HQ Update - September 14, 2012

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iStockHQ
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:03AM
Launch Follow-Up: New Way to Pay for iStockphoto Customers


Last week we launched a new way for iStockphoto customers to download content. The new features are up and working properly: people are downloading using the new cart features and paying with their credit cards. So far we are happy with the numbers we're seeing. We still have some outstanding issues to address — let's go through those:

Expected Issues
As you recall when we first announced the launch we outlined certain features from the file closeup page that would not be included initially, but would be added back later: Add to lightbox, Image Zoom, and file rating. Add to lightbox will be added back to the file closeup page as soon as possible. Image Zoom is also a priority and we will get it returned as well. File Rating is less of a priority as it isn't a critical feature but we will address it once the more important issues are resolved.

Load and Performance
We experienced load issues after launch which saw sporadic outages and slow performance. The team worked quickly to address these issues. As of last Thursday (September 7th) we were back to normal performance and regular traffic and download patterns.

Rate Schedule Language
First of all, we can tell you that royalties and redeemed credits are being calculated correctly. There are no issues with royalties or RCs. Everyone is being paid the proper amount for each download.

We made changes at launch to the language on the rate schedule page. However, we don't think it clearly enough describes how royalties are calculated. Royalties for our new standard pricing downloads are calculated using the same logic as credit downloads: we apply your royalty percentage to the net US dollar value of the file. We are going to change that language on the rate schedule to be more accurate.

Display Issues
Contributors have noticed that, while overall balance numbers and redeemed credit totals are increasing, the corresponding download information isn't being registered in the expected fashion on the My Uploads or File Download pages. This is a display issue — the information is being written to the proper tables in the back-end but the information on stats pages aren't updating. We consider this a very high priority item. The problem is being fixed and a solution will be pushed live by the first week of October.

Image views are not showing in real time. There is now a longer delay to the view counter updating after a view. We are looking into this.

Currently when a contributor looks at the file closeup page for one of their own files they are being shown the approximate download number, instead of the exact download number. This was done to reduce the server load last week. We want to keep this as the new normal in order to improve performance. The accurate download number will still display on the My Uploads and File Download page.

The Good News
These issues aside, we are happy so far with the revenue being brought in by this new way to pay. The trends are encouraging, particularly regarding new customers. After performance stabilized, the feedback coming in to our client relations team has been really positive: existing customers are happy to have the new option and like how it functions.

Down the Road
Now that the new system is in place and running, we will be able to build on it in future releases. We plan to expand the shopping cart, add PayPal support, and the ability to save a credit card number.

In the meantime we are working quickly to address the current issues and get everything running optimally again. Thank you for your patience.

NOTE:


Posted By Lobo:
RC Increase and the subsequent Decrease:

The RC jump people saw was a glitch related to some of the work that is being done due to the Cash Sales bug fixes. This has been confirmed at HQ. If any one has any questions or concerns related to that moment of confusion please contact Contributor Relations directly.


(Edited on 2012-09-21 13:03:14 by Lobo)
Alina555
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Audio Artist
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:25AM
Thanks for the update.
shank_ali
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:36AM

Glad to see the 'cart' now up and running .Thanks for the update.


Our continued patience, when the site is not running smoothly,is reduced sales.Try to remember that when closing the site on a week day for any site upgrade.
fotoVoyager
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:43AM
Thanks for the update, as others have said.

What about the rate at which currencies are converted for cash sales? It seems people are reporting very, very poor rates of exchange heavily skewed in iStock's favour against the royalty percentage the artist receives.

As you say, we get our % of the $ amount, but if you're selling our work in £ or € then using an arbitrary exchange rate to convert the price that customer paid to dollars before calculating our share then that amounts to skimming off the top before we see our cut.

No-one expects to get the money market rate, but no-one expect this to be an additional profit centre for iStock either.
Sproetniek
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 1,249 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Audio Artist
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:44AM
+1, Shank. Sales were down this week, but thankfully picking up again. Let's hope the trend continues. Thanks for the update, admin!
Imgorthand
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:47AM

> "we apply your royalty percentage to the net US dollar value of the file"


I don't understand. Please explain this one. It surely can't mean what I'm thinking right now.
scottdunlap
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Illustration downloads
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:48AM

The update says people are paying with credit cards and royalty rates are being calculated correctly. Almost all of my files are priced at $25 and I am at the 40% rate. 40% of $25 is $10, but I have yet to receive a $10 download. I've had plenty of downloads since the new features went live, and it seems unlikely that someone hasn't purchased a file via credit card.


Perhaps I am missing something? Does iStock subtract merchant fees they pay?
lostinbids
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:53AM
Posted By fotoVoyager:
Thanks for the update, as others have said.

What about the rate at which currencies are converted for cash sales? It seems people are reporting very, very poor rates of exchange heavily skewed in iStock's favour against the royalty percentage the artist receives.

