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Topics - Jo Ann Snover

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1
Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock complying with Chinese censors
« on: December 12, 2019, 12:00 »
I had no idea that Shutterstock had done this - I guess as they struggle with growth and profits, the lure of a huge market proves irresistible:

https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/08/in-wake-of-shutterstocks-chinese-censorship-american-companies-need-to-relearn-american-values/

https://theintercept.com/2019/11/06/shutterstock-china-censorship-tech/

From the Intercept article, a summary:

"But in China, there is now a very small, very significant gap in Shutterstocks offerings. In early September, Shutterstock engineers were given a new goal: The creation of a search blacklist that would wipe from query results images associated with keywords forbidden by the Chinese government. Under the new system, which The Intercept is told went into effect last month, anyone with a mainland Chinese IP address searching Shutterstock for President Xi, Chairman Mao, Taiwan flag, dictator, yellow umbrella, or Chinese flag will receive no results at all. Variations of these terms, including umbrella movement the precursor to the mass pro-democracy protests currently gripping Hong Kong are also banned."

https://www.pcmag.com/news/372420/shutterstocks-image-censoring-in-china-sparks-employee-to-r

https://screenrant.com/shutterstock-censors-search-china/

https://www.insider.com/shutterstock-admits-to-creating-chinese-censorship-tool-2019-11

https://www.scmp.com/tech/article/3036754/shutterstock-censors-sensitive-search-terms-china

2
Several Reuters reports on this. One saying that an illustration of the Russian flag in a pile of poop was the problem :). The legal decision happened November 13th, but it doesn't say when the block started

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-shutterstock/russia-blocks-shutterstock-domain-for-insulting-state-symbols-idUSKBN1Y627M

https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-shutterstock/russia-blocks-shutterstock-domain-over-objectionable-content-firm-says-idUSL8N28C4EH

4
Adobe Stock / Adobe Stock $11.88 "subscription" royalty?
« on: October 07, 2019, 21:16 »
https://stock.adobe.com/plans

https://helpx.adobe.com/stock/contributor/help/royalty-details.html

Today I received an unusual "subscription" royalty of $11.88 for a photo and hunted around to see if I could figure out how that came to be - it wasn't labeled "custom" where odd amounts are expected.

Looking at the plans offered and the royalty charts, I can't see where the $11.88 came from. Is this a new product? Or should it have been labeled "custom"? Or is it an error?

I hadn't realized that Adobe Stock was now offering credit packs, but it appears those should all provide a $3.30 royalty (according to the chart on the royalty page).

Has anyone else seen these $11.88 subscription royalties?




5
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shutterstock-reports-second-quarter-2017-financial-results-300498083.html

SSTK closed at $34.37 Tues Aug 6, down $3.26 for the day, which suggests to me investors weren't happy with the results and/or their lowered guidance for revenue and earnings for the 2nd half. The market recovered somewhat today (DOW up 1.21%) so this drop was all about Shutterstock specifically.

Edited to add that the closing price on Fri Aug 9 was $34.54 - the price had recovered somewhat later in the week, but I guess investors settled back to what they first thought after Tuesday's report. Aug 12 closing price was $33.96 (but the market was down too).

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3487422-shutterstock-reports-mixed-q2-weak-fy-view

Couple of things I noticed.

-They say paid downloads increased over Q2 2018, but the absolute number of paid downloads in the quarter was down on Q1 2019 and Q4 2018 - 46.6 vs 47.2 vs 46.8. That is not now it went if you look at Q2 2018 versus Q1 2018 and Q4 2017 (45.2 vs 43.7 vs 43.9)

What that says to me is that in addition to filling the collection with image spam, the growth in purchases is slowing, both providing pressure on income of existing contributors.

-While the e-commerce/enterprise split is sill about 60%/40%, e-commerce growth was 6% in the quarter versus enterprise declined 0.2%

-In explaining the increase in operating expenses they mentioned "one-time severance costs". Not sure who or how many were severed...

I couldn't find a transcript of the earnings call (see link to one below), so I listened to parts of the recording (and that was a pretty downbeat experience - they talk about being excited in tones that suggest they're bored stiff). They talked about restructuring the enterprise channel and Jon mentioned getting back to our roots; thinking big and acting bold. The phrase "critical re-evaluation" was used to describe their look at the enterprise business. The new guy - Co-COO Stan Pavlovsky talked after Jon about how wonderful the company was, the people, the new "View in Room" feature; understoring their path forward... etc. Both of them were clearly reading from a prepared script.

