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Commission change - James West comments

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3 hours 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. 

 

Being new here I thought it best to hear the long time members.  I was trying to figure out some post about the 20%,  when I was in school 40 from 50 is 10.  So in, I guess it was in 2010 Alamy went from 60% to 50%, so I thought that was it, now with 40% would make 20%.  Then someone brought up 60 from 40 is the 20%.  Anyway been chasing rabbits.....:D

 

4 hours 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.

 

I have not uploaded since receiving the email.

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Skyscraperfan asks "If Alamy really is in financial trouble now and therefore makes a cut to 40%, do you really think Alamy would really go back to 50% if the financial trouble is over and it makes huge profits?"

 

No, they're not in trouble as far as I can see and NO, they're not at all likely to ever go back.  If so, there would be no proposed change today. M Chapman posted this in the other thread;

 

Re: Dividends

£423K paid out in 2017

Profits also rose from £619K to £1,420K, so dividends may have been set according to that.

 

Alamy's accounts can be found here https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03807789/filing-history

 

Mark

Edited by KevinS

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Lots of info at the link above.

Edited by KevinS

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On 12/10/2018 at 20:03, KevinS said:

Chris,

 

I posted one page back that Alamy has changed the address they send from, at least to me. This change triggered a spam filter at my provider. The update message never made it to my computer. I view this as an Alamy-caused problem. I don't believe I was notified of the change in the sender address Alamy used.

 

        That address is; contibutors@em.alamy.com

 

The "em" refers to some email software Alamy is using to send bulk emails.  

There is nothing in my spam filter on my phone or PC, so I't'd be interesting to see who the e-mail was sent to? Is it just the top earners, or those with the biggest amount of images perhaps?

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21 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

- Do you find me deluded in thinking that Alamy would like to grow and gain market share and that these things cost?

 

 

I might be repeating myself here but, you know, the problem we are discussing here might be exactly the fact that Alamy wants to gain market share in some kind of way. The first thing that comes to mind (at least for the less creative managers) when it comes to gaining market share, is to lower the prices of what you are selling, whatever it is. And to keep your benefits high, you pressure your suppliers (in this case, guess who…). Nothing new. And I do not say that it is exactly what is happening, just something that we have seen so many times that we cannot help thinking about it. And so back to the question: have we reached the point where Alamy's interests and the interests of the contributors are not converging anymore?

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25 minutes ago, Bear said:

 

 

Being new here I thought it best to hear the long time members.  I was trying to figure out some post about the 20%,  when I was in school 40 from 50 is 10.  So in, I guess it was in 2010 Alamy went from 60% to 50%, so I thought that was it, now with 40% would make 20%.  Then someone brought up 60 from 40 is the 20%.  Anyway been chasing rabbits.....:D

 

 

I have not uploaded since receiving the email.

No it is 50 to 40 that is a 20% cut - it is 10 percentage points when counting out of 100 - but work out what 10 is as a percentage of 50.  Or think of it this way - last week you got paid £50.  This week you get paid £40 - how much have your wages shrank?

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7 minutes ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

I might be repeating myself here but, you know, the problem we are discussing here might be exactly the fact that Alamy wants to gain market share in some kind of way. The first thing that comes to mind (at least for the less creative managers) when it comes to gaining market share, is to lower the prices of what you are selling, whatever it is. And to keep your benefits high, you pressure your suppliers (in this case, guess who…). Nothing new. And I do not say that it is exactly what is happening, just something that we have seen so many times that we cannot help thinking about it. And so back to the question: have we reached the point where Alamy's interests and the interests of the contributors are not converging anymore?

 

I'm sure the interest continues to converge, but it might become less "buddy buddy"/camera club around here going forward and real world non-sheltered cushy-cushy harsh business. At times it has been very much camera-club feel with all the "got a camera yesterday and today I want to earn money" people popping in today gone tomorrow. Is of course Alamy's prerogative who they let through the door, but personally I'm convinced that it might be more profitable to be less "nice" and personal, and more harsh reality business-like for both them and those of us that it is more than a feather in the hat for to license images. Not trying to sound pompous or pushing down on anyone, but well I'm sure most know what I mean, there is an awful lot of sub-standard stuff clogging up the system, the systems that now needs upgraded... Said with the best of intentions, without trying to hurt anyone's feelings.

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29 minutes ago, ChrisC said:

There is nothing in my spam filter on my phone or PC, so I't'd be interesting to see who the e-mail was sent to? Is it just the top earners, or those with the biggest amount of images perhaps?

