Alamy, a UK-based traditional stock photography agency, proudly announced in their latest letter to their contributors that Alamy will be able to transfer payouts via PayPal.
Good news – we have made some improvements to the way in which we pay our contributors. We are now offering PayPal – we can pay you in GBP, USD or EURO’s via PayPal. If you opt for PayPal we will send your payment so that you do not pay any PayPal fees
I like Alamy because they are so British. Meaning they are so ages-back traditional and so fantastically slow in adopting the change and following the market trends, and nevertheless – or because of that, – they still sell well. Today virtually every reasonable stock photography agency offers PayPal payouts, so welcome to the club, my dear Alamy.
I am glad to invite you to try LightBurner Beta, our new free microstock content distribution and analytical service.
LightBurner customers can submit images to the following pre-integrated microstock photography agencies:
Also you can define unlimited Custom FTP Channels, delivering your images wherever you want to, for instance your blog’ FTP server or your backup FTP site.
I plan to have at least 20-25 pre-integrated microstocks supported in December yet. Your suggestions for more destination are warmly welcome.
The famous keywords suggestions + translations, first introduced in ProStockMaster in 2006 (wow, 4 years ago – who can believe it), is now a part of LightBurner too.
Other interesting features include built-in search in your portfolio, Similar Media area, cataloging by Lightboxes, Folders and Categories, notes on images and sales balance for each channel. Of course, LightBurner reads IPTC for any uploaded JPEG, so you get your files with all the metadata – searchable and cataloged, at your fingertips.
The service is still far from being completed, however I believe that existing functions work quite well and have a great value to any microstock contributor. More agencies and more features will come in the next weeks. Without getting into the details, you can expect nice surprises in your LightBurner account.
How to get started
- register for a free account. In a few moments you will get a Welcome email with your credentials, including SFTP access.
- upload your files by SFTP (FileZilla will do)
- login and go to My Account -> My Portfolio -> Channels/Edit and select your sales channels / agencies
- select what files go where. Multiple options available, including “Assign” X files to Y channels, “Edit” of multiple files or simple drag-n-drop a file to a channel
Actually, that’s it. The distribution is automatic, so you do not have to do a thing.
Your files statuses are updated accordingly: red square (undistributed) is replaced by yellow (partially distributed) and then by green (fully distributed). You will have to hit Refresh from time to time to see these statuses changes.
A few notes:
- All the original uploaded files are removed after 3 days
- Shutterstock delivery is over FTP, stats / balance can not be displayed due to submitters accounts blocking with a captcha
- At the moment LightBurner supports JPEGs only, no other formats and no model releases
- Later on ProStockMaster will work directly with your LightBurner account, thus saving you traffic, costs and time by uploading media just once
- The last but not the least: bugs happen. Please be patient, and report them! Contact: support(at)pixamba.com, david(at)pixamba.com or via LightBurner’ online form
New in this release:
1. Uploads to Shutterstock microstock web site are switched to FTP. Go to “Upload->Stock Agencies” to change your credentials.
The FTP server name is already filled in for you by the app. Your FTP user name is your email address, which is on file with Shutterstock and the password is your regular Shutterstock web site password. Since the connection to Shutterstock is now via FTP only, your stock photos sales stats for this site can not be displayed anymore.
2. “Export Metadata” dialog added in “File->Export Metadata” menu. It creates a CSV file with JPG IPTC metadata and a few more file parameters for all JPGs in a specified folder. Optionally, it works recursively on all the subfolders of the specified folder. You probably remember this free JPG IPTC metadata dump utility? Now it is an integral part of PSM, available for free with any license. Just open “File->Export Metadata” menu and select a folder to be exported.
3. Fixed an annoying bug causing thumbnails not to be displayed in many cases.
I am sure you faced it at least once – you start PSM, open a folder and there are no thumbnails, just the file names with ‘…’ are displayed. Well, not anymore.
The app still needs some time to draw the thumbnails at the first access, but once the initial processing is done you get all the graphics instantly.
4. EXIF reading is back.
EXIF decided to leave PSM for a few weeks. Now it is back at its full.
5. Manage metadata – copying data between images: verified & OK. Also the dialog will close now when a user press OK in the “applied” confirmation message.
6. Alamy uploads: only one image can be uploaded. The issue is still there.
A quick check shows that the same is correct for Alamay uploads from their web either with their Java applet or with Alamy ActiveX control. Seems to be a problem with their web server. More info…
7. Minor fixes & updates for performance and graphics, here and there
If you can login to Alamy web, but for some reason you can not login with the same user name and password into your Alamy account through ProStockMaster application, take a look at the length of your password.
It seems that in the past this royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency allowed long passwords, but one day their developers decided that they do not want anything longer than 12 letters. So, instead of asking you to replace your old long password with some shorter characters sequence, Alamy developers just decided to cut off your old long password to fit their new 12-letters standard, simple like that.
Do you think you log into Alamy web site with your old trusted “myAlamyVerySecurePassword”?
Wrong! Actually, you login there with just “myAlamyVeryS” – exactly the first 12 characters, while all the rest of the password is cut off on your login and ignored by Alamy.
That’s why if you try “myAlamyVerySecurePassword” in ProStockMaster you are unable to login into your Alamy account. Instead, you should use just the first 12 characters of your long password. Well, at least until Alamy do anything about that.
An email sent today by Alamy Member Services reminds us Alamy contributors that Alamy has changed their contributors contract on November 26, 2008. And guess what? – starting at January 10, 2009 there is a 5% increase in all Alamy’ part for all stock photo contributions plans. Additionally, stock photo agency Alamy reduces the Contributor’s Agreement termination period from 6 month to 45 days.
