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RIDICULOUS PAYMENT RATES


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I have just sold three photos, of which were sold on Alamy for $0.83, meaning i get a whole 9 cents.  Not only that the use is in perpetuity !   Has anyone else been a victim of what I can only say is to me fraud.  I reckon both photos will be used for a calendar.  I have been in touch with Alamy who gave me this 'reason' - 

New customers that we don’t interact with invariably come to the site, search, price and license images and pay the shop front prices.

 

Customers we actively go after, contact us about specific needs or key customers with large spends and image requirements may negotiate on price; which always starts with our shop front pricing. In this case, the customer was allowed a discount as they had licenced a large number of images.

 

If you wish to terminate your account, we can start the termination process for you.

 

I am seriously considering cancelling my  Alamy contract.  Anyone else had this experience please.

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low fees are regularly reported.  Not sure about anyone's experience cancelling their contract after, but this may be because once cancelled they do not have access to the forum any longer. 

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On 06/09/2021 at 13:43, Robbie Shaw said:

I have just sold three photos, of which were sold on Alamy for $0.83, meaning i get a whole 9 cents.  Not only that the use is in perpetuity !   Has anyone else been a victim of what I can only say is to me fraud.  I reckon both photos will be used for a calendar.  I have been in touch with Alamy who gave me this 'reason' - 

New customers that we don’t interact with invariably come to the site, search, price and license images and pay the shop front prices.

 

Customers we actively go after, contact us about specific needs or key customers with large spends and image requirements may negotiate on price; which always starts with our shop front pricing. In this case, the customer was allowed a discount as they had licenced a large number of images.

 

If you wish to terminate your account, we can start the termination process for you.

 

I am seriously considering cancelling my  Alamy contract.  Anyone else had this experience please.

That is a seriously Bullsh!t reply....

 

Alamy should be negotiating better deals, and when potential clients aren't prepared to pay a fair price just say NO!

 

Phil

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Everything is microstock pricing now.  Unless someone needs a unique image, they will just head to SS, iS, G, DT, the list goes on. If the images are of the type that can be found anywhere, then low pricing it is.

 

Not a lot we can do about it.  We have all seen it coming over the past few years.

 

Jill

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3 hours ago, Jill Morgan said:

Everything is microstock pricing now.  Unless someone needs a unique image, they will just head to SS, iS, G, DT, the list goes on. If the images are of the type that can be found anywhere, then low pricing it is.

 

Not a lot we can do about it.  We have all seen it coming over the past few years.

 

Jill

 

This is what I'm finding as well. Most of my decently priced sales are of scarce images, often the only ones available on Alamy or elsewhere. Otherwise prices are low. However, I haven't had any (touch wood) of the tiny under $1.00 sales that others are reporting, at least not since I opted out of Novel Use.

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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Agree here. Hopefully Alamy have a master sales plan which will need to involve increasing sales by about 25 fold. Just had another $1.20 sale just in. 

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I have just had three $1.80 sales which were priced on the calculator at $29.99 when I quoted the same licence terms.  That is a huge discount.  When I queried it with Alamy I received the following reply:

Temporarily, we’re unlikely to be able to answer your email due to a reduction in team size whilst we respond to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

For all other questions, we encourage you to ask your question to knowledgeable fellow photographers over on the Alamy forum: 
 

I don't think anyone on here will have an answer.  I can only guess that Alamy may have signed up to general usage agreements with bulk image users such as the BBC at ridiculous rates as these three sales were website usages. However, when the commission paid to me is less than the cost of a second class postage stamp, what incentive is there to keep them on Alamy?
It is disgraceful that they could not provide an answer to my query and blamed their lack of response on "a reduction in team size whilst we respond to the global Covid-19 pandemic". 

WTF is that for an answer !!  

 

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On 06/09/2021 at 13:43, Robbie Shaw said:

I have just sold three photos, of which were sold on Alamy for $0.83, meaning i get a whole 9 cents.  Not only that the use is in perpetuity !   Has anyone else been a victim of what I can only say is to me fraud.  I reckon both photos will be used for a calendar.  I have been in touch with Alamy who gave me this 'reason' - 

New customers that we don’t interact with invariably come to the site, search, price and license images and pay the shop front prices.

