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Author Topic: 2014 by Shutterstock Founder (previously Bravo Shutterstock)  (Read 29371 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #100 on: January 10, 2015, 08:21 »
+6
Performance rewards, and seniority; they are pretty standard in the corporate world.  I don't see why they shouldn't happen for us, as we are still providing content for the corporation.  Even better quality images than when we first started.  You pay your dues, do your due diligence and should get rewarded; not screwed.  That's usually how it goes, but unfortunately life isn't always that fair.  I'm not saying we are being screwed, but it's not easy competing with all the content from other photographers and illustrators that is steadily flowing in.  That's why I think those who have been backing the company the longest should get "a little something sweeter" for their loyalty and hard work.  It's the least we could get... it's not like we don't have to pay for our own overpriced healthcare plans now, as independent contractors (or face a 2% yearly penalty on our income, by the govt.)

I would definitely be a lot more motivated to create more images, if there was a raise.  When you sell thousands of licenses per month, those 3 to 5 cents extra per subscription sale really do help.

In the corporate world there are a limited amount of highly skilled people to fill a limited amount of positions. Incentives are used to try to keep good talent and improve finances.

Shutterstock probably doesn't have a limited supply of skilled contributors. And they seem to be happy with their finances. They already have a bazillion images with millions more added monthly. If they offered an incentive to contributors to produce more images would those more images make them more money? I'd say probably not and the fact they haven't done anything to offer more benefits to contributors would support that. Most of their massive $30 million plus annual marketing spend goes toward attracting buyers.

If you owned SS what would be your financial goal? Maybe to increase buyer spending while minimizing downloads that need to be paid to contributors? Maybe the goal is to have good enough content to continue attracting buyers but not so good of content that downloads increase? The only reason they would offer incentives to contributors is because of a financial problem. If sales are down, and the sales team is telling management that they're losing sales because corporate buyers are saying content sucks, you can bet suddenly they will start coming up with "contributor needs guides". If that doesn't work then they may offer financial incentives. But that's only to correct a financial problem.

Also be careful of what you ask for. IS implemented a performance based model to reward higher performers who produced high quantities of saleable work and "motivate" the people who weren't producing saleable content. Redeemed Credits anyone? We see how well that worked. Especially when your performance is tied to how well the company's sales are doing.

So SS doesn't seem to have any financial problems at the moment and they have no reason to offer a performance incentive. In fact it may not be a good sign if they start offering incentives because it could mean they're having sales problems.


Shelma1

« Reply #101 on: January 10, 2015, 10:18 »
+10
I disagree. The big buyersad agenciesare starting to see the change in quality at Shutterstock and are more likely to sign on, leading to larger sales. I think that's a reason to offer contributors another subs tier, at least. Plus, it's just nice to reward the people who are helping your success. Especially when you're a billionaire.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #102 on: January 10, 2015, 10:33 »
+7
I disagree. The big buyersad agenciesare starting to see the change in quality at Shutterstock and are more likely to sign on, leading to larger sales. I think that's a reason to offer contributors another subs tier, at least. Plus, it's just nice to reward the people who are helping your success. Especially when you're a billionaire.

If you're saying big buyers are seeing a positive change in quality and more ad agencies are signing on then you're proving my point. SS is growing the buyer base without incentives to contributors so they have no reason to give a financial incentive. Could they get more big buyers by offering contributors an incentive to produce more of the right content? Maybe, but my guess is they already ran the analysis on that and determined either the payoff or risk weren't worth it or they would have done it already.

Nice? He probably didn't become a billionaire by being nice or doing things out of the kindness of his heart. I'd guess quite the opposite. He offers no incentive and people love him. He's a billionaire because he masterfully played the game of business and managed to make a fortune off of ordinary people. Bravo! Well played.

« Reply #103 on: January 10, 2015, 13:38 »
+1
I disagree. The big buyersad agenciesare starting to see the change in quality at Shutterstock and are more likely to sign on, leading to larger sales. I think that's a reason to offer contributors another subs tier, at least. Plus, it's just nice to reward the people who are helping your success. Especially when you're a billionaire.

If you're saying big buyers are seeing a positive change in quality and more ad agencies are signing on then you're proving my point. SS is growing the buyer base without incentives to contributors so they have no reason to give a financial incentive. Could they get more big buyers by offering contributors an incentive to produce more of the right content? Maybe, but my guess is they already ran the analysis on that and determined either the payoff or risk weren't worth it or they would have done it already.

