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Commission change - any changes in response by you?

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The main thing for me is that I have removed images from a couple of underperforming agencies ( that took six months), then had to go through a spreadsheet of 60,000 images indicating for each one whether each image was exclusive or non- exclusive. I have circa 18,000 images which are non-exclusive and which will stay that way. During all this long, tedious process I have lost out as all sales have been at 40% even if the images have actually been exclusive to Alamy. So, the commission change has not been too popular with me!

 

All my 2019 images are either exclusive to Alamy or for the more recent ones only on my own website. I am not sure what to do with them because it does feel like a mountain to climb with low fees, and them falling all the time! I have a small but growing number of exclusive galleries on my website all ready to be sent by ftp to either/or Alamy/another big agency but, as I say, it feels a bit pointless. I hardly get any site traffic so that isn't exactly going to work either. A quandary. 

 

I simply wondered what other people have experienced and are thinking.

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I'm Alamy exclusive and will stay that way.  I looked into other agencies but the prices they were getting and the commission level was an absolute joke.  In terms of prices, of the 3 sales I've had so far this month, 2 are $$$ and 1 is a good $$ and only 1 is a live news sale...

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Colblimp said:

I'm Alamy exclusive and will stay that way.  I looked into other agencies but the prices they were getting and the commission level was an absolute joke.  In terms of prices, of the 3 sales I've had so far this month, 2 are $$$ and 1 is a good $$ and only 1 is a live news sale...

 

Yes I can understand that but in the past Alamy kind of encouraged contributors to spread their wings and certainly were more than happy to accept non-exclusive content even from microstock. What hit me was that I was unable to respond quickly - I mean Alamy themselves take 6 months for an image to be deleted, so all through that time I have lost out on commission and couldn't do anything about it.

 

The trouble is that looking at how my Alamy earnings have fallen I can't see how adding more exclusively makes financial sense. One example recently is a UK broadsheet newspaper that used to pay quite well is now at the few $ level for web use leaving me with about £1. The newspaper is broke, there is huge competition so I don't 'blame' Alamy but even so it does not give much encouragement.

 

Another thing that bugs me is that there does not seem to be any reason for this exclusivity commission differential because the images aren't identified by status to buyers. Was it really just a convenient way to back off from the initial uproar rather than done for an actual reason related to the marketplace?

 

I remember you being furious at the 40%.

Edited by geogphotos
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1 minute ago, geogphotos said:

 

Yes I can understand that but in the past Alamy kind of encouraged contributors to spread their wings and certainly were more than happy to accept non-exclusive content even from microstock. What hit me was that I was unable to respond quickly - I mean Alamy themselves take 6 months for an image to be deleted, so all through that time I have lost out on commission and couldn't do anything about it.

 

The trouble is that looking at how my Alamy earnings have fallen I can't see how adding more exclusively makes financial sense. One example recently is a UK broadsheet newspaper that used to pay quite well is now at the few $ level for web use leaving me with about £1. The newspaper is broke, there is huge competition so I don't 'blame' Alamy but even so it does not give much encouragement.

 

Another thing that bugs me is that there does not seem to be any reason to this exclusivity commission differential because the images aren't identified by status to buyers. Was it really just a way to back off from the initial 40% for everybody uproar rather than done for an actual reason.

 

I remember you being furious at the 40%.

I still am absolutely furious at the 40%.  Believe me, I spent weeks looking at other agencies, I've taken advice from news and stock photographers about other agencies - I've done a lot of research and have concluded staying exclusive with Alamy is best for me.  I'll keep adding images, because photography is my job, that's what I do!  There's a big protest planned today somewhere in Ireland that will go national and I'm the only photographer who knows about it so I'll be adding more live news pics.  I personally think not adding more pics is folly.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Colblimp said:

I still am absolutely furious at the 40%.  Believe me, I spent weeks looking at other agencies, I've taken advice from news and stock photographers about other agencies - I've done a lot of research and have concluded staying exclusive with Alamy is best for me.  I'll keep adding images, because photography is my job, that's what I do!  There's a big protest planned today somewhere in Ireland that will go national and I'm the only photographer who knows about it so I'll be adding more live news pics.  I personally think not adding more pics is folly.

 

 

That's interesting because I had always assumed that most news photographers would have better results at more specialist news agencies ( frustrating that we can't discuss things without mentioning names!). But your research suggested that Alamy was the best option even if the other agencies were available to you? 

 

For example, if you could submit non exclusively to G editorial would you?

Edited by geogphotos

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Luckily for me I remember exactly when I stopped submitting to other agencies (7 years ago) so I simply marked everything I've uploaded to Alamy since then as exclusive and left everything else as it was. I could spend hours going through them and picking out the exclusive ones but I really can't be bothered.

