Working with Symzio: Contributors & Affiliates
Welcome to Symzio!So you're a photographer, illustrator, videographer or vector artist and you want to sell your stuff on Symzio. Great! Familiarize yourself with our technology, our purpose, and our terms and conditions. Once you feel ready, you can get started immediately!
How Symzio worksSymzio, unlike other agencies, does not manage contributors' media collections. Instead, we provide a plugin for contributors to host their own images, videos and vectors and create their own media store through WordPress. Then, when they are ready, they submit their site to Symzio and we add their media to our store, selling their images on their behalf.
Applying to become a contributorOnce a contributor's independent media store is up and running, they can then sign up with Symzio and submit an application to become a contributor.
In order to apply, contributors must have at least 100 stock media items for sale in their independent stores. Applicants should also include links to any portfolios they have with other stock agencies for increased chances of approval in their first attempt.
Upon inspection, if a contributor's site falls within our guidelines, we then send them an approval email. Once approved, they add a secret passcode to their independent site and Symzio will soon start crawling their images, adding them to our search results.
During the application process, contributors may be asked for additional credentials, such as photo identification or other proof of identity. This information is stored securely and is collected to preserve the integrity of the Symzio licensing system.
Contributor requirementsAs Symzio was created and continues to be run by contributors just like you, we avoid the restrictions imposed on artists by conventional agencies. That means that we want contributors to be able to focus on creating unique work and determine their commercial viability themselves. In tune with this, we have strict quality standards as well as systems in place to flag spam and inappropriate media. We also have strict penalties for breaches of our terms of service, so along with having more control, each contributor also has more responsibility.
Here are some guidelines contributors should keep in mind when applying to join Symzio:
- Ready to sell - contributors must have at least 100 professional, stock quality media items in their independent store
- Focus - all the relevant work must be in focus at 100% zoom
- Exposure - media must not be overly under or over-exposed, meaning not too many washed out pure white areas, and not too many pure black areas.
- Size - stock image customers often need to print their projects, so media must be at least 9 megapixels in most cases. This is not a hard rule, but if a majority of a contributor's work is 1000x1500, that isn't considered stock media.
- No custom watermarks - we watermark images for contributors and let visitors know which artist created the media they are viewing.
- Unique work - we have a zero tolerance policy towards duplicates, and are restrictive when it comes to numerous images that are the same subject taken from excessive angles. If contributors notice duplicates in their collections, they should try to purge them immediately. Contributors should pick only the best images from any single setup and disregard the rest.
- Professional standards - even if a contributor is just starting out, they must set the bar high for themselves. They must be technical, strict, and meticulous about every image they put out there.
- Vectors in sRGB - all vectors must be saved in the sRGB format, and have a high raster resolution.
- Video formats - MP4 is preferred. Try to keep videos between HD (1920x1080) and 4K in resolution.
- Do not upscale - downscaling is fine, but do not upscale any media to a higher resolution. This will be viewed as attempting to game the system and cheats customers.
While trying to offer contributors a solid platform to monetize their work, we are equally geared towards giving customers the best of the best. If we get any legitimate technical complaints about media from buying patrons, contributors will be warned, for it reflects poorly on the network as a whole.
OverviewAdding media to Symzio is relatively straightforward once a contributor has their independent site up. The software that Symzio uses is a free WordPress plugin called Symbiostock Pro. Symbiostock allows artists to easily upload images (via FTP or web) that get processed automatically for both Symzio and their independent store. In order to use Symbiostock, they will have to host their own website with their own web-host - if you don't already have one, sign up with Symbiostock Hosting which is an all in one solution for Symzio contributors. Users can find assistance and guides on getting up and running on Symbiostock.org.
Once a contributor's site is online, they can then apply to become a Symzio contributor. In their approval email they will receive a 'Sync Code' which they add to their Symbiostock install. This will permit Symzio to crawl their site. That's it! Their images will soon show up on Symzio for purchase by customers.
Installing SymbiostockIf a contributor has their own WordPress site, all they have to do is install Symbiostock Pro.
