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Commission change - James West comments

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Nothing cheers me up more than reading the Alamy forums in the morning.... oh.. hang on... :P

 

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How about raiseing  prices for licences 20%?

In particular those licences which are low $$ and lower. The raise would be negligible to a buyer buying a $10 licence as opposed to a $12 licence for instance.

 

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28 minutes ago, radharcimages said:

Utter rubbish James.

Nothing at all to do with contributors net royalties.

Coincidently (dont believe in coincidence) my net royalties have only this month or so recovered to the level before the last cut. Thats with pretty much doubling the number of images and reworking thousands upon thousands of existing images.

Im never going to see a return on that with this cut. A 20% cut brings me back to 2008 levels. Let me repeat that a 20% cut brings me back 11 years and 40,000 images ago.

Think about that James, it means the last 11 years work have been for nothing, zero growth, just a massive drain on my resources to subsidise you.

 

You complain about 'only' 2% growth, many many companies, corporations and countries would love 2% growth.

 

You are giving me a 20% cut effective February. That's unsustainable. Im guessing you will hope most people will just moan and gripe and do nothing about it and that may well be the case but its such a big jump that its a showstopper for many people. As you mention there are Tier 1 suppliers out there with smaller percentages but they do much much larger volume. If leading contributors migrate away the top 5% of their images you will lose that 2% and then some almost overnight. Its not about cancelling contracts or storming off in a huff, we all have our own spreadsheets and graphs and whilst Alamy has umpteen million images to choose from the vast vast majority are pretty much unsaleable.

 

You are doing exactly what some of the big supermarkets have done in the last few years, squeezing and squeezing main/big suppliers (because they can) and once people find alternatives they will do so. Im sure by this announcement that really doesnt worry you in the slightest but the recent history of companies squeezing regular/main/big suppliers hasnt ended well. Im sure you think you will do well out of it otherwise you wouldnt have done it.

 

Dont try and dress this up any other way than its taking money from your suppliers to give to you and your staff through wages, dividends and special directors payments.

At least be honest about it and stop this complete male bovine excretia. We are not exactly 'all in this together'.

Fantastic post.

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12 hours ago, Alamy said:

2018 will be a high-water mark in revenue at Alamy. Normally this would be cause for celebration, but growth has flattened off this year. It's up only 2% on last year after a period of super high growth.

 

If things continue to be flat, which I think is the base case scenario, then revenues to our contributors will either stay flat or worse, start to fall.

 

I'd really like you to try to substantiate this, James.

 

Right now Radharc's post above resonates far more than your rationale, and this quote feels rather like Rumsfeld's 'know unknowns'.

 

Edited by Russ MCR

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Very unhappy, James.

 

Edited by LSP

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Filed accounts show that at the end of 2017, Alamy had £3.3M cash in hand/bank.  Is it now all gone now? To where?

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I am relative new here but from my modest point of view from the last years Alamy is trying to increase his portfolio by adding lots of huge collections. Alamy is losing their touch to their really founders of this company, those contributors from the beginning years. Now if we have a portfolio of less than, e.g. 100.000 we are struggling in a loss war year by year to maintain our revenues. At this rate, maybe in five years, Alamy will have just only images from other companies collections and few photographers that give up uploading images for peanuts.

What is the percentage of revenue from the small contributors with respect to those huge collections? Are we treated the same with this 20% discount?

 

As all friend colleagues above very sad indeed.

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2 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

I would imagine a lot of people are now actively looking at other agencies - after all if their volume of sales is such that the paycheck is bigger it's better to get the most money you can from being screwed.

If they've got any sense, they will.

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7 hours ago, gvallee said:

 

James, I take it you're no linguist. You refused to listen that automatic software translation is total gobbledygook

I hope you take this into account for future international expansion and find another solution. Otherwise, you're heading for disaster.

 

Totally agree. Anyone with any knowledge of a foreign language and ten minutes to spare will very quickly discover that the standard of keyword and title translation on foreign Alamy sites  is APPALLING.

