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Just wrote over 500 words about Bill's comment about fees buying a " donut and medium coffee." I deleted it in the spirit of the

new year.  Most who know me via this forum have an idea of what I wrote.

 

While I've had several licenses for good fees this month and most months during 2015, I am concerned about some of the low

licenses I've seen this year and I do think it would be a good idea for Alamy to address this issue in the new year, just a suggestion.

 

There are many levels of stock images and I think Alamy has a good selection of images from all levels.  I do also think that

it would be a good idea for Alamy to consider letting specific contributors with images of unusual or hard to find subjects set

a minimum license fee.  Again just my opinion.

Edited by Chuck Nacke
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Falling prices are a fact of life, unfortunately. Uses that used to get $300 now get $80, that's the market it seems.

But Alamy selling ANYTHING to ANYONE for ANY use for $3 or $4 simply should not happen.

Yes, some customers will go and buy their images somewhere else and pay them $3, but others will decide that they can't find what they want elsewhere and be willing to pay Alamy more for the right picture.

The photographer's cut is insulting and Alamy's commission must barely cover the cost of recording the details of the sale on the system.

And when huge organisations like the Daily Mail can by a photo that will be seen by millions for less that $6.......

Edited by Phil Robinson
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Falling prices are a fact of life, unfortunately. Uses that used to get $300 now get $80, that's the market it seems.

But Alamy selling ANYTHING to ANYONE for ANY use for $3 or $4 simply should not happen.

Yes, some customers will go and buy their images somewhere else and pay them $3, but others will decide that they can't find what they want elsewhere and be willing to pay Alamy more for the right picture.

The photographer's cut is insulting and Alamy's commission must barely cover the cost of recording the details of the sale on the system.

And when huge organisations like the Daily Mail can by a photo that will be seen by millions for less that $6.......

 

I agree, but isn't it mainly the distributors who are selling images for the super low prices, not Alamy?

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Falling prices are a fact of life, unfortunately. Uses that used to get $300 now get $80, that's the market it seems.

But Alamy selling ANYTHING to ANYONE for ANY use for $3 or $4 simply should not happen.

Yes, some customers will go and buy their images somewhere else and pay them $3, but others will decide that they can't find what they want elsewhere and be willing to pay Alamy more for the right picture.

The photographer's cut is insulting and Alamy's commission must barely cover the cost of recording the details of the sale on the system.

And when huge organisations like the Daily Mail can by a photo that will be seen by millions for less that $6.......

 

I agree, but isn't it mainly the distributors who are selling images for the super low prices, not Alamy?

 

True, but when Alamy enter an agreement with a distributor they can set the ground rules. Some tiny libraries abroad and their customers are getting access to Alamy's 60 million images - that is something they should pay for. If they had to choose between their local image suppliers with a few hundred thousand pics and Alamy, a lot of them would end up going to Alamy and paying more because they simply couldn't find what they were looking for. That is Alamy's greatest advantage - loads of subject matter others don't cover, but if every picture library on the planet has access to the same catalogue, of course they are going to undercut each other.

Edited by Phil Robinson
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I too had an $8 (gross) front cover RM licence pop up yesterday. I can confirm that it is a whole front page (not a small part of a cover) of a book published by Palgrave Macmillan.

An insult IMO.

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Falling prices are a fact of life, unfortunately. Uses that used to get $300 now get $80, that's the market it seems.

But Alamy selling ANYTHING to ANYONE for ANY use for $3 or $4 simply should not happen.

Yes, some customers will go and buy their images somewhere else and pay them $3, but others will decide that they can't find what they want elsewhere and be willing to pay Alamy more for the right picture.

The photographer's cut is insulting and Alamy's commission must barely cover the cost of recording the details of the sale on the system.

And when huge organisations like the Daily Mail can by a photo that will be seen by millions for less that $6.......

 

I agree, but isn't it mainly the distributors who are selling images for the super low prices, not Alamy?

 

True, but when Alamy enter an agreement with a distributor they can set the ground rules. Some tiny libraries abroad and their customers are getting access to Alamy's 60 million images - that is something they should pay for. If they had to choose between their local image suppliers with a few hundred thousand pics and Alamy, a lot of them would end up going to Alamy and paying more because they simply couldn't find what they were looking for. That is Alamy's greatest advantage - loads of subject matter others don't cover, but if every picture library on the planet has access to the same catalogue, of course they are going to undercut each other.