On Oct 18 Alamy said;

 

Hi everyone

 

We are sorry to hear not everyone have received an email yet. Because of new regulations it's harder than before to email large groups of people who have unsubscribed from our mailing list. We are working on a fix for contract notifications and an email should be with all of you as soon as possible.

 

Still working on a fix?

Edited by KevinS
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16 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...."

 

Your experience and the way you have written it up deserve to be sent to James West directly.  I have written him twice in the last ten days and have received an answer each time, the most recent one being fairly detailed (though he cut and pasted part of his original reply where he asked if I would consider giving Alamy exclusive representation in exchange for maintaining the 50% commission).  This tells me that he is reading and responding to personal emails.  I'd be surprised if he has time to read this forum or watch YouTube comments.  They are obviously giving thought to maintaining the 50-50 commission.  People with well-reasoned, cogently expressed advice and experience should write him directly.  I don't think this is the time to raise other issues, such as PU sales, or failure to chase infringements.  Those are tangential to the core question of the commission rate and under what terms it is maintained. 

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5 minutes ago, KevinS said:

On Oct 18 Alamy said;

 

Hi everyone

 

We are sorry to hear not everyone have received an email yet. Because of new regulations it's harder than before to email large groups of people who have unsubscribed from our mailing list. We are working on a fix for contract notifications and an email should be with all of you as soon as possible.

 

Still working on a fix?

 

For clarity, everyone who has images on Alamy was emailed this advanced notification of the upcoming 45 day notice period on the same day.

If you have unsubscribed from our emails then it does mean that the process is not as straight-forward, but the email was still sent to the same email address you registered with. The quote above refers to us looking at other ways to notify you in the future, perhaps through your dashboard, but for now we can confirm that everyone who has images with us was emailed.

 

This thread is for feedback on the commission change so if you have any concerns regarding email notifications from Alamy, please email contributors@alamy.com who will be happy to help.

 

Thanks,

 

Alamy

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10 minutes ago, KevinS said:

On Oct 18 Alamy said;

 

Hi everyone

 

We are sorry to hear not everyone have received an email yet. Because of new regulations it's harder than before to email large groups of people who have unsubscribed from our mailing list. We are working on a fix for contract notifications and an email should be with all of you as soon as possible.

 

Still working on a fix?

I haven't unsubscribed

 

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3 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

I'm sure the interest continues to converge, but it might become less "buddy buddy"/camera club around here going forward and real world non-sheltered cushy-cushy harsh business. At times it has been very much camera-club feel with all the "got a camera yesterday and today I want to earn money" people popping in today gone tomorrow. Is of course Alamy's prerogative who they let through the door, but personally I'm convinced that it might be more profitable to be less "nice" and personal, and more harsh reality business-like for both them and those of us that it is more than a feather in the hat for to license images. Not trying to sound pompous or pushing down on anyone, but well I'm sure most know what I mean, there is an awful lot of sub-standard stuff clogging up the system, the systems that now needs upgraded... Said with the best of intentions, without trying to hurt anyone's feelings.

 

This time, I feel exactly the opposite. The cut in commissions will affect mostly photographers who try to make a living out of it. "Camera club" contributors will be much less affected. I may be absolutely wrong and I will not speak for anyone but myself, all I can say is that I will continue to concentrate on direct sales (my very last assignment earned me 6000 € - no commission, no cut) rather than hoping for a brighter future with Alamy. 

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11 minutes ago, Alamy said:

 

For clarity, everyone who has images on Alamy was emailed this advanced notification of the upcoming 45 day notice period on the same day.

If you have unsubscribed from our emails then it does mean that the process is not as straight-forward, but the email was still sent to the same email address you registered with. The quote above refers to us looking at other ways to notify you in the future, perhaps through your dashboard, but for now we can confirm that everyone who has images with us was emailed.

 

This thread is for feedback on the commission change so if you have any concerns regarding email notifications from Alamy, please email contributors@alamy.com who will be happy to help.

 

Thanks,

 

Alamy

Personally, I don't remember the 45 minute notice either, but I will double check, as I haven't unsubscribed and then check with Contributors

 

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18 minutes ago, Alamy said:

 

For clarity, everyone who has images on Alamy was emailed this advanced notification of the upcoming 45 day notice period on the same day.

If you have unsubscribed from our emails then it does mean that the process is not as straight-forward, but the email was still sent to the same email address you registered with. The quote above refers to us looking at other ways to notify you in the future, perhaps through your dashboard, but for now we can confirm that everyone who has images with us was emailed.

 

This thread is for feedback on the commission change so if you have any concerns regarding email notifications from Alamy, please email contributors@alamy.com who will be happy to help.

