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Commission change - James West comments

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7 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

If Alamy has started to lose money we are screwed anyway.

 

So does that justify exacerbating Alamy's problems by setting restrictions and annoying buyers? With 395 images I suppose you wouldn't be as "screwed" as those with large portfolios who rely on them as a major source of income. Luckily I'm not in the category, but I have sympathies with those that are.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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2 hours ago, BobPhoto said:

Sorry but you make no sense as you just said before that what is important for you is to get your images published, even for free, and now you say nothing under 50% is fair... There is no "objective fairness", for me it is fair that agency bring me enough money each month whatever the commission rate. I don't know if it was you who made the example about people refusing free money if the other one get more, actually in economic theory, this is an example of irrational thinking and a deviation of "homo economicus"...


No, there's nothing irrational about it. If no contributor had ever accepted less than 50%, we would not be in this situation now, where Getty just pays 20%.

Last year I had two tickets for a British band called "Depeche Mode". I had bought them for a friend of mine for 107 Euros each, but as she could not go, I tried to sell them in front of the stadium before the concert. I waited there four hours with a sign "2x Front of stage, 80 Euros each". 80 Euros were my red line for selling tickets I had paid 107 Euros each for. The highest offer I got was 80 Euros for both tickets, so 40 for each. So I decided to not sell them at all, because I did not like the idea that someone visits a concert, he pays 40 Euros and I pay 67 Euros for his ticket. Some friends told be that even that 80 Euros that were offered to me were still 80 Euros more than nothing. That is the kind of thinking of a homo economicus, but not a rational kind of thinking. I am just not willing to finance a concert visit of someone I do not know with 67 Euros out of my own pocket.

Of course I could also have used one of the tickets myself as I was already there, but I did not like that band very much and I prefer seats instead of "front of stage".

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9 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

If Alamy has started to lose money we are screwed anyway.

2018 is a high-water mark for revenue. Three years of growth has it near $30 million/yr. Donations to James' uncle's charity are high. James stated that growth for this year is looking like 2%, not high enough for him. They're not losing money, they think they have to take action and the money comes from us.

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2 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


No, there's nothing irrational about it. If no contributor had ever accepted less than 50%, we would not be in this situation now, where Getty just pays 20%.

 

 

True, but it's a bit late for that now, don't you think?

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1 hour ago, Richard Baker said:

 

I've always wondered why there wasn't a hierarchical commission for those with more in the pot. Newbies start with a lower rate - then, the more you upload and show a commitment for, the better the terms. My impression is that those who never build a sizeable collection aren't ever going to be making quality work worthy of better rewards.

 

So I would like to know at what number of pictures reached will Alamy take your call about a different contract.


Benefits for contributors with many images would just lead to people uploading more photos. I can walk around a building, take 100 photos of it and upload them all to Alamy. Does that really benefit anybody? I prefer uploading only a few photos per building. Sometimes only a single one.

I  am a member of a website about building data which had ranked the "most active members". There was also a ranking of the people with "most uploaded photos". Some people wanted to be on top of that list and uploaded tons of ugly photos.

Quality is more important than quality. The CTR could be a good measurement for a bonus. That would discourage people from uploading bad photos with wrong keywords.

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2 minutes ago, KevinS said:

2018 is a high-water mark for revenue. Three years of growth has it near $30 million/yr. Donations to James' uncle's charity are high. James stated that growth for this year is looking like 2%, not high enough for him. They're not losing money, they think they have to take action and the money comes from us.

 

How do you they haven't started losing money? Are there some more recent figures somewhere?

Profitability in 2017 was 9% (see https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03807789/filing-history) so it wouldn't take much of a swing in sales or costs to give problems. I see Alamy's latest move as a desperate step rather than a money grab. Maybe I'm naive. :unsure:

 

Mark

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5 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

So does that justify exacerbating Alamy's problems by setting restrictions and annoying buyers? With 395 images I suppose you wouldn't be as "screwed" as those with large portfolios who rely on them as a major source of income. Luckily I'm not in the category, but I have sympathies with those that are.

 

Mark

If Alamy situation is that bad screwing us won't save them in the first place - and any action taken by restricting images is not going to be the reason it dies it might slightly speed it up.  If we assume Alamy are that badly in the crapper that the only way they can stay in the black is to cut back on suppliers by 20% you can bet your ass buyers are already annoyed.

