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Messages - Colette

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In the first place it is about their sneaky acts. When you have an agreement it is normal to inform people before, giving them the possibility to went out or at least to opt out. There are laws for these things. Nobody could have seen this coming and nobody could protect him/herself from their acts. And when this turns out profitable for  them, what will be the next step? This is not a stockagency anymore. It is owned by a Group that only wants short-term profit.

They have no right to give away what they not own.

Do you want to do your business harm using stolen images on your blog or website?  Dont think so
No self respecting person will.
There will always be people stealing. But good is good and bad is bad, no matter what nice names you give it. Their given reasons are nonsense. You can try to legalise theft. This way stealing is no longer called stealing, but what world are we going to live in when such a thing happens? 

But again: They have no right to give away what they not own.

It is only about blog-sizes for now. But artists depending on GI/IS/the Carlyle Group for their main income should start a quick search for other  opportunities from now on, before they awake one morning seeing not only blog-sized images but their whole busisness is given away for free.

Spike you are comparing things to each other that are not the same.

Whenever SS made changes they informed their contributors.

Istock didnt with the Google-deal and now they don't with the being overpaid thing.
DP and Shotshop were hiding the fact that they are playing this sneaky game against all rules and agreements, even their own. 
When it is proven that they cant be trusted and while cheating them, they still ask trust from their contributors.

When SS should announce that they are lowering prices,  you can be angry, you can choose to stop uploading new content, you have the right to leave if you wish,  but until now, you are not cheated behind your back.

...and "fun''or "funny" are indeed not good words for all this.

Photo Critique / Re: Ive posted but it doesnt show
« on: March 02, 2014, 14:10 »
The only thing people see here are 4 of your photos and those  writing reactions are experienced contributors.
When they tell you that these images have low commercial value, you can believe them.
It means: The images can be technically perfect, creative and artistic, but they will probably barely have any sales.

But if you dont believe them , why dont you try for yourself to find out?
After having them all submitted and get accepted by a lot of agencies and being sold by hundreds, you can come back and tell everyone here that they were totally wrong.

Start with Mostphotos. They have no reviews and accept everything. Some people there are giving likes to your images. These people have mostly no idea about the commercial value of images, so it is not an indication  for your sales on other sites, but getting likes is allways nice, isnt it?

Shady Sue: Yes, you are right, but you can't protect yourself from what you do not know and from what tomorrow brings.
Nothing is certain in life.

When someone decide to join Istock today: It is his own choice. No problem.
But let him don't come and complain about the way he is treatened when another finding from Istock comes up.
For he knew before what to expect!
You (and others onboard) have the right to complain. You couldn't imagine that Istock should go this low.

And, as far as we know until now, still today there are agencies that don't do such things. Even from the 'former Istock' nobody expected such behaviour.

Ron, I am not interested in being honoured in any way. It was a simple thinking coming up and I don't even know if it can be realised. I only think that there is a need for this knowledge.
Let's keep it simple: When Leaf has no problems with it and tells us what is not allowed on such a list, we can start a separate topic and gather the information we need. The list will grow over time with new agencies. From a lot of agencies I know nothing at all, but perhaps others do.
Stay with facts. What Shady Sue writes may be true, but we need to be careful to not write unproven accusations.

And there are other things contributors needs to know.
For example: There was a question  about The 3d Studio and tax witholding on this forum. The saying was: they withhold 30 percent tax for every non US contributor. I have searched their website and it seems no problem for contributors from countries that has a tax treaty with the US. It is just the same as with other agencies: Simply fill in the appropriate form. But I can't find a clear answer. Or possibly they have recently change it. When someone wants to join them and he is from outside the US, he needs to know  before if this is true or not. This kind of things can easy be found and cleared up too this way.

I didnt expect so much reactions on what came up in my mind when thinking about the unrighteous way contributors are treatened by DP. Now it feels we are deducting from the original subject of the topic.

The reason I made the decision to deactivate my images with Istock last year was the way some contributors were treatened. For me that was unacceptable. Spread over the world as contributors we have no power. The only power we have is to make the principal choice not to stand with unrighteousness. But that is a personal choice and everyone must decide for him/herself what to accept or not.
But when we stay and accept everything only to have some money,  things will only get worser and worser.

I wrote that I choose to be not with DP for what I read about them, but when I should have a portfolio with them, I should leave very soon when they dont change their behaviour quickly.
Thinking again, I suppose that I should leave nonetheless. Why should I trust someone who has delivered proof that he can not be trusted?

