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Transaction Fees and the new law

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by MosaiK, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. MosaiK

    MosaiK Occasional commenter

    Like many of my colleagues on this site, I have been wondering why oh why TES really needs to charge a 30p transaction fee on resources under £3.
    In general that transaction fee is charged by retailers for a credit card transaction and is charged to the buyer. Since 2013 other types of transaction fees are not permitted by law.
    However TES seem to be charging this regardless of whether buyers use a credit card or their TES credit. Additionally this transaction fee is also automatically charged on all sales of new sellers until we have reached Bronze author level.
    I am relatively new to selling resources online and I often feel that this transaction fee is stinging my colleagues and me who would like to make our resources available at a more reasonable price than £3, yet cannot do so unless we are 'happy' to incur a 30p transaction fee. Personally I would rather sell one resource 10 times at let's say £1.80 than once or twice at £3 in the same period.

    So here is my question to TES.
    Will you abolish this transaction fee once the new law comes into force in January 2018 or will you find a way to continue to justify it or worse even, disguise it by ways of changing royalty-levels?
    Krazikas likes this.
  2. charlie_wagner

    charlie_wagner New commenter Staff Member

    Hi @salsify

    Over the past 18 months, the number of teachers creating resources on Tes has grown exponentially, as has the number of users. We’ve moved into new territories and markets around the world giving you more opportunities to sell your resources and support teachers globally. Our teacher-authors have earned almost £2 million in royalties. In order for us to keep growing at this rate, we had to introduce a 30p/30c transaction fee on all sales under £3/$3.

    We'll look into changing the terminology used to to describe the 'Transaction Fee', as this is to help share the operational cost of facilitating a sale at a lower price point. Apologies for the confusion.

    Hope that helps answer your question and thanks for raising it :)

    Thanks, Charlie (Tes Employee)
  3. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    I guess that answers the question:

    as a 'yes they will find a way to continue to justify it'.

    I'm sure many of us are curious to know what it is that causes the increase in the 'operational cost of facilitating a sale at a lower price point'?
  4. mrajlong

    mrajlong Senior commenter

    Any yet my sales for November were lower than the previous year despite all the "new opportunities" I have been given in the global market and the fact I have about 30% more resources on here now than last year (reckon December may also be down too) This is the same for the vast majority of authors on these forums and the Tes author's Facebook group.
  5. MosaiK

    MosaiK Occasional commenter

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.
    However, I fail to understand how a sale at a lower price point has a higher operational cost than a sale at a higher price... also - if your 'transaction fee' up until now was described as you say above and indeed as I previously read in your FAQs, then how will a simple change of definition explain or indeed resolve the issue itself?
    I simply assumed that the 20%-40% royalties which TES receive on our sales would take care of facilitating our sales. After all, as I demonstrated in my earlier example, enabling us to sell at a lower price without being penalised, would mean more income (from royalties) for TES overall.
  6. penyrheol1

    penyrheol1 New commenter

    FAO TES. I will apologise up-front if this offends anyone!

    So sorry to be the voice of cynicism but TES is simply reflecting the actions of many governments - overtax the less able to afford it and let the well-off/high earners/corporations pay less than their dues! All that the current royalty system is doing is making people put poor quality resources onto the website to get to milestones quicker and so driving down the quality of the resources on offer.

    I have been a member for TES for a number of years but an author for only a matter of weeks. On the rare occasions that I had used this website over the years it had been to look for ideas not to use the materials as the quality was awful. I retired from teaching this Summer and heard of authoring purely by chance during the last week of term. However, asking colleagues since then about TES they are still of the opinion that TES is a website with free, poor quality resources, some have never heard of it.

    Having spent the last couple of weeks authoring myself, I have spent quite a bit of time looking at other peoples work. There is some fantastic stuff on this website-lessons I would be proud to take into the classroom myself. However, TES's poor quality control coupled with the inability/lack of incentive for teachers to leave reviews for many weeks means that teachers cannot sort the wheat from the chaff. The fact that previews are scrambled gives an exceptionally poor impression and creates uncertainty as to the quality of what a buyer will actually receive. Look further - recently a whole load of R.E. uploads were left in the middle of the physics page for over a week. Additionally one of the recommended resources which currently pops up at on the right side is for the Summer holiday and not the Xmas one. Click onto some of the TES recommended resources and the only review they have had is from TES themselves from two years ago giving the impression that nothing more worthwhile has been uploaded since. Is anyone checking what goes onto the website?????? Overall, the impression given is that there is no supervision or quality control of the websites content by TES themselves.

    I am not surprised that peoples royalties are down. The impression the website gives to a prospective purchaser is not good. Some people are just uploading 1 crossword for £4 and I have even come across a collection of hand-written notes. Quite a lot of people are just uploading their lesson notes with no cover. Subject pages look dull and uninviting overall.This was fine when TES was a source of free resources but definitely not when customers are being asked to pay what I consider to be a quite a considerable amount. I understand that TES is in transition from a free to a fee paying website but this mix is no good for anybody - authors or customers.
    This means that teachers are not logging onto the website to look for resources. Some major changes are needed if TES is to change the mindset of the teaching profession about its website. It's all very well investing in creating the opportunity to sell oversees when there is a huge PR job to be done with the British teaching profession!

