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Topics - lewis larkin

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1 / new istock forums
« on: August 14, 2015, 19:59 »
Previously, I didn't have much hope that the 'new' iStock forums would be useful, or interesting. Now that they are up and running (limping?), I don't see much signs of life in the corpse - a few stalwarts posting, the usual moderators posting the increasingly tired company pap - but maybe I am just being a negative, change-averse nay-sayer (BTW, I think that getty/iStock are a bit optimistic if they think there would be anything interesting enough on these forums to warrant forbidding re-distribution!). 

Having stated my own obvious (and possibly biased) reservations on the new forums, I would welcome any contrary indications... 

Does anyone see any real utility in these new forums? 


2 / iStock's novel approach to system testing
« on: April 24, 2015, 19:18 »
I come from an IT background, where we used to perform various layers of software testing (functional, regression, load test ...) before signing off new code for release to the operational environment.  It was sometimes tedious to do, but it did minimize the numbers of errors that found their way into the live system.

iStock seem to have adopted a new approach to the problem, which became evident lately with the apparently random phased introduction of the new Asset Detail Page, whereby a percentage of users might see/not see the changes dependent on some variable criteria (whether logged on, what cookies were active and possibly more). It was difficult for the contributor base to do more than point out the more glaring inconsistencies, before the new ADP would disappear, change or revert. Of course, this effect must be evident to the buying public too, but as they don't in general post on the forums, I can only guess what their reaction would be to this randomly changing interface. 

IMO this method of using a percentage of the live user base as guinea pigs for incompletely-tested code is shambolic and 'no way to run a railroad'.  I had thought that maybe I was just being a bit nit-picky, and maybe not seeing the hidden beauty of their method, but Braddy unashamedly states in the recent Newsletter ...

We continue to slowly release the Asset Detail Page (ADP) to a larger segment of the community. We hoped to have the new ADP live for the entire community this month but we want to ensure we have everything working as intended before we crank the dial to 100%.

There are a number of features that are currently present on the new ADP that aren't entirely optimized at this point.

To me this means " we released buggy software but , hey, not to everybody - way to go  !!! " 

He (Braddy) goes on to confirm that they are doing the same thing with the search results... 
We briefly introduced our new Search Results Page (SRP) last week. It's definitely a departure from our previous interation, but it still needs a bit of work.

Which as above, means " we released buggy software but , hey, not to everybody - be grateful !!! " 

I am just completely gob-smacked that a Senior Exec/Director of the company can be comfortable peddling such dirty linen in public - perhaps he/they do not see any issues with this way of running a software-based company. 

On the other hand, I do have issues with such disrespect for the user/customer base. It just looks like they have settled for damage-limitation as a way of introducing new features.  Of course, I have no grasp what impact/damage might be done by this piecewise suck-it-and-see methodology.

I can only hope that my analysis is overly gloomy and that the 'improvements' will be just that - improvements - which are worth any collateral damage, in which case, I will happily add my Woo-Yays to the chorus. 

3 / iStock removes Links from image descriptions
« on: January 19, 2015, 15:24 »
AS per thread in Discussion forum on SEO , Lobo confirms that the image & lightbox links we spent ages generating, are to be removed...

"...They will be going away from the public view on the Asset Detail Page eventually. I wouldn't spend any additional time on them. ..."

Words fail me ,.

4 / files not indexed
« on: August 25, 2014, 18:26 »
I couldnt see this commented on in the forum. So just be aware that some files uploaded recently are not searchable, nor do they appear in portfolios.

No information about whether this will be fixed. Thread open in Help forum.

5 / iStock penalising Diamonds ?
« on: August 04, 2014, 06:17 »
From an unscientific trawl of the last couple of months posts about downloads/earnings, I get the impression that an increasing number of Diamond and Black Diamond contributors are reporting very bad figures. 

I am not in that league, being on the minimum percentage, where monthly variations are statistically insignificant, so I cant add any useful data.

