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Messages - LisaAnderson

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1
We are not aware that the law has changed re the ITIN. Unless the tax laws have changed, we cannot disregard our attorney's advice despite what other companies do. We see things done on website that we know are not right and are not sure how they get away with it.

We understand your frustration--it's frustrating for us too!

I don't work with the tax forms, but if I recall correctly, the tax only applies to sales in the US. Not that I blame you for wanting to keep as much of your money as you can--I feel the same way. I absolutely hate the whole tax thing--it's way too complicated!!!  >:(

Please use the contact us form on our site for all support matters and questions--that's the best way to get help and it's the only way to ensure we are aware of your questions since we don't visit forums as often as we used to.

2
I find it quite an overstatement (but it does get your attention) to call a flap over a sale that had to be cancelled because the product was not as described a "nightmare". Cancer, losing your job, death in the family--those or other serious things would be nightmares in my world.

Naturally there is a lot more to what really happened than what the disgruntled seller and an ungrateful former family member said, which I'm sure most people realize. Especially anyone who has been part of family business! Too bad Paul Harvey isn't around to tell "the rest of the story"! :)

At The3dStudio.com we do our best to provide personal customer service and answers to support tickets. But now and then the truth is just not what someone wants to hear.

3
Off Topic / Re: Been nice knowing all of you
« on: May 24, 2011, 13:10 »
Just read in today's newspaper the rapture is now scheduled for October. :)

4
visceralimages: Im sorry you are upset. You signed up with a business and its still the same business. Obviously, in life and in business, there are no absolute guaranties, but all the family members are still involved and still running the business. Not sure why someone would be so eager to bail out on day one when nothing has changed for buyers or sellers. I hope you will feel better as time goes on.

gwhitton: Yes, 3D Systems will likely have a say in what happens in the future at The3dStudio.com. But they wanted us because of who we are and what we do and they have told us to keep on doing what we do. We expect what they say will help us expand and grow and we expect that to benefit our sellers. The expertise they can offer us in marketing is something we are eager to explore--we look forward to hearing what they have to "say" to us in that area.  :)

shiyali and elvinstar: We appreciate your support. We have seen what we consider phenomenal growth on the stock side since we began in 2009 and we are working to continue to nurture that growth. Are sales as good as everyone would like to see them? No, but they are increasing every monthand this is what happened on the 3D side over the past 14+ years, so we have every confidence it will happen on the stock side.

5
Oh, I'm not annoyed by anyone here. But I have to chuckle, Warren, at your choice of words. My kids call me "the dream crusher" so maybe Sean and I have something in common.  :)

Obviously I am not going to share financial or other stats, but I will say we received an offer and accepted it and we are happy. And we are all very excited to be part of the 3D Systems family and to have their support going forward--and I am not talking monetary support but all the expertise, etc. that we have been lacking.

Since The3dStudio.com pays some of the highest royalties around (base 60%, no minimum payout, etc.) and we have introduced various programs to increase sellers' earnings, I would say we have always been pretty generous with our sellers and we have shared the wealth. And we have tried to always treat them with respect. From what Ive read about some stock photo agencies and from what I know of some of our 3D competitors, thats not always the case.

Sean, I don't think you can say that without sellers there would not be a site--without buyers there would be no need for sellers, and there would be no site!  :) We have always tried for a win-win-win situation. I chose my "Gold Guys" avatar specifically because I think it represents what we have been working to build: T3DS bringing buyer and seller together for mutual benefit.

We know many people are rooting for us to succeed because they like the royalty percentage we pay and they like how we do business and how we treat them. In turn, we are thrilled by every sale made by one of our members, even a $2 photo. Not because of the commission we will get, but because we do feel they are part of our family so we care about them.

Matt started The3dStudio in 1996 as a hobby site with free models and didn't intend for it to be a business at all. Eventually, in response to requests from others who were sharing models but wanted to sell, he started letting them offer priced models. Years later it grew to the point where he made it a full time business for himself and still later he brought the rest of us in.

When Matt began to treat T3DS as a business, he decided the top priority was offering superlative customer service. I personally think the way we do things and what the business has grown into are what drew the attention of 3D Systems. Two top priorities stated on the back of their business card are improve customers bottom line and ensure customers success. At T3DS, we certainly agree with those goals; we have always considered both our buyers and sellers to be customers.

