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Messages - djpadavona

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Symbiostock / Re: Is this project dead?
« on: August 18, 2014, 11:44 »
I waited 14 months to finally make a sale through Symbiostock, and when I finally did get one, the image didn't download properly for the buyer. He spent 24 hours going nuts trying to figure out how to download the image, and the Symbiostock system kept asking him to change his password.

In the meantime, something failed between Bluehost and my mobile phone service provider, so I never received email notification that a purchase had been made. Yet another issue that never seems to work reliably.  So I did not receive any of the angry buyer's rants over the next day. Long story short, I ended up refunding all of the buyer's money since a day later he had already flagged the purchase through Paypal and made it seem as though I was unscrupulous.

You can find posts from photographers who were disillusioned by the buggy payment process, if you search for them. For most photographers, it worked like a charm.

I supported the project for a long time, but I really don't have the patience to keep up with the issues. The reward-to-effort has never been there for me, in my own personal experience. So while the project isn't dead as far as I can ascertain, I wouldn't buy into the typical "it's so easy to set up" advice, because you don't know how many problems are under the hood until you really press the accelerator. And once a problem arises, do you have the programming ability to fix it? This is not a plug-and-play device. You might have the chops to set it up, but it takes real skill to fix inevitable issues.

You might not like the other options out there like Photoshelter, but those options seem to be fairly stable and you don't have to worry about troubleshooting shopping carts.

Alamy.com / Re: Alamy Refund Policy - Totally Unacceptable
« on: January 17, 2014, 18:45 »
The thing being missed in this discussion is that when a "buyer" gets an image free for months on end, it's very likely that the image is used to make money in some way.  If the "buyer" is a designer, that image might appear in presentations or mock-ups used to land prospective clients or new jobs.  Even if the customer ultimately goes with another image, your image helped make the sale. 

Or maybe your image, being part of a temporary version of something, ended up sparking ideas or being replaced by something amazingly similar, commissioned for that purpose,

You can argue that in such scenarios the designer wasn't the "customer", but I don't buy that.  In a real sense, someone made money from your image - and you didn't.   If Alamy charges some sort of fee for a returned image, what they actually did was rent that image without paying you a royalty.

I completely agree with this assessment. Comparing digital goods to store bought merchandise makes no sense. I have to ask myself, do I really believe that they didn't keep the image on their hard drive or didn't use it all after they asked for a refund a month later? No, I really don't. I don't care if traditional agency-partner relationships worked on such an honor system. I've seen enough abuses in the last several years which makes me wonder how much worse the abuses I don't know about are. I choose not to place blind trust in such a system.

I don't think the image should be digitally released until the customer decides they really want it. Let them use a lo-res mockup in the interim. Once you make the commitment, no returns. Hey I don't get to return an MP3 if I decide after 30 days that I don't like the song so much anymore.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: iStock thinks their buyers are fools
« on: January 15, 2014, 19:56 »
To be honest the biggest fools were probably us the contributors for ever accepting 20%.

Ah yes, back in the good ole days when iStock was run by people who truly cared about artists, and proved it with such a generous commission percentage. I sure miss those days.

Shutterstock.com / Re: S J Locke Uploading to Shutterstock
« on: January 15, 2014, 16:48 »
Just wanted to say that I agree that dreamstime is a very interesting and friendly site as well. Since istock removed the artist page and our blogs, Dreamstime has been sending out some very charming newsletter highlighting individual blogs and I think they even ran a small competition? They are certainly encouraging the artists to use their pages for self marketing, so i am not surprised that their revenue is rising.

I agree with Cobalt. Definitely give your work to Dreamstime. Your portfolio would fit in very well, and probably fill a few gaps for them.

Shutterstock.com / Re: S J Locke Uploading to Shutterstock
« on: January 10, 2014, 13:07 »
So, Sean, is it living up to its billing so far?

11 sub sales yesterday, don't know if that is good or bad. 

That's the tip of the iceberg. I got about the same amount of sales yesterday, and I am sure you outsell me by a few orders of magnitude. Your future daily numbers will dwarf those 11 sales.

Shutterstock.com / Re: S J Locke Uploading to Shutterstock
« on: January 10, 2014, 13:04 »
never say never

Sean was inspired to upload to SS while listening to Romeo Void?

This is good to hear Steve. I wonder if some of it is holiday gift buying for the arts community. I always have a spike at Zazzle in the last quarter too - totally different buyers, but unlike microstock, I would guess that gift buying factors in to both.

It's definitely a bug. Mine refuses to change too.  :-\

Dreamstime.com / Re: New to DT, question about sales
« on: December 19, 2013, 13:10 »
Like the avatar Red Dove. Definitely one of my favorite albums of all-time.

Dreamstime.com / Re: New to DT, question about sales
« on: December 16, 2013, 18:26 »
Posts like this usually bring out the DT haters, so I will simply point to the right at the MSG Poll results. The results show Dreamstime is in the Top Tier of all microstock agencies for total revenue, and that (as a rough estimate) Shutterstock earns about 3x to 3.5x what Dreamstime earns for the people who participate in the poll.

The key with DT is patience, and allowing your images to rise in level. Once you have a portfolio full of Level 3 to Level 5 images, the earnings are quite nice. Sure there is plenty that people will complain about, namely their similars policy and the 6 month portfolio lock. But overall the stats show that they are solid. In truth, they are one of the few microstock agencies which I don't dislike. And these days, that is really saying something.


... And thats why weve created our streaming option - we want to give people an easy to use, affordable priced online image solution. We havent looked at other stock image prices when developing our Streaming product, but on other online products such as Spotify, Netflix, Wordpress etc.

