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Posted (edited)

Hello, 

 

I do not come here too often but this time I got truly shocking price for my image and do not really know whom to ask to answer my question.

 

My latest sale price is $ 1.25 and this is RM license, the previous one was $ 5.03 and still another one 4.99 but the last one is the worst. Does anybody know what that means and how is that possible? All sales are RM. Is Alamy now a microstock agency as those prices are microprices? 

 

I sent my question to support but surprise, surprise,  there is no support anymore but automated answers. What is going on here? Is it still worth uploading at all? And is there any human at Alamy to be in touch with contributors? I used to get an answer to all my questions and it was quite fast but no more? 

 

I must admit, i do not like it at all. It would be great to get some support from the contributors at least. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Margaret

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The automated response comes first.  Shortly afterwards you should get a reply from a real person.  Unfortunately, these replies are rarely satisfying.  The low prices you have noted are becoming increasingly common.  Many contributors have also noted that their number of monthly sales is also declining the last 2-3 months.  We all need to speak up about this.  These prices are basically an insult to serious photographers.  The problem is that with over 150 million images Alamy does not seem to be concerned about alienating its contributors, figuring that if we stop submitting it will hardly be noticed.

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4 hours ago, Margaret said:

Hello, 

 

I do not come here too often but this time I got truly shocking price for my image and do not really know whom to ask to answer my question.

 

My latest sale price is $ 1.25 and this is RM license, the previous one was $ 5.03 and still another one 4.99 but the last one is the worst. Does anybody know what that means and how is that possible? All sales are RM. Is Alamy now a microstock agency as those prices are microprices?

 

 

Just wondering, were these direct sales or distributor sales? If they were the latter, than Alamy probably has little or no control over pricing.

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1 hour ago, Ollie said:

The automated response comes first.  Shortly afterwards you should get a reply from a real person.  Unfortunately, these replies are rarely satisfying.  The low prices you have noted are becoming increasingly common.  Many contributors have also noted that their number of monthly sales is also declining the last 2-3 months.  We all need to speak up about this.  These prices are basically an insult to serious photographers.  The problem is that with over 150 million images Alamy does not seem to be concerned about alienating its contributors, figuring that if we stop submitting it will hardly be noticed.

 

Alamy are functioning in a marketplace where imagery has seen prices driven down by the tide of microstock, and the proliferation of phone cameras and their users, who will often allow their images to be used simply for the reward of seeing their name on the credit. I don't for one moment think that Alamy think it is in anyone's interest, least of all their own, to drive down prices by their own choice. Imposing a minimum price level would simply reduce sales further still. Alamy is not the problem.

 

It may well be that there is no way back from here, we are almost overwhelmed now. However I, for one, will do what I can by at least making sure I don't add to the ocean of images on microstock sites, and encouraging other contributors here to do the same. 

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19 hours ago, Margaret said:

Hello, 

 

I do not come here too often but this time I got truly shocking price for my image and do not really know whom to ask to answer my question.

 

My latest sale price is $ 1.25 and this is RM license, the previous one was $ 5.03 and still another one 4.99 but the last one is the worst. Does anybody know what that means and how is that possible? All sales are RM. Is Alamy now a microstock agency as those prices are microprices? 

 

I sent my question to support but surprise, surprise,  there is no support anymore but automated answers. What is going on here? Is it still worth uploading at all? And is there any human at Alamy to be in touch with contributors? I used to get an answer to all my questions and it was quite fast but no more? 

 

I must admit, i do not like it at all. It would be great to get some support from the contributors at least. 

 

 

 

 

 

An understandable reaction.  I too had that $1.25 direct sale, with $0.50 to me.  It was a " NU Editorial website and app multiple use, in perpetuity".

Quite novel indeed. 

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Posted (edited)
On 15/05/2019 at 23:43, Joseph Clemson said:

 

Alamy are functioning in a marketplace where imagery has seen prices driven down by the tide of microstock, and the proliferation of phone cameras and their users, who will often allow their images to be used simply for the reward of seeing their name on the credit. I don't for one moment think that Alamy think it is in anyone's interest, least of all their own, to drive down prices by their own choice. Imposing a minimum price level would simply reduce sales further still. Alamy is not the problem.

 

 

Agreed. I also think websites like ****** that offer high quality copyright-free images are putting pressure on the stock photography business.