Nice? He probably didn't become a billionaire by being nice or doing things out of the kindness of his heart. I'd guess quite the opposite. He offers no incentive and people love him. He's a billionaire because he masterfully played the game of business and managed to make a fortune off of ordinary people. Bravo! Well played.

The advantage for SS is that if some of the bigger players get fed up and say "no raise, I'm done, they just don't pay enough" the impact is minuscule, if any. For every one good contributor who throws in the towel there are 10 more good ones who will keep contributing. There is simply no risk to SS to leave commissions as is. Can they afford to give a raise? Probably. But the pressure from being a publicly traded company and maximizing profits goes 100% against a raise. I personally cannot see it happening. Also, generally speaking, microstock commissions aren't meant to allow us to make a living at micro stock today, so a 'cost of living' raise is no longer valid because it's not a working wage we get paid. I am frustrated like the rest, but in my mind I have settled on 38 cents.     

« Reply #104 on: January 10, 2015, 14:31 »
+11
He's a billionaire because he masterfully played the game of business and managed to make a fortune off of ordinary people. Bravo! Well played.

I can't quite manage a "bravo" for this guy, who's made a ton of money as a middleman by gaining control of a market and exploiting photographers around the world, grinding their margins to dust and causing many skilled and creative people to abandon the business.  Yes there is some skill in evidence here, but also a very large component of being in the right place at the right time.

We don't have a 'buyer's market', or a 'seller's market'.  What we have today is a 'middleman's market'.    Somehow, I don't feel this represents the original dream of the internet and crowdsourcing increasing opportunities for everyone. 


I look forward to a day when the photographic community finds ways to route around Shutterstock entirely.  That will get a 'bravo' from me.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 14:34 by stockastic »

« Reply #105 on: January 10, 2015, 14:43 »
+1
One got to laugh after all these useless exchanges.

I hope you all enjoyed reading SS Blog, as informative and interesting.

I won't post on this thread anymore....there is no point.

Love and peace to ALL!
 :)

You need thicker skin. It's not like they can hit you with vegetables from their keyboards. Seriously, who cares what people say on a board, especially if you're anonymous? I've had to take 10 times the abuse when I said I opted back in to the Dollar Photo Club. Flames just make me warmer.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #106 on: January 10, 2015, 16:12 »
+3
He's a billionaire because he masterfully played the game of business and managed to make a fortune off of ordinary people. Bravo! Well played.

I can't quite manage a "bravo" for this guy, who's made a ton of money as a middleman by gaining control of a market and exploiting photographers around the world, grinding their margins to dust and causing many skilled and creative people to abandon the business.  Yes there is some skill in evidence here, but also a very large component of being in the right place at the right time.

We don't have a 'buyer's market', or a 'seller's market'.  What we have today is a 'middleman's market'.    Somehow, I don't feel this represents the original dream of the internet and crowdsourcing increasing opportunities for everyone. 


I look forward to a day when the photographic community finds ways to route around Shutterstock entirely.  That will get a 'bravo' from me.

Business is a game. He's played it well. Not saying I'm a fan of his but he's a billionaire. I'm not. Good for him. He's doing something right. Nobody's forcing people to contribute so it seems an awful lot of people must be okay with being exploited.

As far as right time, if that's true why has SS seen such huge success while the dozens of other sites never grew or died? That's a little more than timing and luck.

And I totally agree with you about the middleman part. I'm tired of the way things are which is why I've been focusing on selling direct and through other channels.



PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #107 on: January 10, 2015, 16:18 »
+2
I disagree. The big buyersad agenciesare starting to see the change in quality at Shutterstock and are more likely to sign on, leading to larger sales. I think that's a reason to offer contributors another subs tier, at least. Plus, it's just nice to reward the people who are helping your success. Especially when you're a billionaire.

If you're saying big buyers are seeing a positive change in quality and more ad agencies are signing on then you're proving my point. SS is growing the buyer base without incentives to contributors so they have no reason to give a financial incentive. Could they get more big buyers by offering contributors an incentive to produce more of the right content? Maybe, but my guess is they already ran the analysis on that and determined either the payoff or risk weren't worth it or they would have done it already.

Nice? He probably didn't become a billionaire by being nice or doing things out of the kindness of his heart. I'd guess quite the opposite. He offers no incentive and people love him. He's a billionaire because he masterfully played the game of business and managed to make a fortune off of ordinary people. Bravo! Well played.

