Feb 2 - One Contributor's Thinking

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cbarnesphotography
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:48AM
I had some fun with this topic in another forum, but, after I posted in that forum, I got to thinking that this approaching contributor deadline merited a more serious conversation.

It's not my job to be looking out for anyone else's business, but this Feb 2 idea is fraught with peril and I also see/read genuine concern in some admin comments about people resigning exclusivity, deactivating files or even deactivating entire accounts based on pure emotion and/or other external pressures.

This was a site message I received the other day from another contributor here:

"Morning Charlie,

Any thoughts on what you are going to do here at IS? I'll be tossing in my crown shortly."

My reply to this person today was as follows -

"Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but I wasn't sure how to best answer this until now.

I certainly can't tell you what to do or how to run your business, but I know that it would be foolish of me to kick in my crown. Emotions are driving this issue and, from a business perspective, iStock and Getty are still leaders. If Getty weren't involved, I would probably consider turning in my crown, but Getty is iStock's ace in the hole since it is an undisputed leader in stock photography industry with strong finances.

Turning in my crown would only hurt myself. I've been here 5 years and to go non-exclusive while trying to make up any income is a sucker's bet. Business has its ups and downs. This is definitely a down period. That said, I want to be here when the up comes - and it will come - as I will only stand to benefit even more because my work will get greater visibility because so many contributors removed files or went to non-exclusive.

Good luck in whichever decision you make."

If people feel that they have to take some form of action on Feb 2 then they have to do what they have to do. My only point here is that people may being contemplating a course of action that is ill advised or even more damaging to them than whatever site issues are being faced at this time.

I'm hoping that this thread will spark some more meaningful dialogue so that people can make an informed decision about the course of action that they wish to take.

(Edited on 2013-01-25 10:53:59 by cbarnesphotography)
alanphillips
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:57AM
My understanding is that one reason for de-activating was to protect those files from being distributed to Google Drive et al. and all the undesirable consequences until there is firm assurance that no more files would be sent over. I can understand that.
The one I don't understand is the idea of de-activating as a form of protest. This, to my mind, is pointless. The only ones who are going to be hurt by this are contributors who de-activate their files. It will make no difference to iStock (unless of course a substantial number of the 12 million or so images here are wiped out, and I cannot see that happening). On top of this there is the idea that once the storm has past these files can then be re-activated. Guess they can, but it would be a huge burden for admin, who are already fully occupied with various other site issues. Moreover, as I understand it, the de-activations are gumming up the works for the transfer of E+ to Getty E+ collection, somethign that is already complicated has been made even more cumbersome.
Lobo
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:24AM
And we are back. Let's have this discussion.
whitemay
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:51AM
I suppose one benefit could be that many people would be likely to deactivate their non-sellers, which would have the effect of cleaning up the collection a bit!

Personally, I am not planning on handing in my crown, even though I get as angry as everyone else about the things that have happened over the last year or so. So I am giving things a chance and will re-evaluate in a couple of months.

(Edited on 2013-01-25 11:52:14 by whitemay)
JEVaderCLOSED
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloads
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:03PM
/
/The only reason I still have files here at all is because of the Feb. 2 D-Day plan. In light of recent events had already planned a moving-on deadline before I heard about it, so I decided to wait and throw my 500 files in with the group if it comes to that. I've already de-activated many of my model-released images to protect them from the Getty/Google free-for-all.


Is disgust an emotion? If so, this is, indeed, an emotional decision. The initial "deal" and the appalling official response -- corporate goobledegoop followed by stony silence followed by belligerent "you'll-beg-to-come-back" bad boyfriend language -- disgust is the main thing that comes to mind.


If I go will I miss iStock? Of course. I learned a great deal here and I'll miss the money. Do I think by leaving I hurt iStock at all? That's just silly--I am nothing to them.


I still have faint hope that things will change but the nonemotional bottom-line question for me this coming week is: Can I stand to be part of a group that behaves this way? Right now the answer is: No. Of course not.
PrairieArtProject
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloads
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:15PM

You do know, of course, there are other options for distribution than this right?  What value do you assign to respect--the respect you get from your distributor and the respect you have for them in return? What value to you assign to trust in your distributor? What weight do you give to protection of your files and microstock in general? How concerned are you about a race to the bottom?


I resigned my crown 2 years ago and the impact financially was not insignificant to me; my sanity and the ability to distance myself from the near-constant drama of iStock had real value that is more difficult to calculate.


For some people, this move will be worth it. 
shank_ali
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:21PM

Not interesting in deactivating any of my work.


Not interested in putting my work on any other microstock site.


I have been thanked for my patience by istockphoto,on many occasions these past 5 years.I have no doubt in my mind Getty will not allow Istockphoto to sink any lower than it has these past few months.


Business is going to be normal for me.Shooting,hiring models and uploading sellable content.
DonMcGillis
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:38PM

There is a distinction to be made between (1) ending exclusivity and (2) deactivating files. Let's assume emotion has been taken out of both options.


Ending exclusivity would be a business decision where one believes the commission decrease could be offset by going to the broader market. In view of the sales downturn that so many of us have experienced in the last two quarters (plus) it may make sense to look at the broader market, it's simple business risk / reward decision. Fixing this (getting IS back to its dominant position (dominant not merely #1)) is a long term play.


Deactivating files would (or should, in my opinion) be to protect one's intellectual proprerty from a percieved threat. A threat that may or may not be curable. It remains to be seen if our agent (yes, agent) can cure the contractal mess they have found themselves in. Fixing this is a short term play.


One could choose either option or both with equally valid business logic. Doing either as a form of protest is, in my view, naive in the extreme. "There's no crying in baseball." More certainly, there's no crying in business. This is a business, community sentiment notwithstanding. I trust most of us are grappling with a business decision.
vgajic
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 1,250 - 4,999 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Videographer
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:45PM
Good answer cbarne. Crown is still the real crown in this business no matter on our emotions or some bad decisions, but GI and IS are still the number one and as exclusive you can live from this job as I live and feed my family of 3 children. I had few friends were throw the crown and they regret very shortly because all other agencies in total was not able to provide him with income like he had here before left exclusivity. Of course he is exclusive again, but as mentioned above making decisions on emotions can only hurt us, not company.
ClarkandCompany
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:47PM

Utterly pointless exercise IMHO.


If you don't like the actions close your account and sell only on RM sites.


What is the point of staying and going non-ex and spreading your content everywhere on RF sites. To me that's like vegetarians eating fish!


Ducks for cover.
Imgorthand
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:57PM

Everyone has to answer the question: is the money that I stock provides worth it? Is it worth redistribution of your files for free? For now I will stay exclusive but I will join the protest with deactivation of files that I would hate to see as public domain. Including vetta.


I would never call a deactivation pointless. Those who choose to accept any conditions Getty throws at them should ask themselves: wouldn't those conditions be worse if not for all those pointless protests by other contributors?
ClarkandCompany
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:14PM
So when the next h*ck up comes along, because it will, what are you going to do? Toss a few more files away? Shoot fruit and nuts against white because they don't have feelings?
jjneff
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsMember is a Diamond contributor and has 12,500 - 99,999 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto VideographerExclusive iStockphoto Audio Artist
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:16PM
There is a huge point to this. Getty has shown they do not have our best interest in mind. If one can afford to and feels cheated then don't look back on this place. There are many avenues to sell your work in. Be smart and stand firm. This Feb. 2 means something if we make it mean something. They are banking on a pop fiss but I have seen other companies brought down because of poor decisions and worker revolts. 
ClarkandCompany
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:26PM

Do you know how many files Getty curate? Do you know that the last round of RM contracts offered the their photographers stated that any RM file that had not sold within 2 years would be moved to RF? And I bet that they would come here...If 30k files get deleted it would not surprise me to see 60K come in from Getty


I'm getting sucked in here, sorry but I think it's pointless.
Willowpix
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:30PM
Posted By jjneff:
There is a huge point to this. Getty has shown they do not have our best interest in mind.


Despite anything else I might think or say - here and anywhere else, I've never been deluded into thinking Getty ever had my/our best interest(s) in mind. Seriously. You/me/us need to run your/our own businesses by making our own decisions in your own best interests. As will Getty. Sure, "Getty" is one (big) factor in all of this. This time. And many times recently. For all of us. No argument.


But there is ALWAYS going to be some entity bigger than "me" that I will have to deal with in life, in business, in whatever. That makes each decision hard at best - and agonizing an agonizing number of times. Raging at the Beast and whatever else is one avenue. Doing "nothing" and hoping for the best is another. Totally logical, fact-based assessment is another (agreeing that one never has enough facts). Most of us use some combination of those - and everything in between - to try to arrive at what we hope will be the best answer for ourselves.


But let's not continue to delude ourselves. Every Big Guy touts how much greener his grass is than the Big Guy whose lawn you are now beyond frustrated with. But whatever shade of green, there is always going to be some form of some big guy to be dealt with as a factor in every business decision.


My two cents.
jjneff
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsMember is a Diamond contributor and has 12,500 - 99,999 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto VideographerExclusive iStockphoto Audio Artist
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:30PM
It's not the number of files but the negative press that can kill a company over time. This is an image battle of course Getty has the numbers but people love the under dog. Instead of hitting the streets we hit those web. Anyone who deletes images here should and will make a lot of noise. It is a dangerous thing to bet on the big horse just because he is big. 
Imgorthand
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:32PM
Posted By ClarkandCompany:
So when the next h*ck up comes along, because it will, what are you going to do? Toss a few more files away? Shoot fruit and nuts against white because they don't have feelings?

I'm out of here sooner than later. I assume you're staying no matter what. 
ClarkandCompany
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:37PM
You assume correctly. But I am changing the way I shoot and the model releases I get signed are not just for iS anymore.
bunhill
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:43PM

Posted By Willowpix:
Every Big Guy touts how much greener his grass is than the Big Guy whose lawn you are now beyond frustrated with.



Tweeted By @GSElevator:
#1: The grass is greener on the other side because it's fertilized with b*******.
pink_cotton_candy
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Illustrator
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:45PM
thank you very much for your post, Mr. Barnes. If it were not for my position, I'd have liked to have been able to start this discussion. To be clear, the reason I couldn't is I think that many of you would see it as internal company influence and wouldn't believe me.

EDITED to remove as much negativity as possible.

(Edited on 2013-01-25 13:52:07 by pink_cotton_candy)
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