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Author Topic: Oringer Blog: Why going exclusive as a microstock photographer doesnt work.  (Read 21459 times)

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« on: January 13, 2013, 11:25 »
+4
Interesting blog by Jon Oringer;

http://jonoringer.com/2013/01/13/why-going-exclusive-as-a-microstock-photographer-doesnt-work/

Good insight in this extract why SS appear to be winning the 'data war' over other microstock agencies;

"No longer is content the only competitive advantage, data is also a large component. To some this may not seem intuitive. We sell creative assets and at first glance one would think that having exclusive assets would be an advantage. We add over 10,000 images each day to our library of over 20 million images. Weve sold over a quarter of a billion assets over the past 9 years. We have an incredible amount of data on these downloads. We know what search leads to what image, and at this point we can practically read the users mind in 14 different languages. Shutterstock is the volume leader, and therefore we are the data leader. In several languages we use the data we have to display the best search results for any given query. We obsess over search success and if we can reduce the time it takes to get from search to download by a tenth of a second, we win that day. We iterate over and over and use whatever data we have to continuously find the best image for the customer. The best image for a given search isnt one that another agency doesnt have, its the one that will get chosen and downloaded. Out of over 20 million images, with 10,000 more each day, were likely to have the image you need. We believe that if we can get the right product to the buyer the buyer the quickest, we win in the end. Having exclusive royalty free content is of no advantage when a buyer is going to choose where to buy a photo its getting a relevant photo the quickest. To see the user of this data in action, go ahead and try a search on Shutterstock and compare it the same search on our competitors sites."


« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 11:32 »
+4
I think the element Jon didn't get - but I hope he now does is that this isn't just about hurting exclusive photographers.

I see this as a shot across Jon's bow in that long term, users won't pay for content they can get for free. Up until this Google deal a lot of the free images were demonstrably bad. Google Docs/Drive are being pitched to businesses - the same place Getty is strong and where Jon in the IPO materials noted he wanted Shutterstock to penetrate better. If Getty can halt Shutterstock's erosion of Getty's stronghold by making images free to end users and businesses, they perhaps hope they can vanquish Shutterstock when they couldn't by the first idea they thought of - Thinkstock

I'd like to get this threat (as I see it) on Jon's radar - I'll try commenting on his blog. The post is awating moderation, but here's what I wrote:

"Im already sold on Shutterstocks long term view. Im contributor 249 and am back as an independent contributor after a stint as an exclusive.

I see the recent deal between Getty and Google to put nearly 6,000 free stock images including many on Shutterstock and other agencies as a massively damaging move, not only to contributors but also to other agencies.

The images were stripped of copyright and any future earning power virtually gutted thats the damage to the copyright holders.

I see this move as a shot across Shutterstocks bow long term, users wont pay for content they can get for free. Google Docs/Drive are being pitched to businesses, apparently successfully, not just school kids putting together a report. Theres always been free content thats not very good, but this is best selling stuff from stock agencies. Now its only 6,000 images but Getty says theyre going to do more.

I want Shutterstock to continue to grow, as do a lot of other contributors who make very good money courtesy of your business idea and how youve nurtured it. I see this Getty Google deal as bad news for much more than just their remaining exclusive contributors"
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 19:48 by jsnover »

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 11:49 »
+1
He makes some good points. And the more GI/IS destroys the relationship with its contributor base the more people will agree and change their business model to independence. And more new contributors will avoid exclusivity.

Seeing that exclusive content seems to be GI/IS's key feature I wonder what content they plan on use to replace what they're losing.

lisafx

« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 11:56 »
+2
He makes some good points. And the more GI/IS destroys the relationship with its contributor base the more people will agree and change their business model to independence. And more new contributors will avoid exclusivity.

Seeing that exclusive content seems to be GI/IS's key feature I wonder what content they plan on use to replace what they're losing.

I think the Exclusive vs. Non issue has been put to bed by this Google deal.  I tend to agree with JoAnn that this move will destroy the market for stock photos. Whether IS exclusives stay exclusive or go indie doesn't really matter.  Any of us that have images on Istock are vulnerable, and even those who don't will be affected. 

« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 12:00 »
0
There are very good reasons to be exclusive or to have images exclusive to certain agencies. I posted the following in the obvious Facebook group:


exclusivity has one very large advantage (both imnage and artist exclusivity). it is much better to protect your IP if you know the file could have only been bought at agency xyz. I know I cant police the whole internet, but there is a certain amount of protection if you know that an image can only be licensed to registered buyers from a certain agency. which makes the current disaster so painful. the true usp to go istock exclusive, seems to have disappeared if the agency does not protect my ip, gives my files away for free, does not even inform me themselves if there is a problem and so far refuses to even tell me which of my files has been set free on the internet.

---

I firmly believe there are good arguments for agencies who have exclusive content and they can build a good following of customers who appreciate this.

« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 12:00 »
0
Very nicely put Jo Ann. It'll be interesting to see what Jon's response might be once he becomes aware of the potential threat to his own business.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 12:05 »
0
He makes some good points. And the more GI/IS destroys the relationship with its contributor base the more people will agree and change their business model to independence. And more new contributors will avoid exclusivity.

Seeing that exclusive content seems to be GI/IS's key feature I wonder what content they plan on use to replace what they're losing.

I think the Exclusive vs. Non issue has been put to bed by this Google deal.  I tend to agree with JoAnn that this move will destroy the market for stock photos. Whether IS exclusives stay exclusive or go indie doesn't really matter.  Any of us that have images on Istock are vulnerable, and even those who don't will be affected.

And that's why I'm evaluating other opportunities for earning money with photography. The future of stock and earnings model doesn't really seem to be headed in the right direction for contributors.

But for stock agencies, Google, and other businesses it's probably still a fantastic opportunity with plenty of room to make a fortune.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 12:06 »
+1
@ cobalt ~
You must have had better luck with iStock protecting your IP than I've had. Like I said elsewhere on this forum, I've still got two misused images that I've told them about multiple times still live on the web - one editorial file being used commercially, and one watermarked editorial file on an eBay seller's page.

The only slight consolation is that CR told me I'd have no personal liability for these misuses, but that might change if the owner of the content of the files ever sued. There's probably a clause in the ASA which they can interpret to mean I'd be on my own.

True, sometimes I've written to them and about two months later, the image is taken down. But when I've contacted people directly (which oddly they don't want us to do), they take it down immediately. The score for people legitimately buying a previously-misused file is 0 to me, 0 to CR.

« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 12:12 »
0
I firmly believe there are good arguments for agencies who have exclusive content and they can build a good following of customers who appreciate this.

I believe that only helps the agency in the long run, not contributors (indies or exclusives), when we are talking about an open market with many successful agencies and fair as Jon said its a much better deal to all of us, iStock is the perfect example to see how exclusivity is a failure even if some still do well, best match and different pricing over tons of collections are just few examples I can remember now, sure buyers want very good content but I don't think they want exclusives files because even exclusives files aren't exclusive because they are purchased by many buyers

« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2013, 12:21 »
+1
@sue,

istock promptly had two files removed when somebody uploaded them as their own content on different agencies as sellable stock. They were gone in less than 24hours.

And last year I found content from istock and getty being presented as personal content on flickr and available in large sizes and they got taken down very fast as well.

So yes, I have had very positive experiences with istock support for CE.

I really am a big fan of exclusivity, to me the offset in profits can easily be balanced by less legal costs.

Obviously this was before MS received my "promotional images" and spread them to UNREGISTERED buyers around the globe over 1.3 million times. I mean, did I even mention this before...and I am prepared to mention this over a million times until istock finally gives me a full list of files they have in the Microsoft deal.

It is completely unprofessional that it was contributors that alerted me to the free distribution and not my agent distributor. And it is totally unacceptable that they havent provided the affected artist with a full list of their files IMMEDIATLY when asked for. They should have told us years ago, when the deal went wrong and they realized they couldnt stop what happened.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 14:54 by jsnover »

« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2013, 12:51 »
-10
Total BS! its worked perfect for 30 years, most people here have only micro to compare with, thats all theyve done, thinking its the only photography there is.
The reason it doesnt work is because micro-agencies ABUSE! the exclusivity asd on both sides of the fence Esclusives and Indies.

