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10 minutes ago, Autumn Sky said:

(Love the "kerfuffle" word)

 

John, there will be contributors left.   98% or more on the "let's go" bandwagon will stay after initial hothead cools off.   People are talking about leaving IS for years, and it is still as it always was.  Kerfuffle is normal;  there was kerfuffle on Alamy too after drop from 50% to 40% was announced not so long ago.  And now it is business as usual.

 

Real issue is sustainability of stock photography business model.  Michael Ventura said the best thing.  Alamy guys must discuss this in their business meetings;   would be great to hear things said there

 

 

I was exaggerating of course, and I realize that kerfuffles come and go. However, it will be interesting to see what becomes of all this. I'm only an occasional lurker on that other forum, but as you say dissatisfaction has been brewing there for a long time.

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14 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

The reset at the start of each year is a real kicker. But the end result may not be as bad as one might think from the anguish on their forum. Contributors don't actually know what the average licence fee at SS is (SS don't disclose this), hence they don't yet know what X% of this unknown value is. It's a case of wait and see methinks. I think I might end up better off.

 

Mark

Sorry, but the chances that you will be better off are slim. Unless of course you have hundreds of thousands of images. I think there will be a significant exit from SS but probably not big enough to stop them and other agencies lowering prices.

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1 hour ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

There seems to be a somewhat paradoxical correlation between the ever rising number of people wanting to make a living from photography and the ever growing number of professional photographers considering a career change (I came across a survey pretending that something like 18% of professional photographers would be considering a career change since the COVID-19 pandemic). 

I tend to think that people submitting images should at least ask themselves what they are worth, and by that I mean considering not only creativity or quality but also all the expenses (depreciation of gear, transportation, editing, keywording, software subscriptions…).

As one can not expect to get more than what one asks for, I never considered microstocks as an option (not even talking about earning 15% of almost nothing). It just makes no sense to me. But as we say here in France, "everyone sees noon at his doorstep"…

I would not even bother about that if only it did not affect every one of us.

 

 

 

I think the important point remains that what value people put in the endeavour.   You count the depreciation, etc.  I also count the cost of other things i would have been doing instead over the last 18 months of nomadic life, as well as the additional value i got of discovering local issues because i started doing this, and the lessons it thought me.....  As i now reassess what i will do with the nomadic life permanently on hold, these values may be reduced, and tilt the balance   

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22 hours ago, vpics said:

I thought we were not allowed to discuss other agencies on here!

 

 

As long as it's bad news about other agencies, you're fine.... I think.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

There seems to be a somewhat paradoxical correlation between the ever rising number of people wanting to make a living from photography and the ever growing number of professional photographers considering a career change (I came across a survey pretending that something like 18% of professional photographers would be considering a career change since the COVID-19 pandemic). 

I tend to think that people submitting images should at least ask themselves what they are worth, and by that I mean considering not only creativity or quality but also all the expenses (depreciation of gear, transportation, editing, keywording, software subscriptions…).

As one can not expect to get more than what one asks for, I never considered microstocks as an option (not even talking about earning 15% of almost nothing). It just makes no sense to me. But as we say here in France, "everyone sees noon at his doorstep"…

I would not even bother about that if only it did not affect every one of us.

 

 

In my regular business, dog and horse supplies, I have to contend with the hobbyist sellers who do not include any costs other than basic materials in their pricing structure.

 

Every Easter is the big Pet Expo in Toronto.  I do it every year and it's one of my biggest income sectors.  There is a hobby seller who comes and I have yet to figure out how she is making money.  She only sells one product - dog collars.  There are a lot of us who do dog collars and it is next to impossible to make a living on collars alone.  The booth costs over $1000.  Plus insurance. She has 3 people in her booth for the 3 days plus the set up day, so you have the expense of 3 people for 4 days.  They all eat meals (and at the International Centre in Toronto it isn't cheap to eat) plus travel costs. She makes the same type of collars as I do and has undercut me by $2.00 on every collar size.  She has a small display, not a huge selection.

 

During a lull, I was chatting with her about the cost of doing business.  During the conversation she tells me the people are her friends and don't charge her. I asked her if she included the cost of the booth, travel, eating, her time at the show, sewing machine, machine maintenance, vehicle maintenance, hydro and the multitude of other costs that go in to making a product.   The only thing she bases her costing on is the actual cost of materials for the collars. She told me she doesn't really care if she makes much money, it's only a hobby.

 

There are many people out there who do the same thing and I have to deal with this all the time at trade shows. My business pays the mortgage and puts food on the table.  This year I now design all my own collar patterns so no-one has what I have.  Well at least I will whenever I can go do another trade show.

 

In every aspect of business are the people who "are doing it for fun" and don't really care if they make money as that is not their motivation.  And they have every right to do that, no matter how it impacts my income.

 

Jill

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There's an explanatory article here. It does sound as if there is a bias towards new contributors and "fresh" content behind the coming changes.

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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3 hours ago, Olivier Parent said:

I would never deny anyone the right to do things for fun. Besides, I find the word 'amateur' particularly beautiful. What's better than doing something just for the love of it?

