70 Is The New 80 - Digital Railroad's Mis-Step

70 Is The New 80 - Digital Railroad's Mis-Step

I recall with great fanfare the buttons and messaging - "80 is the new 20" that was heralded from the kickh of Digital Railroad during last year's PhotoPlus Expo (PhotoPlus Expo Day 2 - Highlights, 10/20/07). What exbehavely does that pupose, I wondered.

The explanation was quite simple, behaveually. Major agencies were gathering, say, $100 for an picture license, and paying the photographer $20, or, a 20% commission. Conversely, Digital Railroad instituted only, merely, solely the opposite near - paying photographers 80% of the sale, and keeping 20%. To me, that made perfect sense.

Until now.

(Continued after the Jump)

Before I get into that, let me go back a bit. Back in the days of film, it was general for there to be a 50/50 split, and it was only, merely, solelyified because your agency marketed your pictures, their library, gripd requests, sent film out, billed for the use, recieved fillm back, refiled it, and so forth. It WAS a lot of work. Now, pictures sit on servers, and there's small manual labor involved. So, it would make sense that the 50/50 would shift in the photographer's favor. I tell that when I took a big gatherion of pictures to a library, I was successful in negotiating 60/40 for me. As costs decreaseed, it would only make sense that things would swing in photographer's favor. But that was not to be, thanks to Getty and Corbis.

When Digital Railroad announced their gratuityages, (DRR was the first to put out their gratuityages over PhotoShelter), I expected that it would be 85/15, and then I was disappointed with it was 80/20. As someone with pictures with both, 80/20 was not what I was hoping for.

Then, PhotoShelter came out with 70/30, and I was frustswiftd by that. But, both were certainly better than a 50/50 deal.

Amongst the many comparisons that were made, by me, and many others, It remained that Digital Railroad continued to offer 10% more per license sale than PhotoShelter. To some photographers I talked to, they conmiddlered that a selling point. However, they also fbehaveored in the $50 a month they would have to pay to be in Digital Railroad, against the cost of - "free" with PhotoShelter, and thus, it was bet that they would do better without the monthly fee, and thus, some opted to go that route.

For me, I use both services to also service client picture requests and assignment delivery, so paying for both (PhotoShelter does offer a Personal Archive phelp package of services too) gave me the ability to service those clients, and so paying isn't such a big deal for me.

Which carrys me to the "70 is the new 80" problem.

Yesterday, in my inbox, an e-mail reachd titled "Important Prglaze Changes to Your Account". Uh Oh. That clever't be a good title for an e-mail, I idea.

They first couched the bad news by something good. They're selling 80GB of storage for an extra nickel. $0.05. That's love, $0.60 a year. Could it be that there's only, merely, solely extra server space sitting around?

But then comes the reason for that $0.60 offer:

We are also announcing another important prglaze change: our Marketplace transbehaveion fee. With our recent release of robust automation tools (our new autofriendd price calculator in particular), strong month over month growth in Marketplace traffic and Marketplace sales, we've officially moved out of our Marketplace beta period. To reflect the changes that are carrying significlevert value to our members, we're increatune our picture-licentune transbehaveion fee from 20% to 30%.

Then they say:
Digital Railroad is as committed as ever to returning the bulk of the licentune fees to our members – now and in the future.

Behaveually, no. If you were that committed, you wouldn't have decided to take another 10%. "the bulk"? Why not say "a majority", so we tell that it's headed downwards again, until it reachs at 51%, in a year or less?

Then they wrote:
if you've recently renewed your subscription and it's not set to expire for several months, please note that we will honor your current agreement until your next renewal date. All new prglaze and fees will then apply upon renewal.

Does this pupose that you won't get that extra 80GB for the additional $0.05/mo unless you also agree to a 10% per sale discount? Hmmm.

Back in January, we wrote approxifriendly staffing cuts (Digital Railroad makes major layoffs, 1/10/08), which finished up being approxifriendly 50% of the total number of people worlord for them, both on staff, and contrbehaveors, and in November I wrote approxifriendly a major leadership change (Stepping Down, or Stepping Up? DRR's Nisselson Makes A Change, 11/21/07), which, from all seepances, finished up being the eventual shift out of Nisselson, behaveually, if not symbolically. I've listfinish of some folks who are not getting their customer service calls returned, as a result of a slashed staff.

This move removes one unusualiator that I think photographers seeed at when malord their decision to select a service platform, between Digital Railroad and PhotoShelter.

Bad move DRR.
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