You all know that we are still new to stock. I dont know the history of other agencies as well as you do. I guess if someone knows in detail what went on, especially if they have been affected negatively, there would be a natural tendency to be suspicious of all agencies including us. But since we have not followed the herd into subscriptions, cutting royalties, banning people from posting on forums or blogs, not communicating with them, etc., I am not sure why someone would think we would abandon our principles now. But of course no one can tell what the future will bring for anyone or anything, especially in todays world. So we will continue to do our best for all our buyers and sellers and eventually well all see what happens.

6
If anyone has questions about their account please contact us via our site so a support ticket will be opened.

We were family owned and operated and we are still family operated. We were approached very recently by 3D Systems and none of us can quite believe how fast this happened. There never was any intent to deceive anyone. We (family members) are still operating The3dStudio.com and our values, intentions and the way we conduct ourselves (in business and in our personal lives) has not--and will not--change. We may have sold the business but we haven't "sold out". In fact, the resources of 3D Systems will allow us to expand the business including the stock side, faster than we planned. We hope this brings even more sales for all our sellers.

It's a shame some people seem to be looking for evil intentions or motivation so much of the time. When we first began selling stock in summer 2009, we took a lot of flack we somewhat expected it now but we aren't going to let it deter us.

As I think everyone here knows, our core business is 3D. That doesn't mean we aren't committed to our way of selling stock and our way of treating people. I guess time will tell.

7
Great news! 3D Systems Corporation has acquired The3dStudio.com. You can read the full press release here: http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=2903

Matts blog post http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=2904 has additional info. If you have questions he didnt address, please let us know by commenting on Matts blog post or via the contact form on our site, or email us. As you can imagine, its a very busy time here in Mesa so we might not have time to check the forums for a while.

All the family members who owned and operated The3dStudio.com will continue to provide fast and personal customer service. Seller royalties remain the same (60% minimum) and our programs such as Member Loyalty, Buyer Rewards, Affiliate, and Exclusive Pricing are still in place.

We accepted the offer from 3D Systems because they are a successful company with amazing leadership and they have the resources to allow us to grow and expand. We have many ideas and dreams for The3dStudio.com and we are excited about being able to move forward with them much sooner now that we are part of 3D Systems.

[email protected]

8
sharpshot: I went to Cutcaster as you suggested. Here's what I found on their site:

Cutcaster is owned by Mezzato Corporation, a U.S. based corporation. As such, we must comply with U.S. tax laws. These laws mandate withholding taxes on royalties earned from U.S. source payments to people who are not residents or citizens of the United States.

So it seems like they are doing the same thing we are doing at The3dStudio.com

9
We will keep looking at it. I haven't read the applicable IRS stuff for over a year but I know when we read the IRS publications, it did not seem like we  were misinterpreting what we read--but I admit all IRS stuff seems like it is written to confuse. Every time we asked about this subject, our tax advisors went over the same publications with us and their advice stayed the same.

Could it be where the companies are located that might exempt them? Perhaps they are not registered in the US or have corporate offices in another country as well as here?

I wish someone who is now, or formerly was, an IRS employee with expertise in this area could provide an explanation of the documents publicly. Unfortunately, we don't have anyone in our family who qualifies--perhaps someone who posts in the forum has a family member or friend who is qualified to provide "expert testimony" on this topic?

It would be wonderful to get the true scoop from someone who has the credentials to provide proof from IRS documents. Just following other agencies and hoping they are doing it right is not something we are prepared to do. 

10
Thanks for clarifying--as a family operated company we are somewhat sensitive about our reputation. I wish we knew how the big companies can justify things that small companies can't get away with! Not just in stock but in general. How did GE get away with paying no taxes on gazillions of dollars of income?  ???

I'm sure many of us wish we knew their secret, or maybe we just wish we knew their CPA!  :)

11
luissantos84, I don't understanding what you mean.

If you mean we would deliberately hold someone's money and not pay them, that is not the case. Until we can legally pay a seller, the money is held in our business account--we do not keep it for ourselves and we do not use it for any purpose, because it is not our money.

