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Messages - Jo Ann Snover

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...Think about it and please support me. Because it may affect you, if other agencies follow this bad example. Thanks.

What are you looking for in the way of support from others?

I'm not all that worried about stock image agencies implementing this, especially if a contributor was generating sales for them, but if it did happen, I'd take my money and leave the site. I'm not with Zazzle and I'm not aware of anyone else who has done this. I did, for example, leave 123rf when their drop in sales eventually resulted in a cut in my royalty rate (seemed like a perverse incentive system I didn't want to support), so I am willing to put my money where my mouth is.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Shutterstock Reseller
« on: March 10, 2020, 12:00 »
I wasn't aware that resellers had any reason to contact contributors directly.  What did she want?

I wasn't also, but there is the mail. She asked for my phone number to briefly speak with me...

Anyone ever got this kind of email?

I have never had email like that, and I'd be surprised if a reseller deal with Shutterstock would allow them to do side deals with contributors (which is likely what they want).

If it was something on the level - such as details of exactly where a particular image was shot - they'd ask in the email. The reason to have a phone call is so there's no record of what they're asking (IMO)

SS has added a Chief Product Officer (package and price content to appeal to buyers) and a Chief Revenue Officer (managing sales)


General Stock Discussion / Re: Say Bye to Opting-Out
« on: February 25, 2020, 09:18 »
...The EL's are pennies now....

That's not my experience with SS.

I had opted out of ELs when they changed from a flat $28 royalty to a 30% (or whatever your percentage is). I used to say yes to any EL emails $28 or over and no to anything less. After a year or so it appeared that the SODs had dried up and I suspected that it was somehow tied to the EL opt out - something like only showing their corporate clients files where they could buy any type of license. I opted back in to ELs.

The SODs came back - or it appeared that way to me - and although there was an occasional low EL (I think $16 was the lowest I ever saw) I figured it was better to leave ELs turned on. My most recent EL - they aren't frequent any more - was for $29.50. I have seen low value SODs, but never an EL at $1.50.

I don't have any images where the content makes it an issue for uses that might have been covered by the "sensitive use" option, so I never opted out of that.

Site Related / Re: Site Speed
« on: February 21, 2020, 18:32 »
I'm glad to see it back - it was totally unreachable for a day or so for me.

Download volume is lower at SS but it's the lower RPD - the SOD sales have gone AWOL - that's the major problem.

This month so far my RPD is 61.5 cents versus Feb last year was 80.3 cents (December RPD was $1.01, but the last three or four months of the year are always much better).

Adobe stock's sales total is beating SS and the RPD is 98.2 cents - more of the custom sales at slightly higher royalties. That isn't great news given that it's a result of SS's slump, but I'm glad AS isn't slumping too :)

In their Q4 financials, SS said that the corporate sales had shrunk 1% (while the eCommerce had grown 7%); I can't see how that can be good news for us, and they keep saying they're working on revamping that side of the business, but it doesn't so far seem to have done anything for volume or royalties.

I guess they needed to have some "action" to reassure investors after a lackluster earnings report


Some more articles on this change


Given that they're looking to improve earnings and have polluted their image collection with volumes of stuff that shouldn't be there, I am concerned that contributor royalty rates will look like low-hanging fruit.

February's royalties so far are (even for a slow month) anemic.

Hey ho - "exciting" news on its way...

Alamy.com / Re: Alamy Sold
« on: February 12, 2020, 00:46 »
By the way, have you guys received the Feb payment yet?

Usually I received the payment in the first week of the month.

Yes. My bank received the money on Feb 6th

But on the thread topic, the only uncertainty is how long it will take for things to change for the worse for contributors at Alamy, not whether they will change. Acquisitions always make rosy promises up front and tighten the screws shortly thereafter.

General Stock Discussion / Re: new shutterstock tos differences?
« on: February 05, 2020, 21:48 »
I had a look at the new one, and if I'm looking at their online archive correctly, Version 9 is the now-obsolete version (although it's missing its effective date). The new version, not yet labeled, will I assume be version 10?