The advantage for SS is that if some of the bigger players get fed up and say "no raise, I'm done, they just don't pay enough" the impact is minuscule, if any. For every one good contributor who throws in the towel there are 10 more good ones who will keep contributing. There is simply no risk to SS to leave commissions as is. Can they afford to give a raise? Probably. But the pressure from being a publicly traded company and maximizing profits goes 100% against a raise. I personally cannot see it happening. Also, generally speaking, microstock commissions aren't meant to allow us to make a living at micro stock today, so a 'cost of living' raise is no longer valid because it's not a working wage we get paid. I am frustrated like the rest, but in my mind I have settled on 38 cents.   

I'm no longer settling for pennies or dollars.

« Reply #108 on: January 10, 2015, 17:13 »
+3
One more higher tiered contributor level raise would be nice.  Let's face it, those that have earned more than 5 or 6 figures (gross; lifetime) with Shutterstock are in the minority.  Something like that wouldn't entirely bankrupt the company, or put that much of a dent into its overhead. 

One extra tier will also motivate its more seasoned contributors to submit even more great content.  "Cream of the crop" type content.  Either way, I've always been very thankful for the opportunity with SS all of these years.
Are seasoned contributors really going to submit even more great content, cream of the crop type content? I seriously doubt that. How high will that raise be? 25 to 33 cent is the biggest difference, 8 cent, then 3 cent, then 2 cent. How high does a raise need to be to entice seasoned contributors to submit even more great content?

And I think all contributors should get a raise, not only the high earners, or the ones longest with SS.

If they add another higher tier, it will benefit the oldies to start with, but it will also give incentives for mid and lower level controbs to aim for.  Ss does the most volume for most of us.  Even a 3 cent raise would add up to nice extra cash for a lot of sellers.

« Reply #109 on: January 10, 2015, 18:09 »
+5
A lot of very good points all around... nice discussion, guys.  I can't say I disagree with any of it.  The guy who founded Shutterstock originally stumbled upon it, because of his own need.  That's his story, at least.  The fact that it grew, and the fact that he was able to turn it into a billion dollar company, came from his own business ingenuity and ability to hire the right team along the way.  This happens all the time, in all sorts of fields worldwide.  It's just business. 

Someone in any company is always getting a shorter end of the stick... but everyone benefits.  It's all how you look at it, and what your priorities are in life.  You could say that the cashiers and baggers at all of the grocery stores are the real ones doing all the hard work, and yet they make minimum wage.  So do the burger flippers at the billion dollar McDonald's corp.  But yet, these folks are thankful to be able to earn money to make a living, and to provide for their families; however small or meager.  None of us posting on this forum are any better than those kind and honest folks.  It's just a different field.  Different buttons to push.  Some eventually decide to move on to find a better paying job, because they're tired of slaving for small wages, or because they feel that their skills have improved much past their pay grade.  Others know how to manage their finances and lifestyle enough to be able to make a career working retail, or at a restaurant.  I guess really none of us are much better than burger flippers, in the stock world. 

I'm very thankful.  Even if this microstock wave finally crashes for us independents;  I will still be appreciative for the past 8 years of stress-free working from home in my pajamas.  It's been a lot longer of a run than I ever thought it would, thus far. 

Who do YOU want to be in the grand scheme of microstock?  Someone who wants to strive to "be like Mike"?  Or someone who is okay picking up the crumbs?  I've been a successful crumb picker for a very long time now, and would love to continue the arrangement I have with all of my "middlemen".  With greater responsibility comes greater stress.  We all need to find our own place and preferences. 

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #110 on: January 10, 2015, 19:26 »
0
SS is actively selling our media files and probably with operational costs can not afford to pay us more.


IT amazes me when people with no special knowledge will happily proclaim that an agency "probably" couldn't afford to pay out more. There's absolutely no reason to believe that is true.

It is very unlikely that they will pay us more, because they have to maximise profits for shareholders and they are paying enough to get the content they need. But to suppose they COULDN'T pay more if they wanted to is a very large piece of uninformed speculation.

But that isn't in any way accusing them of being anything but straight in their dealings with us.


The quarterly figures show exactly what they spend, and what they profit. They made millions profit, to say they cant afford a raise is simply naive. They can afford to give us a raise and still increase their profits. As you say, its all about maximising profits now, so a raise would not fit the bill (pun intended)


I think we should all send  them a support email requesting they share the profits. http://submit.shutterstock.com/contact/

« Reply #111 on: January 10, 2015, 19:30 »
+4

I think we should all send  them a support email requesting they share the profits. http://submit.shutterstock.com/contact/


actually there is a simpler way... be a shareholder ;)

« Reply #112 on: January 10, 2015, 20:49 »
+1
I'm not opposed to a raise. But I don't think some of you give Shutterstock enough credit for the whole process. There's got to be a reason they're leading the market. They aren't the only ones with subscription plans. Almost all sites have them. Despite a number of them being cheaper, including their sister site, Bigstock, they still lead the pack.