There have been cases where we tried to pay someone and we could not do so--if they forgot to tell us they changed their email address or mailing address or PayPal account. Or if they signed up and added products but never filled out any tax forms. In these situations like this, the money is waiting for them.

If you are saying something else and it is directed to me, please clarify what you mean.

Thanks!

12
MicrostockExp, I am not an expert on the ITIN stuff. Here is a link to our tax info page: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help_tax.aspx

It seems odd to me that your total royalties owed are all from US sales that would be subject to the tax. Are you sure it's not the W8BEN that you need to fill out to be paid? I don't know what your user name or Member ID are on our site so I cannot look at your situation. If you want us to check it out please contact [email protected] or use the help button at www.The3dStudio.com.

dirkr, I am sure there are plenty of "experts" out there who might offer whatever opinion we wanted and who would encourage us to "go with the flow" and follow what other sites do. We don't follow the other guys in their low royalties, subscriptions, poor treatment of sellers, or other practices I read about that stock photographers seem to find distressing, so I guess it's not that surprising that we are also not going to blindly follow them into what might be problems with the IRS if it turns out the other sites are wrong and just haven't been caught yet.

We read tons of IRS stuff and discussed it with our CPA who teaches courses in tax ethics. As we found out what other sites were doing, we got opinions from other CPAs. They all say they can't understand how other stock sites get away with it, but their advice to us did not change. Whether other sites feel they are too big to be caught or that they can afford more lawyers if they are caught, or whether they have some sort of registration in other countries that exempts them from the regulations our advisors tell us we are subject to, we don't know. But we feel we are doing what the IRS requires for our situation. We don't like it, but it does not affect that many of our sellers' sales and those who were affected have done what they had to do.

We will continue to look into it when we can and we would LOVE to find legal proof that we could change our procedure.

13
MicrostockExp. I just noticed in my post that I said check your Buyer Home Page at our site. I meant to say SELLER Home Page which you probably could figure out.  It's been a long day getting ready for our garage sale tomorrow. :)

14
Thanks, pancaketom. I try to get here once a month but can't always do so. We pride ourselves on our customer service--to sellers as well as buyers--so I hope anyone with any specific questions or problems will contact us directly on our site so we can resolve any issues for them.

15
Hello All:
The Exclusive Pricing Program at The3dStudio.com was not really aimed at the stock photo/image side of our business. Our 3D model sellers asked for it and many of them are joining this new program. There were issues at other 3D sites after royalties were lowered so some of the modelers chose to RAISE prices on other sites to compensate for the lowered royalties. We are not suggesting anyone LOWER prices on T3DS and we are not suggesting anyone undercut.

Minimum price for stock photos at our site is $2. Sellers can set their own prices above that amount thought most seem to go with our standard prices. We would not ask you to lower it below that nor would we allow it. Those who want to join the EPP must first join the Member Loyalty Program and the majority of our 3D sellers are in the MLP.

Re the tax forms--believe me, we certainly do NOT want to have to do it but our tax and legal advisors insist that we follow the correct procedure. The ITIN thing is only an issue for sellers outside the US on orders placed by buyers inside the US. That said, I would agree it would be annoying if you are one of the few who are affected and I would also agree that the US tax code is horrific.  :)

Sharpshot: I am not sure what is "desperate" about us introducing a new program that was suggested by our members. When members ask for something, we try to accommodate them if we can. One member suggested it and Matt merely opened it up to others because we treat everyone equally. So we will offer EPP to all, but it is up to each Member to decide if a particular program is suitable for their situation.

MicrostockExp: We have no minimum payout if you accept PayPal, so if you have a $100 balance and arent getting paid via PayPal, you should check your Buyer Home Page on our site and see what your settings are and also contact Support on our site so they can address your particular situation.

We pay the 1st-5th of each month for sales the previous month. With our payment system, sellers do not withdraw money--it is paid automatically.

We arent on forums very often so if anyone has questions or problems, PLEASE use the Help buttons on our site or contact us via links on our site. Forums or private messages on other sites are not a good way to get service on our site.

[email protected]

16
Selling Stock Direct / Re: The Indie Alliance
« on: February 28, 2011, 14:35 »
Thanks, visceralimage for your positive comments about The3dStudio.commuch appreciated.  :-*

In August 2009, Matt did a series of blog posts about Building Trust at The3dStudio.com. Two in particular might be of interest to anyone thinking about starting an agency like ours or a coop. 

http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=980
http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=979

I am not writing this to be negative about the agency/coop idea, just to provide some info.

