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Messages - Danybot

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51 / Re: No Harvard, please
« on: May 13, 2012, 09:54 »
It depends on what you are shooting, from where.   It's private property if you step off the public street to take your photo.   I think it's well settled law that if you shoot private property from the public street, you can use the photo if it's an old building, which would apply to most of the buildings at Harvard.  (If it's a newer one with a unique design, the architect/owner can claim copyright in the design.)    If people want to enforce privacy against being photographed from the public street, they have to build a tall fence.

Isn't 'shot from public street' the rule for allowable editorial? That's certainly the case in the UK (though some micros err on the safe side even so). For commercial use, it's not 100% certain, but who wants to be the legal case for micro prices?

From the standard English reference book, Gray and Gray, Elements of Land Law, 4th edition, p. 229:  "It is no trespass to watch your neighbour's pursuits in his garden, as long as you do not enter his land, even if you use binoculars to improve your view... the onus has been cast on the aggrieved landowner to frustrate external visual access by raising his own boundary fence or other barrier."   

From the ACLU,

"Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. "

Generally, the legal distinction between editorial and non-editorial is that you can use the photo editorially even if there is a copyrighted design in it.  Shutterstock, however, often imposes a stricter standard.  The photos sell for pennies, and they already have something like 20 million of them in stock.   As you pointed out, it's not worth their while taking a risk of a lawsuit, even if they are likely to win it.   

However, it is rather funny how inconsistent the rules are from site to site, and even from reviewer to reviewer at the same site.   At iStock, they are not fussy about buildings, but if you show the back of anybody's head in the photo, even if his mother wouldn't recognize him, it has to be editorial, while SS (quite sensibly) doesn't seem to worry about that.   

52 / Re: No Harvard, please
« on: May 13, 2012, 08:24 »
It depends on what you are shooting, from where.   It's private property if you step off the public street to take your photo.   I think it's well settled law that if you shoot private property from the public street, you can use the photo if it's an old building, which would apply to most of the buildings at Harvard.  (If it's a newer one with a unique design, the architect/owner can claim copyright in the design.)    If people want to enforce privacy against being photographed from the public street, they have to build a tall fence.

There's also a fair bit of inconsistency about this among reviewers.   I recently submitted two photos of Oxford University a few days apart.   One was rejected for needing a property release, and an almost identical one was accepted.   It was a 300 year old building, so not much risk of copyright.

"Images taken on the Harvard University campus are unacceptable as commercial content or editorial."

One of the most stupid rejection reasons on Shutterstock. And especially annoying because my Harvard pictures sell well. What . is the rationale behind this? There are hundreds of images taken on Harvard campus on SS right now, by the way. Some of them mine. *sigh*

It's private property so it's not 'stupid' at all. Go and get yourself a permit here;

"Filming and Photographing on Campus

The media relations offices request that people interested in taking or contracting photographs or filming the campus for commercial or news purposes seek permission from them first. To request the mandatory permit, please contact HPAC Media Relations at 617-495-1585."

It should have taken you about 5 seconds to find that information for yourself. Your post was 'stupid' not the SS rejection reason.

Hi All,

I'm only in my second month as a Shutterstock contributor, with just over 100 files on-line at this point.   I'm fairly impressed with the rapid pace of sales so far.  If that could be extrapolated to a larger portfolio, it would make my income per photo at SS more than double what it is at iStock, where I have been contributing for a few years, and have a large portfolio.   That seems out of keeping with the 100/67 ratio shown in the poll at the side here.   

I'm curious, however.   Is there something that streams newly accepted photos to customers, so that the download rate is more rapid when they are new? 

Oddly, some photos that are among my most popular at iStock have hardly sold at SS, whereas a couple that haven't sold at iStock are among my most popular at SS.

I haven't seen any of mine there.   I don't participate in subscription sales at Fotolia.   Perhaps that's the reason?   

I did try subscription for a few weeks, but it only came to pennies per photo, with not much volume.   I have some files that sell for multiple dollars on Fotolia.

55 / Re: Alamy has sold one image for over $100,000
« on: April 16, 2012, 20:00 »
As a matter of fact, I also don't have any RF at Alamy.   The one to which I was referring was an RM "novel use" sale.  (I just checked, and it turns out, it wasn't $1.50, but $1.25.)   In the past several months, most sales have been novel use ones in the $4 to $10 range, all RM photos.   In 2010, I did have a couple of individual sales over $200, but in the past 12 months only one over $100.  For me at least Alamy has been going downhill fast, and I have stopped uploading to them.  

