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Author Topic: The Indie Alliance  (Read 21636 times)

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« on: February 24, 2011, 13:41 »
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*** Edited to include link ***
http://www.warmpicture.com/isa.htm



Per the suggestions put forth by Elena and Lisa to form an alliance of independent microstock sellers, touched on in this thread:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/microstock-services/ktools-photostore/

I propose that we form this alliance immediately.  What I have in mind is a webpage (which I can host) which includes a list of independent sites, and a brief description of what the site has to offer.  For instance:

DJPadavona's Image Emporium - specializing in images of warm weather scenics, American sports, isolated apples, and the female walrus in its natural habitat.

What I think we could use -

1)  A Designer.  If someone wants to jazz up the page and make it look snazzy, I'm sure they can do better than me.  Also interesting would be a way of randomizing the order of the list, so the same people aren't always first or last.

2)  A few "Street Team" members.  These people would be in charge of getting the word out.  Maybe target Twitter, and every time someone complains about an agency, be ready to show them "other options."

I really don't think anything else is needed to get this started.  I'd love to hear any other ideas which incorporate our existing websites.  Maybe Leaf can set up something through MSG to promote the indies?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 22:48 by djpadavona »


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2011, 17:22 »
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Good for you, Dan, for taking the initiative.  If this can get off the ground, count me in :)

Oh, FWIW, whoever would be taking the lead on the social networking should probably not use their screen name from the micro sites. 

We will have to tread a thin line in not getting booted for "competing" with them. 

velocicarpo

« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 17:52 »
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Count me in!

What I have to offer:
- Some experience with Website and Server management (DNS Registration - private and anonymous - this can be important here), basic Website Design, installation of PHP scripts...I can`t programm scripts myself and customization is limited but I`m used to install, manage and keep sites up.
- Money. I would be willing to donate.
- My advice and experience.
- Coffee

Who else is in? :-)

« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 18:04 »
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I would be very interested in hearing more about this! Great idea.

« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 18:13 »
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Forget Twitter.  All it would take would be one really great 30-second spot on the Superbowl.

« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 18:16 »
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Forget Twitter.  All it would take would be one really great 30-second spot on the Superbowl.

Hey, I'm not questioning the power of Twitter anymore. Facebook either.  :D

« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 18:34 »
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I can't wait until next February to place an ad in the Super Bowl.  So in the meantime...

I found a javascript routine which will randomize the order of our websites each time the page is loaded.  I'll throw together some text on fair pricing and buying direct from artists, and we should be good to go.

Anyone with an indie website who wishes to be part of this

1)  You must have a storefront so buyers can purchase direct from you
2)  Send me your website address in this thread, or via PM
3)  Add a sentence or two describing your site or your specialty (isolated kiwi, walruses, etc)
4)  If you are part of the list, be willing to promote it however you feel comfortable (designer forums, etc)

Let's roll!   ;)

« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 18:36 »
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FYI...if we can get this going with a decent sized list, maybe we can get one of the stock photo blogs to do a piece on what we are doing.

« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 18:48 »
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Just PMed you, Dan.

« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 20:47 »
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Isn't this what someone else was doing here a couple of weeks ago?  A web page with a list?  Not much will come of that I'm afraid.  Someone else had some interesting ideas later in that other thread.

« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 20:48 »
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I'm interested; are there any other ways to make a stock website other than KTools, KTools seems to be a bit of trouble, judging by threads on this forum.  I have a regular website but it does not offer direct purchase of various images

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 21:09 »
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Psst... Photoshelter Virtual Agency

« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 21:09 »
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 :)

« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 21:54 »
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One of these days we will sign up Sean Locke.  There are lots of buyers looking for different ways to put up a Christmas tree using clones.   ;)

« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 22:51 »
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I have a base page up with text regarding fair commissions, and the benefits of buying direct.
http://www.warmpicture.com/isa.htm

It isn't ready for prime time because as of this evening, we only have two websites listed   ::)   So the sooner we can add to this list, the sooner we can do whatever we can to promote it.  Cory, Lisa, Elena, etc., would love to put you on the list.  Paulie, no reason we can't list your Photoshelter site even if it is RM and not RF.

« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2011, 01:33 »
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Sorry, I've been busy with work today. I'm definitely interested, and I'll get you the info.

« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2011, 05:06 »
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Good for you, Dan, for taking the initiative.  If this can get off the ground, count me in :)

Oh, FWIW, whoever would be taking the lead on the social networking should probably not use their screen name from the micro sites. 

We will have to tread a thin line in not getting booted for "competing" with them. 