 

On alamy.de a search for the current British PM brings up pictures of Theresa Mai (the month on May) and Theresa kann (Theresa may/might - the verb).

Hundreds of pictures of bicycles are keyworded with the word Zyklus (cycle as in business/economic cycle - NOTHING to do with bicycles)

Search for 'Trinkgeld' (the tip you give a waiter) and you get pics of Orange Tip butterflies, white tipped sharks, rubbish dumps, points of pencils etc etc etc, all things connected with 'tip' in English, none of which have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the German search term used. 

A search for 'Drachen' brings up pictures of red kites and several other related birds of prey. Why? Because 'Drachen' is German for dragon AND kite (the child's toy, NOT the bird). So a German client looking for pics of dragons (or toy kites) sees pages of birds of prey which - unless they have a pretty advanced command of English - will make no sense at all and probably convince them that the Alamy search engine is hopeless.

 

Alamy's success in the past has been largely built on its ranking system and search algorithms.

Single-word translation CANNOT be done by computer and makes a complete mockery of Alamy's search results and, I suspect, reputation. 

 

If you are really going ahead with this change in commission rates, please do not spend A SINGLE PENNY of the extra cash on rolling out further foreign language sites with computer-generated translation.

IT DOES NOT WORK.

Edited by Phil Robinson
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Take a loan out in order to become more competitive, don't take out your lack of effectiveness in the marketplace on your contributors. There's been plenty of opportunity for Alamy as Getty is a shadow of what it was. Unfortunately Alamy hasn't been on the ball at all.

Edited by long journey
spelling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I wouldn't mind the 10% cut if Alamy better represented my work and made more effort to 'push out' stock and editorial images - particularly over the weekend

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I wonder how it effects our CTR and Alamy Rank if a wrongly translated keyword leads to a view, but not a click. Let's hope that we are not punished for wrong translations that were not our fault.

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6 minutes ago, Skyscraperfan said:

I wonder how it effects our CTR and Alamy Rank if a wrongly translated keyword leads to a view, but not a click. Let's hope that we are not punished for wrong translations that were not our fault.

I suspect it applies to everyone equally as the mistranslation are so dreadful and widespread that most searches will be affected!

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1 hour ago, Colblimp said:

Fantastic post.

agreed! (trying to get round the limit on upvotes now :D)

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1 minute ago, imageplotter said:

agreed! (trying to get round the limit on upvotes now :D)

Exactly - I've never come across the limit on upvotes before now.

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 I'm sorry - but this is outrageous - as if WE photographers don't struggle enough. LIVID - What this will do is force photographers to quit or go elsewhere.

It smacks of GREED - I can NOT afford to be undercut anymore. 

FIND ANOTHER WAY.

 

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5 hours ago, Travelshots said:

There are too many contributors who have posted many images who never sell. The agency needs to remove  those collections reduce server space and cost and tighten up the website so the purchaser sees the best images without wading through tens of pages.  Then Alamy can be advertised as new tightened up collection.. at the moment it is in danger of .becoming another micro stock agency

Couldn't agree more. Problem is, Alamy has spent considerable time and $ attracting those contributors and their marginal photos. It will be hard (or impossible) for Alamy to admit a mistake and reverse course. First we march West and then we march east. 

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13 hours ago, Alamy said:

 

 

Yep definitely a risk. It's on us (Alamy) to deliver better returns to contributors asap.

Go to your bank and take out a business loan

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58 minutes ago, SFL said:

Filed accounts show that at the end of 2017, Alamy had £3.3M cash in hand/bank.  Is it now all gone now? To where?

 

The office Christmas Party 2017/18? That would explain a few things.

 

One item it definitely wasn't spent on were the Alamy pens they handed out at the Photography Show this year. Pen lasted exactly 5 words before it became extinct, pushed the daisies, went to see its maker. Although they did of course claim that it was simply resting, like any sensible Abington Blue would. I wasn't convinced, I know a dead pen when I see one.

