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Shutterstock.com / Oh boy, the Bullsh%t rejections are back
« on: September 07, 2016, 11:16 »
The problem was rampant for a while, there was a lot, lot, lot of complaining which seemed to have no effect whatsoever.

There was a short period of time where it looked like the problem reviewers had been dealt with . . .

I feel like the problem reviewers had been moved over to the video side and were dispensing their particular brand of havoc in the video contributors world, but now it looks like they are back.

Oh joy, let the ridiculous rejections commence!

Pond5 / Pond5 charging $10 to cut a paper check, Seriously? what!!
« on: November 23, 2015, 19:36 »
So I just got an email that pond5 in changing their payout rules and if you opt to be paid by paper check they will deduct a $10 processing fee from your payout!

Thanks for supporting all your contributors pond5, we love how you got our backs and are constantly working to improve our sales potential and maximize the profits of your contributors, lol.

Whats next, charging us to submit content?

Let's all raise a glass or a middle finger to pond5 this holiday season because in the spirit of giving thanks they have decided to do some taking . . .

A lot, lot, lot of people have been having difficulties with the review process over at SS lately, well really for the last year and a half. I think the reason we are having these difficulties is that SS is using some sort of software to review images.

I'll tell you why I believe this to be true.

One example is if you produce landscape images of ocean waves utilizing neutral-density filters to slow the shutter speed, giving you an image with nice ghosted-waves and a soft dream-like ocean-scape . . .

The software will look at the meta-data embedded in the images, and see the long exposure times and those images will be rejected for Noise just based on the exposure times contained in the meta-data. If the software looks at the image (somehow) and doesn't detect any stray-pixel noise, then the software will look at the ISO data-field and see it is low compared to the exposure time of the image and assign an "Over use of noise reduction software" rejection to the image.

I know that is happening on a number of my images and I suspect it is also happening to a few other contributors as well.

Another example, if you shoot images that are not people and you utilize a very shallow depth-of-field, i.e. a large aperture like f2.8, f1.4, f1.2 etc. the software will somehow assign a "blurry" out of focus rejection just based on the information contained in the meta-data of the image. I think somehow the software "examines" the images and determines the percentage of "sharp" pixels and if the number is below a given number the dreaded "focus" rejection is assigned to the image.

I'm guessing the software is created with a number of "if than" statements, i.e. if this value (exposure time) is above a given number the image is rejected, or the software moves on the the next "if than" statement, if this value (ISO) is below a given number the image has excessive noise reduction software applied and is rejected for that reason, etc.

I believe there are some serious flaws in the software they are using (and I think some of the other agencies are utilizing this software review method as well).

The process of submitting images and having them rejected and resubmitting is time-consuming and wasteful. But, in the minds of SS the process is not time-consuming or wasteful to them because the only person's time that is wasted is the contributors. SS first review doesn't require any time or effort on their part, just a bit of software processing time.

It cost them (SS) nothing in time or energy to have everything passed through this software for it's first review. If your images are lucky enough to have all the right values in all the right fields then they can be moved along to be reviewed by an actual person who will reject your images for an entirely different set of reasons that don't have anything to do with the price of beans in China, but that is a different issue.

So, complaining to someone at SS won't help, if the software gets it wrong 50% of the time, they are still ahead of the game. There really is nothing you could do to change this process.

The best way to combat this "software review" issue is to produce generic looking "stock" images, perfectly lit single items isolated on white backgrounds with 5 thousand dollar full-frame camera bodies with 2 thousand dollar prime lens all to make 25 cents a download . . .

Yeah, that will work, lol.

The problem with this is it leaves no room for creativity, or uniqueness in our images. It ensures that all micro-stock images will look just exactly like all other micro-stock type images, and nobody really wants that.

Shutterstock.com / Is Shutterstock FTP down?
« on: May 14, 2015, 16:03 »
Or am I doing something wrong?

I was getting consistent sales of videos and getting a payout for the first couple of months of 2015, then they announced the automatic keyword thing and my sales have completely vanished.

What happened?

Is anybody else seeing a big drop in sales a Pond5 in the last month or so? 

Over a year ago I speculated that SS was using some sort of software algorithm to review images, and most people thought I was cracked, but a few took notice.

At some point someone interviewed someone over at SS who eluded to the existence of a piece of software used to review the images and that seemed to confirm my suspicions. It all started when it seemed like all of the sudden a lot of people were getting strange rejections for all kinds of strange reasons, it was almost like an actual person never really looked at the images . . .

That was a while ago, a long while ago. Some folks are still getting these "odd" rejections now and then, and some of us just seem to get them all the time. It did seem strange that a lot of contributors who had been with SS for 10 years or more were all of the sudden producing "crap" out of focus, noisy, poorly lit images.

My latest conspiracy theory is that SS is "throttling" accounts. If you get "odd" rejections, and you complain, or they fail to answer your email questions, and you complain, or just about anything happens, and you complain . . .

. . . it seems that over the next few days, and weeks your sales take a nose-dive for some un-explained reason. Sure you could explain it away as just normal market shift, and if you track it you couldn't pinpoint a logical reason for these "odd" market-fluctuations that cause you sales to dip, but somehow it just seems to consistent with problems and interactions with real people over at SS.

As cracked at it sounds, I think SS is "flagging" certain accounts and those accounts get much "harsher" reviews, or the images get shuffled to the bottom of the database if you appear to be a "trouble-maker."

Oh yeah, the moon landing is fake, bigfoot is real, and so it the Loc Ness Monster, and Elvis is still alive and living in Topeka.

I will now fashion a tin-foil hat to keep the aliens from reading my thoughts, I suggest you do the same.

Adobe Stock / Fotolia on a new kick starting January 1, 2014
« on: January 15, 2014, 14:20 »
It seems Fotolia is on this new kick that started January 1, 2014  REJECT EVERYTHING (at least all of the images I have submitted)

Either my photographic abilities were all washed away on Dec. 31st, and I can no longer produce images that are "acceptable" to the very high standards of the reviewers over at Fotolia, or there is some "unspoken" secret rules that I must have broken and I am now being punished.

Is anyone else experiencing this strange phenomenon?

It may be that they are just rejecting stuff because the "don't want it" rather than the given "focus, blur etc." reasons that are so common with these type of rejections.

What are your thoughts?

It seems like whatever I upload, stuff that I check and double check at 100% is being rejected for "does not meet our desired level of aesthetic quality."

Have I all of the sudden become a really bad photographer or are other contributors finding the same results?

Judging by the last couple of batches I have submitted (images with motion-blur that is clearly supposed to be there and images with shallow depth of field) that have been rejected for "focus" or other suspect reasons, I am kind of thinking that SS is using some sort of software A.I. to review images.

Has anyone else seen this type of review of their images?  What are your thoughts on companies using some type of software to review your images?

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