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Commission change - James West comments


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I tend to agree with Chuck. While it's laudable that contributors are e-mailing their individual "offers" to Alamy, I think our public expressions of dissatisfaction carry more weight in the long run. Hopefully we'll hear from James again soon.

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6 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

 

"What action, if any, am I willing to take, even if temporary,

to improve chances there will be just enough action or more...?

The Alamy YouTube video has garnered lots of comments and some industry media attention.

 

This Forum thread is not public.

 

Which do you suppose has greater potential to influence public opinion, perceptions, and perhaps even influence Alamy's thinking?

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2 minutes ago, Phil said:

The Alamy YouTube video has garnered lots of comments and some industry media attention.

 

This Forum thread is not public.

 

Which do you suppose has greater potential to influence public opinion, perceptions, and perhaps even influence Alamy's thinking?

 

Actually, this forum is public. It no doubt doesn't have as much visibility as YouTube, though.

 

(approx. 2.5 calories burned in typing this response) B)

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4 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

You should have posted the whole thing, its spot on.

Didn't want to stress the attention span of youtubers...and there was a whole lot of MEEEEE! in the first half, that seemed not as relevant.  Ultimately, it was just another vote.

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2 hours ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

...I think that's what Mr. West did with his little chart showing the uptick after reducing commissions previously.   The fact is, they rode the economic boom that everyone else rode...

Thanks for saying what I was thinking! Great post!

Edited by KevinS
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2 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Paul Mayall said: Maybe so guess we will see come Febuary.

We'll actually see the new contract in (early?) January~

 

You will receive another email in January 2019 signalling the beginning of the standard 45 day notice period before the new contract comes into effect in February 2019.

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8 hours ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

I have just watched the James West video for the 3rd(?) time, and it shows itself as more preposterous with each viewing.  

 

Firstly, I don't know everything.  I am only a retired business owner/operator of a small US furniture company.  My primary customers were other--much larger--companies.   I was a vendor of completed wood furniture to them.  And I think of how such shenanigans as Alamy is trying to pull would have fared in my 3+ decades in business. 

 

Had I announced to my parts and supplies vendors that I was cutting my prices to them, so that I could invest and enlarge my business, they would have laughed and said 'good luck'--and that would have been the end of the relationships.  Certainly, at times, and in certain limited circumstances I was able to negotiate changes (usually in payment terms).  But a wholesale reduction of their prices would have been impossible and, indeed, would have been self-defeating for me, as these vendors were worth far more than just the goods they sold me.  Pricing is not arbitrary.  It represents real costs and benefits.  Profit is not arbitrary.  It represents work done.  Or should.

 

Inversely, I once had a customer--for whom I was a vendor--waltz into my office and announce there would have to be a reduction in my pricing to him, else he would leave.  In truth, I needed this customer.  He was my second largest.  But I could see by the attitude with which he essentially "told" me  what was going to happen that, even should I agree, things were not going to go well thereafter.   So I told him--in words I don't think are kosher on this site (remember, I am an American) where to find the front door.

 

It hurt me.  It hurt others.  I had to lay off  a couple of employees.  But  I recovered, and my best days were to come. As with photography, furniture manufacturing is a low profit business.   Two per cent profit?  That was just fine.

 

Alamy thinks that, because they have SO MANY vendors, that they will not be damaged by the fallout from this move. Thing is, though it may look like it, they are not all vendors of the same product.   Each is unique.  And each is necessary to provide purchasers with a well-rounded catalog from which to choose. 

 

Fact is, Alamy probably won't know how it has hurt them.---as reasons for economic success and failure are many, and entertwined.  People, especially politicians and bad businessmen, tend to take credit for successes and blame "the economy" for failures.   I think that's what Mr. West did with his little chart showing the uptick after reducing commissions previously.   The fact is, they rode the economic boom that everyone else rode.  

 

Damage will be done in this case, perhaps already is done.   'Good Will' is one of the chief assets of any business, and that comes both from customers and vendors.  You can't do without both.  And this is the days of instant news.  The proposed reduction in commissions has already spread 'round the world.  And it will matter.  Probably a lot.

 

Now, for a very basic course in how to run a business:  You don't finance growth by damaging/destroying what has made you successful in the first place.  You contemplate growth when you have need for growth, and when you have both the assets and the credit worthiness to finance that growth. 

 

I am a new (8 month) vendor to Alamy, with less than 900 images on board.  I have made them two sales thus far.  I am small potatoes.  But the vendors they are insulting, belittling, and financially harming are the core of their business.  How can someone be so blind?

 

PS:  Posted the last half of this diatribe to the Youtube video comments--starting with   "Alamy thinks that...."

 

Brilliant post. I couldn't agree more. 

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I have had the best year on Alamy in 11 years of submitting, both in terms of revenue and RPL. This was enough to make me start to produce content that was going to be exclusive. Forget that idea for 20% less.