 

Alan

 

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4 hours ago, Colblimp said:

I'm the only photographer who knows about it

Grabs quick flight

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4 hours ago, Colblimp said:

I still am absolutely furious at the 40%.  Believe me, I spent weeks looking at other agencies, I've taken advice from news and stock photographers about other agencies - I've done a lot of research and have concluded staying exclusive with Alamy is best for me.  I'll keep adding images, because photography is my job, that's what I do!  There's a big protest planned today somewhere in Ireland that will go national and I'm the only photographer who knows about it so I'll be adding more live news pics.  I personally think not adding more pics is folly.

 

 

My worry is that simply adding more images to Alamy is not going to be able to stop the decline in income. It seems like a one way street. Maybe if I did news it would seem more attractive.

 

I find Alamy's necessity ( I assume it must be that) to cut our commission, so much and without warning, to be deeply worrying. On a purely emotive level I am not sure that Alamy deserve ( not quite the right word but you know what I meanthe sort of commitment that exclusivity demands. But more than that I just worry that the incentive isn't there any more. 

 

I get the impression from some on the forum that the money side of things is not the main priority and can understand that we all have different purposes and perspectives. 

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Oddly, the majority of my non-exclusive images were with one agency that very recently went out of business.  Not sure if they can now be considered exclusive. I guess I should ask Alamy.

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34 minutes ago, Michael Ventura said:

Oddly, the majority of my non-exclusive images were with one agency that very recently went out of business.  Not sure if they can now be considered exclusive. I guess I should ask Alamy.

 

I'd think that these are now exclusive to Alamy if they are only on sale here. Even if they are not available for exclusive use ( they might still be under licence ) they can still be exclusive to Alamy. That's my understanding of it. 

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I'm still not happy about the commission change, but I'm learning to live with it, not really having much choice in the matter. I still have several hundred images at an under-performing -- more like non-performing actually -- outfit that I'm going to remove at some point. I've been holding out in the vain hope that things might improve there, which of course hasn't happened. In the meantime, I've lost income on a number of Alamy sales, and it will take at least six months to remove my images from the other place. I never expected Alamy to advertise our images as exclusive, it's too risky for them to do so IMO. I think the '50% for exclusive' change of heart was mainly to appease upset contributors. Hopefully, though, exclusivity is helping out with negotiations behind the scenes and benefiting in other ways as well. I continue to fiddle around a bit with additional options, but almost all the images that I upload to Alamy these days are exclusive.

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From what I recall Ian, you are against considering MS sites.  So was I.  The commission change convinced me to spread my eggs a little further afield than I had previously considered.

In many respects Alamy has been veering much closer to MS than in the past anyway.  I went to the effort of putting my whole port' up at one site and it has paid off.  July has been a dismal month at both sites, but the MS site is giving me an income this month three times that of Alamy.  I think exclusivity is not in our best interest.

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2 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

I'm still not happy about the commission change, but I'm learning to live with it, not really having much choice in the matter. I still have several hundred images at an under-performing -- more like non-performing actually -- outfit that I'm going to remove at some point. I've been holding out in the vain hope that things might improve there, which of course hasn't happened. In the meantime, I've lost income on a number of Alamy sales, and it will take at least six months to remove my images from the other place. I never expected Alamy to advertise our images as exclusive, it's too risky for them to do so IMO. I think the '50% for exclusive' change of heart was mainly to appease upset contributors. Hopefully, though, exclusivity is helping out with negotiations behind the scenes and benefiting in other ways as well. I continue to fiddle around a bit with additional options, but almost all the images that I upload to Alamy these days are exclusive.

 

 

I agree with all that you say John. I find it scary if the decision was simply made because of pressure from contributors - it does make it seem that the original decision was opportunistic rather than anything else. In the initial statement Mr West was saying about how it was needed to fund investments in improvements etc. If there are behind the scenes benefits taking place then it would be good to be told. I had better not say any more about Alamy's motives in just deciding to take 20% from us for no clear reason or benefit.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Reimar said:

From what I recall Ian, you are against considering MS sites.  So was I.  The commission change convinced me to spread my eggs a little further afield than I had previously considered.

In many respects Alamy has been veering much closer to MS than in the past anyway.  I went to the effort of putting my whole port' up at one site and it has paid off.  July has been a dismal month at both sites, but the MS site is giving me an income this month three times that of Alamy.  I think exclusivity is not in our best interest.

 

 

That's interesting. Just about all sales these days seem to be at micro stock prices. Alamy should take heed of what you say about alternatives being available.

Edited by geogphotos

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14 minutes ago, Reimar said:

From what I recall Ian, you are against considering MS sites.  So was I.  The commission change convinced me to spread my eggs a little further afield than I had previously considered.

In many respects Alamy has been veering much closer to MS than in the past anyway.  I went to the effort of putting my whole port' up at one site and it has paid off.  July has been a dismal month at both sites, but the MS site is giving me an income this month three times that of Alamy.  I think exclusivity is not in our best interest.