 

Customers we actively go after, contact us about specific needs or key customers with large spends and image requirements may negotiate on price; which always starts with our shop front pricing. In this case, the customer was allowed a discount as they had licenced a large number of images.

 

If you wish to terminate your account, we can start the termination process for you.

 

I am seriously considering cancelling my  Alamy contract.  Anyone else had this experience please.

Any site that hosts millions of images will eventually go down the route of bulk sales agreements.  That means that 1m images sold at $1 each = $1m to their turnover.  Plus third party partner agencies who take a 40% distributor commisson before your own contributor commission which will work out at 30% of gross or 20% of gross if you're on a 60/40 split.  So do the math if the sale is for $1.00 through a partner agency. 

Editorial customers will mostly always negotiate a bulk sales agreement through the publisher's contracts department.  Look at your sales reports to cmpare the prices to the calculator's prices.  New customers/non-interactive customers are usually looking for images for personal use and pay the "shop front prices" based on the calculator.  

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5 hours ago, George Chin said:

Any site that hosts millions of images will eventually go down the route of bulk sales agreements.  That means that 1m images sold at $1 each = $1m to their turnover. 

 

It's easy to forget that for-profit companies are in business to benefit the owners and shareholders.   Not their suppliers.   They usually will take advantage of every economy of scale available to them to maximize profit.  

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1 hour ago, Phil said:

 

It's easy to forget that for-profit companies are in business to benefit the owners and shareholders.   Not their suppliers.   They usually will take advantage of every economy of scale available to them to maximize profit.  

 

Yup.

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The issue is much more fundamental.

 

We no longer pay to read news, we don't buy magazines or books, advertisers don't pay big money for placements in the publications we no longer buy. 

 

We all want free but that is what bites us when it comes to our content. 

 

I know that some contributors complain but to me Personal Use for $10 seems like the future.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

The issue is much more fundamental.

 

We no longer pay to read news, we don't buy magazines or books, advertisers don't pay big money for placements in the publications we no longer buy. 

 

We all want free but that is what bites us when it comes to our content. 

 

I know that some contributors complain but to me Personal Use for $10 seems like the future.

 

 

You’re right, Ian. I’m still one of those relics who still have a newspaper subscription. I’ve had to call them twice because they keep raising the price. They’ve cut features I loved, quit the Saturday edition, but want me to pay more. Twice they’ve given me a discount, but the writing is on the wall. I expect the next renewal I’ll be forced to cut the cord.

I’ll have to order my cage liners from Amazon! 😁

The textbooks have mostly gone digital, so no more $300 licenses, something that was great. Now, if we’re lucky to get one, it’s more like $80.

Stock, as we have known it, is a thing of the past.

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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

The issue is much more fundamental.

 

We no longer pay to read news, we don't buy magazines or books, advertisers don't pay big money for placements in the publications we no longer buy. 

 

We all want free but that is what bites us when it comes to our content. 

 

I know that some contributors complain but to me Personal Use for $10 seems like the future.

 

 

If contributors put a restriction on editorial use i.e. the lowest paying use, the supply of images to fulfil those bulk agreements will dry up thereby forcing a rethink.  The editorial licences are outrageous give-aways which are pro-customer and anti-contributor.  Too many editorial sales are increasingly for less than $10 gross.  When the photographer receives $0.9 cents per image, any reputable agency should hang their head in shame when the share-holders receive a much higher dividend on the back of those sales.

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4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

Without suppliers these businesses have nothing

 

Businesses dealing in "stuff" that is not highly specialized usually have more suppliers available to them than they can utilize.  They can pick and choose suppliers and whittle the suppliers compensation for their goods down to the barest of minimums.   As stock photographers we're all aware of the massive glut of imagery world-wide with continuing attraction and recruitment of image suppliers wanting to sell.     Another example in the US is consumer goods behemoth Wal Mart.  A little research will reveal how Wal Mart works their suppliers.   And Wal Mart has no shortage of suppliers begging for Wal Mart to sell their stuff.    

