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Commission change - James West comments

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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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10 hours ago, Olivier Parent said:

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.

Very smart advice, there. I agree. I remember before Alamy broke up submissions over many pages, seeing a whole page full of the same image with minute differences I had to study hard to discern.

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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

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.

 

 

I'm sorry Betty, that analogy just doesn't work for me. I'm very sympathetic to you and your circumstances, but I fail to see the connection - actually feels wrong to even take it there....(btw I'm old-school, by the book, straight-laced, cheating never ok, married for 16 years+ kind of guy if that helps you understand me or my POV better)

 

I stated a fact (libraries gone bust with lower commission than A) and questioned how long "we" would be happy with diminishing returns (more contribs sharing the same pot), questioning the appetite for growth and whether that could be worth sacrifice.....

Edited by Martin Carlsson
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1 hour ago, Chuck Nacke said:

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

 Turn off the computer first before pouring the first one ;)

 

Don't know if this is a real offer by Alamy. I might be alone in thinking this, but think 10% difference is too little, however many existing contributors will de facto get their desired status quo. For the more "active" bunch it will feel like "why are we singled out to take the punishment all alone"? Hmm

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On 12/13/2018 at 04:45, spacecadet said:

Alamy is a legitimate British company with charitable objectives. Smearing it without a shred of evidence demeans you.

And you can red arrow me all you like.


Just pointing out the possibility of abuse.

I used to photograph charity events, before they started using amateurs from craigslist for free, and the amount of graft and skimming was astonishing. A lot of c suite execs. are routinely able to write off $1000 meals, airline travel, hotel stays, etc under the guise of soliciting donations. It would be much easier if the "donations" came from a source that you control and not able to exercise any oversight. Most charities that have large outside donors get audited regularly also.

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If 50% cut is offered for Alamy exclusive images, then 45 days notice is not enough. Many (most) of us have our images elsewhere as well, and it will take months to get them removed. And even then, we can't be 100% sure they have been due to distributor schemes. When I joined Alamy, there was no incentive to keep images exclusive, nor any way of even notifying Alamy that they were. If the goalposts are going to move, we all should be given the courtesy of time needed to organise our images should we want them to be Alamy exclusive.

 

I would also be looking at some kind of guarantee that exclusive images were not disadvantaged in the searches, because non exclusive images would make more $$ for Alamy.

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35 minutes ago, DCSmith said:


Just pointing out the possibility of abuse.

I used to photograph charity events, before they started using amateurs from craigslist for free, and the amount of graft and skimming was astonishing. A lot of c suite execs. are routinely able to write off $1000 meals, airline travel, hotel stays, etc under the guise of soliciting donations. It would be much easier if the "donations" came from a source that you control and not able to exercise any oversight. Most charities that have large outside donors get audited regularly also.

 

Unfortunately I think you're absolutely right - if there is a possibility of abuse/misuse, there will be. Impression I get is that most/many/a lot of people seem to think that it is ok to do "stuff" not by the book using excuses such as "Because they can" and "They (being stock libraries) "abuse/use" us". Irritates me greatly as I stick to my word/contract regardless of the behaviour of the other party.

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39 minutes ago, cbimages said:

If 50% cut is offered for Alamy exclusive images, then 45 days notice is not enough. Many (most) of us have our images elsewhere as well, and it will take months to get them removed. And even then, we can't be 100% sure they have been due to distributor schemes. When I joined Alamy, there was no incentive to keep images exclusive, nor any way of even notifying Alamy that they were. If the goalposts are going to move, we all should be given the courtesy of time needed to organise our images should we want them to be Alamy exclusive.

 

I would also be looking at some kind of guarantee that exclusive images were not disadvantaged in the searches, because non exclusive images would make more $$ for Alamy.

 

IME it takes at least six months to get images removed from agencies. Plus, as you say, who knows if they ever get taken down from distribution networks. Then there are images on POD sites, some of which also operate (unsuccessfully AFAIK) as stock outlets of sorts. There would have to be some clarification about their status as well. Lots of busy work ahead if this plan goes through, especially for those with very large collections.

