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Author Topic: Success Lessons from a Marketplace Master (Jon Oringer)  (Read 27478 times)

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« Reply #100 on: March 23, 2014, 14:42 »
-1
:)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 06:59 by mike ledray »


farbled

« Reply #101 on: March 23, 2014, 14:44 »
+1

Are you fine with the relatively recent .16 cents then?

If they pay me a 16 cent commission, then no. Of course not. But it hasn't happened. If it does I will sell somewhere else. Until then, I'll keep going like I'm going. I've left enough agencies that try and screw us over, so I am careful with whom I deal with. So far, they've been upfront about pretty much everything. Certainly more than most others.

Ron

« Reply #102 on: March 23, 2014, 14:46 »
+1
I like my world to be simple, so I choose to ignore certain issues I am not able to change or have no interest in changing. The Shutterstock office location is one I choose to ignore.  I'll pick other battles to fight. Each to their own.

I am sure shutterstock will be happy with your response.  With so many of us willing to give them passes, it is no wonder they are charging as low as .16 cents per file to sell our images. If we do not value our own assets it is clear shutterstock will not either.

The files I generate are worth more and I expect shutterstock to protect their value and operate the company in a manner which provides a fair living wage for those of us who have supported their success. I am not fine with the recent drops for older contributors and you should not be either, none of us are new for ever.

I'm not getting the 16 thing either, to be honest. This year Shutterstock has blown past iStock in the average amount I earn per DL. So one company being located in Calgary has not helped me earn more the other being located in New York.

And to show a map where WalMart dominates in terms of profits...if you think Shutterstock is bad, then WalMart is evil incarnate. Talk about profiting at the expense of your employeesthe Waltons are the richest family in the world, and they got there by putting local businesses out of business and paying their employees subsistence wages. Being based in Arkansas hasn't helped their employees any.

It is really not difficult to understand that if shutterstock/bigstock charges customers .16 cents per image or even less for team subscriptions there will be less $$$$$$ to contribute toward contributor royalties.  How low is too low for you guys?  Will .000001 cents be too low? That is where we are headed.
Its all relative, I dont have images on BS, so my images are not sold for 16 cent. Dragging in the 16 cent from another agency shows your arguing tactics. I dont care for that. Thats why I didnt understand the 16 cent, we are talking about SS here. Lisa makes a VERY good point, which I had in mind as well. Who are we to tell Shutterstock where to set up office?

My images are sold on SS, and the cheapest price is 24 euro cent, I get 36 dollar cent, or 110% royalty.  ;)


« Reply #103 on: March 23, 2014, 14:47 »
-1
:)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 06:59 by mike ledray »

« Reply #104 on: March 23, 2014, 14:55 »
+4
Many agencies are offering files "from 15 cents" to customers, but still pay out a regular subs royalty to their artists. This is possible because the average customer never maximises their download option. This has been the case since subscription sites started, so I really dont understand what is new about that. It is an over 10 year old phenomenon.

Getty/istock are the ones that pay out 0.001 cent with their connect program, now offer 35 million expensive files for free and have just announced a subs program that is much lower than all the other sites.

They also kicked their exclusives badly, first they take away their option to send content to PP where they would have received 42-46 cents citing "we only want to offer our exclusive artists upstream options" but then they bring the subs to istock with a subs royalty that is even lower then what SS pays out for indie content.

And the exclusives never produced that content for the subs market. They have absolutely no choice.

So if you want to worry about low subs royalties, I would suggest we all return to the istock thread about subs. Because that is the place where everyones income will be dropping soon - for both exclusives and the indies.

If they aggressively market their subs program we are all guaranteed to lose money. And the exclusives will be hit hardest.

ETA: just talk to fotolia artist that are either fully exclusive or have exclusive content there and had those files opted out of subs. Ask them what happened when subs where introduced on all content and how it affected their income.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 15:06 by cobalt »

« Reply #105 on: March 23, 2014, 15:01 »
0
I am anything but fine with the sales drops that I and other mature portfolios are seeing on SS.  Do I for one second think that is a result of their office location?  Nope. The sites located in backwaters" less cosmopolitan areas" are making me, and most of us LESS!

But really, all that is totally beside the point.  I just think it takes some serious [email protected] to think that selling a few k images through a website entitles any of us to dictate where the owners and employees have to live.  Unbelievable, really.