The questions asked what was up with the enterprise segment: was there potential for growth, were there competitive pressures, was SS going to change pricing or offer new products or... I did listen to the responses from SS but they really have learned to avoid specifics and the analysts just say thank you. They did mention changes in how things were organized and in incentive systems. Several mentions of their "go to market" strategy, but I have no clue what that is.

There was some talk about making it easier for customers who purchase both images and video but no details about changes.

They're still looking for a new CFO - the previous one, Steven Berns, quit "to pursue other opportunities". His LinkedIn page shows his Shutterstock job ended in June, but not anything new.

Couple of interesting factoids mentioned in passing. About 1/3 of their revenue is in foreign currency, primarily GBP and Euros. Jon mentioned the term "data velocity" - new to me - in talking up how they're going to keep growing and fix whatever ails enterprise sales. He said they sell 6 images a second and that this was faster than anyone else. He did use the term images, so I have no idea if that includes video or not.

Shutterstock slides

http://investor.shutterstock.com/static-files/43c73326-25aa-4ad8-9306-d7f57ef87091

Edited to add a Motley Fool article on the reaction to Shutterstock's Q2 earnings report

https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/08/06/sales-slowdown-hits-shutterstock.aspx

They picked up on the drop in actual numbers of paid downloads Q1 to Q2. No one (in the general investing community) seems to have picked up that all these happy talk numbers about collection growth conceal the truth about the vast amount of garbage they've allowed in along with all the really good and useful content. I wonder if any enterprise customers have expressed frustration at the difficulty of sorting the wheat from the chaff...

Edited Aug 7 to add a link to the earnings call transcript

https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2019/08/07/shutterstock-inc-sstk-q2-2019-earnings-call-transc.aspx


6
Shutterstock.com / Couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery!
« on: July 03, 2019, 15:11 »
This is a lovely English expression describing people who are woefully incompetent (and piss-up is slang for an alcohol-fueled party). Shutterstock appears to be heading for some sort of award for being unable to do anything well any more - sales being a big issue, but knowing when "today" is on the contributor app being another. It used to be one day behind. After the last "fix" it's now two days behind. And that's better somehow??

And now we have the monthly email about my earnings being computed - unedited screen capture of the email. No name, no amount no nothing (except for links to post this nothingburger to facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.

Tossers!

7
Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock Q1 2019 earnings report
« on: April 25, 2019, 18:05 »
And the call with analysts to explain themselves...

https://www.streetinsider.com/Corporate+News/Shutterstock+%28SSTK%29+Misses+Q1+EPS+by+7c%2C+Revenues+Miss%3B+FY19+Revenue+Mid-Point+Guidance+Above+Consensus/15405121.html

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/shutterstock-inc-sstk-q1-2019-162538554.html

The SS PDF of their slides

http://investor.shutterstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251362&p=irol-presentations

Only three analysts joined the call and Q&A was brief - as usual they seemed to accept the corporate-speak non-answers they were given. Perhaps I'm just crabby today but I thought sentences like this were a new high/low for stringing together buzzwords to try and sound as if you're actually saying something:

"On the enterprise side, I would say that what we're doing is we're working on our go-to-market strategy. We're improving our product, which is the premier product and also includes the SMB team subscription. We continue to optimize certain marketing efforts, like lead flow optimization, scrutinizing the pipeline, understanding exactly which leads go to the right reps et cetera. "

This was in reply to a question about why they were confident in their full year predictions even though they missed on Q1

There was mention of a new platform - something I haven't heard about, and apparently the analysts hadn't either. One of the questions asked: "Maybe just digging in on -- starting with maybe just e-commerce, new studio platform, I don't -- maybe some more color there. I don't know if we've heard about that before"

The answer didn't tell me much: "...what the platform allows us to do is really move toward that single service for all of our product platforms. So when you look at kind of how our media service, for instance, as one of the big key services in our underlying infrastructure and product environment has evolved, we're going to place where we can really optimize and store certain advanced types of metadata for search optimization and also really understanding what our customers need. So as we start to index that metadata in more creative ways, we can start to show the way that our similar images or our asset details page are displayed in different ways based on different customers and different regions. That kind of leads to the way our search algorithm is going to continue to evolve using that metadata. And when we're on this platform, which we continue to make progress on all of our different products and services and asset types, we will be able to be cross-sell and discover in more interesting way"