 

 

Ground rules for pricing make sense to me. After all, these ridiculously low sales don't really benefit anyone except the buyers. It makes one wonder how some of these distributors manage to stay in business. However, as you say, the pickings for distributors aren't exactly slim on Alamy.

Edited by John Mitchell
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I too had an $8 (gross) front cover RM licence pop up yesterday. I can confirm that it is a whole front page (not a small part of a cover) of a book published by Palgrave Macmillan.

An insult IMO.

 

Yikes! That's Gross alright.

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There is no doubt that small time creators of Intellectual Property (IP) need a much better deal.

 
Micro payments of pennies per use may be the answer, if IP collection on the internet is properly set up to capture and pay you for every time your IP is accessed by anyone else.
 
In the 1980’s and 90’s sales were few, but prices were high. Stock photographers with a carefully curated collection of photographs could achieve an overall “Annual Return Per Image” (ARPI) of $30. 10,000 great images equals an annual cash flow of $300,000. Those days are gone forever.
 
Personally I would not care if I made sales of one penny at a time, as long as my ARPI would equal $30. The price for each individual sale is irrelevant to me, as long as the ARPI is $30.
 
In his book “Who Owns The Future” the internet pioneer and musician Jaron Lanier provides an IP answer. 
 
From the Amazon Review “But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.” 
 
I think anyone who produces IP should read his book here.
 
 
Lanier’s solution is that everyone has a Paypal like account for web browsing tied to their web address. You can put cash into your account, or you can take cash out, or you can buy things using your account. Every time anyone views your IP a small credit is transferred from their account, to your account. They automatically pay you a fraction of a cent for viewing your IP. Every time you view someone else's IP, a small payment is transferred from your account to their account. You automatically pay them a fraction of a cent from your account for viewing their IP.
 
If you wanted to read “The New York Times” in it’s entirety, it may cost you 50 cents automatically transferred from your account, to The New York Times account. However if you select only articles of interest to you, it may cost you only 5 cents. A good deal for both parties.
 
The individual technical components for such a system exist today. There is a need for such a system, but no one has thought to put the components together in order to build that system.
 
If someone does build the system, lets realize the opportunity, take a calculated risk, and get in early.
 
If we blind ourselves to the potential of lower prices, we will not recognize the opportunity when it comes. We need our thinking to be ready.
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Bill,

 

Sorry, but using the model you propose I'd rather be blind.

 

FYI: I did not work as a photojournalist around the world for

over twenty years so that I could "crowd source" my images.

 

Just my opinion

 

Happy New Year All

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Falling prices are a fact of life, unfortunately. Uses that used to get $300 now get $80, that's the market it seems.

But Alamy selling ANYTHING to ANYONE for ANY use for $3 or $4 simply should not happen.

Yes, some customers will go and buy their images somewhere else and pay them $3, but others will decide that they can't find what they want elsewhere and be willing to pay Alamy more for the right picture.

The photographer's cut is insulting and Alamy's commission must barely cover the cost of recording the details of the sale on the system.

And when huge organisations like the Daily Mail can by a photo that will be seen by millions for less that $6.......

 

I agree, but isn't it mainly the distributors who are selling images for the super low prices, not Alamy?

 

 

The other way round for me.  Highest gross sale from a distributor.  Lowest from a Live News sale.

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I too had an $8 (gross) front cover RM licence pop up yesterday. I can confirm that it is a whole front page (not a small part of a cover) of a book published by Palgrave Macmillan.

An insult IMO.

That' s Interesting, I have a $7.32 sale (gross) that is also for a full front cover of a book published by the same publisher (The sale came through on the 29/12/15). Could it be that this publisher has paid a spectacularly low fee for a bulk load of images ?? The book itself retails at £65.00 a piece on the publishers website.

 

EDIT: I have reversed image searched (using the google image search extension in Chrome) a number of book covers on the publishers website and it seems that there are a number of images appearing on book covers that have been licensed from Alamy, so perhaps it was a bulk buy!

Edited by Simon Evans
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There is no doubt that small time creators of Intellectual Property (IP) need a much better deal.

 

Micro payments of pennies per use may be the answer, if IP collection on the internet is properly set up to capture and pay you for every time your IP is accessed by anyone else.

