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Messages - mindstorm

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1
I have been a member of BB for 16 months.  In late 2018, early 2019, I sent them a little over 1000 clips.  Starting in March 2019, I switched to using Microstock Plus to upload all my media.  Since that time I have uploaded about 1100 more clips to various agencies, including the ones that BB supports (and which you cannot upload to personally if those same media are sent via BB).

I have about 30% more revenue from the non-BB clips than I do from the BB ones, even though BB has had all their clips longer.

BB takes 15% off the top as their commission.  They then take another 2% when they pay you, claiming that "every agency does this." Uh... I have worked with some 20 agencies over the years, and NOT ONE of them charges me to pay me.  Thus, their commission is really 17%, which comes off the top of what SS, Adobe, etc paid in the first place.

With BB, you do not have any idea which agency accepted (or rejected) your media, and have no idea which agency sold the media.  You do get an email  for each sale, and they pay very quickly on a per-sale basis (no holding until the balance reaches some special level, as the other agencies do).

BB might be useful for far-flung transient teams that work on one project together, then reform into different teams for future projects. That is because they support assigning different percentages to different people for a specific media.  For those of us that are lone operators though, that benefit does not really help.

I tried 5 different BB members to do editing/keywording for me when I was on the road for 6 months straight. Of those, 4 were absolute complete wastes of time, where the person was clearly doing the least possible effort to grab 60% of the take.  1 was good, but then stopped doing that work after only a couple weeks. 

When I asked the owner of BB about some form of vetting of editors, and some form of voting on them, so we would have some idea which ones were competent, I was blown off, and he just said it was my responsibility to vet the people (which I did by giving them each a small one-day's worth of shots to work on first).  That was pretty much every interaction with him.  He is a Dictatorship, taking down anything in his forum with the slightest sense of questioning His Wisdom.  He is totally closed-minded to any input at all, thinking he knows exactly how everything should work.

Bottom line -- I dropped them a year ago. If I could remove my media, I would, but the initial agreement (which I read up front and knew at the time) says that I cannot. Once they have it, your media stays there.

They charge way too much for what they offer (which for lone operators, is about zero).  They are non-responsive to any suggestions or requests for changes. Their forum is a rah-rah-ain't-we-great forum, because any post even very slightly off that theme is deleted within minutes.

Instead, go with Microstock Plus. They charge $10/mo to send 250 media to each of 30+ agencies (I only use 12 of them -- pick the ones you want). you can pay more for higher volumes, but that works for me. MS+ also handles both photos and video.  I typically submit 1000 to 1500 media at a time (after traveling 4 or 5 months). I let MS+ submit 250 per month until the batch is complete. That means I can input all at once, and know my stuff will roll out over a 4-6 month period.

Oh yes, MS+ does not take one dime from your commissions. They are submitted under your name, so you know who accepted/rejected, and later sold them.  The only place MS+ gets involved is submission. You upload once, and MS+ then sends to as many as 30+ agencies that they support.

2
FWIW, I had the same thing happen last year with BigStock.

I got an email though, saying that my banking info had changed.  I immediately went in, restored the banking info and changed the password. I then sent an email to BS telling them what had happened.

They thanked me for the info (in a clearly individually written email from tech support), and said that I had done exactly the steps they would have recommended.

I believe all the agencies send out such emails if banking info is changed.  More than anything, this is simply a lesson not to ignore emails from any of the agencies. You never know when one might be critically important, as this one was.

3
I love the "Donate now" part...
Are you also into the same charity regarding homeless people appearing in your portfolio?
Did you also gave them remuneration "as low as a price of a coffee"?

You're just being an assh***.  He is providing a service, giving it away free, and asking if you would mind paying a bit for his efforts. If you want to be a cheapskate idiot, be my guest.

Personally, I just sent him $20.  I think his efforts and what he provides is well worth it.

Which I certainly cannot say for anything I recall you ever posting...

4
iStockPhoto.com / Re: This is all we got - A SORRY
« on: September 20, 2019, 20:16 »
What I am reading here is a lot of crying over a few drops of water -- and entirely from people who have clearly never run a commercial business in their lives.

Yes, the communication was poor. Get over it. They are not geniuses at making you think the way they want. Not entirely bad, IMO...  The action itself was standard practice, and you would have bitched and moaned if you were getting 90% cut or 1% cut.  You clearly simply just love to bitch and moan.  Doesn't take reading these forums long to come to that conclusion.

As far as 15% commission being too small, well you clearly never ran an organization like this.  Obviously, if you think you can do so much better, have at it. We contributors will be glad to take a larger chunk for the short time before you fold.

