photographer has, the less transparent the transactions become, etc, etc, etc. Sooner or later one of those middlemen will try to cache our images, sell at different prices than agreed, hide transactions and a host of other dodgy practices that we the photographers have absolutely no hope of tracking. That's why.

If Pixmac or any other 're-seller' believe they have access to 'special markets' (like where exactly?) then why don't they set themself up as a direct agency? That's where the real money is being made. Why do we need DT, FT or any other agency between us and the actual seller of our images? You could set up a microstock agency in your bedroom, as plenty of folk have attempted, the only difficult bit is having the money to market it effectively. If Pixmac have the money for marketing as well as fancy offices, according to their website, then why not deal with contributors directly?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: MikLav on February 07, 2011, 13:33
Why do we need DT, FT or any other agency between us and the actual seller of our images? You could set up a microstock agency in your bedroom, as plenty of folk have attempted, the only difficult bit is having the money to market it effectively. If Pixmac have the money for marketing as well as fancy offices, according to their website, then why not deal with contributors directly?
Not to answer this particular one, but on similar topic: dealing with contributors is one story; dealing with buyers is completely different story. So there is nothing wrong to split 2 areas between different companies. Many of traditional macrostock agencies are working that way - there are production agencies (either doing in-house production or using external contributors) who make the selection, attributing, form "collections" and then distribute it via distribution agencies. Some of distribution agencies don't deal with contributors at all; some deal with limited number of contributors.

Microstock story in general, and pixmac specifically is different to that model, but I see certain resemblance.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on February 07, 2011, 14:11
Not to answer this particular one, but on similar topic: dealing with contributors is one story; dealing with buyers is completely different story. So there is nothing wrong to split 2 areas between different companies. Many of traditional macrostock agencies are working that way - there are production agencies (either doing in-house production or using external contributors) who make the selection, attributing, form "collections" and then distribute it via distribution agencies. Some of distribution agencies don't deal with contributors at all; some deal with limited number of contributors.

Microstock story in general, and pixmac specifically is different to that model, but I see certain resemblance.

I think you could almost describe SS in the way you have outlined. The contributors' side and the buyers' site appear to be virtually seperate entities but they are not overlapping on costs, nor are they competing in the same market and clearly work well together to the advantage of all. To me an agency employing a 're-seller' is just taking a lazy way to boost their own bottom line. All the microstock agencies take enough of our money already to get off their arses and market our work directly. That way they can keep control of sales and of our property too.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 07, 2011, 14:26
Quote from: gostwyck
I think you could almost describe SS in the way you have outlined. The contributors' side and the buyers' site appear to be virtually seperate entities but they are not overlapping on costs, nor are they competing in the same market and clearly work well together to the advantage of all. To me an agency employing a 're-seller' is just taking a lazy way to boost their own bottom line. All the microstock agencies take enough of our money already to get off their arses and market our work directly. That way they can keep control of sales and of our property too.

Pixmac does that differently. As I want to respect the contributor's work that way. We try to keep the contributor split the same as if it was sold directly. We also try to keep the endprice same as on the suppliers website. We only slice the agency's share into two pieces. A bit of an affiliate partner, but more sophisticated. There's no way to sell an image ten times more expensive anyway in big volumes. We don't reach new territories but rather new market segments.

The question that keeps circulating in my head is wether we should be working hard to promote and sell your work, or you'd rather keep lower sales with lower risk. There are people stealing credit cards and uploading images to torrent sites (as you could recently experience on IS site). And you can't avoid that. I hope your perception on Pixmac is not like that as we, if nothing else, at least try to work things out fast. We're not unknown someone that disappears when the issue gets public.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Fotonaut on February 07, 2011, 14:31
I’m with daffodil on this. I have found this forum’s general bias against agency partnerships puzzling. Microstock is about selling dirt cheap and thus necessarily in huge volumes. Partnerships adds volume, no uploading required.