 

In the 1980’s and 90’s sales were few, but prices were high. Stock photographers with a carefully curated collection of photographs could achieve an overall “Annual Return Per Image” (ARPI) of $30. 10,000 great images equals an annual cash flow of $300,000. Those days are gone forever.

 

Personally I would not care if I made sales of one penny at a time, as long as my ARPI would equal $30. The price for each individual sale is irrelevant to me, as long as the ARPI is $30.

 

In his book “Who Owns The Future” the internet pioneer and musician Jaron Lanier provides an IP answer. 

 

From the Amazon Review “But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.” 

 

I think anyone who produces IP should read his book here.

 

http://www.amazon.ca/Who-Owns-Future-Jaron-Lanier/dp/1451654979/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2/186-4637980-3624008?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451588309&sr=1-1&keywords=jaron+lanier

 

Lanier’s solution is that everyone has a Paypal like account for web browsing tied to their web address. You can put cash into your account, or you can take cash out, or you can buy things using your account. Every time anyone views your IP a small credit is transferred from their account, to your account. They automatically pay you a fraction of a cent for viewing your IP. Every time you view someone else's IP, a small payment is transferred from your account to their account. You automatically pay them a fraction of a cent from your account for viewing their IP.

 

If you wanted to read “The New York Times” in it’s entirety, it may cost you 50 cents automatically transferred from your account, to The New York Times account. However if you select only articles of interest to you, it may cost you only 5 cents. A good deal for both parties.

 

The individual technical components for such a system exist today. There is a need for such a system, but no one has thought to put the components together in order to build that system.

 

If someone does build the system, lets realize the opportunity, take a calculated risk, and get in early.

 

If we blind ourselves to the potential of lower prices, we will not recognize the opportunity when it comes. We need our thinking to be ready.

 

Interesting proposition. It might work for newspapers and some magazines, but I doubt that it will for photos and other more "disposable" forms of information. People are now too accustomed to accessing these goodies for free. Mr Lanier might be seeing the world thru his virtual reality goggles. But I guess you never know...

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I too had an $8 (gross) front cover RM licence pop up yesterday. I can confirm that it is a whole front page (not a small part of a cover) of a book published by Palgrave Macmillan.

An insult IMO.

That' s Interesting, I have a $7.32 sale (gross) that is also for a full front cover of a book published by the same publisher (The sale came through on the 29/12/15). Could it be that this publisher has paid a spectacularly low fee for a bulk load of images ?? The book itself retails at £65.00 a piece on the publishers website.

 

EDIT: I have reversed image searched (using the google image search extension in Chrome) a number of book covers on the publishers website and it seems that there are a number of images appearing on book covers that have been licensed from Alamy, so perhaps it was a bulk buy!

 

I'm fine with offering discounts for bulk buys - 10%, 20%, perhaps even 50% in spectacular cases - but offering a 95% or more discount ($8 for a cover?) is unacceptable, insulting, ridiculous, suicidal and staggeringly bad news for everyone apart from the client, who must think all their Christmases have come at once. I do hope that Alamy will respond to this thread very soon and explain why this deal isn't as it seems. 

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I'm trying to work out the business case for such low-value sales. 

 

There would be no business case for them being negotiated on a per-book basis, as the salesperson's time would almost certainly cost Alamy more than they receive for the sale. 

 

They're obviously not the calculator price from a human-free automated download. 

 

It would make sense therefore for them to be negotiated in bulk. Could it be that, like the $180 etc textbook sales, the publisher has negotiated a flat fee for any use, from spot size inside to front cover? But then, why would the report say 'front cover'? 

 

Are these books ONLY low-volume titles - say, academic texts destined mainly for university libraries, with expected lifetime sales only in the hundreds, which will make practically no money for anyone? Or are mainstream books with expected sales of tens of thousands included? 

 

There may be an entirely innocent explanation, but it would be helpful for contributor morale to have an explanation from Alamy. 

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We already have DACS in the UK. Many countries have PLR. We have cable television.

 
 
 
These are micropayment systems to compensate artists for use of their Intellectual Property. Very few artists have a problem with accepting the perhaps 1/10 of a cent per use that these organizations generate.
 
Why not extend something similar for IP on the internet?
 
 
The internet is not “free”. You have to pay a device connection fee. You have to give up your valuable personal information and allow advertisers to track you for a “free” Google account. You have to pay the Apple store for music and Apps. You have to subscribe, if you want to use the current version of Photoshop. 
 
