Sharing the Spoils of the Gig Economy

Sharing the Spoils of the Gig Economy

Amongst the problems with the Sharing Economy – and its offshoot, the Gig Economy – is the fact that shares in it tend to be pretty unequal. In fact, even more than is the case of a usual employee-employer relationship, oftentimes the ‘employee’ in this example (who is really a gig worker) ends up with a pittance compared to the organization that helps them find the work.


An effort to get more of the spoils of their work into hands of the Gig Workers is behind a new start-up called, which is profiled in this article from the New York Times.  Stocksy is a service that provides stock images by photographers for sale to users. Unlike other sites which provide similar services, it is structured as a ‘co-op’ owned by the photographers, who get a bigger cut than they would otherwise. Run by the former owners of iStock (a company that was  sold to Getty Images in 2006 for $50 million) it is an attempt to more equally  share profits, and to provide better incomes for Gig Workers who frequently find their Gigs pay a lot less than they would like.

Although I would think that photographers are less vulnerable to exploitation than many Gig Workers (more on that in a moment) the truth is that as structured right now the Gig Economy does not work all that well as an economic model for many. To start, in large part you cannot even buy shares in it, meaning that the vast majority of investors cannot participate in it. Companies like Uber and Lyft are based in Silicon Valley and backed with significant amounts of venture capital, and for the most part there is little indication that they will go public anytime soon.  More problematically for those who work for these organizations, the companies tend to be structured such that the vast amount of profits go to the companies, making many of those who work this way very much what I would call ‘involuntary Gig Workers’, workers who would rather have ‘real’ jobs.

The fact that photographers are being drawn to Stocksy because they are unhappy with existing stock companies does surprise me a bit. Thing is, the photography industry has always had a large number of ‘voluntary Gig Workers’, those who work alone or in very small groups. Traditionally, they have sold their services to a series of buyers rather than a single client. The advent of sharing platforms such as stock photo sites, or even the advent of the internet at all is potentially a huge boost to them, since they can make their wares available to a much larger platform. In fact, a study by Gig site Thumbtack saw skilled professionals with differentiated services to be the big winners from the Gig Economy, and predicted that that success would continue over the coming years. In contrast, they saw those providing undifferentiated services (one ride to the airport is really the same as another) as at risk of losing their gigs altogether as technology such as driverless cars takes over.

Stocksy’s model, whereby they end up paying their members a dividend at year end (providing they have ‘surplus revenue’) may be copied by others in the Gig industry.  Then again they might not – the big, Silicon-Valley backed players are a bit of a monolith against other players, and co-op based services will only work if a sufficient number of photographers choose to only provide services to them rather than others.

The big picture though, is that the Gig Economy is still a work in progress. There are things to be gained from being a part of it, but it is going to take some time before workers and ‘employers’ and buyers and sellers figure out the mix that makes the most economic sense to each of them.


  • Jobs
    Posted at 23:48h, 13 November Reply

    A round of applause for your blog post. Want more.

  • top bouncy castle hire bexley
    Posted at 21:02h, 14 November Reply

    I am so grateful for your blog.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  • relationship advice for men
    Posted at 03:43h, 15 November Reply

    Thanks for the article post.Much thanks again.

  • Dating Coach London
    Posted at 04:01h, 15 November Reply

    This is one awesome article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

  • 먹튀사이트
    Posted at 14:56h, 15 November Reply

    Im thankful for the article post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  • 토토메이저
    Posted at 15:13h, 15 November Reply

    Very informative blog.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  • Baalveer
    Posted at 22:24h, 15 November Reply

    wow, awesome article.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  • first time anal
    Posted at 19:15h, 16 November Reply

    Appreciate you sharing, great article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  • adam and eve coupon
    Posted at 20:03h, 16 November Reply

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  • Miss Date Doctor
    Posted at 04:16h, 17 November Reply

    Thank you ever so for you post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  • Miss Date Doctor
    Posted at 04:35h, 17 November Reply

    Say, you got a nice article post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

  • 야마토
    Posted at 11:08h, 18 November Reply

    I am so grateful for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  • 메이저 사이트
    Posted at 23:24h, 19 November Reply

    Thanks-a-mundo for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

Post A Comment