People are always comparing RF to RM and how much sold and values and all that, but it's the same thing. Photos of WHAT and how unique are they?

Alamy will never be micro style, I hope not, and what you wrote about sales, is generally true, the volume isn't there. The buyers are different. The needs and demands and content are different.

The line from the commercial with the investment kid covers it. Very funny: "You have the same chances of that happening as being attacked by a polar bear and a grizzle bear, in the same day."

Yes, someone sold a license for six figures, however... your results may vary. I might average $80 a download and someone else with common RF images, identical to what they sell on 50 other sites, may average $1.50 a download. It's not all about averages or hypothetical numbers as much as it is the content that we are selling. Also what I have on Alamy is one of a kind, moment in time material, that in some cases, no one else will ever have. In others, there will be similar images, also just as unique, but from other people. Nothing is staged or ever going to happen again. Editorial News shots.

That what I chose to shoot. To each our own.

56 / Re: Alamy has sold one image for over $100,000
« on: April 15, 2012, 20:13 »
In my recent interview to Alan Capel, Head of Content of Alamy, one question is
what's highest price a photo has alamy ever sold.

Alan said: We cant show you but we have sold one image for over $100,000.

In contrast to that, my own startling news is that (with a portfolio of more than 1000 photos) my last Alamy sale was for $1.50 (one dollar and fifty cents), and that was more than two months ago.   If you want to get $100,000, your odds are much better through buying lottery tickets than submitting photos to Alamy.  javascript:void(0)   

I have photos at Alamy and five microstock agencies.  In terms of earnings per hour invested in uploading, Alamy ranks right at the bottom.

57 / I've been getting e-mails in German
« on: March 27, 2012, 17:26 »
I don't know much German, but generally I've been able to figure out what they are about.

58 / Re: Sales in iStock
« on: February 19, 2012, 01:44 »

stockmarketer, this is a roundabout/self-important way of saying that I wouldn't recommend resuming your iStock uploads, nor would I recommend deactivating all of your stuff there, either. Just keep a toe in the water. You can't drown that way.

Regarding deactivation:  you have to remember that many buyers look at more than one agency, so you are always competing against yourself when you upload to more than one place.  I have a few images that are fairly unique to me, and I have deactivated those from istock.   If the price I get for that photo is less on istock than everywhere else, I may end up making more by removing it from the site where I am paid the least for it.   On principle, I would rather let an agency that takes a more reasonable percentage commission get my business.

59 / Re: Sales in iStock
« on: February 13, 2012, 23:56 »
looka t the good side ,it can only get better (hope?)

I'm not sure about that.  Just because it's already very bad, doesn't mean it won't get worse.   I have a portfolio of over 1500 on Istock, and 500 on 123RF.   My revenue so far in February on 123RF is $34, beating my revenue from Istock, which is a miserable $33.   That's about one-third of what I made this time last year on Istock.  Buyers have probably realized that Istock is very overpriced.   On 123RF, I get a 50% commission, so buyers have paid $68.   On Istock, I get a 16% commission, so buyers have paid $206 for about the same number of photos.  I've completely stopped uploading to Istock, and eventually will have my entire portfolio there duplicated on other sites.  Gradually, their selection will become relatively poorer, and buyers will have even less reason to go there.   Their attempt at making a huge profit margin is just not economically viable.   If they attempt to cut their prices to make themselves competitive, and still pay me only a 16% commission, I will just delete all my photos from there.   Why should I sell my photos for a dime on Istock, if I can always get 35 cents at Dreamstime or 123RF?

The only way Istock can remain viable is to cut their margin, and I'm not sure they have the foresight to do that.

60 / Best match seems to be reverting gradually
« on: January 15, 2012, 12:46 »
I notice that my sales are picking up a bit in the past week (still not good, but better than abysmal).   I checked several of my main topic areas with best match searches.   In about half of them, my files come up on the first page, ahead of exclusives; and in about half, it's still exclusives first.

61 / Re: color me dense, but...
« on: January 07, 2012, 21:16 »
Thanks guys.   I'm going to make all my photos that get any sales there Photo+. 