That they say to keep the original images for statistical reasons, when someone wants to leave them made me very angry. It gives me the feeling that contributors are catched in a trap.

Hi Ron,
Hopefully you will feel beter soon!

I take a look at your list, but although the info seem to be correct, it is also mixed up with personal opinions.
For this list is on your own website, you are free to do so of course.
But what I meant was a list with only undisputable facts. Nothing else. No scorecard. No earnings rating. Nothing personal.
It must be about more agencies then only the Top and Middle Tier and it must be corrected when info is wrong.

People easily forget, new contributors do not know and I think things that happen must be documented in a way that is not mixed up with personal feelings.

Today I got a personal message. It seems that what I wrote about a quality label for agencies can be misunderstood, so Ill try to explain a bit:

What I meant with quality label was a list with basic information about every specific agency and info added about problems contributors had with them.
No personal opinions, only facts.

Like with Istock:
This is the agency.
This are the rules.
Prices can be found here. (link)
This is the submitting system. (No FTP, info about Deepmeta)
(That kind of things)
And added:
In 2010 they cut commissions this and that way.
In 2012/2013 contributors discovered. (some info about the Google deal)
Discussions can be found here: (links)

Same with Depositphotos:
Basic info about the agency.
In 2014 contributors discovered that for standard licenses that are sold at Reseller sites like Shotshop for higher prices then DP does, DP only pays out subscription amounts.  Sometimes this is only 1 percent of the original sale. Opting out from Partner sales is not a solution, for DP says a Reseller is not a Partner. DP also says resellers has the right to set their own prices. Contibutors say that reselling licenses for standard or subscription prices is against the agreement.
Discussion can be found here: (link)

No rating, no votes, only facts.
Things that are published in such a list must be indisputable. No personal opinions.
People can decide for themselves if they want to join such an agency or not, based on facts. But this way they are able to easy find the facts.

Now it is often difficult to find enough information. It costs time to search the forum and the internet, read the discussions etc. Not everything people are saying about an agency is true. The anonymous voting system can be cheated. You have to weigh all the opinions. The negative experience one person has is not something you can publish as a fact about the behaviour of an agency. Often there is simple miscommunication or something like that.
Agencies that doesnt have  such behaviour qualifies themselves automatically on such a list, for there are no added comments...

Reading everything today, I am at page 14 now and what do I see right between Uncle Pete and Pixarts comments?

Earn royalties with Depositphotos. Get started!

Funny! But Leaf cannot put this elsewhere in a Whoojay for DP topic I suppose ;D

A few months ago I was looking if I could find another agency to submit to and I searched the MSG forum to find info about Depositphotos. It costs me some time to find out, but what I found about their actions in the past made me decide not to deal with them.
And now I am glad I did not! And I am sure I never will in the future too. What a mess!
Hopefully for all of you this turns out well.

A quality label for agencies is a good idea, as it is very difficult for new contibutors to find out if an agency is a bit trustworthy or not. We should have a database here on MSG with info about every agency. Their rules and their behaviour. Only facts of course. Things like this should be documented and remembered.

10 / Re: Shutterstock UNDISCOVERED...
« on: February 28, 2014, 11:51 »
It started Monday and you saw a change last week?

Didn't know it started monday. Seems that it was accidental then...

Newbie Discussion / Re: Which Microstock?
« on: February 28, 2014, 07:17 »
A few notes to think over:

It depends on your portfolio, but starting with stockphotography in 2014 has become difficult.
You need to learn a lot and need a lot of energy, enthusiasm and patience too. But the most you need is propably a stubborn persistence!

When a photographer starts to submit his images to any stockagency he/she has mostly not a realistic view on what agencies accept when it comes to technical quality. You need to learn to look at your images in a different way you did before. What friends and family think of your images doesn't make sense. Your impressions at this stage, good or bad, with an agency doesn't make sense either.

The reactions you've got from others on this forum are based on their personal experience with each agency and depends on the kind of portfolio a contributor has. Some do very well with a particular agency, for others it is disappointing. You can only find out for yourself over time, but you need to have at least 1000 images accepted with an agency, otherwise conclusions doesn't make sense.
So it is not possible to draw conclusions out of the submitting of 30 images. When you get one reviewer with a bad hair day everything gets rejected for example.

