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Commission change - James West comments


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Alamy's strength is the diversity of images you can find in the collection. The "best" picture is not always the most aesthetically achieved (which is always a bit subjective anyway) but the one that fits the clients needs. Many clients are not looking for a beautiful picture but a picture that perfectly illustrates the story they are telling. So I think QC should keep concentrating on technical issues only. But too many similars affects everyone (the contributor's CTR, the client  who needs to search through dozens of nearly identical images to eventually find what he is looking for, Alamy managing all the data and in the end, all of us) so maybe, when too many similars are detected, Alamy could alert the contributor, asking him/her to delete some.

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Need to find higher margin and lower volume markets for more distinct work.

I am seeing the same prices as when I started out in 1970, my local paper used to pay £5 for small, single column image (B&W of course) and the same again when they used it again. We now see that price for national newspaper use. Local papers, mainly don't pay for photography (some ex-employee I know are used as stringers, for now).

 

I think I am going to reduce my involvement in these forums almost to nothing (there are people I will miss, but many are now elsewhere); for me discussing what Alamy might or might not, could or could not, do is just whistling in the end. I am going to use the time more productively finding a new direction for my photography, in new markets. If I can't I will become an amateur and concentrate on my doctoral research which hopefully will help other photojournalists in due course. I am taking control of my life, and my mental health!

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Well, I'm out. The 40% commission and increasingly low prices meant it wasn't worth keeping my images for sale on Alamy. I also resent the cut Alamy have taken from my DACS payments. I just didn't see the contract change on that one so, all in all, I'll concentrate on other income from my photography.

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4 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

My average gross sale has dropped over the years, but not nearly as much as yours, so I guess everyone's experiences are different. To be fair, benefits from increasing your collection probably won't start kicking in for another year or so. I find that most new images need to "marinate" for quite awhile before they start to license. Submitting to microstock still seems more like an act of desperation to me than a viable alternative, especially now that micro sites are bursting at the seams with similar images. I've decided to hold off uploading any new images to Alamy until James gets back to us with an official followup to his video. I needed to take a break anyway. I've been burning way too many calories lately. B)

I have to challenge the bursting at the seams bit for both here and other agencies including MS.  Take what strikes me as being a fairly common thing - a teacup ride - or tea cup ride if you prefer.  A common fairground ride seen at both high-end permanent parks, Disney has one, and highly mobile operators possibly leasing them singly for events.  They are bright.  They are colourful.  They usually involve happy children.  They are human interest.   I would expect there to be huge numbers of photos of them, like in the thousands - after all there are thousands of dragonfly pictures which are far more difficult to take.  There are 261 photos on here - and a big microstock agency (ss)  274 photos.  Both places have images badly captioned that are not of tea cup rides at all.  You cannot tell me the market is bursting at the scenes when something as common, as easy to photograph as a teacup ride has a tiny fraction of the images something like a dragonfly has.  I will give you dragonflies bursting at the seams - but not everything.

 

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3 minutes ago, Dayve said:

Well, I'm out. The 40% commission and increasingly low prices meant it wasn't worth keeping my images for sale on Alamy. I also resent the cut Alamy have taken from my DACS payments. I just didn't see the contract change on that one so, all in all, I'll concentrate on other income from my photography.

You have some beautiful work, it would be a shame for Alamy to lose it. 

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Maybe because my professional profile is similar to his, but I deem MilesbeforeIsleep comment the best one, by far.
I also add my point of view, as a non-professional photographer who is running a totally different business (I run an architectural practice, and I also publish a web magazine of art and design). How much selling photos through Alamy is, and will be, a good business?
In 2018, I got (to date) about $ 0,66 net per image in my port. Being quite optimistic and hoping the commercial life o a photo on Alamy is about 10 years, that means that, in 2018, I was hoping to get $ 6.6 net per image, overall.
Now, how much time is required to develop, check, upload and keyword a single photo? In my case about 20 minutes on average ( I don't take into account the time I spent to shoot that photo since I did it for different reasons than selling it on Alamy). So, I will supposedly get slightly less than $20 per hour of work. Not very exciting, but not that bad, after all. 
Now, I have to evaluate if, after the commission change, this situation will still be economically convenient for me. A 20% reduction means my revenue per hour will drop to $16, hmmm.
Furthermore, my revenue per image dropped from $ 10 in 2017  to $ 6.6 in 2018. Therefore, the average price-per-photo trend is declining and, extrapolating it, in 2019 I will possibly get less than $4.5 per image in my port and less than $13 per hour of work, and possibly much less in the following years. That's no good.
What I should do? Arguably, to stop upload new photos, and leaving those already in my port where they currently are. Furthermore, I could investigate monetization strategies different from Alamy, such as selling most of my photos directly through my websites or advertising them straight to the thousands of potential buyers I have in my mailing list.

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15 minutes ago, andremichel said:

You have some beautiful work, it would be a shame for Alamy to lose it. 

That's so nice of you to say! Many thanks. I really don't make much money though so this was a wake up call for me to re-think what I do with my work. Alamy have done some odd things regarding low pricing and long licencing. I just feel it's time to vote with my feet on their latest commission change.

 

P.S. you also have some stunning work and I hope it pays for you :-)

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9 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

 

I have to challenge the bursting at the seams bit for both here and other agencies including MS.  Take what strikes me as being a fairly common thing - a teacup ride - or tea cup ride if you prefer.  A common fairground ride seen at both high-end permanent parks, Disney has one, and highly mobile operators possibly leasing them singly for events.  They are bright.  They are colourful.  They usually involve happy children.  They are human interest.   I would expect there to be huge numbers of photos of them, like in the thousands - after all there are thousands of dragonfly pictures which are far more difficult to take.  There are 261 photos on here - and a big microstock agency (ss)  274 photos.  Both places have images badly captioned that are not of tea cup rides at all.  You cannot tell me the market is bursting at the scenes when something as common, as easy to photograph as a teacup ride has a tiny fraction of the images something like a dragonfly has.  I will give you dragonflies bursting at the seams - but not everything.

 

 

I admit to knowing next to nothing about microstock. No doubt, as is the case with Alamy, there are many gaps to be filled on microstock sites. It seems like a lot of work for pennies a pop (usually), though. I agree with you about the inadequate captions on microstock sites. They must generate a lot of dead wood. Same situation here, of course, as you say.

 

Expect a deluge of new teacup ride pics now... :D

 

 

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1 minute ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I admit to knowing next to nothing about microstock. No doubt, as is the case with Alamy, there are many gaps to be filled on microstock sites. It seems like a lot of work for pennies a pop (usually), though. I agree with you about the inadequate captions on microstock sites. They must generate a lot of dead wood. Same situation here, of course, as you say.

 

Expect a deluge of new teacup ride pics now... :D

 

 

Oh I know - my 2 are already  up there lol

I mean the teacup ride is just an example - I keep stumbling over things there seem to be very few of,  often things which are not particularly hard to shoot.  Meanwhile, things that can present a definite challenge are massively over-represented.  I think some of it is erroneous assumptions about the difficulty in getting a shot being equal to how rare it is.  So getting a good shot of a dragonfly can be challenging - although the opportunity is often common - so person spends time and effort before getting a shot that makes them go wow, and thinks that would look great in a book so they upload it - but everyone has had the same idea.  On the other hand, they walk through a fair and the teacup ride is so easy and obvious, they assume everyone has already done it.    

I just take pictures - if something catches my eye I take a photograph - I don't worry if I am the first or millionth to do so - and I will continue chasing dragonflies because they are incredible and I love doing.

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4 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

Oh I know - my 2 are already  up there lol

I mean the teacup ride is just an example - I keep stumbling over things there seem to be very few of,  often things which are not particularly hard to shoot.  Meanwhile, things that can present a definite challenge are massively over-represented.  I think some of it is erroneous assumptions about the difficulty in getting a shot being equal to how rare it is.  So getting a good shot of a dragonfly can be challenging - although the opportunity is often common - so person spends time and effort before getting a shot that makes them go wow, and thinks that would look great in a book so they upload it - but everyone has had the same idea.  On the other hand, they walk through a fair and the teacup ride is so easy and obvious, they assume everyone has already done it.    

I just take pictures - if something catches my eye I take a photograph - I don't worry if I am the first or millionth to do so - and I will continue chasing dragonflies because they are incredible and I love doing.

 

For sure, it's not all about money. That would be tragic.

Edited by John Mitchell
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After sending an e-mail to James last night, I have already received a response from him, probably the same one most contributors got.

 

As others have said, it sounds as if Alamy is considering 50% for exclusive (on a per image basis, selling direct OK but not thru other agencies) and 40% for non-exclusive. 

 

Guess this isn't exactly breaking news but thought I'd post an update.

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4 hours 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

Right Alamy I have double checked, on 15th October, titled Changes to your contributor contract, this being the e-mail regarding changed to the contract which came via this Alamy e-mail;- Alamy [contributors@alamy-updates.com] which I didn't check the full info,

Then on 1st November the "Keep up to date with our latest contributor blogs" e-mail, same sender. Again I didn't bother checking the content,

Then on 22nd November the "Curate and share your Alamy image collection", which I did look at and replied to you via twitter, you liked my link, & I put it up on here, with other contributors.

 

The other Alamy e-mails I have received are replies to the Forum which come via Alamy [noreply@invisioncloudcommunity.com]

 

I haven't unsubscribed, as although I'm not a main contributor, I do like to check on what is happening with Alamy.

 

Therefore what date did James e-mail go out to everyone? The one in October I only read the changes link and the contract still says 50%?

 

Thanks

Chris

 

 

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57 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

After sending an e-mail to James last night, I have already received a response from him, probably the same one most contributors got.

 

As others have said, it sounds as if Alamy is considering 50% for exclusive (on a per image basis, selling direct OK but not thru other agencies) and 40% for non-exclusive. 

 

Guess this isn't exactly breaking news but thought I'd post an update.

We are all still waiting for a "Public Response" from Mr. West.

 

I will add that as far as I am concerned, the damage has been

done and I do not think it can be repaired.

 

Chuck Nacke

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6 minutes ago, Chuck Nacke said:

We are all still waiting for a "Public Response" from Mr. West.

 

I will add that as far as I am concerned, the damage has been

done and I do not think it can be repaired.

 

Chuck Nacke

 

Sounds as if that might be in the works as well. From James' e-mail:

 

"If we can make the numbers work I will communicate something along these lines shortly."

 

 

 

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I have another idea: I can understand that Alamy does not want to lend money from banks, but it could still lend money from us.

What if we got 40% and lend the remaining 10% to Alamy? Of course there would have to be a limit on how long the money is lent and there would have to be some interest for us. I would suggest a maximum lending time of two or three years and an interest rate between 2% and 3% to compensate inflation. So Alamy could invest those 10% now and those investments would have three years to pay off. At the same time Alamy promises to never ever lower our commission to less than 50%

The good thing about that idea is that the lenders would be people that are interested in the well-being of Alamy and not a greedy bank. And we photographers would get some return (plus interest) again three years after a sale. I could even imagine getting only 35% at the time of sale and the remaining 15% (plus interest) three years later.

At the same time it must be clear that photographers do not have to pay a share of the affiliate fees. If Alamy promises someone 10% just for sharing a link on his website, it's Alamy's duty to pay that fee, as this is a part of marketing and that's Alamy's job. I suggest to give only 5% to affiliates and those 5% will be paid by Alamy.

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30 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

 

 

What precise part of response evidences the phrase in RED ???

 

From the response I received:

 

"This might work, on a per image basis, as follows:

a. Exclusive with Alamy (you can sell elsewhere direct but not via other stock agencies) for 50%

b. Non-exclusive with Alamy (you can sell elsewhere direct and via other stock agencies) for 40%"

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13 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

 

Thanks.  All kinds of issues can arise, including:

a. contribs bending the rules

b. contribs ratting on each other

c. tremendous delays between requesting image removal from other agencies

& images actually disappearing, especially if subagents involved -- which will trigger (b)

d. contribs toeing the line see (a) & decide, what the hell, I'm doing it too...

e. tremendous hassle of determining which images are NOT at other agencies
for those who don't collect that kind of information

 

AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE TURNING NON-EXCLUSIVE FREE ART INTO STOCK INCOME???!!

