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Commission change - James West comments


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17 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

Think about it Ian - since when are there any guarantees offered in this "field"? I say nah - if offering rewards do it as incentives for those that do well what this field is about i.e. creating images that attract licensing and are in themselves a profit for Alamy. It would also work as an incentive for those that want to get better. In other words - reward those that work hard to create the right type of images that generate actual $. I don't want no guarantees, I want opportunities - the opportunity to earn more if I work harder and better if you know what I mean.

I really do not get why we have become so wary about rewarding the good and insistent that everyone gets the same (this is across the whole of society not just Alamy).  I mean think about it pub one puts all its tips into a pot and shares them equally,  pub 2 uses 50% to share among the backroom staff (cooks pot washers etc) and the other 50% is divided up according to who served the person who left the tip.  Which pub do you think will have the better serving staff?
A good photographer is not only going to sell more images for Alamy they are going to attract new buyers and bring return custom.  They are fully deserving of rewards extending beyond the market place.

Edited by Starsphinx
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I'm liking the idea that those shots marked exclusive will continue at 50%. I have very few that currently are, but it gives me, and others, the option to tick the box on the shots they are prepared to have in that category. It is fair  in that all contributors, new and old,  are treated equally and it does represent an element of risk for those who are prepared to commit those photos exclusively to Alamy. A reward for loyalty. 

 

 

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To All,

 

I feel the need to add that I believe that all creators entering

Alamy be given the same opportunity, be it commissions or

where their images appear in the search results.  I have always

admired Alamy for doing that.  Now we are talking, it is not our

decision or our company, about segregating the new contributors

and legacy contributors?  Again in my opinion that is a bad idea.

 

For more than ten years and based on my over 40 years in the

photo agency business, Alamy was the best agency or library

I've contributed to.  Mr. West's video threw that all out the window.

 

It is not about $, in my opinion it is about respect.

 

With the above in mind, I am making my own decisions and I

don't plan to let the door hit me on my way out.  I also do not

believe that Alamy will suffer from my exit.

 

I do also believe that Mr. West owes us all a public comment.

 

Chuck Nacke

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1 minute ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Many questions related to Alamy suggesting Exclusivity maintains 50/50.

 

...

f. Are there past examples of new conditions introduced causing increased workload for contribs. & NO benefit?

 

Pretty well every time they make a change: re-rank, AIM, etd

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nacke said:

To All,

 

I feel the need to add that I believe that all creators entering

Alamy be given the same opportunity, be it commissions or

where their images appear in the search results.  I have always

admired Alamy for doing that.  Now we are talking, it is not our

decision or our company, about segregating the new contributors

and legacy contributors?  Again in my opinion that is a bad idea.

 

For more than ten years and based on my over 40 years in the

photo agency business, Alamy was the best agency or library

I've contributed to.  Mr. West's video threw that all out the window.

 

It is not about $, in my opinion it is about respect.

 

With the above in mind, I am making my own decisions and I

don't plan to let the door hit me on my way out.  I also do not

believe that Alamy will suffer from my exit.

 

I do also believe that Mr. West owes us all a public comment.

 

Chuck Nacke

 

Wholeheartedly agree,

 

Sadly after almost 17 years there is now no good reason for me to stick around any longer either. May pop in briefly late January to see how it has all played out and to make my next decision. I am now looking, positively, to new horizons.

 

I will miss some of the people here but I hope too see many of you when you pop up in other places.

 

All the best

 

Martin

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In the days of stock photography catalogues, the real talent was rewarded by being included in the annual sales catalogue. Only the very best images from the agency collection were in the catalogue. If your images were second rate, they did not make the catalogue no matter how hard you worked. One image in a catalogue was worth $40,000 in sales over the life of the catalogue. The only way to get into the catalogue, and make more money, was to have better images in the agency collection than the other photographers in your agency.

 

Claiming that every photographer should be equal, regardless of their talent and value to Alamy, is just bizarre.

 

Our images are not all the same. Of course we should be divided based on talent. It is not about working hard, it is all about talent.

 

The internet is the great down leveler in the creative industries. Anyone can publish? The crowd has rights? Well the crowd does not have rights, if they are second rate.

Amongst those who buy and care about images, the level of the photography contained in some stock photos by the untalented has become a joke. Look at the stock photo fail articles on the internet.

 

There is an opportunity for Alamy and talented photographers in all of this.

