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Messages - gclk

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iStockPhoto.com / Re: Ode To iStock
« on: July 18, 2014, 06:01 »
Good to see James West, the guy in charge of Alamy, give straight and direct answers to a bunch of contributors' questions again -

Encouraging to hear some measured optimism about Alamy's future too.

Meanwhile over at iStock, is it true to say that since the very quickly abandoned period of 'honest communication' (a while back when Rebecca Rockafellar was in charge) iStock haven't once let contributors know who's in charge of running iStock, let alone made any effort at direct communication between that person and contributors?


iStockPhoto.com / Re: Istock shutting down?
« on: June 23, 2014, 05:27 »
Search is apparently working OK.
My balance is showing as are 'my uploads'.
At least if they're doing background work, it's on a Sunday, which is almost a first.

You must be reasonably new to iStock, if you think site problems mean the site is closing immanently.  ;D

Yeah, unfortunately site downtime is very much 'business as usual' at iStock.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Improving?
« on: June 10, 2014, 06:12 »
i think IS/GI are favoring the independents as well, it only makes financial sense to do so. why would any company in today's corporate world want to pay 'exclusives' 35% - 40% when they can pay the independents 15% - 20%?
my bet says that with the totally manipulated RC system, IS/GI will intentionally over time make sure we all get our minimum amount due to us as 'exclusives' so that we are more competitive with the independents and less of a 'liability' to the bottom line. this is how GI plays, they always have, and they always will.

I still think iStock see value (for them) in having searches returning a mixture with a fair amount of exclusive content. Whether they sell exclusive or indy content, they still get to keep the lion's share of what the customer spends.. they'd much rather keep 'only' 60-75% of what's paid for exclusive work (plus the very lucrative exchange rate skim and whatever else), than see the customer go to Shutterstock or elsewhere.

IMHO since 2010 a key aim has been to find the exact point where they're paying exclusives as little as they possibly can, right up to (but not over) the point where significant numbers of exclusives take the plunge and go indy, because they believe they'd earn more that way.

Guess they haven't found that point just yet, but they're getting ever closer. Of course it's basically a game of chicken, and going too far could take their current woes to a completely new level.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Can iStock Turn Midstock Sales Around?
« on: June 10, 2014, 03:24 »
it seems yuri needed another more account on istock http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=11721662

It is very interesting that only 33 of the 682 images in the PeopleImages collection are at Signature+ prices. 649 are at the lower priced Signature prices. Nothing in Vetta.

Wow __ those 682 images have only generated 8 sales in 2 months!

If they cost an average of $20 to produce and upload then they represent an investment of $13.6K. If the average commission earned per sale was $20 then the portfolio is generating about $80 per month. At that rate it would take over 14 years for Yuri to get his investment back. That's insane.

Even if you halved the production cost to $10 and doubled the average commission to $40 (both of which seem pretty unlikely) then it would still be nearly 4 years before Yuri turned a profit.

I just don't understand how this can be viable. Does anyone?

Looks like although the user was set-up in April this year, the images were only uploaded this month, so it's probably too early to know how they're doing.

But from the OT it does sound like Yuri has concerns about iStock/Getty's sales performance.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Where is that 'reasonable person'?
« on: June 05, 2014, 01:13 »
Guess a 'reasonable person' would only be called into action if iStock/Getty were taken to court over the issues involved.. perhaps it's just that in their judgement that's unlikely to happen.

Having said that.. ignoring any legal issues, customers tend to be reasonable people and tend not to appreciate companies trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

With this and many other things affecting customers and contributors, I reckon iStock would be best to just keep things as straightforward and honest as they can.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Can iStock Turn Midstock Sales Around?
« on: June 03, 2014, 13:59 »
Yuri makes his project management of iStock/Getty's IT sound pretty amazing.

Maybe he'd do many of us a huge service and prove his project management skills by getting the transfer of jpegs from iStock to Getty working properly for once.  They've been struggling away since 2010 with only limited and sporadic success.

If any teenager can cope with transfer jpgs from one site to another, I'm sure that Getty - the self proclaimed leader in image distribution - armed with Yuri over their shoulder, could get it sorted.

As was said in the forums back in 2010 after the huge cash-grab announcement, the irony was that the measures which were supposedly introduced to safeguard iStock's sustainability could actually be what makes the company unsustainable.

Arguably that's what's been happening.  The mass lowering of royalty rates for normal sales and ELs, slashing of Vetta royalties, the piles of uninspected ingested content at the front of searches, and all the myriad other things designed to increase profits, at the expense of their contributors' incomes.

