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Putting quality first: some changes to Tes Resources

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by tesAuthorTeam, May 16, 2018.

  1. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    When teachers browse resources on Tes, we want to ensure the best quality materials are the ones they see first. For this reason we launched a consultation on quality at the start of January with our users and authors.

    We’ve now had more than a thousand responses to our polls, online forum chats and webinars - which, encouragingly, show that our users want to see these changes too.

    There are plenty of incredibly high-quality lesson materials on Tes, which is why millions of teachers visit each month. We just want to get better at ensuring that it’s those resources that rise to the top, and that we’re stricter with the tiny minority of uploaders whose work is less helpful to teachers.

    So, we’re introducing:
    • A new code of practice for authors
    • Tougher takedown procedures
    • Changes to our royalty tiers
    • Improvements to the resources search and browse experience
    • A review of our resource feedback systems

    These changes are just the beginning. Some will come into effect immediately, while others will be added later this year or developed through further experimentation.

    Read our blog post for more information and take part in the discussion below.
  2. FunkyPhonics

    FunkyPhonics New commenter

    Okay after reading the blog post I am actually really disappointed.

    Mainly, the change is royalty rates. What are you playing at? Like many gold authors I've work hard to get onto gold. I produce quality resources (if I wouldn't buy it, then I wouldn't expect others to), I've had resources tes picked, I've had over 200 reviews. Yet you are going to reward me by demoting me to silver and take a further 10% off me? Not on at all.

    It takes time to produce quality. Like others I work full time and have a family life, I'm also a carer for my partner. I put whatever spare time and effort into making my resources. Yet because my resources are niche and my market is small due to only being relevant to a few year groups, you are going to judge the quality of my resources on sales? How on earth is that a indicator of quality?

    Very disappointed tes.
  3. topteachingtasks

    topteachingtasks New commenter

    Basing the idea of quality on sales is ridiculous.
  4. VTarantino

    VTarantino New commenter

    Can't agree more with you. My resources, for instance are for a small market as well. This is disappointing and ridiculous. This is a win-win for TES and a lose-lose for us authors, because even though a few authors will stay the same, the great majority will lose with this new recalculation of royalties. Instead of thinking of better ways to promote our resources you are punishing us. If this going to be the new TES policy, I will have to give up and focus on other pages like *** or even create my own selling page.
  5. topteachingtasks

    topteachingtasks New commenter

    This will definitely make me reconsider having a TES store. I work too hard on my resources (also niche due to location) to only get a 60% commission.
  6. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    From my perspective the TES catalogue is messy and TES has a lot of work to do to overcome the present reputation it has for low quality resources.

    The marketplace itself has a strong bias towards those TES chooses to promote (or commission) and as was pointed out in the 'consultation' a rewards system based on sales would mostly be of benefit to those receiving the greatest promotion by TES themselves.

    I'm not one of those. Instead I've seen steadily decreasing views this year.

    I don't see anything on offer that would persuade me to continue to sell resources on TES and will therefore be removing my resources shortly.

    Good luck to those of you that stay.
  7. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you for your feedback about some of the changes to Tes Resources. I will pass on your comments and concerns.
    TyroneH likes this.
  8. elder_cat

    elder_cat Senior commenter

    I think perhaps this may be viewed as the lesser of two evils, and the simplest to achieve with the minimum of effort, expense, and resources in a relatively short time frame. The longer term solution is (and always has been, to my mind) a system for reviews or recommendations which works, and is not susceptible to abuse. To be fair, that's a pretty tall order to fulfil, especially in the short term.

    But when authors whose resources are good quality, but only applicable to niche markets, begin to question whether it makes financial sense to keep pumping resources into TES, then paradoxically, these new measures will have actually lead to a reduction in the overall amount of quality resources available. I imagine from TES's point of view, that may not be a problem. By restricting resources available to 'mainstream' areas only, it leads to less administration, and clutter.

    The acid test will be how many authors they are prepared to lose. Presumably someone at TES will have figured out the 'magic number' before putting this in place, and I don't imagine they'll be doing any U-turns until that number is reached.
  9. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    Looking back I can see my initial response proved prophetic:

    Whereas the response by Michael Shaw appears to have been anything but:

    In the meantime, though, I can answer a question that came back in the consultation from one of our users, “Thinky”, an author of many popular lesson guides around punctuation.