[email protected]

17
General Stock Discussion / Re: Agencies with Fair Commissions
« on: February 25, 2011, 21:09 »
djpadavona: I understand your point, and it is understandable that you have a certain level of distrust of agencies, based on the examples you gave and some of the stuff weve read in the forums here. When Matt decided to grow The3dStudio.com from a free hobby site to a full time business, he decided his top priorities were to offer superlative customer service and to treat people as he wanted to be treated.

I dont know who buyers and sellers deal with at other agencies if they have problems or questions or are unhappy about something. At The3dStudio.com you always deal with an owner, and you have access to us seven days a week. We never use canned or auto responses and we own any problem or issue until it is resolved. If we screw up, you can let us know directly and we will listen to you and we will make it right.

As newcomers to the stock arena, we did research--this forum has been extremely helpful--and we all agreed subscriptions, credits, having to ask for payout, needing to have a minimum amount before you could be paid, crazy review processes, etc. made no sense if you want win-win business dealings. We understood the dissatisfactions sellers expressed and we decided it didnt matter to us how the big guys operated. The only thing that made sense to us was to use the business model that has been successful for us in 3D.

Customer service (and to us a "customer" is a seller as well as a buyer) is of the utmost importance to us. As is our reputation--as the next generation of family members begins to come into the family business, we all know that its more important than ever for us to adhere to our core principles so we are good examples for them. Treating people right is important to us. Can we screw up and make mistakes? Yep. Do we try to avoid that and fix what we break? Definitely.

Matt put his August 7, 2009 pledge, "Building Trust at The3dStudio.com - Royalty Guarantee" in writing on our website: http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id_blog_post=958
He had lowered the royalty rate earlier and was not happy about it. He later realized that bad decision had to be reversed and that he would never again lower a members royalty rate. The current royalty rate someone is at now stays the same forever. If you joined August 7, your royalty rate was 60% forever and if you join today your royalty rate is 60% forever. Unless it is higher.  :) (If you join the Loyalty Program you receive 70% for 5 yearsor longer if you renew the LP.)

You might ask what happens if, despite all the promises, we felt we HAD to lower the rate. Nothing happens to youyou are at the 60% rate forever. A reduction would only affect members who joined after the reduction. Though let me state for the record: we truly intend to never reduce royalties because it would create a second class membership.

In addition to the Royalty Guarantee and Loyalty Program, our affiliate and referral programs can put even more money in sellers pockets. Info on all our programs is on our help page: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help.aspx

We recently introduced a Reward Program for buyers. The bottom line is that these policies and programs are all promises. So I guess you either are willing to give us a chance to prove ourselves or you arent. As with many things, experience over time may be the only proof. We hope you do decide to take a chance with us. Im not sure what downside there is to doing so, beyond the time you spend adding products.


[email protected]

18
General Stock Discussion / Re: Yuri new studio..!
« on: February 25, 2011, 13:50 »
So cool to see this--thanks for sharing! I would love to see a link to a couple of your photos showing the effect of the octagon or the soft lightbox so I could see the "product" that was produced using a particular tool and better understand what these things do.

I can see why you would love to work in this studio but hope you won't totally abandon the beaches.

:)

[email protected]

19
Selling Stock Direct / Re: The Indie Alliance
« on: February 25, 2011, 13:37 »
I am not throwing cold water on any ideas or trying to discourage anyone, whether it's a coop or individual sites you are talking about starting or have started. We started small 14+ years ago and it might have sounded to some folks like a crazy idea at the time. :)

But I am wondering if you have actually figured out what your "royalty" will amount to if one of your photos sells and if you know all that's involved in doing for yourselves all the things a good agency does for you.

After paying the hosting fees, merchant fees, etc. etc. etc., what will you get if a $2 photo sells? And is that enough for it to be worthwhile for you?

Good luck to all who are willing to put in the time and effort to improve their life! Competition is not a bad thing. It can improve things for buyers and sellers both.