 

I'd give you 1000 of green arrows for this if I could.  Exactly right!  

 

I'll put my own case;  outdoor person with love for photography, but it was strictly to capture my own adventures.   Then someone mentioned 3 yrs ago "why don't you try to sell some of these, they are good enough".   Me? nah I am amateur.  "Well, you could finance your gear. What's wrong with that".   So stock adventure began and I am able to finance photo gear 100% from stock sales.   But this is still amateur level.   Unless you are able to make full-time living from it.  Which is not possible or at least extremely difficult in stock nowdays

 

 

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3 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

There's an explanatory article here. It does sound as if there is a bias towards new contributors and "fresh" content behind the coming changes.

 

 

 

I suspect there is probably also an unmentioned desire to "thin the herd". 

 

Edited by Phil
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16 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

I suspect there is probably also an unmentioned desire to "thin the herd". 

 

 

I tend to agree -- or at least an effort to develop "herd immunity". 😦

 

OMG!  Am I trying to have the last word again. Please, someone help me rescue what's left of my reputation. 😬

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Oh John! Phil made such an important point. 

 

Yes indeed, there's a very real sense of shakedown in the whole thing. It's the sort of move that tells the strongest contributors that they're welcome, the fairly strong that this could be for them too, and the rest to take a walk. Let's at least appreciate that this is out in the open. When things like this happened twenty five or thirty years ago, nobody but the folks at the top even knew what happened.

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7 minutes ago, Brian Yarvin said:

Oh John! Phil made such an important point. 

 

Yes indeed, there's a very real sense of shakedown in the whole thing. It's the sort of move that tells the strongest contributors that they're welcome, the fairly strong that this could be for them too, and the rest to take a walk. Let's at least appreciate that this is out in the open. When things like this happened twenty five or thirty years ago, nobody but the folks at the top even knew what happened.

 

Yes, there is something "Darwinian" about it all (although I think that Darwin has been misunderstood). I agree that it's somewhat tougher to hide moves like this nowadays. However, contributors don't really know how long this has been stewing on the back burner. I imagine that the changes might have a big effect on you, although I hope not.

 

Really glad you chimed in. That was close... 😂

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"Shakedown" has come to my mind as well;  new CEO and recently there has been significant QC standard change  (Their forum was full of QC complaints before this).

 

It is true there is huge mass of sub-standard, spammed content that will never sell & such overflow is largest problem of stock industry, that ultimately impacts us on Alamy as well.  But I'd not punish long time contributors that made lots of company profits possible by punishing them every Jan 1.  It would be far more productive on long-term to  clean up the libraries (every photo older than 1 yr with 0 sales - out) and establish strict QC standards that span across multiple levels.  

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4 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Yes, there is something "Darwinian" about it all (although I think that Darwin has been misunderstood). I agree that it's somewhat tougher to hide moves like this nowadays. However, contributors don't really know how long this has been stewing on the back burner. I imagine that the changes might have a big effect on you, although I hope not.

 

Really glad you chimed in. That was close... 😂

 

John, I myself never said "Darwinian" and wouldn't use that concept to describe this situation. 

 

As for the effect it has on my stock photography life, it's serious, but not surprising. I was actually more taken aback by the Alamy cut to 40% than this. I've been in  the stock photo business for almost fifty years and have been through pretty much everything. 

 

The most upsetting thing for me has been the way so many people are talking about somehow moving their collections elsewhere. This is a completely nonexclusive agency! You don't have to do anything! And they actually think it won't happen at the agency they all want to go to - its name starts with "A" and according to the "experts," it has never ever reduced commissions. 

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4 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

And they actually think it won't happen at the agency they all want to go to - its name starts with "A" and according to the "experts," it has never ever reduced commissions. 

 

They will be lured by the decent commission levels and will arrive in droves expecting to sell images every day and they will then start complaining when they get no sales in the first few weeks/months.... and when every image in their submission fails QC because of a problem with one image. Hey ho....

 

Mark

 

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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On 27/05/2020 at 15:54, spacecadet said:

What is the current commission?

 

Differently from Alamy, where they start from giving your pics away fro free ( see those clients who buy your pic for newsletter use and the day after they ask for refund so that they have your photo for free for any use they want. Something it happens frequently in my case), Shutterstock starts from 0,25USD but I got several double digit sales, including an interesting one for a calendar cover. 

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On 27/05/2020 at 22:04, Jill Morgan said:

How many papers today even have a staff photographer?  Be interesting to research that.

 

Jill

I contribute (off my own back) to a national and local paper which are produced from the same office in Cork, Ireland.  The paper(s) has FOUR staffers, but it still uses many of my images, and other freelancers, on a weekly basis for very nice fees.

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So the theory is that Shutterstock is trying to get rid of lots of its less successful contributors and those contributors are planning to move over to Alamy in protest.

 

Alamy as a kind of Shutterstock B team?

