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Messages - StockBoy

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1 / Re: Oh boy, the Bullsh%t rejections are back
« on: September 07, 2016, 13:05 »
I'm having the same problem over at FT as well. My guess is that reviewer's are told to take only the best-of-the-best and reject everything else, problem is a lot of very good stock images and video are getting trashed because the whole process is very subjective.

And yeah, the 2 minute review is not an actual person reviewing a large portion of these images.

2 / 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!

I have been having this problem on and off for the past few months. I check very carefully that the "NO" is set for the free section on each and every one of my uploads and yet I still get the email that says this image or that image is declined for the free section.

I tried contacting support several times and they still insist it's is a setting I am checking, but I swear it is not my fault.

Every time it happens I just search for the file by the image number and delete the file. The support guys just tell me how much it benefits me to just give away my images for free, um no thank you.

Yeah, I have a PayPal account, but I don't like paying all the BS fees PayPal charges, fees to transfer to my bank, fees to cut me a paper check, fees to pay fees for the privilege of paying fees.

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 . . .

My point was that they are using software to review images, nothing more, nothing less.

Take it however you like, but from what I can tell most people just think it is all done by a bunch of reviewers with "issues" or humans who are just very bad at their jobs.

My point is that in many cases there are no humans involved and the artistic "value" of our images, that we work so hard to create unique pieces of art are reviewed by a software algorithm rather than an actual human.

The fact that a software algorithm is making the determination between "acceptable" stock and "unacceptable" images fits with what everybody is complaining about. I believe it explains why stuff we would consider "poor" quality stock images are accepted and our unique and creative images are rejected.

It's a numbers game, if the "values" contained in the meta-data of the image are in the good range, the image is accepted, if however the numbers contained in the meta-data of the image are out of the "acceptable" range then the images is rejected.

All this happens without an actual human looking at the images we spend so much time and energy to create.

That is my point.

Yes, I know they don't care, I agree that they don't care, but that isn't the point I was trying to make.

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.

OK, so its not just me. I didn't want to say it, but my sales went from several a month to none, nada, zip, zero, nothing at all.

Now I know there will always be "that guy" that will come in here and say, "I have been having my BME and my sales are through the roof," but frankly nobody wants to hear from "that guy."

So, yeah Pond5 seems to have screwed the pooch on this keyword thing, or suddenly all the buyers have been abducted by aliens.

9 / 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.

I think many times perfectly fine and technically correct images are rejected just "because SS doesn't want those type or style of images."

So many of the contributors see these random rejections that, frankly are wrong (rejected for out of focus when the images are technically superior in focus and clarity to many of the images in the current library), but the REAL reason for rejection is SS just doesn't want THOSE images.

FT does this all the time, and if you ask anyone around here they will tell you that is just what FT does because they don't want any landscape images, or whatever type of images don't fit their CURRENT needs.

The problem is contributors spend time capturing and processing images to the best of their abilities, paying careful attention to issues of noise, focus and color balance only to have that plate of cookies rejected for something like "focus issues" when in reality SS just doesn't think they need any more images of a plate of cookies (landscapes, cookies, or whatever random image fits the bill at the time.)

I think (just my opinion) that the "kind" of images SS wants right now is highly produced "typical" stock images, the kind Yuri Arcurs used to provide. Images with a lot of production, technically complex lighting setups, models, makeup artists, full-on high production "lifestyle" type of stuff. That is the kind of stuff that will maintain the "photo buyer" income levels that the upper management is looking to "sell" to the CEO and stockholders.

As much as Yuri tried to turn microstock into a business, which required a staff and paid models, and over time turned into a full-blown enterprise, most of us small time contributors can't compete on that scale, nor can we produce images with that "style" in a cost-effective manner.

So, (again just my opinion) as time marches on microstock needs to be more and more like stock photography used to be in the old days. Where the stock houses told the photographers what kinds of images to shoot and worked in partnership with a broad spectrum of photographers.

The higher ups at SS still want to work off the whole "crowd source" model, they just want to dictate what the "crowd" provides, and that just doesn't work [period].