Don't have a website yet? Just go to Symbiostock Hosting and get started with getting online, easily and quickly. If you already have your own host, download WordPress for free - unzip it and upload it to your web-server. Download Symbiostock Pro via the link above, activate, and you will be prompted for any additional steps required to get everything going.
Need help? For any technical issues with setting up Symbiostock Pro on your own server, please visit the Symbiostock support forums where you can get friendly assistance. If you opted for Symbiostock Hosting, you can get help both from the Symbiostock team and the forums. Also note that if you currently have a host but want to move to Symbiostock's hosting platform, the Symbiostock team will migrate all your sites over for free.
Symzio > SymbiostockIn order to connect to Symbiostock Pro, Symzio needs to find the correct Sync Code in your install. It will also check the integrity of some of your media files when it crawls to ensure everything is working. Symzio will skip any files it thinks are problematic.
Additionally, if you have WordPress debugging enabled (and it prints errors to the screen), Symzio will not crawl your site. If your site is behind a password protected area, Symzio will be unable to access your site.
Uploading imagesOnce a contributor logs into their Symbiostock install, they navigate to the Symbiostock > Upload Media tab. There, they will see the option of using a web form for uploads, or instructions on FTP uploading. Once their files are successfully uploaded, they will next need to be processed; thumbnails for both Symzio and their independent site will need to be generated, along with a variety of other tasks.
Symzio's minimum size for raster images is 4 megapixels.
Processing imagesAll processing is done automatically via a 'Processor' that comes bundled with Symbiostock. This needs to be run periodically so that all the new images get processed. One can manually run it by navigating to Symbiostock > Settings > System and clicking on the 'Run Now' link. Contributors can manually keep refreshing this page if they want, but we recommend they schedule it to run automatically via their web server. This is called a 'cron' job. Ask your host if you don't know how to do this.
Need help? If you have technical issues with setting up your cron job, please visit the Symbiostock support forums where you can get friendly assistance.
Tagging imagesOnce processed, images will show up in the Symbiostock > Media tab. There, contributors can do all sorts of edits, from keywords to tags, to marking them as editorial, flagging them as having model or property releases, and deciding whether they want to include or exclude them in Symzio. Customizing an independent site can be both fun and interesting, but as for Symzio, once a contributor's images are uploaded, keyworded and published, our needs are satisfied. They are now ready to apply to become a Symzio contributor.
One important thing to note is accurate tagging, and specifically, the editorial and illustration tags. All media that is editorial and cannot be used in a commercial capacity must be tagged editorial. Similarly, any raster image (JPG, TIFF, PNG etc.) that has been drawn (as opposed to a photo) must be tagged as an illustration. Do not tag vectors as illustrations as that is assumed.
Uptime reliabilitySelling with Symzio has a lot of advantages for the independent artist: it allows contributors to dictate their own schedule, create their own artistic visions, and control how and when their media is available for sale. However, along with this comes a lot of added responsibility. As artists are hosting their own images, whether they show up in Symzio or not is entirely dependent on both the reliability and the speed of one's server. It is up to each contributor to ensure that their images are always available. As we do not store media (aside from caching), if a site should go offline, that contributor's listings will be immediately removed from Symzio. If this happens a lot, a contributor's account will be flagged and they will be warned. This is in order to preserve the integrity of the Symzio engine so that other contributors do not suffer due to any one member's unreliability.
Most importantly, if a customer makes a purchase with us but we are not able to deliver their order in a timely fashion due to a contributor's poor hosting solution, this will again create a flag and that contributor will be warned. If these warnings persist, a contributor's account may be penalized.
Adding new imagesAdding images works in the exact same manner as they did initially; simply upload via the web form or FTP, and run the processing page. Symzio will automatically crawl them. This is one of the shining benefits of this integration; contributors need never log into Symzio or worry about categorization, rejections, or the like. They can focus entirely on producing media and building their independent site, and Symzio will automatically work in the background to generate sales for new and old images.
Removing imagesOnce a contributor removes or unpublishes an image from their independent site, it is automatically purged from Symzio as well. Contributors may also keep images live on their independent sites but remove them from Symzio by editing them and unchecking the Symzio inclusion option. Everything is then done automatically.