    They asked what our real goal now was. Was it to create a site that would simply allow us to sell more materials we had made in-house to teachers, or to drive up the sheer volume of sales in the marketplace? Or was our goal to do something else: did we genuinely want to create “a community of authors providing high-quality resources for educators”?

    Spoiler alert: it’s the last one.

    I know some people believe that authors like myself dropping out of the marketplace will make it clearer (and provide them with less competition) but in reality I expect to see an even greater focus on the approach taken with the maths mastery resources.

    This will benefit a few people a great deal in the short term. How sustainable it will be is another matter. I expect for most people they will struggle to maintain the levels of sales required to maintain their royalty rate.

    In the meantime no doubt some people will see the tiers and believe they have a chance and towards the levels of income suggested and toward that aim they'll dedicate their time to promoting traffic for TES albeit for a reduced royalty.

    For me I want to know that when I promote a resource it will potentially lead to people exploring more of my resources. This is not what I see with TES. Instead they arrive at a page plastered with adverts, pop ups for irrelevant resources and surrounded by links to resources that take them away from my shop. I don't feel a sense of pride seeing my work alongside World Cup 2012 Christmas Quizzes.

    So for now I'll leave my resources up until October and from then they'll be available via my own site and *** instead. I will of course continue to take an interest in TES and hopefully one day when (if) there's a better offer available I'll try again.
  10. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

    It is clearly evident that the proposed changes to improve 'quality' by making the said changes to the royalty level has had an adverse effect already. It is sad to see so many well respected and established authors with excellent quality resources both from the UK and around the world leaving TES in droves. Many authors produce outstanding resources for niche subjects and may not get the quantity of sales as others. Certain authors seem to receive massive promotional opportunities. This makes it an unfair selling platform and an error on TES' part to penalize genuine authors with quality resources.

    Perhaps TES staff need to take a closer look at how they monitor the quality of resources and accept responsibility for this issue. Numerous examples of TES recommended resources containing poorly made resources with blatant copyright violations saturate the site. Surely, the way to address this is by a more rigorous system of identifying and removing these resources.

    I agree that royalty levels and author status should not be based on the quantity of resources uploaded as this only encourages the fast uploading of poorly made resources - but this was the system that TES put in place and encouraged initially.

    Perhaps, it would have been better to have put the proposed changes up for discussion and consultation first with authors before making any changes. Perhaps an alternative model could have been provided too and a poll taken. Perhaps it would have been better to protect existing authors royalty levels ie those who have not been found guilty of theft, copyright violations etc and begin the revised levels with new authors so they know what the goalposts are before they begin.
  11. mareehenderson21

    mareehenderson21 New commenter

    I'm sorry, but I will be closing my TES store. I already charge a little more for my resources on TES than ***, to try to cater for the transaction fees and tax, yet even doing that, if I sell the same product on both sites, at the moment I get 33p less on TES. With these new changes, I'd be mad to continue to take less. If teachers want my products, they can buy them on *** for LESS and I'll earn MORE.
    Doesn't this make sense?
    What incentive is there to continue on TES?
  12. nwilkin

    nwilkin Occasional commenter

    The current system of rewarding authors who uploaded a load of resources without regard of if they are any good, useful or even what the market wants anymore is unsustainable. Lots (not all) of authors who have large supermarkets of resources are now claiming they will be down to bronze level which clearly shows much of what they have produced just doesn't sell.

    Authors who have produced a few great popular resources are currently penalised by having a lower commission rate than those who produce thousands of £3 resources.

    TES should not be about wading through a multitude of resources that people have uploaded without regard to quality, it should be about creating and selling high-quality resources that teachers actually want. It should be the "go to" resource bank for quality. If teachers want a 5 minute activity they will probably create it themselves and that is probably a large reason why authors who like to create the cheap and cheerful 5 minute activities have not sold many recently. Maybe *** is better set up for those cheap resources and TES are planning on going down the higher-quality route, I don't know.

    However, I have seen on Facebook and TES forums that some authors are not selling much (and they have been complaining about it for some time). However, they still churn out the same style of resources they have been creating for years and have simply assumed it is something everybody else is doing wrong to and never considering that they should have a look at what they are producing and think about if it is really what people want to buy any more.