Edited by Shepard
Took out a site name.

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4 hours ago, Reimar said:

An understandable reaction.  I too had that $1.25 direct sale, with $0.50 to me.  It was a " NU Editorial website and app multiple use, in perpetuity".

Quite novel indeed. 

There is the argument that if you don’t like NU prices then you should opt out... but then that probably means that you don’t get the sale at all. And I have noticed that site also buys from microstock. so it comes down to whether you are in the ‘something is better than nothing’ or the ‘I refuse to sell my images for pennies’ camp.

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Thank you everybody for your answers. I've just had a look and in spite of the fact that this Novel option is optional, we cannot opt out at the moment. It says we can do it in.... April, so it looks like not much can be done and the best images from Alamy will continue to be given away for free, as paying 1.50 for something that should cost several times more is giving away for free. It is hard to understand truly how the company which has been selling images for good prices for decades, now starts following the pattern of going downhill with prices. How much can Alamy make when getting 50% or even 60% for one photo. Is 50 pence really worth degrading images like that? How many of them must be sold to get truly good income for both Alamy and contributors? When I agreed to that option I was not told that prices would be so extremely low. 

 

There are shops for rich people in the world and there are poundland shops where everything costs one pound for the poor. The rich can afford to pay much more for good quality goods, why this cannot be reflected in the photo industry? I am not happy about it at all and If it was possible I would like to opt out from that awful Novel agreement right now. It looks like all photo agencies are cutting the branches they are sitting on. And photographers who submit their photos to freephoto websites. This novel scheme is not a good deal for anybody. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Shepard said:

Agreed. I also think websites like

 

I believe that we are not supposed to mention or discuss other libraries by name here on this forum but I know what you mean. When I looked into them I was pretty appalled by the sense of mission of those behind it.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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4 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

I believe that we are not supposed to mention or discuss other libraries by name here on this forum but I know what you mean. When I looked into them I was pretty appalled by the sense of mission of those behind it.

 

Sorry about that. I edited the site name out of my original post.

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There are a few of these but overall this year my average price is better than last, it's the number of sales that worries me. Not as high as they should be.

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On 17/05/2019 at 01:05, Matt Ashmore said:

There is the argument that if you don’t like NU prices then you should opt out... but then that probably means that you don’t get the sale at all. And I have noticed that site also buys from microstock. so it comes down to whether you are in the ‘something is better than nothing’ or the ‘I refuse to sell my images for pennies’ camp.

In the past, regarding distributor sales and the newspaper scheme, I have always taken the 'something is better than nothing' view, thinking that my opting in or out is not going to cause tremors in the stock photography world.

I have drawn the line at the Novel Abuse scheme and opted out last month. The sales I was getting were to a huge, very well-funded website with thousands of articles and $1 or less for use until the end of time was just wrong. 

When the Novel Use scheme was launched it was said to cover licenses that didn't fit any of the normal patterns - I think use on a fridge magnet or a single mug were the examples given. The sales I have had recently could very easily be covered by an existing licensing model - website use - and the prices were unacceptable. 

 

On the plus side, I have been happier with average prices recently - I've seen more of the 40-50 rather than 20-30, and a few more $$$ than in the past. 

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I might have written a similar post, around 2010 or so, but the numbers would have been a little different. I had a day with a half-dozen sales to the same buyer. I guess I had generally been getting sales that weren't dramatically different from the price calculator, which indicated that I had a record $1500 day. Imagine my ire when it turned out to be a mere $400 day, with most of the sales at $50. A reply from Alamy explained the bulk pricing, apparently my first encounter with it. I stopped submitting for some months, while concentrating on a couple of other stock sites, both of which then closed years ago.

 

At the time, I had projected being at 5,000 images within a couple of years. Now, I'll be there sometime this summer.

 

I do agree with Phil that many prices in recent months have been more encouraging (this week's dollar-to-me sale notwithstanding).

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On 16/05/2019 at 05:43, Joseph Clemson said:

 

Alamy are functioning in a marketplace where imagery has seen prices driven down by the tide of microstock, and the proliferation of phone cameras and their users, who will often allow their images to be used simply for the reward of seeing their name on the credit. I don't for one moment think that Alamy think it is in anyone's interest, least of all their own, to drive down prices by their own choice. Imposing a minimum price level would simply reduce sales further still. Alamy is not the problem.

