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Commission change - James West comments

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1 hour ago, Foreign Export said:

 

The figures also point to the fact that it is pointless just growing the number of images - particularly when many are of poor quality

I suspect that a tightly edited high quality portfolio of 50M images would have produced higher revenue growth - if supported by an appropriate roll out strategy

Alamy should have seen this earlier than they did - or was it just vanity to be able to say worlds largest collection of stock images

 

 

I don't think it was vanity. Alamy's main strength has always been that it is a "long tail" business -- i.e. Alamy has images that no one else has. The majority of my sales here seem to suggest that this is still the case. If Alamy starts severely editing its collection, raising the entrance bar, judging images by content, etc., it might just destroy the thing that makes it different from the rest, which IMO would not be a wise idea in today's highly competitive marketplace.

 

P.S. This of course doesn't mean that a cull of inadequately tagged images and excessive similars would be a bad move.

Edited by John Mitchell
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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

What many of us forget, me included, is that print medium is going the way of the dinosaurs. Newspapers are failing, and many of those that are still here have cut features. 

I have seen it with papers I have long subscribed to. Whole sections, like travel which relies heavily on images, pretty much disappearing. Other sections cutting half their pages. Then the newspaper physical size decreasing, to cut paper costs, so smaller pictures used.

 

Those good textbook sales? Many textbooks are going online, now. Magazines failing, some of them (usually specialties) asking their readers to submit stories and photos.  And the readers do it just for the glory of seeing their stuff in print...bragging rights to Uncle George.

 

So here we have a bloated library with maybe 30% being really good images, but extremely difficult for a buyer to wade through the dross to find the gems.

Shrinking print outlets.

Much of the sales being used online, so no need to pay for those larger sizes. 

People giving their work away. 

 

These above points arent aren’t going to get better. Only worse, folks.

Somehow my brain just found clarity, and I don’t like what I found.

Betty

 

Tough to argue with this. However, don't know about you, but my best sales are still to print publications, or at least ones that are both print and electronic. Print ain't dead yet IMO. Who knows, it might even make a comeback. Perhaps the 'digital natives' will eventually tire of their ephemeral screens and start longing for something solid that they can actually hold onto for awhile. I tutor high school students in my other job, and most of them miss having real textbooks. Problem is that schools are often too cheap to buy them these days.

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1 hour ago, andremichel said:

The rather stagnant revenue growth figures point to a company just hanging on.

 

Surely these figures point to a collapsing market for the average tog. You needed an unrealistic 1000% increase in your port just to make a tiny gain. 

 

 

Not necessarily. Most agencies weight images by a number of factors when a client searches a particular search term and one of the main variables is image age. In other words, you are looking at a 10 years span but realistically, searches will give priority of images with within a 2-3 year age span then dropping off after that subject to how popular the image has been. You will get some images appearing from way back but this is also likely part of the search design. Libraries like to keep fresh content coming to the fore so, images with no views/sales are brought forward (in smaller numbers) for a 2nd chance.

 

Anyway, the top and bottom of it is, when a client searches for an image, you images is not competing with the full 155m, it's competing with images of the same keyword and each image is then ranked based on a predetermined set of variables. The age variable often pushes a lot of these images of the back of the search leaving newer and more popular at the front with a mix of older stuff as well.

 

At least, this is how I hope Alamy work it

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These figures from Alamy's annual accounts may give some insights for the current debate?

 

Number of images online.

Dec 2010    21.5M

Dec 2011    27.1M

Dec 2012    34.1M

Dec 2013    44.8M

Dec 2014    53.8M

Dec 2015    66.4M

Dec 2016    98.2M

Dec 2017    124.7M

Dec 2018    159M? (currently 158M)

 

Gross annual revenue (in £) for each year.

2010    14.1M

2011    14.8M

2012    15.2M

2013    14.9M

2014    14.7M

2015    14.6M

2016    19.2M

2017    22.1M

2018    22.7M? (Based on graph in James West's video - converted @ today's rate of 1.28$/£)

 

Not sure why Alamy chose to show a graph in $. They are a UK company which declares annual results in £, has historically generated most income in £ and they are taxed in £.