Looking at the changes from version 9, these are the main things I see (and I wish they'd do a real set of diffs to show what's changed; it'd be so much easier for contributors to compare):

In section 4, Accounts, they have removed section e, which used to limit you to deleting no more than 100 items or 10% of your portfolio in 90 days. There's a new section e which says:

Following the removal of any item of Content from Shutterstock, Shutterstock may amend any existing licenses to such Content for a reasonable period thereafter, for instance to support customers who may have previously activated a "comp" license.

It's a shame they don't spell out how long, but this is akin to Alamy's 6 month wait to allow existing customers to complete their purchases.

In section 5, Content, they've changed rules around sensitive use: removed section 6 and taken one of its paragraphs (c) and made it section d  in content:

Shutterstock will not knowingly license model-released Content for use in contexts that are pornographic, defamatory or deceptive, or in a manner that could be considered libelous, obscene, or illegal in nature.

Section 6, Usage Restrictions, is gone, so all remaining sections have a new number.

Compensation, paragraph c, no longer references payment by check and section d about changes to payment by check is removed.

There is a new paragraph j in compensation, which may just be administrative or may be something significant (are they outsourcing payments or planning to be acquired?):

For clarity, when and where appropriate Shutterstock may assign its rights and obligations regarding Contributor royalties hereunder to related global legal entities, and confirms that the Contributors rights to such royalties will not be impaired by any such assignment.

In the Taxes section, they've added a paragraph saying you have to notify them of changes (sounds like a CYA in case you don't)

The section on Arbitration went from 2 paragraphs to 7 - they really don't want to end up in court!

They are selling our products too cheap.


Shutterstock :
   ID   Earnings    Downloads
   143379691   $0.38   1

28378823   blablabla.jpg   Dec.20, 2019   -   Subscription Plan   $0.38   $0 (0%)   $0.38

The original topic was about prices, not royalties, but even if we compared royalties, I assume you realize the above isn't the whole story, and thus not a reasonable comparison.

I have never supplied DepositPhotos - not ethical in their approach when they first contacted me plus their history as a file sharing site - but if I look at December for SS, my return per download is 98.8 cents $1.01 (and I get 38 cents per sub same as everyone else in the top tier)

Anyone want to share DepositPhotos' RPD for December 2019 (on a decent number of sales)?

(edited after the December books closed at SS to show the final RPD for the month)

Adobe Stock / Re: Late discovery of changes Fotolia to Adobe
« on: December 29, 2019, 15:53 »
I think the way you did the sync (it was a while ago and I may not remember correctly) was that you logged in to your Adobe account and then were offered the option to sync and enter your Fotolia credentials. There are threads here about that process; for example:


Shutterstock.com / Re: 0.26 sales on Shutterstock??!!
« on: December 27, 2019, 12:48 »
I don't see the map any more (I changed my link to go directly to the earnings chart after the most recent daft changes to the contributor home page) but I have four "no location" sales, all SOD.

Three are for $1.33 and one is for $0.78. So there's probably some new program or discount offer.

SOD payouts (for photos) are at 20%, 25%, 28%, or 30%. I get SODs fairly regularly that are at 38 cents, which would be 26 cents at the 20% rate.

The $1.33 SOD royalty would be 88 or 89 cents at a 20% payout. 78 cents would be 52 cents at 20% royalty.

Earlier in the month there was a 43 cent SOD royalty (but I have no idea if it was no location showing or not and can't go back)

There is a thread in the SS forums - so other people have seen the 26 cent amounts - but no answers yet


... but by the end of the month SS has always beaten them.

That's been the case for me too, a number of times. The real differentiator is that AS has nothing like the (for photos) $50-$120 SOD royalties and that makes it easy for SS to pull back ahead if those materialize. The volume has shrunk compared to several years ago, but they're still there.

This month, AS was ahead for about the first 9 or so days, but then they settled in their #2 spot.

Edited to add that this afternoon a $63 royalty appeared on SS to emphasize the point :)

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:



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."





Shutterstock.com / Re: So, they changed the landing page... again
« on: December 12, 2019, 11:51 »
What a disaster!

It'd be funny if it was a page one never used, but it'll just increase my use of the mobile app on my phone.  They should be embarrassed that US cities appear to be roughly correct, but everywhere else is thousands of miles off and frequently in the ocean vs. on land!