Changing keywordsIf a contributor renames, keywords, or alters an image on their independent site, the change will get crawled and re-indexed by Symzio. As with adding and deleting images, this process is all automated. Though not immediate, Symzio will eventually crawl every contributor's site to check for changes.
Pricing your mediaAll medium sized JPEGs are priced at $1.99 on Symzio. This size and price has been optimized to provide a consistent way for bloggers to purchase digital media quickly and easily.
All our full sized media, including videos, is sold under our royalty-free unlimited license. This price is set by the contributor in one of two ways. You can alter your global pricing tier by going to your Symzio settings in your Symbiostock control panel. You can also individually edit any product to customize the price.
If you leave your global pricing to 'Symzio Managed', we will optimize your pricing to maximize revenue. This is generally the recommended option.
Affiliate ProgramAffiliate sales are earned when a customer purchases one or more items on Symzio, and they found their way here by an affiliate or contributor's recommendation. All contributors are automatically approved to earn referral sales.
Symzio offers affiliates a simple and easy set of tools with which to promote Symzio while earning revenue on each sale.
Referral salesSymzio affiliates and contributors can earn commissions on any sales made on the site that were referred to us by them. Once they apply and are approved as a Symzio affiliate, they will be provided a unique referral code. Simply attach this code to any page on Symzio, whether they be search results or product pages, and if a visitor makes a purchase on Symzio, that affiliate will receive a percentage as commission.
The syntax is simple - just create a link to any page on Symzio while adding your referral code to the end:
Where 'JHH88J' is your referral code. This works for any page:
Once a visitor comes to Symzio and purchases something through your referral link, you earn on that sale.
Contributors are automatically approved and receive their referral code when they are approved as a contributor.
Referrals are tracked through cookies, and when a user visits Symzio through your referral, you will earn on any purchases they make for 14 days.
Handy Tip! All the share buttons you see on the left will automatically embed your referral code into any shared pages if you are logged in to your affiliate or contributor account. That means you don't have to do anything extra - just stay logged into Symzio, browse the site a few times a day and share your favorite media. Visitors that come to Symzio through your social media will automatically be referred to us by you!
Bonus! If a visitor first finds Symzio through a contributor's profile page and there is no referral attached to that visit, the contributor will automatically gain referral ownership of that customer. If, however, there is a referral attached to that visit, the referring affiliate will gain ownership of that customer.
Applying to become an affiliateOnce a user creates a Symzio account, they can go to their account area to apply as an affiliate. If you are already a contributor, or intend to become one, just apply as a contributor when you are ready. All contributors are automatically approved as affiliates.
In order to apply, affiliates should be ready to explain to us how they intend to promote Symzio. This includes telling us about blogs, websites, or forums they will use for promotion. We need this information to ensure that all marketing that Symzio is involved in is within our guidelines. If an applicant does not include information that convinces us that they are genuine in their interest, they will not be approved. We receive a large number of affiliate requests, so every affiliate should make sure their application is thorough.
GuidelinesFor full information about our guidelines, read our terms of service. However, the central goal is to grow Symzio through legitimate, topical referrals. This means promoting Symzio on image related blogs, websites, and other social avenues. Affiliates may not promote Symzio through spam or unsolicited emails. Affiliates may not force users to visit Symzio through any mechanism that is not considered part of the normal internet browsing experience. Affiliates may not promote Symzio through popups or redirects. Affiliates may not use or offer coupons, whether valid or not, for the promotion of Symzio.
It is important to familiarize oneself with our rules. We have zero tolerance towards any affiliate marketing that breaches our terms of service. We use advanced technology to monitor and flag accounts that fall out of the normal spectrum of referrals. If an affiliate is found to be in breach, their earnings will be confiscated and account closed. Although we may reinstate contributors that fall out of line, the reinstatement of affiliates is less common.
Commission structureContributors earn 70% of all revenue generated through the sales of their images.
Affiliates earn 10% of every sale referred to us by them.