I would think / hope that the sites would not ban someone for being competition.  I can think of quite a few top microstock contributers that have either their own sales site or their own agency(s) .. I feel they have set the standard with those users. 

« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2011, 06:59 »
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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.

« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2011, 07:27 »
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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.

« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2011, 07:41 »
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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.


But then we're basically talking about another agency. That costs money to build the site, manage it, and so on. I see Dan's site as a page for links, that increases all of our chances just a little more for being found by search engines. Links in and out always help, no?

Here's a link to the Graphic Artist's Guild member portfolios:

http://www.graphicartistsguild.com/theguild/member-portfolios/portfolio-disciplines/

This page has categorized the artists first, then when you click on a category, you see a bunch of links to member's portfolios. I see Dan's site as something similar to this, not another agency.

Maybe I am visualizing your idea all wrong, Dan. If so, please jump in and set me straight.

« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2011, 07:52 »
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Why not partner with the founder of this site? The chances of success is greater!

« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2011, 09:29 »
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I hate to be a wet blanket, but this is the same thing posted by elenathewise in this thread, which didn't go anywhere either:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/for-people-who-sell-their-own-images-invitation-to-join-stock-image-portal/

Just putting a bunch of links on a page is not a solution to anything.  Buyers aren't going to visit the page - they don't particularly care about the arguments given there, and the page looks like it's from the late 90s.  I appreciate the enthusiasm in trying to do something, but you might as well just not do anything in this case.

What you need to do is create a software solution people can use (or integrate into ktools or whatever) that can output a metafile that a central site can use to create a search database, which will then lead to these other sites.  Although, then, you have the issue of "why doesn't the match favor me?!!?" and such.

Or something else.  But a list of links isn't it.

« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2011, 10:04 »
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I hate to be a wet blanket, but this is the same thing posted by elenathewise in this thread, which didn't go anywhere either:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/for-people-who-sell-their-own-images-invitation-to-join-stock-image-portal/

Just putting a bunch of links on a page is not a solution to anything.  Buyers aren't going to visit the page - they don't particularly care about the arguments given there, and the page looks like it's from the late 90s.  I appreciate the enthusiasm in trying to do something, but you might as well just not do anything in this case.

What you need to do is create a software solution people can use (or integrate into ktools or whatever) that can output a metafile that a central site can use to create a search database, which will then lead to these other sites.  Although, then, you have the issue of "why doesn't the match favor me?!!?" and such.

Or something else.  But a list of links isn't it.


But does a list of links do anything on the negative side? In all of the research I have done on SEO, one of the things always listed as a plus is links to and from a site (in addition to a lot of other things). I realize this isn't going to put us all on the first page of a google search for photographers or stock photos, but isn't it at least a start? Something besides sitting around thinking negatively and doing nothing? I thought it was.

I didn't necessarily think that buyers would seek out the page specifically. I was thinking more along the lines of the more buzz there is out there, the better. For instance, if I have one link in and out of my site, I have 1 chance of someone seeing it (NOTE: and I am making up numbers here, this is not real data). If I have 20 links in and out of my site, I have just increased my odds by 20 or more.

I read the post by Elena when it happened. She was also asking for money. So far Dan has not. Not that I would mind helping pay for something, but did Elena actually set up a portal? If so, I would be willing to take a look at that, too, and see how it will work.

I am open to hear about any ideas. If the idea is NOT going to be a. another agency  b. cost me an arm and a leg  c. do any harm   then I'm willing to listen.  :)

lisafx

« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2011, 10:23 »
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I see your point Sean.  Obviously this is not going to amount to a lot of traffic right now.  But I am with Cathy that it beats doing nothing. 

This idea of an alliance of independent, contributor-run sites is in its infancy.  With time I expect all of us will become more sophisticated about how to market ourselves.  Perhaps in a couple of years we might even have figured out how to gain a significant portion of the market. 

Gotta start somewhere, and Dan's idea seems like a good starting point :)

velocicarpo

« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2011, 10:30 »
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I see your point Sean.  Obviously this is not going to amount to a lot of traffic right now.  But I am with Cathy that it beats doing nothing. 

This idea of an alliance of independent, contributor-run sites is in its infancy.  With time I expect all of us will become more sophisticated about how to market ourselves.  Perhaps in a couple of years we might even have figured out how to gain a significant portion of the market. 