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In the days of small (compared to today), specialist photo libraries, photographers were valued suppliers, but now we're a faceless crowd in a highly competitive, crowdsourced "industry" that can have its way with us. Alamy is still not nearly as bad as some of the other stock behemoths out there, whose names I won't mention of course.

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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9 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

The textbooks have mostly gone digital, so no more $300 licenses, something that was great. Now, if we’re lucky to get one, it’s more like $80.

That is probably true for Alamy.

 

US publishers still routinely pay $300-500 for new (ie not reuse) placements. UK publishers - more like $80-100. However, only specialist agencies can command these fees. This is because their model is to source unique images that are not (widely) available elsewhere. When publishers put pressure on the specialists (they do), they do not have much leverage there. Publishers do like to pay microstock prices, but you can't find specialist images on microstock sites.

 

Alamy, being an everything and a non-exclusive library can not stand against the downward pressure. It has to cave in to sell.

 

We've had our images sold to the same textbook title via Alamy and a specialist. Alamy left money on the table.

 

GI

Edited by giphotostock
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I  often get sales with very low, micro stock level,  sales prices,  as I'm currently opted into  to Alamy's  various additional revenue options. But its swings and roundabouts,  because I still manage to get sales which command good prices too! 

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14 hours ago, Phil said:

  And Wal Mart has no shortage of suppliers begging for Wal Mart to sell their stuff.    

 Thanks for that. It made me do a little reading about Walmart and how it manages its suppliers. And they actually have a very sophisticated system to keep suppliers happy and in profit. They don't just squeeze them dry.  I also discovered a possible parallel to stock in that Walmart best suits suppliers who benefit from their huge reach and volume.

 

I went on to read about how every part of a business can be thought of as a system in which each component part needs to work efficiently. If part of the system is damaged, weakened, or stops working the entire system suffers. 

 

Remember how PA was attracted to Alamy because of its 'supplier ecosystem'?   

 

You  are absolutely correct that Alamy has no shortage of images but it does not automatically make it the best fit for every image supplier - and that includes those that supply the sort of images that Alamy most wants to give them a competitive edge over pure volume sellers.

Edited by geogphotos
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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 Thanks for that. It made me do a little reading about Walmart and how it manages its suppliers. And they actually have a very sophisticated system to keep suppliers happy and in profit. They don't just squeeze them dry.  I also discovered a possible parallel to stock in that Walmart best suits suppliers who benefit from their huge reach and volume.

 

 

 

For small businesses selling to Walmart is very risky.  They will redesign your product to suit them, with you taking on all the costs.  When they finally put in their huge order, you are thrilled.  Until they decide that they don't want to sell your product anymore and return every item they ordered.  Happened to someone I know.  It put him out of business.

 

Jill

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7 minutes ago, Jill Morgan said:

 

For small businesses selling to Walmart is very risky.  They will redesign your product to suit them, with you taking on all the costs.  When they finally put in their huge order, you are thrilled.  Until they decide that they don't want to sell your product anymore and return every item they ordered.  Happened to someone I know.  It put him out of business.

 

Jill

 

I always think of Getty and Shutterstock as the Walmarts of stock - I had thought that Alamy was not in the same category, not as ruthless, more supportive etc.

 

Anyway, that is what Alamy used to say about itself. I suppose they no longer feel the need to play that game. Now it's more 'my way or the highway'. 

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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

I always think of Getty and Shutterstock as the Walmarts of stock - I had thought that Alamy was not in the same category, not as ruthless, more supportive etc.

 

Anyway, that is what Alamy used to say about itself. I suppose they no longer feel the need to play that game. Now it's more 'my way or the highway'. 

 

Yep.  They'll do what they believe is necessary to remain competitive and maintain and try also to increase profitability. 

 

In regards to the frequent angst over low individual image licensing fees.  No easy answer and there's likely no going back to the "good 'ol days".  With the glut of stock imagery there are less and less unique images to bring in higher licensing fees.  These forces may require a stock image supplier mindset of what's the return on our total portfolios vs individual image license fees.   Yeah - sounds like microstock.  It sucks but it is what it is.  Free market forces are inexorable.