Edited by WPL
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6 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

I made my comment on utube. My tiny drop in the bucket. With enough drops, we make a bucket...then a pond...then an ocean.

 

What do "we" want though? Overall growth and increase in market share footprint, long-term sustainability and perhaps even positivity for the future and the long-haul or come hell or high water 50%, but a slow steady decline with diminishing returns?

 

Think it boils down to whether one actually believes in the Alamy management or not - if we "give" them more money will they turn that into something bigger/better or is it just about looking after themselves? They don't need to listen to us/me, but I expect them to know better than me and "deliver" as I continue to hold up my end of the bargain, that's the deal right? So go on Alamy, infuse us with some positivity, dare to have big great ambitions, put yourself under pressure to deliver, be the best you can be, no more mr nicey-nice average guy/girl, go get proper market share, steal, rob, lie, outsmart, be bold, take chances, collect reward - whatever it takes to grow market share and line my pocket, be a leader not a follower,  no more just tinkering along below the speed limit  - pedal to the metal and go go go. I expect you to have the answers/remedies/drive/clever tactics whilst I concentrate on doing my stuff, I can't do both - show me the money!  Thanks! ;) 

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1 hour ago, funkyworm said:

Well said Miles before sleep.

 

Just one aside. I am once more seeing many deciding they have the choice either Alamy or micro's. There are other options. If you complaining about your work being devalued by Alamy and the micros it may be better not to jump on the micro bandwagon but explore those other options.

 

True. An all-in micro approach is short-term thinking IMHO. It can play a part in a larger puzzle though, but micro ain't no roses and sunshine - it's heyday is over and it's in decline and changed a lot of this industry forever. Dread to think how great it would have been if they did it the "right way" in the beginning i.e. small prices for small uses...instead of just trying to cause as much havoc as possible...greed, short-term thinking and inability to see big picture unfortunately

Edited by Martin Carlsson
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2 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

What do "we" want though? Overall growth and increase in market share footprint, long-term sustainability and perhaps even positivity for the future and the long-haul or come hell or high water 50%, but a slow steady decline with diminishing returns?

 

Think it boils down to whether one actually believes in the Alamy management or not - if we "give" them more money will they turn that into something bigger/better or is it just about looking after themselves? They don't need to listen to us/me, but I expect them to know better than me and "deliver" as I continue to hold up my end of the bargain, that's the deal right? So go on Alamy, infuse us with some positivity, dare to have big great ambitions, put yourself under pressure to deliver, be the best you can be, no more mr nicey-nice average guy/girl, go get proper market share, steal, rob, lie, outsmart, be bold, take chances, collect reward - whatever it takes to grow market share and line my pocket, be a leader not a follower,  no more just tinkering along below the speed limit  - pedal to the metal and go go go. I expect you to have the answers/remedies/drive/clever tactics whilst I concentrate on doing my stuff, I can't do both - show me the money!  Thanks! ;) 


Even if sales triple after the commission cut, 40% are still unfair. So I would rather have a fair 50% with lower sales than 40% with higher sales.

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1 hour ago, funkyworm said:

Well said Miles before sleep.

 

Just one aside. I am once more seeing many deciding they have the choice either Alamy or micro's. There are other options. If you complaining about your work being devalued by Alamy and the micros it may be better not to jump on the micro bandwagon but explore those other options.

 

Can you elaborate on what these options are? Selling direct? 

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1 minute ago, Skyscraperfan said:


Even if sales triple after the commission cut, 40% are still unfair. So I would rather have a fair 50% with lower sales than 40% with higher sales.

 

Nothing is ever fair, fair doesn't have a place here - fair is putting money in my pocket and looking after my interests. If you choose less net money in your pocket over being able to point to a  piece of paper that says 50% then we have very little in common. I'm prepared to pay for good service, make me money and I'm happy to share, without being hung up on the exact split. I'd like Alamy to grow and prosper to the point that it benefits me, if that means a cut I'll gladly take it, but give me more money, sustainability, worth my time etc.

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Here is a link to a 'story' in the British Press Gazette about Alamy's wonderful new idea of reducing the percentage again.  This will be the third time this has happened while I have been with Alamy and each time my income goes down.

 

Alamy Press Gazette Story: 

 

https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/photographers-urge-photo-wire-service-alamy-to-reconsider-cutting-commission-down-to-40-per-cent/?fbclid=IwAR0aSZbU2zr0yuB5clS483SdgLZCaltasOM0KS8fRGt22qg7x2KXcXrKJ3Q

 

Edited by Paul Glendell
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1 hour ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

Nothing is ever fair, fair doesn't have a place here - fair is putting money in my pocket and looking after my interests. If you choose less net money in your pocket over being able to point to a  piece of paper that says 50% then we have very little in common. I'm prepared to pay for good service, make me money and I'm happy to share, without being hung up on the exact split. I'd like Alamy to grow and prosper to the point that it benefits me, if that means a cut I'll gladly take it, but give me more money, sustainability, worth my time etc.