Lisa you have always been a voice of reason, however I think you are missing my intended point entirely. I think it takes some serious [email protected] to think that shutterstock contributors should shoulder the cost of content production without price of living adjustments. It also takes some serious [email protected] for a profitable company to keep pricing stagnant for 9 years without raising prices so that shutterstock could gain market share.

If shutterstock wants to keep pricing low to gain market share, they should be the ones making the financial sacrifices, not us! And they could easily do that by making a few changes; as many companies who have far more revenue than shutterstock have done.

I do not begrudge the company nice office space, I do take issue with the choices they have made to take market share and profit at the expense of our assets.  The point that seems to have gone over a few heads is that it would be a win win for everyone if shutterstock chose to reduce unnecessary expenses and moving to a more cost effective business location would be "one" way to do that.

You are a true Brain Washed Liberal aren't you?
I bet you are for the NoBama Minimum Wage raising issue aren't you? How about the Mandatory Health Care Fiasco?

I can only imagine you are serious about "Spreading the wealth"
LOL!
Go start your own business from nothing, build it up with your hard work into something substantial, then see how you feel when some Whining Little School Girl cries that its "not fair" that someone is making more money they he is!
Oh the humanity.

Again take control over your own actions instead of waiting for someone to rescue you and make it fair for you because you say so.

Geesh

Mike carry on pimping pink flea stained pooches and gushing hyperbole about your earnings and profitable new business.   You may be fooling yourself but very few of us buy your schtick.


« Reply #106 on: March 23, 2014, 15:07 »
+1
Many agencies are offering files "from 15 cents" to customers, but still pay out a regular subs royalty to their artists. This is possible because the average customer never maximises their download option. This has been the case since subscription sites started, so I really dont understand what is new about that. It is an over 10 year old phenomenon.

Getty/istock are the ones that pay out 0.001 cent with their connect program, now offer 35 million expensive files for free and have just announced a subs program that is much lower than all the other sites.

They also kicked their exclusives badly, first they take away their option to send content to PP where they would have received 42-46 cents citing "we only want to offer our exclusive artists upstream options" but then they bring the subs to istock with a subs royalty that is even lower then what SS pays out for indie content.

And the exclusives never produced that content for the subs market. They have absolutely no choice.

So if you want to worry about low subs royalties, I would suggest we all return to the istock thread about subs. Because that is the place where everyones income will be dropping soon - for both exclusives and the indies.

If they aggressively market their subs program we are all guaranteed to lose money. And the exclusives will be hit hardest.


And they are doing this in response to????  Even the wall street SSTK analyst can see why this has been happening. If the analyst can ask hard questions of SSTK when we have more invested; then why do we have such a hard time recognizing market cause and effect in action?

« Reply #107 on: March 23, 2014, 15:25 »
+1
I'm not sure where you got that insinuation. Hope it wasn't from me.


I think it was the general comments about relocating to the middle of nowhere from a few people. I didn't take it personal though. I thought it was funny. I guess I'm never sure what countries people are from and how they picture America. I just learned about American parties the other day and I'm still laughing about that.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/this-is-what-american-parties-look-like-around-the-world?bffb

I bet you are for the NoBama Minimum Wage raising issue aren't you? How about the Mandatory Health Care Fiasco?

I'd like free healthcare. Are you giving it out? I have to pay for my Obamacare.


farbled

« Reply #108 on: March 23, 2014, 15:28 »
+3
I still don't see it. My commissions haven't been affected at all by all this stuff you're posting. In fact, SODs and ODs have increased for me, plus a few more ELs. So I can't agree with you. I have never seen a 16 cent commission from SS and I don't expect that I will. As far as office space goes, if I sold pots and pans, I wouldn't expect to have a say where Walmart's HQ was located. It means absolutely nothing to me unless or until they say they are lowering my $$ to pay for floorspace.

I just don't think you think of a supplier the same way I do. I have no connection except that they sell my stuff for them. If they do it badly, I'll go somewhere else. Until then, I'm good as is.

« Reply #109 on: March 23, 2014, 16:11 »
-3
 :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 06:59 by mike ledray »

« Reply #110 on: March 23, 2014, 16:11 »
+8
I find this whole thing bizarre. I mean, it's not as if they have borrowed billions to pay themselves bonuses that they never earned and are now squeezing commissions to try to pay off interest on loans that they really can't afford, is it? That would be something to shout about. But they've just got some office space that their business model enables them to rent - and maybe it even makes them more money than it costs.

