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Messages - Symbiostock Official

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Shutterstock.com / Re: Shutterstock just became iStock 2.0
« on: May 28, 2020, 11:56 »
The economic logic is as follows:

Rather than reward long term earners, reset the competition to be yearly based on the assumption that there will always be a new flock of contributors that easily replace those disenchanted veterans that produce less.

This is advantageous to SS because each download a veteran earns costs them more money than a download a new contributor earns. So this is similar to firing long term employees who are earning more money in favor of new blood who will have to work their way to a higher wage, resetting the process every year.

They are certainly allowed to do this, but we would have thought they are already earning enough by keeping nearly 85% of everything. Unfortunate turn of events, and this is extremely unfair to contributors who have built up their portfolio of sales for a number of years.

Symbiostock / Re: Big WooCommerce Update
« on: April 04, 2020, 01:41 »
We have found there is very little difference in the end result (media sales) with one's PHP version. With the advent of software being released once every 3 days, we tend to be distracted with the idea that there is some newer greater feature with every subsequent version, wheereas the focus should be on the basics: self-promotion, mutual promotion, new creative ideas, and of course, photography. :)

That's why with Symbiostock we do so few releases as we only do it when it is necessary - but when we do, we ensure it is highly stable so that in production environments you can feel safe and secure knowing you're running on our platform.

Changelog is visible when you download it, but overall they are minor tweaks here and there, and a lot of fixes to work with the new WooCommerce 4.0.0. Generally, the base plugin is quite thorough and robust, and a lot of expanded functionality is added through the optional plugins.


Symbiostock / Re: Big WooCommerce Update
« on: April 03, 2020, 09:21 »
Hey there - has been confirmed with 7.3, not 7.4. 7.4 has only been out a few months and we try to stick with robust testing with versions that have been out at least a year. Thanks!

Symbiostock / Big WooCommerce Update
« on: April 03, 2020, 02:29 »
Hey guys! Long time since we've posted an update here, but just letting you guys know that we've released an update for Symbiostock, which updates all of our plugins, including the 100% free Symbiostock Pro. If you're already on our platform, we suggest you update all your plugins.

If you're new to Symbiostock or are examining your options, Symbiostock is a free WordPress plugin that works with WooCommerce to allow you to easily run your own stock media store. We have hundreds of artists already on it, and are constantly adding new features, updates, and plugins to maximize your autonomous ability to retain 100% of the profits of your craft.

We've also recently released a new Google Licenses premium plugin which feeds Google metadata about your media so when and if it shows up in Google Images, people will see direct links to your Symbiostock store where they can purchase licenses.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Hi Max - as Symbiostock runs with WooCommerce, you can use any payment gateway WooCommerce provides:


For Yadda, and anyone else considering an independent site, here is a 5 minute quick start guide for Symbiostock:


If you follow these instructions you will be able to test it out rather quickly. And of course it's completely free.

If you don't already have a web-hosting solution you can get one for $8.99:


And test it out that way. There are a few benefits to hosting with us, all outlined through that website.

Finally, with regards to stability, this is one area that the new Symbiostock has been quite stringent: we've had no serious bugs during the lifetime of the software, and approximately 95% of all reported issues are due to third party hosting issues.

As Steve alluded to, this is a large infrastructure and along with Symzio's new automated link exchange system, people are seeing huge boosts in their rankings. Whether this translates to sales right now or not is highly dependent on market conditions, but for the very small investment in getting your site online and making full use of all the free features the entire Symbiostock and Symzio system provides, there is no better option for maximized independence in my opinion.

Any other questions, shoot.

