Nicole Young posted a “definitely worth reading“ piece today on her blog about the recent royalty structure change for contributors at iStockphoto (link). She comes at the change with a significant amount of credibility, since she stands to lose over 10% of her royalty percentage beginning in 2011. I have mostly kept mum on the subject, but I will go on record in saying that I can see both sides of the situation. Having worked in the past for over a dozen years in a management position for a large corporation, I have been involved in making some unpopular decisions. It is never easy and when you add the community aspect of iStockphoto the difficulty compounds. On the other hand though, it is extremely hard and discouraging to take a hit to your wallet. In the case of many iStock contributors, this hit will be in the 12-25% range – ouch!
What I have taken away from the ongoing forum discussion on the subject over at iStockphoto.com though is complete disgust and disappointment. The largely one-sided comments by some of those affected (to extremely varying degrees financially btw) has literally made me sick to my stomach. I have seen hateful comments aimed at not only iStockphoto and its parent company Getty images, but also at employees of iStockphoto – hard working people that I am proud to call friends. These comments have gone beyond business and become extremely personal and threatening at times. If you think I’m exaggerating, check out this snippet from the forum discussion:
When it all comes down to it, it is business. If a person, customer or supplier doesn’t like the policies of a certain company then they can choose to not do business with that enterprise. But the threatening, insulting and general foulness I have witnessed in this situation goes beyond how civilized people should interact.
As for me, my royalty percentage will stay put at least through 2011. I still support iStockphoto and still believe in the business model.
And now it’s time to get back to work…