Note that if I use an average exchange £/$ rate for 2018 of around 1.35, gross revenue is lower than 2017. It's not clear to how the figures for the graph were calculated.

 

Dividing the gross annual revenue by the average number of images online in each year gives an estimate of the gross revenue/image/per year in £

2011    £0.61

2012    £0.50

2013    £0.38

2014    £0.30

2015    £0.24

2016    £0.23

2017    £0.20

2018    £0.16

 

The substantial fall in gross revenue / image / year is presumably caused by general decline in average stock photo licence fees and because Alamy's portfolio is getting clogged up with images that rarely or never sell (out of date, or poor quality/saleablility etc.).

 

Underlying profitability each year is harder to examine due to the varying charitable donations which cause significant fluctuations from year to year. If someone with more experience of company accounts wants to take a more detailed look, the annual reports are here. https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03807789/filing-history?page=1 

 

Mark

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14 hours ago, Skyscraperfan said:

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.

 

Agreed.

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Number of images online.

Dec 2010    21.5M

Dec 2011    27.1M

Dec 2012    34.1M

Dec 2013    44.8M

Dec 2014    53.8M

Dec 2015    66.4M

Dec 2016    98.2M

Dec 2017    124.7M

Dec 2018    159M? (currently 158M)

 

Did they push picture number too far trying to reach that "Tier 1" James West seems to care so much about, perhaps?
My problem with Alamy is that I still haven't understood, to date, if their plan is to compete with professional agencies or with Shutter...k; they look like they are neither fish nor fowl; I fear many customers have the same opinion.
Furthermore, I deem the introduction of that infamous "green label"  you activate by putting a gazillion of barely-related or unrelated keywords in AIM a pretty stupid move, especially from a customer's point of view.
Fewer pictures of a higher technical and artistic quality, a clearer subject search engine, a much tougher QC; that's what Alamy really needs to get the "Tier 1" level; not more images at lower prices. You can't compete on price with microstock agencies fed by people who are happy to get 20 cents for a picture taken with a $100 smartphone at a family picnic, period.

Edited by riccarbi
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4 hours ago, Panthera tigris said:

From the graph on the youtube video ...... and wayback machine.....Alamy's estimated numbers

 

2008 payment to contributors 12.5M

2008 total revenue 22M

2008 total images 14M

 

2018 payment to contributors 14M (+12%)

2018 total revenue 29M (+32%) - but costs have risen as well as infrastructure needs, so this is not profit!

2018 total images 155M (+1000%)

 

 

When you at it like that theres no wonder something has to change, and Alamy know it. And let's not beat about the bush they know a lot more on where the market and their company is/should be going at a macro level than we.

 

But anyone who thinks there will be financial growth for "photographers" (in ANY agency) is sorely wrong IMHO - this is NOT an ALAMY thing it is an industry thing. 12% increase to togs with a 1000% increase in inventory over a 10 year period. It is a stagnant market in terms of potential growth for the average tog.

 

I am not saying anyone should leave, stop, stay, delete, add or whatever but you may consider its a market that no one who looks at the numbers would likely invest in.

 

Food for thought.

 

 

 

 

 

I am afraid I cannot focus on financial growth of photographers as a group - I can only focus on one - me.  I am still relatively new to professional level shooting but believe I take fair to middling images and have the potential to improve - but I'm not David Baily.   I am looking to find the best agency or combination of agencies that create the biggest income stream for me - whether that turns out to be fewer images sold at higher prices/commission or more images sold at lower prices/commission.

Am I aware of the devaluing of the individual images - yes.  Do I live in a situation where I can afford to forsake even a minimal income stream to make a moral statement?  No.

3 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

What many of us forget, me included, is that print medium is going the way of the dinosaurs. Newspapers are failing, and many of those that are still here have cut features. 

I have seen it with papers I have long subscribed to. Whole sections, like travel which relies heavily on images, pretty much disappearing. Other sections cutting half their pages. Then the newspaper physical size decreasing, to cut paper costs, so smaller pictures used.

 

Those good textbook sales? Many textbooks are going online, now. Magazines failing, some of them (usually specialties) asking their readers to submit stories and photos.  And the readers do it just for the glory of seeing their stuff in print...bragging rights to Uncle George.