Edited by imageplotter
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1 minute ago, long journey said:

Go to your bank and take out a business loan

Still no mention from James about the money given away;

 

We donate a significant proportion of our operating profits to charity. Since 2007, we´ve donated over $6 million to good causes, including DNA and cancer research through SBL and educational research through the Fischer Family Trust.

 

Above quote from the About page says 6M dollars; link below says 6M pounds;

 

https://www.alamy.com/about-us/about-alamy-our-philosophy.pdf 

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If Alamy is following the trend of other agencies micro or mainstream in cutting commissions them implement the policies from these other commission cutters No Refunds 

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14 hours ago, Alamy said:

 

- Big focus on international expansion, local language support from website to customer service to account management, re-engineering our core customer experience from search to checkout, upgrading our datacenters to latest technology, better content insights, new products, updated design and marketing etc.

 

If this means foreign-language websites using computer software to translate keywords and captions DO NOT DO IT.

 

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I have also sent the following by e-mail.

 

Dear James

I ran a successful business for nigh on 50 years through good times and bad. When times were good, I prospered, when times were bad, I SUFFERED. I made sure that I did not loose the goodwill of my staff or suppliers, I took the brunt of any downturn. Not that Alamy is going through a bad time, they have had just one year when growth has slowed, not gone into recession, just slowed. Nearly all businesses take a breather from rapid growth as Alamy has had over the last few years.

I also know that when a business needs money to expand, they do any of four things.
1. Borrow money
2. Cut costs and overheads
3. Cut dividends
4. Instigate a rights issue
What they don’t do is loose the goodwill of the people they depend most on. When the likes of Chuck Nacke, a staunch Alamy supporter for as long as I can remember, even through the last rate cut, turns his back on you, you can be sure you are in the wrong.

I see no mention in your video of staff and director’s salary cuts or a cut in dividends. Instead to your shame, you chose to hit the most vulnerable. There are many of your contributors who depend on the small income they receive from the hard work they put into providing the lifeblood of your company, both through some kind of incapacity or in countries where any kind of income is desperately needed. Yet this is the source you have decided to raise the money from to expand YOUR business. I can only count my blessings that I am not one of them.

Many of your contributors, myself included, have kept our images exclusive to Alamy because we believed Alamy to be a fair and just company. This decision has just proved how foolish we have been putting our trust in your company.

Why not instead clamp down on the things that are wrong with Alamy such as the abuse of the personal use licence. This can easily be rectified by a simple check box in the pre download text ‘ I Understand That This Is A Digital Image File I Am Purchasing and There Can Be No Refund’. Judging by the amount of complaints on the forums this will save Alamy thousands of dollars per month as well as the contributors.

I realise that my small portfolio will have no impact on Alamy’s bloated collection, but never the less I will be withdrawing my images from Alamy if you instigate this wholly wrong decision, purely on principle.

It is not too late to change your mind and regain the trust of your contributors and I fully hope and urge you to do so.

 

Regards

Bob Deering

Edited by BobD
added accent
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19 minutes ago, KevinS said:

Still no mention from James about the money given away;

 

We donate a significant proportion of our operating profits to charity. Since 2007, we´ve donated over $6 million to good causes, including DNA and cancer research through SBL and educational research through the Fischer Family Trust.

 

Above quote from the About page says 6M dollars; link below says 6M pounds;

 

https://www.alamy.com/about-us/about-alamy-our-philosophy.pdf 


This seems a compelling reason for me to cease to be a 'contributor' and become a 'registered charity' - which wouldn't exactly be a giant step!

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To protest Alamy's decision I suggest we each:

  1. Select all images in Image Manager.
  2. Set all Restrictions under Optional menu.

And if that sounds too dramatic, simply use the 'Newest 500 passed' selection filter.

 

As soon as Alamy reverses their position, or somehow manages to justify it, I'll be happy to revert these changes.

 

Until then let's hope that potential buyers find themselves just as frustrated as we are.

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