Commissions and office space seem to me to be unrelated issues.


« Reply #111 on: March 23, 2014, 16:14 »
-2
 :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 07:00 by mike ledray »

Ron

« Reply #112 on: March 23, 2014, 16:25 »
+2
I find this whole thing bizarre. I mean, it's not as if they have borrowed billions to pay themselves bonuses that they never earned and are now squeezing commissions to try to pay off interest on loans that they really can't afford, is it? That would be something to shout about. But they've just got some office space that their business model enables them to rent - and maybe it even makes them more money than it costs.

Commissions and office space seem to me to be unrelated issues.
Agree.

As said earlier, there are a lot of things we can worry about, office space isnt one of them.

It has turned into nitpicking over everything SS does, and trying to turn it into a negative. It doesnt even help with/support the agenda some contributors have about addressing real Shutterstock issues.

« Reply #113 on: March 23, 2014, 16:28 »
+2
"And they are doing this in response to????  Even the wall street SSTK analyst can see why this has been happening. If the analyst can ask hard questions of SSTK when we have more invested; then why do we have such a hard time recognizing market cause and effect in action?"


istock is not doing anything in response to SS. They could have grown Thinkstock to overtake SS if they had really wanted to.

35 million free files, no more 20% E+/P+ files you can choose yourself, no longer migrating istock exclusive content to getty, no RCs to be paid out for subs, subs royalties that are much lower for exclusives than what indies are paid for at any other sub site...

What does any of that have to do with SS?? Or the rent SS pays?

The indie artists have always known that if they supply SS or any other agency that has subscriptions, they have to produce content for high volume sales.

But on istock the exclusive artist created content that was never designated for subs. However, they have no way of opting out of subs.

Do you really believe opting content that is not specifically created for the subs market will be a successful move? That this will turn the fate of istock around and return them to being the market leader?

All the independent artists and also all the regular Getty house artists make distinctions between content for high volume subs sites, and specialised content for midstock, macro or simply for higher prices. There is a reason we make that distinction.

And SS obviously offered the customers the most attractive selection from the content uploaded, they found the perfect balance between price and content and service the customers expect.

Getty is now throwing everything they have without any discrimination at the customer. They also accept any content to istock, no more quality control.

Again...what has SS to do with these decisions istock makes?? They are just the scapegoat they like to blame, while they try out new "exciting" ideas every 6 months.

But maybe they can convince investors and make a few more billions when Getty gets sold. But since they are probably not going to give us 20% of the sales price, we just have to focus on the agencies that show success in selling licenses - stocksy,offset,shutter stock,fotolia,pond5,symbiostock.

And 4 of those are not racing to the bottom - they are either pushing for higher prices or allow you to set your own prices. So inspite of customers being able to buy files for 15 cents at some agencies, the last 12 months have shown a very interesting shift in the market for higher prices for quality content.

If you believe your content should be sold for higher prices and not subs, just focus your energy on the agencies that offer that.

Have you applied to stocksy or Offset? These agencies can totally protect your content from subs if that is what you really want. No free image viewer for unregistered users either.

Or just push your symbiostock store. Hard work but all the rewards are yours.

But none of the above is affected by the rent paid for offices in New York by any agency. And who knows - Getty has offices around the globe in all the expensive cities - maybe their combined costs are even higher?

Maybe istock could afford to pay out RCs for subs if they closed their office in London. Isnt pond5 in New York as well? Maybe they could pay out 60% if they relocated....I just dont see the connection...
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 18:49 by cobalt »

« Reply #114 on: March 23, 2014, 16:41 »
0
"And they are doing this in response to????  Even the wall street SSTK analyst can see why this has been happening. If the analyst can ask hard questions of SSTK when we have more invested; then why do we have such a hard time recognizing market cause and effect in action?"


istock is not doing anything in response to SS.