I made a series of instructional videos in the 1990s, ending up with 54 videos, all 60-90 min long.  VHS originally, then later converted to DVD. I paid the artists 10% of all gross sales (not 15%, just 10%).  I shut down in 2000 when I finally concluded that everyone around me was making money, but I was just taking money in the left hand and paying it out the right hand, and leaving nothing in my pocket.  It costs one heck of a lot more to run a business like that than most people realize.  Everyone thought I was getting rich, but they had no idea of the duck where most of the action was out of site and under the water...

5
iStockPhoto.com / Re: This is all we got - A SORRY
« on: September 20, 2019, 16:49 »
I guess money is what makes THEM happy.

I think that is unfair. They reported what caused the anomaly. Giving the benefit of the doubt that they are honest in their explanations, they seem reasonable.

There was a computer goof, both in currency (since 1AUD < 1USD) and in double-reporting. That has been corrected.  If I were driving the ship, I might have handled the communication differently, but the end result would have been the same.  Obviously, tell us first.  Then possibly roll back the excess payment over 3 months, or such that no contributor went below 50% of expected revenue in any given month, until it was recaptured.

The end result would have been the same regardless. You had a windfall in June due to software error. The error has been fixed, and the account normalized.

Not really any different than if your bank (Wells Fargo or whoever) accidentally put extra money into your account one month.  That money is not yours, and will be recaptured when recognized.  One couple discovered that just last month when they found an extra $100K in their account. They went out and spent it, and are now in court for grand theft as a result...

6
iStockPhoto.com / Re: August stats
« on: September 20, 2019, 11:23 »
Go to Sales, then click Gross Royalty to reorder your sales from least amount, so the larges refund comes at the top. Ignore the probably many 'refunds' you got in Jan 2017: these were apparently never sales, it was just Getty testing the system when it was introduced to iS.  ::)

I also cannot see any refunds, but clearly do not understand what I am seeing.

I start at the ESP login, the go to "royalties." I don't see a place to see 'sales' or what was sold or for what price?  (I attached a screenshot, but it does not seem to show up here...)

7
General Stock Discussion / Re: Motion Elements
« on: September 19, 2019, 15:20 »
Perhaps it's time we all give motion elements a good try and upload our content there and see how it goes?,  if only adding the titles and and all those other parameters to each clip wasn't so time consuming on that site, would take weeks to do if you have a lot of content.

Why in the world would you want to upload your media to a company that will let customers download as much as they want for $30/mo??  The customer downloads 500 photos, just because he can and there is no penalty for taking more. That would mean you will get a couple cents per image download.  No thanks!

I deleted ALL my 4000+ images from ME, and told them it was because I wanted nothing to do with their give-it-away-free program in which they got paid, but the contributor essentially gets nothing.

They confirmed that my videos are NOT part of a subscription plan, so I kept my 2000+ videos there. However, those videos were put up in March and April, and so far ZERO SALES.  Not hopeful, and not somewhere I would want to send more media to...

8
10K a month is insane to me. I live in New York too.

Well, the $10K/mo is not "basic living expenses." That only runs about $1400/mo here in Ecuador.  I couldn't spend more than that if I tried.

However, we travel 3 to 4 months per year (did 6 months this year, but that was too much -- glad to be home relaxing at the moment!).  That is where the costs add up. We budget $100K/yr for "travel and toys" (meaning new cameras, drones, computers, whatever)

And no, stock sales add up to maybe paying or a new camera or two each year, but not much more than that.  (my Sony 7R4 is already on pre-order! :) )

9
I dont understand what happen here. Search result have change or Buyer is gone... I dont sell news photo since 6 month. rarely sell new photo. Pretty frustrated situation. I continue to make great money but that is pretty bad to see old photo sell and not new. I am the only on this situation ?

A quick glance at my sales for the last couple days shows me that roughly:

50% are a year or more old
25% are between 7 months and a year (that is, uploaded in late 2018)
25% were uploaded in 2019, and are thus "new" by my definition.
1 of the images sold is 7 years old

10
General Stock Discussion / Re: Microstock Keyword Tool problems
« on: September 17, 2019, 11:47 »
I've used different versions over the years. This is currently my "go to" solution

https://imstocker.com/en/keyworder

Mine too.  The new SS tool has improved in recent months, but imStocker brings in images from multiple sources, giving me both a wider selection of images to choose from, but also a wider range of suggested keywords.

11
Alamy.com / Re: Lets Discuss: Alamy Personal Usage Licenses Misuse
« on: September 15, 2019, 22:12 »
Why would a buyer ever need to make a print of an easyjet airplane?
I can think of LOTs of reasons.  Maybe a travel agency? Maybe a tour operator? Maybe a local Chamber of Commerce pushing for people to come visit their island?  I'm sure I could come with half a dozen others if I wanted to spend the time to think about it...

