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Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by tesAuthorTeam, Nov 2, 2018.
Very interesting. I would have loved to know the answers...
The bit about existing gold authors being a relatively small set of our author base? From our user data.
The bit about there being some top-sellers with a relatively small inventory which has meant that - despite their sales - they have been only "New Authors" or "Bronze"? Again from our user data, and follow-up interviews.
We can entirely understand why authors who are dropping a tier will not be pleased with this change, and will - understandably - be the most vocal. We want to help you see increased sales in the next year that will compensate for any drop in royalty rate. We would obviously greatly prefer it if you stayed.
Tes Author Team [Michael]
What does that even mean?
Oh dear. I feel deflated and depressed. I was limbering up to re do all my cover sheets and sharpen up and update my stuff a bit more. Now I am facing dropping all the way down to bronze. And also, after all these years, why is there still no button to select all and raise all the resource prices in one click? Because, given the current situation, that would be mighty handy!
We know this won't be cheering for those expecting to go down a tier. But the majority of Tes premium authors will actually receive slightly more in royalties as a result of the change, because the majority of Tes premium authors have fewer than 10 resources on the site (and are being automatically upgraded from the old "New Author" status to the new Bronze status). Those authors who are remaining in the Gold tier and those shifting up tiers will also benefit from the changes.
But we can understand why this will be disappointing for those who face dropping a tier. We want to help you see increased sales in the next year that will compensate for any drop in royalty rate. The positive signs for that include the increase in total sales on the site in the last year - and the plans to allow schools to buy your material directly via the Tes portal (which is already used by the majority of schools in England).
Tes Author Team (Michael)
Please don't be disheartened @Mrsmumbles - redoing cover sheets, improving images, and making sure content is updated are all positive ways to increase sales.
As for the button to raise all resource prices, we will make sure that idea is passed on to our product and engineering teams to consider for their backlogs. Thank you for that.
Tes Author Team (Michael)
Well I cannot even get into my shop now. There’s a bug in the system and it is so so slow. Every time I try to get into the shop to edit, it freezes and stops working. Great! I have emailed twice..help!
Hooray! I've gone from Bronze to Gold with the new changes... is something I haven't read here yet. Be nice to see some exemplar resources that hit gold so that we can all see how to achieve this holy grail. Oops - nope. TES can't give out specifics like that. Let's just stick to generalisations from the trial group. A group who seem to have wildly different views to those expressed here. And in the previous forum you held about this change, it was overwhelmingly unpopular, and TES said: 'Don't worry! We are listening!'
What do you think is easier: hitting gold in the new system or licking your own elbow (try it!)?
(Answer - for most people both are impossible.)
Sorry to hear that @Mrsmumbles - a few of us at Tes have just checked the edit mode on shops from different locations but can't seem to replicate it as it seems to be working. Is it still an issue at your side?
Tes Author Team [Michael]
So what are you going to do about the elephant in the room in terms of quality - copyright infringement.
Actively look for and take down resources
Respond promptly to authors who report resources
Taking down resources when they are reported to you.
Replying quickly enough to authors who do report.
Shooting everyone in the foot by not being proactive.
Disadvantaging those authors who do follow the rules.
Contributing to illegal sales activity that will stop authors climbing tiers.
I know this for a fact because I regularly report resources and provide proof that they are breaching copyright, yet 90% of the time TES don't reply to my emails and the resources are still up, unchanged.
What are you going to do about it?
P.S The usual party line of 'this is a community site and we'll only take down resources if they are reported' won't cut it now, because that is simply not true.
I have voiced my concerns directly to the TES Author team, but I have been following this thread closely all day, and I now want to chip in a couple of thoughts.
Michael has explained that the majority of premium authors have less than 10 resources. We are to take this as fact, and in good faith. So, the majority of authors will, at the end of this month, see no change to their 60% royalty, but will be able to create bundles and have shops... so, on balance, will feel that they are better off. Fair enough.
Michael has also explained that the majority of the top TES authors make £500 per month. So, the top earners (who make the most also for TES), will see no change to their 80%. Fair enough.
So TES have managed to keep 'the majority' and 'the elite' happy.
Here's the problem though: every single author who earns between £250 and £5999 per year is now better off on 'the site that must not be named' because 'the site that must not be named' allow any author (who wishes to pay about £50) access to 80% royalties for a whole year. TES must know this - they absolutely must. If they don't, then this change is so ill-thought out that the brakes must be slammed on it immediately. So, let's assume 'they must know'.
Once the >£250 p.a. authors realise there is no incentive to stay (or at least put very much effort in) after they start averaging £30 per month rather than £20 per month, (until they hit £500 per month, that is), they will look elsewhere to put in their efforts. So TES will end up with a core (and small) group of authors making £500 per month and a large group of authors making less than - say - £30. This is not going to be enough to justify the platform. This is not going to be enough to raise quality resources. This is actually going to rip the heart out of the platform - literally.
The only thing that will keep the authors who earn £250 p.a. to £5999 p.a. with TES is if they cannot replicate sales volume on 'the site that must not be named'. If they can, they would be stupid not to.
Furthermore, the fact that one's level (and therefore pay) can drop 10% from one month to the next - or indeed rise - is too volatile and unpredictable for most to stomach, I would suggest. This is all a very, very, very, very, VERY, very VERY bad idea. TES - you are taking a huge gamble - because if the 'silvers' go, they'll take the golds with them, and your platform will not survive.
The most likely is that they want to make more profit out of it for themselves. It's not about helping their 'best' authors - however they define best - it's about making more profit from those authors.
