Doc

Cambridge Alamy Group - meeting with James Allsworth from Alamy - Summary

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Hi all,

 

As you may know we have a regular meeting for Alamy Photographers held in Cambridge every 3-4 months (To which anyone is always welcome!). Yesterday James Allsworth (Contributor Experience Manager from Alamy) drove over and joined us, and seven of us plus James had a very stimulating four hour discussion which started over Thai food in a local pub, and finished over coffee.

 

James had been briefed with a load of questions from us and came fully prepared. - 

 

Question/Answer session: (This is my recollection from four hours of discussion in a fairly noisy pub! James - please let me know if there are any inaccuracies!)

 

What does "Exclusive to Alamy" actually mean from the POV of maintaining 50% share and not having Alamy penalise you?

 

Basically not having your images also for sale on any other stock site which takes any percentage for selling your images. It is OK to have images marked "Exclusive to Alamy" and also sell them from your personal website, put on social media, or sold for print use via Fine Art America. Alamy will penalise photographers who are found to be in breach of this.

 

Why does Alamy keep supplying full size images for personal use/presentations and websites when much smaller files would be completely suitable?

 

Very difficult to supply reduced size images and most people want max. size.

 

When is Alamy going to produce an “Exclusive to Alamy” tab?

 

Definitely coming as a trial in the near future

 

How many contributing photogs/active contributors does Alamy have now?

 

Alamy has 380,000 registered users. Of those only 90,000 have images on the site ( This was very surprising - 270,000 people have registered for Alamy and have no images for sale!), and of those 18,000 have contributed new images in the past 6 months

 

Will Alamy produce a public statement stating that images which are exclusive to Alamy will not be placed lower in searches?

 

No, but in practice they absolutely will not place exclusive to Alamy images lower in searches.

 

 

Can Alamy find a way of blocking “presentation Use” like they can presently block “Personal use”?

 

They will look at doing that if sufficient numbers of contributors request it.

 

What is first change funded by 20% cut that contributors will clearly notice?

 

The changes funded by the cut are essentially to allow Alamy to grow the business and hence make it more likely to survive and not be taken over.  Alamy's annual income is substantially lower than that of Shutterstock and Getty, and they are able to spend large amounts  on advertising/bringing customers in. Alamy needs to do more of this. The average gross income from a sale on Shutterstock is 35 cents; the average  gross value of a sale on a sale on Alamy is $35, and this has been the same for the past 3 years.

 

Re: Image Manager: Why can’t you search for an image by file name?

 

You can so long as you leave off the .jpg at the end

 

 

In Image Manager Can we have a tool to combine a search with a filter?

 

Very difficult, as the search facility works on the library, and the Filter works within AIM

 

 

In Image Manager: Can the tags be put in alphabetical order?

 

Originally it did but people wanted proximity of the tags for eg. “New” and “York” to push it higher in the searches. They are looking at having a toggle switch in AIM to toggle alphabetical order for tags on and off, to make tagging the images in AIM easier

 

 

Whats the state of play with Alamy ranking?

 

Nothing like it used to be - many more factors now taken into account including which customer is searching and their previous search history, 

 

 

Can Contributors affect the order their images appear in searches?

 

No can do - see above; generally the search engine supposedly brings newer images to the fore, but again influenced by many things

 

A few other points:

 

Last year was Alamy's best year for income ever

The USA office brings in more business than the UK office

It is important to continue to contribute new images as many clients often ask Alamy for newer images, and the search engine deliberately pushes newer images higher in searches

Many larger clients do not even use the search engine themselves but simply contact Alamy's sales team and ask them to provide a list of appropriate images to a spec.

 

There are no plans to start culling images on the basis of age/content/lack of views - Alamy will continue to accept all submitted images so long as they fit with the technical requirements and Alamys' rules

In AIM, the "Categories" under the optional tab are mainly useful for the sales personnel at Alamy when they are looking for appropriate images for a client. New categories can be added by Alamy but they will only do so if they can be shown to be helpful to the purchasers

Make certain, even now, that if your images are marked "Exclusive to Alamy" that they really are exclusive.

For Live News, there is an "on-call" employee from Alamy Live News on a mobile 24 hours a day so if you have something which is newsworthy they can always be phoned 

 

I think most of us came away from the meeting feeling reassured that Alamy was likely to continue in its present form, that they were not "fattening up the calf for an impending sale of the business, and probably most reassured that Alamy continues to be trying to look after its' photographers and maintain good links with its' photographers

 

We would like to thanks James Allsworth for taking the time to come to the meeting (a 5 hour round trip for him), preparing for it, and enabling us to put a face to the name. 

 

A final plug - the Cambridge Alamy Group regularly meets every 3-4 months through the year. Please come if you can - you dont have to be living in the area to attend. It is always good to meet new faces and exchange views over food and drink. Watch this space for the next meeting date!

 

Kumar (Doc), Allan Bell and Mick (MDM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for posting this, Kumar. Some of us are far away and won't be attending the meetings.

 

Paulette

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Thank you, this is very useful and interesting information. Glad you had a good meetup.

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Thanks Doc, Allan and Mick for sharing the information.

Jim :)

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Thank you for posting Kumar.

