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2 minutes ago, Bill Brooks said:

Good for Allan Bell for doing the right thing. That is not disclosing or interpreting in a public forum any information, confidential or otherwise, he may have learned in direct conversations with Alamy.

 

This is the real mark of a professional and would help him in any business.

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12 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

Good for Allan Bell for doing the right thing. That is not disclosing or interpreting in a public forum any information, confidential or otherwise, he may have learned in direct conversations with Alamy.

I'm not sure I'd call this a "public forum" in the conventional sense. You have to be a contributor to, er, contribute.

In any case, if Alamy send a representative to a meeting of contributors (not a private meeting- it was announced here in advance, with an invitation) then what is the problem with discussing, with contributors, what has been said, subject to agreement with the representative? Alamy prides itself on openness, and I doubt a representative would agree to share anything that the company didn't want shared, for whatever reason.

 

 

Edited by spacecadet
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I'm new to this but it seems that James Allsworth travelled all the way to Cambridge to give private and exclusive information to a small group of contributors who happened to live nearby. That seems like a very strange way to go about things.

Edited by Harry Harrison
Allsworth not Unsworth
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Just now, Harry Harrison said:

I'm new to this but it seems that James Unsworth travelled all the way to Cambridge to give private and exclusive information to a small group of contributors who happenmed to live nearby. That seems like a very strange way to go about things.

I don't think that's what happened either.

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I have no “inside” information on Alamy, but I did spend more than thirty years in financial services/investment banking and gained an MBA during that period.  
 

it is entirely up to the Directors of Alamy how they run their business: including business strategy, dividend policy and the like.  They own the business.

 

As contributors we are not shareholders (although we are most definitely stakeholders, as are the staff, the buyers etc).  We each volunteer to enter a clear commercial  agency (in the legal sense) agreement with Alamy.  We hand over, in part to Alamy the marketing, pricing and licensing of our images, for which we pay them a percentage of each sale..  If we don’t like that process we have the right, within the terms of the agreement, to cease to have a commercial agreement.  That is the long and short of it.

 

The stock photography market is in the process of change, perhaps even “creative destruction”.  Like many industries (think Thomas Cook and Flybe in the holiday industry) stock photography is changing and it may be considered somewhat King Canute like to resist the incoming  tide.  
 

I hope you do not mind this extended metaphor, but it is relevant.  When in investment banking I had some small part in the financing of the takeover of a well known football club.  I was in a meeting with the potential owners.  They had met with outrage from fans and punters all offering “advice” on both the takeover and how to run the club.  One of the senior directors of the bank pointed out that in that room we had decades of experience of running global football/sporting clubs and brands, people being paid million of pounds to make the deal happen and funding it.  While we took note of the views of the fans as stakeholders, in the deal room we had all available information, numbers crunched by “”rocket scientist” analysts, risk analysis by leading experts in that field as well as extended market/brand analysis by two of the leading economic consultancies in the world.  Thus the economic and corporate decisions that were being made, regardless, in some respects, of outcomes ( where there are always elements of randomness and “luck”), were as informed as it was possible to be.  The fans and punters offering advice had a tiny view of the overall picture.  As contributors we have a tiny view of the total picture, and while offering our views as stakeholders is a legitimate exercise we should do so in the context of limited market information and knowledge.

 

As an individual I believe (and freely admit that I do not know) that Alamy works in my interests and the interest of other stakeholders such as buyers, , (as it is in Alamy’s best interests to maximise revenue, customer satisfaction and attempt to balance supply and demand) within the confines of the “dead hand” of the market, and I am happy for them to operate as they think best. Should I cease to believe that the “Exit door” is well signposted.

Edited by IanDavidson
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1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

I'm new to this but it seems that James Unsworth travelled all the way to Cambridge to give private and exclusive information to a small group of contributors who happened to live nearby. That seems like a very strange way to go about things.

 

It is James Allsworth and it was a totally informal and amiable meeting in Ely. There were no trade secrets given away and there is nothing strange about it. You would be more than welcome to come yourself and I would enjoy meeting you I am sure. 