I don't know exactly what it is. I think it's probably a combination of marketing, a professional library and a good search algorithm. Customers find what they're looking for more on Shutterstock than they do other sites so they keep coming back. 

Without Shutterstock, people don't see your images to license them. I doubt many people gave up contributing entirely to Shutterstock and other sites just to run their own personal stock site. You just can't compete with the variety and library over at Shutterstock.

Giving contributors a raise might a nice thing to do, and I would love one, but I can't see how it would be good business.  Contributors aren't going to take their images anywhere else because Shutterstock treats us better than any other microstock site already. They certainly pay me the most of any site, at least 10 times more than the next best earner. They've never cut pay or screwed with levels like Istock and 123RF. They pay on time every month unlike Fotolia. They are open to public criticism unlike Dreamstime. They've actually worked to get me more money with SOD sales that didn't exist before. That's a raise in my book.

At any rate, a raise in levels would be great. I think it would be a good incentive to get old hands contributing fresh content. But it would have to make business sense, and right now, Shutterstock isn't exactly short of fresh content.


« Reply #113 on: January 11, 2015, 03:48 »
-5
I don't know exactly what it is. I think it's probably a combination of marketing, a professional library and a good search algorithm. Customers find what they're looking for more on Shutterstock than they do other sites so they keep coming back. 


And SALES!
SS invest in selling our media files heavily, which is expensive but crucial for this kind of growth. No life without buyers.

Always check careers to understand which direction companies heading to and where are they standing at the moment.
SS def sales/customer service force enlargement - http://www.shutterstock.com/jobs/listings


p.s. This thread got 4660 views so far. I am glad some sensible conversation landed here after my font size 36pt shout. :-)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 10:21 by SSContributor »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #114 on: January 11, 2015, 05:14 »
+12
. No life without buyers.


No Shutterstock without our images.

« Reply #115 on: January 11, 2015, 11:13 »
+2
. No life without buyers.


No Shutterstock without our images.

That's true. But what else are you going to do with your images? Mine aren't good enough for those special sites. I certainly can't make nearly as much selling them on my own. There's no where to go with them.

Shutterstock has made me $35,000 richer just on its own. I wouldn't even being doing stock at all if it wasn't for that site.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 11:15 by robhainer »

« Reply #116 on: January 11, 2015, 11:47 »
+3
. No life without buyers.


No Shutterstock without our images.

That's true. But what else are you going to do with your images? Mine aren't good enough for those special sites. I certainly can't make nearly as much selling them on my own. There's no where to go with them.

Shutterstock has made me $35,000 richer just on its own. I wouldn't even being doing stock at all if it wasn't for that site.

This is a good, sound concern for the masses. Many of us really don't have other outlets outside of micro stock. I am learning several new things this year to help me move in a new direction and that is video.  I think I am also going to not sell the below kinds of images in micro stock anymore. They are just too expensive to get and some come with a lot of risk.  I think they will all be going to RM. I am also considering yanking all of my existing underwater work even on Alamy and reuploading it as RM if I can get away with it. It will be a big hit to my port size though.  But like Paulie Walnuts I've decided to make some changes. Maybe they will work and maybe not, but at least I feel like I am doing something important to my future.  This is kinda of my middle strategy, meaning I can't get into the high end market and I am not settling for "all things micro".  As far as video, it is already getting sh!t on by some agencies like BigStock and DT and FOTOLIA's infamous BUG. But it is still somewhat a healthier pathway than images I suspect. 



« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 11:50 by Mantis »


« Reply #117 on: January 11, 2015, 14:31 »
+3
He's a billionaire because he masterfully played the game of business and managed to make a fortune off of ordinary people. Bravo! Well played.

I can't quite manage a "bravo" for this guy, who's made a ton of money as a middleman by gaining control of a market and exploiting photographers around the world, grinding their margins to dust and causing many skilled and creative people to abandon the business.  Yes there is some skill in evidence here, but also a very large component of being in the right place at the right time.