All these changes look like a sign for a very difficult time for Alamy, which is facing strong competition from the successful microstock brands. In one of my previous posts I reviewed the Alamy’s initiative to go microstock. At that time many Alamy contributors disliked that idea, mostly because they saw Alamy as a traditional royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency, and not yet another microstock.
With the fantastic success of microstock agencies in the last few years Novel Use is a native attempt for a traditional stock photography agency like Alamy to follow up this microstock photography wave, and open an additional revenue stream from selling microstock. Just look around – virtually everyone sells microstock credits and subscriptions, why Alamy should not?
Particularly knowing that the competition is tight and a major microstock site made $70 mln revenues last year, followed by others tens-of-mlns-dollars microstocks, does not it make a perfect sense for Alamy trying to follow their success?
Well, I am not sure. At least not with NU idea.
Let me state: it is not about stock photography content. This is exactly my point: stock content does not matter. Content is similar. I can hear your strong “NO!”, but, – come on, forget for a sec all these technical “TIFF+scale-up+keywording” content preparation tricks for the “really high quality stock photos” and just look what the micros sell. Would you agree now? – from the buyers point of view they all sell the same photos and stock illustrations. I know that stock photography content people will never agree to this statement, but the stock imagery buyers just made their votes with their bucks, so it is better to hear the market. You can find content at microstock prices for at least 90% of needs for an industrial buyer. Buyers can choose buying content through Alamy or through a microstock. And surprise – stock imaging buyers are already subscribed to 2-4 microstock agencies (InfoTrends marketing research).
So where is the Alamy’s difference on this saturated microstock market? Well, it’s not about the content, it’s about the community. It’s Alamy’s Pros vs microstock Amateurs. Can you sell your community to a buyer? Not sure. Can you sell quite similar content for non-micro prices? Sure you can not, Alamy already knows this answer and therefore NU came out.
However, NU does not takes in account the most important – psychological – factor: for many pros Alamy was an alternative to microstock. NU completely destroys this vision. The last shelter for a stock photographer who keeps screaming “I am not going to sell my images for a buck or two! Never ever!”, this last shelter fails with the NU introduction. Well, probably it should not be so dramatic, but the feeling of many stock photography professionals as they express themselves in Alamy blog and in other places on the Internet is quite similar to that.
That’s why Alamy community strongly disagree to license their images under NU. Their vision is an opposite to microstock amateurs who say “I can get 30 cents per download or nothing if my images will keep sitting on my hard disk. I prefer to be paid”.
In my understanding, NU, which attempts to sell existing “non-micro” content to “microstock-like” buyers is an unnecessarily hard try. Not because Alamy has to educate the market that Alamy sells microstock too, but mostly because Alamy has to educate its own community that Alamy went microstock. And such community education could be a long and not necessarily successful process.
A reasonable alternative to this community education process could be… getting another community, which is willing to contribute stock photos and sell them as microstock. Alamy should expand the contributors base making it easier for amateur photographers to sell stock photos. For the microstock market a stock photography agency needs a microstock community. If Alamy can do that instead of forcing their existing contributors to license stock photos under NU, Alamy definitely gets a good chance to penetrate into the microstock world. Alamy’ brand, the team and the vast agency’s market knowledge supported by the microstock selling community or a resale partner can make the difference.
New v1.4.0 is here!
It brings you two new agencies:
1. Alamy, the first traditional royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency which we decided to include. Meanwhile we have implemented the uploads only, however we plan to extend Alamy support in further releases.
2. The long-awaited (and millions times requested) Stockxpert! Many thanks to Steve Kapsinow from Stockxpert for his valued help.
Upload issues with Dreamstime and 123rf reported in my previous post are also fixed in this version.
Our list of supported stock photos sites reaches for the first time a two-digits number: there are 10 supported microstock agencies on the list now. It’s a nice milestone.
The Mac packaging is updated!
Now Mac version is packaged with native Mac bundler and finally ProStockMaster on Mac is delivered and installed like any other native Mac application.
I like Mac look & feel: http://www.prostockmaster.com/images/mac_main_screen.jpg – really cool Mac-native GUI.
I just finished today testing of all the payment stuff. The payment processor is going to be PayPal and the product price will be EURO 39. / $49.
All the payments are processed on PayPal site and at the end the payer receives software activation code generated by ProStockMaster site. I hope you guys will excuse me if I will not accept GBP and AUD at least at this phase. PayPal also accepts credit cards, so it should handle 99% of payment options this way.
I am also adding an affiliate program, so anyone who want to promote ProStockMaster will get 25% sales commission on any sale of the software to his/her referred buyer.
At the moment I need 2-3 more days to add “lock/unlock” functionality to the software, so a person who has downloaded ProStockMaster can pay, get his activation code and enter it in the app without a need to re-download the software. I think at the end of this week all this stuff will be ready.
I have been asked multiple times a question like:
> Is it secure to enter my site’ user name and password into your application?
It’s a good question. Since you login to an Internet stock photo site with your user name and password, ProStockMaster shall know these parameters in order to login and properly upload images to your account on selected site. This is the only way the application can securely access your personal account on that site and upload images there.
If you are familiar with any FTP client, like Smart FTP or cuteFTP, it is exactly the same process.
The client asks for your credentials and then uploads your files on your behalf to some FTP site. ProStockMaster follows this approach and uses your credentials for proper login into a stock site and upload your work to your personal account. There is no other use for your credentials.
ProStockMaster hides and encrypts your sensitive information storing it locally, thus providing reasonable (however, not an “unbreakable”) level of security for your personal data. This level of security is comparable with the level of security you would expect to get from a typical FTP client or from your favorite web browser.