 

So here we have a bloated library with maybe 30% being really good images, but extremely difficult for a buyer to wade through the dross to find the gems.

Shrinking print outlets.

Much of the sales being used online, so no need to pay for those larger sizes. 

People giving their work away. 

 

These above points arent aren’t going to get better. Only worse, folks.

Somehow my brain just found clarity, and I don’t like what I found.

Betty

Regards newspapers I believe in many cases they are their own worst enemies and their shrinking markets come from their reduction in print quality from cutting costs rather than the reduction in print quality due to cutting costs coming from the shrinking markets.  I have a microcosm locally.  I shoot local football teams - which are at all different levels on something called "the pyramid" (which you don't want to know about lol)  My county is covered by several local newspapers all part of the Newsquest group.  Who have complained for ages their readership is dropping, who are laying off staff, who are working their remaining togs mercilessly.    They rarely bother sending a reporter to the top team in the county - to the lower teams never.  They use a stock image of 2 pairs of legs and a ball (emphasis on stock for that image).  Many teams have club photographers - unless those photographers are willing to provide images for free they do not take them (very few of us will provide for free).  They will happily use any image supplied for free from lower team fans to illustrate games nothing to do with the teams in the image.  Their game reports are awful (because they do not send reporters) their images are a joke.  10 miles away is the county border - and their local news group is part of the Trinity Mirror group.  They send a reporter/photographer to the lower level games yet alone the higher ones.  They pay club photographers to use their images.  They write good accurate reports.  They have good images.  They sell more papers, have happier customers, and I believe a better bottom line.  The comparison above in regards to sports can be translated to all areas of the news.   So the group providing quality is doing way better than the one saying they are forced to make cuts  - both parent groups are financially comfortable but Newsquest model is to squeeze till they squeak and it is killing their customer base.

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14 hours ago, PeterLL said:

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. 

 

This is a brilliant post.  It sums up my sentiments exactly. It's a shame it has been buried in amongst all the other angst from people with far less experience.

 

Pearl

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2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Tough to argue with this. However, don't know about you, but my best sales are still to print publications, or at least ones that are both print and electronic. Print ain't dead yet IMO. Who knows, it might even make a comeback. Perhaps the 'digital natives' will eventually tire of their ephemeral screens and start longing for something solid that they can actually hold onto for awhile. I tutor high school students in my other job, and most of them miss having real textbooks. Problem is that schools are often too cheap to buy them these days.

 

Who would have believed vinyl records would make a comeback? Although newspapers are in decline, the newsagents shelves still seem to be packed with magazines.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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Newspapers printed on paper may be in decline, but online they make a lot of money and need tons of images for their news articles and for their social media. For a printed newspaper they only need a license for one day because with yesterday's newspaper you wrap the fish, but online those news articles exist for much longer. I think the standard is at least five years. So they need a lot of images and buy licenses for many years instead of one day. So there should be a market for good photos. A good photo is important in today's "attention economy".

PS: One thing I really do not care about is what James West wore in his video. Would you really have more confidence or trust in him if he wore a custom tailored suit and a tie? Tim Cook or Mark Zuckerberg would only wear a suit if they are invited to the White House or attend a funeral. I generally do not trust people with suits and ties. A funny coincidence is that when I watched that video I wore almost the same pullover as James with quite the same colour.

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I am starting to stop caring now that sales are sparse, (this month being dire so far) and the % is cut. I have also stopped going through my keywords here as it's time wasted.

Edited by Marb

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My cameras and lenses are in a locked cupboard for some time as from Tuesday this week.:(

 

Allan

 

 

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Hi Alamy, 

 

I'm just letting you know that after the announcement of the commission change for contributing photographers from 50% to 40% I will not be contributing any new images to Alamy beginning today. I'd like to see how much the monthly check I receive changes before pulling my images all together, but in the future, all submissions will go to another agency. Thanks for listening. 

Edited by Jake Lyell
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Hi Alamy, 

 

I'm just letting you know that after the announcement of the commission change for contributing photographers from 50% to 40% I will not be contributing any new images to Alamy beginning todayt. I'd like to see how much the monthly check I receive changes before pulling my images all together, but in the future, future submissions will go to another agency. Thanks for listening. 

