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Author Topic: The Indie Alliance  (Read 21635 times)

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« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2011, 10:38 »
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As I'm still exclusive, I won't be participating at the moment but I did take a look and thought I'd offer a couple of suggestions. I think this may not be much, but as long as the overhead is low, it can't hurt to give it a whirl.

1. Put something other than a flower picture up top. No cats, flowers or sunsets - you won't look serious. I know all of those sell, but I don't think it sends the right message as a banner. Perhaps if each participating site donated one banner and then you rotate through them?

2. Give the page a title to show up in the browser window - Untitled Document isn't all that catchy :)

3. Have a thumbnail picture, or small banner of a row of thumbs, with each agency - I want to see images.

4. Put a contact e-mail on the home page

5. Put purchase direct and save money as the first item

6. I think you need to address model releases and "safety". Saying something about all these portfolios have model released images that are fine for commercial use. Some people may be afraid they'll land up in the mess that some companies did when their agencies grabbed un-released images from Flickr (wasn't it Virgin?)

7. Consider a referral badge as well as a request to spread the word. I don't know what the code required would be to implement a scheme to give a small discount to referred customers on their first purchase (or first $xx) but that might be a thought.


lisafx

« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2011, 10:43 »
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Really EXCELLENT suggestions JoAnn :)

« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2011, 10:51 »
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'6. I think you need to address model releases and "safety". Saying something about all these portfolios have model released images that are fine for commercial use. Some people may be afraid they'll land up in the mess that some companies did when their agencies grabbed un-released images from Flickr (wasn't it Virgin?)'

That's a bigger issue isn't it?  Can you 'trust' all these independent sites?  Can you 'trust' copy on a link page?  People pay agency/portal fees to know there is some oversight.

« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2011, 10:59 »
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Really EXCELLENT suggestions JoAnn :)

I agree, thanks JoAnn. I think that Dan just threw something up there to get the ball rolling. He asked for help on design and I am willing to help with that. I have thrown something together but I want to work with Dan on that first.

Good points, Sean. I agree...I also agree with Lisa. As I see it, it will start out as something kind of simple...and evolve and improve as it goes on. Again, if I can increase my presence by adding a bunch more links in and out of my site, I think I will have accomplished something positive.

« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2011, 11:01 »
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Why not start a non-profit stock agency that pays 100% (after operating costs) to its contributing artists, something around 80% commissions.  Non-profits can still have salaried employees....just reasonably salaried employees.  The goal of such an agency would be similar to an artists guild with a competitive storefront. That would really be an ideal situation.

velocicarpo

« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2011, 11:06 »
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Why not start a non-profit stock agency that pays 100% (after operating costs) to its contributing artists, something around 80% commissions.  Non-profits can still have salaried employees....just reasonably salaried employees.  The goal of such an agency would be similar to an artists guild with a competitive storefront. That would really be an ideal situation.

Yes, this is what I`m thinking all the time. I already set up 2 Agency scripts, for me this would be Fun!

« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2011, 11:06 »
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is anyone able to participate? What if you have sub par photographers wanting in... doesnt that bring down the overall look of the site? Will there be inspectors?

velocicarpo

« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2011, 11:09 »
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is anyone able to participate? What if you have sub par photographers wanting in... doesnt that bring down the overall look of the site? Will there be inspectors?

Well, I`m in!

BTW: Would it be possible to set up a non.public sub forum? I think some things are better discussed with a minimum of privacy :-)

« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2011, 11:18 »
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I much prefer the idea of a non-profit agency because it would be so much easier for the buyers.  I just can't see how us all having our own separate sites with a links page is going to work.

« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2011, 11:27 »
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I think Cathy said it all. If it is just a link, that is fine with me. If it becomes something more, even better.

Fotonaut

« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2011, 12:23 »
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Im with sjlocke and PaulieWalnuts on this. These attempts at something are futile for anything but venting frustration.

The best solutions currently available (though far from ideal) is using Photoshelter Virtual Agency or wholeheartedly backing up some (preferal one or two in unison) of the "Fair trade" sites. The clue (and challenge) is to get a massive move in the same direction.

« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2011, 12:29 »
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Why not start a non-profit stock agency that pays 100% (after operating costs) to its contributing artists, something around 80% commissions.  Non-profits can still have salaried employees....just reasonably salaried employees.  The goal of such an agency would be similar to an artists guild with a competitive storefront. That would really be an ideal situation.