To bean-counters who had no real interest in iStock, it probably looked fantastic for a while as the additional profits started came in.

But now iStock and Getty aren't looking like such good investments.  If only they'd been a little less greedy, perhaps they could still have a company that looks like it has a strong future.   Who knows, maybe there's still enough goodwill there to turn things around.  But they've certainly made it hard for themselves.

As things stand, it's not just the investors looking at their exit strategies, it's the remaining contributors too.

I reckon all your points make sense, but 2 is the most worrying for me.

iStock have spent far too long now taking money out of the business and failing to put enough back in. Obviously I don't know the figures, but the fact that top advertising positions in printed media which used to be occupied by iStock are now taken by iStock's competitors demonstrates the problem quite well.

Because of the unwillingness to invest in the future of the company, customers coming to iStock have to put up with a slow and complex website which is riddled with bugs.  More problems continue to be introduced faster than old issues get fixed.

As contributors have been pointing out for several years now, buyers looking for their ideal image have to make do with images which are minuscule by today's standards. Image sizes that were acceptable for viewing on screens in 2004 are simply too small for the resolution people work with in 2014. It's an area where company involved in licensing images should be ahead of the curve, not a decade behind it.

With this 100% royalty day, maybe there's a small hope that iStock have woken up to the pit they're digging themselves into, but they're going to have to do a lot of work to get out of it.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: 100% Royalty Day May 14, 2014
« on: May 09, 2014, 03:12 »
IMO the 100% royalty day is a really positive and welcome step, and hopefully the first of many towards restoring a constructive and respectful relationship between iStock and contributors, whether exclusive or indy.

The 'bleed-em dry' strategy of the past few years has comprehensively failed, resulting in contributors earning less, iStock earnings not rising as they desire, and relations becoming so toxic that a successful and optimistic future for the site was looking less and less possible.

As I say I definitely think the 100% royalty day is a good thing, but it's worth noting that iStock will still (presumably) be taking their usual 15-25% cut of all non-USD sales *before* the royalties are calculated.  So good to know that while they'll be paying '100% royalties' for exclusive content on 14th May, they'll still be making a tidy sum from exclusive sales.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Dropping The Crown?
« on: May 06, 2014, 12:27 »
Discussions like this on iStock exclusivity always seem to focus heavily on the risks involved in going independent, but not so much on the risks of staying exclusive.

I agree - it's definitely an individual choice based on each person's circumstances, but as per iStop's post, if people are seeing their sales at iStock in serious decline, and with signs that this will continue (given that it's now far more difficult to sell new work; to get content into S+ or Vetta; to get content across to GI, etc) it's more a case of trying to predict how much it might cost in the long term to remain exclusive with iStock vs how much it might cost to drop exclusivity and work with other companies.

It's whether to go for safety in numbers by spreading the risk more widely or to keep it all together with a company that's willing to frequently ignore the terms of their agreement with contributors, and do things like (pretty much) give away contributors' most high value work to Google for free distribution, then intimidate contributors to the extent that nobody is even willing to try to get answers about it in the forums.

My approach for the moment is to spend more time and effort on other sources of income in photography, and devote less effort on stock photography until hopefully a clearer picture emerges in time.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Exclusives - how are your sales lately?
« on: April 25, 2014, 07:02 »
My sales have been poor since the introduction of the new subs, but so far it's hard to say whether that's due to subscriptions or to all the recent best match changes.  My guess is that it's more to do with the best match.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: When do subs start
« on: April 07, 2014, 13:36 »
One month late reporting (or 15 days maybe),

Or 50+ days? Make a sale on April 3rd and get it reported on May 27th. Then request a payout and get paid on June 9th...  ::)

Michael your timeline is probably right.

But if iStock are interested in following the terms in the ASA contract (not that they've shown much interest in doing that recently), subscriptions should be paid by the middle of the month following downloads...


Under 5b. (compensation)
"In response to a written request, iStockphoto will endeavor to make payment of royalties in respect of purchased downloads of Accepted Content on a monthly basis on or about the 15th day of the month following the purchase of Accepted Content..."

iStockPhoto.com / Re: No Thumbnail Displays When Uploading
« on: January 25, 2014, 10:14 »
A couple hours ago I uploaded a few images and each time a message came up saying that the thumbnail wouldn't load until you completed the upload process. Why did they change this? I can't even inspect the image as it will be shown to customers until AFTER I finish and save everything? Ridiculous.

The first stage of a pioneering new approach.  Coming soon: customers don't get to see the image until after they've paid for it ;)

iStockPhoto.com / Re: 2013 RC Targets
« on: November 03, 2013, 14:13 »
Be careful what you wish for. A flat percentage might be lower than you'd consider acceptable.