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7 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

My cameras and lenses are in a locked cupboard for some time as from Tuesday this week.:(

 

Allan

 

 

This is OK, but only for a time. When you feel ready, on a nice day go to a good location and shoot some great stuff! It's therapeutic, really!

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9 minutes ago, KevinS said:

This is OK, but only for a time. When you feel ready, on a nice day go to a good location and shoot some great stuff! It's therapeutic, really!

 

Agreed but definitely NOT for Alamy.

 

Allan

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After taking a substantial amount away from us what about giving a little back. Perhaps Alamy could release information via our Sales Report as to where our work is being published. Book titles and publishers, magazine name and edition dates would be useful especially when DACS claim time comes around.

Brian

 

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2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

My cameras and lenses are in a locked cupboard for some time as from Tuesday this week.:(

 

Allan

 

 

I feel the opposite way, now I can and will take more photos! No time wasted preparing them for here and endless hours tagging...

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1 minute ago, Brian1947 said:

After taking a substantial amount away from us what about giving a little back. Perhaps Alamy could release information via our Sales Report as to where our work is being published. Book titles and publishers, magazine name and edition dates would be useful especially when DACS claim time comes around.

Brian

 


That's another thing that annoys me. I can understand that Alamy does not give us the details about where our work was published, because then we would sell our images directly to the customer next time. However Alamy should then should give us 100% of our DACS payments, that we can't collect ourselves because Alamy does not give us the requires information.

The DACS clause was something that really annoyed me. It was hidden somewhere in the many pages long new Terms and Conditions a few years ago and went into effect automatically if you did not opt out. There should have been an opt in for such a change.

However if our DACS share is also reduced to 40% now (we don't know that yet) everybody should opt out of DACS colelction via Alamy. DACS is money for the creators as a little compensation for all those copyright infringements that are never discovered. That is our money and it is unfair that Alamy get's its share.

 

 

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Wholeheartedly agree.

 

Allan

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


That's another thing that annoys me. I can understand that Alamy does not give us the details about where our work was published, because then we would sell our images directly to the customer next time. However Alamy should then should give us 100% of our DACS payments, that we can't collect ourselves because Alamy does not give us the requires information.

The DACS clause was something that really annoyed me. It was hidden somewhere in the many pages long new Terms and Conditions a few years ago and went into effect automatically if you did not opt out. There should have been an opt in for such a change.

However if our DACS share is also reduced to 40% now (we don't know that yet) everybody should opt out of DACS colelction via Alamy. DACS is money for the creators as a little compensation for all those copyright infringements that are never discovered. That is our money and it is unfair that Alamy get's its share.

 

 

DACS isn't difficult to claim. Do it yourself and even without the information Alamy withhold you may well come away with more than you currently get allowing them to do it on your behalf.

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3 minutes ago, Brian1947 said:

DACS isn't difficult to claim. Do it yourself and even without the information Alamy withhold you may well come away with more than you currently get allowing them to do it on your behalf.

Totally agree. What you may lose out on is less that what alamy will take

kevin

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39 minutes ago, Brian1947 said:

After taking a substantial amount away from us what about giving a little back. Perhaps Alamy could release information via our Sales Report as to where our work is being published. Book titles and publishers, magazine name and edition dates would be useful especially when DACS claim time comes around.

Brian

 

I actually had a book title given for the first time 

Country: Worldwide
Usage: Editorial
Media: Book, print and/or e-book
Print run: up to 5,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size: 1 page
Start: 27 November 2018
End: 27 November 2023
Duration - 7 years; Title: Corporate America: Johnson & Johnson

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2 minutes ago, KWheal said:

I actually had a book title given for the first time 

Country: Worldwide
Usage: Editorial
Media: Book, print and/or e-book
Print run: up to 5,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size: 1 page
Start: 27 November 2018
End: 27 November 2023
Duration - 7 years; Title: Corporate America: Johnson & Johnson

 

WOW! I bet that was an error on Alamy's part.

 

Allan

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

WOW! I bet that was an error on Alamy's part.

 

Allan

 

 

Had a book sale come in this morning but no publisher info included. Anyone else ?

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