Gotta start somewhere, and Dan's idea seems like a good starting point :)

+1

« 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 :-)

« Reply #50 on: February 25, 2011, 16:42 »
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I don't have any store yet, but this is something I really think of.  Ktools and the other people mentioned are a bit expensive for my small portfolio. An online solution like Photoshelter is good, but always risking the site going ou of business. I'm tending to building a site for displaying images only, with contact for licensing. That would be basically for RM stuff, what I think is better for my style of photography (not what I have in micros).

Now, about a site listing members, that would be great, but I agree a search tool that would seacrh in all those sites would be great as a selling strategy.

« Reply #51 on: February 26, 2011, 18:40 »
0
To do something is very easy....we start an agency by our own money, anyone who takes money in is shareholder. The structur has to be a mixure out of the best selling agencys....and the shareholder gets money out of the profit of the agency, not of the pictures, they will be sold as cheap as possible :-)

jareso

  • Boris Jaroscak
« Reply #52 on: February 27, 2011, 02:36 »
0
This is interesting topic. I have a little question:

I am curious whether any of you actually had some sales through your personal site???

lisafx

« Reply #53 on: February 27, 2011, 10:05 »
0
This question has been asked in several threads.  Don't have time to search all the answers for you, but here's the first one I ran across:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/microstock-services/ktools-photostore/msg184227/#msg184227]
[url]http://www.microstockgroup.com/microstock-services/ktools-photostore/msg184227/#msg184227
[/url]

« Reply #54 on: February 27, 2011, 11:05 »
0
To do something is very easy....we start an agency by our own money, anyone who takes money in is shareholder. The structur has to be a mixure out of the best selling agencys....and the shareholder gets money out of the profit of the agency, not of the pictures, they will be sold as cheap as possible :-)
I don't know how that would work because some people sell much more than others and would want more money.  I also don't like the "cheap as possible" idea.  I don't mind giving buyers a discount, if we get more commission but I'm not interested in drastically undercutting the market.  This is the big problem with running our own site, we all have different ideas of the best way to do it.  Getting a consensus would be difficult.

« Reply #55 on: February 27, 2011, 16:02 »
0
Isn't this what someone else was doing here a couple of weeks ago?  A web page with a list?  Not much will come of that I'm afraid.  Someone else had some interesting ideas later in that other thread.

While I agree with Sean's assertion that nothing much is likely to come from an effort such as this, again I don't see any compelling reason not to continue.  There is essentially zero risk in the risk:reward equation.  FWIW I was able to get us listed in a high traffic graphic designer's forum, and I saw a huge traffic spike the last 2 days.

Where I most agree with Sean, and this is something which photographers have a hard time grasping, is that the effort one spends educating your competition would be much better spent educating your potential customers.  Not that I have any problem with teaching others to better themselves.  But if you aren't putting far more effort into helping your customers, you are lacking business sense and cheating yourself.

« Reply #56 on: February 27, 2011, 17:53 »
0
Where I most agree with Sean, and this is something which photographers have a hard time grasping, is that the effort one spends educating your competition would be much better spent educating your potential customers.  Not that I have any problem with teaching others to better themselves.  But if you aren't putting far more effort into helping your customers, you are lacking business sense and cheating yourself.

I used not to agree with Sean, but I'm now pretty close to agreeing (a waffle worth of John Kerry).

The way I used to see it, having iStock be a center for drawing in new talent, nurtured by those who'd been around a bit, was something that over time kept building the site as a vibrant, innovative source of great images. That worked fine, IMO, until IS starting trying to grab more of the take, at which point there's not much left but every contributor for him or herself. There are some echoes of the community spirit that was, but, sad as I am, I can't see why I'd spend any time helping others beat me to a higher royalty rate. With the grading on a curve scheme they now operate, there's no longer a "rising tide lifts all boats" situation.

I suspect that for many of us, we don't really know where or how to connect with our customers. Very few show up here or in the IS forums. So that may be one of the reasons for focusing on other contributors.

« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2011, 05:00 »
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I have a fair share of potential customers contact me for images; usually looking for donations or a hand-out but most might be purchasers if they knew they could get the images for $20 or less per image.  Most small customers are under the impress that images are RM and cost hundreds.

It would be nice to have a website to direct them to that was trustworthy and gave a fair commission.  I would love to have my own site (a selling site, not just website-have that); but so much to do now that I can not handle it at this time.  I am impressed with the terms of The3DStudio, up to 70% return without any of the hassles of running my own site; a family operation that I doubt will extort it's artists.