Yes, it's very unlikely as it'd be a difficult one - to be confident that they wouldn't lose top contributor(s), the flat percentage would have to be 45% or more.

Sounds ridiculous in the context of iStock, but 55% commission should be enough to allow an agency to survive and grow.  iStock might find it would change their fortunes for the better.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: 2013 RC Targets
« on: November 03, 2013, 12:57 »
I wouldn't hold your breath in anticipation of any relaxation in the RC targets.

Getty are $2.6B in debt (that's close to 3x annual earnings) with revenue falling, thanks to H&F and Carlyle. I don't think they'd have the balls to reduce royalties yet further (although I'm sure they'd like to) as it would probably prove to be counter-productive and would hasten the departure of more exclusives.

But every year since the RC system was introduced, changes/caveats/etc have been made long after the targets were announced.

Hope this year will be no different - non exclusives and exclusives have reported big drops in their RC earnings as a result of iS/Getty's policies this year.

IMO the RC system is too unpredictable and complex.  It causes problems for iStock and for contributors.

If they really want to streamline the site, getting rid of the RC system and returning to something simple like canisters or even just a flat percentage for everyone would go a long way.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: What Is Midstock?
« on: October 11, 2013, 03:57 »


On another point, according to Rebecca Swift, head of creative planning for iStock there are more than 30 million images on iStock. Does, anyone believe that number? Where did all those images come from? Given how tight the editing has always been I dont think they were anywhere near that number a year ago. Anyone have any thoughts?

Never seen a claim that iStock has 30 million images... could it have been misheard or a typo, and she actually said 13 million?  At www.istockphoto.com/stats the figure given for total files is 16344161, but that includes all media types, and apparently isn't totally reliable.

Different subject, and I'm sure you're very well aware of this Jim, but when trying to approximate revenue or profitability for agencies people often see the agency's income as just the commission side of the commission/royalty split, so between 55% and 85% of sales in iStock's case.

But that's only part of the story - on top of that there's also revenue from... credits expiring after a year; other unused credits; smaller contributors who never reach or take payout; subscriptions that are not used; exchange rate 'hedging' (an extra commission fluctuating somewhere around 15-25% on the full price of non-USD purchases, taken before the normal commission/royalty calculation); Extended legal guarantees at 100 credits, where the contributor gets no royalty.  I'm sure there are many more...

Just more proof why they came in and slashed our commissions. They are desparate. The pieces are starting to come together and they can't hide it anymore.

Either that, or they are now getting in worse and worse shape *because* they came in and slashed commissions.

Risky strategy to keep on cutting what they pay suppliers in the hope that it'll make iStock/Getty more sustainable.  The opposite could be true.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: IS Newsletter - A collection of excuses
« on: August 30, 2013, 08:29 »
Good news that thumbnails are finally going to get bigger.  Hope they make a decent job of it.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: IS Newsletter - A collection of excuses
« on: August 30, 2013, 04:38 »
Also it would have been good to hear something official about the company's new(ish) General Manager, so we don't have to rely on press releases posted on external sites.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Rates again
« on: August 27, 2013, 11:21 »
This isn't the first time there have been problems with changes to that page - I'm always amazed at how little iStock seem to be bothered, given that the page is an official appendix to the Artist Supply Agreements, and we're supposed to have an agreement that specific notice must be given regarding any changes.


More likely, they're checking how many are leaving, though it's not an exact science given they claim it was just a 'copying over error', now known as a 'bug', but refuse to 'correct' it.

STILL not corrected!!??  Yikes.  Queue ominous music...

Yeah it did cross my mind that soon they could say "Right, well you've had your 30 days notice of the royalty rate change as required in the ASA.  The new rates are now in force".

But a little bit dastardly though they can sometimes be, I would't think iStock would be as Mr Burns-ish as that!

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Istock sales since price changes
« on: July 16, 2013, 17:29 »
They were up and down in the weeks leading up to 4th July, but since then my sales have nosedived like I've never seen before.  Currently flatlining on less than a third of normal July sales.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: yuri arcurs is IS exclusive
« on: May 30, 2013, 17:31 »
iStock like to be straightforward with their contributors, they'll probably fully clear things up about this in the next newsletter to contributors.  Along with information about Google Drive. *cough*

Interesting - thanks for posting

Just for reference, how many files do the people posting actually have waiting to be moved over. Feel free to post in the actual thread in the Exclusive forum BUT if you'd like to show your numbers please do.

About 80 files missing for me.

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