However it would make sense (from a bean-counter perspective) to reduce sales where the contributor get 40% and promote sales at 25%, thus improving the bottom line at the stroke of a Best Match twiddle.

Of course, iStock would never do that to their beloved contributor base, would they?   ::)

6 / iStock purging rejected files
« on: July 23, 2014, 17:51 »
From my observations of activity on my account, it looks like iStock are purging (i.e. deleting) all their storage of rejected files (why they originally decided to keep them is another question). 

I am guessing that this may be a direct result of their new ingestion policy (i.e.  no upload limits, and accept any old [email protected]),  so perhaps they are having to free up some storage. 

Could also be why the rate of ingestion (i.e. sloooow inspections) has slowed down. 

7 / Bigger thumbnails and Editors Pick
« on: September 12, 2013, 17:38 »
as per ...

Istock introduced a new bigger thumbnail version of the search page...  and then withdrew it (as it was too slow) pending a 'better' way of introducing the feature

at the same time, they announce that 'editors pick' (or cronyism as you might term it) will become a 'search filter' ..   

Ho hum ...

8 / Assets - my ass-et
« on: August 23, 2013, 20:28 »
It must be late and I must be getting cranky, but I just hate it that iStock ( in the form of an un-named moderator [sorry - 'contributor relations manager' - which is positively Orwellian newspeak]) refers to our work as 'assets' ...  (see, in an otherwise uninteresting blabber about why the Getty 'connector' corrupts our images).

Wikipedia informs us that ...  Assets are "...  an economic resource. Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value is considered an asset. Simply stated, assets represent value of ownership that can be converted into cash..."

From my point of view, I do not like being an asset, or a generator of assets... but aside from my own feelings, I think the terminology just reinforces the view that iStock management view contributors on the same level as as a piece of machinery, or a farm animal.  (Hardly breaking news of course...  but galling nonetheless).

Wikipedia also explains that employees are NOT assets, as they are not sufficiently controlled by the company (my interpretation), but assets DO appear on the company balance sheet.  That is interesting, since I (and all other contributors) do still retain the ability to destroy some of iStock's assets by removing their images, hopefully before iStock drives their value into the ground.

Sadly iStock (and its corporate culture) does not seem to have to have appreciated the value of 'intangible assets' (such as goodwill, which is inextricably linked to their tangible assets).   I have many opinions as to the possible future outcomes of this attitude, but I am sure that everyone will have their own better-informed take on this subject.

Thanks for reading

Just got an email from Yuri about his recent activities and his take on the rationale...

Some interesting points ...

After all the 'connector' problems in moving E+ images to Getty,  it seems that this will not now happen ... it is now subject to the 'change in collections' ...

Quote from Oldladybird...
"   Just did a quick run down to Technology to confirm...
Right before we launch, we will stop the Connector. Any files that have not yet been shared will be subject to a change in Collection.
The new collection will then dictate where the files will be shared.
As I said above, Signature + and Vetta will be shared on GI.....   "   End Quote

The initial reaction is that iStock have reneged on their promises ...

Not a surprise any more....

EDITED TO ADD - seems like iStock are now promising to transfer any pre-existing E+ files (about 180k apparently) regardless of collection changes (if I read the above thread correctly)
Happy to stand corrected...   

11 / rob sylvan farewell to istock
« on: May 17, 2013, 18:02 »
just in case this gets deleted from the istock social forums...

Just wanted to say one last goodbye before my account is finally closed for good with my final payout. They pulled my uploading, forum, and sitemail privileges a couple of months ago because I started a Facebook fan page for Stocksy, so I haven't been around much. I don't expect this post to last long and I won't be back to reply.
Despite how things turned out I will always be grateful to this place, the people that built it, and everyone that contributed along the way. I learned so much in my time here and met so many incredible people all over the world that I can't help but feel very lucky for having been a part of it. Even though this place is no longer what it was (sorry about that), there are still a lot of really good people involved here making do with what they can. I wish you all the best. See you on the Internets!

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