The growth of enterprise side of the business has slowed a bit but they have plans to fix that; they said the e-commerce side had done well - wherever that is, I'm not seeing it, so possibly it's just the massive size of the collection that means individual contributors don't necessarily see growth when the company does.. The collection grew almost 40%

They were asked a question about the custom content business and Jon gave a somewhat vague answer about productizing that, saying he wanted to see a: "...kind of B2B to C kind of flow, and get the kind of intelligence into that brief in an automated, mechanized type of way, so that we can match the right photographer with that and client will all be happier at the end of the day"

I don't think technology can help with the problem of trying to get a quality custom shoot on the cheap.

Their stock was down 8% today

8
I missed this ground-breaking news (haven't tried the feature as I've switched to an Android phone and this is just for iPhone).

https://www.dpreview.com/news/4159992671/shutterstock-ar-feature-lets-customers-preview-stock-images-as-wall-artwork

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/view-in-room-augmented-reality-tool

http://investor.shutterstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251362&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2394627

I have no idea how this got to be a priority, but perhaps they're looking for "innovations" to tout on the Q1 earnings call coming up next Thursday?

9
Shutterstock.com / New SS exec - Co-COO
« on: March 18, 2019, 19:01 »
I missed this from last week:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shutterstock-announces-stan-pavlovsky-to-join-as-co-chief-operating-officer-300811868.html

This is his LinkedIn page and Twitter account (doesn't appear to be active there)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stan-pavlovsky-ab26181/

https://twitter.com/spavlovsky?lang=en

Not quite sure if this signals any shift in how SS as a business sees itself.

Why did they set April 1 as his start day? :)

10
Shutterstock.com / Q4 2018 earnings call transcript
« on: February 26, 2019, 15:50 »
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4244296-shutterstock-inc-sstk-ceo-jon-oringer-q4-2018-results-earnings-call-transcript

Several references to testing pricing and packaging: "Pricing and packaging changes have been enabled by our testing culture and agile environment. " A rather opaque reference to business in the "e-commerce" channel - anyone have any clues what this means? "Across the e-commerce channel, we have developed an integrated marketing strategy with a focus on activities that deliver higher ROI conversion rate and customer lifetime value." Apparently e-commerce grew 10% last quarter which was the highest since 2015.

They talk about contributor "engagement" - without explaining exactly what they mean by that. I get why businesses want that from customers where their platform contains ads, but not what that could possibly mean - other than more uploads - for contributors: "Our contributor base is global and the ability to interact with contributors in their local languages has helped fuel the record high levels of engagement seen in 2018. "

Bad news for long time contributors is that there are now 650,000 contributors, an increase of 85% for 2018! No wonder 10% e-commerce growth means nothing to existing contributors :)

"We will continue to optimize our contributor experience with the goal of being the first place contributors go to, to monetize their content. "

There is one thing that makes an agency the first place contributors go and that's income. They can fart with the interface all they like but if the sales fall away, so will all but the newbie contributors (and in time that spigot will shut off too).

Other Q4 stats:

"... customer base grew by 3.5% to nearly 1.9 million customers. Paid downloads grew by 6.6% to an all-time high of $46.8 million. Revenue per download grew by 2.1% ... Our image library expanded by 42% to over 240 million images and our video library increased by 44% to over 13 million clips. Revenue growth ... was 6.7%."

The enterprise channel keeps growing in terms of revenue and was 41% of the total in Q4 2018 vs. 39% in Q4 2017. 66% of total revenue is from outside the US and about half of the non-US revenue is Europe. Contributor royalties were  26.7% which they describe as flat, but it was 28% not that long ago...

They expect 10-12 percent revenue growth in 2019. In the Q&A session they were asked about competition but wouldn't name it - I assume it's Adobe and that's why SS's Enterprise growth isn't what they predicted (but they don't directly say that).

Jon Originger makes some truly breathtaking fantasy statements about SS being picky with the content they add: "You can see that great growth rate 85% year-over-year, the number of contributors and the content coming in increases as well. So what we see with that is that we're able to pick and choose exactly the content. " If only the analysts bothered to look at the image spam explosion...


11
I know we've been around this block before, but I checked Fiverr for stock photos today and found there's been essentially no change - they have many gigs where people offer (for $5, $10, $20 etc. depending on quantity) bundles of agency stock photos they have no right to resell.