Probably not a good idea to max your quota.  Photo+ means the buyer is charged a higher price for the photo.   Your commission rate stays the same, and you only get paid more because the buyer is paying more.   So you should only increase the price on those photos that you think are sufficiently attractive/unique that they will continue to sell at double the price.  It's called elasticity of demand.

62 / Re: iStock earnings exclusives / independents
« on: January 04, 2012, 22:33 »
Not sure what this poll sets out to discover? Some people earn more or less than other people? That aside your top bracket of $1000 is extremely low, especially for exclusives __ some of them spend more than that on their shoots each month.

I understand that exclusives make much more but I wanted to use same figures that are used in monthly MSG Poll and to found out where in the MSG Poll Results would "iS independents only" or "exclusives only" appear. Well - as for exclusives only - I believe that iS would be still no. 1 in results.

None of these polls are meaningful without at least making an adjustment for portfolio size, such as earnings per image.   

You may be right that price isn't the only factor, but I expect it is still a major factor.  Istock had a big head start and a large customer base, so the response to the high price would likely be somewhat gradual rather than sudden, and the worsening economic conditions have also made buyers more price sensitive than they were in the past.

Istock has the largest profit margin in the microstock industry, charging the highest to buyers and paying lowest to photographers.  The service they provide just isn't superior enough to justify that profit margin.  They are increasingly uncompetitive, and their business will keep sinking.   This latest irrational move to abuse non-exclusives even further will backfire on them.   Most non-exclusives will stop uploading  (and even remove the files they already have there), leading to an inferior selection that will drive buyers away.

123RF / Annoying security codes on 123RF
« on: December 08, 2011, 22:17 »
Very often, when I want to check something (e.g., my credits), the 123RF website asks me to type in a security code that appears as a graphic on the screen.  This is after I have already logged in.  It claims it won't ask me again unless I log out, but in fact it does do so, and often two or three times a day.   Is that happening to everybody, or is it something about my computer?

It appears to be serious security overkill on a website of that type.   My on-line bank and brokerage, where there is a lot more money at risk, don't have anything like that.   I assume it would be a turn-off for buyers as well.


Thanks, that explains it.   However, while Locke calls it "smart targetted advertising," that's obviously wrong.  It's a really dumb algorithm that somebody mistakenly thought was smart.

I've recently found when I am in various web pages, I see an istock banner ad that features several thumbnails, one or two of which are always from my portfolio.  The first time I saw this I thought, "Isn't it wonderful.   Out of 9 million photos, they chose one of mine to feature in their ad."

However, this was in a browser when I was logged into my iStock account.   When I switched to a different browser, and went to the same websites, no more iStock ad at all, with or without my photos.

The ads are obviously being triggered by cookies on my computer.   Is this another example of really poor policy, where they are wasting money in streaming ads to the person who is 100% certain not to buy the photo being shown, because he already owns it?  Or are they trying to trick us into feeling grateful towards them, and upload more photos to get a princely 17% commission?

67 / Refusing to upload is the best revenge
« on: December 04, 2011, 11:18 »
Since uploading and keywording was a lot of work, I have left most of my existing photos on iStock, but I haven't uploaded in the past year due to the commission reduction.   Istock used to be my top earner, but it is now generally number two or number three each week.

I'm sure I'm not the only one.   While it's true that there are a lot of people who continue to upload, different photographers have different images, and buyers will eventually start to notice that there are a lot of good images at DT, 123RF, etc. that they can't find on iStock.   That's probably already happening

Their review process for editorial is ridiculously slow and ridiculously picky (e.g., punctuation in captions that nobody cares about).   The result is that the selection of editorial photos they offer will always be second or third rate, and buyers looking for editorial will look elsewhere.  Hence, you get a vicious circle of poor sales that discourages uploading, and makes sales even worse.   

Considering the hoops you have to go to at iStock for a stingy 15% or 17% commission, it's a wonder that anybody bothers to upload there at all.   

It used to be my top site a couple of years ago, but now it has slipped into third place.   Their one strength used to be their better search engine, but in the past year even their IT has deteriorated.   

69 / I've had the same problem
« on: July 10, 2011, 21:20 »
It's hit and miss.  Sometimes the submit button appears, and sometimes it doesn't.  I've tried both Firefox and IE, and the same problem exists in both.  I complained to Bigstock administration, but they had never heard of it.