Edited by John Mitchell
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56 minutes ago, cbimages said:

If 50% cut is offered for Alamy exclusive images, then 45 days notice is not enough. Many (most) of us have our images elsewhere as well, and it will take months to get them removed. And even then, we can't be 100% sure they have been due to distributor schemes. When I joined Alamy, there was no incentive to keep images exclusive, nor any way of even notifying Alamy that they were. If the goalposts are going to move, we all should be given the courtesy of time needed to organise our images should we want them to be Alamy exclusive.

 

I would also be looking at some kind of guarantee that exclusive images were not disadvantaged in the searches, because non exclusive images would make more $$ for Alamy.

Now that prices are so low everywhere is it really worth the hassle and time to remove images just to prevent a 20% reduction at Alamy. 

I guess that all I would even consider is going through my files at Alamy and ticking those which are exclusive.

 

The point you make about guarantees re search position is a very good one and the real question is wether  could trust Alamy enough to make it worth the effort. After all 20% of not very much and falling is --not very much going forward and a couple of days stacking shelves for Tesco may be a more profitable use of my time.

 

Regen

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18 minutes ago, regen said:

The point you make about guarantees re search position is a very good one and the real question is wether  could trust Alamy enough to make it worth the effort. After all 20% of not very much and falling is --not very much going forward and a couple of days stacking shelves for Tesco may be a more profitable use of my time.

 

Regen

 

One argument for giving a higher commission rate for exclusive images is that if the customer finds an image that is exclusive to Alamy they can't then search for that specific image in other sources and Alamy then loses a sale. So why would Alamy give preference in the searches to images that can be bought elsewhere, just because they pay less commission to the photographer? If anything, they should give preference in the search to images exclusive to Alamy.

 

Anyway, I think it would be something that would be fairly easy to monitor by changing around exclusivity on a few images and then seeing where they moved to in the search results.

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I would be happy with 50% image exclusivity to Alamy. My 9K+ are all exclusive to Alamy anyway. I submit to other libraries and in each case my submissions are exclusive - no duplicates anywhere.

Jim.

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Sounds like a divide and conquer solution to quell the contributor uprising.

 

For me it will be a nightmare trying to figure out on an individual basis which image is exclusive and which is not. For many years I was fully exclusive but these days maybe 50% of images are.

 

There is also the issue of similars and how similar an image can or cannot be across libraries. 

Edited by andremichel
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1 hour ago, Keith Douglas said:

 

One argument for giving a higher commission rate for exclusive images is that if the customer finds an image that is exclusive to Alamy they can't then search for that specific image in other sources and Alamy then loses a sale. So why would Alamy give preference in the searches to images that can be bought elsewhere, just because they pay less commission to the photographer? If anything, they should give preference in the search to images exclusive to Alamy.

 

Anyway, I think it would be something that would be fairly easy to monitor by changing around exclusivity on a few images and then seeing where they moved to in the search results.


Wouldn't it be a lot of work for a buyer to look if the image is elsewhere? Where should he start? There are no many agencies around. And the buyer usually is employed be a company who has to pay him by the hour. So such a search would make an image more expensive.

I am not sure if exclusivity really benefits the agencies, because it also stops them from getting many images that are exclusive at another agency.

Exclusivity was also something that I saw as a downside of Getty. Exclusivity meant that only Getty could sell your work. That is quite a restriction. So if they do not sell one of your images, it will not be sold at all. And that exclusivity does not even cover your image, but also all of your images that look similar to that image, even if those similar images were rejected because of minor quality flaws. That means that Getty forbids you to sell those rejected images ANYWHERE. Not at Getty and also nowhere outside of Getty. So you have a photo and are not allowed to sell it AT ALL.

I hope that Alamy exclusivity does not go that far. It should only cover the images that are actually online via Alamy. Such an exclusivity would be okay for me.

What I would reject though is an exclusivity on the customer side, which means that if somebody buys your image exclusive, you can never sell it again to some other customer - or at least not for a number of years. That might take some of your best selling images off the market.

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10 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:

Wouldn't it be a lot of work for a buyer to look if the image is elsewhere? Where should he start?


Exclusivity was also something that I saw as a downside of Getty. Exclusivity meant that only Getty could sell your work. That is quite a restriction. So if they do not sell one of your images, it will not be sold at all. And that exclusivity does not even cover your image, but also all of your images that look similar to that image, even if those similar images were rejected because of minor quality flaws. That means that Getty forbids you to sell those rejected images ANYWHERE. Not at Getty and also nowhere outside of Getty. So you have a photo and are not allowed to sell it AT ALL.