As for how screwed I am with my little port - maybe not in the immediate future but seeing as I am desperately trying to find a way I can at least semi support myself rather than being entirely dependent on the goodwill of the government actually the impact is significant enough.  Like everyone else here I am going to have to adapt the best I can - and my way is not to stick limits on what is here, nor delete what is here, but to start finding other outlets who may be able to get me a bigger or at least equal return.  

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6 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

What is that minimum fee?

Not sure, but isn't it pennies

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9 minutes ago, KevinS said:

2018 is a high-water mark for revenue. Three years of growth has it near $30 million/yr. Donations to James' uncle's charity are high. James stated that growth for this year is looking like 2%, not high enough for him. They're not losing money, they think they have to take action and the money comes from us.

I am aware of that - tone just does not come across in typing lol

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1 hour ago, JeffGreenberg said:

If three are checked, which is the one unchecked choice which leaves the highest minimum licensing fee possible?

#1 or #2?  What is that minimum fee?  Are there other licenses unrelated to these four choices?

(as to Alamy currently losing $$, others are reporting opposite in these threads over & over)

ultimately it boils down to:

a. one protests & counter-offers

b. one is fatalist & submits

c. one is financially shaky & must submit

 

 

a. Great idea (e.g. 45%) but what to back counter-offer with? Most of us don't have the leverage that you have, Jeff. Plus only a handful of the 7444 forum members (not to mention 30+ K other contributors out there somewhere) have apparently chimed in on the reduced commission topic, so adding draconian image-use restrictions sounds counter-productive to me.

 

b. Acceptance (sounds less harsh than fatalism) -- but not without expressed dislike and dissatisfaction -- may be the only realistic course. Alamy will remain the best deal in town, even after the commission drop,  by the sounds of it.

 

c. One is and one must.

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell

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I have been following the threads with great interest over the last few days and, while I agree with the great majority of comments denigrating the cuts that  are being made to our commission rates and the manner in which they were presented I personally think Alamy has bigger problems than just alienating it’s contributors. I have a modest collection of just over 12,000 images placed with Alamy which nonetheless represents a large investment in time and effort in getting them up and 2018 has been my best year in terms of pure numbers of sales - but not in terms of revenue earned. I have been a contributor since 2002 so have seen pretty much all the changes to our contract over the years. The drop to below 50% may well prove to be a cut-off point for me.

 

However, I mentioned that I believe Alamy has bigger issues.

 

The first of these is the sheer number of images now available, of which, again in my humble opinion, many are of relatively poor quality. Quality control of uploaded images seems to have become an afterthought. 

 

Added to this is the extremely poor and often inaccurate captioning and keywording of so many images. Photo buyers cannot be too impressed in having to wade through pages of images that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject they are researching and smacks of a level of amateurism that should not be present in a company that wants to see itself in the top tier of image suppliers. 

 

Then I ask myself how much research and development time and money has been spent on the ‘new initiatives’ we have recently seen, namely ‘what should I shoot’ and ‘my portfolio’ - should I mention the word amateurish again? I don’t believe for one minute that either of these initiatives will help me sell a single image license?

 

Alamy seems to be encouraging more and more photographers to join the ranks, diluting the work of it’s existing photographers, and making licensing an image even more difficult, not because these people are supplying better images but because the best images for any given subject are now so difficult to find. If a new photographer is supplying better or unique images that’s great, more power to them, but please no newbies supplying yet more mediocre photography, again it comes back to a much higher standard of quality control. 

 

Maybe, by tightening the existing image stocks and improving image quality and keywording, of new submissions it would encourage more photo buyers to the site, who would be prepared to pay better prices for licenses because they don’t have to spend as much time finding what they want and subsequently Alamy’s bottom line would improve, or am I just being naive? I think not. As a professional photographer for nearly 40 years, covering major sports events for clients worldwide, including Olympics and world championships I have survived by supplying quality images and not rubbish!

 

Finally, to return to the subject of the thread, professionals should not accept less that 50% for the use of their creative works. This being the very reason I choose Alamy as the place my images. 

 

Edited by PeterLL
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45 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


No, there's nothing irrational about it. If no contributor had ever accepted less than 50%, we would not be in this situation now, where Getty just pays 20%.

