Micro-stock Misadventures

Recently Pond5, a micro-stock agency, successful in the past due to good luck, and good contributors, and despite naive and chaotic management, engaged a new policy, beginning an apparent nosedive towards the gutter, leaving all its competitors in the race to bottom of the micro-stock murk in its wake, and long time contributors in a state of bewilderment.

In light of this, I have been working on a couple of blog posts relevant to the micro-stock industry, exploring the ideas:

  • that it is not, and never has been a place for professional photography, but absolutely set up for the exploitation of know-nothing fauxpros, and star struck amateurs:

  • that its overall premise and ever varying, snake oil salesman like business model is essentially flawed and destructive…to the overall photography market, the image and reputation of photography, and to both the contributors, and buyers through the ever decreasing cost of images.

  • worse still, and either micro-stock management either doesn’t realise, or more likely doesn’t care, the business model is actually self destructive, evidenced through the complete closure of micro-stock agencies, (falling like flies of late,) where once failing agencies were bought out instead by those higher up the food chain.


These circumstances, as with virtually anything that happens or is announced in the micro-stock industry has led inevitably to the latest round of looneys running round like chooks with their heads cut off wanting to form micro-stock agencies of their own, using of course the same business model, and a choice of being headed by a soon to be sociopathic autocrat, or by an unwieldy ‘cooperative’.

And the first port of call they make for information on how to make it succeed? The renowned home of misinformation, stupidity and trolling: the Internet forums of course!

Strange thing is these are more or less the same people who were not so long ago pleading with the same forums about having 5 billion holiday snaps, how do I go about selling them?

The same ones who show no evidence of having any idea of marketing, licensing images, or even of having anything more to do with photography than a Facebook page or a flickr account, and their only idea of necessary paperwork is from the intentionally confusing ‘misleading conduct’ of the micro-stock agencies themselves with their intentional conservatism and misinformation in regard to model and property releases, copyright, and contracts in general.

And of course they follow the currently in vogue, and really idiotic doctrine of “build it and they will come”, never even hinting for any information about how to attract customers, or buyers to their new, essentially ‘zombie’ business idea.

As the writers of The Copyright Zone website say in their disclaimer: ‘As Jack and Ed like to say, if you woke up with a big, oozing green growth on your neck, would you consult strangers on a website? Hopefully, you’d call a doctor. And if someone needs a professional photograph, don’t you think they should contact a professional photographer and not your Uncle Fred’s mechanic’s neighbour’s brother-in-law?”

Until I research more fully, and write these promised blogs, this article, written by Edward Greenberg and Jack Reznicki (The Copyright Zone) is a great article to be going on with…http://thecopyrightzone.com/?p=1626

Illustration from Pinterest

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