This gig, for example (new seller started December 2018, so this isn't something left over from long ago) has three options and includes stock images from more than one contributor (I searched Shutterstock) so it's not possible it's legitimate from the copyrightholder.

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/funny-chihuahua-dog-posing-on-beach-1081879181
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/romantic-date-candle-light-dinner-love-749063584
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/blue-pipelines-carrying-clean-water-household-677991997
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/bamboo-pedestrian-hanging-bridge-over-sea-536177866
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/mohammed-salah-gabriel-professional-egyptian-national-1098345056

There are a ton more gigs just like this one. Very depressing that Fiverr continues to allow this shady practice. Very depressing that none of the big agencies will put pressure on Fiverr to shut these gigs down.

Ages ago, complaints from stock contributors, I think to Shutterstock as it was mentioned by name in some of the gigs, managed to get the worst offenders shut down, so agency names aren't mentioned any more.

In the meantime, has anyone had any success in reporting these thieves and getting anything on Fiverr removed? If so, how did you approach it.

The wiggle room is that with files at multiple agencies and a requirement for DMCA notices that only the copyrightholder can request removal, it's hard to pin the thieves down. They might even have licensed the images they're showing as "advertising".

Fiverr should be ashamed of themselves, but apparently aren't. Any suggestions for how to disrupt this scummy thievery most welcome

13
Yahoo has the earnings call transcript

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/shutterstock-inc-sstk-q3-2018-153440417.html

Stock is down about 13% so far today (on a day when the overall NYSE is up slightly)

The Enterprise segment is growing faster than the eCommerce platform (us). They grew the contributor base 75% over last year! Like they need more crappy content - is this so they don't care as much when longer term contributors used to higher earnings ditch them?

They mention a problem with video sales in particular - they claim they've fixed an unspecified technical problem that was behind that...


14
I submitted some content to Shutterstock the other day and in the acknowledgement email was surprised to see "For reference, your latest upload is on account [9 digit number]."

My account ID is 249 and I went online to verify that it still was showing that way (it was). I wrote to support to ask if the email was in error or if my content had somehow been submitted to the wrong account via a bug.

I received a reply this morning that my account has two IDs - the "old" one and this global accounts user ID.

I appreciate the prompt reply, but I do think it'd be a good idea to let contributors know about things like this - and show the new ID somewhere in the contributor dashboard, along with the old one

Perhaps everyone else already knew about this, but in case not, now you do :)

15
Shutterstock.com / Contributor app blog post - really??
« on: August 27, 2018, 16:00 »
https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/shutterstock-contributor-app-new-look

I think I must be having a cranky day, but I read this (it was linked from the contributor home page) and wanted to throw things.

I like the contributor app. It's great that they have it (Adobe - it'd be great if you had one too).

But I wouldn't go as far as saying the app "...has received yet another exciting update" when they've just changed the background from black to white!

This color change "...ensures that contributors receive a consistent Shutterstock visual experience across all platforms". Do they realize that contributors care about sales? Exciting is a $75 SOD, not a white background instead of black.

Instead of writing inane blog posts, how about asking contributors what useful features or stats they could add to the app? Something contributors could actually use...

Off to do something useful :)


16
Shutterstock.com / SS Q2 2018 earnings call transcript
« on: August 02, 2018, 01:13 »
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4193034-shutterstock-sstk-q2-2018-results-earnings-call-transcript

Motley Fool commentary on yahoo finance

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/apos-made-shutterstock-lose-money-010100808.html

In Oringer's statement, he mentioned custom pricing pages, something I don't remember hearing about before:

"In addition, in our continued efforts on localization, we launched customized pricing pages, landing pages and Express Checkout experiences tailored to different customer segments. We also invested in a number of global marketing initiatives to drive additional traffic and further accelerate top line growth. We plan to continue to invest in these marketing activities and expect them to pay out over time."

The enterprise business grew 34.9% in the quarter and represents 41% of total revenue. As I see much lower volume of "Single & other" sales that I used to, I wonder if there's a subset of contributor content that's offered in the enterprise segment. If that's the case, all that growth doesn't help me (or any contributor whose content isn't offered in that segment).