I'm not sure why you are NOT able to come up with uses?

12
I am surprised I have not seen any post relating to the MotionElements announcement that they are going to an annual subscription model.

I only recently (a few months ago) started doing video clips, and thus only was approved for ME about 2 months ago.  I went ahead and uploaded pretty much my entire portfolio there, and now have over 2000 clips and 5000 images.  No sales so far, but nothing has been up more than a month.

And now they are pulling this... :(  As I read it though, this subscription only applies to Photos / Vectors / Lotte (no idea what that last one is?)  I THINK that video is not being included in this subscription, and will continue as is.

They are giving me the option to:

1) stay with them and be overjoyed with their subscription model
2) unpublished all my images
3) delete all my images

OK, #1 is out.  I am not sure why someone would choose #2 rather than #3.  Does anyone know the reason to unpublished, but not delete the photos?

I do give them credit that they are allowing a pretty simple process of opting out (unpublished or delete) all images in one click of the button.

13
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Stock Creative Cloud Bonus Program
« on: September 13, 2019, 19:54 »
Lovely! I got one today. Though they are in Spam folder.

I wish if I could swap the bonus software with other. I already have CC photography plan active on my subscription.  :(

Just wait until your current subscription is about to run out, then use this code to extend your subscription another year.

I happened to be lucky enough that the code came less than a week before I was to have to pay for the next year.

14
Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Stock Creative Cloud Bonus Program
« on: September 13, 2019, 16:08 »
I am very sure I am well over the threshold, but haven't gotten my code yet.

Normally, I would just wait, but... my subscription is due in about 3 days. If I don't get the code before then, I will be billed for a year, and then have a code that is worthless to me...?

[EDIT -- it just came through. Just in time!  Thanks, Adobe!!  :) ]

15
While JPG has EXIF fields for the metadata, no currently popular video format does.

Personally I create a CSV file, and upload all metadata for all video in an upload session as a single file.

I use jbListView plugin in Lightroom to create it in a couple clicks.

16
Naive in the extreme. Knee-jerk reaction without thinking of where it would lead.

First off, many of the agencies already have 'exclusive only' categories -- some at the artist level and and some at the media level. OK, that "solves the problem, as stated," doesn't it?  The agency does not want to get into policing where you put each and every image. You are either exclusive, or you are not.

Let's suppose, they DID go the "if your media is on VB, it cannot be here" approach, and it actually worked.  What do you suppose would be the result?  We all sit by the campfire and sing Kimbayah?  Not likely.  One of the three following scenarios (or maybe all) would play out:

1) The remaining agencies would look at each other, see there is now "room at the bottom, price-wise" and take over that new slot, selling for less, in order to undercut the competition. We are back to where we are now.

2) The remaining CBA (Controlling Block of Agencies) would choose the next agency to kick off the island.  Hey, it worked the first time, so let's get rid of one more competitor!  Where does that leave us? Everyone on the "new kid kicked off the island" needs to go remove their portfolio (if the New Kid even allows it), and the CBA gets yet a bit stronger.

3) If this goes far enough, then one or more of the "kids kicked off the island" will complain to the government about collusion and monopoly practices. They would be right in fact, since such things are strictly forbidden by law -- with the intent of protecting you (the user) from monopoly practices. The government would break them up... and we are back where we started again...

17
Time sequence does not mean causation.  My kid got a sunburn this summer and is now in school. The sunburn did not cause him to go to school...

I have used Microstock Plus for almost a year now.  Storyblocks is one of my accounts. Neither it, nor any of my other accounts has been hacked since I started using MSP.

OTOH, I HAVE had accounts hacked in the past -- at Shutterstock, Adobe, and one other who I forget right now. In each case, my account was changed to assign my payments to a foreign bank.  In each case, I was able to recover before any money was paid (thanks to the email from each agency letting me know there was a change). In each case, I then changed the password to something more secure and unique to that account. No problems since.

18
General - Stock Video / Re: Best places to upload stock video
« on: August 14, 2019, 15:10 »
avoid blackbox since you have to pay a commission to them to upload your file to all the agencies...you can save money and do it by yourself...

Or pay $5/mo to StockSubmitter and get all the benefit of BB without the exorbitant royalty cut of 22%.  Not to mention that you can then submit to 30 agencies, instead of just the 5 that BB supports.

19
General - Stock Video / Re: Best places to upload stock video
« on: August 14, 2019, 15:07 »
Try Blackbox https://portal.blackbox.global
One upload, 5 agencies Pond5, shutterstock, adobe, vimeo and storyblocks
(4 - storyblocks marketplace is closing soon)

And then pay 22% of your royalties FOREVER for every clip you submitted through them.  And get nothing at all in return.