Getting 7 out of 13 (4 mp images from 2007 and not especially shoot for stock) accepted at Fotolia at a first try is a good result. You were lucky or your images are very good,  but getting 27 out of 30 rejected at Dreamstime is just a very bad result. Could have been a reviewer with a headache, but I doubt.
Istock seem to accept everything these days, so no conclusions either. Too early to decide to go exclusive or not with an agency, because you don't know if your images will get sales at all.

12 / Re: Shutterstock UNDISCOVERED...
« on: February 27, 2014, 05:27 »
Last week I was wondering why I had several downloads of images that were never sold before.
So when you are right this explains it AND it seems that it works too... :D

Symbiostock - General / Re: What happened?
« on: February 27, 2014, 05:21 »
Not crappy, but perhaps less in demand. Agencies have big collections of practically  every  subject and it seems that for now the Symsites with illustrations and vectors do best.

Buyers behaviour is also a point you have to deal with. When  buying images from sites within the EU for example, buyers has to fill in lots of personal info for every single image they want to buy, thanks to the complicated tax rules. For buyers that needs lots of images it is perhaps easier to buy a subscription pack with an agency instead.
When a company buys images with a certain agency all the time, they are not going to change that at once too.

It is possible that the next thing is that people with symsites are going to ask for a plugin to let buyers have a sort of  subscription. Not with the extreme low prices, but with the possibility for buyers to download a certain amount of images without the need for all the digital paperwork with every download.

Symbiostock - General / Re: What happened?
« on: February 26, 2014, 12:05 »
I stay with my opinion that Symbiostock is one of the best ideas that came up in the last years.

But of course, like all other software that has to work on so many different computers, there are problems showing up. When even the specialists at Microsoft are not able to solve all the problems with their software, what can be expected from others?
When searching the big plugin database of Wordpress you often see: (this number of) people say it works.(this number of)people say it doesnt  Nothing works for everyone , or works for everyone the same way, unless you use an Apple computer. Apple narrowed the use of hard and software to get stability at all circumstances. That is simply not possible when using Windows. Too much different hardware combinations and too much different software combinations. These days the stability of the software and hardware is already better then it ever was before.

Therefore, when website building isnt your specialism,  the best is to keep your Symbio website simple and cheap. At least for the moment. Over time there will come up a database with software and plugins that are proven to work well with each other. It is too early now for that.

The strength of Symbiostock is that everone is fully independent. You are the only one to choose what to do with it. Build a website or not, network or not, try to sell your work, or choose to only show your portfolio.
There was a problem with tax rules in the EU. It affected me too. In short time there will be a plugin for that. These crazy rules force people living in the EU to run a complete administration of their sales. Not every one likes to do that. You are free to choose  to do not. Also in some Eastern European countries it seems to be difficult to sell direct from your website. But in that situation you are still able to build and run a website of your own at low costs and with great seo. Some people choose to link to agencies like Alamy or Stocksy. Everyone who is not able to sell direct from his website can choose this path to get more visibility of his work. You are fully independent and free to make your own choices depending on your situation. Only future can tell what will come up next, people are endlessly creative!

What has be done in less then a year from scratch by only a few enthousiast people is unbelievable!
And what will happen when thousands of people over the whole world will pick up this idea and give it their own swing, no one can tell

Be pig-headed, dont listen to negatives, think out your own ideas and make your own choices!

When Symbiostock was like a young plant or tree, growing from one central point, it could be easily be broken at this stage, but just for the full freedom that everyone has worldwide to make his/her own choices and find his/her own way to work with it, it will be succesfull.

Symbiostock - General / Re: What happened?
« on: February 25, 2014, 14:21 »
Two times I was writing a reaction and both times Leaf closed the topic. This time hopefully Ive been in time to post!

Leo, even if you should have become a millionaire last year with your work for Symbiostock, you should have deserved it!
Hopefully you do well with your website and enjoy being with your family.
When the VAT-plugin is ready , (nearly) everyone is now able to build his own website and sell his own work, even within the EU, if they wish to do so AND at very low costs. This was never possible before you came up with the idea of Symbiostock and we all thank you for that.
When getting negative reactions: donforget most people are grateful for all the work you did.

I am absolutely sure that the Symbiostock idea will not die.
The negative comments makes no sense. People are busy for years to build up a good portfolio with an agency and then expect to get rich overnight selling from their own website? Thats not a realistic view, to say the least. Things need time to grow.