I for one am considering an API connection to Bigstock/Dreamstime/Fotolia for my Ktools (4) store. Selling a site with some thousand images is difficult. Selling a site with some thousand exclusive images plus millions of other images makes more sense. One stop shopping for the buyer.

And I want a good commission for my efforts (sales, site building, administration etc). The photographer will do nothing. No uploading, no selling, no nothing. Why should the photographer commission be any higher than with the original agency?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cthoman on February 07, 2011, 14:42
I’m with daffodil on this. I have found this forum’s general bias against agency partnerships puzzling. Microstock is about selling dirt cheap and thus necessarily in huge volumes. Partnerships adds volume, no uploading required.

I for one am considering an API connection to Bigstock/Dreamstime/Fotolia for my Ktools (4) store. Selling a site with some thousand images is difficult. Selling a site with some thousand exclusive images plus millions of other images makes more sense. One stop shopping for the buyer.

And I want a good commission for my efforts (sales, site building, administration etc). The photographer will do nothing. No uploading, no selling, no nothing. Why should the photographer commission be any higher than with the original agency?

I think it is the history of these partnerships that has left a bad taste in our mouths. StockXpert forced migration to photos.com, IS and thinkstock, DT with their mysterious myspace or print partnership, FT with it's unannounced everything, and the list goes on. It's not so much that partnerships are bad, but they should be a little more transparent. Certainly, they should be optional and not forced on us. Everybody has a unique business model they are running, so every opportunity is going to be perceived differently. I just want the option to control those opportunities and not learn about them when something goes wrong.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 07, 2011, 14:45
I think it is the history of these partnerships that has left a bad taste in our mouths. StockXpert forced migration to photos.com, IS and thinkstock, DT with their mysterious myspace or print partnership, FT with it's unannounced everything, and the list goes on. It's not so much that partnerships are bad, but they should be a little more transparent. Certainly, they should be optional and not forced on us. Everybody has a unique business model they are running, so every opportunity is going to be perceived differently. I just want the option to control those opportunities and not learn about them when something goes wrong.

Completely agree with you cthoman!
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: lisafx on February 07, 2011, 15:03

I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.


Yeah, it does make one wonder. 

Perhaps Daffodil should change his/her name to Daffoshill ;D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on February 07, 2011, 16:17
I think it is the history of these partnerships that has left a bad taste in our mouths. StockXpert forced migration to photos.com, IS and thinkstock, DT with their mysterious myspace or print partnership, FT with it's unannounced everything, and the list goes on. It's not so much that partnerships are bad, but they should be a little more transparent. Certainly, they should be optional and not forced on us. Everybody has a unique business model they are running, so every opportunity is going to be perceived differently. I just want the option to control those opportunities and not learn about them when something goes wrong.

I agree.

And one of the problems I am personally experiencing and have experienced from 3 different sites is that a. the API software has not been setup/designed correctly because b. even when a contributor opts in/out, they either don't see their images on the partner's site when they should OR they see their images on a site when they have opted out. PLUS the whole issue of hi rez images being cached, when they should not.

The general concept is OK. Contributors should have a choice and most sites have given that opt in/opt out choice. The problem is it is NOT working correctly.

And then you have the whole issue of contributors not being able to KNOW exactly what they are making from a partner site. Some you you guys might be OK with that. I'm not.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 07, 2011, 16:32
And then you have the whole issue of contributors not being able to KNOW exactly what they are making from a partner site. Some you you guys might be OK with that. I'm not.

I understand this. But do you know what happens under the hood of agencies with no resellers? I guess it's just about the feeling of security. And that feeling is obviously damaged when there's a problem such as ours. But problems happen everywhere. It's just make more sense to tell others about it if your partner is a growing competitor in the same time. But there's no way to avoid technical problems, frauds, bad people or such. The only thing we can do at Pixmac is to openly tell you what happened and fix it fast. To minimize the cost/extent of such problems so everybody can enjoy the job again.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on February 07, 2011, 16:44
I understand this. But do you know what happens under the hood of agencies with no resellers? I guess it's just about the feeling of security. And that feeling is obviously damaged when there's a problem such as ours.