We have to pay Alamy for its services? No, Alamy sells our photos and pays US for them, because we took them. Why should Alamy pay less money for our photos?

I already knew years ago that there is another famous agency, where I could earn much more money with the same photos, although that agency only pays 20% commission. I did not apply there though, because anything below 50% is just unfair.

 

Edited by Skyscraperfan
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1 hour ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

What do "we" want though? Overall growth and increase in market share footprint, long-term sustainability and perhaps even positivity for the future and the long-haul or come hell or high water 50%, but a slow steady decline with diminishing returns?

 

Think it boils down to whether one actually believes in the Alamy management or not - if we "give" them more money will they turn that into something bigger/better or is it just about looking after themselves? 

I think you have your answer from the 28 pages of comments. You are insinuating that we being selfish for standing up for our interests. If we don't then nobody else will. No I do not believe cutting the commission will be beneficial or help long term sustainability. The video lacks credibility. Saying they have a bunch of ideas on how to spend our money doesn't amount to a good business plan. If an agent can't be successful with a 50% cut then it is poorly managed and wasteful or has severe structural problems that need to be addressed instead of going for the easy fix of demanding we hand over even more.. 

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12 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:


We have to pay Alamy for its services? No, Alamy sells our photos and pays US for them, because we took them. Why should Alamy pay less money for our photos?

I already knew years ago that there is another famous agency, where I could earn much more money with the same photos, although that agency only pays 20% commission. I did not apply there though, because anything below 50% is just unfair.

 

There are 2 ways of looking at it - Alamy pay us to use our photographs as products they sell to make money,  or, We pay Alamy to sell out work to make money for us.

If you believe Alamy are paying us for our images and you don't like the reduction in price then simple - don't sell them to Alamy any more, go and find someone who pays an acceptable amount for them.  If you believe you are paying Alamy to sell images for us, then the deal on the table is they want to be paid more on the claim they will then sell more.  If you believe them you accept their higher price and stay and if you don't believe them you go and find someone who will sell more of your images.

Being real life the answer is probably somewhere in the middle and every individual person has to balance up where exactly they believe the answer lies and how much belief they have in Alamys "pay us more we will sell more" claim.

Like many others here I am in the camp where if someone is charging 80% to sell my photos but is making me $500 a month (yes I can dream) that is way preferable to someone charging 50% and making $50 a month.  I do have 2 years to hit that $500 a month figure - and it will not all be coming from the same place - but that is my reality which is probably very different from yours.

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The bottom line is the reality.

In 2011 my average gross sale was $90. This year and last year it is down to $28.

In 2011 I earned practically double that I did last year, so I saw no benefit from the last cut that was supposed to help fund the US office for all our benefit. I saw no benefit, just a cut in income. 

This year I have increased my port by Nearly 60%, my sales and income have grown 15%.

 

However Alamy try to dress it up, it will be the tipping point for me in as much as it will no longer be worth the time and effort and stamina to keep the treadmill rotating.

I have stopped uploading until we get a clear statement from James as to how they intend to proceed.

After a knee jerk initial reaction in uploading a few images to a tier 1 microstock agency, I have put this on hold also until we get a clear idea to what is going to happen.

 

 

As an aside I have noticed a few regular forum members who have made negligible if any contribution to this thread, it will do nobody any good by sitting on the fence. 

Edited by BobD
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7 minutes ago, BobD said:

As an aside I have noticed a few regular forum members who have made negligible if any contribution to this thread, it will do nobody any good by sitting on the fence. 

 

They are not necessarily sitting on the fence, just perhaps keeping their cards very close to their chest. This kind of situation can lead to extreme reaction and behaviour of many kinds; some will prefer to maintain a low profile; others will be formulating their response and discussing directly with Alamy, others quietly waiting before acting.  I'm sure that lots of things are going on behind the scenes, both at Alamy HQ and with many individual user accounts, large and small.

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1 hour ago, Sally said:

Those of us not voicing opinions here about this may be doing things behind the scenes, some of which Alamy should already have started noticing, and which are likely to be just as effective as complaining here or on You Tube. It strikes me that there have been many fewer pages of Live News images, for example, than is usual since the announcement. I also suspect that the number of stock submissions has dropped. Perhaps Alamy hope that this will pick up again once we get used to the idea. I, for one, have taken steps to widen my scope, but not by submitting to microstock. I don’t believe that that is the answer. I’m not about to sell any photos for cents, no matter whether they add up to some dollars. 

I'm sure you're right Sally - definitely in my case.  I haven't stopped uploading to live news just yet, but am definitely looking around to try and find alternatives, and will be giving them a go.   Although live news obviously pays more than general stock, it's time consuming and tends to dictate your day (in the case of events).  Once the cut starts to bite - which will be very soon because of the delays in invoicing - I'm going to have to question it's value in many cases.  Usages are very often online only by bulk buyers, where the price isn't amazing to start off with - take off another 20% and I'd be lucky to cover my petrol and parking - madness!!

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