Adobe Stock / Re: Open letter to Fotolia: What's going on here?
« on: February 26, 2014, 15:46 »
I wanted to get back to the root of this thread. Here in the U.S. if you earn money by working in Dec. of one year, but do not receive that money (either as a credit on your bank statement or as cash in hand) until the next year, that income (money) is reported for the year in which you receive the income, not in the year in which you earned it.

Based on that principal, if Fotolia is reporting that I "earned" income in a particular year, but I have not "received" that income in the form of cash or as an addition to my bank statement, than Fotolia is making an error in it's tax reporting.

If Fotolia is incorrectly reporting payouts of contributors, then they will be the ones in trouble with the tax authority (IRS).

Fotolia is going to get shut down because they are misreporting contributor's earnings. It may take a few years, but the IRS is sure to check their records, and when there is absolutely no record of any payments made to contributors, but Fotolia is reporting that contributors have been paid and issued 1099 Forms, somebody will have to answer for IRS reporting errors. 

Adobe Stock / Re: Fotolia on a new kick starting January 1, 2014
« on: January 16, 2014, 11:50 »
OK, this is weird, really weird . . .

So I have the emails that say "Image Declined" for technical problems or similar image and yesterday the images in question did not show up as "green" (accepted) but rather "red" (image declined).

And here is the really weird part, when I checked this morning, all but one of the images are showing "green" (accepted) even though I can place the images with the "Image Declined" email and know for sure it is the same image.


Either someone over at Fotolia read this thread and re-reviewed the images and now all but one is acceptable, or space aliens came during the night and worked in partnership with Matt and now suddenly my photography abilities have been re-applied to me and I am not loosing my mind . . .

However, I am still trying to explain the "Image Declined" emails and Accepted images on the site??????

Whatever the Area 51 explanation is, Thank You to either the Fotolia reviewers, Space Aliens, or Matt for taking care of this batch for me.

Adobe Stock / Re: Fotolia on a new kick starting January 1, 2014
« on: January 15, 2014, 19:19 »
I have no idea whether he has uploaded solid stock imagery or is just starting out and has some work to do.  We all have room for improvement.  Lord knows, I do. 




What a gracious offer to personally critique my images, although I am not just "starting out" I have been at this game for a few years now.

I do believe your statement "we could all use improvement" is a true statement, however I am comfortable in my abilities as a photographer and truly feel that Fotolia is just rejecting images they "don't want" rather than for the, as someone else said "laundry list of reasons" for rejecting perfectly good images.

That is not to say that I think I am a "perfect" photography who never makes mistakes, just that the images I have uploaded over at the Fo-rejection-tila warehouse are suitable for sales and will garner a reasonable ROI at some other stock site.

There are a number of stock sites that every once in a while will get way up there on their high-horse and forget that, for the most part the images submitted are sold for somewhere around 25 cents each. For the reviewers to expect the kind of images created with hours of pre- and post production as well as images shot with medium or large format equipment is just silly as far as I am concerned.

Bottom line, I agree with the "studio and people shots are the way to go with Fotolia" statement, even though my nature shots at Fotolia are some of my best sellers in my collection.

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?

Wow, I'd say CD123 you are being a bit sensitive, but I was not referring to you with my comment I was only commenting on what I'm sure is the impending flood of people who will critique the image I posted, even though I mentioned I wasn't looking for a critique of the image . . .

And for those people who will come to this thread and post about how great they are and how they rarely have anything rejected and how when they touch water it turns to wine and on, and on  . . .

And for those people I say "Well, isn't that nice for you"

Like I said, "at least it should be entertaining."

Sadly, the literacy rate in the world is staggeringly low.

Interesting group of responses, thank you to everyone for the input.

Most of what is being rejected is landscape stuff, but like what someone else said that is what is selling best for me on FT.

I do have some people and food on FT but is doesn't seem to sell as well as Antelope Canyon shots, and I don't have many isolation shots because I just don't shoot that kind of stuff.

I guess if I want FT to work for me, rather than me working hard to get everything rejected I should shoot more people and food, that is good information to know. Thanks for that bit of insight it is helpful.

Let's see if this works: Here is an example.

Please understand that I am NOT looking for you to critique this image, I don't care because there are equal numbers of people that will tell me what THEY THINK is wrong with it as there are people that will tell me it is fine.  I don't worry about rejections, I just move on to the next image because it's not worth my time to get upset over.