The e-commerce segment grew 11.6% in the quarter (I think that's the subscription sales, and possibly the "On Demand" ones too). Customer base grew 7.5%, paid downloads by 6% - which must mean that each customer is downloading less than before, on average - and the image collection by a whopping 41%. Given that some (possibly large) portion of the new content is unsaleable stuff that should never have been approved, that doesn't have as big an impact as it appears, but they're still pursuing policies that will drive down incomes for lots of established contributors. Talking about total payouts to all contributors is just a meaningless smokescreen, IMO.

The growth in revenue per download (10% in real terms, excluding currency fluctuations) suggests SS is selling more video - cause they're only cutting prices on images (at least for the portion of sales where we have a clue what the prices are).

67% of their revenue came from outside the US, about half of that from Europe.

Royalties to us were 26.8% which they describe as essentially unchanged.

They said product development costs were up 38% - "Product development costs increased 38% versus the second quarter last year, primarily due to higher personnel and consulting costs related to building a more expansive customer platform." Elsewhere they talked about moving to AWS

SilverHub Media apparently went into administration and SS had invested $4.8m in them - I don't know anything about this other than it was started by a couple of ex Getty people. The SS report talks about "impairment" of their investment and elsewhere that they've written off $4.8m. A google search mentioned the company being in administration

https://photoarchivenews.com/news/silverhub-media-hits-administration/

Although they said that Custom was important for the future, the response to a question on actual revenue was "Custom was not a material driver overall to the business on a year-to-date basis or in the second quarter but it has contributed some relatively minor amounts compared to the overall enterprise business"

They also mentioned that moving to AWS wouldn't hurt costs over the long haul and that they'd implemented things such that they could move to other cloud suppliers if necessary (who knows if that's a goal or currently real)

"And once again, as a reminder, we've done this in a manner that gives us flexibility, so while we're very confident in the folks at AWS and the pricing that we're getting from them, we have done this in a way that gives us the flexibility to utilize other cloud providers in the future because we've done this with the technology that allows us to containerize it and move it around if necessary."

17
Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock sold Webdam for $49.1 million
« on: February 21, 2018, 19:53 »
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/16/bynder-acquires-digital-asset-management-service-webdam-from-shutterstock-for-49-1m/

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bynder-announces-strategic-acquisition-webdam-120101196.html

http://digitalassetmanagementnews.org/vendors/bynders-webdam-acquisition-stronger-together-or-proof-that-the-current-dam-software-market-does-not-scale/

I guess that means this platform thing is either (a) not working out or (b) doesn't need asset management? From one of the articles above:

"As such, this is a divorce of convenience for Shutterstock and WebDAM, which Bynder are subsidising.  I suspect Shutterstock have had a case of buyers remorse after getting involved in a human resource-intensive, low value, professional services + product business (which still defines the current DAM software market).  Shutterstock realised that Bynders North American sales operations were not hitting targets, so they could strike a deal that was far more favourable for them than spinning it off independently again or trying to find some other larger tech vendor to take it on (and having to write-off the expenditure incurred for less than the cash invested back in 2014).  Its a great piece of business (for Shutterstock)."


I took a look at Glassdoor to see if there was any hint of what might be up, and although there isn't, there are some pretty scathing comments about Oringer, high turnover rates in the C-suite and a lack of direction (along with the happy news from current employees that earlier posters had alleged were HR-directed plants).

I think we get SS Q4 and full year 2017 results tomorrow...

18
StockFresh / Certificate of Residency
« on: December 31, 2017, 14:00 »
I hadn't logged in to StockFresh in a while, but went to check today and saw that I'd sold an EL in December so I was over the payout threshold.

I requested payout and was confronted with a screen with a new requirement (I've been paid by them before via PayPal): I needed to upload a certificate of residency (they had pre-filled in that I live in the US so I think I must have uploaded ID when I created this account as well as provided my mailing address).

StockFresh is based in Hungary and I'm assuming this is something to do with VAT or local taxes. I uploaded my driver's license picture (numbers blurred out) which has my US address and I hope that will suffice. A quick Google search suggests there's an IRS 6166 tax form that would certify to any foreign tax treaty partner that I'm a US resident, but that takes 6 weeks to get. You get this by submitting a form 8802 (gotta love the forms and numbers) and an $85 fee!

As that fee is more than the payout amount, it wouldn't be worth getting the form, so I'd just close my account to make sure there were no more sales. I'm hoping my driver's license will do.

Did anyone else get any alert from StockFresh about this new requirement before payout? The last thing I remember receiving from them was about the new curation standards. I can't see anything in the contributor FAQ on the site.

