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?”