 

Great 🙃

Edited by geogphotos
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8 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

 

 

 

The most upsetting thing for me has been the way so many people are talking about somehow moving their collections elsewhere. This is a completely nonexclusive agency! You don't have to do anything! And they actually think it won't happen at the agency they all want to go to - its name starts with "A" and according to the "experts," it has never ever reduced commissions. 

 

though many have mentioned another one that starts with "A" that did reduce commission last year, and many don't seem to understand is a different type of fish, which would worry me if it was to affect client experience at said agency.  I hope QC will be aware of this.  Checking only image Exif and image technical content may not be enough for a while  (actually a 4-6 week turnaround may be a positive for a change)

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9 minutes ago, meanderingemu said:

 

though many have mentioned another one that starts with "A" that did reduce commission last year, and many don't seem to understand is a different type of fish, which would worry me if it was to affect client experience at said agency.  I hope QC will be aware of this.  Checking only image Exif and image technical content may not be enough for a while  (actually a 4-6 week turnaround may be a positive for a change)

 

 

I have the wrong 'A' then? You are all talking about the mud building one.

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Hi All,

 

Given that this is centered around a general industry discussion, I think we can forego the code words for now in this thread. I appreciate the desire to stick to the rules but for the purposes of this thread I think it's of benefit to the conversation that you can talk freely and clearly about the industry.

 

What we don't want to see is the promotion of our competitors here for obvious reasons, aside from that all is acceptable.

 

Cheers

 

James A

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1 hour ago, Colblimp said:

I contribute (off my own back) to a national and local paper which are produced from the same office in Cork, Ireland.  The paper(s) has FOUR staffers, but it still uses many of my images, and other freelancers, on a weekly basis for very nice fees.

 

Good for you,  Andy.

 

The thing about newspapers is they have a very short turnaround time. That makes the cost of images less important than getting things done. 

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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

I have the wrong 'A' then? You are all talking about the mud building one.

 

You are correct Ian, I meant Adobe, the mud building one. Boy! Did so many of you jump to the wrong conclusion!

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2 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

 

You are correct Ian, I meant Adobe, the mud building one. Boy! Did so many of you jump to the wrong conclusion!

 

I had read the forum, so i knew that's who you meant, but i have seen many throwing the name of Alamy as a dumping ground for their mass images, and i do think this might challenge this place, as many contributors' tone seems to be if it gets through, it's fair game, and not want to self-regulate.   

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The biggest fear many of us have is that if shutterstock reduces commissions this drastically (going from a range of 38 cents to $120 per download down to 10 cents to $40, a 67% reduction in commissions for those who reach the highest tier early on, with an even greater commission cut at the start of the year), it will make it that much more difficult for other agencies, including Alamy, to compete, and we will all lose, not just those who depend on shutterstock for a big portion of their income.

 

Many of us saw how drastically our incomes from iStock and/or Getty dropped when they pulled a similar move. I started on shutterstock with just over 100 images and though I had anywhere from 5 to 8x as many images on here as on there at the time, I always made considerably more from shutterstock, but felt my best work should be here and valued Alamy because I felt they valued my work. People also feel valued by Adobe Stock because, despite being a micro, their commissions are higher and with just 150 sales a year (last year it was 300 accepted uploads) they provide you with a free yearly PS & LR subscription (or illustrator, etc as the case may be), so a $133 bonus. They have also held weekly live webinars and chats with clients and contributors during the pandemic, and they have a dedicated customer contact who goes out of his way to answer contributor questions and help contributors succeed, much as Alamy responds to our questions via email and here on the forum.

 

With this latest move, there are 90+ pages of complaints on the shutterstock forum and others elsewhere with many expressing the desire to concentrate their focus on Alamy and Adobe. I agree it would be better if they just rid the collection of the chaff but they purposely dropped their standards a few years back allowing for exponential growth of the collection, so I don't think that is their intent here - I think they want to cut commissions for those of us in the higher tiers (easier to get to than you might imagine - especially before 2012 - I made it to the third tier early on with just under 200 images). I've disabled my portfolio and directed my financial advisor to sell my shares in the company (at a loss at this point - I sold a chunk of my shares when the stock went over $80 doubling my investment, so that was a windfall, wish i'd sold it all then). I've signed the petition and have tweeted my displeasure to my 7,200+ followers.

 

I know microstock devalues our work, but it was still very lucrative at one time (and can still be more lucrative than traditional stock, as insane as that seems) but it was also a train that would eventually go off the rails, because competing on price meant there was no way to charge clients more as time went on. How insane is it to be in a business where the value of what you produce diminishes over time while the rest of the world earns more? I hope that this latest move sends more buyers to Alamy. Many shutterstock contributors are designers and have successfully urged their companies to look elsewhere for stock.

 

Adobe has very limited editorial offerings, which puts Alamy in a good position, although as Chuck mentioned AP distributes their work via shutterstock, so we'll see how it shakes out. Two struggling micros - Cutcaster and Crestock have closed in the past month or so as has a traditional agency that tried to treat photographers fairly - fotolibra, so competition is shrinking and hopefully that will help Alamy. 

 

Thanks Alamy for letting us discuss this news.

 

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