 

Thanks,

 

Alamy

Well I didn't receive any email, so don't claim you emailed everyone who has images on Alamy because that clearly isn't true!!!

 

Edit: I haven't unsubscribed from Alamy's emails.

Edited by Colblimp
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20 minutes ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

This time, I feel exactly the opposite. The cut in commissions will affect mostly photographers who try to make a living out of it. "Camera club" contributors will be much less affected. I may be absolutely wrong and I will not speak for anyone but myself, all I can say is that I will continue to concentrate on direct sales (my very last assignment earned me 6000 € - no commission, no cut) rather than hoping for a brighter future with Alamy. 

 

My point/post has nothing to do in regards as to whom would be most or least affected. Just saying.

 

Congratulations on your good fortunes, but that was an assignment correct, not direct selling (licensing image(s) on your own, through your own website), two different things, although not having to be mutually excluded from each other.  

 

Yes doing stock is a tough sub-segment, not recommended to try to rely on fully, more a supplementary part to an all-encompassing photography business. However it is addictive and fun, hard to kick it altogether even when time spent on other segments are more justifiable financially. Again, congrats!

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2 hours ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

Well that's fine.  But what evidence do we have that Alamy has coherent plans to achieve these things?  All we've been told is that James sees "storm clouds coming", and they have a million (or was it only a thousand) "things" they want to spend our money on.   And in any case, an immediate 20% reduction in income is a show-stopper for almost anyone except, apparently, you. 

        Having had (in a part-time second profession) considerable training and experience in reading the behavior of sketchy characters, Mr. West's performance fits a classic profile of someone who may try to cut your throat in the next few seconds--nervous, rambling monologue, avoiding eye contact, thousand yard stare.

        My point is simply that we haven't seen, and you haven't provided evidence for, any of what your dreams for the ambitions and plans of Alamy might be.  All the information we've been given is that they intend to reduce payments by 1/5th.   

       And in spite of claims by politicians and James West, hope is not a strategy.

 

Post Edit:   I apologize for the unsavory analogy and critique of Mr. West's character above.   I would delete it, but it's already been quoted in another post.   My own background and circumstance makes for a rather hard-edged view of the world which is not appropriate for all audiences.  Again, Mr. West, I apologize for the personal comments. 

 

I would suggest there are a lot of storm clouds on these two commision threads !

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On 13/12/2018 at 14:24, regen said:

 

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening charity. ... It also supports training for professional and amateur gardeners. Charity no, 222879

 

Regen

 

i know what it is, but what relevance does it have in your reply?

On 13/12/2018 at 09:45, spacecadet said:

Alamy is a legitimate British company with charitable objectives.

 

So is the N.T and R.H.S

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27 minutes ago, Colblimp said:

Well I didn't receive any email, so don't claim you emailed everyone who has images on Alamy because that clearly isn't true!!!

 

Edit: I haven't unsubscribed from Alamy's emails.

 

Just a thought....

 

I've found from bitter experience (with BT/Yahoo) that email is not always a 100% reliable way of communicating. It may not be Alamy's fault. Emails do sometimes seem to "disappear". In my case I found that emails on BT Servers were not reliably synchronised with my Apple devices using IMAP. Logging into BT's on-line webpage email service I found multiple emails in my Inbox that never appeared on my device. Even wiping the account from my device and re-synchronising didn't fix it, different emails never arrived. There's quite a lot of discussion about this on BT forums. BT blamed Apple, Apple blamed BT. At one point BT even said "we don't support IMAP you have to use our App".  Mmm...   

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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4 hours ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

I didn't insinuate that, at least not deliberately. Stand up all you want for what you believe in, of course you should. Be careful on cracking down on me for doing the same or it starts to look hypocritical. Anyway, I'm not here to exchange insults. I see your position, I respect it, yet I can't turn a blind eye towards the fact that pretty much all libraries don't have a good BP then as very few come close to 40-50% , and let's not even get started at what the more successful ones are at. Why do we expect that Alamy miraculously could be different? It's a logical question, at least I think so. 

 

I think part of the outrage comes from Alamy's history and from their own PR used to attract contributors. There is now a sense of betrayal. Alamy were supposed to be different, offering photographers a fair deal. But now it is crystal clear that they aren't what they appeared to be and they actually aspire to be the same as those who have caused so much damage to this industry.

 

We all know about these other libraries that charge outrageous exploitative commissions. For many years they've got away with it due to the high quantity of sales they got for their contributors. But I think even these "more successful ones" (as you call them) are now at a crossroads with RPIs falling precariously coupled with ridiculous commission rates, no longer adding up for photographers. The industry is worth X billions and the libraries are taking most of it, while photographers are on their knees.