I'll let you know how this plays out, but I really think that changing payout requirements should merit email to contributors to let them know what's required and how to get whatever it is. I know StockFresh doesn't make the laws, but as they have contributors world-wide, they need to communicate about legal changes in Hungary or the EU that might apply to agency payments

19
Software / No perpetual license for Lightroom 7
« on: October 18, 2017, 12:01 »
Lightroom as we knew it is now Lightroom Classic. Lightroom 6.x will get new camera updates through the end of 2017 and then it's history. Photography plans are increasing in price if you need more than 20GB of online storage.

dpReview

Imaging Resource

Lightroom Queen

CNET

The Verge

Ars Technica

TechCrunch

The Next Web

Photography Life

The Phoblographer

Engadget

Outdoor Photographer

Lightroom Killer Tips

Adobe page with plan options

If you do buy into the subscription plan, there's a apparently a $14.99 deal for the 1TB storage plan for a while (and realistically, 20GB is useless for anyone but a hobby photographer if you really do want to go with the new Lightroom Lite (they're not calling it that) )

Note that Adobe says that Lightroom Classic CC is still in active development, but my gut says the writing is on the wall for it as they have a new code base for the new Lightroom Lite

Some follow up articles about Lightroom*

Adobe's answers to LR announcement questions (comments invited)

Interview with Tom Hogarty on LR split and futures

Death by Subscription

What Just Happened to Lightroom? (On1 blog - they clearly have an interest as On1 Photo RAW, now in beta 2, is a competitor)

Adobe's Photography product manager on use of online photographs - presumably those stored by customers online plus those in Adobe Stock - to fuel Adobe Sensei features. Certainly gives Adobe a reason to want more content online for it to use for its own purposes, not just store for customer retrieval...

An older article - March 2017 - where Adobe's CTO talks about the role of data in developing Sensei. Data includes imagery plus features used by "pros" (not sure how they obtain or categorize users)

20
Shutterstock.com / Senior VP Enterprise Sales leaves SS
« on: October 13, 2017, 21:06 »
While hunting around for more press on the new Composition Aware search, I happened upon an article about Nick Flynn leaving SS for Rokt as Chief Revenue Officer

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rokt-amps-up-growth-with-new-chief-revenue-officer-300533539.html

I know nothing more about Rokt than what's on their web site - "They click buy and we say hi", whatever that means...

I went to see if Glassdoor had anything interesting about SS that was recent and there were several very negative reviews from the last couple of months.

"Sales Solution Manager" who has left wasn't positive. (emphasis mine):

"The monthly targets that are given to you are unattainable unless you have been with the company for a while and have a pipeline built up. At this point, they are running out of leads to give their agents. so they are recycling old leads from the previous month which have been contacted multiple times in months prior to that. Do not believe what they tell you during the interview process, you are going to feel like you are selling magazine subscriptions or you're a used car salesman. The management team, with the exception of a few, will micro manage you. For some reason they keep bringing on new sales agents, which is taking away the only "quality" leads they have from the other agents. I can go on and on."

Someone from finance who left said:

"Absolutely horrific management in the Finance Division. The Managers and VP's have no idea as to what is going on, except for pushing orders down that have no meaning or translation into the daily work.
No opportunities for career growth."

Another ex-employee:

"The leadership team is as incompetent as they come. The founder/CEO is a big man child who changes priorities every other day. Instead of working with teams, he forces them to do what he wants, leading to other projects getting delayed or launched half assed.

CFO is also the COO, which has to be a conflict of interest but at this place, he continues to amass more power. He's squeezing every ounce of revenue from legacy products.

Executive team is a revolving door other than CEO/CFO, with most of them leaving after a year.

The GM structure forces all of them to fight over resources like little rats. They're glorified sales leaders instead of actual strategists.

The core product is dying and they don't seem to be preparing for the future. Instead they're doubling down on acquiring more companies that focus on stock assets.

The tech stack is as old as the company and of course no progress has been made to fixing the issues because of "too many priorities."

Get ready to work long hours because there isn't a clear focus.

Advice to Management
You won't listen but I'll share the feedback anyway.

Stop hiring and firing middle management. Either commit to making it work with them or focus on hiring more people who can get work done.
Show that you care about your employees and maybe they'll work hard without being threatened or forced to.

Stop coming up with crappy ideas and reduce the amount of time dedicated to products that just plain suck.

For once, look at what's worked well in the past and invest a little bit money into that, like brand.

