Tuesday, September 14, 2010

iStockPhoto - Wait! It's About the Money?!?

For a number of years now, I've been hearing the iStock-a-razzi congratulating themselves with atta-boys and high-fives when they see things like their images used on the covers of places like Time Magazine (here), and for all manner of uses that should have garnered thousands of dollars in stock licensing fees, but instead garnered less than subway fare for a day. "It's all about seeing my photos in print..." or the otherwise celebratory "wow, they used your photo for their album cover..." back-slaps. They, with bright eyes and bushy tails were like a doe in the headlights as the oncoming frieght train of reality came towards them, and they just seemed to think "oh, look, pretty light". In fact, people were bemoaning those who actually cared about the money.

Enter reality.

(Continued after the Jump)

As Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein can afford to drop $10,000,000 on his New York City Park Avenue spread back in March (Real Estate Mack Daddy Sells 760 Park Spread to Getty Images Chief for $10 M., 3/11/10), he, and his subordinate company, iStockphoto can't seem to keep paying the contributors who supposedly didn't care about money (until they did) the same amount.

Jeremy Nicholl, here, has done a great job of highlighting the hypocracy of iStockphoto, from within, as a contributor (apparently, not! Sorry for the mistake!).

Nicholls cites an August 9, 2010 company missive, which reports:
“Since roughly 2005 we’ve been aware of a basic problem with how our business works. As the company grows, the overall percentage we pay out to contributing artists increases. As a business model, it’s simply unsustainable.”
Really? REALLY?!?! I mean, come on, I've been writing about how just how unsustainable the iStockphoto business model has been since like 2006. SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY!?!?! I was strung up by all the iStockers who wrote me and commented here on the blog about just how this wasn't about money, and how I was off base. I mean, saying "I told you so" just seems so inadequate to the facts as they were, and still are. Just now they're admitting these things? Hmm, or was it that they were lying? in January of 2008, iStockphoto stated:
“That our revenue and payouts have eclipsed those of many traditional stock photography companies confirms that microstock is a viable and profitable business model for contributors and clients.”
Oh when it comes to judgement day, these boys will be on the fast track to a burning caldron of boiling sweat from the toiling of the contributors who have given of their creative genius. But, will these creatives be able to find their way out of a canopy tent? I mean, when God was passing out business sense these dimwits must have thought he said "brightness scents" and said "what? Smart people can't smell..." and took a pass.

Wake up and smell the free coffee down at your local shelter after you check your pockets to make sure your twice-chewed bubble gum is still in the used wrapper as you roll off your free cot, and see that your change from the night's pan-handling becomes more of an income than licensing photography - there will be droves and droves of people behind you - the Flickr-ites - that will swarm to iStockphoto like moths to a flame. You've already been burnt, now it's their turn.

The COO, in this missive - Where we go from here - writes, in part: "I want you to know that I would tender my resignation at iStock before I had to do something I couldn't stand behind." Ok. I'm waiting. Please be sure to send me a copy. I've set up my inbox with a rule for an email from you to play "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead" when it comes in. I can't wait. Jonathan Klein will still be trying to convince you of his altered reality, as his minions call out "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..." Guess what? There are a lot of "Toto" dogs on Park Avenue, and one of which can nip at his heels in real life, and the Wizard of Oz was just a fantasy, but these are the lives of real people that iStockphoto and, in turn, Getty, is screwing up.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Walter Rowe said...

For those interested in the back story to this post, iStock posted changes to their payouts that will reduce the amounts paid to their exclusive contributors amongst the other changes announced. See this post on their forums.


It has contributors furious as well it should. See this thread.


Borna Cavrag said...

So long and thanks for all the fish in little aquariums on white seamless.

...until the next idiot comes along with a revolutionary free lunch concept

Jeremy Nicholl said...

“Jeremy Nicholl, here, has done a great job of highlighting the hypocracy of iStockphoto, from within, as a contributor.”

ROTFLMAO! Doesn’t anybody fact-check any more?

See iStock listed there? Almost grounds for a defamation suit!

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