 

Doc, Allan, Julian Eales and I started meeting up back in 2014 and we meet 3-4 times a year for a chat. James offered to come last year and again this year to answer any questions. He got in touch with Doc recently when he saw the post on the forum about the meeting and offered to come. There was nothing pre-arranged and nobody extra came when it was announced that James was coming.

 

It is not intended to be a focus group where the members are expected or required to report the proceedings on the forum. For me it is just meeting up with some good friends for a chat. In fact it would be much better to email contrib relations directly in order to have things in writing as it would be very easy to misunderstand or misquote anything that was actually said.

 

FWIW in relation to Allen's post - discussion of the dividends thing lasted about 1 minute and nothing was really said at all beyond the need to balance the needs of everyone involved. James simply assured everyone that Alamy cares about all parties and is investing a lot of time and money in keeping up with or staying ahead of the game. As I said above, emailing Alamy directly and then posting the email here would be a far better way of understanding what is in Alamy's collective mind than asking us.

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, MDM said:

You would be more than welcome to come yourself and I would enjoy meeting you I am sure. 

Thank you for the invitation, I'm sure I would enjoy meeting you all also, maybe when it warms up a bit. I did get the impression that this meeting was in some way different because in the past a report has been posted and I sensed a certain defensiveness about what went on. As you say, questions were asked and answers given, still I take your point that there is a danger to misrepresent or misquote.  I had thought that James Allsworth (sorry about that) might have seen it as an opportunity to share some nuggets of information with the wider contributor community. Well, there's always The Photography Show I suppose.

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30 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

It is James Allsworth and it was a totally informal and amiable meeting in Ely. There were no trade secrets given away and there is nothing strange about it. You would be more than welcome to come yourself and I would enjoy meeting you I am sure. 

 

Doc, Allan, Julian Eales and I started meeting up back in 2014 and we meet 3-4 times a year for a chat. James offered to come last year and again this year to answer any questions. He got in touch with Doc recently when he saw the post on the forum about the meeting and offered to come. There was nothing pre-arranged and nobody extra came when it was announced that James was coming.

 

It is not intended to be a focus group where the members are expected or required to report the proceedings on the forum. For me it is just meeting up with some good friends for a chat. In fact it would be much better to email contrib relations directly in order to have things in writing as it would be very easy to misunderstand or misquote anything that was actually said.

 

FWIW in relation to Allen's post - discussion of the dividends thing lasted about 1 minute and nothing was really said at all beyond the need to balance the needs of everyone involved. James simply assured everyone that Alamy cares about all parties and is investing a lot of time and money in keeping up with or staying ahead of the game. As I said above, emailing Alamy directly and then posting the email here would be a far better way of understanding what is in Alamy's collective mind than asking us.

 

 

 

 

Thank you Mick. I could not have put it better myself.

 

Allan

 

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15 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Thank you for the invitation, I'm sure I would enjoy meeting you all also, maybe when it warms up a bit. I did get the impression that this meeting was in some way different because in the past a report has been posted and I sensed a certain defensiveness about what went on. As you say, questions were asked and answers given, still I take your point that there is a danger to misrepresent or misquote.  I had thought that James Allsworth (sorry about that) might have seen it as an opportunity to share some nuggets of information with the wider contributor community. Well, there's always The Photography Show I suppose.

 

I am not a note taker and I would want to do a report of what was really a social gathering. It would be half a day's work at least to write up something like that for perfectionist me. If I think of anything in passing I am happy to post (see the post on categories) as long as I don't get pinned to a wall with lights shining in my eyes.

 

I guess it was what Allan said that made it appear defensive. You would have to ask him why he said what he said. Next meeting is pencilled in as April 8th in Ely if you would like to come and you can ask him then 😀. I think it is also easy to project one's own ideas on what might have been said. If Mark C had been there, he would probably have asked some detailed questions of James, as Mark is clearly a highly intelligent guy with a forensic approach to many things. It simply was not that type of meeting. In fact a lot of the questions came from a relatively new contributor and could have been answered by any of us seasoned guys. And it was all very amiable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, MDM said:

as long as I don't get pinned to a wall with lights shining in my eyes.