« Reply #58 on: February 28, 2011, 09:28 »
0
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 :-)

Not sure what the problem with a non-profit is....we have a brick and mortar non-profit art gallery near where I live and the model has been working for years. There are photographers and painters and sculptors.  It is not advertised as a non-profit, most people who walk in think they are at a regular gallery.  I think a non-profit stock agency would be a better idea than a coop.  Coops get very complicated when you have hundreds of "owners" and actual business decisions need to be made. It also requires everyone to pay in to become an owner.  The not-for-profit aspect of buying art directly from artists would appeal to the sensibilities of many graphic designers who consider themselves artists as well.  It just would be nice to have a small artist run agency where the bulk of the profits were not going to a million dollar ceo salery, where the focus wasn't on constantly reducing commissions to make profits look better to share holders.  All profits would go back to artists. There are tons of fine examples of non-profit art stores most of which are brick and mortar, would be nice to bring the concept online.  It would look just like and be run just like a small agency... only run by artists with the only difference being more money to artists since there is no pressure to cut commission's to meet ever growing financial pressures from investors. 

velocicarpo

« Reply #59 on: February 28, 2011, 09:46 »
0
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 :-)

Not sure what the problem with a non-profit is....we have a brick and mortar non-profit art gallery near where I live and the model has been working for years. There are photographers and painters and sculptors.  It is not advertised as a non-profit, most people who walk in think they are at a regular gallery.  I think a non-profit stock agency would be a better idea than a coop.  Coops get very complicated when you have hundreds of "owners" and actual business decisions need to be made. It also requires everyone to pay in to become an owner.  The not-for-profit aspect of buying art directly from artists would appeal to the sensibilities of many graphic designers who consider themselves artists as well.  It just would be nice to have a small artist run agency where the bulk of the profits were not going to a million dollar ceo salery, where the focus wasn't on constantly reducing commissions to make profits look better to share holders.  All profits would go back to artists. There are tons of fine examples of non-profit art stores most of which are brick and mortar, would be nice to bring the concept online.  It would look just like and be run just like a small agency... only run by artists with the only difference being more money to artists since there is no pressure to cut commission's to meet ever growing financial pressures from investors. 

No Problem with a non-Profit! It is just not what my Idea would be. I offer my help to a non-profit too, just don`t want to have too much responsibility in this case. I would prefer to start a sort of shareholder construction held by photographers. However, you are right that coops tend to get very complicated.

« Reply #60 on: February 28, 2011, 14:35 »
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Thanks, visceralimage for your positive comments about The3dStudio.commuch appreciated.  :-*

In August 2009, Matt did a series of blog posts about Building Trust at The3dStudio.com. Two in particular might be of interest to anyone thinking about starting an agency like ours or a coop. 

http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=980
http://www.the3dstudio.com/blog_detail.aspx?id=979

I am not writing this to be negative about the agency/coop idea, just to provide some info.

[email protected]

« Reply #61 on: March 01, 2011, 14:03 »
0
It would be simple to adapt a KTools site to a virtual agency with multiple contributors.  The "Contributors Add-On" is available for $89 to anyone who wants to start their own stock agency.  And we have been long aware of the Photoshelter option to do the same.

For now I prefer to stick to my own branding with my website, but I would join a virtual agency depending on who was running it and what commission structure they were to offer.  I think it would be best if one of these agencies was started by a higher end contributor who already had a significant following within microstock, rather than someone like yours truly.   :P

graficallyminded

« Reply #62 on: March 03, 2011, 00:21 »
0
If you want to add my website's link too
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 10:41 by PhotoPhan »

« Reply #63 on: March 03, 2011, 13:50 »
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Got your site added AC.  Great looking page!

graficallyminded

« Reply #64 on: March 03, 2011, 14:35 »
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Thanks so much Dan. There is a link back on my blogroll links section now.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 10:41 by PhotoPhan »

« Reply #65 on: March 05, 2011, 04:35 »
0
It would be simple to adapt a KTools site to a virtual agency with multiple contributors.  The "Contributors Add-On" is available for $89 to anyone who wants to start their own stock agency.  And we have been long aware of the Photoshelter option to do the same.

For now I prefer to stick to my own branding with my website, but I would join a virtual agency depending on who was running it and what commission structure they were to offer.  I think it would be best if one of these agencies was started by a higher end contributor who already had a significant following within microstock, rather than someone like yours truly.   :P

I agree this would be the most simple model, that could be implemented easily and work within few days already.
I would be interested to know if 5 to 10 of you having complementary folio of at least 3000 to 4000 pictures would be interested to join such initiative.
We could share the site and decide together the way to drive it. I already have littel experience with Ktool sites including contributor add on, not that I have a very wide experience, but at least a basic knowledge on how this works in practise....