Actually I do feel reasonably secure about the reporting arrangements for sales on the main agencies. Don't forget that a significant proportion of contributors on any site are also designers/buyers from that site, sometimes from the same account but also sometimes from a different 'works' account too. I'm pretty sure that if an agency tried to under-report sales to any significant degree they would very quickly be caught out. The potential damage and loss of trust would hugely outweigh any gain. As you know from your recent experience.

Can you explain in detail where all these supposed 'additional markets' might be that apparently you have access to but the main agencies don't? In the age of the internet I really don't see how that can be.

My problem with re-sellers is that I can see lots of downside for the contributor but precious little upside and nobody has yet properly explained the latter.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: cathyslife on February 07, 2011, 16:51
I understand this. But do you know what happens under the hood of agencies with no resellers? I guess it's just about the feeling of security. And that feeling is obviously damaged when there's a problem such as ours.

Actually I do feel reasonably secure about the reporting arrangements for sales on the main agencies. Don't forget that a significant proportion of contributors on any site are also designers/buyers from that site, sometimes from the same account but also sometimes from a different 'works' account too. I'm pretty sure that if an agency tried to under-report sales to any significant degree they would very quickly be caught out. The potential damage and loss of trust would hugely outweigh any gain. As you know from your recent experience.

Can you explain in detail where all these supposed 'additional markets' might be that apparently you have access to but the main agencies don't? In the age of the internet I really don't see how that can be.

My problem with re-sellers is that I can see lots of downside for the contributor but precious little upside and nobody has yet properly explained the latter.

I would agree with that statement mostly, but I have no confidence in IS's reporting either now. They have screwed up so many things, there is never going to be a way for contributors to figure out exactly what they are owed. Just the way they like it!  ;)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 07, 2011, 16:55
Can you explain in detail where all these supposed 'additional markets' might be that apparently you have access to but the main agencies don't? In the age of the internet I really don't see how that can be.

It would be a list of things that's fairly easy to copy by others. So just one example. We're a Czech company and I personally know most of the designers in the country. Just because I do design since early 90s here. I even contributed to SXC before StockXpert was born. I mean that any other agency can try to be successful here, but because I have the contacts and it's easy for me to negotiate a good price for advertising here we're pretty successful here. The beauty of that is that people from other countries think that Czech Republic is not an interesting market. And maybe is still full of apes jumping on trees. That illustrates that even that everything is reachable by any agency, no agency can reach everything.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: Fotonaut on February 07, 2011, 17:06
A side note on expanding sales points: In november I noticed in my CafePress reports that they were also selling my products through Amazon and Ebay. Now 20-30 percent of my CafePress sales are from Amazon. That is 20-30 percent more income, and I am doing nothing extra for it. They do report which partner is behind the sale, but suppress buyer info and contributor credit which is otherwise present.

Though Zazzle and Spreadshirt has better commission, they are really falling behind on sales and income. I just wish these two had made the move with Amazon instead of CafePress.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: gostwyck on February 07, 2011, 17:11
It would be a list of things that's fairly easy to copy by others. So just one example. We're a Czech company and I personally know most of the designers in the country. Just because I do design since early 90s here. I even contributed to SXC before StockXpert was born. I mean that any other agency can try to be successful here, but because I have the contacts and it's easy for me to negotiate a good price for advertising here we're pretty successful here. The beauty of that is that people from other countries think that Czech Republic is not an interesting market. And maybe is still full of apes jumping on trees. That illustrates that even that everything is reachable by any agency, no agency can reach everything.