 

Providing photographer incentives would be the way for Alamy to reward and inspire the talented, get rid of the occasionally lucky second rate photographers taking money from the talented, improve the quality of it's library, and therefore truly distinguish itself in a image crowded marketplace.

 

For one to advocate, no incentives to rise above the crowd, everyone equal, a reward for being around so long, jobs for life, security for all, no changes, is only a refuge for the second rate.

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1 hour ago, Bryan said:

I'm liking the idea that those shots marked exclusive will continue at 50%. I have very few that currently are, but it gives me, and others, the option to tick the box on the shots they are prepared to have in that category. It is fair  in that all contributors, new and old,  are treated equally and it does represent an element of risk for those who are prepared to commit those photos exclusively to Alamy. A reward for loyalty. 

 

 

As an 8 month contributor, I certainly agree with this sentiment, Bryan, and appreciate the egalitarian point of view.  

 

Furthermore, I think it critical that exclusivity must create more value than just retaining 50% commission.  Because of the relatively low volume of sales by Alamy,  I would recommend that Alamy postpones any change in commission structure until it has the marketing scheme in place to benefit both Alamy and us from introduction of the NEW, IMPROVED 'exclusive' category. 

 

Up to now they've acknowledged that ticking the 'exclusive' box means almost nothing.  If I'm going to commit to exclusivity, I want it to mean that Alamy is actively marketing that feature of the collection, not just dividing its catalog into 50% and 60% income categories.  I want to reasonably expect to have either increased sales, or better pricing from an exclusive image--preferably both.  In a world where exclusivity seems to be increasingly rare, surely there is some value in it. 

 

-Michael

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2 hours ago, Martin Carlsson said:

 

Think about it Ian - since when are there any guarantees offered in this "field"? I say nah - if offering rewards do it as incentives for those that do well what this field is about i.e. creating images that attract licensing and are in themselves a profit for Alamy. It would also work as an incentive for those that want to get better. In other words - reward those that work hard to create the right type of images that generate actual $. I don't want no guarantees, I want opportunities - the opportunity to earn more if I work harder and better if you know what I mean.


It's not about getting more, but about having to do more for getting the same reward you used to get in the past.

That reminds me of "Amazon Prime". In the past most products were delivered just one day after your order. But then Amazon introduced "Prime", which guarantees a delivery on the next day. That was not a lot of benefit, if your deliveries arrive the next day even without Prime. So Amazon had a brilliant idea: Let's delay the normal (non Prime) shipments for one day. If you order something today without Prime, Amazon will wait until tomorrow evening until it even starts shipping your order. At least that's the case in Germany. So customers have to join Prime for 69 Euros per months to get the same fast shipping that used to be free in the past. That sounds exactly as what some suggest for Alamy: Only get 50%, if you sell very many photos.

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10 minutes ago, Bill Brooks said:

In the days of stock photography catalogues, the real talent was rewarded by being included in the annual sales catalogue. Only the very best images from the agency collection were in the catalogue. If your images were second rate, they did not make the catalogue no matter how hard you worked. One image in a catalogue was worth $40,000 in sales over the life of the catalogue. The only way to get into the catalogue, and make more money, was to have better images in the agency collection than the other photographers in your agency.

 

Claiming that every photographer should be equal, regardless of their talent and value to Alamy, is just bizarre.

 

Our images are not all the same. Of course we should be divided based on talent. It is not about working hard, it is all about talent.

 

The internet is the great down leveler in the creative industries. Anyone can publish? The crowd has rights? Well the crowd does not have rights, if they are second rate.

Amongst those who buy and care about images, the level of the photography contained in some stock photos by the untalented has become a joke. Look at the stock photo fail articles on the internet.

 

There is an opportunity for Alamy and talented photographers in all of this.

 

Providing photographer incentives would be the way for Alamy to reward and inspire the talented, get rid of the occasionally lucky second rate photographers taking money from the talented, improve the quality of it's library, and therefore truly distinguish itself in a image crowded marketplace.

 

For one to advocate, no incentives to rise above the crowd, everyone equal, a reward for being around so long, jobs for life, security for all, no changes, is only a refuge for the second rate.

I'm sure I agree with you, Bill, but could you clarify what--in the world of stock photography, especially editorial--counts as talent?  Is it something more than the ability to upload images which customers license?

 

Thanks,

Michael

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4 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

What all of us benefit from is more talented photographers than ourselves staying with Alamy. 