The volume and diversity od such site will make it much more attractive.

Jean

« Reply #66 on: March 05, 2011, 11:36 »
0
It would be simple to adapt a KTools site to a virtual agency with multiple contributors.  The "Contributors Add-On" is available for $89 to anyone who wants to start their own stock agency.  And we have been long aware of the Photoshelter option to do the same.

For now I prefer to stick to my own branding with my website, but I would join a virtual agency depending on who was running it and what commission structure they were to offer.  I think it would be best if one of these agencies was started by a higher end contributor who already had a significant following within microstock, rather than someone like yours truly.   :P

I agree this would be the most simple model, that could be implemented easily and work within few days already.
I would be interested to know if 5 to 10 of you having complementary folio of at least 3000 to 4000 pictures would be interested to join such initiative.
We could share the site and decide together the way to drive it. I already have littel experience with Ktool sites including contributor add on, not that I have a very wide experience, but at least a basic knowledge on how this works in practise....

The volume and diversity od such site will make it much more attractive.

Jean

I am definitly in. Portfolio of 6700 3D illustrations and some photos. Experience with the cms stock photo script and some in server administration (WHM/CPanel/CentOS).

« Reply #67 on: March 05, 2011, 14:47 »
0
It would be simple to adapt a KTools site to a virtual agency with multiple contributors.  The "Contributors Add-On" is available for $89 to anyone who wants to start their own stock agency.  And we have been long aware of the Photoshelter option to do the same.

For now I prefer to stick to my own branding with my website, but I would join a virtual agency depending on who was running it and what commission structure they were to offer.  I think it would be best if one of these agencies was started by a higher end contributor who already had a significant following within microstock, rather than someone like yours truly.   :P

I agree this would be the most simple model, that could be implemented easily and work within few days already.
I would be interested to know if 5 to 10 of you having complementary folio of at least 3000 to 4000 pictures would be interested to join such initiative.
We could share the site and decide together the way to drive it. I already have littel experience with Ktool sites including contributor add on, not that I have a very wide experience, but at least a basic knowledge on how this works in practise....

The volume and diversity od such site will make it much more attractive.

Jean

I am definitly in. Portfolio of 6700 3D illustrations and some photos. Experience with the cms stock photo script and some in server administration (WHM/CPanel/CentOS).
Thank you Michael, very interesting, can you possibly send a link where we can see your work?
Thank you in advance,
jean

« Reply #68 on: March 05, 2011, 15:17 »
0
...I sent you an PM
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 15:30 by Michaelp »

« Reply #69 on: March 06, 2011, 00:42 »
0
I am interested but only 1100 wildlife images

« Reply #70 on: March 06, 2011, 04:28 »
0
I am interested but only 1100 wildlife images

Thank you, I had a look at your folio and I think having it in our project makes sense because the nature of it.
Can you PM me as we are now few who discuss this beside the open forum.
Thank you
Jean

PS the door is still  open to all if there is a common interest!

« Reply #71 on: March 10, 2011, 19:14 »
0
Everyone,

I have decided to form a Virtual Agency using my existing KTools site.  This way, nobody has to contribute money to a project that have no contract with to protect their investment in.

I am completely open to ideas about pricing and commissions.  My initial thought was to place prices close to Dreamstime's credit sales and iStock's non-exclusive credit sales.  Commissions would run around 70-80%, which would allow me to recoup my costs of setting up the agency and paying for monthly fees, and eventually start marketing.

I did some math...a 2400px image at iStock costs about $15, so a 80% commission would net the contributor $12.  Pretty sweet in my opinion.  A blog sized image priced at $4 would net $3.20.  That would be pretty fantastic if the lowest priced sale still produced a commission north of $3.  Think of the RPDs!   ;D

Some other thoughts -

* Photographers/artists would be accepted after I had a chance to review their portfolio.  Anyone interested can contact me, but I would like to begin with larger portfolios and establish a solid base.

* Once accepted, contributors would be able to contribute their work without review, sorta Alamy style.  But if the contributor was found to be uploading a lot of problematic images, they would no longer be able to upload until the workflow improved.

* We can have an Editorial section for people who produce a lot of editorial appropriate images.

* The independent sites I am familiar with gained traction once they got close to 30,000 images.  That is a good number to shoot for, and could be accomplished quickly with 4-5 large contributors.

* While I would run the site, anyone wanting to help out with design, or theory, would be more than welcome.  I'd like to create a contributor community of sorts where we could keep in touch with each other through MSG (or otherwise) and decide how we want to proceed.

Anyone interested should post here, or PM me. 


 

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