OK, I'd accept small local networks in a particular location but that's unlikely to be significant. With a population of 10M, even if you had 100% of the entire Czech market, it might just about make 0.5% of world-wide sales. Why don't you become a 'proper' agency in your own respect rather than a re-seller? Then you get to sell direct to the other 99.5% of the market. After all StockXpert did that very successfully from Hungary and then sold out for $M's. Nice work for them.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 07, 2011, 17:21
Why don't you become a 'proper' agency in your own respect rather than a re-seller?

Because we do smart marketing and we don't have enough of our own content. Getting own content was extremely expensive for us in the beginning (time+money) while not being able to sell. Therefore we chose to focus on marketing. Later we got traction just because we had enough time to improve our marketing/sales techniques. There were many agencies that developed great contributor community (Lucky Oliver) but never got enough traction. We tried to avoid that.

And now? We have enough buyers willing to buy. The only thing we need now is variety of content. Does that make sense? We could be wrong.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: daffodil on February 08, 2011, 02:19

I can't help noting that 'daffodil' has only just joined MSG, has felt the need to respond only to this topic and both of their posts read like a press release from Pixmac themselves. Funny that.


Yeah, it does make one wonder. 

Perhaps Daffodil should change his/her name to Daffoshill ;D

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill[/url])


I think one could suggest the same nickname change to you too ;D I wrote my reply because I honestly felt there were clear reasons to sling mud at one player here. The timing and the way it was launched made me skeptical. I also tried to defend photographer's rights and start discussion about possibility to get our commission higher, or to get our fair share of possible higher fees, to make us find out if our interests are considered too, instead of agencies just protecting themselves. I also wanted to wake up us all to remember this forum is a public place where one should not write any insults, or to vomit our own bad feelings on top of public audience. I could have written similar kind of reply to various other topics, too; some of the active members here seem to have only bad things to say about their partners and agencies, today it is agency a, tomorrow agency b, and day after tomorrow agency c. To me that does not look like nice cooperation or partnership. And nor do the replies that we write to each other here. There is no need for us to agree about everything, but it always is our choice how we reply, by discussing constructively, or by just throwing negative lines. So I am sorry I can not join your team and be the "shill" to the same agency you have chosen, I am going to continue being that to my own work only and criticize or defend all various players, with fair play.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: hose on February 08, 2011, 03:59
Actually I experience a very serious decrease in sales after all this happened
So this leads to the obvious conclusion that pixmac were selling very good indeed

But there is something more... several months ago I had the same problems like contributors now in IS - they withdraw money from my account several times, and after a lot of mails and talking they told me that someone for some reason attacked ONLY me.... which is ridiculous... they even suspect me in buying my own photos with false credit cards...

anyway - I guess all the problems were caused by this caching system
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: FD on February 08, 2011, 10:23

Sorry but I virtually left microstock after SS/BigStock banned me for no explanation and even no reply, owing me far over 1000$. So this reply is a bit late.

Quote
They must have had an eye for a while on these creative practices to be sure and gather enough evidence.
You:So far it seems to me that it was a matter of few days. I guess that if it was being watched for longer period of time we would be notified sooner that we have a bug there.

Me: yes they caught you red-handed, as it seems.

Quote
The elephant in the room, the caching, was ignored once again. Can we cut the [email protected] about "transparency" and just get that huge Colossal beast out of the room?

There's a blogpost about its extent and technical description above in the discussion.
Just thinking:

The whole microstock business is based on trust. And the trust is really fragile. We did a mistake, we investigated it, we posted a message about what exactly happened as soon as we could. But that is not enough. The problem when being an agency is that there's no way to communicate 'the honesty' or 'the fairness' to the contributor. You can write press releases, you can try to post open reactions on forums, you can meet people from the industry to show yourself and your intentions. But when you make a mistake it turns against you.