 

The person getting direct sales of $6000 gross a month in sales is helping all of us. That person is an Alamy hero! 

 

Change the split and instead of $3000 that contributor is getting $2400, a loss of $600 every month or $7200 per annum.

 

Lose somebody like that and we all lose. A person like that has choices. 

 

I say reward those who are successful and that also incentivises everybody else. 

     As a relatively new, and as-to-now minimally successful contributor, I agree with you, Ian.   I am reminded of a bit of advice given me by a Greek professor when I asked him if I should take a certain course.   He said "yes, always take the hardest course you can get into".   I've generally followed that advice through my life, and chose Alamy for that reason.  I am here to learn, improve, rub shoulders with those far better than me, and contribute when I can. 

     From my admittedly limited perspective, I see Alamy as the best place to be for any generalist.  For the company to diminish that quality in any way would be a horrible mistake for all concerned. 

 

--Michael

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3 hours ago, Bryan said:

I'm liking the idea that those shots marked exclusive will continue at 50%. I have very few that currently are, but it gives me, and others, the option to tick the box on the shots they are prepared to have in that category. It is fair  in that all contributors, new and old,  are treated equally and it does represent an element of risk for those who are prepared to commit those photos exclusively to Alamy. A reward for loyalty. 

 

 

 

If Alamy does go this route, I would hope that they define "exclusive" as not being available on other stock agencies only -- i.e. the definition should not include images on POD sites as well as those that we license through our own websites. I would probably pull some duplicated images from non-performing agencies. However, like many others, I have a lot of images sitting on POD sites that I'd like to leave there.

 

P.S. It seems that the 50% exclusive offer is more appealing to UK contributors because many of them have apparently not placed their images anywhere else, even though Alamy has counseled against this in the past. Correct? It strikes me as being a bit odd that an agency that has never asked for loyalty, even advised against it, is now thinking of rewarding it, doesn't quite add up.

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9 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

 

 

Sadly, by contribs ratting on each other.

Maybe by spot checks via Google Image???

 

... and by buyers as well, not too difficult to do in the age of the Internet. "Hey! I just found this exclusive image that I licensed from you for $$$ available on a microstock site."

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53 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

If Alamy does go this route, I would hope that they define "exclusive" as not being available on other stock agencies only -- i.e. the definition should not include images on POD sites as well as those that we license through our own websites. I would probably pull some duplicated images from non-performing agencies. However, like many others, I have a lot of images sitting on POD sites that I'd like to leave there.

 

P.S. It seems that the 50% exclusive offer is more appealing to UK contributors because many of them have apparently not placed their images anywhere else, even though Alamy has counseled against this in the past. Correct? It strikes me as being a bit odd that an agency that has never asked for loyalty, even advised against it, is now thinking of rewarding it, doesn't quite add up.

 

Not in my case, no. I have many of the same images in several 'macro' 'agencies' (whatever those two terms mean these days!), though some are unique to individual agencies, for various reasons. 

I do not for the life of me see how such a scheme could possibly be managed. As others have said, it would take some considerable time for images to be removed from other places and even then, there is no guarantee that distributors would readily comply with take-down orders. And, ironically, although I have endeavoured to restrict movement of my images as far as possible, one of those third parties would be Alamy itself! And how would Alamy ensure that the images truly were on Alamy alone. They have proved themselves next to worthless in following up infringements (they have never, to my knowledge actively searched for any). How on earth would they keep on top of genuinely 'exclusive' images? I don't believe that they would/could. 

In any case, aside from managing the system, as others have said, what benefit would it be to anyone?  They have had many options in place for YEARS (including an exclusive option), and have done next to nothing with these options. They are full of great ideas, which - sadly - ultimately lead nowhere. 

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19 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Sadly, by contribs ratting on each other.

Maybe by spot checks via Google Image???

GI itself often limits what it displays, and to whom, and where. Not 100% reliable. 

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Is exclusivity really a benefit for the customer? In Germany we have an evil airline called "Lufthansa". It is the biggest airline in the country and uses its power to mob some other airlines out of airports. For example it says "If you want Lufthansa to buy a certain number of slots at your airport, you can't allow Emirates to also make your airport their local hub!". It's a different kind of exclusivity of course, but for the customer, who wants to book a flight, such business practices are quite annoying. He would like to have both Emirates and Lufthansa at his airport to have some competition.