OR... pay $5/month to submit up to 250 media per month to 30 agencies (a small increase in fee if you really want more than 250/mo) through StockSubmitter.  No loss in future royalty.  Better submission tools. Thousands of percent (yeah, possible) cheaper.

FWIW, I have no relation to either other than (1) I submitted 800 clips to BlackBox and get tiny sales, and (2) I submitted 900 clips - and counting - through StockSubmitter and make roughly 7X the total revenue that I get from BB (even though BB had the jump with the first clips going there).

Note that if you join BB and their Facebook forum, you will find nothing but Good Things said there. That is not because only good things happen, but rather because the owner of the group will immediately delete ANY post that is not rah-rah-ain't-we-great.  Ask the slightest question and you either get a canned "RTFM" or you will be deleted. There is very little in between. :(

20
I'd go further and just get rid of them as an agency their policies are worse than a race to the bottom they crashed thru the floor in to the sub-basement.

They mostly sell a completely different set of images than the other agencies. 

Also, though there are way too many 2 and 3 cent sales (looking at June 2019, the last month for which they have reported), there are also quite a lot of 85 cent sales.  For the month of June, the AVERAGE royalty per download was 32 cents, which is about the same 36 cents that ShutterStock pays (though half the 62 cents average over all agencies for that month).

21
I discovered yesterday that a few of my images had been bought with my commission being .05c. That has to be a new low and just a token for the photographer and shocking behaviour from Getty  >:(

I had quite a few sales for 1 penny.  I stopped sending any new material to iStock/Getty in 2017. They were my first agency, and were pretty good 8 years ago, but now are a blight on the landscape.  I suggest you also stop giving them any new material to give away.

22
General - Stock Video / Re: how upload to istock ?
« on: August 12, 2019, 14:56 »
Not! Since they payed 2 or 3 cents per download, i don't uploading new work to them

Everyone should do that!

I agree. They were my first agency 8 years ago, and i was happy back then. Gone down the tubes since then, leading the charge towards free. 

I have not made the effort to delete my old stuff, but they have gotten nothing new from me since 2017.

23
if i were so rich to not have any problem of money for my style, stock would be the last way of spend my time.

Then don't do it.  Simple enough decision.

Apparently, you are not yet retired. How do you plan on spending your time when you are?  I'd bet a month's stock income that whatever you think now will not hold up past the first year (if even that far) into your own retirement...

Create a good workflow, and stock media is not really very much work. No, I probably do not wring every last dime out of my media, but then as you point out, I don't need the cash. I do it to the point the enjoyment of the results is greater than the effort. If that balance ever drops below the break-even point (emotionally), then I will stop submitting.

OTOH, I produced 54 instructional videos (60 to 90 min each) between 1995 and 1999.  Those made a good deal of money when they were new ($10K+ per month).  They are still being sold at Amazon, 20 years after the last one was produced.  I still get about $100/mo from Amazon, and have not even looked at them in over 15 years (about the time I turned them over to a small DVD-on-demand company that was later acquired by Amazon).

Again, not a lot of money, but kinda nice to see that people still actually pay for educational videos this long after I produced them on VHS and sold them from my bedroom (and when I DID need the money)... :)

24
More to the point... how much do YOU need to live full time?

I know one woman here in town that lives quite comfortably on $800/mo.  If that were me, then I would say I am just a bit shy of being able to go "full time" for an income.

Personally, $10K/mo is more my style.  And no, stock sales are no more than pocket change and the fun of seeing who liked my stuff enough each day to actually put money on it (as opposed to Facebook 'likes'...).

As it happens though, I am retired.  I travel a lot (8 countries on a 6-month trip already this year), and write a travel/photo blog ( www.mindstormphoto.com ).  That is where most of my focus goes.  After the blog is published, I look to see what else might sell, and upload that too.  I am fortunate enough that I saved and invested heavily when working, so now can do this and no longer have to worry about money. As they say, YMMV... :)

And, FWIW, I do not monetize my blog in any way, and have no interest in doing so.  I started writing it for myself, just to help me remember and relive these trips we take. Then "family and friends" started reading it. Now it has roughly 2000 readers (according to Google Analytics).  In other words, another little ego boost, but with no cash attached. :)

25
Suggestion: could you please add Travel as a top level category? It maps 1:1 with categories at most agencies I submit to. I am having to go into Agency Categories for 90% of my photos as there is no other top level category that allows populating relevant values at the agency level.

1) If there are going to be categories at all, I agree with your suggestion

2) I ignore categories. Those were needed a decade ago, but search algorithms now make them pretty much obsolete. Many agencies have dropped them entirely, while others still have them as a holdover. I don't think anyone really uses them when searching though.  Just add 'travel' as a keyword, and you are set for any search engine likely to be used today.

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