Stocksy

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= "a stock photo site where contributing photographers are also owners".

URL = http://stocksy.com/

Description

"Stocksy is a stock photo site where contributing photographers are also owners. A “highly curated collection” of royalty-free stock photos, the platform is a cooperative that believes in creative integrity, fair profit sharing, co-ownership, and every voice being heard. It’s a new twist on traditional co-ops. As they state on the website, “Think more artist respect and support, and less patchouli.”

Contributing Stocksy photographers receive 50% of a Standard License Purchase and 75% of an Extended License Purchase. Every Stocksy contributor receives a share of the company." (http://www.sustainablecitiescollective.com/shareable/1194348/11-platform-cooperatives-creating-real-sharing-economy)


Discussion

The Governance and Ownership Model

By AMY CORTESE:

"The most distinguishing feature, however, may be the structure of the site’s owner, Stocksy United: It is a cooperative, owned and governed by the photographers who contribute their work. Every Stocksy photographer owns a share of the company, with voting rights. And most of the money from sales of their work goes into their pockets rather than toward the billion-dollar valuations pursued by many venture-backed start-ups.

Stocksy was founded in 2013 by Bruce Livingstone and Brianna Wettlaufer, the core team behind iStockphoto, which in 2000 pioneered the idea of selling stock photos online in exchange for small fees. (Mr. Livingstone was the founder and Ms. Wettlaufer, the vice president of development and employee No. 4). IStock — which billed itself as “by creatives, for creatives” — caught the attention of Getty Images, which acquired it in 2006 for $50 million.

Mr. Livingstone and Ms. Wettlaufer grew dismayed as the community spirit they had cultivated and the royalties photographers received began to erode under the new ownership. Like many artists in the digital age, their photographer friends grumbled that they were being underpaid and exploited by online sites.

“Everyone had the same story,” Ms. Wettlaufer said. “They were feeling disenfranchised. They weren’t creatively inspired anymore. The magic was gone.”

So using money from the sale of iStock to Getty, she and Mr. Livingstone set out to create Stocksy, paying photographers 50 to 75 percent of sales. That is well above the going rate of 15 to 45 percent that is typical in the stock photography field. The company also distributes 90 percent of its profit at the end of each year among its photographers.

“We realized we could do it differently this time,” said Ms. Wettlaufer, who took over the chief executive role in 2014. “We could enter the market with a model that ensured artists were treated fairly and ethically.”

Stocksy is part of a new wave of start-ups that are borrowing the tools of Silicon Valley to create a more genuine “sharing” economy that rewards the individuals generating the value.


...


Stocksy is what’s known as a multi-stakeholder cooperative, with three classes of shares: one for executives, one for staff and a third class for photographers. There is no fee to join or annual dues; members pay just $1 for their share of stock. That collaborative approach has helped the upstart thrive in a crowded and competitive market.

Stocksy’s customers include major media names, such as the magazines Glamour and Elle, as well as start-ups and small businesses." (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/business/smallbusiness/a-new-wrinkle-in-the-gig-economy-workers-get-most-of-the-money.html)


Status

"In just a few years, Stocksy has grown to 900 photographer-members, carefully selected from more than 10,000 applications. It has 20 full-time employees at its headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia, and another five contractors who work remotely.

...

Stocksy’s revenue doubled last year to $7.9 million. More than half, $4.3 million, was paid out in royalties. After that and other operational costs, Stocksy last year generated its first “surplus revenue,” or what is akin to profit at co-ops. This allowed it to pay a dividend to members for the first time, totaling $200,000." (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/business/smallbusiness/a-new-wrinkle-in-the-gig-economy-workers-get-most-of-the-money.html)