 

In the stock image example it is the same principle. The exclusivity restricts the customer's ability to choose between competing agencies.

 

At the same time exclusivity does not benefit any agencies, if most of the other agencies are also exclusive. It just means that every single agency has less images than without exclusivity. Imagine agency 1 had images A,B and C and agency 2 had images D,E and F. Wouldn't it be better for both if both could offer images A,B,C,D,E and F?

 

Of course for the photographer exclusivity is also bad. So it looks like it's bad for all parties involved.

 

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1 hour ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

Bill, but could you clarify what--in the world of stock photography, especially editorial--counts as talent?  Is it something more than the ability to upload images which customers license?

 

Thanks,

Michael

 

Hi Michael

 

You ask the big question, and then partially answer it yourself.

 

Talent is definitely something more than the ability to upload images which customers license.

 

Talent is getting ahead of the customers' image needs. It is about consistently making images that amaze the customer. Amaze the customer because they did not know they needed that image treatment of the subject, until they were amazed by yours. When the customer inevitably stops being amazed by your by now familiar images, talent is about again getting ahead of the customers' needs so you can amaze them yet again.

 

Talent is about looking at a lot of great images by others. Then having that inner confidence to become inspired by those images that are more talented than yours.

 

Talent goes beyond seeing your subject. Talent is about thinking about that subject, and what you want to communicate. Talent is then communicating that thought clearly, through your photographic craft. Seeing is only one minor step. Thinking is the most important step.

 

Buying a camera is like acquiring the ability to type. Just because you have the ability to type and know the alphabet, does not make you a talented writer. To be a talented writer you have to have something to say, and then say it skillfully. Same with photography, or art, or dance, or theater, etc.

 

There is no simple answer to acquiring your talent, except with constant craving to communicate real thoughts you will acquire more talent than the less committed unthinking others.

 

Talent needs to be rewarded.

 

Thanks for asking Michael.

 

Bill

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14 minutes ago, losdemas said:

 

Not in my case, no. I have many of the same images in several 'macro' 'agencies' (whatever those two terms mean these days!), though some are unique to individual agencies, for various reasons. 

I do not for the life of me see how such a scheme could possibly be managed. As others have said, it would take some considerable time for images to be removed from other places and even then, there is no guarantee that distributors would readily comply with take-down orders. And, ironically, although I have endeavoured to restrict movement of my images as far as possible, one of those third parties would be Alamy itself! And how would Alamy ensure that the images truly were on Alamy alone. They have proved themselves next to worthless in following up infringements (they have never, to my knowledge actively searched for any). How on earth would they keep on top of genuinely 'exclusive' images? I don't believe that they would/could. 

In any case, aside from managing the system, as others have said, what benefit would it be to anyone?  They have had many options in place for YEARS (including an exclusive option), and have done next to nothing with these options. They are full of great ideas, which - sadly - ultimately lead nowhere. 

 

If Alamy had had two contract options, non-exclusive or exclusive, as some agencies do, right from the beginning, then I could see this plan working well. As it is, the transition to a 50% commission for exclusive images model would be very problematic.

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1 hour ago, Skyscraperfan said:

I still come back to my idea of just lending Alamy the remaining percents. 35% now and 15% plus interest in three years from now. Or 40% and 10% later. That would give Alamy some money to work with now.

 

I don't think Alamy has a shortage of money just now. Two years of double digit growth and this year's ~2% growth should have them flush. James is taking action he thinks necessary to deal with flat or declining revenue in the future. Neither is happening just now. Also, they have One Million Pounds in reserve in case of an economic downturn. 

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1 hour ago, KevinS said:

I don't think Alamy has a shortage of money just now. Two years of double digit growth and this year's ~2% growth should have them flush. James is taking action he thinks necessary to deal with flat or declining revenue in the future. Neither is happening just now. Also, they have One Million Pounds in reserve in case of an economic downturn. 

We perhaps need to be careful not to assume increase in turnover has given a corresponding increase in profit. The increase in turnover may be largely due to a significant increase in the number of images, customers, and contributors. All of which increase costs. At the same time the revenue per image is falling, squeezing margins. A mere 2% growth in 2018 is very likely to have caused a fall in profits, hence the current panic...

 

Mark

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6 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Many questions related to Alamy suggesting Exclusivity maintains 50/50.

