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

It might have been inevitable, but the advent of digital photography, the internet and plenty of hobby photographers willing to basically give their photos away, gave rise to micro stock and essentially killed this business for the career professionals who relied on this income to make a living.  I will never submit my photos to a micro and if Alamy becomes a similar business model, I will exit.

 

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.

 

Edited by Olivier Parent

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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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Posted (edited)

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?

But as soon as you get paid, it's not quite amateurism anymore, is it? And when you do it in marketplaces in direct competition with professionals, I tend to think a minimum of ethics, respect and responsibility should prevail but maybe it is just a sign I am getting old 😉.

If people feel happy when they sell their work for 15% of virtually nothing, and thereby damage an already weakened sector of activity, that is their choice. I just do not feel like it.

Edited by Olivier Parent
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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)
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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Posted (edited)
On 27/05/2020 at 16:48, geogphotos said:

I've always thought it as rather illogical  to sign up for and accept micro fees, then to complain about what the industry is coming to, and how Alamy's fees are also terrible etc.

 

As far as I can see, most of the images available on a microstock website are also available on every other microstock websites.

If I am right, when all companies sell the exact same products, it all comes down to the price. 

So all these agencies have to keep their prices as low as possible to remain competitive, because buyers know for sure they all sell the same stuff.

 

And also, as far as I can see, most of the images available on a microstock website already have hundreds, thousands, if not millions of similars.

Can you imagine a client searching through something like 2.5 million images of apples to find the exact apple he/she is looking for?

So, growing the collection might not be the best way for these agencies to rise the profits.

Lowering the commissions might be a better way.

 

Hopefully, Alamy will keep a large collection of unique and exclusive images for which prices can be negotiated.

Edited by Olivier Parent
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16 minutes ago, Olivier Parent said:

Hopefully, Alamy will keep a large collection of unique and exclusive images for which prices can be negotiated.

 

I agree. From what I can tell Alamy offers something a bit different from what else is out there, and I think maintaining that unique position may actually help them to stand out from the similarities among microstock agencies. At the same time they are different from other mid/macro stock agencies that curate their collections with a particular look/aesthetic in mind. Sometimes while those agencies are trying to be unique by curating a particular style of image, they actually start to also become a bit predictable in their own way. I think Alamy's acceptance of a wide variety of images is its strength, along with maintaining high QC standards. It also has its editorial focus too, while not limiting itself to that. Before deciding to join Alamy, I read some positive reviews from both customers and contributors, and that was an encouraging factor in me wanting to sign up with them. I do hope they can maintain their unique position in the market into the future.

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Posted (edited)
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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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

Not much chance of Shutterstock being promoted now, I  reckon.😀

Edited by spacecadet
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