    Markets change, people expectations change and if teachers are buying with their own money (as seems to be the case) then they are not going to spend £3 on a 5 minute activity and they maybe want something more for their money and don't mind paying a bit more for larger resources that cover a whole unit of work. It may be that they are after a different type and they no longer buy the PowerPoint led lessons in some subjects so there is no point in still producing these when nobody wants them any more.

    By introducing a reward for those authors that are selling well and therefore meeting the teachers expectations it encourages others to do the same and hopefully raise the bar of what is uploaded. Maybe there should be more transparency into which resources are doing particularly well so other authors can see what is selling at the moment rather than just including search terms that are used we need to know the style of activities that people are buying too and maybe even the ones that are no longer selling (although I would not want to identify any individual resource in this manner maybe TES could give us on feedback is single PowerPoint lesson are still selling well or are teachers going for workbooks etc.).

    Authors need to stop complaining about the fact that their resources are no longer selling and look at why that may be. The authors who are selling well tend to be those who appear to have adapted to the market forces and are not constantly complaining about "switches being turned off" or "search results being unfair", and look at what they are creating. Too many say "I have sold well for 10 years so I know it is good quality" but have not updated their style at all in those 10 years and wonder why their resources seem less popular. Teachers expectations change and competitors who are creating resources to meet these new needs come in and take sales away from people who have refused to update their style. We need to get rid of the old resources that are cluttering up the site and never selling, bogging down searches for everybody and make new high-quality resources that sell well.
  13. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    I haven't seen anything that details how this will be tackled. My opinion is that this should have been a top priority. Instead I've seen increasing claims by TES that they do not have responsibility for items uploaded and therefore consider those things that are out of date, infringe copyright, of poor quality - to not be their concern. Unless I've missed it there doesn't appear to be any plan to tidy things up.

    My impression is very much the opposite.

    'Adapting to the market' is an interesting point. The last person I spoke to from TES suggested I begin making maths resources. Nothing about my work suggests any expertise or interest in maths. But then maths is very profitable right now. I wonder why?...

    Is it because those resources are 'meeting the teachers expectations'... or is it due to the considerable promotion they've had to a very large audience?

    I see it as more balanced to the latter and this system will reward mostly those that benefit from such promotion.

    I don't see how encouraging people to chase the same search terms will drive up quality.

    Personally I'd rather have seen a move to a flat royalty along with plans for how TES was going to tidy up the catalogue, improve author shops, provide an add to basket option, enable schools to have an account with options for purchase orders, highlight quality resources and encourage teachers to share examples of how they're being used, encourage dialogue between buyers and sellers. Had I seen those sorts of plans I could have been convinced that it would be worth a reduced royalty (in return for potentially more sales).

    Instead I see what I consider to be a poorer deal for nothing more.
  14. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

  15. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

    Thank you for listening ...
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. nwilkin

    nwilkin Occasional commenter

    I posted this on Facebook but thought it was worth putting here too to add to the discussion.

    As an alternative to bands we could have a completely different system where people earn awards and can obtain as many of them as they want to aim for. So one author may have one or two and some may have loads of awards. For each award the author will get 5% or even 10% more commission up to a maximum of 90% (or dare I say 95%?)

    There could be separate awards for "Trusted author" which means everybody gets that once they upload premium resources but lose it if they are found guilty of copyright theft, there could be a "Top uploaded" for those who like to upload loads of resources, there could be a "Popular seller" for those who make over £5000 sales in the last 12 months, a "Popular giveaway" for those who have high download for free resources and a "Good feedback" for those with a high review rating etc etc. Loads of different categories that can be awarded giving the author a higher commission band for each award they qualify for and the awards can be part of the searchable options so customers can look for those with high rating or who have large banks of resources.

    Any other awards people can think of?
  17. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

    Do we really need more awards? Why not just keep it simple? Pay a reasonable fee = 80%, 60% if fee not paid, scrap the bronze, silver and gold status - it's divisive. Scrap the 30p charge. Seems to work for ***..... ***'s premium seller fee is $59.95. about £45.
  18. Elsasupport

    Elsasupport New commenter

    Very well said and I totally agree with you
  19. mrajlong

    mrajlong Senior commenter

    Not a bad idea. Of course, the over promotion of certain resources *ahem* white rose *ahem* would have to stop if this model was adopted or there would be a major backlash.
  20. GalvaniseEDU

    GalvaniseEDU New commenter

    There are ways to promote quality without robbing authors of their royalties. Those thresholds are far too high, they need to be more than halved.

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