We don't have a 'buyer's market', or a 'seller's market'.  What we have today is a 'middleman's market'.    Somehow, I don't feel this represents the original dream of the internet and crowdsourcing increasing opportunities for everyone. 


I look forward to a day when the photographic community finds ways to route around Shutterstock entirely.  That will get a 'bravo' from me.

The ultimate measure of a man is what he does with power and wealth as his true worth is built upon the legacy of his deeds.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one would never wish to live.

Greed flourishes by a thousand tiny surrenders to self seeking, selfishness, self interest.

« Reply #118 on: January 11, 2015, 14:45 »
+2
They haven't explicitly cut our earnings,
They did cut my earnings.  I referred a few people to sign up with the understanding that the referral income was forever.

Was this forever? Canisters for royalty rates?

Effective January 2011
Royalty rates will no longer be associated to your lifetime download totals, represented by the canister icons. Canisters will now be separate from royalty rates and continue to reflect total lifetime downloads (but they will no longer indicate royalty rates).

Thinkstock and IS subs seem to be at .28 forever, when do I get a raise? You want greed and selfishness.

Rinderart

« Reply #119 on: January 13, 2015, 01:47 »
+1
The turning point for me is when they took away my referral Money. I referred many Big players and did rather well for a long time. then Boom ...Gone. I will never forgive that.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #120 on: January 13, 2015, 04:52 »
+2
The turning point for me is when they took away my referral Money. I referred many Big players and did rather well for a long time. then Boom ...Gone. I will never forgive that.

But you are still uploading like a mad man, right?

Wow, I haven't seen sales Like this in I don't know how long. At least 16/18 Months. I hope others also. Sure feels good, Been Uploading Like a madman.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #121 on: January 13, 2015, 04:53 »
0
. No life without buyers.


No Shutterstock without our images.

That's true. But what else are you going to do with your images? Mine aren't good enough for those special sites. I certainly can't make nearly as much selling them on my own. There's no where to go with them.

Shutterstock has made me $35,000 richer just on its own. I wouldn't even being doing stock at all if it wasn't for that site.

This is a good, sound concern for the masses. Many of us really don't have other outlets outside of micro stock. I am learning several new things this year to help me move in a new direction and that is video.  I think I am also going to not sell the below kinds of images in micro stock anymore. They are just too expensive to get and some come with a lot of risk.  I think they will all be going to RM. I am also considering yanking all of my existing underwater work even on Alamy and reuploading it as RM if I can get away with it. It will be a big hit to my port size though.  But like Paulie Walnuts I've decided to make some changes. Maybe they will work and maybe not, but at least I feel like I am doing something important to my future.  This is kinda of my middle strategy, meaning I can't get into the high end market and I am not settling for "all things micro".  As far as video, it is already getting sh!t on by some agencies like BigStock and DT and FOTOLIA's infamous BUG. But it is still somewhat a healthier pathway than images I suspect.

I want to break into RM as well, just havent figured out a strategy yet, it is hard to not upload to Shutterstock to be honest.

Batman

« Reply #122 on: January 14, 2015, 00:53 »
0
The turning point for me is when they took away my referral Money. I referred many Big players and did rather well for a long time. then Boom ...Gone. I will never forgive that.

How do you make out on IS with referal and sales?

« Reply #123 on: January 14, 2015, 14:29 »
+1
i spoke too soon when i said ss sales were picking up... this month half gone is sllllloow as molasses .
not sure if it's just buyers not back from xmas new year off , or just back to bad.
with many of us looking to indie sales or RM , the only thing is there is no site that sells as regular as ss , as semmick admits.
until we find another site that can do such a market whether it is 30cts or 105bucks, i too cannot see me not uploading there even though sales of new works are slow (but picking up).

i guess we sank our own potential by getting rid of istock, didn't we?

« Reply #124 on: January 14, 2015, 14:34 »
0
They haven't explicitly cut our earnings,
They did cut my earnings.  I referred a few people to sign up with the understanding that the referral income was forever.

Was this forever? Canisters for royalty rates?

Effective January 2011
Royalty rates will no longer be associated to your lifetime download totals, represented by the canister icons. Canisters will now be separate from royalty rates and continue to reflect total lifetime downloads (but they will no longer indicate royalty rates).

Thinkstock and IS subs seem to be at .28 forever, when do I get a raise? You want greed and selfishness.
I didn't say iStock didn't cut rates or fotolia or 123rf or any other company.  My response was to the person claiming that Shutterstock had never done it cut earnings.  They have, that's the only point I was making.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 15:13 by tickstock »


 

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