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John Mitchell

Distributor -- competitor or partner?

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Odd question, I know, but I've always wondered about this. Would an agency that distributes Alamy images be considered a competitor of Alamy or a partner? Or both?

Edited by John Mitchell

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Not an odd question at all. If you have the same or similar images bidding against each other in the same market they are clearly competitors. Not only are they dragging the price down but you get a lower cut of the sale price for your trouble. That is why I opted out of the distributor schemes years ago. I suppose there might be some loyalty issues which affect some markets and some for some agencies perhaps local knowledge or accurate translation becomes a factor. For that reason I had until recently despite my images not being exclusive, limited my pix to a single agency so that they do not compete against themselves. However, now with so many images globally in competition with each other and prices so very very low I do wonder if all prices have been dragged to the floor, no matter how special, by the general pricing.

 

Is a massive and generalist agency now able or willing to differentiate between unique images and the bog standard ones? This May I did ask alamy if they could set a price floor for some images of mine which I consider pretty much unique - they cannot - so for the moment they are, with this agency alone and it is up to the sales staff at Alamy to determine the price. I will not be holding my breath for how much they sell for.

 

There has certainly been a tendency for buyers in my specialist field to look at, and use, Alamy images on an increasing basis as well as their historically first choice agencies. I think good picture researchers look at a whole spectrum of agencies and their images and then make their choice. So if your wonderful and unique image of a polar bear balancing on a beach ball is for sale all over the place what does the buyer do?

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Not sure I understand the question . . . why would a source of income for Alamy, that Alamy voluntarily engages, be considered a competitor?

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Not sure I understand the question . . . why would a source of income for Alamy, that Alamy voluntarily engages, be considered a competitor?

 

Hmmm... true enough ... but they (the distributor) is also licensing images -- i.e. they are in the same business as Alamy and therefore in competition with them. No?

Edited by John Mitchell
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Not sure I understand the question . . . why would a source of income for Alamy, that Alamy voluntarily engages, be considered a competitor?

 

Hmmm... true enough ... but they (the distributor) is also licensing images -- i.e. they are in the same business and therefore in competition with Alamy. No?

 

 

Welllllll . . . I guess for every dollar they make Alamy, they're a partner . . . and for every dollar they take instead of Alamy, they're opposition.

 

But I'd say for any image carried by both, if it sells via a distributor, they're a partner.

 

Actually . . . thinking a tad longer . . . I think distributors are Alamy's partners, whereas Alamy are their partners' opposition (is that a redundancy?) as a sale at Alamy does not benefit the distributor, unlike the opposite arrangement . . .

 

Or not.

 

:-)

 

dd

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I thought it was simply that Alamy distributors/partners operated in parts that Alamy cannot reach.

 

Allan

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Really, its not different than in manufacturing. I make products for horse and dog people. Although I sell these directly, I also sell them wholesale to other retailers as well. I am getting a smaller cut, but hopefully reaching markets I don't have access to. My products are competing in their stores with other products of the same type.

 

This would be the same as Alamy getting their images on smaller distributors. Markets they have less likelihood of getting a grip on, and their images are up against others that the distributor carries.  Same idea, just different products.

 

Jill

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Not sure I understand the question . . . why would a source of income for Alamy, that Alamy voluntarily engages, be considered a competitor?

 

Hmmm... true enough ... but they (the distributor) is also licensing images -- i.e. they are in the same business and therefore in competition with Alamy. No?

 

 

Welllllll . . . I guess for every dollar they make Alamy, they're a partner . . . and for every dollar they take instead of Alamy, they're opposition.

 

But I'd say for any image carried by both, if it sells via a distributor, they're a partner.

 

Actually . . . thinking a tad longer . . . I think distributors are Alamy's partners, whereas Alamy are their partners' opposition (is that a redundancy?) as a sale at Alamy does not benefit the distributor, unlike the opposite arrangement . . .

 

Or not.

 

:-)

 

dd

 

 

True, but when a distributor licenses an image for much less than Alamy would have, it doesn't necessarily benefit Alamy or its contributors. Things are seldom that simple of course. There are other factors to consider. However, it does seem that this mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship can easily turn parasitic. Unavoidable, I suppose. It's a tangled Web we've woven.

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Think of Venn diagrams to illustrate diverse markets. Ideally the two circles (denoting the different agents) will have no overlap... the larger the overlap the higher the competition between them and the less interesting the relationship is. (At least thats the way I see it.)

 

Good analogy, but I wonder if it's even possible to have no overlap in the age of the WWW.

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If they are any good, our partners, our coworkers, and our photographic assistants will eventually become our competition.

 

That is good for our business, because we all become part of a business ecosystem.

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