It is relatively rare for me to get annoyed with the antics of stock agencies, but Fotolia has gone too far, and, like a lot more stock contributors, I have decided to boycott them and remove my images from their library. Why, you may ask!
Fotolia was always one of those annoying sites that I stuck with because the earnings – $50 to $80 a month for me – were pretty regular. They were annoying because the upload process required selection of two separate categories from what seemed like thousands, they had a selection for country, they would never remember the settings for the price for an extended license and often defaulted to the wrong choice in terms of the license. On top of that, they would sometimes reject 50% of my images. As a result, I had 2900 images online versus around 5900 on other sites. It makes me wonder why I stuck with them, to be honest!
Earlier in the year, they launched (relatively separately as a new company and brand) Dollar Photo Club. All images were for sale at $1 – regardless of size or print run. We, as contributors would get 29c. The image use never expired – if you bought 10 credits for $10, you could use them whenever you wanted. Unlike other sites with requirements for Enhanced or Extended licenses for large print runs – which gives us $28 on Shutterstock for instance – there was no restriction. To make matters worse, they automatically included everyone’s images in the new product and so started with 28M images. A group of Russian stock photographers (Fotolia is more Europe focused) saw interviews with the CEO where it was clear that he was going to make a run to gain significant market share by pricing images at rock bottom – hoping that Shutterstock, iStock and the others wouldn’t follow. As a result, Fotolia would gain a lot of revenue at the expense of those bigger agencies, but the biggest losers – yes, you guessed it – the contributors who would lose those on-demand and enhanced licenses that make all the difference to monthly earnings. There was no way to opt out for contributors…. Last week, a Fotolia boycott site was established with the aim of getting major improvements in the product, but as each layer of this product is unpeeled, many photographers and illustrators have just decided to ditch the company altogether and make a stand for reasonable compensation for our work.
As a result of pressure, Fotolia introduced a way to remove your images from Dollar Photo Club. You do it as follows:
Go to your Contributor page.
Under My Account, select My Profile (https://us.fotolia.com/Member/Modify).
Select Contributor Parameters (https://us.fotolia.com/Member/Modify/Contributor).
Find Sell my files on DPC and click Modify.
Then check that where you ticked actually says, “do not share on DPC”. It’s one of those sneaky buttons that if you press it again it will revert to share. Finally save your settings.
That is the first step that most people have done. Others, including myself, are going through our portfolios deleting images and thinking about closing our accounts to show at least this one agency that these tactics of making a run for the bargain basement with our work is not something we are going to tolerate.
So, my link to Fotolia is gone from the sidebar, my images are no longer in Dollar Photo Club. I suggest you do the same.