 

 

Edited by andremichel
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9 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

that was an assignment correct, not direct selling (licensing image(s) on your own, through your own website), two different things, although not having to be mutually excluded from each other.

 

 

That was kind of both in fact, in a certain way. The point is that there are still people and organizations willing to pay for images. But I tend to think that, with lowering prices and lowering commissions, it has become way more efficient (financially) to make images specifically for a client, meeting his own needs, locally, than trying to sell "generic" images overseas through the world wide web.

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1 minute ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Issues with exclusivity to maintain 50/50:

 

a. is that image by image?  66% of my images are exclusive to Alamy,

so 50/50 for most, 40/60 for some?

b. one other agency licenses 600+ monthly, very active, almost all

others only a handful monthly or none;  I can understand the former

equates to non-exclusive, but the latter? (Alamy licenses ~150/monthly)

c. there can be long long periods between asking slow-selling agents to

remove images from their site & distributor sites, what if Alamy Exclusivity Police

report non-exclusive situations?  One can only repeat request for removals...

Asking for exclusivity in exchange for 50/50 is asking photographers to put all their eggs in one basket..theirs! This is something that has been advised against in the past. Some who did now have regrets. If Alamy proposes this, I hope they address your points.

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7 minutes ago, andremichel said:

 

I think part of the outrage comes from Alamy's history and from their own PR used to attract contributors. There is now a sense of betrayal. Alamy were supposed to be different, offering photographers a fair deal. But now it crystal clear that they aren't what they appeared to be and they actually aspire to be the same as those who have caused so much damage to this industry.

 

We all know about these other libraries that charge outrageous exploitative commissions. For many years they've got away with it due to the high quantity of sales they got for their contributors. But I think even these "more successful ones" (as you call them) are now at a crossroads with RPIs falling precariously coupled with ridiculous commission rates, no longer adding up for photographers. The industry is worth X billions and the libraries are taking most of it, while photographers are on their knees.

 

 

 

Understand and in agreement. I've spoken elsewhere about potential reduction of the role for the "middle-man" and new tech making easier for the individual to harness a "fairer" ;) share of the revenue.

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13 minutes ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

That was kind of both in fact, in a certain way. The point is that there are still people and organizations willing to pay for images. But I tend to think that, with lowering prices and lowering commissions, it has become way more efficient (financially) to make images specifically for a client, meeting his own needs, locally, than trying to sell "generic" images overseas through the world wide web.

 

I think that is a good point.

 

I have been arguing for a long while that there is still money to be made by talented photographers (but not in generic stock, and talent may rule me out :( ) who are prepared to work at their craft, their art and their business - inseperable parts of being a 'professional', whether part-time or full-time. For me, being professional is binary, you are either are or are not; none of the semi-professional rubbish. Until recently (I am not a photographer at all at the moment but working on new plans) I have described myself as a part-time professional (for most of the last 40 years, with spells full-time).

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Just now, JeffGreenberg said:

Exclusivity to retain 50/50 is the only counter by Alamy so far, AFAIK.

I believe that's all they're working on.

 

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1 hour ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

I'm sure the interest continues to converge, but it might become less "buddy buddy"/camera club around here going forward and real world non-sheltered cushy-cushy harsh business. At times it has been very much camera-club feel with all the "got a camera yesterday and today I want to earn money" people popping in today gone tomorrow. Is of course Alamy's prerogative who they let through the door, but personally I'm convinced that it might be more profitable to be less "nice" and personal, and more harsh reality business-like for both them and those of us that it is more than a feather in the hat for to license images. Not trying to sound pompous or pushing down on anyone, but well I'm sure most know what I mean, there is an awful lot of sub-standard stuff clogging up the system, the systems that now needs upgraded... Said with the best of intentions, without trying to hurt anyone's feelings.

I would absolutely prefer what you suggest.  I know I have duplicates and lesser quality images but I am loathe to get rid of stuff uploading just in case a customer chooses my "less good" over someone elses "less good"

The thing I would say is to a point if QC is tightened beyond pure technicality it would be necessary to reduce or remove "punishment" for failures - so if you are going to reject an image because there are too many similar or because it is good but not brilliant (ie there is not a technical measure that can be pointed to, it is a case of perception of colour atmosphere etc) there cannot be a 30 or even 10 days upload suspension.  Sure keep suspensions for noise, softness, etc because they can be measured and pointed to - just not the extra ratings.

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