You have to be a bit longer in the tooth, takes more then 7 years in micro to be able to compare or make a judgement and btw, how old is Oringer? has he been around in the REAL world of stock-agencies, not micro.

« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 12:52 »
+1
Here is one Jo Ann, a Schmid Christophe image of the swimmer Image ID: 38217505

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=38217505

Google
file: 93177937.jpg
copyright: n/a
photographer: Christophe Schmid

« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 12:57 by cmannphoto »

fritz

  • I love Tom and Jerry music

« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 12:55 »
+1
.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 13:52 by alexmk »

« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 13:02 »
+6
Total BS! its worked perfect for 30 years, most people here have only micro to compare with, thats all theyve done, thinking its the only photography there is.
The reason it doesnt work is because micro-agencies ABUSE! the exclusivity asd on both sides of the fence Esclusives and Indies.

You have to be a bit longer in the tooth, takes more then 7 years in micro to be able to compare or make a judgement and btw, how old is Oringer? has he been around in the REAL world of stock-agencies, not micro.

now Oringer means nothing? you need to stop complaining, really man! why don't you quit all micro agencies and leave us talking about micro? we are in a microstock forum ;D

« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2013, 13:05 »
+1
OK, Shutterstock is the volume leader, but they play only in the lower end of the market.
There is much more money to be made in stock photography. If they want stay a leader in the long term, they must play in all segments of the market as Getty does. There are buyers with projects that require photos with a higher production value and they are ready to pay for this.
I don't understand why they don't start a macro agency or buy an existing one.
Shutterstock has a very large customer base and among these buyers certainly there are some who also have projects requiring photos that are not available all over the internet.

Shutterstock could have a separate macro site with a different brand name. The search results from the macro site could be displayed on the main Shutterstock site e.g in a sidebar. The subscriber should have the option to deactivate the macro sidebar, so there is no confusion like on iStock and no need for filters.

There are many disappointed Getty contributors, so now would be a good time to step in. I don't understand why they are so complacent or play with some strange sites like the tutorials site, when they probably have the resources to challenge Getty in all segments.

Also, they need a fine-art site to compete with (Getty-owned?) art.com and allposters.com.
There is much more money in photography than selling low-cost tomatoes and handshakes.

« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2013, 13:15 »
-5
Total BS! its worked perfect for 30 years, most people here have only micro to compare with, thats all theyve done, thinking its the only photography there is.
The reason it doesnt work is because micro-agencies ABUSE! the exclusivity asd on both sides of the fence Esclusives and Indies.

You have to be a bit longer in the tooth, takes more then 7 years in micro to be able to compare or make a judgement and btw, how old is Oringer? has he been around in the REAL world of stock-agencies, not micro.

now Oringer means nothing? you need to stop complaining, really man! why don't you quit all micro agencies and leave us talking about micro? we are in a microstock forum ;D

Come on Luis. I know its micro but that doesnt mean conversations have to be lowered to kindergarden levels. Tho Op has only done micro but many here have experienced the good and great side of stock-photography and ofcourse we dont walk around with blindfolders.
Its all such dogmatic thinking and quite laughable actually.

best. Chris.


« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2013, 13:37 »
+3
Total BS! its worked perfect for 30 years, most people here have only micro to compare with, thats all theyve done, thinking its the only photography there is.
The reason it doesnt work is because micro-agencies ABUSE! the exclusivity asd on both sides of the fence Esclusives and Indies.