Last year I had two tickets for a British band called "Depeche Mode". I had bought them for a friend of mine for 107 Euros each, but as she could not go, I tried to sell them in front of the stadium before the concert. I waited there four hours with a sign "2x Front of stage, 80 Euros each". 80 Euros were my red line for selling tickets I had paid 107 Euros each for. The highest offer I got was 80 Euros for both tickets, so 40 for each. So I decided to not sell them at all, because I did not like the idea that someone visits a concert, he pays 40 Euros and I pay 67 Euros for his ticket. Some friends told be that even that 80 Euros that were offered to me were still 80 Euros more than nothing. That is the kind of thinking of a homo economicus, but not a rational kind of thinking. I am just not willing to finance a concert visit of someone I do not know with 67 Euros out of my own pocket.

Of course I could also have used one of the tickets myself as I was already there, but I did not like that band very much and I prefer seats instead of "front of stage".

So you lost €214 instead of recouping €80 and losing €134. "Not a rational kind of thinking"?

Edited by spacecadet
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11 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

So you lost €214 instead of recouping €80 and losing €134. "Not a rational kind of thinking"?


You have to look at the other side. With those €134 I would have paid for two concert tickets that two other people use.

I also do not sell my old camera gear. I have an old DSLR that had cost me €3499 when I bought it. Now I could get something between €300 and €400, but I would never sell a camera for €400 that I had paid €3499 for although I don't have any use for that old camera. Selling it would feel like losing €3099 instead of getting €400.

Edited by Skyscraperfan

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9 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

a. Great idea (e.g. $45) but what to back counter-offer with? Most of us don't have the leverage that you have, Jeff. Plus only a handful of the 7444 forum members (not to mention 30+ K other contributors out there somewhere) have apparently chimed in on the reduced commission topic, so adding draconian image-use restrictions sounds counter-productive to me.

 

b. Acceptance (sounds less harsh than fatalism) -- but not without expressed dislike -- may be the only realistic course. Alamy will remain the best deal in town, even after the commission drop,  by the sounds of it.

 

c. One is and one must.

 

 

 

No it isnt - I and several other contributors have been trying our best, with the restrictions on posting, to make this information widely available.

There is an agency which offers graduated fees from 25% to 50% on non-exclusive images - the first sale of each image is 25%  up to 50% for the 5th and subsequant sales of that image.  If you make the image exclusive to them the rates are 27.5% up to 55%.  If a contributor signs themselves up as exclusive they get 60% plus bonuses.   They offer extended licencing up to £5000 an image - or you set your own price (no I have no idea if they sell any at that price).  The downsides are they are more micro than stock and most of their sales are going to be single figure - but at that they sell more often and with a 69 image port I have had more sales there in the time I have been here and focusing on here (for greater amounts than my Alamy sale as well).  Not sure whether you would consider it positive or negative but they are American - and have some significant British holes suppliers can fill up.

Other contributors have located other agencies who also have rates exceeding Alamy - OK so they are not the same as Alamy and will all have varying demands and results but the fact of the matter is there are agencies out there offering 50/50 or higher splits that are selling more than Alamy and seeing bigger payments than Alamy.  "Alamy is the best deal in town" is a myth - and one costing us dear, because it is causing people to accept the cut without looking around rather than objecting and looking elsewhere.

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8 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

No it isnt - I and several other contributors have been trying our best, with the restrictions on posting, to make this information widely available.

There is an agency which offers graduated fees from 25% to 50% on non-exclusive images - the first sale of each image is 25%  up to 50% for the 5th and subsequant sales of that image.  If you make the image exclusive to them the rates are 27.5% up to 55%.  If a contributor signs themselves up as exclusive they get 60% plus bonuses.   They offer extended licencing up to £5000 an image - or you set your own price (no I have no idea if they sell any at that price).  The downsides are they are more micro than stock and most of their sales are going to be single figure - but at that they sell more often and with a 69 image port I have had more sales there in the time I have been here and focusing on here (for greater amounts than my Alamy sale as well).  Not sure whether you would consider it positive or negative but they are American - and have some significant British holes suppliers can fill up.

Other contributors have located other agencies who also have rates exceeding Alamy - OK so they are not the same as Alamy and will all have varying demands and results but the fact of the matter is there are agencies out there offering 50/50 or higher splits that are selling more than Alamy and seeing bigger payments than Alamy.  "Alamy is the best deal in town" is a myth - and one costing us dear, because it is causing people to accept the cut without looking around rather than objecting and looking elsewhere.