 

July could turn out to be my best month income-wise so far this year. My average price per image remains at about $48, where it has been sitting (plus or minus a couple of dollars) for several years now. Not sure what to make of this phenomenon. Perhaps I'm just getting good at treading water.  😛

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I decided to branch out and sign up with another news agency that gives me 70%. That seems like what photographers ought to get paid. Maybe they don’t have the reach of Alamy Live News but I’ve had some sales. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Oddly, the majority of my non-exclusive images were with one agency that very recently went out of business.  Not sure if they can now be considered exclusive. I guess I should ask Alamy.

 

If the agency has a distributor network, then that might be a concern. I often wonder how conscientious some distributors are about removing images, even after the "parent" agency goes out of business.

Edited by John Mitchell

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10 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

If the agency has a distributor network, that might be a concern. I often wonder how conscientious some distributors are about removing images, even after the "parent" agency goes out of business.

I have read that it can be a concern and you might have to keep tabs on them and contact them individually and personally.

Apart from anything else, if the 'parent' agency has gone, how would one be credited with any sales?

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1 hour ago, Reimar said:

From what I recall Ian, you are against considering MS sites.  So was I.  The commission change convinced me to spread my eggs a little further afield than I had previously considered.

In many respects Alamy has been veering much closer to MS than in the past anyway.  I went to the effort of putting my whole port' up at one site and it has paid off.  July has been a dismal month at both sites, but the MS site is giving me an income this month three times that of Alamy.  I think exclusivity is not in our best interest.

 

I'm finding the same. When Alamy made the change in commission I put 400 of my images elsewhere and find the return per image is higher. (Low revenue/sale but loads more sales). In fact it's been rather satisfying that images I've had on Alamy for years which haven't sold have started giving some return elsewhere. It's still a bit of an experiment at the moment, but has given me another outlet. The surprising thing is that sales often occur (and are paid into my account) within days of being uploaded. What's less good is the low fees and the fact that there's no way to tie usages to sales, so spotting infringements is no longer practical. I'm still submitting to Alamy first, but have now also put some of my older images elsewhere and marked them as non-exclusive on Alamy.

 

Mark

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Just now, Cryptoprocta said:

I have read that it can be a concern and you might have to keep tabs on them and contact them individually and personally.

Apart from anything else, if the 'parent' agency has gone, how would one be credited with any sales?

 

Exactly. So if an unscrupulous distributor continues to sell orphan images, they can keep all the proceeds.

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Just a quick post to say I'm pleased you are back posting Ian. I for one are always interested in you opinion.

 

Cheers and gone

 

Shergar

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13 minutes ago, Shergar said:

Just a quick post to say I'm pleased you are back posting Ian. I for one are always interested in you opinion.

 

Cheers and gone

 

Shergar

 

That is very kind of you and much appreciated. 

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

If the agency has a distributor network, then that might be a concern. I often wonder how conscientious some distributors are about removing images, even after the "parent" agency goes out of business.

 

 

This is a good point. I sometimes come across a few of my image in places that are unexpected! But from my point of view if I have done what I can to establish exclusivity what else can I do. The things is that agencies themselves aren't all that squeaky clean/make mistakes/are human. All I can do is to be honest and try my best. Unfortunately I do know that some photographers are not honest with agencies, but these days I am more understanding of their reasons.

 

In many ways this is a fairly 'shitty' business. I have spent six months trying to respond to Alamy's capricious/greedy/surprising decision about our commission. Being scrupulous has cost me money and a huge amount of time and effort. I feel far less judgemental than I might have once been about contributors who might have decided to just tell a few white lies about exclusivity. Would Alamy really care anyway since they don't actually need exclusivity? 

Edited by geogphotos

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One thing certainly worth doing is checking which of your images have been zoomed in Alamy Measures every day - and checking whether they are exclusive.

Those have a slightly higher chance of selling and it's worth making sure they are exclusive before they get invoiced.

I've had a few decent sales recently where the difference between 40 and 50% made the work worthwhile.

I've also started adding a keyword code to those that aren't exclusive, so I don't to check them again.

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24 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

This is a good point. I sometimes come across a few of my image in places that are unexpected! But from my point of view if I have done what I can to establish exclusivity what else can I do. The things is that agencies themselves aren't all that squeaky clean/make mistakes/are human. All I can do is to be honest and try my best. Unfortunately I do know that some photographers are not honest with agencies, but these days I am more understanding of their reasons.

 

 

 

I contributed for many years to a specialist agency that went belly-up a few years ago. They never were exactly transparent, and I suspect that they continued earning money to pay off debts, etc. -- mainly through the reuse of RM images -- at their contributors' expense long after their announced closure. Desperate people often do desperate things.

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