Bonus! An exception to the above is if a customer purchases a contributor's image through their own referral. Rather than earn 80% (the affiliate commission plus the contributor commission), this contributor will earn 90% of the revenue on that sale. This is a bonus intended to encourage transparent interactions between Symzio and each individual contributor's site.
Bonus! Additionally, if a visitor first finds Symzio through a contributor's profile page and there is no referral attached to that visit, the contributor will automatically gain referral ownership of that customer as an affiliate.
Payment methodsWe currently use PayPal for all payments.
Payment scheduleAll payments are performed at approximately the same time each month, no matter when an affiliate or contributor became a member. Our current minimum threshold is $50, and during the beta phase will be operating on a net-35 basis. This means earnings will not be released until 35 days after they are earned. We are maintaining this restriction during the beta phase for security purposes.
FeesThere is no cost involved in becoming a Symzio affiliate or contributor. If you wish to apply, please follow the instructions provided in the respective sections above.
Once the Symzio BETA is over, we will consider charging a nominal Stock Inclusion Fee (SIF) based on the number of images a contributor includes in Symzio as a means of self-regulating quality control. The implementation and pricing of any potential SIF will depend on market conditions when the BETA is complete.
Returns, chargebacks and disputesWe generally do not offer customer returns, however if an image is proven to have technical faults, we will refund a customer in full. In this case, or in the case of a chargeback or payment dispute, we will treat the order as a refund and reverse the earnings made on that sale. If any one contributor or affiliate is involved in an inordinate number of these sorts of transactions, their account will be flagged and investigated.
Editorial mediaOn Symzio we offer contributors the option of selling images/videos/vectors that are classified as Editorial (‘editorial media’). Editorial media cannot be used to advertise or promote a product or service, as they depict socially relevant content/locations/people/products/brands/situations that have not been released for commercial use.
What is the purpose of Editorial Media?
The purpose of editorial media is to depict newsworthy situations, current events and to illustrate areas of of human interest (such as the arts; culture; health; lifestyle; travel; business; politics; social events; technology).
Are all non-released stock media automatically Editorial Media?
No. Editorial media must illustrate informative content, or a specific topic/subject area, that could be used to supplement a news story, a piece of commentary or opinion posts. Stock media should not be labelled as Editorial simply for the lack of property/model releases. For example: an image of a recognizable person, for which there is no model release, is not automatically an editorial image.
What can Editorial Media be used for?
Although editorial media cannot be used for commercial uses, there are a variety of ways in which editorial images can be properly used. Permitted use of editorial media includes using the media:
- to supplement news coverage or illustrate news
- to supplement a commentary column in a newspaper or magazine article
- for blog articles or opinion posts on websites
- in non-commercial multimedia presentations
- for a non-commercial documentary
The ease of a transaction is crucial for creating a loyal customer base. Customers want to be informed about their purchase, and it is in our best interest to make that easy for them. If an image is an editorial image, it must be labelled as such so that the customer knows what they can and cannot do with the image. As the seller, you’re responsible for providing all the necessary information about the stock media you are selling. Correctly tagging editorial media also provides you with a level of protection from legal disputes. As it is the industry standard to label any editorial media as such, this assumed practice forms a legal premise that must be abided by.
Accurate taggingIt is important to organize your portfolio properly before submitting images to Symzio. One important thing to note is accurate tagging, and specifically, the editorial and illustration tags. All media that is editorial and cannot be used in a commercial capacity must be tagged editorial. Similarly, any raster image (JPG, TIFF, PNG etc.) that has been drawn (as opposed to a photo) must be tagged as an illustration. Do not tag vectors as illustrations as that is assumed.
Our team regularly peruses the Symzio engine and if an image that appears to be editorial is found to be missing the tag, we will flag it and notify you. If we are mistaken, no harm done. If it is missing the editorial tag, you will be encouraged to check your entire collection to ensure everything else is accurately tagged. If your images are found to be missing editorial tags more than once, your contributor account may be temporarily disabled in which case you would have to pay the re-inclusion fee for reinstatement.