Paul Melcher used in his blog about Symbiostock the example of the mushroom-network:
it is a 2,200 year old fungus whose fruits, or otherwise known as mushrooms, peek out here and there

Can it be destroyed partially? Yes. And then it will recover. Can it be destroyed totally? Yes, but you need to destroy the whole forest too! And when the forest starts to grow again, the mushrooms will too.

And I think this is the same with Symbiostock. When people silently go on building their own sites, the Symbio-principle will not be destroyed and will be successful at last, unless you destroy the internet too...

16 / Re: account hacked ???
« on: February 25, 2014, 13:22 »
About the why and who of the hacking I have no idea. It is done by accident I suppose. Hackers search for money. Stealing images doesn't make much sense, (although perhaps it is possible that some websites with dubious content get their unwatermarked images this way. There is a huge market for all sorts of data, so it is also sellable.)

People are always the weakest chain. When they find someone using the same password for all the agencies AND paypal account bingo!
The reason to try to avoid this is, of course, the trouble that it brings, not the risk of stolen images in the first place.
Most likely (or is it propably?) Luis has done nothing wrong, but only had bad luck.

17 / Re: account hacked ???
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:24 »
Filezilla usernames and passwords are indeed saved on your harddisk in plain  text. (C: Users/(your username)/Appdata/Roaming/Filezilla/Sitemanager.xml)
But data (usernames and passwords included) are also send over the internet unencrypted.
(That is with all FTP software afaik. It is possible to make a secured connection with FTP, but  not with the stockagencies. This must be done from both sides. They all use standard FTP and that is not encrypted. Correct me if I am wrong.)

For better safety you can choose to not save the passwords in Filezilla (or other FTP client), but to use software like Keepass and copy and paste your passwords each time when you need them. Delete the logs afterwards.

Or install a portable version of FTP client on usb-stick and start from there. This way passwords are not saved on your harddisk. (Of course this method is useless when you have your usb-stick added to your computer all the time.)

But using all these solutions, this way the usernames, passwords and data are still send unencrypted over the internet. So perhaps the best (but also most timeconsuming) solution is logging in at an agency and using their upload features.

Filezilla is opensource software, so when data should be encrypted, info about the encryption is also open. As the maker says about this: It is not a bug, it is a feature.

By the way: When someone has got access to the useraccount on your computer it is also possible to make your saved passwords visible in Firefox. To avoid people from doing so, you can set a masterpassword in Firefox. (You can find this in: Extra/Options/Safety)
I am not sure about how other browsers handle this.

18 / Re: How to improve sales at Dreamstime?
« on: February 20, 2014, 18:09 »
and I can't imagine many buyers actually wading through 10K+ images

But that wasn't what I meant. I wasn't writing about clicking next... end next... and next...., but about directly typing page 100 or 200 and then pressing Enter. I can't reach image 10001 and when narrowing the search a lot of relevant images don't show up anymore.

19 / Re: How to improve sales at Dreamstime?
« on: February 20, 2014, 17:39 »
For not being an image buyer, I am not very good in searching, but I found the following problem at DT:
When doing a search with a result of more then 10.000 images it is impossible to see image 10.001 and further.
You get the message: Searches are limited to 10000 results, please refine your keywords for better results.
But looking at my sales page people mostly use two and only sometimes three keywords for a search.
Even then you often get more then 10.000 as a result:

City night scene: 34000 photos
valentine hearts red: more the 12.000
green hills summer: more then 12.000
mountains snow winter: 40.000
landscape mountains summer blue sky: more then 34.000
business woman card: 14.000
business woman phone: more then 38.000
yellow flower on white background: more then 62.000

I searched with most relevant. Using latest uploads was too terrible! 
Try: yellow rose on white background Only photos and Latest uploads. Take a look and enjoy!)

And when clicking on some by DT suggested keyword combinations:
two men using tablet computer creative office you get 4 results, in two of them is a man and a woman. And nothing creative to be found in the other two (similar) images. So too much keywords doesn't do the job either.  (This was only for fun)

Am I seeing it wrong when I think that a lot of images that are not seen at the moment of acceptance propably never ever can be found by buyers unless they show up by accident in a search or in an unusual combination of searchwords? This problem is only growing with the growth of the database.
Perhaps that people more experienced in searches can tell if I see this wrong and it can be done in another way?