    Charlie - In the thread "All I want for Christmas" you asked for ideas - Well, here's my take on things .......for what it's worth

    1. Listen to what your authors are telling you.
    2. TES makes a fair amount out of its authors. Urgently plough money into developing the website itself, even if this incurs an initial loss. Make sure everything is working perfectly at all times.
    3. Don't be fobbed off by software contractors who say things cannot be fixed. They can. Your problem is that you have subcontracted different parts of the website maintenance/construction to different contractors who are not communicating with each other. Fact-lapsed software engineer myself!
    3. Enable previewing of PowerPoints, including animations. Customers should be able to view watermarked clips before they buy-similar to the ones you can do on YouTube. This would mean there would be no need to upload free resources as previews turning TES into a non-free website totally.
    4. Improve quality control - remove substandard items. This would mean reviewing every item- some items for deletion are obvious even to the untrained eye. Your comment in the "Christmas" thread about not knowing which resources to recommend to the customers worried me. Are there no educators employed at the website? You could create subject panels selected from authors and ask them to regularly review a set number of resources on a regular basis for consideration for TES recommended status and also those for deletion from the website in the case of the ones you are not sure of. These people would have to be anonymous . An email should be sent to authors whose resources are removed stating the reason why.
    5, Use the facilities all websites have to, not only provide the statistics your authors are requesting, but also to provide incentives for them for example higher royalty for a resources attracting over a certain level of downloads. Again this will drive up the standards of the resources.
    6. Finally- a pie in the sky wish. The odd TV add!!!!

    With the greatest respect and all good wishes for a merry Christmas

    Gill Elford
    Littlesherbetlemon and mrajlong like this.
  7. charlie_wagner

    charlie_wagner New commenter Staff Member

    Dear all,

    Thanks for all the comments, feedback and ideas. Below is an explanation of sales performance that I recently posted in the Tes Authors group. Hopefully it goes someway to help answer some of your questions.

    Overall, resource transactions are taking a similar pattern to last year; there was a slight dip in October due to half term but November picked up again. The first few days in December have been far stronger this year than the same period last year and total royalty payments have more than doubled. While we have a greater number of buyers than ever before, we also have a more authors contributing resources which could account for a slight drop off in sales at an individual level. We have recently been investing platform stability in order to keep up with this demand. In the new year, amongst other things, we will be working on more intelligent ways to suggest your resources to relevant buyers across the website.

    Another contributing factor to individual drops in sales will be that we’re reviewing our discount code promotion. We have invested a lot over the past 6 months and we need to review if this is still the most effective way to bring you new buyers. We know a lot of you were successful in helping us drive this promotion, so the royalty earned from these sales will need to be replaced with other ways of attracting buyers. In the interim, we’d encourage you to continually engage in self-promotion through your channels, add new content and keep your older content fresh, use the toolkit to create bundles and keep your shops looking their best.

    Many thanks, Charlie
  8. charliep86

    charliep86 New commenter

    Hello Gill @penyrheol1 - thank you for your comments! :)

    To address each of the points/questions you've raised:

    1. We absolutely do already, but are always trying to find ways to improve communication between folks at Tes, our author community and other teachers using Tes. We understand the vital importance of ensuring that we listen to our users, so that we can understand their problems and build a product and experience for them. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve on this, I'd love to hear them!

    2. We have a dedicated team (that I look after) whose job it is to make the Resources platform better. As you will see in my comment from the other thread, we are spending a lot of our time at the moment on making sure that the platform works smoothly, and that it's stable.

    3. I'm not sure where you got your information from, but that's not the case! :)

    4. Previewing of PowerPoint documents is enabled. Animations aren't previewable though with the third party provider that we use to generate the preview images.

    5. Improving resource quality on Tes is high up on our agenda - there will be more on this in the new year, so watch this space! Also, to respond to your other comments/questions: Yes, we have teachers working at Tes, and part of their role is to help with the curation of resources, but this approach isn't scalable; there are hundreds of thousands of resources from right across the curriculum, and so we need to use algorithmic ways to surface resources, and also to find ways for the community to help in this process, as we only have a small team. My comment about not being sure which resources to show/recommend to people is based on the fact that without human input it is hard for us to judge the quality of a resource. So, we are exploring various ways to improve resource quality, and are looking to the community to help feed into that process too. Hope this clarifies my comments? Let me know if not, more than happy to discuss further! :)

    6. This is an interesting idea! We'll take it on board to explore further.

    7. I'll pass this on to our marketing team!

    Thanks again for your comments, and a merry Christmas to you too! :)

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