(FAMOUS PORTRAITS, HISTORIC PHOTOS, FROM LIBRARY OF CONGRESS & ELSEWHERE)

 

GET READY FOR INTRA-CONTRIB EXCLUSIVITY WARS...

CONSTANT WARRING...

it all bloody takes time away from what a stock shooter should be doing = creating new salable images

 

Yup, the whole notion of "exclusivity" in the age of the Internet is fraught with problems.

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7 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

 

I have to challenge the bursting at the seams bit for both here and other agencies including MS.  Take what strikes me as being a fairly common thing - a teacup ride - or tea cup ride if you prefer.  A common fairground ride seen at both high-end permanent parks, Disney has one, and highly mobile operators possibly leasing them singly for events.  They are bright.  They are colourful.  They usually involve happy children.  They are human interest.   I would expect there to be huge numbers of photos of them, like in the thousands - after all there are thousands of dragonfly pictures which are far more difficult to take.  There are 261 photos on here - and a big microstock agency (ss)  274 photos.  Both places have images badly captioned that are not of tea cup rides at all.  You cannot tell me the market is bursting at the scenes when something as common, as easy to photograph as a teacup ride has a tiny fraction of the images something like a dragonfly has.  I will give you dragonflies bursting at the seams - but not everything.

 

 

AFAIK,  Disney is very protective of their copyrights and very restrictive in the selling of images (commercial or editorial) from their properties.  That's probably why there are so few images of their parks etc.  

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7 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

After sending an e-mail to James last night, I have already received a response from him, probably the same one most contributors got.

 

As others have said, it sounds as if Alamy is considering 50% for exclusive (on a per image basis, selling direct OK but not thru other agencies) and 40% for non-exclusive. 

 

Guess this isn't exactly breaking news but thought I'd post an update.

I would accept this, as it would create a new purchase incentive for these images.  For many of you with large catalogs of de facto exclusives, it could make quite a positive difference.  

 

I hope they make this the change, if any change be made.  However, dropping below 40% for non-exclusives would probably not work for many of us.

 

 

Edited by MilesbeforeIsleep
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6 hours ago, Skyscraperfan said:

I have another idea: I can understand that Alamy does not want to lend money from banks, but it could still lend money from us.

What if we got 40% and lend the remaining 10% to Alamy? Of course there would have to be a limit on how long the money is lent and there would have to be some interest for us. I would suggest a maximum lending time of two or three years and an interest rate between 2% and 3% to compensate inflation. So Alamy could invest those 10% now and those investments would have three years to pay off. At the same time Alamy promises to never ever lower our commission to less than 50%

The good thing about that idea is that the lenders would be people that are interested in the well-being of Alamy and not a greedy bank. And we photographers would get some return (plus interest) again three years after a sale. I could even imagine getting only 35% at the time of sale and the remaining 15% (plus interest) three years later.

At the same time it must be clear that photographers do not have to pay a share of the affiliate fees. If Alamy promises someone 10% just for sharing a link on his website, it's Alamy's duty to pay that fee, as this is a part of marketing and that's Alamy's job. I suggest to give only 5% to affiliates and those 5% will be paid by Alamy.

This is a bad idea, if this was put forward before Mr. West's video my feelings would be different.  I would consider the idea of  50 / 50 on direct licenses on exclusive to Alamy

images,  CONSIDER being a keyword.  Time for my first martini...

 

Chuck Nacke

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14 hours ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

Libraries have gone under with lower commissions - does long term matter are "we" happy with sharing the same pot with an ever increasing number of contributors amongst an ever increasing number of images? Am I alone in desiring some serious growth and attempts to grab market share - I prefer success at Alamy over so many other places, and YES I'm prepared to sacrifice the short term for the long term success given the choice if I believe that could be the case.

Oh! That makes it ok, then. I should have told my husband (rest his soul) that if ever he cheated on me, it’s ok because two husbands down the street did so and got away with it, although their wives went mad.

 

Edited by Betty LaRue
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