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27 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

Yep.  They'll do what they believe is necessary to remain competitive and maintain and try also to increase profitability. 

 

In regards to the frequent angst over low individual image licensing fees.  No easy answer and there's likely no going back to the "good 'ol days".  With the glut of stock imagery there are less and less unique images to bring in higher licensing fees.  These forces may require a stock image supplier mindset of what's the return on our total portfolios vs individual image license fees.   Yeah - sounds like microstock.  It sucks but it is what it is.  Free market forces are inexorable.

 

I don't really agree with this but am not going to get into it any further than making this reply. I don't accept that there is some sort of inevitable social Darwinism or economic determinism operating in society or in stock photography.

 

There is no reason whatever why a company cannot pursue altruistic purposes - indeed most companies do so. They do so because it appeals to customers - things like caring for the environment, not using sweat shops and child labour, caring for they staff by being a good employer, sourcing from Fair Trade suppliers etc

 

And the thing with stock is that every contributor has full control over their images. There is no compulsion to create new images, there is choice over which business model to support ( or none). And going back to your point about 'remain competitive and maintain and try also to increase profitability' - there has to be a limit and once a mass of contributors is pushed beyond their own margins of profitability the agency will also suffer.  No one acting in any sense of economic rationality is going to continue producing images at a loss.

 

Timpson is an example that springs to mind, but all responsible companies have similar policies. The days of simply trying to screw everybody into the ground are long gone and really only exist in the mind of laissez-faire purists rather than in the real world. 

 

At Timpson, we know how lucky we are to have a successful business, however, we believe that with success comes a great deal of responsibility. 

The Timpson Foundation specialises in the recruitment of marginalised groups within society as well as supporting numerous other socially minded projects.

In 2002 our CEO James Timpson visited a local prison, where he met a young man named Matt. James immediately liked Matt and thought he would make an excellent addition to our business. When he was released from prison James offered him a job and we are pleased to say that Matt has gone on to become one of our most successful branch managers.  James realised there must be more great people in our prisons, and from that moment on, we decided to pro-actively recruit ex-offenders.

Edited by geogphotos
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Just had my first of these ultra-low fees today - $0.27 (gross, $0.11 net).  Should get me about a quarter of a thimble of champagne to celebrate.

 

On the other hand, not a bad month so far - 15 sales for a total of $312.67. 

 

 

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23 hours ago, geogphotos said:

Without suppliers these businesses have nothing. PAlamy owns none of the content that is makes revenue from. If it squeezes too hard the golden goose waddles off elsewhere or stops laying eggs.  Something like that.

 

An ethical, healthy business is not ruthless to its suppliers. It understands that there is a relationship - a supply chain which is lubricated by flows of revenue. 

 

Yep. There was a time when Alamy was an ethical, healthy business. I fear that time is gone. If I was doing this for a living, I'd be long gone. I'm doing it mostly for fun these days, but not getting much return in the way of fun anymore. I think I'll sell my equipment and invest in bitcoin. It makes more sense. And more fun.

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2 hours ago, Phil said:

 

Yep.  They'll do what they believe is necessary to remain competitive and maintain and try also to increase profitability. 

 

In regards to the frequent angst over low individual image licensing fees.  No easy answer and there's likely no going back to the "good 'ol days".  With the glut of stock imagery there are less and less unique images to bring in higher licensing fees.  These forces may require a stock image supplier mindset of what's the return on our total portfolios vs individual image license fees.   Yeah - sounds like microstock.  It sucks but it is what it is.  Free market forces are inexorable.

 

 There's definitely no returning to the good old days. However, accepting the stock supplier mindset that you mention seems easier for some than for others. Photographers who have embraced microstock in a big way appear to have made the transition. Personally, it will never work for me. I never wanted to be a picture-taking machine churning out thousands of images and earning as little as ten cents a pop. It probably has a lot to do with age. At 72, I no longer give a you-know-what.

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