In one batch of three, two of them could be submitted without any problem, but the third refused, even though I did everything the same.  The clue is that the green check mark fails to appear at the top, even though there is a green check mark beside all the individual items.

My interest in this is more a matter of IT curiosity rather than anything else.   Sales are so poor at Bigstock that uploading would hardly be worth the bother, even if it worked well.   The second time it happened, I just deleted them, and decided not to try again.

It seems to attract a lot of photographers who think they are too good for the microstock sites, so it has over 20 million images on-line.   However, the quality doesn't seem to be good enough to attract many buyers.

Alamy used to release sales figures, but the last time was over a year ago:

At that time, they revealed that in 2009, they paid out 8 million pounds (about $13 million) to photographers, which was probably about 80 cents per image per year.    That's way below what you would make on any of the top tier microstock sites.   Uploading to Alamy is only worth it if you have a lot of spare images and a lot of spare time on your hands.


  But it's honestly not that hard to get it right and complaining about things like "I put in the wrong date and they rejected it for having the wrong date!  That's stupid!" is just silly IMHO. 

Put that way, you make it sound like my complaint is trivial, but you are ignoring the context.  I make a tiny mistake in the date that is not material to anything.   The actual date from the exif is already there in another box.  If the date being off in the caption bothers the examiner, why doesn't he just correct it instead of rejecting it.   And they don't just let the submitter correct it.  No, because there is one digit wrong in the date, I have to waste time uploading a 5mb file all over again, and filling in a bunch of other information that doesn't get carried over on resubmits.   And then, if I have resubmitted the file with the caption corrected, there's at least a 50% chance they will reject it because of "a little more about compression."   Their rejection messages make me want to puke.  As I said, they treat contributors like dirt.   

And yes, I do know how to submit successfully to Istock, as I have several hundred images on-line with them.   However, they are getting worse and worse, and I would much rather submit to some of the other places like Dreamstime and Bigstock that are more reasonable, even if they don't have quite the marketing power of Getty Images.

Adobe Stock / Re: Worse than iStock for me
« on: March 17, 2011, 20:04 »
The situation for me at Fotolia has gone from bad to worse, in the short span of a few weeks. In fact, for me it's turned out to be even worse that at iStock. Everything is going downhill there - first there was the commission cut, then they changed the search function in way that caused a huge drop in downloads for me, and now they are rejecting almost half of what I upload - and they used to accept most of it. I've resumed uploading to iStock - Fotolia is even worse, and I can't afford to stop uploading to both of them. This is really discouraging. Am I alone in this, or are others feeling the pain?

I wouldn't say that it's worse than Istock, but generally the whole microstock business is getting worse.  I have pretty much stopped uploading to Fotolia.  I have some older images there that sell well, but for some reason my newer images are almost never sold.  It has gotten much harder to get approved, and then even if they are approved, they don't sell, so what's the point?

Right now, it appears to be even longer than for regular images.  It appears to be about 3 weeks or more.

74 / Istock's nitpicking on editorial captions
« on: March 14, 2011, 22:03 »
Recently, I decided to try a few editorial submissions.   One was rejected because the date I put in the caption was two days different than what was in the exif.  It was just a background photo, and hardly newsworthy.   (And how do they even know if I have the date set correctly in my camera.)   Another one was rejected because I put the date first, instead of the name of the city.   

Their regular rejections are bad enough, for nearly imperceptible noise, but their editorial rejections for details in captions are beyond belief.  Oh, and they don't let you edit the caption once it's in the queue, in case you notice there's something wrong with it.

Not only are they treating their contributors like dirt, but they are wasting their own resources by having their reviewers look at the same thing over and over again.  However, I will spare them the trouble, since I'm not resubmitting anything to them for the pleasure of getting 19 or 26 cents per download.

The concept in RF doesn't make a lot of sense.  If it was a rights managed site, where the image might only have been sold a few times to specific markets, there could be value to buying it.   But if somebody buys out an image that has already sold many times on an RF site, what value do they really get? 

No new user in future will have it, but there might be lots of existing uses of it kicking around on all kinds of websites, etc.   The buyer has no assurance of any kind of meaningful exclusivity, since the RF seller can't retrieve it from all the previous users.

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