I suspect there might be some kind of 'premium' charged service in the pipeline.
I wonder if they're looking at a post-brexit world and an impact on EU sales or on how they add VAT to EU sales etc. Though I also wonder how big a proportion of their sales come from EU but non-UK customers.
That definitely should not be happening. On Monday we will check through the logs with the customer services team, and we will email you directly about the findings with the cases you have reported.
We have taken a tougher line on both copyright infringement and plagiarism this year. All the cases that we on the Tes Author Team are aware of have been dealt with, and dealt with promptly, and we've issued more permanent bans in the last 9 months than at any point in the past. We have also tried to ensure there is better information sent back to those who have reported copyright infringements about the outcomes of their report. So it is a real concern to us if this has not happened in your case.
We remain a platform, not a publisher, so we cannot vet every file at the point of upload. However, we have chosen in 2018 to be far more proactive in taking down material and issuing bans, emboldened by the shift in direction of the EU regulations on this area. We are in the process of putting in place systems to be more proactive still, and get earlier warnings of potential problems.
When we've spoken directly to a few of the small minority of teachers who have uploaded material that has breached copyright - despite the multiple warnings about this in the upload process - they have sometimes explained it happened because it was material they had included in a lesson they had used for ages and was one of multiple files on their USB stick. Why had they not been more vigilant in checking each file before uploading? Because they had wanted to have more than 50 or more than 100 files on their shop.
Thank you for alerting us about the cases you reported - we really appreciate it.
Tes Author Team [Michael]
Thank you for your message - and your contact with the team @rainynightmusic.
We absolutely want to ensure our silver users feel supported and - more critically - are supported. Helping them increase their sales actually becomes even more important to us in the new system, and is an explicit target for members of the team.
Tes Author Team [Michael]
Thanks for the comments @sparkleghirl.
Defining our "best" authors is tricky - but if in this context you're referring to those who are our top-sellers, then we will actually be making less profit from them because of the transaction fee change.
There is no premium charged service in the pipeline to take more revenue from authors. If we were planning one we'd have announced it yesterday. It was, of course, one of the options we explored and modelled. But it didn't prove viable to us.
Our EU non-UK base is pretty good (esp Spain, Italy, France and Germany), but not as big as our audience in English speaking countries such as the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, NZ and India. Brexit won't change the VAT situation from what we can see. Those selling digital materials online need to pay it based on the country of the purchaser to that country; it is not based on the location of the site or the uploader. Happily, we will be exempt from the UK digital tax for online marketplaces announced in last week's budget; that will only hit larger websites, predominantly in the US.
Tes Author Team [Michael]
I must say I agree with the word 'promptly'. The only times my mails to TES have been dealt with 'promptly' was when they referred to breach of copyright. Though I was surprised that most of the questions I was subsequently asked had all actually been answered in my initial email. From a teachers point of view, this was due to someone not having read the information provided in the first instance...
Along those lines one suggestion to help authors increase their sales that I would like to suggest, is that you improve the review system. Looking around the resources area, it is clear that the majority of reviews have been given for 'free' resources. I know that some people claim that other author's friends and colleagues are writing reviews for paid resources, though I am a puzzled on how this is possible if the review is not purchased in the first place...
However, I received one review the other week, which was not a review of my resource at all. In fact I had made a mistake and included a folder in the wrong language. The only way the buyer had available to contact me, was through the review-system... so they did. This means now that for the duration of it's presence on the platform, this resource (issue now rectified!) will show as having had a low review - I doubt many readers will bother to read my reply, therefore just see the 'review-marking' and look elsewhere. We all make mistakes. My mistake here, I know, but one mistake doesn't mean my resource is bad! This incident makes me wonder how many other authors have had the same or similar reason for a low review.
My points here are:
1. Please please please can this platform come up with a way to enable buyers to communicate a problem to an author, without using the review-system - e.g. a 'clarification' section and in line with that also a way that I can give someone a 'good will' voucher without giving out my email address...
2. Assuming that all my other buyers so far didn't have anything bad to say about my resources, they could have left a positive review, therefore surely encouraging buyers to leave a fair review might encourage other buyers to buy our products?
I think the word ABSURD is a very good adjective to describe the leap from £1,000 to £6,000, to reach gold status author with regards to the new author tier system. The dictionary definition being: wildly unreasonable, illogical,ridiculous, or inappropriate. I will be dropping down to silver status and never in a million years would I ever remotely hope to sell resources to reach the outrageous figure of £6,000. Whoever came up with this figure is not living in the real world. Shame on you Tes for raising the bar so high...
Erm... when I suggested yesterday that more authors would end up offering a lot of lower priced simple resources which take less time to make, you (@tes) were saying that your top-sellers are in fact those who offer fewer but larger resources which in turn warrant higher prices... Higher priced resources won't be affected by your change in the transaction fee. Therefore your top-sellers should still be making you the same profit...
So someone who wishes to open a TES store must be prepared to get 60% royalty. Did TES actually consider that this just might be a reason not to open a shop? Other marketplaces are paying much more! Coming to think of it, was that a calculated move to control the number of shops or to improve the quality of products as was stated? I'm not sure! I just deleted many of my resources that have not sold since I opened in December 2016. At that time TES contacted me after they saw my successful *** store. I'm grateful for the bulk upload that got me here but now I see that this just placed me in a category in which I really don't belong. I'm not going to be adding any more products from here on. I might even delete more later. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the crawl out of the bronze level status which I know will be a loong journey for me.