Websites with excellent Intellectual Property, like “Luminous Landscape”, are going behind paywalls.
 
 
More and more good IP is going behind paywalls. Therefore we need a better all encompassing solution, not only for stock photographers, but for both all users and all creators.
 
I would gladly make a micropayment every time I access IP on the internet. I do not do that, because there is too much trouble in opening and tracking multiple accounts. This is a big problem for both users and creators, so a solution will be found. As creators we have to think about the solution, so we can position ourselves for that future solution. 
 
Lanier’s solution would make it cheap and easy for users to pay for IP anywhere, and profitable for the creators of IP. Lanier’s book goes a long way to explaining why most small time creators of IP are in a unprofitable internet situation. This would be valuable to you, even if you disagree with his solution.
 
 
At least read the comments here:
 
 
The problem for us is not the price. The problem is that we are not making enough money. Raising prices of IP above market price, is a simplistic idea that will not work. Lets look for something better, that will benefit both the users and the creators of IP.
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Here is part of the quote “It will be a few years before digital distribution of media on the Internet can be monetized to an extent that necessitates content producers to forgo their fair value in more traditional media.”

 
That quote was in 2008 and it still holds, but pressure for a solution is building. In 2016 even Disney needs a solution.
 
Lanier’s system will not work if we have thousands of collectors.
 
Lanier is suggesting only one none profit collector that would extract micropayments from every single user of the internet on behalf of creators. Make your micropayments or be cut off the internet. If you are short of money, then you can go to the library and use their computers for free access. This is what government supported libraries do now, for the printed book.
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Here is part of the quote “It will be a few years before digital distribution of media on the Internet can be monetized to an extent that necessitates content producers to forgo their fair value in more traditional media.”

 
That quote was in 2008 and it still holds, but pressure for a solution is building. In 2016 even Disney needs a solution.
 
Lanier’s system will not work if we have thousands of collectors.
 
Lanier is suggesting only one none profit collector that would extract micropayments from every single user of the internet on behalf of creators. Make your micropayments or be cut off the internet. If you are short of money, then you can go to the library and use their computers for free access. This is what government supported libraries do now, for the printed book.

 

 

I always go back to Marshall McLuhan's statement, "The medium is the message." It seems to me that the original message of the Internet was that all information should be free and universally accessible. Perhaps we now need two separate Internets: a "Freenet" for the open sharing of information, and a monetized "Paynet,"  since the mixing of the two messages (altruistic and commercial) doesn't seem to be working very well.

 

Something else to consider is that setting up "paywalls" (which usually end up having holes punched in them) and the like will inevitably lock a lot of people out given the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. Cutting people off the Internet because they won't/can't pay sounds dangerous to me, not very democratic, that's for sure. There are plenty of people out there who can't even afford "micropayments."

Edited by John Mitchell
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Are these books ONLY low-volume titles - say, academic texts destined mainly for university libraries, with expected lifetime sales only in the hundreds, which will make practically no money for anyone?

 

 

Well, some of those "destined for library" academic books do sell retail to professionals in the respective fields for $200-600, which is quite a bit more expensive than the test book prices that student's parents complain about.. So publishers are probably not exactly losing money on those...

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There are plenty of people out there who can't even afford "micropayments."

 

 

 

 

 
John good point but, as good IP on the internet moves behind paywalls, poor people are already being cut off the worthy parts of the internet.
 
In the case of large poor families they would still get their internet based education in the school and public libraries for free. Most poor people already do this on a “free” internet, because the poor cannot afford either the books, or the digital device, or the connection fee.
 
One collector of micropayments from every internet user based on their IP use would lower the cost to everyone, including the poor. It would raise the cash flow to IP producers, because it would create a dramatic increase in volume much better than the paywall alternative. It could result in the elimination of paywalls, once paywall owners made the calculation.
 
It would also benefit the near poor producers of IP, such as ourselves, because we do not have the financial resources to ever put our IP behind a paywall.
 
This place is a good example:
 
 
Formally no charge IP with 14,400,000 visits a year, it is now going behind a $12 per year paywall. At $12 per year I wonder if they will sign up and retain 50,000 subscribers from those 14,400,000 visits per year. 50,000 subscribers will return $600,000 per year. A micropayment of 5 cents per visit would return $720,000 per year from 14,400,000 visits per year. In addition they would have a much bigger audience of 1.2 million per month to sell their latest instructional videos and workshop photo travel.
 