As you say, we get our % of the $ amount, but if you're selling our work in £ or € then using an arbitrary exchange rate to convert the price that customer paid to dollars before calculating our share then that amounts to skimming off the top before we see our cut.

No-one expects to get the money market rate, but no-one expect this to be an additional profit centre for iStock either.


We get a percentage of the dollar price. For example an XS is $8 I am 35% therefore I get $2.80. If it is sold in pounds it would be £5.75 which on todays mid rate is $9.33 and I get $2.80. 


Is this a fair way of doing it? I am not sure. I am pretty sure I am meant to be getting 35%. If am image is sold in pounds I get 30% instead
Jamesmcq24
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:56AM
One way or another, I like these regular updates. Keep up the progress!
franckreporter
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:58AM

thanks very much for this update...i appreciate a lot !!


I Hope sales will be back regular next week!
Paul_Brighton
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloads
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:01PM
Is iStock changing the cost of the file to someone in Europe, Asia, South America or UK every time the exchange rate fluctuates? If not, I don't think this explanation makes any sense....
Whiteway
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:05PM
Thank you for slotting this in before the weekend.

Image views are not showing in real time. There is now a longer delay to the view counter updating after a view. We are looking into this.

I think this is a misunderstanding. Views (as shown by DeepMeta) are recording hardly at all. The weird thing is that a very few views are recording (outside of uploads and downloads, which do register).

Either something is wrong with views, or, for the last 6 years, iStock has been massively over-estimating views on my files.

It's good that iStock is happy with the new revenue. Be assured it's not coming from my portfolio. Downloads are down when they should be up.

(Edited on 2012-09-15 00:20:38 by Whiteway)
tirc83
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:06PM
Posted By Imgorthand:

> "we apply your royalty percentage to the net US dollar value of the file"


I don't understand. Please explain this one. It surely can't mean what I'm thinking right now.


What it means they are only going to pay commission on a $10 file even if that file has cost $15 to buy elsewhere in the world. 
So to calculate your commission on non-US sales, you only need to look at the US pricing only. What the customer had to pay is none of your business.
fotoVoyager
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:13PM

Posted By tirc83:
Posted By Imgorthand:

> "we apply your royalty percentage to the net US dollar value of the file"


I don't understand. Please explain this one. It surely can't mean what I'm thinking right now.


What it means they are only going to pay commission on a $10 file even if that file has cost $15 to buy elsewhere in the world. 
So to calculate your commission on non-US sales, you only need to look at the US pricing only. What the customer had to pay is none of your business.


Ah, the penny drops, I see now.
LEOcrafts
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Illustration downloadsExclusive iStockphoto Illustrator
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:13PM

"The Good News
These issues aside, we are happy so far with the revenue being brought in by this new way to pay."


you are happy with the revenue.....but I am not happy with...sales are gone to down from when site update was started....is istock is goin to compansate contributors by lowering RC target?
MoreISO
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 1,249 Video downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:16PM
Thanks for this update.

I would like to point out that all the contributors based out of US are basically unable to see the prices in USD, so we are not able to calculate properly our royalties on the sales.
fotoVoyager
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:19PM
Perhaps someone from the US who can see all the different file types could tell us what the $ amounts are for cash sales?

That way at least we'll know how much we're being shafted by.

I'm sure we've had this argument before years ago and were essentially told to shut up and suck it up.
JKristoffersson
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:19PM
Posted By tirc83:

Posted By Imgorthand:

> "we apply your royalty percentage to the net US dollar value of the file"


I don't understand. Please explain this one. It surely can't mean what I'm thinking right now.



What it means they are only going to pay commission on a $10 file even if that file has cost $15 to buy elsewhere in the world. 
So to calculate your commission on non-US sales, you only need to look at the US pricing only. What the customer had to pay is none of your business.

That doesn't sound correct. As I understand it the royalty will be calculated on the NET dollar value and the net dollar value is what is left after currency conversion rates and such.
JKristoffersson
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:20PM
Posted By gioadventures:
Thanks for this update.

I would like to point out that all the contributors based out of US are basically unable to see the prices in USD, so we are not able to calculate properly our royalties on the sales.

I live in Sweden and the default for me is US dollars, maybe because we don't have Euros here.
georgeclerk
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Audio Artist
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:23PM
Posted By fotoVoyager:


Posted By tirc83:

Posted By Imgorthand:

> "we apply your royalty percentage to the net US dollar value of the file"


I don't understand. Please explain this one. It surely can't mean what I'm thinking right now.



What it means they are only going to pay commission on a $10 file even if that file has cost $15 to buy elsewhere in the world. 
So to calculate your commission on non-US sales, you only need to look at the US pricing only. What the customer had to pay is none of your business.



Ah, the penny drops, I see now.


If that's true, it's not only the language that will need to change on the Royalty Schedule page, it's the meaning.


At the moment it says "Using the royalty rate established by a contributor's "Redeemed Credits", royalties are paid out based on how much money was spent licensing the content, regardless of what payment method was used to license it."
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