My guess is that the reviewer's over at FT are looking for images of the level of quality you would get from a medium or large format camera, perfect sharpness from corner to corner with absolutely no CA or digital noise anywhere, etc. The kind of image where the equipment needed to produce could cost in upwards of $30k to $60k to produce, i.e. Phase One digital backs on large format view cameras with $10,000 dollar lens used . . .

All so they can sell the image for 25 cents!

Personally I think their expectations are a bit high, but what do I know . . .

The information about "figure out what THEY are looking for" is good and the "people, food and isolation shots" is exactly the kind of tips I wanted when I posted this thread.

I realize posting a picture and giving my opinion will open a big ole' can O' worms, but oh well . . .

at least it should be entertaining.


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?

Give it a rest Sean,

I'm not going to post my images for debate because for one, I don't care that much about these couple of images (stock sites approve and reject many, many images for what appears to be random reasons, I get that and just move on) and for two, I didn't intend to discuss my specific images, only that "I" got the impression that they were using some sort of software to do either part or all of the review, and asked what the group thinks about the possibility of stock sites using some sort of software to review images.

It's not conspiracy theory or me complaining, and no I don't need a foil hat unless it will stop all the voices in my head that make me despise people who can't have a reasonable discussion about something that they may, or may not agree upon.

The discussion is more about "Do you think stock sites are using software to review images, and what do you think about it if they are?"

That is all I was doing, opening up a dialog or discussion about "Your thought on software reviewing your photos."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, only mentioning that I think it is taking place more often than we might think (images being reviewed by a computer rather than an actual person).

I can see both sides of the argument, with the massive number of images that need to be reviewed, how can SS be more efficient, etc.

However, just like anything else if an image doesn't pass the software review because it has a very shallow depth of field, then the image buyers are the ones that don't get to see and decide for themselves if the image has "real" value.

As always, some good images will be rejected and some bad images will be approved doesn't matter who, or what reviews the images, it is what is is.

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?

Adobe Stock / Re: 1099 tax form while no income for 2011?
« on: February 09, 2012, 14:34 »
Greetings, I too have received a 1099-MISC form from Fotolia but have not reached payout level, so Fotolia has not paid me but rather is saying that at the end of 2011 there were x number of dollars or value in my account.

There is a HUGE benefit to Fotolia for using this method of accounting, it allows them to move taxable income OFF their books and ON to your books thus reducing Fotolia's tax burden by several hundred thousand dollars while creating an accounting nightmare for any Fotolia contributors.

The basic concept is that if you work for company "A" in 2011 but are not paid until 2012 you will not report or claim any profits from company "A" on your 2011 taxes.

By using this accounting method company "A" still had the amount owed to you on their books in 2011, and are required to pay taxes on that amount until they 'remove' the amounts owed to you from their books by paying you, which we assume they will do in the tax year 2012.

Now if company "A" moves the amounts it owes you (but has not paid you) from their books in 2011 by issuing you a 1099-MISC as 'earnings' and not 'profit' you can report the 'earnings' to the IRS as 'unrealized profit' or "earnings that haven't been transferred to your books" in the tax year 2011.

This way neither company "A" or you are required to pay taxes on the amount because the amount is off company "A's" books, but not on your books for the tax year 2011.

The problem with this is - You can be sure that if an amount exists the IRS is going to require SOMEONE pay the tax on that amount - and it is much more likely that the IRS will go after the individual tax payer rather than the corporation with the giant accounting firm.

Both the IRS and Fotolia are betting you don't understand the tax code and laws and just pay the tax because it's the easy thing to do rather than explain this whole complicated mess to the IRS auditor.

The thing is, using this accounting method Fotolia has reduced their tax burden by what potentially could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars and moved the potential tax burden on to the Fotolia contributors.


Fotolia's TOS (Terms of Service) state that you must reach $50 before you will be paid via PayPal. So until you reach the $50 payout amount Fotolia still has "your" money and is earning interest for them with "your" money. And Fotolia is reporting to the IRS that you will need to pay the taxes on "your" money even though you don't have "your" money and Fotolia is earning interest on "your" money. How can that be true?

Disclaimer: I am not an accountant or a tax lawyer, however I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once. Does that count?

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