 

It may well be that there is no way back from here, we are almost overwhelmed now. However I, for one, will do what I can by at least making sure I don't add to the ocean of images on microstock sites, and encouraging other contributors here to do the same. 

Joseph is spot on.  Alamy does not set the prices, the market does.  Alamy is in business to make money and will get the best price it can.  Contributors saying they do not like the prices are wasting their time.  No one has to sell via Alamy.  In my limited experience of other agencies Alamy wins hands down on pricing and contributor relations.  

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Having been in business all my life I cannot see how a $1.50 gross sale can be cost-effective unless it is fully automatic without human involvement.

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6 hours ago, IanDavidson said:

Joseph is spot on.  Alamy does not set the prices, the market does.  Alamy is in business to make money and will get the best price it can.  Contributors saying they do not like the prices are wasting their time.  No one has to sell via Alamy.  In my limited experience of other agencies Alamy wins hands down on pricing and contributor relations.  

The market may well set the prices.

The issue for me is as the prices the market appears to be setting other agencies are selling a lot better than Alamy.  

When a market sets a price of $x and one agency sells 10 items while the other sells 1 from the same amount of stock then questions need to be asked as to why the second is only managing 1 sale.

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

The market may well set the prices.

The issue for me is as the prices the market appears to be setting other agencies are selling a lot better than Alamy.  

When a market sets a price of $x and one agency sells 10 items while the other sells 1 from the same amount of stock then questions need to be asked as to why the second is only managing 1 sale.

The answer is simple, the market is imperfect.  No buyers have all the information, not all buyers use the same economic or pricing model.  The pricing, discounting and subscription models make trying to rationalise prices and sales at more than a consolidated level pointless. 

 

Buyers do not, normally, make one purchase.  They will make different purchases at different price points at different times.  You have no way of measuring this so your statement is unsound. 

 

There is also the marginal cost for buyers where if it costs more to find a lower price than the difference in price then it is rational to pay the higher price.  I can buy cheaper food at the next town but the time and travel costs make the difference close to zero so I stay with the higher priced food.  My wife tells me off for not hunting for bargains - but I point out that the extra time I have to spend hunting is not worth, to me, the marginal cost saving.  

 

Alamy is very good, I believe, in differentiating,, segmenting and adding value to their product so buyer decisions may not just made on the pricing  That is why, as an example, some people ate willing to pay more for higher octane petrol.

 

Buyers are human agents with informational  asymmetry  most of the time: they are not always rational from the viewpoint of observer: but may be rational from the viewpoint of the actor.

 

There is also the potential for second order effects.  Companies often sell items at a loss - but it is rational if the price contributes towards the fixed costs of the business allowing for more items to be sold at the margin to cover variable costs.  Buyers operate in the same way.  I would rather sell a few items at cost “A” each month provided that every so often I make a sale  (10XA) every so often.

 

Why is is the fact that other agencies are allegedly selling better than Alamy at specific price points an issue for you?  (In passing, I do not believe you have sufficient data to make that statement) Rationally, if you believe that you should go to the other agency....  as I have noted before, as individual contributors we do not have anything like sufficient information to make a judgement on the highly segmented market with non transparent demand and pricing.

 

As individual economic actors we make choices.  If I decide to shop at Sainsbury’s it is pointless to complain about their prices, I either accept them or shop at Tesco.  Complaining about prices is really a pointless activity: the market has no ears.

 

Alamy has a common economic interest with contributors and buyers to make the optimum price for the product.  I trust Alamy to do that for me.  Simples 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Phil Robinson said:

I have drawn the line at the Novel Abuse scheme and opted out last month. The sales I was getting were to a huge, very well-funded website with thousands of articles and $1 or less for use until the end of time was just wrong. 

When the Novel Use scheme was launched it was said to cover licenses that didn't fit any of the normal patterns - I think use on a fridge magnet or a single mug were the examples given. The sales I have had recently could very easily be covered by an existing licensing model - website use - and the prices were unacceptable. 

 

I know the website.. they have bought a number of my images. But I notice that they also buy from a certain big microstock agency. So I wouldn't be surprised if they approached Alamy and said something along the lines of "we like your images, we will buy several hundred of your images but you have to match the other guy's prices.. else we get all images from the other guy." If you are Alamy, what are you to do?

Edited by Matt Ashmore
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11 hours ago, IanDavidson said:

The answer is simple, the market is imperfect.  No buyers have all the information, not all buyers use the same economic or pricing model.  The pricing, discounting and subscription models make trying to rationalise prices and sales at more than a consolidated level pointless. 

 

Buyers do not, normally, make one purchase.  They will make different purchases at different price points at different times.  You have no way of measuring this so your statement is unsound. 

 

There is also the marginal cost for buyers where if it costs more to find a lower price than the difference in price then it is rational to pay the higher price.  I can buy cheaper food at the next town but the time and travel costs make the difference close to zero so I stay with the higher priced food.  My wife tells me off for not hunting for bargains - but I point out that the extra time I have to spend hunting is not worth, to me, the marginal cost saving.  

 

Alamy is very good, I believe, in differentiating,, segmenting and adding value to their product so buyer decisions may not just made on the pricing  That is why, as an example, some people ate willing to pay more for higher octane petrol.

 

Buyers are human agents with informational  asymmetry  most of the time: they are not always rational from the viewpoint of observer: but may be rational from the viewpoint of the actor.

 

There is also the potential for second order effects.  Companies often sell items at a loss - but it is rational if the price contributes towards the fixed costs of the business allowing for more items to be sold at the margin to cover variable costs.  Buyers operate in the same way.  I would rather sell a few items at cost “A” each month provided that every so often I make a sale  (10XA) every so often.

 

Why is is the fact that other agencies are allegedly selling better than Alamy at specific price points an issue for you?  (In passing, I do not believe you have sufficient data to make that statement) Rationally, if you believe that you should go to the other agency....  as I have noted before, as individual contributors we do not have anything like sufficient information to make a judgement on the highly segmented market with non transparent demand and pricing.

 

As individual economic actors we make choices.  If I decide to shop at Sainsbury’s it is pointless to complain about their prices, I either accept them or shop at Tesco.  Complaining about prices is really a pointless activity: the market has no ears.

 

Alamy has a common economic interest with contributors and buyers to make the optimum price for the product.  I trust Alamy to do that for me.  Simples 

We are either coming at this from totally different angles - or as usual, I am failing to communicate effectively what is in my head.

A market cannot be perfect or imperfect - a market just is, and users of the said market be they sellers or buyers need to adjust to that rather than expecting it the other way around.  Similar to the human condition where people focus on how things could be not how things are.  This does take into account everything else you cover as otherwise, I am going to end up writing an essay responding to every point.

The reason that other agencies are better at specific price points is an issue is because when I am putting roughly equal effort into several agencies and seeing better returns from other agencies than I am from Alamy I have to question how well Alamy is actually adjusted to the said market.  I am well aware of the size of my numerical sample and it being insufficient to make accurate statements hence why I used the word issue - something to be considered or debated.  I am also well aware that I am only assessing from my own viewpoint which is going to be different from everyone else - which means what is right for me will not be right for others so that while Alamy may not be an effective seller for me it will be for others.  

I made the statement because markets, sellers, buyers, and observers are ultimately a fluid condition and the most effective and successful users of markets are the ones who pay most attention to the information and data available - even when that data is a tiny outlier to the main bulk.   I know from other discussions I am not the only one seeing the pattern in sales I do - the data is relevant.   If Alamy is going to start competing at the single dollar price marks it needs to be selling significantly more at those prices to compete there.

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35 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:



A market cannot be perfect or imperfect - a market just is,

Yes it can.

Ian knows whereof he speaks- he's using precise terms from economic science. See "perfect" and "imperfect" information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_information

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

Yes it can.

Ian knows whereof he speaks- he's using precise terms from economic science. See "perfect" and "imperfect" information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_information

Which simply proves what I said in the first place I am failing to communicate effectively as I am not using that subset of language.

 

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If you have a valuable commodity, you control the market. Ultimately, it's up to you what value you assign to your product. Sometimes the only way to maintain value is being willing to walk away from a poor offer -- an option I've mentioned before I'd love to see offered on Alamy. Sometimes upfront sacrifice is necessary for long-term gain.