Stop trying to use free snacks and food as s recruiting tactic. Those aren't benefits, they're perks."

21
Shutterstock.com / Composition Aware Search tool announced
« on: October 12, 2017, 11:13 »
https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/12/16463768/shutterstock-machine-learning-image-search-composition

https://venturebeat.com/2017/10/12/shutterstocks-new-visual-search-tool-lets-you-search-for-images-by-composition/


Press release here

https://www.shutterstock.com/press/15118

Blog

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/composition-aware-search-tool


Just playing around with it a bit suggests that it could grow into something interesting, although it might need some rethinking about what search input is. For example, if I wanted an image with a woman on both the left and right of the image and copy space in the center, I can't use the little box where I move around tokens to find that as I only get one "woman" token for the single search term.

I'm sure buyers will make suggestions, so it'll be interesting to see how SS enhances this tool

22
Nearly a year ago I wrote a blog post about my experiences with Capture One Pro as I was so frustrated with Lightroom's sluggish performance. I've done an update as not only are there new versions of both pieces of software, but I have switched to a Fuji XT-2 (from a Canon 5D Mk II) and needed to assess handling of the new RAF files.

In case it is relevant to anyone else, here's a link to the blog (there's a link in the post to the original comparison if anyone wants to look at that too)

http://www.digitalbristles.com/revisiting-capture-one-pro-vs-lightroom/

23
Shutterstock.com / SS's CIO has left after one year
« on: August 25, 2017, 19:32 »
"David Giambruno, CIO of stock photography company Shutterstock, has left the company after just over a year"

http://www.ciodive.com/news/shutterstock-cio-departs-after-short-tenure/503145/

When you consider the big stories being told when he joined SS - plus the fact that he has no job lined up yet - you have to wonder what went wrong that he left so soon. SS filed notice with the SEC of this departure July 12th. Another article talked expansively about plans for a software defined data center.

Marty Brodbeck, the Chief Technology Officer, joined SS in January 2017 and is still there - might that mean there was some sort of clash and Brodbeck won?

For at least the second time in August, the site had problems where downloads weren't working - buyers on deadlines were not happy...

https://twitter.com/Shutterstock/status/900107766983000064

In the Q2 earnings call, Oringer seemed to be saying the new platform was essentially done. At one point he says "Now that we are on our new platform..." but elsewhere he says "...we believe we are making significant progress against our objective of moving from a content marketplace to a creative platform..." so some things are still not finished.

Platform or marketplace, making sure customers can download content seems like stock agency 101, so they need to fix the basics they broke.

Any other ideas as to what, if anything, this latest software departure means for SS's future?

24
StockFresh / Stockfresh email about new curation standards
« on: August 01, 2017, 15:38 »
This morning I received email from "The Stockfresh Team" saying that uploads are back. I didn't know they'd been turned off as I haven't uploaded there in a long time.

They said they've been busy upgrading the site and that they have done a content review of their 6.5 million files and decided on even stronger curation - images that "stand out of the crowd, shifting away a bit from the current, standard mix of imagery."

As far as I can tell, they are not culling existing portfolios.

At the end of the email they suggested contacting them with questions, so I did. I suggested they try to explain to contributors what they are looking for so we can avoid wasting our own time and theirs uploading work they don't want. I had though when reading the beginning of the email I might want to upload a few new files to see what happens, but once I got to the end I thought that wasn't a good idea, at least until I have some idea whether having a portfolio that sells elsewhere might be a negative factor in their new curation standards.

Every site is of course entitled to set whatever criteria they want for content, but I'm not a fan of playing guessing games with a mystery process that no one will detail.

I'll post any information they share.

25
I didn't see this when it was first published July 5th. Couple of things the author missed or was confused about (for example, doesn't understand that Adobe bought Fotolia and that all work submitted to Adobe is sold both places) but it's a interesting perspective.

https://petapixel.com/2017/07/05/want-sell-stock-photos-heres-comparison-major-services/

His comments on how terrible Getty and iStock's contributor interface and customer service are delightful :) For example:

"With a poor site, youd think maybe they have good customer service for their contributors. Well, unfortunately youd be wrong there too. Every ticket Ive submitted has taken months literally months to get resolved. After a poor site design and no customer service it makes it seem like all that money they make, just goes right into their pocket and they dont invest in the company itself."

Here's his very small SS portfolio

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/michaelgodek

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