What I would reject though is an exclusivity on the customer side, which means that if somebody buys your image exclusive, you can never sell it again to some other customer - or at least not for a number of years. That might take some of your best selling images off the market.

1. S/he would start by Google Reverse Images.  However, although a file might be cheaper elsewhere, they would need to buy a subscription which may not suit some buyers.  If they needed lots of images, no doubt they'd have a good quantity discount via Alamy anyway. Single images can be surprisingly expensive via some of the sub-model agencies.

 

2. Presumably Alamy would also require similar/sister exclusivity, as they do now for RM (similars can't be sold RF anywhere else). And if you think Getty image exclusivity is a downside, their micro arm has artist exclusivity (for RF). But a much higher commission for exclusive (even though both rates are pitiful).

 

3. RM - exclusive is already available here on Alamy, and obviously the buyer has to pay much more for them. I think it's very rare on Alamy though (my experience, and that of others, is that we get enquiries, but it doesn't lead to anything).

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12 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.

 

Personally, Alamy would be the last place I'd allow total exclusivity. They're too liberal with low licence fees at low sales volumes. They'd need a monumental increase in sales to even consider exclusivity and even then, given the way they've treated photographers earnings this time, I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them now. It's just a question of time before they pull the same stunt again. As mentioned elsewhere, damage done.

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5 hours ago, cbimages said:

If 50% cut is offered for Alamy exclusive images, then 45 days notice is not enough. Many (most) of us have our images elsewhere as well, and it will take months to get them removed. And even then, we can't be 100% sure they have been due to distributor schemes. When I joined Alamy, there was no incentive to keep images exclusive, nor any way of even notifying Alamy that they were. If the goalposts are going to move, we all should be given the courtesy of time needed to organise our images should we want them to be Alamy exclusive.

 

After the tactless way Alamy announced the proposed change, I think it would be unwise to delete images from elsewhere.... If Alamy had been more open, described their problems and their business objectives and then asked contributors for ideas to help them achieve them, (i.e. a more collaborative approach that shows they value their contributors), I might feel differently. I certainly won't be deleting any of my images from elsewhere, I'll more likely be adding to them. If Alamy climb down now, after 11 days  and 1,400 mostly negative forum posts, contributors leaving, images being deleted and poor press, it will hardly feel like a collaboration...more like a change under duress.  And... I don't believe what they offer will last long before they have to change it again. At the moment I've lost confidence in Alamy which will be hard for them to recover.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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7 hours ago, MariaJ said:

 

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.  

You miss my point - teacup rides are exceptionally common - they are all over the place and seem to be a standard of park rides from the highest to the lowest (hence my mention of Disney) - so something as common, bright, colourful, cheerful as a teacup ride should have been covered to death for stock right?  It hasn't.  Not close.  The rides come in many colours and designs, can be shown from many different angles yet there is less than 300 photographs depicting them here and at other places including big microstock. 

A standard response when talking about industry issues of falling prices and fees is "stock is dead the market is saturated" - my point is that this is untrue, the market is not saturated in some subjects (for those rushing to photography teacup rides try researching other similar items - some are saturated some are most definitely not).  Some very common very easy to photograph subjects have only tiny (relatively) numbers of photographs,  and I suspect that photographers who make the effort to research what areas have not been saturated will do a lot better than those who blame saturation without looking to see if its true.

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3 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

You miss my point - teacup rides are exceptionally common - they are all over the place and seem to be a standard of park rides from the highest to the lowest (hence my mention of Disney) - so something as common, bright, colourful, cheerful as a teacup ride should have been covered to death for stock right?  It hasn't.  Not close.  The rides come in many colours and designs, can be shown from many different angles yet there is less than 300 photographs depicting them here and at other places including big microstock. 

A standard response when talking about industry issues of falling prices and fees is "stock is dead the market is saturated" - my point is that this is untrue, the market is not saturated in some subjects (for those rushing to photography teacup rides try researching other similar items - some are saturated some are most definitely not).  Some very common very easy to photograph subjects have only tiny (relatively) numbers of photographs,  and I suspect that photographers who make the effort to research what areas have not been saturated will do a lot better than those who blame saturation without looking to see if its true.