Installing a cache system allowing buyers to download an image X times without reporting it to the agent is frankly said theft. Cache systems don't get programmed and deployed just by mere accident: it's deliberate. I still see the elephant in the room but I don't expect it to disappear any more. You've ruined it  ;)

I have been called a "racist" stating "east of Berlin, there is no copyright". I believe it more than ever now. Please dear God, give us back that beloved iron curtain.  ;D
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 08, 2011, 10:29
Installing a cache system allowing buyers to download an image X times without reporting it to the agent is frankly said theft. Cache systems don't get programmed and deployed just by mere accident: it's deliberate. I still see the elephant in the room but I don't expect it to disappear any more. You've ruined it  ;)

Without such system we pay twice or more times for any technical issue the supplier had in their system. Or any connection issue the customer had. That's fair for you?
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: jm on February 08, 2011, 10:35

Sorry but I virtually left microstock after SS/BigStock banned me for no explanation and even no reply, owing me far over 1000$. So this reply is a bit late.

Quote
They must have had an eye for a while on these creative practices to be sure and gather enough evidence.
You:So far it seems to me that it was a matter of few days. I guess that if it was being watched for longer period of time we would be notified sooner that we have a bug there.

Me: yes they caught you red-handed, as it seems.

Quote
The elephant in the room, the caching, was ignored once again. Can we cut the [email protected] about "transparency" and just get that huge Colossal beast out of the room?

There's a blogpost about its extent and technical description above in the discussion.
Just thinking:

The whole microstock business is based on trust. And the trust is really fragile. We did a mistake, we investigated it, we posted a message about what exactly happened as soon as we could. But that is not enough. The problem when being an agency is that there's no way to communicate 'the honesty' or 'the fairness' to the contributor. You can write press releases, you can try to post open reactions on forums, you can meet people from the industry to show yourself and your intentions. But when you make a mistake it turns against you.

Installing a cache system allowing buyers to download an image X times without reporting it to the agent is frankly said theft. Cache systems don't get programmed and deployed just by mere accident: it's deliberate. I still see the elephant in the room but I don't expect it to disappear any more. You've ruined it  ;)

I have been called a "racist" stating "east of Berlin, there is no copyright". I believe it more than ever now. Please dear God, give us back that beloved iron curtain.  ;D

I wouldn't call it racist, I could find more suitable word. I do live couple kilometers east of Berlin and don't feel like thief. Your words are very very - gently said - unpolite and made me rather angry. If it was supposed to be joke - it wasn't a good one.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: madelaide on February 08, 2011, 18:30
I wouldn't mind partners if sites showed who they are.

One good thing about partners is that they may reach certain niche buyers or even several countries with their own languages, certainly widening our market.

I don't know exactly how Pixmac works (or worked) with the various agencies they represent(ed), but it sounds confusing as so many of us have the same images in all of them.
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: zager on February 08, 2011, 18:37
I don't know exactly how Pixmac works (or worked) with the various agencies they represent(ed), but it sounds confusing as so many of us have the same images in all of them.


Thank you madelaide. There's duplicate detection system that finds the overlap.

Who we are:
http://www.pixmac.com/infocenter/aboutus (http://www.pixmac.com/infocenter/aboutus)
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=211623&id=47843782736 (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=211623&id=47843782736)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: lisafx on February 08, 2011, 18:54
Perhaps Daffodil should change his/her name to Daffoshill ;D

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill[/url])


I think one could suggest the same nickname change to you too ;D


I'm sorry, did you read the definition of "shill"?  If so, who exactly to you think I am shilling for?  

In my years on this site I have been pretty critical of all the agencies at one time or another.  If I am shilling, I am doing a crap job of it!  LOL

To be honest, you're not so good at it either.  You're WAY too obvious!  ::)
Title: Re: Pixmac no longer a partner?
Post by: hose on February 09, 2011, 03:17
yeah... right... west of Berlin the torrent sites doesn't work... crap

people steal everywhere - the only difference is that at some places they are caught

as I live in eastern europe I know very well what are you talking about, but still there are plenty of good people here also