 

Yes, I think I'm guilty of a bit of wall-pinning and light-shining about James Allsworth's apparent suggestion at a previous meeting that Categories were used internally. I can see how it can get out of hand.

 

I'll put the date on my Google Calendar anyway. I really like that part of the world.

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51 minutes ago, MDM said:

Next meeting is pencilled in as April 8th in Ely if you would like to come and you can ask him then 

 

Did James say if he was going to be on the Alamy stand at the Photo Show at the NEC in mid March? I’ve met James there before and it’s always useful to have discussions face to face, (although I tend to be influenced more by the facts, figures and actions than friendly chats).

 

58 minutes ago, MDM said:

If Mark C had been there, he would probably have asked some detailed questions of James, as Mark is clearly a highly intelligent guy with a forensic approach to many things

 

Oh dear, now I’ve got a reputation to live up to.:)

 

Mark

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7 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Oh dear, now I’ve got a reputation to live up to.:)

 

Mark

 

It is of your own making and well-deserved. 😀

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46 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Did James say if he was going to be on the Alamy stand at the Photo Show at the NEC in mid March? I’ve met James there before and it’s always useful to have discussions face to face, (although I tend to be influenced more by the facts, figures and actions than friendly chats).

 

Mark

 

Alamy will have a stand there which will be manned by a few members of the team at any given time.

 

Personally I'll be there on at least one of the days, probably more but not sure which ones yet. 

 

I would say though that if you do have  any forensic / data driven or technical details for discussion, the trade show floor is probably not the best place and we'd of course welcome you to email these to us in order for us to help in a more detailed way.

 

For example, our previous chats and discussions about the search engine and more recently, colour space, have been heavily covered and I wouldn't want us to re-tread old ground. That said if you do have any specific questions for us, let us know.

 

Another note related to this discussion and the meeting in Ely - as others have previously said, no trade secrets were revealed or any dramatic inside information was given out. As discussed at the meet itself, context is everything and when things are in black and white they can be over-analysed, mis quoted and mis-interpreted so I can see why a written summary wouldn't necessarily be helpful. 

 

As always, the best advice I can give for you to succeed on Alamy is to spend your energy and time producing relevant, strong photography that is well keyworded. Over-analysing or over-working any other element of the process, including post-processing, the workings of the search engine etc are far less important than the basics! :)

 

Cheers 

 

James A

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Alamy said:

 

Alamy will have a stand there which will be manned by a few members of the team at any given time.

 

Personally I'll be there on at least one of the days, probably more but not sure which ones yet. 

 

I would say though that if you do have  any forensic / data driven or technical details for discussion, the trade show floor is probably not the best place and we'd of course welcome you to email these to us in order for us to help in a more detailed way.

 

For example, our previous chats and discussions about the search engine and more recently, colour space, have been heavily covered and I wouldn't want us to re-tread old ground. That said if you do have any specific questions for us, let us know.

 

Another note related to this discussion and the meeting in Ely - as others have previously said, no trade secrets were revealed or any dramatic inside information was given out. As discussed at the meet itself, context is everything and when things are in black and white they can be over-analysed, mis quoted and mis-interpreted so I can see why a written summary wouldn't necessarily be helpful. 

 

As always, the best advice I can give for you to succeed on Alamy is to spend your energy and time producing relevant, strong photography that is well keyworded. Over-analysing or over-working any other element of the process, including post-processing, the workings of the search engine etc are far less important than the basics! :)

 

Cheers 

 

James A

 

 

 

 

It would be great if Alamy could share some of their plans/ideas in the forum, rather than in occasional face to face discussions or emails. James West's video Q&As (apart from the ones cutting our commission :()  were a great idea. Indeed it was one of the reasons I joined Alamy in the first place. I imagine Jame's West is too busy these days, but maybe you could ask for some questions and then do a short video like James West did?