We're launching it in January, and this is a brand new site with a new product aimed at online users with our streaming option. ...

And see how well services like Spotify are working from the artists' point of view


Good point. Spotify isn't a good thing to be compared to when you're talking to the people who create the content.

All the more reason it seems like Yay is out of touch and headed in a bad direction.

Actually Yay is completely in touch with the Spotify's of the world. They make their money by devaluing other people's art. I truly believe we are headed toward the lowest point in human history for art creation, as there will soon no longer be incentive for any artist to create anything. At least we can smile when Spotify loses their business model.

Had I to do over again, I would place either the main blog or Symbiostock on a subdomain. The main reason is the Symbiostock theme makes it impossible for Wordpress to limit the # of blog posts on the main blog page. If you click on my blog page, you will see 60+ posts (as of today) even though I have my settings at "limit 6 posts per page". I think it has something to do with the way Symbiostock uses the Taxonomy Related Posts function, though I could be wrong. Obviously this creates all sorts of problems for your page, including page speed and lack of focus (SEO).

Definitely divide the Symbiostock theme from the main blog.

In the meantime I have been trying to find a workaround for the # of posts issue for blogs within the Symbiostock theme. If I find a way around the problem, I will post the solution.

You simply can't enforce the rule against companies building internal databases from subscription services.  I've talked to at least three designers who work for mid-sized companies.  They have all built internal databases from subscription downloads.  Two of the designers didn't know it was against the rules and the other one didn't care.

No, it's one of those rules they have no chance of enforcing.  They might watch the behavior of the client, and if they download the maximum every day, call them on it, since obviously they can't really use 75 a day, or whatever.

But again, their ability to enforce is minimal. If you download the max 75 per day, you are doing nothing wrong. Right or wrong, it is allowed in the subscription plan. If the business turns around and tries to penalize the firm downloading the max allowed per day, it will never stand up to legal scrutiny.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Yay unlimited images for only $4.95
« on: December 16, 2013, 09:10 »
While I do think there is a market for reaching bloggers with images which are low resolution and low cost, I dare say that selling images for less than half a penny is an atrocious idea. 1000 images for $4.95?

I once regretted leaving Yay and considered coming back into the fold. But this is truly a new low for microstock, and you might as well just give the images away at these rates. If you truly intend to go through with this plan, I sincerely hope you are soon out of business. We need fewer agencies actively devaluing the hard work of talented contributors.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Starting a New Stock Marketplace
« on: December 15, 2013, 08:12 »
If Symbiostock didn't require individual registration for each site, it would be easy to turn the network into a new image marketplace. The network search site already exists, although it would require some sprucing up to bring it up to agency standards. It's a start though. The easier option is something like Photoshelter where photographers can link together to create virtual agencies.

Jumping into a 250k 'investment' with no knowledge of the industry, and one contributor doesn't seem very smart to me.

It depends on who that one contributor is. Professionals don't need other professionals.  :P

Symbiostock - General / Re: What . with spam user registration?
« on: December 10, 2013, 04:33 »
I use anti-catchable and it has cut the spam drastically - one every week or two. Plus, the human user never sees a thing

I think you are referring to anti-captcha:

I like it. It seems to harass legitimate guests less, and is arguably more effective than straight captcha.

Symbiostock - General / Re: What . with spam user registration?
« on: December 09, 2013, 14:14 »
Good question. I use a Captcha plugin, but that only cut down on maybe 40 or 50 percent of the spam registrations. They keep adding up.

This is great work Jo Ann. Terrific, useful blog post.

The only concern I have is for the invisible text in the footer. It seems like a great idea, but I know Google has frowned upon invisible code in the past. Mostly that had to with hidden links, but I wonder if this might fall under their scrutiny too. Anyone more versed in SEO and Google want to weigh in?

Now that we know that "by <Author Name>" is apparently an important part of the authorship equation to Google, wouldn't it make more sense to have Leo throw together a quick way to put the byline on our image pages automatically? Maybe right under the image?

Jo Ann,

I got a little lost at this part -

4. Google+ Profile link to author page  While editing your profile, go to the Links section and add your Symbiostock author page URL as a place you are a contributor to.

I didn't even know there was a Symbiostock Author page. I have filled out all of my author settings, but I haven't seen instructions for setting up an author page. What am I missing?

I don't really drop agencies, although I wouldn't rule it out. 

Looking at income, Stockfresh, Veer, and Crestock are my low earners.  Crestock in particular seems to be circling the bowl.  However I do occasionally have a good month at each of them, so you never know.

As a rule, I don't drop agencies for non-performance. When I first started in stock, I was too impatient and tended to bounce in and out of low performers like Lucky Oliver, Featurepics, Mostphotos, Yay, etc. It was wrong on my part, and I regret it. For the same reason I have no intention of leaving GraphicLeftovers or Pond5.

I have become more aggressive about leaving agencies which treat us poorly, particularly if there are no sales to justify the pain. Bigstock and 123RF fall into this category. I left Crestock long ago for the same reason and would never consider doing business with them again. A large portion of my portfolio is gone from iStock, and they are hanging by a thread in my eyes.

I've already started the process to close my account at Alamy due to uncleared payments dating back several months to a year. Bigstock and 123RF will also be dropped due to a combination of slowing sales and terrible commission rates.

DepositPhotos / Re: Deposit Photos Extended Licence $2.64!!!!!!
« on: November 28, 2013, 15:12 »
Sad part is that we all still submit images to them  :-\
I haven't signed up with DepostPhotos.  I already have enough people giving away my photos, don't need another at this time.

+1 to that. I never signed up with Deposit after reading so many posts like these over the past few years. I don't understand why contributors continue to sell themselves out for companies like this.

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