 

Right now, two options I'm exercising here are 1) Holding back some of my favorite images rather than exposing them to possible lowball sales I have no say in; and 2) Recently having started to make some of my images nonexclusive so I can keep my options open for more lucrative sales in the near or later future.

 

Don't expect anyone else to value you or your work if you don't. Most people will pay you as little as they can -- if you let them.

 

Now, I am just getting started on Alamy, so I don't have the track record and experience in the stock sphere a lot of you have. But I'd rather work toward the goals I'm trying to achieve from the start, because once you've set a standard, it's hard to go back.

 

And my goal is not penny stock. 

 

But I acknowledge that other people may have different goals, so no advice is necessarily one size fits all.

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20 hours ago, KHA said:

If you have a valuable commodity, you control the market. Ultimately, it's up to you what value you assign to your product. Sometimes the only way to maintain value is being willing to walk away from a poor offer -- an option I've mentioned before I'd love to see offered on Alamy. Sometimes upfront sacrifice is necessary for long-term gain.

 

Right now, two options I'm exercising here are 1) Holding back some of my favorite images rather than exposing them to possible lowball sales I have no say in; and 2) Recently having started to make some of my images nonexclusive so I can keep my options open for more lucrative sales in the near or later future.

 

Don't expect anyone else to value you or your work if you don't. Most people will pay you as little as they can -- if you let them.

 

Now, I am just getting started on Alamy, so I don't have the track record and experience in the stock sphere a lot of you have. But I'd rather work toward the goals I'm trying to achieve from the start, because once you've set a standard, it's hard to go back.

 

And my goal is not penny stock. 

 

But I acknowledge that other people may have different goals, so no advice is necessarily one size fits all.

Which just brings you back to the which is valuing the work more the 100 sales at $1 a time or the single sale at $100?

Not to mention it feeds into the myth that people who do not have a budget who are forced to spend as little as possible do not value what they buy.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

Which just brings you back to the which is valuing the work more the 100 sales at $1 a time or the single sale at $100?

 

To me this is not even a question, so if it is to you, I can't answer that for you. Selling an image for a dollar would not even cover the cost of the gas I might have had to pay to drive to the destination, let alone the years of photographic training, software, computers, gear, etc. And especially if it's one of the uses that seem common here, for rights in perpetuity, which would preclude you from ever being able to withdraw it for sale after the timeframe had expired and offer it as an exclusive to someone else who might later be willing to pay more for that right.

 

There are plenty of mass marketers who rely on quantity to make up for tiny profit margins. But licensing photographic rights has intricacies that selling a pair of Walmart flip-flops doesn't. And the Walmarts of the world drive plenty of other companies out of business in the process, which would mean an even more dire scenario for photographers as the stock world became even more monopolistic.

 

But we photographers who aren't chasing a mass market just need to learn what we need to do to differentiate ourselves from those who are, it seems, because ultimately we have to coexist with them. That's what I'm working on with my approach.

 

4 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

Not to mention it feeds into the myth that people who do not have a budget who are forced to spend as little as possible do not value what they buy.

 

I'm dealing less with theoretical concepts of value right now, and more with the kind of value that keeps creatives fed in this material world of ours. Keep in mind that if creatives continually drive down the prices for their own work, that one dollar sale may fall still further, to the point where there may not be enough quantity in the world to make up for the minuscule markup.

 

There are so many people who don't value the work of creatives as it is, even many wealthy companies and individuals, who often expect artists to give away their time for nothing. They don't seem to realize a world without art would be bleak indeed, and represents as needed a contribution to society as any other vocation.

 

So we need to do what we need to do to keep our industry viable. And that might mean learning to tell some buyers "No". You want that image for a dollar? Then go pick up your camera, get into your time machine, go back into the past and shoot it, 'cause you're not getting it from me.

Edited by KHA

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On 26/05/2019 at 01:31, Matt Ashmore said:

 

I know the website.. they have bought a number of my images. But I notice that they also buy from a certain big microstock agency. So I wouldn't be surprised if they approached Alamy and said something along the lines of "we like your images, we will buy several hundred of your images but you have to match the other guy's prices.. else we get all images from the other guy." If you are Alamy, what are you to do?

I agree, I'm sure that's what happened. I just don't want my images used for that little.

I know people who have opted out of the newspaper scheme or distribution for the same reason - those sales are bigger and a serious part of my income, even if I don't always like the fees.

 

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