 

I think I can identify the 'sleepy' agency of which you speak. I have a legacy portfolio of about 200 RF images on each of the main microstock sites, which have been there about five years now. The two main agencies pull in about $20 per month from this remnant portfolio. The agency which you refer to here, with essentially the same portfolio as the two big agencies, has earned me precisely  $17.54 in five years and I expect to earn enough to cash out sometime around 2030.  I'm not saying everybody else will have the same experience as me, it may be that this particular microstock agency will reward someone who commits exclusively to it. What I am saying though, is that on the basis of my own experience, I think I am better off here, even at 40%.  I certainly would not contemplate exclusivity anywhere in microstock.

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38 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

No it isnt - I and several other contributors have been trying our best, with the restrictions on posting, to make this information widely available.

There is an agency which offers graduated fees from 25% to 50% on non-exclusive images - the first sale of each image is 25%  up to 50% for the 5th and subsequant sales of that image.  If you make the image exclusive to them the rates are 27.5% up to 55%.  If a contributor signs themselves up as exclusive they get 60% plus bonuses.   They offer extended licencing up to £5000 an image - or you set your own price (no I have no idea if they sell any at that price).  The downsides are they are more micro than stock and most of their sales are going to be single figure - but at that they sell more often and with a 69 image port I have had more sales there in the time I have been here and focusing on here (for greater amounts than my Alamy sale as well).  Not sure whether you would consider it positive or negative but they are American - and have some significant British holes suppliers can fill up.

Other contributors have located other agencies who also have rates exceeding Alamy - OK so they are not the same as Alamy and will all have varying demands and results but the fact of the matter is there are agencies out there offering 50/50 or higher splits that are selling more than Alamy and seeing bigger payments than Alamy.  "Alamy is the best deal in town" is a myth - and one costing us dear, because it is causing people to accept the cut without looking around rather than objecting and looking elsewhere.

 

Interesting. I admit to not having done much research into the alternatives. As mentioned by others, I think that Alamy should consider some kind of sliding commission scale -- say 35%, 45% and 50% bands -- for contributors, perhaps based on reaching set sales thresholds. It might help lift morale and increase motivation in these difficult times.

 

e.g.

 

newbies -- 35% or 40% band

250 to 999 sales  -- 45% band

1000+ sales -- 50% or 55% band

 

... or something like that

 

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell

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Why do you folks don't realize that this is a desperate move on Alamy's side? There is something utterly rotten behind that apparently totally stupid thing, I'm pretty sure about it.
I guess I see what will happen. 99% of those who are now complaining so much and swearing they'll abandon Alamy in days will change their mind by tomorrow morning. They'll think "Oh well, that's bad, really bad. I am aware they're making fun of me. They are robbing my money, BUT....hey, I already have uploaded all those many pictures on Alamy, it took me so much time to navigate in my old folders to sort out all the images I deemed commercially interesting,  to clean that damn high-ISO noise in Lightroom, do some crop in Photoshop in order to center the main subject, to keyword all that stuff properly. If I remove them as I swear I'll do I'll get no money. If I leave them there and get even a penny a month, it's still better than nothing..."
You (I) all know that's truly stupid, but (apart from trying to move all of a sudden all our port to some "apparently more honest" different agency possibly giving us a 33% commission (you know what I am talking about...), that's what we'll actually do possibly, probably, arguably.
Personally, I'm trying to think about how to escape from this mental trap.

Edited by riccarbi

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12 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

IMO, exclusivity = imprisonment = guarantee of never graduating from part time to full time stock shooting;

Exclusivity was still viable, say, pre-2008 AFAIK.  Now, IMO, less than ?(50)? full time shooters worldwide

earn healthy full time income from exclusive stock contracts...?

 

Definitely true in your case. However, I don't generate enough images to feed multiple agencies with different images, and I'm not keen on the idea of duplicating images at several agencies, although I know a lot of contributors do that.

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12 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Interesting. I admit to not having done much research into the alternatives. As mentioned by others, I think that Alamy should consider some kind of sliding commission scale -- say 35%, 45% and 50% bands -- for contributors, perhaps based on reaching set sales thresholds. It might help lift morale and increase motivation in these difficult times.