[email protected]

20
General Stock Discussion / Re: Agencies with Fair Commissions
« on: February 25, 2011, 11:52 »
visceralimages: Here is what Matt says about FTP:

We do not allow FTP into our data center due to the security risks that come with that protocol. Our multi-file uploader will let you upload hundreds to thousands of files at a time and works very much like FTP.

If you have a lot of files (usually 5000 or more but we can work with less) you can mail us a DVD of your files if you prefer. We'll then batch upload the files directly into your account which will save you the step of uploading. From there you would just "Create Products" as usual. If this is an option you would like to use please contact [email protected] for details.

[email protected]

21
General Stock Discussion / Re: Agencies with Fair Commissions
« on: February 24, 2011, 10:50 »
Hi visceralimage,

Yes, leave them as jpg unless you are talking about vector images. For any other specific questions, please use the help button on our site so someone who knows more about these things can help you--I had to ask since I have no discernable photo skills and am the least tech savvy person in our group. :)

Or you can email Tracy on the stock photo team directly: [email protected]

Welcome to The3dStudio.com--I will look forward to seeing your stuff!

:)
[email protected]

22
General Stock Discussion / Re: Agencies with Fair Commissions
« on: February 22, 2011, 14:38 »
Yes, stockastic, you just create an account and start uploading--I think you will like our new improved and faster upload system. Products are "live" after you create them. Our stock photo team reviews them after you create them. If you have any questions or need help there is a help button on each page and your support ticket will be handled by the same person until it's resolved. Here is some info: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help.aspx?id_help=20

luissantos84: The ITIN only applies to US sales so it is not a big issue for most sellers--our customers are all over the world. Unfortunately we can't just do what we'd like regarding taxes. Our attorneys and tax accountants have advised us to comply with the IRS regulations and US laws, regardless of what other companies do. Here is some info: http://www.the3dstudio.com/help_tax.aspx

To those who compare us to other companies, we dont worry about what others do--whether its in business or in personal life. We are a family owned and operated business and we all share the same values. Our top priority is to run our business in an ethical manner at all times. We work hard to treat everyone the way we would want to be treated and to do the right thingthe Golden Rulethough we dont use that term in a preachy way. Im sure those who sell with us are glad we dont copy the business model of agencies that use credits and subscriptions and sell photos so cheaply that photographers get only pennies for a photo.

Our philosophy has been working well for us for almost 15 years on the 3D side, and we are confident it will work on the stock side as well.

[email protected]

23
General Stock Discussion / Re: Agencies with Fair Commissions
« on: February 22, 2011, 12:44 »
visceralimages: We began in 1996 as free 3d model site and expanded and evolved over the years. Stock photos/images were added in summer 2009 and we recently added vector images. We are the oldest and largest 2D and 3D resource site on the internet and we would be happy to welcome you as a seller. Some of the folks here at MS Group are sellers with us and they probably have referral links.

anonymous: thanks for pointing out that we pay monthly with no minimum payout--it seems so basic that I often forget not every agency does so. :)

[email protected]

24
General Stock Discussion / Re: Agencies with Fair Commissions
« on: February 21, 2011, 21:02 »
This is not exactly a timely response I know, but I just wanted to add a little clarification to the info you have on us. We are actually The3dStudio not 3dStudio.

As was pointed out, 60% is our base royalty rate--we do pay 70% for those who join our Member Loyalty Program and agree to leave their products with us for 5 years and many of our sellers are in the MLP. We do not require the MLP sellers be exclusive with T3DS. Our affiliate program can also increase earnings.

And Matt has publicly pledged to never lower the royalty rate below 60% for anyone who is currently a seller with us. And our minimum photo price is $2.
[email protected]

25
Hello,
I haven't been here in a while but decided to check in today to see what's new.

I just want to post a quick response to gubh83's statement that The3dStudio.com doesn't have a review process. That is not correct. The3dStudio.com DOES review photos, but they are reviewed AFTER you create the product, rather than making you wait to add products while we review as some other stock sites do.

We may be somewhat more lenient about what we accept since we just added stock photos in July 2009 and we are in the process of building our library. But in some cases we reject for poor quality, subject matter in poor taste or other reasons. Because we started as a 3D model site, we allow 3D sellers to create "live" products BEFORE review, so we also handle stock photos/images the same way.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions about The3dStudio.com.

[email protected]

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