Worse, the one link I want to use - to my earnings summary - is now off the page (on a large monitor)  requiring a scroll.

I guess this is the genius behind these latest moves - and I can't imagine any contributor asked for these changes.


This POS is what happens when you have people who know nothing about the users messing with the UI so they can be seen to be "doing something"


I find it hard to view this positively - just a reminder that they spent way too much money on a fancy building and trendy perks for employees - but they lit up the Empire State Building in celebration of the $1billion payout milestone:


General Stock Discussion / Re: Nothing but crumbs.....
« on: December 10, 2019, 19:36 »
If that was 63 images sold in a day, you're off to a great start :)

I assume it wasn't, but that means you netted just over 38 cents a download.

I've been with SS since 2004 (with a hiatus as an iStock exclusive 2008-11) but for photos only, for November this year, my number was 92.5 cents a download. A lot of that has to do with getting to the highest earnings tier and some to do with the mix of SOD and extended licenses which varies (and is now *much* less than it was just a few years back).

Would you still have been in need of a rant if you'd netted $58.27 for those 63 downloads (what 92.5 cents per would produce)? If so, then time won't fix anything, but if it sounds better, then you'll see improvements as you climb the earnings tiers (and that does take longer now than it did because the volumes for individual contributor are harder to attain just because of the huge library).

And if you aren't also uploading to at least AdobeStock, do that as they're a solid number two these days.

Last thought is that you aren't selling photos, just licensing certain rights to them. So you can license those rights very broadly and repeatedly (if you can produce usable images with good keywords); if you don't get too trendy, images can keep producing income for many years.

The percentage growth (skipping the first couple of years as it skews the chart too wildly) tells a very different story from the dollar payout growth. If you look at the increase in contributors over those years (I don't have the numbers to hand) I'll bet it gets even more grim.

They added video in 2006; acquired BigStock in 2009, did the Facebook deal and added offset in 2013, acquired WebDAM in 2014 (and sold it in 2018); acquired Premium Beat, Rex Features and BEImages in 2015, Flashstock in 2017

Adobe Stock / Re: Adobe Stock $11.88 "subscription" royalty?
« on: December 05, 2019, 12:20 »
I had a couple of sales for the same amount. Are there any news on the subject?

Never heard any more about it. I haven't had more of these (that I've noticed) - if I do, I'll follow up with customer support.

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



Shutterstock.com / Re: Is this the END?
« on: November 21, 2019, 12:45 »
Sounds like a terrible idea but it isn't really unlimited. I went to look at their FAQs and it's actually a max of 100 tracks a day - so about 3,000 a month. For $149 that's still a truly terrible deal for artists.


If they were to do anything like this for images, I'd opt out, and if I couldn't I'd turn off my portfolio. The only thing that would stop this type of one-sided rights grab is the content going away - or lots of it.

Scary sh*t.

General - Top Sites / Re: DT exclusive - advice wanted
« on: November 05, 2019, 16:08 »
...IS corporate culture which I can only describe as nitpicky, rude, uncivilized and highly unprofessional - to boldy go where unprofessionality has never gone before as a matter of fact. ...
...All in all it feels like I have made the right decision . . .Happy camper.

Thanks for posting an update on your experience. And I do like your variant on the Star Trek tag line - IS truly deserves that :)

Newbie Discussion / Re: "Cityscape" KW
« on: November 04, 2019, 22:15 »
Regarding citiscape, the important thing is not whether it's a panorama or just a regular shot, but that you're taking in a wide view versus just a building or two. It also has to be mostly buildings, but doesn't have to be skyscrapers.

Looking at some shutterstock images (which I won't post links to, but do a cityscape search and look at new content), a photo of a bridge with masses of foreground river and what might be buildings in the distance under the bridge is a terrible use of the cityscape keyword. Likewise a closeup shot of a man standing on a balcony with some buildings in the background. Also a shot of a single building with a bit of sky top left.

Here are some very different types of city views, all (IMO) correctly labeled a cityscape






This one was keyworded skyline but is also a good cityscape example


Adobe Stock / Re: Good bye Adobe Stock from Venezuela.
« on: October 28, 2019, 12:00 »
So Adobe has reversed itself for subscriptions to its products


You should ask if this means they will let you keep selling

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