 

Yes the last forensic analysis (colour space) was done to death. But why did it take 6 pages of Alamy forum discussion before Alamy finally chipped in? You could have saved us all a great deal of effort. Similarly, on the new 5 star QC ranking, pages and pages of discussion with no comment from Alamy. (Sorry for going off topic) 

 

My recent "forensic" (not my word) analysis has concerned Alamy's financial returns and dividends in comparison with those of another stock library, which I'm sure you wouldn't want to discuss openly on the booth at the show. So I won't come chasing you for answers at the NEC (unless James West turns up of course) ;)

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

 

<snip> But why did it take 6 pages of Alamy forum discussion before Alamy finally chipped in? You could have saved us all a great deal of effort. Similarly, on the new 5 star QC ranking, pages and pages of discussion with no comment from Alamy. (Sorry for going off topic) </snip>

 

 

For the same reason as always I'm afraid - we'd love to be more interactive here but we've got a small team and other priorities have to come first. As you'll find, the more we respond to, the more follow-up questions there are and then people can feel aggrieved when they don't get a response. With the colour space issue, I think I recall actually calling you to try and clear up the confusion, so I hope that shows that we are not being neglectful in our responsibilty to support our contributors! 

 

A webinar / video / Q+A type thing is not a bad idea, we'll have to see if we can make that work for some point this year. 

 

Cheers

 

James A 

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1 hour ago, Alamy said:

With the colour space issue, I think I recall actually calling you to try and clear up the confusion, so I hope that shows that we are not being neglectful in our responsibilty to support our contributors! 

 

Indeed you did (July 16th 2019), and it was much appreciated. However that was after about 10 days and 5 pages of forum debate, and I'd purchased two of my own test images, found that Alamy had converted them to sRGB and their colour profiles had been stripped, and I posted the results on the forum and emailed contributor services with the evidence. Previously the response to emails from other contributors appears to be that you worked in aRGB.

 

1 hour ago, Alamy said:

A webinar / video / Q+A type thing is not a bad idea, we'll have to see if we can make that work for some point this year. 

 

That would be great. Thanks, possibly see you at the NEC show.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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On ‎12‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 14:59, Brian Yarvin said:

It doesn't sound like it based on what I just wrote, but I would love to see Alamy create a premium collection - if for no other reason than to see what the Alamy crew considers to be "premium." Back in the days of paper catalogs, it was easy to tell what a given agency treasured. Not anymore.

A premium collection is exactly what I've been thinking and I agree with what you wrote, but I do feel that my days at Alamy are now numbered.  I can not stand these low license fees and there are other options to me for "Editorial Archive Images."

 

You are one of the few "stock photographers" that I do respect.

 

Chuck

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OMG!!! When I first started this thread - way back when - it was really just a comment, an unburdening of my professional self that was feeling a bit sorry for herself.  I expected maybe two or three sympathetic responses and that was it.  I certainly did not expect it to go to 5 pages and range so widely.  Obviously I touched a (very raw) nerve!

 

Tbh I was not blaming anyone, company or individual, for the 'falling price of stock'.  As I said very early on, I think it is a symptom of the technological advances of the digital age which have affected photography - they have been both the re-birth and the death of photography. 

 

I don't think Alamy are to blame.  They need to be competitive, as do all the other agencies and it is truly a race to the bottom, because so many amateurs can take perfectly good photos very easily nowadays. They are just happy to see their names in lights and willing to give their photos away for a bit of kudos down the pub.  I don't expect they realise what harm they are doing to the livelihoods of professionals.  But then why should they  and why should they care?

 

Yes,  Alamy could, maybe, have some kind of 'Premium range' so that it wasn't just a numbers game, or set a lowest price point or whatever -  but I'm not sure that would help.  And I do believe that Alamy, like any other business, does have our interests at heart.  Not because they are angels or martyrs, but simply because their bottom line depends on them getting the best deal - and therefore we get (a percentage) of that best deal too.  Whatever crap payment we get for an image, remember Alamy also gets a crap percentage of it too.