If your images are already free to view all over the internet, a small universal micropayment system could be a big benefit. 

 

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It will be interesting to see how Luminous Landscape does with its paywall. Dedicated users will probably shell out to join, but the website could have difficulty attracting new members. I believe that is what happened to a lot of other websites that put up paywalls and ended up gradually tearing them down. Sorry to sound so cynical, but I think that it might be too late to make pay plans such as a universal micropayment plan work -- the cat was let out of the bag for free a long time ago. Time will tell, of course.

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It will be interesting to see how Luminous Landscape does with its paywall. Dedicated users will probably shell out to join, but the website could have difficulty attracting new members. I believe that is what happened to a lot of other websites that put up paywalls and ended up gradually tearing them down. Sorry to sound so cynical, but I think that it might be too late to make pay plans such as a universal micropayment plan work -- the cat was let out of the bag for free a long time ago. Time will tell, of course.

 

 

Not so cynical, John. Just a good guess as to how these things will turn out. But I think maybe the opposite might be the case: longtime visitors to the site, who are used to getting it free, will be pissed. Newbies might find it and try it for the rather small fee as something interesting. I don't go there much, but it's a good site. 

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It will be interesting to see how Luminous Landscape does with its paywall. Dedicated users will probably shell out to join, but the website could have difficulty attracting new members. I believe that is what happened to a lot of other websites that put up paywalls and ended up gradually tearing them down. Sorry to sound so cynical, but I think that it might be too late to make pay plans such as a universal micropayment plan work -- the cat was let out of the bag for free a long time ago. Time will tell, of course.

 

 

Not so cynical, John. Just a good guess as to how these things will turn out. But I think maybe the opposite might be the case: longtime visitors to the site, who are used to getting it free, will be pissed. Newbies might find it and try it for the rather small fee as something interesting. I don't go there much, but it's a good site. 

 

 

LL is a good website. I've been there quite often and certainly don't blame them for charging a modest membership fee. The thing is that there is so much other good info and advice available for free on the WWW that even $12 a year will probably shoo away a lot of potential new users. I do wish them luck, though.

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Perhaps the exceptionately low price derived from the fact that it was an RF image being licensed for "one time use only." If so, it would be a good argument for sticking with RM on Alamy.

 

It's not because it's RF. I've had several RF sales over the last month ranging from $120 to $200+. In fact, over the last month and a bit, I've had mainly RF sales, only 5 RM and I've had one of my strongest spells at Alamy for a while. Apart from a couple of $7 ones, they've all been decent prices

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Perhaps the exceptionately low price derived from the fact that it was an RF image being licensed for "one time use only." If so, it would be a good argument for sticking with RM on Alamy.

 

It's not because it's RF. I've had several RF sales over the last month ranging from $120 to $200+. In fact, over the last month and a bit, I've had mainly RF sales, only 5 RM and I've had one of my strongest spells at Alamy for a while. Apart from a couple of $7 ones, they've all been decent prices

 

 

Interesting to hear this. I've never licensed an RF image on Alamy. But then I have very few RF images on Alamy (or anywhere else). Actually, I was thinking that the buyer might have been able to negotiate the low price because Bryan's image was RF and they wanted only one-time usage. But that theory has been debunked since the same buyer apparently licensed RM images as well.

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Perhaps the exceptionately low price derived from the fact that it was an RF image being licensed for "one time use only." If so, it would be a good argument for sticking with RM on Alamy.

 

It's not because it's RF. I've had several RF sales over the last month ranging from $120 to $200+. In fact, over the last month and a bit, I've had mainly RF sales, only 5 RM and I've had one of my strongest spells at Alamy for a while. Apart from a couple of $7 ones, they've all been decent prices

 

 

Interesting to hear this. I've never licensed an RF image on Alamy. But then I have very few RF images on Alamy (or anywhere else). Actually, I was thinking that the buyer might have been able to negotiate the low price because Bryan's image was RF and they wanted only one-time usage. But that theory has been debunked since the same buyer apparently licensed RM images as well.

 

 

I have to admit, I've been pleasantly surprised by the $'s for RF from Alamy and hopefully it will continue that way!

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