 

e.g.

 

newbies -- 35% or 40% band

250 -- 999 sales  -- 45% band

1000+ sales -- 50% or 55% band

 

... or something like that

 

 

 


I would not accept anything below 50%. It is that simple.

 

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3 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


I would not accept anything below 50%. It is that simple.

 

 

If you've never read the novel Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey, you might enjoy it.

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48 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


You have to look at the other side. With those €134 I would have paid for two concert tickets that two other people use.

I also do not sell my old camera gear. I have an old DSLR that had cost me €3499 when I bought it. Now I could get something between €300 and €400, but I would never sell a camera for €400 that I had paid €3499 for although I don't have any use for that old camera. Selling it would feel like losing €3099 instead of getting €400.

So no-one gets anything out of you for nothing?

The camera has presumably paid its way as a business asset, and you've claimed tax relief on the purchase price over its lifetime, but it still hurts you to think that someone might get some use out of it that they hadn't paid for?

Well, it's a philosophy of life, I suppose. It's not mine. I can't afford to give much away, but I'm not pathologically opposed to doing so.

Edited by spacecadet
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54 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


You have to look at the other side. With those €134 I would have paid for two concert tickets that two other people use.

I also do not sell my old camera gear. I have an old DSLR that had cost me €3499 when I bought it. Now I could get something between €300 and €400, but I would never sell a camera for €400 that I had paid €3499 for although I don't have any use for that old camera. Selling it would feel like losing €3099 instead of getting €400.

 

Isn't there a danger of becoming a hoarder who's going to need a bigger garage/shed/attic....  :) 

I'm usually pleased to sell my gear, when I no longer need it.

  • I get money I wouldn't otherwise have
  • I get storage space back
  • Somebody else, who may not be able to afford a new camera, will hopefully get use of it
  • It's good for the planet (recycle / re-use)
  • If it's not worth the hassle of selling it, I take it to a charity shop

It doesn't apply to all my gear as some things may have an emotional attachment, so those I might keep. But they are in the minority.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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1 hour ago, Skyscraperfan said:


You have to look at the other side. With those €134 I would have paid for two concert tickets that two other people use.

I also do not sell my old camera gear. I have an old DSLR that had cost me €3499 when I bought it. Now I could get something between €300 and €400, but I would never sell a camera for €400 that I had paid €3499 for although I don't have any use for that old camera. Selling it would feel like losing €3099 instead of getting €400.

Look up 'sunk loss fallacy' as it relates to decluttering.

Trust me, I used to be there, embraced the sunk loss fallacy, took my old camera stuff to a charity shop and never looked back.

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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2 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

To be honest I am leaving my images here as they are - I do not have enough for any restrictions to impact anyone except me.  What I am doing is taking them to other agencies - which is a lot of copying and pasting.

 

In my case it will not even affect me if I remove my portfolio. I am now down to worst year for revenue since my first, part year (2002). And the worst six months ever!

 

But it will free up the disporportionate amount of time I spend on forums and dashboard ;)

 

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"

Sunk costs are what you’ve spent into an item, which makes it feel like you are losing out if you don’t recoup what you spent on the item.

In reality, what you spent on the item has no bearing on how much it is worth on the market today.

Proper definition of Sunk Cost:

Any expenditure that has already taken place and can not be undone. Decisions should not be made based on sunk costs.

Picture this:

You bought a camera for $500.

A year later, you upgrade to a better camera that you should have bought in the first place for $1000.

You decide to sell the $500 camera, but you want to get as much money as possible out of the deal (naturally!).

You price it at $400, thinking it’s a fair price considering you paid a hundred bucks MORE for the item a year ago, and it’s worth $400 today.

Someone comes by, looks at it and offers you $250. You manage to negotiate her up to $300, but ultimately you reject the offer, thinking that she doesn’t know the value of the camera.

Weeks go by, and more offers come in at around the $200 – $250 range. Insulted, you decide to forget about selling it, and it sits on your shelf collecting dust.

Result?

  • You didn’t get rid of the camera in the end
  • You have a  second camera you don’t really use any more
  • The longer you wait (especially for technology) the less it’ll be worth in the future
  • You lost out on $300

See what happened there? Sunk cost came into effect.

 

https://www.everydayminimalist.com/?p=6417

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