 

So - I'm sorry that my innocent winge has sparked so much debate - well not really sorry, but certainly surprised!

 

Over and out!

 

 

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Chuck, you and I talked about premium collections privately last year. You were passionate about a high-end journalistic venue and I was (at least) curious about the high-end of commercial. In theory, this could work at Alamy because it's one of the last agencies standing that has its own live sales team - indeed, there will be no high prices without sales people to close the deal. What's missing - not just at Alamy, but in the whole stock photo industry - are editors with the skill and insight to properly choose the collections. These people aren't born that way! They need to be trained by others with those same skills, but now there's nobody.

 

Alamy never had editing and putting it in place would be a huge change in corporate culture. Several of the micros are trying this and I am enjoying their image choices, but they're not out there selling. They're just putting higher price tags on the chosen images and hope that people bite.

 

Supply isn't the only problem! The entire marketplace is gone.

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Brian,

 

I would appreciate talking with you again, you around this weekend?

There are a few real "picture editors" left but fewer and fewer "real agencies"

in my opinion.

 

To all others reading this thread, I meant no offense with my comment

about Brian,  I do like his work and value his opinion. 

 

On another note, just watched JOKER, WOW what a difficult film, very disturbing.

 

Chuck

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At times contributors have reported that their sales records have included ISBN details. 

 

Accepting that this isn't always possible it would be a way to help contributors if this could be made a more frequent occurrence.  This information is essential for DACS claims.

 

It is great to hear how committed Alamy are to helping its contributors but some concrete, definite action would be welcome.

 

Is any consideration going into reversing the commission cuts? Or offering a higher commission rate to those contributors who have reached certain sales milestones?

 

Any rewards or incentives?

Edited by geogphotos

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Reading the thread especially regards premium collections and the lack of skilled photo editors  I had a thought.  Would a "rarity" premium be of any effect? (possibly bad ones lol).  I mean look what "De Beers" did with diamonds - they took something, emphasised its rarity and drove demand through the roof.  Pretty much all the stock companies are now counting their libraries in 10s of millions and growing at an insane rate.  Yet there are still plenty of subjects with minimal coverage - there is another thread here celebrating "alamywhacks" and I have images in my own tiny port that are the only one of a subject.  So how about bringing in something like "less than 1000 images a 2% premium, less than 100 images a 5% premium, less than 50 images a 10% premium, less than 5 images a 20% premium"  (I am making up percentages - marketeers and maths guys can come up with better scales).  It gives sales and marketing something to hang their focus on - both for the agencies selling the images and for the purchasers who can then promote their use of rarer images.

Obviously the flip side is a load of photographers rushing out to grab the rarer subjects so the rarity goes down - but some of the rare images are expensive and challenging to get and the number of photographers willing and able to do the work will be minimal

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Find people who are experts in certain areas - horses, dogs, wildlife, architecture, history, whatever - this includes existing specialist agencies who could also host. 

 

Employ them on 'sales commission only' percentage terms to curate and showcase specialist collections which they then target to specialist buyers much like the News team push their images to known potential customers. These could be displayed on separate premium websites each with its own branding ( not obviously Alamy and mixed with other images). 

 

It doesn't matter if these same images also remain on the regular Alamy site. Specialist buyers will pay premium rates for the extra service, knowledgeable captions etc

Edited by geogphotos
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Estelle, a rarity premium could work for journalistic photos - these images often have value because a skilled photographer made an image where nobody else did - or perhaps everybody else's is of relatively poor quality. Obviously, in the case of popular genres like travel, there can be no rarity because there will always be somebody else there to take the photo. 

 

Ian, in theory, I agree with you, but those buyers would have to be convinced that the service is there and worth contacting. That would take costly advertising. It's also worth repeating that these customers are paying for research services, not image quality. 

 

In any case, our potential seller would have to see if there's any market out there at all. And worst of all, they would have to overcome the dreadful reputation that stock photography has brought upon itself during the past two decades. I think that this is the toughest challenge of them all.

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