Software / Re: Batch watermark Video files?
« on: October 14, 2016, 23:37 »
You can use Symbiostock Video which will do all of it automatically, however the watermarked files will not be of the same quality as the originals and will be optimized for web streaming.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Goodbye Shutterstock
« on: October 10, 2016, 08:06 »
Shutterstock shifted dramatically with its policies overlapping the announcement and acquisition of Fotolia by Adobe. Within the next year of that, it appeared a few things changed:

1) They started accepting new contributors much more readily
2) They started thinning more "established contributor fat" by reducing the payout on extended sales
3) They started approving media far more aggressively

This all points to two end results:

1) Swelling the portfolio and therefore 'equity' of the company, from an outside perspective
2) Minimizing the damage Adobe's entrance into the market will have on their yearly reports

Which lead to one singular purpose:

1) To get acquired and make lots of money for shareholders

Simply put, they are at the top, and they want to hold onto this position as long as possible until acquisition can take place. This is because the entrance of Adobe (whose market capital dwarfs SS) is a clear and present danger, and there is no actual, real way to battle that in the long term without diversification. And diversification comes with risks, isn't easy, nor guaranteed.

The good news is that the customer demand isn't changing (and is probably increasing), and the overall fall in demand for any one contributor's media is probably driven by the more widespread availability of high end cameras and internet access.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Goodbye Shutterstock
« on: October 09, 2016, 22:22 »
The industry has been shifting over the last few years and if you want to thrive selling media you need to think outside the box, predict future trends, and slowly build a loyal customer base. Being an unnamed image producer drowned in a swarm of others gives you too little of a consumer monopoly, and so if trends shift, you can suddenly become irrelevant.

Very sorry to hear about your circumstance this year and hope the best for you.

General Stock Discussion / Re: StockSubmitter alternative?
« on: September 27, 2016, 00:05 »
If you want a permanent solution for a one-time cost of $49 consider Symbiostock Submitter.

The workflow is as follows:

1) You setup WordPress with Symbiostock Pro (all free) ~10 minutes
2) You purchase and install the Symbiostock Submitter ~5 minutes
3) You add your agencies to Symbiostock Submitter (unlimited number) ~5 minutes
4) Upload media (vectors, images) and it all gets auto-submitted

If you do not already self-host, you can create a hosting account with us as well which guarantees compatibility with Symbiostock.

Some benefits of the Symbiostock Submitter:

- no ongoing costs, all submissions and agencies are unlimited and free
- backup repository of all your media
- re-submission built in as well as kept records of what and what has not been submitted
- full support for JPEGs, vectors, and vectors with JPEGs
- full metadata writing and reading built into Symbiostock
- optionally launch your own independent media store

Some limitations:

- Agency must support FTP

Symbiostock Video + Submitter plugins will do this for you.

You can upload images or videos, keyword them individually or in bulk within WordPress, and Symbiostock will write the metadata straight into the videos and images.

Submitter will then auto-submit your stuff to your agencies as per your settings, and you can also download a formatted CSV for your media for agencies that don't support reading metadata.

The base Symbiostock Pro plugin is free, the two aforementioned plugins come with a lifetime license bundled at $79. You don't pay monthly fees and bandwidth goes with your hosting account.


Most contributors can probably run an independent site for less than $20 a month all in, so it's quite nominal in cost. That's the first thing.

The second thing is that it isn't just about what sales you are getting right now - it is also about making a clear wedge in your reliance on third parties. Whether that turns out to be highly profitable or just break even, your effort is going towards something worthwhile.

And thirdly, it has to be done properly. There is this defeatist mentality that once you launch your site and don't get sales immediately, that the platform is flawed. That's completely wrong. If you were to launch a blog today on whatever topic, it would take months to get any visitors looking at it. And there is no standard approach to marketing individual sites, because that arena is, and always has been organic.

However, the implementation of Symzio, and a strong community mindset, with a realistic approach to marketing, can, will, and is creating positive changes in the total viewership our sites are getting, including Symzio.

Again, I'm not here to argue any of you guys that get off on complaining without doing anything about it. I'm here to explain the most probable method for pro-active and new contributors to nominally create their independent online presence.

Your idea sounds good. However photographers have been lied by Leo and Symbiostock recently!!! You must give much more proves about your site.
Hi Dragomir - please know that over a year ago, Symbiostock was forked and all the old code purged in favor of a completely new platform. Leo is not involved in Symbiostock in any capacity any longer, and hasn't for quite some time. It is, in essence, a new project with a new brand, albeit with the same trendy name.