Hopefully you changed all your passwords! Otherwise do this as soon as possible.
Every agency and your paypal- or moneybookers account need a different password and it needs to be a difficult one.

The best I can advise you is to install a passwordsafe on your computer (like Keepass for example) and store your passwords in it. Then there is only one password you have to remember  and it is a lot safer.
There has been a topic on this forum about someone using the same password for all agencies and Paypal and there was a lot of money stolen from his account.

What I don't understand is why anyone should write negative about the Symbiostock initiative without even being part of it.
If you don't like it: Let it be and do your own thing. Let others do theirs. You don't have to agree with everything that happens in the world.

In my opinion Leo Blanchette did and is doing, a great job. He and all the people joining SS, don't deserve the negativity some people are spreading around.

The idea of Symbiostock is not only (and for most people not even in the first place), about making money. This is about being proud of your work and yourself again. About being tired threatened like garbage by agencies, about breaking rules by agencies, about no respect for copyright by agencies and so on
This explains the enthusiasm you can read between the lines reading the SS-forums.

Because when too much rocks are throwed in a mountain stream, it finds another way to flow down the mountain. Creativity needs to find a way out. That's the birth of Symbiostock.

For me: the first time I was reading about Leos idea and the symbiosis explanation in Paul Mechers blog, I was thinking that this was a fantastic idea, that it has the logic of nature in it and that I want to be part of it if possible. The idea of SS let people free to do things their own way, while at the same time they can be part of a global network. 

Enough said. I am going back to work. Allthough I don't have any basic knowledge of Wordpress and website building, I am silently on my way trying to build my own Symbiostock website.

22 / Re: Making Jpegs larger
« on: July 05, 2013, 04:49 »
Don't forget:
When working with 16 bit raw files in PS, you must change modus to 8 bits as a last step, otherwise you can't save them as jpg files.
When doing so the above shown Pixel Dimension will be cut in half!

It is possible to put keywords in order in Cushystock.
Click on the word once to select it and then you can move it up or down with the blue arrows.
After rearranging sometimes the keywords jumped back to their original position when starting Cushystock again.
To avoid that I select the whole list and with Ctr-X and Ctrl-V I cut and paste the list. Strange enough then it works ok.
You can copy all the keywords from one image to another with 'copy to keyboard' and 'paste from keyboard' and then, when needed, remove the wrong ones and add new ones.

You can also choose between  ;  and  ,  as keyword separator and between the Shutterstock and Dreamstime database for the keyword generator.

For uploading I am not sure if this is possible today. The software is  no longer supported.
I have a legal key, but although the software says it is registered ,it acts like it is unregistered. It is not  possible to upload more then none image at a time and I cant use the ftp upload function properly anymore, so I use Filezilla instead.
(It is also possibly that this is only a software problem that I got after installing Windows 7. I had no problems in the past using WinXP.)

24 / Re: the END of microstock !!!
« on: May 19, 2013, 06:43 »
The END of microstock? Because one man leaves?

When you throw too much  big stones in a mountainstream the water will simply search other ways to flow down the mountain. But it will flow.
You forgot one thing: contributors are the OWNERS of the content that stays with the agencies.
When agencies go too far with the ongoing lowering of paying their contributors, photographers  will search other ways to sell their images and when they are able to make a living otherwise,  they  will leave and take their images with them.

There will allways be new  starting contributors, but  how long does it take for them to stand out from the crowd and to be able to produce the highest  demanded and high valued images AND enough of them on a regular base? (And when they reach that point they are likely also going Yuris way.)

This is not only about Yuris decision, it's also about Stocksy, about Symbiostock No one is able to predict today if  this leads to somewhere and how and where  this leads to This will also not happen within a short term, but over time the stock industry will probably show  big changes.

Of course it will not be the END of Microstock. There's still a growing demand for images worldwide and even a demand for images that can be easily produced. And when there is demand, there will be supply.
But yes: for the over suplied low-end market it will be harder and harder to make more then pocket- money.

The END of the dinosaurs? Perhaps!

25 / Re: taxes at PantherMedia
« on: March 15, 2013, 09:47 »
On April 20, 2012 I was informed  the way I wrote.  PM is EU based not US. Different rules.
A year later, on Feb. 26, 2013 Robert from PM said that a tax exemption was possible. I didn't know before.
For myself it makes no difference, but for  mtkang it possibly does. Depending on where he lives.
That's why I think he does better to ask PM directly.

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