 

a. Are there not already tens of thousands of exclusive images on Alamy?

b. Have not these exclusive images existed on Alamy for years & years?

c. Did Alamy have all those years to test higher pricing of those exclusive images?

c. What higher prices have ALREADY been reported for these exclusive images?

d. What would NO effort previously to raise Alamy exclusive prices evidence?

e. So is there NO evidence for higher price success via exclusivity other than NOT lowering cut 20%?

f. Are there past examples of new conditions introduced causing increased workload for contribs. & NO benefit?

 

Spot on Jeff.   There is no data to suggest that in exchange for exclusivity, a 50/50 split has any benefit to a contributor, Or, that an exclusive license would not eventually return a 9.99$ sort of sale price.... Some stated that they are okay with this sort of split for exclusivity trade-off, in which case you maintain status quo, until Alamy decides that a 30 / 70 or worse split is need to fund operations or goose a growth initiative...

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6 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

In the days of stock photography catalogues, the real talent was rewarded by being included in the annual sales catalogue. Only the very best images from the agency collection were in the catalogue. If your images were second rate, they did not make the catalogue no matter how hard you worked. One image in a catalogue was worth $40,000 in sales over the life of the catalogue. The only way to get into the catalogue, and make more money, was to have better images in the agency collection than the other photographers in your agency.

 

Claiming that every photographer should be equal, regardless of their talent and value to Alamy, is just bizarre.

 

Our images are not all the same. Of course we should be divided based on talent. It is not about working hard, it is all about talent.

 

The internet is the great down leveler in the creative industries. Anyone can publish? The crowd has rights? Well the crowd does not have rights, if they are second rate.

Amongst those who buy and care about images, the level of the photography contained in some stock photos by the untalented has become a joke. Look at the stock photo fail articles on the internet.

 

There is an opportunity for Alamy and talented photographers in all of this.

 

Providing photographer incentives would be the way for Alamy to reward and inspire the talented, get rid of the occasionally lucky second rate photographers taking money from the talented, improve the quality of it's library, and therefore truly distinguish itself in a image crowded marketplace.

 

For one to advocate, no incentives to rise above the crowd, everyone equal, a reward for being around so long, jobs for life, security for all, no changes, is only a refuge for the second rate.

Bill,

 

You should read more carefully, I did not say that all photographs or photographers are equal, what I said was that Alamy use to provide all photographers an equal opportunity

to license or sell, RM or RF, images.  That is what made Alamy the worlds largest library.

 

Bill,  I've been in the business of photojournalism since the photo editor of NEWSWEEK paged me during my journalism 204 class in 1978.  The picture he needed was page one world-wide

that week.  Actually I started working for a daily newspaper in 1975, when I was a high school student.

 

I've also handled an image, shot on a disposable film camera by an amateur journalism student, that was the only frame of a person involved in a HUGE nation-wide American story.  That photo made $80,000 in licenses in six hours and that was just television. How many sets of images have you created that were licensed, first time publication rights world-wide, for over

$165,000 USD?

 

Are you equal to me, in my opinion YES,  I will defend your right along with all contributors to Alamy to have the same opportunity to license (RM) or sell (RF) their images.  Just

as I will demand that Alamy keep the split 50 / 50 on all direct licenses.  I don't give a hoot about RF.....

 

Chuck Nacke

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11 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Many questions related to Alamy suggesting Exclusivity maintains 50/50.

 

a. Are there not already tens of thousands of exclusive images on Alamy?

b. Have not these exclusive images existed on Alamy for years & years?

c. Did Alamy have all those years to test higher pricing of those exclusive images?

c. What higher prices have ALREADY been reported for these exclusive images?

d. What would NO effort previously to raise Alamy exclusive prices evidence?

e. So is there NO evidence for higher price success via exclusivity other than NOT lowering cut 20%?

f. Are there past examples of new conditions introduced causing increased workload for contribs. & NO benefit?

Worth asking James, especially A-D.

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If Alamy decide to offer higher commissions for exclusive images, how about having that apply only to new images, or images that have never been uploaded elsewhere? There could be an extra tab for customers to search on "New AND Exclusive". The fact that an image is exclusive does not mean that it has never been sold elsewhere.

 

There should be a minimum time that an image remains exclusive, eg one year, and then a requirement for 6 months notice to be given before exclusivity can be removed. This would give Alamy an opportunity to get a better price.

 

It would also give contributors a way to assess whether or not it was worthwhile ticking the exclusive box more often, without committing large numbers immediately.

 

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