As for Symzio, if you have any questions about it, don't hesitate to post it here or ask me and I'll do my best to answer it. Nothing like Symzio has ever existed before, specifically in regards to contributor autonomy, so it may be well worth taking a look. :)

Hi Rinder,

Look, as Andre has alluded to on numerous occasions, which I am firmly in agreement with, if you are someone who wants and intends to truly try to change the state of affairs, it is plainly irresponsible to stand on the sidelines, complain, and wait for someone else to do all the work for you so that you can then hop on the bandwagon.

I'm not saying this is you, but I'm re-iterating that the mentality should not be 'pie in the sky' - it may very well be a 'pie in the sky', but that's not what's important. What's important, for your sanity, for your professional future, is that there is the possibility that it will work, the best possibility, and in pursuing that best possibility, you are doing everything you can to offset this awful progression of contributor extortion.

If you're standing there asking for stats and proof instead of spending $10 a month to get some of your best images on Symbiostock and Symzio, it seems plainly counter-intuitive. I've clearly demonstrated, the entire Symbiostock team has demonstrated, a serious and dedicated desire to create massive and powerful infrastructure that serves to assist professionals exactly like you.

And as predicted, slowly, but surely, people are starting to see some results:


If you take a look at this, you'll see that it's certainly not earth shattering (yet), but some contributors may be making upwards of 30 to 50 dollars a month on average through these sales. And these are only the contributors that are actively telling us about their sales. Some are on Symzio, some are through their independent sites.

30 to 50 dollars a month is more than a lot of people make through agencies such as Dreamstime, Fotolia, DepositPhotos etc. So you see that it becomes a real and true addition to your agency workflow.

Most importantly:

1) That money is NOT as a result of $0.25 subscriptions. These individuals either made 70% of the sale price, 80% of the sale price, or 100% of the sale price.
2) They know their clients and their clients know them
3) There is nothing but positivity as a result of the sale, because of the aforementioned reasons
4) They control the licensing terms of their media on their independent sites

I urge you to explore, if you are genuinely interested in funneling some of this negative energy into a positive mechanism, a cost effective manner of getting your port on Symbiostock, and join us on the forums, if even on a semi-passive basis. Other contributors and the entire marketing arm of Symbiostock and Symzio will passively promote you as well, as we do each other.

If you painstakingly create a thread, clearly driven by a desire to assist yourself and other contributors, by suggesting an independent platform upon which you will cease being gouged on a daily basis, and someone responds to you, I suggest you take more time to assess all responses.

You respond by mentioning Symbio - I did not mention Symbio.

You mention no customer friendly interface - I have no idea what you mean.

At least have the self-interest to take 30 seconds to explore the responses you receive in your thread. Did you even click on the Symzio link in my signature to explore what I was talking about? Or is your purpose, like some others here, to simply complain without actually solving something?

And why wouldn't we promote it? You're asking about an independent stock agency, and that is precisely what we have developed, what we are growing and marketing (as a joint group), and what a number of contributors are slowly getting trickling sales through.

Try to minimize using this forum as a means of just intellectualizing the problematic situation of the average professional contributor and actually actuate change.

What you're suggesting is mostly already in place - visit Symzio via the link in my signature. Every image there is self-hosted by contributors just like you - they retain full control over whether it is active or not, set most of the pricing, and retain 70% or more of any income generated through sales.

Now that the infrastructure is there, and you see other peers pushing for it, jump on board and push for it's further success yourself.

It's in your hands.


Well Rinder, I have read your posts and thus far feel you've been pretty honest about your perspectives on SS. As far as I remember, you were there right from the start.

I hope this may be sufficient motivation to hedge your bets and join us over at Symbiostock - the more passionate contributors we have launching their independent media stores, the less reliant we will all be on third parties to maintain income stability.

Be aware that despite changing your alias to a more anonymous one, when you go to view the newest posts on MSG your original registered name shows up as the author.

One method a large number of us are working towards is the Symbiostock project. This is a free plugin built on WordPress that allows you to sell your own images, vectors and videos through your own website.