Sorry, that's not sustainable. It won't survive for long!

« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2011, 12:36 »
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Im with sjlocke and PaulieWalnuts on this. These attempts at something are futile for anything but venting frustration.

The best solutions currently available (though far from ideal) is using Photoshelter Virtual Agency or wholeheartedly backing up some (preferal one or two in unison) of the "Fair trade" sites. The clue (and challenge) is to get a massive move in the same direction.

 ??? I don't see it as venting frustration. I started my site to sell my own work and make some money. Getting other sites to link to my site is about the most basic SEO thing you can do. If someone is going to give me one, then I'm going to jump on board.

« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2011, 12:54 »
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I see no harm in such a page. I am not holding my breath that it would generate any real traffic to my site, but I don't see any problems with it either.  So sure, I am participating.
When people talk about "centralized search" and "uniform licensing" and "singing up only once" it makes me wonder if they aware of places like Photoshelter. Why invent a bicycle?
I was willing to put my efforts in creating something a little bit more advanced that page of links (that thread is mentioned here), but you need money to advertise, and it turned out very few people are willing to spend money on their site's promotion. If you want an agricultural coop you collect the money and buy a tractor, and then everyone's field gets plowed. If you want a online stock photo coop you need to collect money to advertise it, and then everyone would benefit from traffic. But it looks like we're not quite "ripe" for a coop yet.

« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2011, 12:56 »
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The worst thing that can happen is we can waste about 5 minutes of our time adding a few links.  The best thing that can happen is our list can grow, and we can get the attention of some designers.  What's the risk:reward ratio on this investment?

BTW I had my first sale today.  $4.99 for an extra small size photo (600 pixels long side).  Beat that with a microstock agency.

« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2011, 12:58 »
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I see no harm in such a page. I am not holding my breath that it would generate any real traffic to my site, but I don't see any problems with it either. So sure, I am participating.

Same here.

Quote
When people talk about "centralized search" and "uniform licensing" and "singing up only once" it makes me wonder if they aware of places like Photoshelter. Why invent a bicycle?
I was willing to put my efforts in creating something a little bit more advanced that page of links (that thread is mentioned here), but you need money to advertise, and it turned out very few people are willing to spend money on their site's promotion. If you want an agricultural coop you collect the money and buy a tractor, and then everyone's field gets plowed. If you want a online stock photo coop you need to collect money to advertise it, and then everyone would benefit from traffic. But it looks like we're not quite "ripe" for a coop yet.

Maybe this will be the next step, Elena. A little ways down the road.  :)

velocicarpo

« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2011, 13:14 »
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Why not start a non-profit stock agency that pays 100% (after operating costs) to its contributing artists, something around 80% commissions.  Non-profits can still have salaried employees....just reasonably salaried employees.  The goal of such an agency would be similar to an artists guild with a competitive storefront. That would really be an ideal situation.

Sorry, that's not sustainable. It won't survive for long!

Says who?
There has to be one important thing to be taken in account. Many Submitter are buyers too, like me. I buy arround 100 images per month as a freelance designer and for web designs. If only the contributors who are buyers too, and tehre should be many, give a preference to an photographer run agency, it should be AT LEAST enough money to keep it going and worthwhile.

« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2011, 13:37 »
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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]

velocicarpo

« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2011, 13:52 »
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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]

Yes, it is. As said before, I work ALOT in Server administration and take care of various projects. Cost is not THAT much (Advertising is a huge chunk, true), but the rest is overseeable. We would need some capital, but no really huge figures. Starting out maybe with a decent VPS for a acouple of month to get the code running, then picking up a dedicated server. The script installation, if we don`t code it ourselves, may take 1 day, the customization (if I would do it alone), maybe three weeks with all the design. Payment setup is easy these days...in addition to paypal, moneybookers, etc, I recommend an pure CC merchant like 2checkout. the legal part can be done as an offshore company. I see no point in dealing with US tax laws and withholding here. It might be an UK limited as some american companies are more friendly to UK companies than e.g. Panama corporations, which would be cheaper.

Well, I could talk an hour here. Dealing with those things is nothing new for me and I offer here all my help  :-)

greets

« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2011, 14:11 »
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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?

Lisa,

That is a question only each individual can answer.  I pay $24 per month in hosting, so a sale or two does very little for me.  I'm only interested in the profit margin above that cost.  Once the site is built, it runs itself.  Though a few hours per week (at least) need to spent promoting it however you see fit. 