 

Indeed, but they will still attract the same pitiful rates that we see for stock generally :( I thought about being more analytical with my stock work, but the rates, not the competition, was what put me off.

 

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4 hours ago, cbimages said:

If 50% cut is offered for Alamy exclusive images, then 45 days notice is not enough. Many (most) of us have our images elsewhere as well, and it will take months to get them removed. And even then, we can't be 100% sure they have been due to distributor schemes. When I joined Alamy, there was no incentive to keep images exclusive, nor any way of even notifying Alamy that they were. If the goalposts are going to move, we all should be given the courtesy of time needed to organise our images should we want them to be Alamy exclusive.

 

I would also be looking at some kind of guarantee that exclusive images were not disadvantaged in the searches, because non exclusive images would make more $$ for Alamy.

I have to say if I was Alamy in this position the way I would do it is 40% for all images currently uploaded regardless of whether exclusivity is claimed or actual, and then differentiate on all new uploads - so when uploading to get 50% you make the image exclusive to Alamy and tick a box promising that you will not upload said image to any other agency either while it is exclusive to Alamy or for a minimum of say 6 months from removing the exclusivity,  with hefty legal penalties if you broke this word.  I would also add in some commitment about similars from the same shoot or something.
I would then take pictures that are uploaded under this new tight restriction and promote the hell out of them.

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39 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

I have to say if I was Alamy in this position the way I would do it is 40% for all images currently uploaded regardless of whether exclusivity is claimed or actual, and then differentiate on all new uploads - so when uploading to get 50% you make the image exclusive to Alamy and tick a box promising that you will not upload said image to any other agency either while it is exclusive to Alamy or for a minimum of say 6 months from removing the exclusivity,  with hefty legal penalties if you broke this word.  I would also add in some commitment about similars from the same shoot or something.
I would then take pictures that are uploaded under this new tight restriction and promote the hell out of them.

 

The red arrows show it all. I did not give you one of them BTW as I do not do that. But your suggestion would not work for the contributor or for Alamy as I see it.

 

Allan

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

The red arrows show it all. I did not give you one of them BTW as I do not do that. But your suggestion would not work for the contributor or for Alamy as I see it.

 

Allan

 

 

I was not making it as a suggestion - and I do not say it would work - I am saying I see it as something that might be cooked up. 

If people want to red arrow it to show what they think of it not a problem - I just hope they are not red arrowing me for expressing the thought.

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5 hours ago, DCSmith said:


Just pointing out the possibility of abuse.

I used to photograph charity events, before they started using amateurs from craigslist for free, and the amount of graft and skimming was astonishing. A lot of c suite execs. are routinely able to write off $1000 meals, airline travel, hotel stays, etc under the guise of soliciting donations. It would be much easier if the "donations" came from a source that you control and not able to exercise any oversight. Most charities that have large outside donors get audited regularly also.

Not the sort of thing that happens in the UK.

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Exclusivity suits me- I'd be giving up nothing to agree it as I have nothing elsewhere, partly out of laziness but also the nature of my port which i suspect applies to a lot of contributors. Alamy did say "per-image" so you can still have images drop out of excusivity in future.

A pain for those who have taken advantage of non-exclusivity though, and a pretty big change in the Alamy "deal"- although the contract does say it's non-exclusive, and that will still be true. Non-exclusivity will just bear a price for the first time.

Edited by spacecadet
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9 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

Not the sort of thing that happens in the UK.

With respect are you being naive?  Everything from the RSPCAs gorgeous new HQ a few years back to the local man whose local charity give him a very comfortable lifestyle I have seen plenty of charity employees getting fat on the hog.  All done perfectly legitimately of course, and charities have to offer high salaries and perks to attract the necessary calibre of staff.

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5 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

With respect are you being naive?  Everything from the RSPCAs gorgeous new HQ a few years back to the local man whose local charity give him a very comfortable lifestyle I have seen plenty of charity employees getting fat on the hog.  All done perfectly legitimately of course, and charities have to offer high salaries and perks to attract the necessary calibre of staff.

The poster who accused Alamy of money laundering wasn't talking about nice premises and competitive salaries. He was talking about tax fraud in a country with no welfare.

Likewise, with respect, anyone can come up with a Daily Mail-type "scroungers" example if they need one.

Edited by spacecadet

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