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Interesting to see that search results differ based on who is doing the searching! Makes comparing searches we do as contributors a bit pointless if the customers see totally different results.

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Thank you for taking the time to post all this Doc, hope you all had a swell time.

 

Parm

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Thanks for posting Kumar. Despite arranging this meeting I was not able to attend and am sorry to have missed it.

 

The contents of your post have made me feel happier for my future with Alamy and I hope it will do so for others who read your post.

 

Allan

 

 

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Thanks to Doc for the report, and  thanks to James for the info.

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A very nice meeting it was too. And Kumar ; Thanks for the beer!

Rolf

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Thanks for the report - quite useful.

 

"Can Alamy find a way of blocking “presentation Use” like they can presently block “Personal use”?

 

They will look at doing that if sufficient numbers of contributors request it."

 

Can it be noted that after having three of the damned things already this month that I really, really, really want this Presentation Use licence to be quickly and quietly put to death?  Please?  It is so open to abuse.

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3 hours ago, Doc said:

In AIM, the "Categories" under the optional tab are mainly useful for the sales personnel at Alamy when they are looking for appropriate images for a client

 

I wonder if this is, or perhaps was, also true of the Location field since it's not searchable on the front end.

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4 hours ago, Doc said:

What does "Exclusive to Alamy" actually mean from the POV of maintaining 50% share and not having Alamy penalise you?

 

Basically not having your images also for sale on any other stock site which takes any percentage for selling your images. It is OK to have images marked "Exclusive to Alamy" and also sell them from your personal website, put on social media, or sold for print use via Fine Art America. Alamy will penalise photographers who are found to be in breach of this.

 

 

We were running out of time at the end (due to parking constraints) and some of the answers got a bit rushed. There was some late discussion on similars and whether further clarification would be added to the contract.

 

As I understood James answer regarding similars, they only count as similars if they originate from the same actuation; so if the same shot is cropped or made B&W or processed differently, then if one of these resulting images is not exclusive then they all are not exclusive. If however you shoot two separate near identical images of a static object, Alamy will not treat them as similar for commision purposes.

 

I hope I got this one right as it will significantly impact the long laborious work ahead of me to set all my images to the right status.

 

I'm not sure what the answer was for whether we have the final wording of the contract or whether any further clarification is expected.

Edited by andremichel

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Hi there,

 

It was great to attend, catch up with you face to face and answer all your questions.

 

I'll try and get down to another one in the not too distant future.

 

Cheers

 

James A

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36 minutes ago, andremichel said:

 

We were running out of time at the end (due to parking constraints) and some of the answers got a bit rushed. There was some late discussion on similars and whether further clarification would be added to the contract.

 

I'm not sure what the answer was for whether we have the final wording of the contract or whether any further clarification is expected.

 

We may well update contract wording at a later date but will probably just add more clarification via the help pages in the interim.

 

Cheers

 

James A

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Many thanks for the update Kumar, very interesting.

 

You mentioned the US Office. Has the Australian office been mentioned? Any indication how it's doing? Thanks.

 

Gen

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Hi Gen!

it wasn’t specifically mentioned at the meeting - but we did get rather rushed and ran out of time at the end!

Kumar 

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3 minutes ago, Doc said:

Hi Gen!

it wasn’t specifically mentioned at the meeting - but we did get rather rushed and ran out of time at the end!

Kumar 

 

No problems. Thank you for the feed back.

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Thanks for this. Very helpful info.

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Thanks Doc,

 

really useful post. Couldn't make it this time - but plan to attend the next one.

 

Michael 

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Thank you @Docfor sharing the info and for Alamy for providing it. One of the many things that make Alamy stand out from the crowd, in a very positive way.

Edited by Martin Carlsson

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Many thanks for taking the trouble to provide this very interesting report Doc.  James's comments on Alamy ranking confirm what I have been suspecting for quite some time.

I would love to be able to attend one of your meetings but Cambridge seems to take for ever to get to from here.  Maybe I'll be in the area one day.

 

Pearl

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2 minutes ago, Pearl said:

Many thanks for taking the trouble to provide this very interesting report Doc.  James's comments on Alamy ranking confirm what I have been suspecting for quite some time.

I would love to be able to attend one of your meetings but Cambridge seems to take for ever to get to from here.  Maybe I'll be in the area one day.

 

Pearl

Would be quite a trek , Pearl!!

 

Kumar

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1 minute ago, Doc said:

Would be quite a trek , Pearl!!

 

Kumar

 

 

6 minutes ago, Pearl said:

Many thanks for taking the trouble to provide this very interesting report Doc.  James's comments on Alamy ranking confirm what I have been suspecting for quite some time.

I would love to be able to attend one of your meetings but Cambridge seems to take for ever to get to from here.  Maybe I'll be in the area one day.

 

Pearl

 

We will announce this soon as a separate post but next meeting will be May 22nd in Cambridge. Rolf must currently hold the distance record coming from Stockholm for the last meeting. From experience it is about a 6 hour drive from Cambridgeshire to Anglesey (depending on the state of the M6) so that might be longer in time than Rolf's journey. Pearl might be better off setting up a group in north Wales. There must be lots of contributors in the region. 

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