He is talking about this question:
Brian Fitzgerald - Jefferies

When you guys think of the rev share agreements with contributors, there are competitors out there that have more generous revenue shares. Can you -- would that tend to impact or take share from you guys over the course of time or can you talk about how that dynamic is panning out? And then, it seems like guys have been driving down pricing among your major competitors. They're now trying to price match. Have you seen any real impact from that thus far? Thanks.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2037843-shutterstocks-ceo-discusses-q4-2013-results-earnings-call-transcript?page=6

Ron

« Reply #115 on: March 23, 2014, 16:46 »
+3
Gbalex is with Shutterstock since 2004 or sometime in the early days, offering his images for sub prices, 10 years later it is Shutterstocks fault. As for the argument that there havent been any raises since then, shutterstock paid 20 cent per image, and nothing else. Thats an RPD of 20 cent. People these days report an RPD of 50-100 cent or more. Thats roughly 200-400 percent more.

http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=135769

Also:
Shutterstock Earnings:
2004 - $0.20
http://web.archive.org/web/20041103054525/http://submit.shutterstock.com/faq.mhtml#23

2008 April - $0.25 (25% raise) + introduction of $0.30 and $20 EL
http://web.archive.org/web/20080415045654/http://submit.shutterstock.com/earnings_schedule.mhtml?

2008 July - $0.25 or $0.33 (10% raise) and $28 EL (40% raise) + Introduction of $0.36 and $0.38
http://web.archive.org/web/20080709054042/http://submit.shutterstock.com/earnings_schedule.mhtml

2008 September - $0.25 $0.33 $0.36 $0.38 and $28 EL + Introduction of ODDs $0.81 to $2.85
http://web.archive.org/web/20080901004029/http://submit.shutterstock.com/earnings_schedule.mhtml

2011 October  - $0.25 $0.33 $0.36 $0.38 and $28 EL and ODDs $0.81 to $2.85 + introduction of SODs 20% to 30% of sale price. People reporting royalties of over $230
http://web.archive.org/web/20111029071122/http://submit.shutterstock.com/earnings_schedule.mhtml

http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=131653



« Reply #116 on: March 23, 2014, 17:37 »
+2
You guys are doing a great job of coming up with reasons your hard work and investments should not be earning a fair return.

Congratulations you seem to be more than willing to give the sites a free pass to pay us less. Microstock is the only business model where you will find folks arguing against a raise. The microstock free pass phenomenon resembles a useful metaphor for a destructive type of human behaviour.

If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out.

However if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite happily. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death. An example of the smiling-boiled-frog phenomenon, is provided by our own business model. When we slipped into the microstock cauldron, the water was a perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. At that time we could actually make money from photos on our hard drives taken with inexpensive point and shoot cameras ~ sans studio equipment.

As the water in the cauldron slowly heated and microstock prices stayed stagnant or dropped; we frogs needed to pay for and produce far more content at much higher quality to compete. Our production expenses have gone up without commensurate compensation; yet we feel nothing but a pleasant warmth, and indeed in the beginning that's all there was to feel.

A long time has to pass before the water begins to be dangerously hot, and this is especially true for sites which offer carrots in the form of longer new contributor bumps. For fully half of our microstock history, the signs of distress were less noticeable. The period was a productive time for us and centered around creativity, personal income and community building. But gradually, imperceptibly, signs of distress began to appear, like tiny bubbles at the bottom of a pot.

If we take off our blinders we can perceive the signs of stress and see that the fire that was fervently burning under the cauldron. It's been burning there since the beginning, was burning after 10+ years and is burning today in exactly the same way it has been the last 8 years. Microstock was and is the great heating element for the crowd sourced revolution and unless we step up to protect our interests; the only winners will be the wall street robber barons.


So yes lets offer them more free passes and ignore the fact that the water is scalding hot & the fire is burning under the cauldron. Lets just mop our brows, grind our teeth, produce more at greater quality and cost to our bottom lines. Let us give up on our work and our passion and say there is nothing we can do about it "It Is All Good, Isn't It Great"

I have said more than my fair share on the topic. We have not had a raise in since 2008. Feel free to give the sites a pass and argue on about why we do not deserve fair compensation for our work. I will put a fork in it for now!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 17:47 by gbalex »


Ron

« Reply #117 on: March 23, 2014, 17:44 »
+2
My word, this is not about not wanting a raise, this is about a Manhattan office. You say there hasnt been a raise, I say there were plenty.

You are complaining your work isnt valued, but you value your own work when putting it on a sub site. You started out by getting 20 cents, and now you get 25 cents to 120 dollar.

If your work is that good, and high valued, how about applying to OFFSet?