I don't think anyone here is in this to sell a photo or two per month.  We have at least one contributor here who says his earnings from his personal site passed all of the lower tier agencies.  If that were to happen for me, and I see no reason why it won't with enough effort, this will be a comfortably profitable venture.

Unfortunately I'm not aware of too many "good agencies."  I am aware of those with horrible commissions which sell a lot of images for their own profit, and I am aware of many other agencies with decent commissions which almost never sell anything.  Artists selling on their own is a reaction to the current stock climate.  I would suggest agencies get used to the idea.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2011, 14:34 »
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I would be interested if buyers only had to sign up once and could then buy images from any site.  I just don't see it working for everyone if buyers have to sign up to everyone's personal site.

agreed, I think this will be the week spot in something like this working.  If the buyer could just use a central payment method though, it would be quite easy for them - especially if they didn't have to sign up for anything.  Just fill their cart and one click pay through paypal or something.

This is why I suggested a Photoshelter Virtual Agency.

The idea is that to a buyer it looks like one agency although it's multiple contributor portfolios. And there's one log-in and multiple payment options for buyers plus RM and RF models. So technically you could have millions of photos like a regular stock site except the contributors keep 90% (I think).

But would need more effort than a link page such as:
- Creating the strategy
- Setting pricing
- Reviewing images
- Providing customer service
- Managing fiances
- Managing SEO
- Managing marketing
- Etc

It would also need a leader plus people and money to get off the ground beyond just the monthly Photoshelter fees.

But 90% sure does sound nice.

« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2011, 14:36 »
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while i basically agree with the other comments about a 'links page', i'm willing to give it a try, so add me to the list:

steve estvanik / cascoly software
http://pix-now.com   powered by smug mug

i've developed and maintained my other web ventures for over 15 years, and can help with asp/vbasic, java, and SQL;  i've got bandwidth on my sites to host a database for the immediate future.

I concentrate on adventure travel, candid/editorial people & architecture details

steve

« Reply #47 on: February 25, 2011, 15:42 »
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Sorry, that's not sustainable. It won't survive for long!

Says who?
There has to be one important thing to be taken in account. Many Submitter are buyers too, like me. I buy arround 100 images per month as a freelance designer and for web designs. If only the contributors who are buyers too, and tehre should be many, give a preference to an photographer run agency, it should be AT LEAST enough money to keep it going and worthwhile.

You are talking about Coop which may be the ideal plan and not Non-profit. Non profit is usually for educational and/or charitable organization seeking tax exempt deals. Non profit comes across as a negative connotation now in days in the US.

« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2011, 15:52 »
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...Non profit comes across as a negative connotation now in days in the US.


I'd take a slightly different tack - I don't disagree entirely, but I'd say it this way. There's a lawn treatment service that promotes how it's in harmony with nature and doesn't use any chemical pesticides. There are also the traditional services that advertise how great your lawn will look.

As a consumer, if the first thing you tell me isn't how well you do your job, or how great my xxx will look after you do your thing, I'm not as interested in your company. I may very well pick a company in the end that uses organic materials, but if you don't promise me good results and only tell me yarns about how you do what you do, the message I take away is that you're asking me to compromise - Accept this less nice looking lawn 'cause you'll feel good about how you didn't trash the planet.

Back to the coop or non-profit. Tell me your great tasting coffee is fair trade and I'm all ears. Drone on with a lecture about the hardships and politics of the coffee trade and I'll wander off to get some coffee to swallow my aspirin with. You have to focus on the buyer first and the fact that they're being fair to artists second. I don't think co-ops or non-profits have a negative connotation, but being nagged or given a political message when you wanted to do some business does.

velocicarpo

« Reply #49 on: February 25, 2011, 16:13 »
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Sorry, that's not sustainable. It won't survive for long!

Says who?
There has to be one important thing to be taken in account. Many Submitter are buyers too, like me. I buy arround 100 images per month as a freelance designer and for web designs. If only the contributors who are buyers too, and tehre should be many, give a preference to an photographer run agency, it should be AT LEAST enough money to keep it going and worthwhile.

You are talking about Coop which may be the ideal plan and not Non-profit. Non profit is usually for educational and/or charitable organization seeking tax exempt deals. Non profit comes across as a negative connotation now in days in the US.

Exactly. I`m not so much into non-profit :-)


 

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