It provides for a lot more control than most other solutions because you host all your own stuff, control exactly how it looks, and pay no one for anything except your hosting costs.

As others have mentioned, the prospect of marketing one's own site is tremendously difficult, but not impossible. Using Facebook and Twitter, and a variety of other methods works, but you need to be steadfast in your resolve and do it continuously even when you see no results.

The amalgamation of the Symbiostock project is Symzio - check it out and take a look. This is basically a 'contributor run agency'. It means you control your pricing (for the most part), control what shows up on Symzio, and there is no screening process for individual media other than your initial application. You keep 70% of all revenue on it, and it supports vectors, images and videos.

Best of all, once you have your Symbiostock site running, if you apply to Symzio and are approved, your media gets included automatically and you don't have to do anything. The same control panel that you use to manage your own site is used for Symzio - so if you change a title or keywords, it reflects in Symzio and your individual site simultaneously.

The primary downside to Symbiostock versus some other solutions is you need to get your own host and setup your WordPress install yourself. It's not difficult for the most part, but is more involved than just signing up.

You can check out our project site at http://www.symbiostock.org/ and visit the forum as well to get a feel for the community and ask any questions. IMO, it's the best and most scalable method moving forward as you will pretty much always remain master of your own media.

Selling Stock Direct / Re: Best platform to sell direct?
« on: April 15, 2016, 21:44 »
The most important thing is solidarity, no matter what independent platform you're on. We are all driven to have a more stable and fair revenue stream for our work.

This is not working for MP4 files. It seems to work for MOV files.

I've confirmed the MP4 files in question have metadata embedded but it is not being read properly once uploaded to Fotolia. Is this likely to get addressed soon?

Symbiostock - General / Re: To the "Legacy Users"
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:35 »
Just so there's no confusion: Symbiostock in its new incarnation is not a 'hybridized' version of legacy or any other software. It has been built from the ground up line by line by myself and the rest of the new Symbiostock team.

They have a lot of bullsh*t laws in different places that protect the aggressor more than the victim (ie, no knife, no pepper spray, not even a baton) so if you want to remain relatively defended without feeling like you may get arrested, or worse, afraid of using your weapon for self defense, the best answer is a relatively lightweight and cheap monopod.

I got a $5 monopod that is retractable and pretty much use it as a 'walking' stick. The authorities will never bother you and anyone who tries to harass you will think twice as soon as you grab it and look at them.

In the end there is nothing you can do if you are targeted; however, don't put yourself in a position where the laws can make it even worse. Find a middle ground like a monopod or even a selfie stick that you feel you can swing at a moment's notice without issue. I know a woman in Australia, elderly, who got arrested for carrying pepper spray despite the fact that she had been mugged before.

The best unified solution that is slowly gaining traction (and would benefit everyone quicker if all the professional yet disgruntled contributors hopped on) is Symzio.

For the first time there is a real option here - so don't keep complaining unless you've done everything you can to free yourself from the yoke of agencies. You control most of your own pricing, control your entire collection, have two new independent platforms to sell your stuff, and most importantly, keep a minimum of 70% of all revenue up to 90%.

No one is going to hand you a solution - you need to work for it. No matter how many posts you put up, no matter how many angry retorts or insults you upvote, and no matter how many programs you opt out of, the only feasible way to create a noticeable impact is to compete.

I really don't know what they hell they are doing.

Their stock is trading at like a 3 year low, they have an earnings release coming out in 10 days, and their last guidance was way below expectations.

They are trading at a P/E of 50, which means their actual stock price should be around $3-$5 based solely on earnings, which means that all of their current market cap is based on future expectations. Why would they invest in more infrastructure right after Adobe, a company that dwarfs their market cap, forays into the business as a direct competitor?

It makes absolutely no sense unless it's a deliberate act to, in some strange manner, assure investors that despite having a god-awful earnings, they are investing in infrastructure, indicating they still have faith in their business model.

But based on the way the DNC is behaving, who knows - everyone in prominent positions seems pretty nuts nowadays.

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