I honestly dont see why you keep bringing it up,  YOU devalue your own work.


farbled

« Reply #118 on: March 23, 2014, 18:29 »
+3
meh, never mind
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 18:37 by farbled »

lisafx

« Reply #119 on: March 23, 2014, 18:51 »
+4

Lisa you have always been a voice of reason, however I think you are missing my intended point entirely. I think it takes some serious [email protected] to think that shutterstock contributors should shoulder the cost of content production without price of living adjustments. It also takes some serious [email protected] for a profitable company to keep pricing stagnant for 9 years without raising prices so that shutterstock could gain market share.

If shutterstock wants to keep pricing low to gain market share, they should be the ones making the financial sacrifices, not us! And they could easily do that by making a few changes; as many companies who have far more revenue than shutterstock have done.

I do not begrudge the company nice office space, I do take issue with the choices they have made to take market share and profit at the expense of our assets.  The point that seems to have gone over a few heads is that it would be a win win for everyone if shutterstock chose to reduce unnecessary expenses and moving to a more cost effective business location would be "one" way to do that.

I totally agree with everything you said above, and not for the first time :) . My only point of disagreement is concerning the city in which they are headquartered.   I just don't think it's relevant.  If anything, the idea they should move to a cheaper locale reminds me of all the companies that have been "offshoring" and the devastating effects that can have on the economies of developed areas.  I think it's wrong of companies to take advantage of the infrastructures, advancements, and talent pool of an area, and then when they are successful, to take the wealth generated and go somewhere they can escape paying taxes and a decent wage. 

So basically, I equate using contributors and then screwing them over with using a group of employees and a community and then screwing it over as two sides of the same greedy coin.  I see Jon's loyalty to his hometown as a sign of ethical behavior.

My only other area of disagreement is the notion that any money saved by a relocation will EVER end up in contributor's pockets.  SS is already more than profitable enough to give us a raise if they were so inclined, but I don't see that as likely when they are busy lining shareholder's pockets.

lisafx

« Reply #120 on: March 23, 2014, 18:57 »
+3
PS, I think a raise from all the sites, including Shutterstock is waaaay overdue, and would never argue otherwise.

« Reply #121 on: March 23, 2014, 18:57 »
0
You say there hasnt been a raise, I say there were plenty.
Wooyay!?

« Reply #122 on: March 23, 2014, 19:03 »
-1
My word, this is not about not wanting a raise, this is about a Manhattan office. You say there hasnt been a raise, I say there were plenty.

You are complaining your work isnt valued, but you value your own work when putting it on a sub site. You started out by getting 20 cents, and now you get 25 cents to 120 dollar.

If your work is that good, and high valued, how about applying to OFFSet?

I honestly dont see why you keep bringing it up,  YOU devalue your own work.


Give it a rest. Here is Yuris favorite photo in his gallery in 2005.  I think the bar has been raised a bit since then and you are talking apples to caviar.  The discussion is not even apples to oranges. There is no comparison in the quality of 2005 image standards to those sold today.

What's your favorite picture in your gallery?

http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=58793&highlight=#58793

Another example of image quality from one of microstocks most successful contributors at that time
http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=56402&highlight=#56402

And here are Yuris 2005 thoughts on SS's new image quality bar.

Snip

This sites image standards has to balance with payout prices for quality pictures.

As it is now, criteria for getting images approved have accelerated to a much stricter level but the payout is the same as before.

Development in picture quality standards should guide payouts pr picture!

http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=54821&highlight=#54821

« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 19:17 by gbalex »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #123 on: March 23, 2014, 19:17 »
0
Oh, I see they learned about IP during the intervening time!

« Reply #124 on: March 23, 2014, 19:21 »
+1
Nobody is forcing you to invest more in your production if you cannot make it work financially.

When Yuri realised his productions costs where not suitable for the subs market he made a deal with Getty and moved his content to a market suitable for the value. He could have also decided to scale down his production, work with a smaller team and keep things going steady on the micros. But he had other plans and it seems to work out for him.


Maybe going exclusive with istock or working directly with Getty House is a better choice for you. Have you considered that?


Nobody is against a raise, at any agency.But the 28 dollar or 120 dollar downloads are real money. So what is wrong with getting more of those? Or do you not get them?

What exacty do you want? 39 cents instead of 38? 40 cents? 42??

And what kind of new level do you want? 40 cents when you reach 50 000 dollars? 42 for 100 000? 60 cents for people who reach 1 million dollars??

At which level of subs payment will you be able to make it work again financially?

In a perfect world - what kind of sub payment do you want to receive??
 


 

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