Copyright infringementWe have a zero-tolerance policy towards copyright infringement, incidental or purposeful. All contributor earnings will be purged and their account closed if they are found to be transacting with Symzio in any manner while infringing on the intellectual property rights of anyone else. This includes not having proper model or property releases for their work, copying other people's work, or promoting Symzio as an affiliate using another party's intellectual property without permission. We take all complaints seriously, and if we are satisfied that an infringement has occurred, the aforementioned actions will be pursued.
Please also be aware, specifically with regards to vectors and illustrations, that if your image is based on a photograph, that you must own the copyright towards that photograph. It is strictly prohibited to include any vectors or illustrations that are based on other people's photographs.
Spam & manipulationWe have an equally strict policy when it comes to spam. This includes spamming the Symzio results with duplicate images, images that are keyworded incorrectly, images with irrelevant keywords, or many images that have low artistic or technical merit. Affiliates may not promote Symzio through any methods considered 'spammy', including but not restricted to unsolicited emails or forced links. As previously mentioned, we use advanced technical means of analysing all incoming traffic and will flag any users that utilize mechanisms that breach our terms of service.
Interfering or altering the way Symbiostock operates with regards to Symzio is not permitted. Any attempt to gain unfair advantage over your peers will be seen as attempting to manipulate the system.
Other terms and conditionsApplicants should familiarize themselves with our terms and conditions thoroughly prior to applying as a contributor or affiliate of Symzio. As our system is relatively open, we are necessarily strict towards those that abuse it in order to protect the rest of the users, including customers. We will not negotiate on decisions, and so it is up to each individual contributor to hold themselves up to a high standard.
Applying for reinstatementAll those that may breach our terms and conditions damage the Symzio community as a whole. If a contributor or affiliate wishes to resume working with us, they will have to both explain why they want to be reinstated and pay a $250 fee for reinstatement. This mechanism is in place to ensure that our terms and conditions are enforced to protect the rest of the members, and to provide a streamlined mechanism for reinstatement.
Our right to change policyAs with our terms and conditions, all information on this page is subject to change without notice, and it is your responsibility to check periodically to ensure you are aware of any such changes. By continuing to use Symzio, you agree to abide by all our policies set forth, including the right to change said policies.
OverviewHere at Symzio, we provide our contributors with fair compensation for their work. We give 70% of sales royalties to our contributors. We also provide the opportunity for greater earnings through our affiliate program and contributor bonuses. Our aim is to empower independent artists from around the world, so that they can keep doing what they do best: be creative and make artful media!
As Symzio retains such a modest proportion from sales profit, our marketing budget is necessarily limited compared to other stock agencies. This is why we need our contributors to promote and spread awareness of Symzio. In order for our fair compensation philosophy to succeed, we need as many people as possible to take part and get the word out. By promoting Symzio you will ultimately be helping yourself and all Symzio contributors towards creating a sustainable new marketplace for your stock media. Tweet about us, blog about us, link to us and use the Symzio Widget to encourage everyone you know to support Symzio as a positive platform for independent artists!
Symzio widgetThe Symzio Widget is a networking, promotional and affiliate tool created for contributors and affiliates as a means of marketing Symzio's stock media. The tool is a great way of publicizing, endorsing and bringing exposure to the Symzio community.
The widget can be customized in order to integrate aesthetically with individual webpages. There are two versions of the Symzio Widget: a WordPress plugin and a widget code generator. The plugin version can be downloaded here and is accessible directly from the WP interface (WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets). It also comes bundled with Symbiostock. For all other sites, use the widget code generator (below) to obtain customized snippets of code which can then be used to embed the Symzio Widget into any webpage.
Bonus! Affiliates and contributors can enter their affiliate code directly into each individual placement of the Symzio Widget. If a customer visits us through your affiliate widget and subsequently purchases one or more items on Symzio, you earn affiliate sales the transaction. The widget's simplicity and ease of use allows you maximize your earning potential by including the widget in as many locations as you choose.
Widget Code Generator
3Number of images:
4Display content description? Yes
5Your affiliate code:
6Custom CSS class tag: