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Forums are by no means the most effective way for people to communicate. Imagine standing in a circle of ten people and you can only speak once the person beside you has spoken, when it is your turn, you choose to respond to the person 4 places away from you, it would be a weird sounding conversation. Also often people read things and read in to things differently and the message can easily get lost in misinterpretation, especially in English language forums. Although English is not the most natively spoken language in the world, it is the most popular and non native speakers of the language are obliged to use to it, if they want to communicate with the world at large. I can’t imagine there are as many non native Mandarin speakers entering Mandarin forums. The English language by its sheer number of words can be very expressive, but if you don’t know enough words you can’t express yourself properly, or understand entirely what is being said. Even a surprisingly large number of native English speakers don’t really know it as well as they could. I have been speaking the language my whole life and it still confuses the heck out of me at times. If I’m not sure that I’ve worded a phrase correctly, I type it in to Google with quotation marks and see how many web pages have this phrase, then I word the phrase differently and do another search and I usually go with the one which is the most popular. At least if I’m wrong, I’m not the only one.

Forums are however a way to speak to the world. Forums, twitter, facebook, blogs and the internet in general have brought freedom of speech, even in countries which are governed by those who don’t appreciate their citizens exercising this right. Even microstock agencies have forums, but naturally they are looking after their business interests and often don’t appreciate their community being too expressive. There are independent forums though, the most popular being Microstock Group (msg) forum. On and off throughout the year, I have been keeping quotes from this forum, which are below and in no particular order. I have an interest in the microstock industry as you might have guessed and I want to know what people are saying about it. This microstock forum is a constant source of amusement, but it is also a place to learn and you will find many wise and sometimes not so wise microstsockers there, sharing knowledge, debating, getting upset, causing upset, creating new usernames so they can start a fresh or attack an enemy once again. Ah the wonders of the internet, it has so many uses, a place where we can be who we are not, or be who we really are, where we can be faceless and bold, where we can fully express ourselves without physical repercussions or being arrested, well mostly. Or we can simply use the internet to notify a plumber if our house has a few leaks.

Tyler does a brilliant job of letting things flow, I’ve only occasionally seen him close a thread or delete a comment, but it’s only if things get a bit too out of hand. I take my hat off to you Tyler for creating such a good forum. I’ve not linked the quotes to the threads but if you want to see the threads in their entirety, you can always Google them, don’t forget to include the quotation marks.

On a last note from me for 2010, according to Google search results there are 3,930 results if you type in the words Microstock Unsustainable but 78,500 results if you type Microstock Sustainable. So it looks like everything is going to be just fine, but don’t quote me on that. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

“Judging from my small stock experience , agencies are their own biggest enemies, not the competition. Market leaders are simply a product of less blatant mistakes rather than good calls. Sometimes I really get the impression of a business managed by kids”

“most of us are a little gun shy about new agencies… they’re getting like nachos. One disappears and another pops up to replace it”

“I think these microstocks are completely overwhelmed by the volume of their business – not the total dollar amount, but the number of transactions, inquiries and problems. They have thousands of contributors and thousands of customers, but how many employees to respond to calls and emails? Probably a handfull, and they can’t begin to keep up.”

“I concluded that there’s a really tough reviewer out there and another one who’s really easy on me. So I’ve taken to submitting at specific times of the day in hope that I’ll hit the more forgiving one. Or maybe it’s all a coincidence. Or maybe I’m the victim of a psychological experiment designed to drive me mad.”

“I deal with 8 agencies right now. They all get mostly the same stuff they take them great they don’t…oh well. I don’t believe I’ve ever had one image rejected across the board on all sites.”

“..the people who created microstock are the contributors, not the website owners. The quality of the work, and the demands of the website owners for that quality have increased relentlessly over the years. The cost of producing an image has increased. The usage and acceptance of microstock in the mainstream world of communications has exploded. All the while, the percentage of the sale that the ARTIST, the creator of that work, has relentlessly gone downhill. You are free to defend this if you can, but it’s a simple fact of economics that the business model for producer and seller has to find an equilibrium or both ends of the business will cease to exist.”

“it is quite strange people like to verbally attack a newbie or a new agency.. i don’t verbally attack people in real life so i don’t do it here. I know in real life buying a camera doesn’t mean someone is becoming a better photographer than me, starting a new agency that sell cheap photos doesn’t bring down my life.”

“Hadn’t heard of Zoonar, but I’m thinking that the International Bureau of Goofy, Vaguely-Techy Names must be reaching the limit – there just aren’t any more to be had. New microstocks will be forced to use traditional names like “Bob’s Discount Images”.”

“..your theory, which I don’t entirely disagree with, assumes that there is a microstock “site that pays a decent commission”. I don’t see one?”

“As for the OP I’ve often said that no one is holding us hostage, no one is forcing us to sell images for peanuts. Anyone can walk away and do something else. After that, your post sounds more like someone who runs an agency than someone who supplies images to one. Actually it sounds like someone who runs a coal mine that doesn’t have a union to protect workers, telling them how they are lucky to have jobs at all.”

“Hi Lobo.. welcome to MSG..”

“I see so many photographers uploading pages of new contents with 0 to 5 downloads by pages. I don’t see how they do. Borrowing props to friend, begging friends to model? I stopped uploading as well for the same reasons. This way I don’t work and still get couple of $ an hour.”

reply to the above quote “I like the part about not working. Is it sustainable?”

“Achilles really cares for his brainchild DT, as witnessed by his flames when somebody says something bad about it. Shutterstock is drama-free and keeps on yielding top earnings. FT, well, ahem….
iStock apparently has become the empire of evil but it still has the best reviewers and it’s home to top photographers. Once the “investors” are gone with their hefty bonuses, it might change again to the place it used to be. Who knows… never say never.”

“As for uploading for money, It’s About Time that people stopped wasting their time and sending off everything they own to some relatively anonymous place, for some crummy payment, only to have the images languish or worse yet, get sold to another partner or some distribution site, or stolen by one of the free sites so they can make CDs with your images and pay you nothing. About time that people woke up and discovered there isn’t some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if they can catch the Microstock Magic Leprechaun hiding behind the latest “me too” new site, with all the same images from all the same people, trying to sell to all the same customers. Usually by subscription or price cutting. The first place where the price is cut is from the artists commissions.”

“I always get the biggest kick out of people who come in forums to bitch and moan about all the bitching and moaning.”

“I like the fact that peope can vent here. A lot of photographers work alone. People in corporate offices, can go to lunch or drinks after work to vent and share their frustrations about their company; changes, no raises, over worked, etc. This forum offers that “lunch/drinks” opportunity with others that are experiencing the same things.”

“The trek from “bought my first dSLR” to being successful will be long and arduous. Are you sure you wouldn’t like to buy a hammer on the road to being a cabinetmaker?”

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9 thoughts on “Microstock Group quotes of 2010

  1. “I like the fact that peope can vent here. A lot of photographers work alone. People in corporate offices, can go to lunch or drinks after work to vent and share their frustrations about their company; changes, no raises, over worked, etc. This forum offers that “lunch/drinks” opportunity with others that are experiencing the same things.”

    Yeah, the only difference is that the agencies they directly work for are reading the majority of their “rants”. I hope people realize that, when they start going off on tangents 😀 I do believe that it’s important to vent to your work frustrations and about business, but there are ways of going about it as to not put it out there so publicly that will come back and bite you in the butt. You have to love that we have such an active place as MSG to keep up with industry news and to share advice.

    1. Yes, if something happens in the microstock industry, someone will start a thread about it pretty quick, it’s a good way of keeping informed. Yes, the agencies are reading too, but exactly how much time they devote to it is not exactly known, I’m sure a few agencies don’t bother with it at all.

      For sure people do rant, the same as they do in the offline world. I don’t think that if someone has a grievance they should be afraid of voicing a problem or issue that they have, in a forum dedicated to the subject of their choice. I think the agencies should know about the problems and opinions that contributors have and act maturely to open criticism, or they can just ignore it if they want to. I don’t think they lose any profit by what people say in forums. They might lose contributors respect if it was discovered that an agency had taken retribution for something that was said in an independent forum.

      I especially respect the agencies that participate in msg, it’s pretty cool of them. This quote by Alex from 123rf is an example to other agencies in how to react to criticism. “There are of course, supporters and detractors at every site, no one site is perfect. Your portfolio is your portfolio and the rights to your images belong to you, the door is always open – what ever choice you choose is yours to make, and so are your opinions.”

  2. This is very true. Who knows how many threads actually get “noticed” it’s just that contributors also need to remember to be respectful, and not bite the hand that is feeding them. If they have issues with an agency the best way to resolve them is speaking to them directly, either over the phone or via email. General professionalism is definitely something lacking in this business, both on the part of contributors, as well as some of the stock agencies. I’ve seen it firsthand, on both ends. Corporate politics, favoritism, sketchy business practices, etc. We just have to learn to remember that anything we post on the internet isn’t just seen by our coworkers.

    1. Yes, respect works both ways. However, I often see threads like “I’m posting this here because I still haven’t received a reply from support”, for example. Once in the public arena, for the agencies who are watching and for those who care, often react quickly to the issue at hand.

      As to “and not bite the hand that is feeding them”, most of us aren’t relying on microstock to put the food on the table or pay off the mortgage. But I guess that as our microstock income grows, the quieter we become, well so the theory goes. I think a lot of frustrations contributors have are born out of how little control they have as to what is going on. We have just 2 options, to contribute or not. A person starting with an agency years ago, might have been happy with the agency when he started, but if suddenly the agency introduces subscription packages, without the contributor being able to opt out, what does he do, remove his 3000 images from the site? He probably won’t, because he’s invested so much time in getting them there. He might just settle for venting his anger in a forum though.

      As for “sketchy business practices”, I guess very few of us know what happens behind the scenes of an agency, but I doubt there is any business which is as squeaky clean as it tries to portray itself.

  3. “Or maybe I’m the victim of a psychological experiment designed to drive me mad.” My favourite quote from above regarding the inconsistency of reviews and trying to game it by submitting at specific times to get the “nice” reviewer. I can certainly identify with that -for a time images submitted to one agency on a Sunday always seemed to get approved almost immediately (within 5 minutes on one occasion!). But then the trick stopped working so I now try not to think about it too much. One rule seems to apply to all agencies. The longer the images await review the greater the likelyhood of rejection. Maybe this really is the alleged “queue clearing” in action.
    MSG certainly provides an invaluable source of information, news and ideas. Back when I started in Microstock and my only agency was Snapvillage I really had little idea about the industry as a whole. Many thanks to MSG for informing me about the bigger picture – long may it continue. Regards, David.

    1. I think I can agree with that, if the image awaits review for a long time, it seems to have a greater chance of being rejected.

      David, there is only one agency I know that reviews on Sundays, which initials always reminds me of the elite German force in the second World War. Not that I’m implying that there are any similarities of course. However, I don’t upload to all the agencies so I might be completely off the mark.

      It is funny though, I’m sure most contributors from time to time try to figure out the agencies, or think that they may be noticing certain trends or patterns. How I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of the bigger agencies. No, No! I take that back, I’m worried I might wake up as a fly now 🙂

  4. Thanks for the blog post feature. I am glad you find the forum useful – there is a fine balance between keeping the discussion completely open and holding the aggressive posters under control. I’m not sure I always make the right choices but hopefully I am still learning and improving.

    There are a lot of really great users on MicrostockGroup, many who are more than happy to share their knowledge. I have learned a lot.

    1. I’ve learned a lot also from reading so many threads there. I’m sure you have been faced with quite a few dilemmas over the years whilst running this forum. You got the balance just right though.

  5. Thanks for quoting me. I wouldn’t say that again, to be frank. I’ve been banned by ss and I have no idea why. They don’t respond to mails, so I’m totally blank. They can do as they please, so I prefer the coal mine paradigm. The only thing you can do is vote with your feet or start a Fast Food joint next to the worker’s exit, since the mine owner – of course – doesn’t offer food on the job.

    If it wasn’t for Dreamstime, I would throw all I’ve got for free on Flicker. No bargain and “as low as” can beat _free_. Of course I won’t put time in new stuff then.

    Apart from a very few talented individuals that run an image factory, there is simply no living to make in Microstock. You can see it on the charts (istock and DT), the top 10 or so can get a decent income.
    At the current RPI, you can’t even buy a cheap prop any more or pay a model, let alone pay for your editing time and overhead.

    The buyers didn’t ask for bottom prices, but they will suffer the consequences: more and more people will stop putting time in good content.

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