You have to be a bit longer in the tooth, takes more then 7 years in micro to be able to compare or make a judgement and btw, how old is Oringer? has he been around in the REAL world of stock-agencies, not micro.

now Oringer means nothing? you need to stop complaining, really man! why don't you quit all micro agencies and leave us talking about micro? we are in a microstock forum ;D

Come on Luis. I know its micro but that doesnt mean conversations have to be lowered to kindergarden levels. Tho Op has only done micro but many here have experienced the good and great side of stock-photography and ofcourse we dont walk around with blindfolders.
Its all such dogmatic thinking and quite laughable actually.

best. Chris.

the discussion here was never if we ever did RM or RF or RFF or RAA or RTC or RTZ, its about agencies offering exclusivity or not

« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2013, 13:58 »
-1
Total BS! its worked perfect for 30 years, most people here have only micro to compare with, thats all theyve done, thinking its the only photography there is.
The reason it doesnt work is because micro-agencies ABUSE! the exclusivity asd on both sides of the fence Esclusives and Indies.

You have to be a bit longer in the tooth, takes more then 7 years in micro to be able to compare or make a judgement and btw, how old is Oringer? has he been around in the REAL world of stock-agencies, not micro.

now Oringer means nothing? you need to stop complaining, really man! why don't you quit all micro agencies and leave us talking about micro? we are in a microstock forum ;D

Come on Luis. I know its micro but that doesnt mean conversations have to be lowered to kindergarden levels. Tho Op has only done micro but many here have experienced the good and great side of stock-photography and ofcourse we dont walk around with blindfolders.
Its all such dogmatic thinking and quite laughable actually.

best. Chris.

the discussion here was never if we ever did RM or RF or RFF or RAA or RTC or RTZ, its about agencies offering exclusivity or not

The blogg is called " why exclusivity doesnt work"  my point is, it does work and would work if it wasnt for certain agencies abusing it.
I mean thanks to IS, I would think just the very word Exclusivity would make most here go to the bathroom. The concept of exclusivity, the way it should be, should be a guarantee for its members to earn money. Thats what it used to be and still is within certain agencies.

Never mind. Its a waste to try and explain it but still.  :)

Reef

  • astonmars.com
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2013, 14:20 »
+1
The blogg is called " why exclusivity doesnt work"  my point is, it does work and would work if it wasnt for certain agencies abusing it.
I mean thanks to IS, I would think just the very word Exclusivity would make most here go to the bathroom. The concept of exclusivity, the way it should be, should be a guarantee for its members to earn money. Thats what it used to be and still is within certain agencies.

Never mind. Its a waste to try and explain it but still.  :)

You should practice what you preach. For many of us it has been the belief that by staying exclusive we were securing our work and the industry. It has always been disheartening to see established artists, like yourself, upload to multiple subscription agencies. Now IS appears to be fighting back by offering our work for next to nothing. Its a fight to the bottom and no one knows what will be left at the end.


« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2013, 14:38 »
0
The blogg is called " why exclusivity doesnt work"  my point is, it does work and would work if it wasnt for certain agencies abusing it.
I mean thanks to IS, I would think just the very word Exclusivity would make most here go to the bathroom. The concept of exclusivity, the way it should be, should be a guarantee for its members to earn money. Thats what it used to be and still is within certain agencies.

Never mind. Its a waste to try and explain it but still.  :)

You should practice what you preach. For many of us it has been the belief that by staying exclusive we were securing our work and the industry. It has always been disheartening to see established artists, like yourself, upload to multiple subscription agencies. Now IS appears to be fighting back by offering our work for next to nothing. Its a fight to the bottom and no one knows what will be left at the end.

I have been exclusive in the RM- Getty-house-collection, stones, image-bank, since 1993. I know what it means and its working perfectly.
Micro is a differant story. Difficult being exclusive in micro when every single Admin is thinking short-term profits, constantly changing sort-orders, killing off portfolios, etc.
How can you possibly secure your work in micro when at least 60% of tens of thousands do nothing but copy others work and the editors/reviewers seem to just love it, accepting it.
Exclusivity does work but not on a micro platform.

aspp

« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2013, 14:45 »
+1
The blogg is called " why exclusivity doesnt work"
Exclusivity does work but not on a micro platform.

The blog post is entitled "Why going exclusive as a microstock photographer doesnt work.

So you agree with him. Which bit is BS ?

Poncke

« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2013, 14:55 »
0
I think the element Jon didn't get - but I hope he now does is that this isn't just about hurting exclusive photographers.


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